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NFL Week 1 Pick’ Em Picks Against the Spread


NFL Week 1 Picks Against the Spread

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack

Finally, the 100th season of NFL kicks off tonight in Chicago. After a tortuous preseason and final roster cuts, I’m prepared to deliver my prestigious picks for NFL Week 1 pick’em against the spread (ATS):

Thursday, September 5th at 8:20 PM

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears (-3)

Not even the newly acquired “Thumper” BJ Goodson can help the Pack sack Mitchell the B*tchell Trubisky. I expect Khalil Mack will have another big game. Just when you think they’re down and out, Aaron Rodgers will mount a comeback and put a scare into Bears fans but then everyone remembers A-Rod can’t chug and his late-game drive gets squelched.

PICK: BEARS


Sunday, September 8th at 1:00 PM

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns (-5.5)

What ARE the Titans? Everyone seems to be down on Marcus Mariota. Derrick Henry could see a lot of carries and might break down? No real WR threats. Couldn’t tell ya a damn thing about their defense.

Meanwhile, the Browns have already won the Super Bowl. The only thing that might hold them back is getting too focused on talking shit about the Giants. I WAS pulling for them before all this trash talk — I mean Baker Mayfield + Jarvis Landry + Jarvis Landry’s butt buddy Odell Beckham Jr. + David Njoku + Nick Chubb = points on offense and Olivier Vernon is sure to set the single season sack record now that he’s not a Giant — but now I’m low key hoping they crash and burn in epic fashion.

PICK: BROWNS


Baltimore Ravens (-7) @ Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins appear to be trying to tank harder than Marlins, which is a tall order. What a weird / bad sports town Miami has become. Like, they’ll suck for years on end in the hopes that they either A) build up a young, homegrown roster that competes and excels for a couple years and then sell off or B) save up enough money to land 3 big names and dominate for a couple years then sell off. As a Giants-Mets fan who constantly thinks we’re in win now mode and refuses to rebuild, it’s such a foreign concept. Like, Miami’s won championships but if no one’s around to care, does it matter?

PICK: RAVENS


Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings (-4)

According to PFF, the Falcons have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Conversely, the Vikings defense is back to being a top unit. Matt Ryan will battle and keep his team in it if he can avoid the rush.

PICK: VIKINGS


Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-3)

As much as it pains me to say this as a Giants fan, the Jets might have themselves a competitive team. There are a ton of ifs but IF all those come together, they could contend for the second wild card spot. Considering the AFC East is meh outside of the Pats and the AFC South is in shambles. It really comes down to the AFC North (Steelers, Ravens, Browns), and the AFC West (Chiefs, Chargers).

The prognosticators don’t share my hesitant, self-loathing optimism for Gang Green. Their offensive line is ranked in the bottom 5 (but got a boost with Ryan Kalil coming on board) and their defense is ranked in the bottom 8 (even though Quinnen Williams looks legit and Jamal Adams should rattle off another Pro Bowl campaign). They should be able to top last season’s 4-12 record.

Sam Darnold has shown flashes of prominence here and there. He’s got Robby Anderson (potential Pro Bowler), dependable Quincy Enunwa, and burner Jamison Crowder to throw to along with Le’Veon Bell. After a year off, Bell is the biggest question mark. BUT … IF … Bell is to form and the offensive line manages to give Darnold enough time, they’ll keep things close.

Buffalo’s defense is strong to quite strong. One of the best groups in the league. Their offense? Not so much. They were the second or third worst unit league-wide in 2018 and things aren’t looking better with the ageless Frank Gore toting the rock and core-sensitive Cole Beasley snagging passes from Josh Allen.  If this game’s in Buffalo, I’ll take the Bills to win 6-3, but home opener for the Jets should infuse enough energy to chip away at a dominant Bills D that can’t keep up with their offense’s inefficiency. Try to stay that drunk. You can’t.

PICK: JETS


Washington Hogs @ Philadelphia Eagles (-9.5)

Philly’s got the NFL’s best offensive line and Jay Gruden is starting Ereck Flowers at guard. I honestly don’t think I need to explain why this is going to be a bloodbath. The ‘Skins might disband after this and Dan Snyder could go into lockdown in his bunker.

PICK: EAGLES


Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) @ Carolina Panthers

Carolina had a mild heart arrhythmia when Cam Newton left a preseason game with a foot injury but he’s not on the official injury list for Week 1, so who knows what’s going on except the men, women, and children in the Panthers locker room. If the foot’s an issue, that takes away Cam’s ability to scramble and make plays with his legs. If that’s the case, the Rams easily beat the spread. If this is some sort of con by Cam, then I could see Carolina pulling the upset.

I don’t know why, but I see a Super Bowl hangover in store for the Rams this season. They shouldn’t have been in the Super Bowl to begin with and then they laid an egg against the Pats. Sure, they’ll win enough to get back to the playoffs but they won’t go far.

PICK: RAMS


Kansas City (-3.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

I’m all in on the Chiefs. Lots of confidence circling that squad. I expect more shootouts and Pat Mahomes magic. I asked a Chiefs fan about his thoughts for this season and his main concern was the defense. That unit was already dead last in the league against the pass in 2018 and this season, they’ll be without pass rushers Dee Ford and Justin Houston.

The Jags are an enigma. Nick Foles gives them a better chance to win. I like the left side of their O-line and Leonard Fournette can be a headache for defenses but also for his own team. That Jags defense is still lethal — Myles Jack, Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Calais Campbell to name a few — so I’m expecting a tight game through 3 quarters but the Chiefs crack the code in the 4th and win by a touch. This JAX team feels like the Giants teams of the late ’90s.

PICK: CHIEFS


Sun 09/08 04:25 PM

Indianapolis Colts @ LA Chargers (-6.5)

Andrew Luck retiring throws a wrench into the Colts’ plans. Hard to quickly bounce back from that. Though Jacoby Brissett is a capable fill-in who has potential, he’s not 12. The Chargers will be without Melvin Gordon (possibly for the season) but Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson should make Gordon’s absence sting less. They won’t equal Melvin’s production but it’s not that dramatic a drop-off.

If this game’s in Indy, I’d take the Colts ATS because their offense is still in a good spot with TY Hilton, Marlon Mack, Eric Ebron, Devin Funchess, Jack Doyle and an improved line bolstered by Quenton Nelson.

PICK: CHARGERS


Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks (-9.5)

This spread is begging you to take the Bengals but the ‘Hawks are virtually unbeatable at home. Only two home losses last season, 3 in 2017, 1 in 2016. Seems like the only teams to best them on their turf are in the division.

Neal, we’re not talking money line, we’re talking against the spread, dickhead. Okay, fair enough. John Ross has a hamstring issue, Cordy Glenn‘s in concussion protocol, AJ Green is out and Tyler Eifert is forever questionable. The O will have to lean on Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard. Cincy’s defense was among the worst in the league last season and For The Win has them ranked 27th heading into the 2019 season.

PICK: SEAHAWKS


NY Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-7)

Ezekiel Elliott signed a record deal for a running back, most in NFL history, so he’s suiting up Week 1. Will he be in game shape or will he have some rust? I’m leaning towards rust. The Cowboys have the second best offensive line in the league, so there’s no doubt Zeke should find enough daylight to put up decent numbers. I was never that intimidated by the Cowboys passing attack even though they continually found ways to burn our secondary, but the addition of Randall Cobb is unsettling for sure.

Multiple outlets have reported the rise of Daniel Jones and the demise of Eli Manning, stating that Eli’s basically the worst QB in the league without flinching. Apparently, the Giants’ success completely 1,000% hinges on Eli’s performance. And many believe he’ll be replaced by Daniel Jones at some point during the season, myself included.

Personally, I could just as easily see Eli stepping up and delivering a majestic swan song of a season that leads the Giants to the playoffs a la Phil Simms in 1993, Phil’s last season. No way Eli wants to go out on a bad note and he has to know it’s looking like this is his last season. He won’t win many games for the team like he did in 2011 and 2012 but I don’t see him losing games like he has in the past. Continue to make accurate throws, but take some shots down the field. Let Saquon Barkley do his thing without overloading him and spread the ball around.

I’ll just leave this here…

PICK: GIANTS


Detroit Lions (-2.5) @ Arizona Cardinals

Doesn’t it feel like both of these teams were on the precipice of doing something special just a couple seasons ago? Now, both teams are back to rebuild mode yet again.

The Cards’ offensive line is ranked among the worst in the NFL and Justin Pugh is out with a shoulder injury. Kyler Murray is going to spend most games on the run, which should provide plenty of highlights but not a ton of wins. Think Fran Tarkenton meets Michael Vick. Zona’s D was bad last season and Patrick Peterson is suspended six games to kickoff 2019.

On the other hand, the Lions appear healthy despite losing Jermaine Kearse. Kenny Golladay should take a step forward in becoming a top wideout, Marvin Jones Jr. is consistent, and Danny Amendola could be a nice escape route for Matthew Stafford if the former Patriot can stay on the field. Detroit’s defensive front four is formidable and their pass defense is sneaky good withe Darius Slay leading the way.

PICK: LIONS


San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Even)

Uh, does this need a write up? It’s even. You can’t lose!

If you’re betting money line, give the edge to the Niners. Rumor has it Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t the same post-injury but George Kittle will put up numbers and that offense (Marquise Goodwin, Matt Breida, and Dantae Pettis) will keep them in games and make things interesting.

San Fran’s defense stunk at getting turnovers last season while Tampa’s offense, specifically Jameis Winston, was a turnover factory. This season, the Niners picked up Dee Ford and drafted Nick Bosa, so they’re pass rush should pick up a tick. Tampa’s offensive line isn’t great, ranked 24th overall by PFF.

PICK: 49ers


Sun 09/08 08:20 PM

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots (-5.5)

Some people might think the Steelers are worse off without Antonio Brown but after seeing what the Oakland Raiders are going through, Pittsburgh might have exorcised the demons.

The Pats are the Pats. They’ll be without Gronk and every other tight end they’ve thrown out there has gotten hurt. Ben Watson – out. Lance Kendricks – out. Even former Giants preseason champion Matt LaCosse is questionable.

Phillip Dorsett also has a ‘Q’ next to his name on the injury report but kept Demaryius Thomas and got Josh Gordon back just in time for him to get suspended again for some cockamamie weed bust. Speaking of drugs, Patrick Chung’s dealing with a cocaine charge but the defense is the best in the NFL. Chase Winovich joins an elite squad that also gets Michael Bennett. Jesus Christ.

Fortunately for the Pats, it almost doesn’t matter who’s catching the ball, Tom Brady has an outstanding line in front of him and will probably get James White 20 receptions.

That said, Pitt’s got a top-10 defense and an even better O-line than New England’s. No AB, no problem.

PICK: STEELERS


Mon 09/09 07:10 PM

Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints (-7)

The Texans are a mess organizationally and the Saints are armed to the teeth with weapons AND are fueled by the foul aftertaste of getting jipped in the NFC Championship against the Rams AND sending Drew Brees off into the sunset with a Lombardi AND playing in the Big Easy. Houston doesn’t stand a chance.

PICK: SAINTS


Denver Broncos (-1) @ Oakland Raiders

Call it the Hard Knocks bump, but any time a team is featured on some kind of behind the scenes documentary and they come off looking respectable, I can’t help myself. Plus, Jon Gruden is my drug of choice.

I know it probably shouldn’t matter but this also being the last season in Oakland could be used as a driving force. Or it could be a lame duck season. Either way, the Broncos are in between things and working some stuff out.

PICK: RAIDERS

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