The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it’s 92 degrees in the new apartment I just moved into over labor day weekend – a third floor walkup…
Nonetheless, week 1 is upon us!
Falcons +1.5 at Eagles
The Super Bowl champs open the season at home against the Falcons. Look for this to be a close game but overall health favors the Falcons who will get the win.
Texans +6.5 at Patriots
The Pats are 3-2 in their last five season openers, however, two of those wins have come by 2 points. Additionally, the lack of wide receiver depth and shaky running back health situation are not in the Pats favor. The Texans, on the other hand, have Deshaun Watson back healthy and the defense is strong as ever. Not only will Houston play the Patriots close but they may win outright.
Steelers -3.5 vs Browns
Regardless of whether Le’veon Bell plays the Steelers are a strong bet against the Browns. Hard Knocks has been entertaining but it’s resulted in too much public support shifting towards the Browns, and they aren’t really that good.
Bengals +3 at Colts
Have we seen Andrew Luck throw downfield yet? No? It’s very difficult to beat any NFL team when you can’t challenge their defense vertically. Meanwhile the Bengals have been overlooked leading up to the regular season. Remember they are only two seasons removed from their last AFC North crown.
Titans -1.5 at Dolphins
Tennessee’s off-season script has been overwhelmingly positive with Mike Vrabel coming in and key additions on both sides of the ball. Last year’s AFC 5-seed will show up for their new coach.
49ers +6.5 at Vikings
The 49ers are very much still a team in-process. They have their two franchise cornerstones in place with Jimmy G and Kyle Shanahan, and solid pieces in the trenches. We all know the Vikings are strong across the board but this will be a one score outcome.
Saints -9.5 vs Bucs
Jameis is suspended, Mike Evans is poised for a step back, the Bucs backfield had a dreadful preseason, and folks around the league are questions Dirk Koetter’s coaching chops. The Saints will be without Mark Ingram but added a pass rusher in the draft and the Brees/Payton combo keeps the reigning NFC South champs strong.
Giants +3 vs Jags
In the past three season openers, the Giants have faced the Cowboys. For this year’s opener at home, the G-men look to come out strong with a new coach, new stud RB, new left tackle, and a recently extended OBJ. The Jags could start the season slightly hungover after overachieving in last year’s playoffs amid a run to the AFC Championship. I’ll take the home team with a field goal head start in this coin flip.
Ravens -7.5 vs Bills
Nathan Peterman threw five picks in his first start last year, and completed only 50% of his passes in a Week 13 13-7 victory against the Andrew-Luck-less Colts. Against a swarming Ravens defense to open the season in Baltimore, I’m staying far away from Peterman and the Bills.
Chiefs +3.5 at Chargers
Spread-wise, we all know the key number in the NFL is +/- 3. With a 3.5 point edge, the Chiefs are well positioned to cover if not win outright. Andy Reid is notoriously dangerous with “extra time” to prepare (see KC’s 42-27 win against the Pats in last year’s opener in addition to victories over the Eagles and Broncos with 10 days rest). The extra prep time, combined with the Chargers lack of home-field advantage, combined with how strong the Chiefs travel contingent is, shades me towards KC.
Washington +1 at Cardinals
Washington is probably the better team in this matchup, but that is more due to the Cardinals weaknesses than it is based on their strengths. The Cardinals offensive line is dicey, receiving corps is shallow, and the defense lost key pieces in free agency in the front seven as well as in the secondary.
Panthers -3 vs Cowboys
Under 42.5 is probably a better bet than picking either side here as the Panthers and Cowboys both have dominant defenses when their middle linebackers, Luke Kuechley and Sean Lee respectively, are healthy. With that said the Panthers are the better bet here as they look to make a playoff run behind Norv Turner’s offense with Cam at the helm.
Bears +7.5 vs Packers
Aaron Rodgers typically starts out somewhat slowly the first few weeks then gets hot down the stretch into the playoffs. The Bears, fresh off a big off-season, are ready to come out and grind. This should be a low scoring game with lots of fighting for time of possession and will be close. The Bears are a strong bet to cover.
Lions -6.5 vs Jets
Bill Belichick dominates rookie QBs in their first start, especially when he is at home. Some of this must have rubbed off on Matt Patricia during his 13 seasons in New England. The Jets are not expected to be competitive this year while the Lions need to start the season on the right foot to compete with the Packers, Vikings, and Bears in the NFC North.
Rams -4 at Raiders
2018 is a walk year for Jon Gruden as he helps the Raiders organization gear up to move to Vegas. The Silver and Black already traded their best player, and brought in a host of veterans… not exactly how you would expect someone to walk into a new situation and try to compete in today’s cost-controlled NFL…
Stats and info by ESPN