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My favorite spreads this week are Texans (-4.5) over Chargers, Bucs (-4) over the Jets, Redskins (-4) over the Eagles, and Colts (-10) over the Raiders. My upset of the week and favorite game to take the points in is Panthers (+4.5) over the Seahawks. I also have two teasers for you. A 1:00 teaser of Colts (-3.5) and Patriots (-3.5) and a special prime-time teaser for you featuring Redskins (+3) and Texans (+2.5). It’s week 1, and I take it easy through the first four weeks and dial it up around week 5. There’s still a lot of unknowns.
DENVER BRONCOS (-8) over Baltimore Ravens
We posted this full pick earlier this week. I’m passing on this game as the spread is too high against the defending Super Bowl Champions. With Elvis Dumervil now on the Ravens and Von Miller suspended, the Broncos also have question marks on defense, but I expect the Broncos offense to be clicking which should allow them to cruise to an easy victory.
PICK: Broncos (-7) – Confidence 6/10
PREDICTION: Broncos 27 – Ravens 17
New England Patriots (-9.5) over BUFFALO BILLS
I’m passing on this one. There’s a lot of merit into thinking the Patriots will crush the Bills here. The Bills have a rookie QB learning a new offense. Although Brady is without Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez, he can work with any group of receivers he’s given and he looked strong in the preseason. If the Bills running game gets going and Leodis McKelvin does a solid job covering Danny Amendola, the Bills could cover this spread. I picture the Patriots going with a more balanced approach with Stevan Ridley picking up small chucks of yards, eating up clock, and controlling the time of possession while Tom Brady moves the ball with check downs. Maybe the Bills running game keeps them in this game with the spread, but maybe their offense doesn’t do anything. The Patriots can easily blow them out. I like taking the Patriots (-3) and Colts (-3) in a teaser.
PICK: Patriots (-9.5) – Confidence 6/10
PREDICTION: Patriots 27 – Bills 17
Tennessee Titans (+7) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS
I expect the Steelers to get it done in a sloppy, low-scoring game. The most they score in this one is 24 points. When the scores are low, it should be in your favor to take the (+7). The Steelers running game has some question marks as Isaac Redman and Le”Veon Bell have to replace a Rashard Mendenhall. Mike Wallace is now on the Dolphins and Heath Miller is sidelined with an injury. Not a lot of offensive firepower for the Steelers. I think they’ll eek out a 3-4 point victory.
PICK: Titans (+7) – Confidence 6/10
PREDICTION: Steelers 17 – Titans 13
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3) over Atlanta Falcons
The Saints were surrounded with turmoil last year with Sean Peyton suspended. Jimmy Graham was also bothered with a wrist injury throughout the season. I expect the Saints to rebound and be a much better football team this season. They’ll be competing against the Falcons for the Division. I expect the Falcons to reclaim the Division Title, but I’m going to have to pick the Saints in the home opener. These teams split the series last year with the home team winning each contest and the Saints swept the Falcons in their 2011 series. This is just a poor game to bet on as these teams will be exchanging TDs until the clock turns to 0:00.
PICK: Saints (-3) – Confidence 6/10
PREDICTION: Saints 34 – Falcons 31
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4) over NEW YORK JETS
Here is a pick that I really like. I’m high on the Bucs this year. The Bucs struggled down the stretch due to a ton of injuries to their defense. Their defense has the potential to be very strong this year with the addition of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. They really boosted their secondary along with their 2012 1st rounder Mark Barron to compliment a strong front seven. Revis is questionable to start the season though, but will probably play. The Jets could be bound for the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft as they should have the league’s worst offense. They don’t have a QB and don’t have any talent at the skill positions. If there is a bright spot to this team it should be the defense which should keep them in the game. 71% of the public is putting their money on Bucs (-4) and so am I. The only thing to be concerned about is betting against the home dog.
PICK: Buccaneers (-4) – Confidence 8/10
PREDICTION: Buccaneers 23 – Jets 6
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+4.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
Both teams should improve this year. I’m going to take the points on the home dog in this one. Cecil Shorts broke out last year as a fantasy stud and Justin Blackmon looks like he’s greatly improved in his second NFL season. However, the Jags will be without Blackmon for the first four games of the season. Maurice Jones-Drew is healthy again and ready to rebound in 2013. The Jaguars have also drafted to help improve their defense and offensive line. I expect the Jaguars to win this game outright, so I like taking the (+4.5) here. The Chiefs should also be an improved team from 2012, but I’m going to stick to my guns and take the Jags here with the points. Home dog!
PICK: Jaguars (+4.5) – Confidence 6/10
PREDICTION: Jaguars 24 – Chiefs 20
Cincinnati Bengals (+3) over CHICAGO BEARS
On paper, the Bengals could have a top 12 offense, but they ranked #22 overall last season. That’s why they went out and drafted 6’6″ Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert with the 21st overall pick and then RB Giovanni Bernard in the 2nd round. The Bengals hope those two moves is what catapults this team into a true contender. The Bengals ranked #6 in overall defense last season which is right behind the Bears at #5. If the Bengals can improve their offense, they’ll be competing to win the AFC North. The Bears also have high hopes this year. They just missed the playoffs last year. Jay Cutler will benefit from an improved offensive line and the development of second year WR Alshon Jeffery will take some pressure off Brandon Marshall. This game is a toss up for me. I could see it going either way so I’m going to stay away, but I have an early lean on Bengals (+3) since I think the team is more talented overall, but are they ready to win tough games on the road? We’re about to find that out.
PICK: Bengals (+3) – Confidence 5/10
PREDICTION: Bengals 20 – Bears 17
CLEVELAND BROWNS (-1) over Miami Dolphins
This is a toss up between two teams that have taken some great steps at improving their teams. I’m going to have to give a slight lean on the Browns at home. Although the Dolphins improved a lot through free agency and added a stud DE/LB in Dion Jordan to help their pass rush with Cameron Wake, I just have to take the Browns at home. The Browns have one of the top offensive lines in the league with a running back that has the potential to be a top 5 running back this season. The Browns also have a respectable defense as do the Dolphins. This year should mark the start of the turnaround in both Cleveland and Miami. Cleveland has been smart in the draft by building a solid defense and strong offensive line.
PICK: Browns (-1) – Confidence: 6/10
PREDICTION: Browns 20 – Dolphins 17
CAROLINA PANTHERS (+4.5) over Seattle Seahawks
A lot of money is pouring in on the Seahawks. 72% of the money is on the Seahawks. Not so fast for me. I’m going to put this game on upset alert. The Seahawks have to take a long trip east to play the Panthers at 1:00 in their home opener. I never bet on west coast road favorites playing east coast teams at 1:00. Cam Newton and company have plenty in them to deliver an early stringer to the Seahawk’s Super Bowl hopes. These teams played last year in Carolina and the Seahawks won by the final score of 16-12. However, if my memory serves me correct, it was pouring rain in that one and the field was a complete mess. Even on a nice dry field, I think you see the Panthers cover this spread. The Seahawks were just 4-4 ATS on the road last season and lost outright to the Cardinals, Rams, Dolphins, and Lions on the road. If you want to ride the Seahawks this year, wait until they’re home where they were undefeated last year and 7-1 ATS.
PICK: Panthers (+4.5) – Confidence: 7/10
PREDICTION: Panthers 24 – Seahawks 20
DETROIT LIONS (-6) over Minnesota Vikings
I’m excited to see what the Lions offense is capable with Reggie Bush in the backfield. The Lions will only be good as Matthew Stafford takes them. In 2011, Stafford threw 41 TDs, but his production declined to 20 TDs in 2012. Which Stafford will we see in 2013? If Bush stays healthy, he’ll have a monster fantasy season receiving. The main weakness on the Lions is their secondary, but all the pass rushers they have on that defensive line will help out an otherwise weak secondary. I like the Lions here, but not crazy about it since the Vikings should be able to keep this one close against their division foe. The line on this looks right. The Vikings don’t have the passing game to take out the Lions explosive offense on the road, but Adrian Peterson will grind out it to keep Vikings (+6) within reach throughout this game.
PICK: Lions (-6) – Confidence: 6/10
PREDICTION: Lions 24 – Vikings 17
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-10) over Oakland Raiders
I’m really liking the Colts to spank the Raiders in their home opener. The Colts should easily cruise to a double-digit win. Throwing Colts (-3) into a teaser looks like a phenomenal pick. Pairing the Colts with Patriots (-3.5) makes a lot of sense.
PICK: Colts (-10)
PREDICTION: Colts 31 – Raiders 13
ST. LOUIS RAMS (-4.5) over Arizona Cardinals
The Rams showed signs of finally turning the corner last year. They were able to upset both the 49ers and Seahawks at home. They also beat the Cardinals twice last year. I’m going to take the Rams here and it’s a matter of coaching. The Rams 7-8-1 (11-5 ATS) were a great team to bet on last season. With Jeff Fisher now in his second season, I’m expecting more from his squad. Is Tavon Austin the man to put the Rams offense over the top? The Cardinals were still competitive last season without a quarterback thanks to their defense. They now bring in Carson Palmer to work with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Although they stand to put up strong numbers this year, I expect Fisher to come up with a game-plan to stop the Cardinals passing attack.
PICK: St. Louis 24 – Cardinals 17
PREDICTION: St. Lous (-4.5) – Confidence: 5/10
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-4.5) over Green Bay Packers
49ers have been very strong against the Packers. The Packers just can’t seem to find a way to beat them. Going with the Niners here.
PICK: 49ers (-4.5) – Confidence 6/10
New York Giants (+3.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS
I initially was going Giants, but I’m not so sure anymore. Giants have had a lot of success in Dallas, but the trend may change. Giants are injured on the offensive line, Nicks is still dealing with an injury, and Dallas’ D is getting better. They could be due for a W. Sticking with the Gmen, but Dallas could be due for a big win.
PICK: Giants (+3.5) – Confidence 5/10
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (-4) over Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles have question marks at defense. They’re adjusting to a 3-4 and have struggled against the run. Alfred Morris should be able to move the ball effectively. The Eagles also have question marks in their secondary. This defensive transition could spell disaster for them on the road in the Redskins home opener. I’m an Eagles fan and cannot recommend taking them in good conscience. Take the Redskins. Maybe Chip Kelly is a true mastermind that can turn the Eagles around, at least that’s what I’m hoping for.
PICK: Redskins (-4) – Confidence 8/10
Houston Texans (-4.5) over SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
The Chargers should be a sub-par team this year. Nobody has high expectations for them. How quickly things have changed for this team in just a few years. The Texans outmatch them on offense and defense. I really like the Texans here.
PICK: Texans (-4.5) – Confidence 7/10
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