Rams (+1) over Steelers: I think the wrong team is the favorite in this game. The Steelers are coming off a blowout victory against the 49ers but the result is misleading. The 49ers were coming off a Monday night game and had to make the long trip to Pittsburgh on a short week. The Rams had a letdown against the Redskins after beating the Seahawks in Week 1. I think the Rams bounce back and we are getting some value after their poor performance against the Redskins. The Steelers play the Ravens on Thursday night in Week 4 so this is a lookahead game for them.
Eagles (+1.5) over Jets: Another game where we can take advantage of overreaction. The Eagles are 0-2 and their offense is struggling. The Jets are coming off a big Monday win at the Colts. Coming back on a short week is a tough spot for New York. The Eagles would the favorite in this game if they won one of their first two games and I think now is the perfect time to buy low on Chip Kelly’s team.
Ravens (-2.5) over Bengals: This game is the season for the Ravens. They started 0-2 after falling to two AFC West opponents. Despite the two road defeats I think Baltimore still has a great chance of making the playoffs but they have to win this game. The Bengals might be a little better than the Ravens but considering home field and the situation, I think the Ravens cover.
Bills (+3) over Dolphins: The Bills were getting too much respect last week and closed as a favorite against the Patriots. They got in a shootout with the Patriots, and this Bills team won’t win games playing high-scoring games. They need to run the ball and play well on defense, which is what they did against the Colts in Week 1. There was a lot of preseason hype surrounding the Dolphins this preseason but they have not been impressive in games over the Redskins and Jaguars. I see this being a low-scoring game and the Bills winning straight up.
Lions (+3) over Broncos: Another situation where I will back a 0-2 team that needs to win. The Lions are a much better team at home and the building will be rocking on a Sunday night. Despite winning and covering in the first two games, I have not been impressed with Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. If Denver loses to Kansas City then this line is probably closer to a pick ’em. I’ll take my chances with the Lions.
The Colts host the Jets on Monday night and both teams started the season very differently. The Colts played a poor game against a Bills team that could be a playoff contender. I wouldn’t put too much stock into that result because Buffalo is a tough place to play. The Colts return home and Andrew Luck has a lot of success playing in Indianapolis.
The Jets cruised past the Browns 31-10 but only outgained Cleveland 333-321. New York forced five turnovers and had some short fields to work with on their touchdown drives. Now they take a step up in class and go on the road. I saw that the advanced line for this game last week was Colts (-9.5) so there is definitely some line value here. I think the Colts should be favorited by 7.5 points so I will take them to cover.
The Bengals are a three-point favorite over the Chargers in Cincinnati’s home opener. This line basically is saying these two teams would be a pick on a neutral field. I disagree with that and think the Bengals are better than the Chargers.
I’ve had some success picking for and against Andy Dalton, and I think this is a good spot for him. He’s at home after a nice road start last weekend and the Chargers defense has some question marks. It looks like he has a solid No. 2 target in Tyler Eifert along with A.J. Green, and Jeremy Hill in the backfield.
The Chargers dominated the stats against the Lions last week and needed a big comeback to win. Now they make the long trip for an early start. I’m picking the Bengals to continue their early season success.
The best number has gotten away but I still think it’s not too late to jump on the Eagles bandwagon. Chip Kelly’s offense exploded in preseason with Sam Bradford at quarterback and they get a favorable matchup against the Falcons in a dome. The Eagles added DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to the backfield, and I think the Eagles will wear teams down this season.
I think the Falcons will be solid but it will take a few weeks for the defense to play to their potential. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should have big games but I think the underrated Eagles front seven will slow down the Falcons running game.
I know picking away favorites isn’t always the best thing in the NFL but with a high total I’m will to lay the points with the Eagles. I can see this spread continuing to go up towards the end of the weekend and can see the Eagles being one of the best teams in the NFC.
The Eagles were in a similar situation two years ago when they opened the season on Monday night in Chip Kelly’s coaching debut. The Eagles offense was dominant that night against the Redskins and I think Kelly will want to impress again on a national stage.
I’m not a huge fan of the Cardinals this season but I am very down on the Saints in 2015. New Orleans finished 7-9 last year, and lost Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. Those two players were important weapons for quarterback Drew Brees who is now a year older. The Saints defense is also a mess right now.
The Cardinals struggled at the end of last season but I wouldn’t put much stock into that because Carson Palmer was hurt. Drew Stanton was serviceable but he eventually got injured, which led to Ryan Lindley starting a playoff game. The Cardinals were 7-0 at home with Palmer and Stanton as the starters last year. Palmer is back and it always seems like the Cardinals have covered a spread in this range under coach Bruce Arians at home. I think the Cardinals are the better team and like them giving less than a field goal.
Not the best game in Week 1 of the NFL season but I see enough value here where I will make it my first pick of the season. I like the Jets at home giving a field goal. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start at quarterback and I think he is slightly better than Geno Smith. Fitzpatrick has been inconsistent in his career but he has been successful early in his stints with the teams he has played on. I really like the Jets defense with a solid front seven, and the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie at cornerback.
I think the Browns will struggle early this season with Josh McCown under center. They have very little talent in their backfield and at receiver. I see this being a low-scoring game early and then the Jets will pull away in the second half while playing tight defense.