2018 NFL Kickoff: Thursday Night Football

As I sit here and watch the end of the last episode of Hard Knocks with the Browns, I have to start by mentioning how disappointing it was to not see Cajuste get a spot and how shocked I was that they let Nassib go.  I thought for sure Nassib was a lock and with Cajuste having a pretty decent offensive game in the last pre-season game, thought they might keep him but I know they already had 3 solid tight ends so the harsh reality was just seeing him cut.  Anyways, without further ado…..

Welcome to the start of the 2018 NFL season and the start of my predictions machine (hint: I am the machine haha!).

Atlanta at Philadelphia, 8:20p, NBC (Eagles: -1, O/U: 44.5):

The Falcons will play a little roll reversal coming into this game as underdogs compared to being favorites going into Philly for the NFC Divisional game last season.  The previous seasons Super Bowl champs are 12-2 in the last 14 season openers.  The average point totals in those games racked up to a whopping nearly 48 points.

The Eagles have many questions coming into this game as Foles had a bad pre-season and they are dealing with a handful of injuries to key players.  Doug Pederson will keep Foles reigned in and focused while calling plays that will be successful and suit his skill set, like he did in the playoffs.

The Falcons roster hasn’t changed much other than adding another offensive weapon via the draft, Calvin Ridley.  The only worrisome note was the drop in offensive scoring output from 33.8 points in 2016 under Shanahan to 22.1 points in 2017 under Sarkisian.  Given that it was the teams first year under Sark, they should see improvement in their consistency, from game to game, in year 2 under his watch.

The game moved 3 points after the official news that Wentz was out and Foles was in as starter for the Eagles.  To be honest, that’s scary but it also gives me what I need to know about the Eagles.  Like I said, Doug keeps Foles in line for this week and keeps the game close but take the Falcons and their high powered offense to cover +1 and win in the over, Falcons 24-21.

There you have it, game one in the predictions column.  Happy football eve everyone!  Don’t forget to thaw the dip, get the family sized bag of Tostito’s and get your order in early to your favorite wing joint…… oh, and good luck!

#beatyourbookie

 

Week 5: Sunday Games with Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

The week started off great with a big win.  I know Gronk was listed as out and that changed the line late but given I was finishing up the article, I didn’t hear about his injury until right at kickoff.  Ok, let’s not jinx the good start so far and get to todays picks.

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals, 1p (Bengals -3, O/U: 39.5)

The Bills defense has shown up to play this year.  They got Matty Ice to look average again (which he is) by throwing all kinds of looks at him and rushing hard.  People undersold on the Bills early on but they’ve proven they can beat the best on the road.  The Bengals had a good week, doesn’t mean you should jump back on board but they looked much better.  Daulton can move a little in the pocket but can he stand in there with rushers coming after him and be responsible with the ball?  Take the Bills to win in the Over, 24-21.

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns, 1p (Pickem, O/U: 40)

The Jets are another team that was sold out on early on.  They were picked to go 0-16 by the great Colin Cowherd.  They’re now tied with the Patriots and have a good shot to stay up near the top of the AFC.  They have to get their offense going to do so though.  Their defense has allowed 92 points and their offense has only scored 75.  Being 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road speaks volumes, they need their fans and the comfort of playing at home to play well.  McCown has completed 70% of his passes but has a 3/3 TD/INT ratio.  Their run game is their strength, 7th in the league.  The Browns defense isn’t the worst but it’s still down there.  They’ve thrown Kizer to the wolves and the poor kid can’t even break free.  51% completions, 3 TD’s to 8 INT’s.  It doesn’t look good for him.  There’s not one bright spot on this team and they’re going to vey for the 1st pick in the draft again and probably squander it again. Take the Jets as a straight up winner in the under, 17-10.

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions, 1p (Lions -2.5, O/U: 42.5)

The Panthers went into New England and upset the defending Champs.  It was a shocking win and Cam looked like his old self.  It’s been almost a year and a half since we’ve seen him perform like that.  The Lions have had way too many come from behind games in the 4th quarter to my liking and they’ve been exceptionally lucky in those games, coming out better than .500 in wining those games.  When does the luck run out or are they that clutch when they absolutely need a score?  I don’t think the Panthers can pull off another road upset especially given the off the field issues that followed came after a press conference this week that caused a lot of negative buzz.  Take the Lions to cover in the win and in the under (possibly in the 4th quarter?), 20-17.

San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts, 1p (Colts -1.5, O/U: 44.5)

This matchup was initially billed as a snoozer but then Jacoby Brissett has taken over the reigns in Lucks absence and has really looked good.  They’ve had a tough schedule early without Luck and played most of the teams tough but have had their fair share of turnovers that turned into points.  The 49ers also have had a tough schedule to start the season, Panthers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals and they’ve lost the last 3 games by a field goal.  The 49ers defense has hung tough, even on then road.  The Colts can run with the better teams if they don’t turn the ball over and have a shot at wins against the bottom 3rd of the league.  This was a toughy but I am going to take the 49ers to win and in the over, 27-24.

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins, 1p (Dolphins +2.5, O/U: 43)

Mariota will be out with Matt Cassel filling in.  The Dolphins who looked to have fell into a miracle with Cutler coming out of retirement and playing for Adam Gase again, winning their first game, Cutler smiling.  Since, they’ve looked miserable on offense with Ajayi virtually pulling a disappearing act on the stat sheet.  What did it in for me was Cutler on a noticeable run play, Cutler spread wide out to help sell the trick play just stood there, nonchalantly, uninterested in the play.  I guess we’re back to the old Cutler.  The Titans however still have a really good 1-2 punch in the backfield with Murray and Henry.  That will be the key to the game for the Titans, run early and often, and control the clock, keeping the rock out of Ajayi’s hands.  Take the Titans to win and cover in the under, 20-10.

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants, 1p (Giants -1.5, O/U: 47.5)

The Chargers haven’t looked good at home and actually have shown to not really have a fan base, even seeing other teams fan bases show up more than their own.  The Chargers have been in all of their games this year and that is a continuation of the last year.  They are another team, like the 49ers, who have had 3 of their 4 losses end with a difference of 3 or less points.  Three of their 4 games have been at home so I think the road game across country may give them a change of scenery and spark this team in an odd way.  The Giants started the first 2 games of the year looking absolutely unwatchable.  They had question marks in the backfield and on the offensive line but no one thought it would help generate the product that was shown.  In the last few weeks however, we’ve seen a turn around, losing each of the last 2 on the road by a field goal or less.  They still have those questions but have played better despite the fact.  The Chargers however, have been the better team statistically and both defenses have been keeping their teams in games.  I still would take the Chargers to cover the spread, being given 3, to win in the over, 31-24.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, 1p (Eagles -6.5, O/U: 45)

These 2 teams have been exciting to watch, even the Cardinals who have been without their star running back David Johnson.  Now, that has meant that Carson Palmer has had to throw more but with their receiving corps, it’s been fluid.  The Eagles pass game improved with their offseason additions but the real surprise was the emergence of a solid run game.  They lost Sproles for the season but Blount has taken hold of primary back duties with Smallwood complimenting him nicely.  This will be a very fun game to watch.  The Cardinals need their fans in this time of need, missing Johnson so take the Eagles to cover this one in the over, since it will be a shootout, 35-27.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1p (Steelers -7.5, O/U: 42.5)

The Jags have had a shocking start to the season, at 2-2 but a loss to the Jets in OT may have brought their larger than normal self start back down to Earth.  Bortles actually has 7 TD’s to 3 INT’s but lacks in the yardage and seems to have been on a leash to start the year and control his play, especially given the talent they have in the backfield with him, Leonard Fournette.  They’ve also had the best defense against the pass, given they’ve also played the Jets, Texans (before Watson started) and the hapless Ravens.  The Steelers have also had a good start but given their schedule so far, who knows how good they really are.  Bell has had a decent but slower than normal start given he sat out all of the pre-season.  The surprise for the Steelers has been their defense, 2nd overall and 2nd against the pass.  Big Ben has a 62% completion percentage with a 6/2 TD/INT ratio.  With this one being at home, take the Steelers to win in the under, 21-10

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05p (Rams -1.5, 47.5)

All of a sudden the Rams have an efficient offense.  The arrival of their new young coach, Sean McVay, has given Goff a new start in year 2.  The Rams have the 5th best offense overall and pass offense in the league.  Their defense needs a boost but they have the talent to turn it around.  The Seahawks have been the typical slow start Seahawks but have been turning it on lately with their offense.  The only real defense they faced to give them trouble was the 49ers, to which they almost lost to them in mostly a field goal challenge.  The Seahawks offensive line will have the microscope on it again, as they allow Wilson to constantly be under duress.  The Rams typically give the Seahawks fits and especially in Seattle.  I would take the Rams to cover, win and in the under, 27-20.

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders, 4:05p (Raiders -3, O/U: 39.5)

The Ravens have looked absolutely horrible this season and the only reason they are 2-0 is because those wins came against similar dumpster fires earlier on in the season, the Bengals and Browns.  They got trounced by the Jags in London and the Steelers just last week.  Their offense is near last in the league and their defense is in the bottom 3rd of the league.  Now the Raiders started hot but the last 2 games have been a struggle but against 2 solid defenses (Redskins/Broncos).  They also lost their leader, Derek Carr, to a back injury for 2-6 weeks.  EJ Manuel is a capable backup and can get some wins in the next few weeks but it’ll take his best, starting with a good potential confidence booster in this matchup.  This should be an easy cover at home, take the Raiders to cover in the under, 20-14.

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25p (Cowboys -3, O/U: 45)

These 2 teams always seem to give a show.  Green Bay has been red hot despite lacking a real running game, to which they are 28th in the league.  The real shocker has been their defense which has been 6th in the league.  This team has basically lived and died by the arm of Rodgers who is off to a great start, averaging 286 yards/game and a rating just over 100.  Dallas’s motivation for this game is to avenge the bad loss to the Rams at home last week.  This team all around has been a middle of the pack team all around.  They really don’t have a deep threat and opposing defenses can keep the play within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage which bodes not so good for Dak.  Zeke has had successful games against Green Bay (2 games totaling 282 yards), so expect him to have a solid game.  This will be an amazing game to watch with the Cowboys wanting payback for last years heartbreaking playoff loss.  Green Bay needs this win as a landmark win, to help their critics R-E-L-A-X.  Take the Packers to cover and win in the over on the road, 34-29.

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans, 8:30p (Texans +1, O/U: 45)

A lot of people are giving Houston a real shot at winning this game and it’s because of the play of Rookie, Deshaun Watson.  The Texans haven’t had a great passing game but it’s been effective.  Not only can he pass but he’s rushed for nearly 150 yards on 19 carries (7.79 yards per rush average).  He looks to be the real deal for them which could make them more dangerous as the season goes on.  Watt and Clowney will have to watch their rush, how deep into the pocket they go on Smith since Smith is a mobile quarterback.  What can you say about the Chiefs that will convince you not to take them?  Absolutely nothing.  You’re talking about the 2nd best offense and 1st rushing offense in the league.  Alex Smith has been on a tear, 8/0 TD/INT ratio along with Kareem Hunts record setting 502 yards on 68 carries (7.38 yards/carry) and 4 TD’s.  Their defense hasn’t been terribly great but that can be attributed to facing strong offenses early, not to mention, the offense has been on fire!  Despite the calls for an upset, I’m taking the Chiefs to get to 5-0 by covering in the over, 31-27.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

Carolina @ Detroit (-3)

LA Chargers (+3.5) @ NY Giants

Seattle @ LA Rams (-2.5)

Green Bay @ Dallas (-2)

Kansas City @ Houston (+1)

 

Week 4: Sunday Games & Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

Well, we opened up with a great win.  Boy did that game look ugly for the Bears.  They had the game plan I talked about in the last post however, couldn’t stick to it.  Not because the game strayed away from it but because they couldn’t hold onto the football early on.  Lots of early turnovers and giving the ball to Aaron Rodgers instead of keeping it from hi, put them in an early hole that they never could escape.  I always feel hesitation when swallowing a touchdown but I couldn’t pass there and now we have a few Sunday to choose from.  There’s work to do for my comeback off of a really bad week.  This week I’m going to pick just a handful of games to write about and then just give you my picks for the rest.  Lets get to it.

New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins (L), 9:30a (Dolphins +3, O/U: 50.5)

This one scares me only because teams that play in London one week, have the next week off.  I wonder how much of a distraction Adrian Peterson is in the locker room, calling for some more touches.  Take the Dolphins in the under, 27-21.

 
Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons, 1p (Falcons -8, O/U: 48.5)

Bills looked good last week at home against one of the best defenses in the league but the Falcons are monsters at home.  I don’t like swallowing a touchdown or more but you need to have an amazing offense to cover, which the Falcons have.  Take the Falcons to win in the Over, 38-13.

 
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens, 1p (Ravens +3, O/U: 42.5)

This game will surely disappoint on offense but if you’re a defense kind of game.  As long as you’re a defense guy, this is a heckuva matchup. Ravens are more consistent at home, and the Steelers unravel away from Heinz Stadium.  Some outlier stats is that the Steelers are 0-4-1 against the spread with the Ravens with the underdog being 4-0-1 in those same meetings.  Take the Ravens in the under, 17-10.

 
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns, 1p (Browns +3, O/U: 41.5)

Bengals and Browns.  Probably the worst matchup of the season.  Bengals FINALLY scored some touchdowns last week!  I think the Bengals pull this one out in front of the dog pack.  Bengals in the under, 20-14.

 
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys, 1p (Cowboys -6.5, O/U: 48.5)

This line started around -9.5 and -10 in some areas, went to -6 and now at -6.5.  That tells me that Vegas, doesn’t know if they can truly trust a Rams line.  Cowboys are tough at home and will more than likely win this game but it’ll be closer given that the Rams have a new coaching staff that has this offense clicking.  The defense has always been solid but never had a complimentary offense.  The Rams will break that unreal Cowboys offensive line here and there but Dak is too good when escaping the pocket.  This is a favorite by nearly a touchdown that I just can’t pull the trigger on.  Take the Rams in the under but the Cowboys to win, 24-21.

 
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, 1p (Texans +2.5, O/U: 43.5)

Titans even on the road will roll on the Texans.  Watson may shine a bit but the Titans are sneaky good this year on both sides of the ball.  Take the Titans in the over, 27-17.

 
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, 1p (Vikings -2.5, O/U: 42.5)

Another NFC North matchup this week.  Once again, no Sam Bradford but we all have seen how capable this team is with or without him.  The Vikings have some really solid weapons other than Diggs.  The Lions are coming off of a heartbreaking loss due to a replay basically taking away a touchdown.  The bets are swinging around 54% Lions -46% Vikings.  That is too close to touch for most bettors but if your feeling lucky, listen up.  Take the Lions in the over, 31-27.

 
Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots, 1p (Patriots -9, O/U: 49.5)

I want to give the Panthers the benefit of the doubt, that they’ll keep it close and respectable but I can’t.  Again, another touchdown, plus spread that the favorite will cover given the lack of available weapons and a declining Cam Newton.  Take the Patriots to win in the under, 34-13.

 
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets, 1p (Jets +3, O/U: 38.5)

The Jets defense has awoken.  I know what you’re gonna say, “but Jacksonville looked so good last week in London and blew out the Ravens”.  Well, again, I go back to how things used to be.  There’s more London games this year and thus has resulted in you not getting the next week off if you play there. In turn, it’s basically a short week for the team with all of that travel.  Take the Jets as home dogs to win it in the over, 21-20.

 
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05p (Cardinals -6.5, O/U: 44.5)

Another big spread for the week and again one that I think gets covered by the home team.  Typically if a team plays Thursday night the week before and Sunday the next week, I like taking them with the extra few days of preparation.  Those extra days aren’t going to help the 49ers who last week gave up a ton of yards and points to the Rams.  Now they eventually came back with a valiant effort but ultimately, still lost.  The 49ers were given a +3 spread last week at home, this week +6.5.  Only a 3.5 point difference and that is basically a 3 point swing for being away now.  So to me, that’s saying that the Cardinals are viewed as .5 point favorites over the Rams.  I don’t buy that yet.  Larry Fitzgerald will have another solid matchup this week given how bad the 49ers secondary is.  Take the Cardinals in the under, 31-10.

 
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05p (Chargers -2.5, O/U: 47.5)

LeGarrette Blount had himself a game last week.  Look for him to bust loose again with Sproles out for the season with the multitude of injuries sustained in last weeks game (knee/wrist).  Smallwood will be peppered in there as a change of pace back and Wentz will be told to launch the big chunk yardage plays when he can.  The Chargers are 0-3 this year and playing their home games in a soccer field.  There’s even talks about if the Chargers should stay or go back to San Diego.  Even with their defensive front, I think this team has already lost the edge.  Take the Eagles to win in the over, 35-17.

 
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05p (Buccaneers -3, O/U: 44.5)

Gosh, where do I begin?  Winston can’t keep himself from making poor decisions with the ball through the air, even with the weapons he has.  The Giants looked a bit better last week with OBJ back and healthy last week.  They are still struggling with their ground game but making it work with 4 different guys.  The Buccs also banged up on defense, especially their front.  Take the Giants to win in the over, 26-20.

 
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, 4:25p (Broncos -3, O/U:46)

Rivalry game with a really good and young offense going to the house of a really good, veteran defense that have won a super bowl recently.  The Broncos, while not having a household name at quarterback, have been consistently gaining yards and scoring, complementing their defense well.  The Raiders defense, especially through the air, has been atrocious.  Take the Broncos to win in the under, 24-17.

 
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks, 8:30p (Seahawks -13, O/U: 41.5)

This line I have no clue how it blew up to 13.  I mean, it even grew a .5 point since the line opened.  The Seahawks offense, even at home, has been absolutely terrible.  They only scored 12 points at home against the 49ers a few weeks ago.  What is the logic behind this line?  Brissett is a capable quarterback and proved it last week with the start and win at home over the Browns.  This game is looking juicy for a Colts bet.  Take the Seahawks to win but the Colts to keep it close in the under, Colts 17-10.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 on the year is an amazing 11-4 to start 2017, here’s his picks for the week:

Giants (+3) @ Buccs
Steelers @ Ravens (+3)
Rams (+8) @ Cowboys
Raiders @ Broncos (-2.5)
Redskins @ Chiefs (-6.5)

 

NFL Week 2: Sunday Games & Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

Welcome back!  We are now into the second Sunday of the season.  We’ve seen a lot from each team (other than the Dolphins and Buccaneers).  The season opened off with a huge upset in New England along with a handful of ugly games.  Lets not waste anymore time.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 1p (Ravens -7.5, O/U: 39)

The Browns kept up with the Steelers and gave everyone a show.  It’s a shame it was a sham.  This franchise is willing to allow some of their best players uproot and leave which spells bad things for the future.  Ravens defense looked extremely well on the road against the hapless Bengals, who after Thursday night, have yet to score a touchdown after 2 home games.  Ravens roll.  Ravens win in the over, 27-13.

Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers, 1p (Panthers -7, O/U: 43)

The Bills looked rough against the heir apparent, NFL’s predicted worst team, the Jets.  Panthers went across the country to whip up on the 49ers in a mostly empty stadium in the bay area.  McCoy will have a hard time averaging 4 yards per carry in this one.  Cam was held back last week but expect Riverboat Ron to let him loose in front of the home crowd.  Panthers win handedly, 31-17

Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts, 1p ( Colts +7, O/U: 44)

With the Cardinals loss of David Johnson, it takes a huge chunk of their yardage and touchdowns away for 2 – 3 months.  The Colts are without Luck again and the Colts couldn’t look worse without one player especially with it being the most important position on the field.  Palmer still has his areal weapons and that is where the Cardinals will focus their offense while they will run the ball by comity in the backfield.  Take the Cards to win in the over, 35-10.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1p (Jaguars +1.5, O/U: 41.5)

The Titans had a toughie at home last week with Carr and the Raiders in town.  The Titans have a sneaky good team with a lot of youth that are rearing to explode as another top contender.  The Jaguars played a great game against Houston in a shocker of an upset.  10 sacks against 2 quarterbacks made the Jags defense look amazing.  Hard to bet against a legit home dog but I’m doing it here.  Titans win a close one in the over, 23-19.

Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs, 1p (Chiefs -5.5, O/U: 47.5)

Chiefs are coming off a massive effort in a shocking upset on opening night in New England.  After that effort, they’ve had a few extra days in between games for rest.  Hunt, Smith and Hill all played out of their minds and expect that to continue but on a smaller scale, in front of one of the loudest stadiums in the league.  Wentz and the Eagles went into FedEx field and spanked the Redskins.  Wentz showed nerves of steel and looks to have be the best QB of last years draft by a mile.  With the addition of Jeffrey, it seems to have sparked Agholor to find his hands in the off season.  My worry with the Eagles is their run game but we have yet to really see them have a run heavy game plan.  Eagles keep it close but the Chiefs win in the under, 24-21.

New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints, 1p (Saints +6, O/U: 57)

I’m sure you all heard about the bludgeoning at home the Patriots took on the opening night all week and how it was a shock to everyone.  Well, you just heard it again, and only because we haven’t been able to say that too much in the last 17 years. so you’re damn right we’re gonna celebrate it.  Not much else to say is that it’s safe to bet the Patriots ATS and they’ll more than likely win you about 60% of the spreads throughout the season.  One thing you can always bank on is that they ALWAYS follow up an embarrassment with an explosive win the next week.  Expect the Pats to have the foot on the Saints’ throats.  Saints looked bad against the Vikes and only gave AP 9 snaps.  Pats ROLL in this one and I wouldn’t be shocked if they covered the O/U themselves, 38-20.

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1p (Steelers -6, O/U: 44.5)

The Vikings looked spectacular last week at home against the Saints.  Bradford showed how deadly accurate he can be even standing in the pocket, taking shots.  He wasn’t the only Viking that was the talk of the twin cities, Dalvin Cook set a new rookie rushing record for rushing yards in a Vikings rookie running back debut.  The Steelers had a tough fight from the Browns in Cleveland.  Coming home will most certainty bring a different energy to this team as they historically do far better at home.  Bell was held back a bit due to being a holdout all pre season.  Both defenses will show up, causing great battles for field position.  Steelers win in a raucous Heinz Field, in the under, 24-14 .

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1p (Buccaneers -6.5, O/U: 43.5)

Bears pushed the Falcons to the brink last week, mostly thanks to rookie Tarik Cohen taking over for injured Jeremy Langford.  Glennon isn’t playing with tons of weapons at receiver but stayed fairly consistent but that won’t last for long and not against he Buccs front 7.  We haven’t seen the Buccs play yet and that will definitely be to their advantage.  Buccs come out flying and win in the over, 27-20.

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05p (Chargers -3.5, O/U: 45.5)

The Chargers looked like the Chargers of old last week, competitive all game long but couldn’t finish.  Granted they had a tough road game against a tough defense and it showed.  They weren’t able to push the ball down the field through the air much and Melvin Gordon only averaged a measly 3 yards per carry.  The Dolphins are another team that we haven’t seen yet and the advantage they had all week was that due to Hurricane Irma, they went out to the west coast early.  With the addition of Cutler while Tannehill is out, the Dolphins upgrade at quarterback (I feel).  Lastly, the Chargers are in LA now and playing in a soccer stadium.  Good luck with that.  Smoking Jay Cutler comes to town with the Fins and steals one in a soccer stadium in the under, 21-20.

New York Jets at Oakland Raiders, 4:05p (Raiders -13.5, O/U: 43.5)

Not much to say here.  Jets seem to be purposely tanking by allowing key players to leave through free agency and trading them away for pennies on the dollar.  Raiders beat a great young team in the Titans, in their house.  I’m almost tempted to say 13.5 isn’t enough of a spread.  Beast Mode is back and showed off his power, and he still has IT!  Raiders win in blowout fashion, in the over, 35-13.

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos, 4:25p (Broncos +2.5, O/U: 43)

The Cowboys offense proved they could handle a tough defense and still pull out a great win.  They moved the ball against the Giants between the 20’s pretty good, which will be key in this game.  The Broncos still have to deal with Siemian being an average quarterback, which hurts their air game.  Look for CJ Anderson to have a few more carries as he and Charles combined to average 4 yards per carry against a solid defensive front.  In another tough matchup today, I usually don’t like to predict that road favorites will win but take the Boys in the under, 21-17.

Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25p (Rams-2.5, O/U: 45.5)

The Redskins got embarrassed at home by the Eagles last week.  Cousins will finally show that he is not worth a franchise tag, ever.  This is mostly due to his weapons leaving town (Garcon/Jackson).  The Redskins lack a running game to take pressure off of Cousins but they are negligible when rotating.  Rams and Goff really took it to the Luckless Colts at home, with a less than stellar home crowd turnout.  Redskins defense gets to Goff unlike the Colts were able to do.  Rams rushing offense had a lackluster showing of about a 2 yard per carry average.  Redskins keep it close on the road and win in the under, 24-20.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25p (Seahawks -14, O/U: 41.5)

In a divisional matchup, the 49ers head into a dangerous Seattle fan base that rivals the best in the league.  They allowed the Panthers to come into their house and throw them around, allowing them to control the clock with a steady dose of rushes.  Hoyer and the offense couldn’t get anything going and Hoyer is their quarterback.  Seattle had a tough first game going to Green Bay and couldn’t get too much going.  Seattle will look to redeem itself by embarrassing their rivals.  Seattle gets a boost from their 12th man and rolls in the under as the 49ers won’t score much, 27-10.

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, 8:30p (Falcons -3, O/U: 56)

Green Bay faced Seattle last week in their season opener at home and put up solid numbers but couldn’t get their point total to reflect the yardage they put up.  The Falcons did extremely well against the Packers last year on their way to the Super Bowl.  7 combined TD’s through the air by both Rodgers and Ryan. The Packers rushing game was not established quite yet while Devonta Freeman was held to 3.2 yards per carry.  Last week the Falcons were pushed to the brink last week as the Bears tried to mount a 4th quarter comeback.  Packers now have Ty Montgomery solidified as the starter which should be a difference maker.  Packers win in the under, 31-24.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

Steelers -7

Redskins +2.5

Dolphins +4.5

Falcons -2.5

Cowboys -2

Week 1: Sunday Games

We made it!  The first Sunday.  Here is the schedule along with Covers.com spread and the over/under.  Below is Cowherd’s Blazing 5.

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, 1:00pm (Bills -8, O/U: 40)

Two teams looking to purposely tank this year, Jets more than the Bills.  I really don’t know what to say about it other than both teams being stinkers.  Bills win 24-10.

Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears, 1:00pm (Bears +6, O/U: 48.5)

Powerhouse offense against a softie in the NFC.  No proven leader for the Bears makes this one an ugly game for them.  Falcons win on the road and exact a little revenge for the 28-3 super bowl disaster.  Expect a road blowout.  Falcons win 38-10.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00pm (Bengals -3, O/U: 41.5)

This is usually a great game with great defenses clashing.  I like the Bengals offense more but they have to deal with their top linebacker being suspended.  Should be a close one.  Bengals win 21-14.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns, 1:00pm (Browns +9, O/U: 46.5)

Well, another year has arrived for the Browns and another rough start is awaiting them.  Some of the most dynamic players in the league are on the Steelers roster.  Expect another blowout on the road.  Steelers win 41-13.

Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions, 1:00pm (Lions +2.5, O/U: 48)

Time for Stafford to show off the most expensive arm in the league.  Cardinals defense should be ready for the task.  Lions win 31-28.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, 1:00pm (Texans -5, O/U: 39.5)

What an abysmal game. I see many turnovers coming.  Houston strong brings a certain strength. Texans 24-10.

Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans, 1:00pm (Titans -3, O/U: 50.5)

Raiders going across the country to the Titans.  Titans look to be a top 5 team in the league.  Should be a great showdown against 2 young stars under center.  Titans defense is the difference maker. Titans win 20-14.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, 1:00pm (Redskins +1, O/U: 48)

Eagles look to build on a very successful rookie season for Wentz while the Redskins deal with another average year from Cousins.  Eagles win 27-21.

Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05pm (Rams -4.5, O/U: 41.5)

No Luck for the Colts in LA.  We get to see if Goff can take advantage of that since his offense will probably have the most time on the field.  Rams win 24-13.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers, 4:25pm (Packers -3, O/U: 51)

Always an amazing week one matchup.  Seattle makes it tough against the Pack but the Pack are pretty damn good at home.  Lacy doesn’t make a huge impact coming back to Lambeau with the packers front 7.  Packers win 35-31

Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25pm (49ers +5, O/U: 47.5)

Panthers have to fly cross country to play this one, and usually that affects teams pretty good.  Expect Cam and the Panthers to play well given being on the west coast.  49ers basically have new management and have Hyde and Garcon to lead this offense with formidable Hoyer under center. Panthers win 28-24.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30pm (Cowboys -4, O/U: 47.5)

Zeke is loose, no suspension but OBJ has an ankle issue and is a game time decision.  Many think he’ll sit but it’s still not certain.  Cowboys win 34-21.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

Eagles -1

49ers +5.5

Ravens +3

Lions +2

Packers -3

 

Rest of Week 1 Picks and Analysis

The NFL season has started off with a huge win for the defending Super Bowl champs. A huge 36-16 win over the strong Packers proves that the 12th man still have it and that Seattle is a legit contender to repeat. By the way, Aaron Rodgers didn’t throw Richard Sherman’s way all night and still lost big. What that that say about the other side of their defense? It’s just as strong. So if you picked Seattle’s defense, get ready for them to just consistently stop great offenses and put up big fantasy points! 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Safety and 16 Points allowed. If they didn’t fumble the punt return in the 1st quarter, they might’ve only given up just 9 points.

Moving forward, there are 13 games on Sunday sheet. Lots of good matchups with some division games right off the bat. Lets take a look.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -3. O/U: 51.5:

The Saints take on division rivals Falcons in Atlanta to kickoff their season. Saints have won 8 of the last 10 meetings and only 3 have been won by more than a touchdown. Look for a close game even with the Falcons not having Tony Gonzalez as their tight end for the first time since 2009. The Falcons had an abysmal 4-12 season but don’t let that fool you for this game. Matt Ryan will bounce back having his offensive line upgraded with Jake Matthews and building a better report with Julio Jones and Roddy White. However this game may be close the Saints will take the cake and by more than a field goal. It’s much of the same from the Saints since 2009, with the exception of 20012 when Sean Payton had a 1 year ban for Bountygate, they haven’t finished worse than 11-5. In fact, ever other year since 2009 it’s been 13-3, 11-5, 13-3, 11-5 under Sean Payton. Take the Saints 31-24 in the Over. Go with what works, the Saints always work!

Buffalo Bills @ Chicago Bears,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bears –7. O/U: 47.5:

Here are two teams that have had trouble making the postseason in recent seasons. Not surprising for the Bills but surprising for the Bears who have the talent to get it done, if Jay Cutler can stay healthy. The Bills had given the reigns to EJ Manuel looked like a rookie most of the season but also showed signs of what could be in the future. Rookie Sammy Watkins is slotted to suite up for the Bills despite having rib injuries the last few years which should see some action coming from Manuel. The Bears however have been 5-0 against the Bills at home all-time even though they have only played each other twice since 2006. The speed of the Bill’s offense will keep them in it but expect the Bears to have their way with the Bills defense with the Cutler/Marshall/Jefferey and Forte on the ground. Take the Bills in the Over but the Bears to win 27-24.

Washington Redskins @ Houston Texans,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Texans -3. O/U: 45:

Houston is still looking for a quarterback (because Fitzpatrick is not the answer) and they even traded for the Patriots backup Mallett. They released their leading passer from last year Case Keenum who fared better than Matt Schaub in the TD/INT ratio) and now have no returning quarterbacks from last years’ roster. Washington has had the same core of guys the last few seasons and even snatched up Desean Jackson from the Eagles after being released by the origination for potential gang relations. Fitzpatrick is an accurate passer who can win some games but the Texans have big and quick receivers that need the ball pushed down the field with strength from time to time and Fitzpatrick is not that guy. Expect Gruden to manage RGIII much better than Shanahan and expect him to return to his rookie form minus the reckless running. I don’t see the Texans putting up big points on offense with Fitzpatrick and don’t see the Redskins blowing up on O either given the Watt/Clowney defensive domination. Take the Redskins +3 and the win in the Under, 20-17

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -1.5. O/U: 43:

Another inter-division rivalry game to kick things off, these two have split the last 10 games with both teams being 4-1 at home against each other. That being said, Andy Daulton got a fat extension this offseason, as did Flacco did the pre-season before. Daulton did break Bengals season passer records last year and is the first Bengals QB to lead the team to three straight post-seasons, he has been consistent during the regular season. Gary Kubiak, the ousted Texans coach, is now the Offensive Coordinator for the Ravens trying to reinvent Flacco and put some life into the offense. The Ravens re-upped their defense with some rookies after being average at best last year. Games between these two have been 60% in the Under. Both teams have decent defenses so expect this one to be a snoozer on offense especially since Ray Rice is gone for the first two games of the season. Take the Bengals +1.5 in the Under and the win 21-20.

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -5. O/U: 47:

11 of the last 13 AFC East titles have gone to the Pats so go with what works. Gronk is back but is probably limited because it will be hot (predicted to be 88 at game time) and he hasn’t had much game action since having his ACL repaired. That didn’t stop Tom from having a good year last year and having Gronk Sunday will only make him look that much better. The Dolphins still have hopes for Tannehill to be their franchise QB but his time is running out and having a completely different offensive line from a year ago will only make it harder. He took a league worst 58 sacks last year, look for that number to be one of the worst again this year. The Dolphins now seem to have a decent running game since their Wildcat days with the addition of Knowshon Moreno, who shredded the Pats for 224 yards last year with the Broncos. The Dolphins have only won 2 of the last 10 games against the Pats, both at home. Take the Patriots -5 and the win in the Over 38-24.

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs –3.5. O/U: 43:

Alex Smith comes into the Chiefs opener with a nice new contract and the Titans open their season with a new coach, Ken Whisenhunt. The chiefs come into this game with the AFC leading rusher in 2013, Jamaal Charles and a QB who was once considered in 2010 as one of the biggest #1 overall draft pick busts, Alex Smith (who since the 2011 season is 30-9-1 as a starter), and one of the best defenses in the league. We already know the Titans hired a new coach but they also didn’t resign the speedy Chris Johnson, instead opting to draft Bishop Sankey. With a decent wide out in Kendall Wright and having a great offensive minded coach, the expectations are higher than ever for Jake Locker. Will he be the next Blaine Gabbert? Take the experienced group over the group with a whole new look, Chiefs -3.5 in the Over, 28-20.

Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis Rams,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: St. Louis -4. O/U: 43.5:

As we all know by now, Sam Bradford will miss the season opener, and the rest of the season afterwards. The Rams said that they are sticking with their back up Shaun Hill even after picking up the Texans replacement starter from last year, Case Keenum. Now that failed experiment Christian Ponder is out of the picture, Matt Cassel is actually flourishing with Teddy Bridgewater putting some heat on for the number 1 spot. Even though Minnesota went undefeated in the preseason, that will not continue in the regular season. They do have all 5 starting lineman returning this year which will provide a consistent offense. AP will be as big as every other year despite history showing backs his age wilt starting at 29. Both teams will play good defense so take the Vikings +4 in the over to win 21-13. It would be a miracle if the Rams score an offensive TD.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -6.5. O/U: 41.5:

I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing about Johnny Manziel, me too unless he is on the field. As for the game, Big Ben is 17-1 against the Browns since being drafted. The Browns didn’t have. Consistent run game last year, expect much of the same this year as well as the pass game. Josh Gordon is out for the year so the only real targets are Andrew Hawkins and Jordan Cameron especially since Brian Hoyer didn’t have a full preseason with the 1st team offense thanks to fending off Johnny Football. Pittsburgh has their top two backs out due to a marijuana issue they had a few weeks ago so look for this game to be low scoring. Expect the defenses to play well against mediocre offenses. Take Big Ben’s record against the Browns to win with the -6.5 points and the Under, 20-13.

Oakland Raiders @ New York Jets,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Jets -5.5. O/U: 40:

As it seems with every year now, the Raiders went through major overhauling on the offensive side. Drafting Derrick Carr was a must since Matt McGloin was the only consistent part of the offense last year. Yes he played well for an undrafted rookie and won Rookie of the week in week 11, but he is no means a franchise QB. Carr beat out newly signed QB Matt Schaub and will have new face Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield as well. With some improvements on defense through the draft, they have a fighting chance for at least a winning or 8-8 season. The Jets will have Geno back as starter and newly signed Chris Johnson who is trying to restart his career. Mark Sanchez is finally out of town and hopefully so is the curse from the butt fumble. Take the Jets to win this with the points -5.5 in the Over 24–17. David Carr looked really good this preseason but he’ll have to wait for his first win.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Eagles -10.5. O/U: 52.5:

There is no doubt that Eagles fans and ownership expect great things this year from Chip Kelly and his guys. The Eagles set team records in points and offensive yardage as well as an unprecedented 27-2 TD/ INT ration from Nick Foles and Shady leading the league with a career high in rushing yards and yards from the lime of scrimmage. But the challenge for them is their receiving core which lost DeSean Jackson due to an ethics decision by the front office dealing with his off the field issues, and Jeremy Maclin’s health. The Jaguars have questions at the receiver position with Justin Blackmon suspended indefinitely, Ace Sanders suspended for four games and Cecil Shorts III and Allen Robinson both battling hamstring injuries. Chad Henne was told he gets the reigns for the season and was named one of the teams captains this past week. He has shown in the past that he can win and perform if given the same coaching staff more than one year in a row, he just has to shake off his inner Brett Favre trying to gun passes in where they shouldn’t be, and he’ll be fine. That and with an improved defense and newly inked Toby Gerhart, they should see an improvement from the horrible 0-8 start from last year and continue to build off of the 4-4 ending they had. The Jags had a hard time in the first 8 games causing turnovers but quickly turned that around in the second half of the season and the younger secondary started to look like they were hitting their groove. Don’t let the line fool you, the Jags will keep it close, take the Eagles to win but the Jags for the +10.5 points in the Under. This is a game I would even put on upset alert! Eagles 28-21.

San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: 49ers -4.5. O/U: 51.5:

The 49ers are chasing that ever elusive Lombardi Trophy and open their season up against a team that is trying to not have another 8-8 year. Sean Lee is back on the shelf for the start of the season. The Boys also lost Demarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher in free agency. Romo has had the most backing and trust from his owner/gm in the history of the NFL, could this finally be the year? Colin Kaepernick’s offense didn’t light the world on fire and is hoping that changes when the games mean something. The 9ers start their season losing Aldon Smith 9 games for multiple off the field issues but faired well in his absence last year. Kaepernick also enters the season with a nice new fat contract after having the whole season to himself behind center, he had your average QB stats. Expect Gore to have his 8th straight 1,000 yard season. Take the 49ers in this one to win with the points in the Over 31-24.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Buccaneers -2. O/U: 39.5:

The Panthers enter their season opener wondering if Cam is 100% given his rib situation. Not only does Cam have to worry about his ribs but also who will be his go to receivers this year since his top 4 from last year are all gone. He seems to be favoring big draft pick Kelvin Benjamin but he has had a history of drops and bad route running in college. The Buccs are coming off of a tear down and rebuild year, brining in Lovie Smith (freshly fired from the Bears) for the fired Greg Schiano and sort of upgrading their starting QB with Josh McCown from the Bears as well. McCown will also have a top rookie wide out to be throwing to in Mike Evans. With Vincent Jackson, Evans and Doug Martin, Buccs fans are hoping for at least a winning season with all of the new parts on offense. Expect this division rivalry to stay close, with the Buccs giving 2 you have to take the Panthers for the win and the points +2 in the Under, 20-17.

Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Broncos -7.5. O/U: 55:

Don’t expect Peyton Manning to be distracted by the guy who replaced him in Indy. This offense is still running on octane even without Wes Welker and his surprising 4 game suspension. The Broncos have had 13-3 seasons the two years Peyton has been there so don’t expect that to change. Andrew Luck has lived up to his #1 overall pick status by leading the Colts to back to back 11-5 seasons while overcoming his head coach Chuck Pagano battling cancer missing most of 2012 and missing his star #1 wide out Reggie Wayne for much of the 2013 season. It didn’t bother Luck much, turning former FIU receiver T.Y. Hilton into a house hold name with his 82 catches for over 1,000 yards. Each of his NFL years, Luck has had 4 fourth quarter comebacks including a Wild Card win last year against one of the hottest teams in the league, KC Chiefs. Denver’s defense has been reinforced with the signing of Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and TJ Ward. Look for the Broncos to be just a bit better this year and to kick off the season right against the Colts. Take the Broncos to win and the points -7.5 in the Over, 35-27. Quick stat, Denver is 10-5-1 against the spread last year but 11-5 scoring in the over but started the season with 8 straight games scoring in the over. The Broncos usually start the season faster than anyone else in their offense, look for much of the same this year.unnamed

Look for these two games tomorrow for your Monday Night Football Preview:

New York Giants @ Detroit Lions,
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Lions -5.5. O/U: 47:

San Diego Chargers @ Arizona Cardinals,
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Lions -5.5. O/U: 47: