Here are my Week 1 picks around the league. If you're a gambler and base your decisions on the below picks, you're not smart, although I'll gladly take credit for any winners.
Ravens at Broncos
The NFL tried to bully MLB into getting the Orioles to reschedule a game to accommodate the Super Bowl champs with a home Thursday game to begin the season. The Orioles didn't bite, and the Ravens have to open in Denver. Bummer.
Patriots at Bills
Tom Brady vs. E.J. Manuel.
Bengals at Bears
The Bengals are comfortable on the road. They are 11-5 on the road the last 2 years, and just 8-8 at home. The Bears are favored by 3, but the Bengals are better.
Dolphins at Browns
I kinda like both of these teams as young up-and-comers. I'd feel a little better about the Browns in this one if WR Josh Gordon weren't suspended, but do like their defense, and their OL.
Vikings at Lions
The Vikings were 10-6 last year, and the Lions were 4-12, and yet, the Lions still seem like the clearly better team.
Raiders at Colts
The Raiders might be the worst team in the NFL. Consider the Colts for your suicide league.
Falcons at Saints
This is one of many really good matchups Week 1, and the only game that has a higher over-under (54) than Eagles-Redskins (51.5). While I think the Saints are going to be far better than they were a year ago, I'd actually like to see it first before I completely buy in. Meanwhile, I pretty know that the Falcons are a playoff team. For Week 1, I'll lean on the "tried and true."
Buccaneers at Jets
The Revis Bowl! The Jets have become a laughingstock, and a lot of people think they might be the worst team in the league. There's also a lot of optimism surrounding Tampa Bay this season, as some people believe they're a legitimate playoff contender. I don't think the Jets are as bad as people think, nor do I think the Bucs are as good as people think. I don't think there's much of a gap at all between the Bucs and Jets (the Bucs are 3-point road favorites), and the Jets are a team with their backs against the wall. Give me the desperate team.
Titans at Steelers
Jake Locker on the road Week 1 at Heinz Field? Steelers, please.
Seahawks at Panthers
The Seahawks are only 3.5 point favorites in this one. ranted, it's a 2,273 mile flight from Seattle to Charlotte, but what exactly do the Panthers have going for them? Cam Newton is a great player, but they have a bad OL, a bad defense, and an overrated run game. How is this line only 3.5?
Chiefs at Jaguars
The Chiefs have some talent, and while I don't believe Alex Smith is going to be the guy who gets Andy his ring, he at least does bring legitimacy to a Chiefs offense that trotted out guys like Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn last season. The Jags, meanwhile, will be better too, but they aren't as talented as the Chiefs.
Cardinals at Rams
The Cardinals offense is awful. The Rams defense is very good. That's all I need.
Packers at 49ers
The 49ers opened up against the Packers last season, and waxed them. They also opened up against the Packers in the playoffs, and waxed them again. In those two games, the 49ers ran it down the Packers' throats to the tune of 509 combined rushing yards.
Giants at Cowboys
The Cowboys have their share of issues, which are detailed here. However, the Cowboys' deficiencies match up nicely with what the Giants bring to the table.
- The Cowboys' bad OL would normally be a major concern against the Giants scary pass rush... except that the Giants' pass rush isn't so scary anymore.
- The Cowboys' complete lack of depth shouldn't be an issue in the first game of the season.
- The Cowboys' undersized DL should not be at a major disadvantage against a weak Giants OL.
The Cowboys will make more plays Sunday night, and will win their first home game against the Giants since 2008.
Eagles at Redskins
I do think the Eagles will score, but they showed nothing in the way of being able to stop the run during the preseason, and the Skins were the #1 ranked rushing offense a year ago. Expect the Skins to find success on the ground, then hit on big plays on play action. This will be a fun, high-scoring game, but ultimately the Skins simply have a much better QB.
Texans at Chargers
Please let me see some King Dunlap on J.J. Watt matchups.