NFL Picks: Early Week 1 Power Ratings and Cheat Sheet

I highlighted how I handicap NFL games each week before last season began and I’m going to keep the same approach this season. I’ll provide my power ratings and weekly cheat sheet sometime on Tuesday throughout the season. The purpose the the cheat sheet is give people a starting point when identifying NFL games they might be interested in.

The season starts in seven days but I have my early numbers ready and home field advantage ratings set. Week 4 of the preseason usually is a final tryout for players trying to make the roster so not much will change before the season starts.

Team August 30 Power Rating
Patriots 10.5
Vikings 10
Rams 10
Steelers 9.5
Saints 9.5
Eagles 9
Falcons 9
Packers 8.5
Chargers 8
Texans 7
Jaguars 6.5
Cowboys 6
49ers 5.5
Panthers 5.5
Ravens 5.5
Chiefs 4.5
Seahawks 4
Colts 4
Lions 4
Titans 3.5
Broncos 3.5
Dolphins 3.5
Raiders 3
Giants 2
Redskins 2
Bears 2
Bengals 1.5
Browns 1.5
Cardinals 1
Buccaneers 1
Jets 0.5
Bills 0
Game Thursday August 30 line My line
Falcons at Eagles Eagles -3 Eagles -3
Steelers at Browns Steelers -5.5 Steelers -5.5
49ers at Vikings Vikings -6 Vikings -8
Bengals at Colts Colts -3 Colts -5
Bills at Ravens Ravens -7 Ravens -8
Jaguars at Giants Jaguars -3 Jaguars -2.5
Buccaneers at Saints Saints -9.5 Saints -12
Texans at Patriots Patriots -6.5 Patriots -7
Titans at Dolphins Titans -1 Dolphins -2
Chiefs at Chargers Chargers -3 Chargers -5
Seahawks at Broncos Broncos -2.5 Broncos -2.5
Cowboys at Panthers Panthers -3 Panthers -2
Redskins at Cardinals Pick Cardinals -1.5
Bears at Packers Packers -8 Packers -10
Jets at Lions Lions -6.5 Lions -6
Rams at Raiders Rams -3 Rams -5

If I blindly bet on the games where there was a 1.5-point difference between the consensus line and my line, I would be taking the Vikings, Colts, Saints, Dolphins, Chargers, Cardinals, Packers and Rams against the spread. I’m not going to do that because this is just an exercise to see how your numbers compare to the betting market. There are other factors to consider like matchups, injuries and situational scheduling spots. One team I did bet in Week 1 that lines up with my math is the Dolphins. They are still an underdog even though I think they should be a a two-point favorite against the Titans at home.

I have two other notes on NFC East teams. The Eagles would be right up there with the Patriots but uncertainty about the quarterback position has emerged this month. Carson Wentz may not play against the Falcons in Week 1 and Nick Foles hasn’t flashed any of his Super Bowl form in two preseason games. The line for the opening game was Eagles -4 just a few weeks ago and I wouldn’t be surprised if it drops more if Foles is named the starter.

The Cowboys are another team I planned on rating higher and mentioned them as a team I’m looking to bet on early in the season. Right now I would stay away from Dallas with the injuries the offensive line has faced in recent weeks. I thought the Cowboys were a great buy low team with a fresh Ezekiel Elliott running behind a very talented offensive line. Now I suggest waiting to see if they can get healthy.

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