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2011 NFL Week 1 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Posted by in NFL Picks on September 5th, 2011 | Comment »
2011 Week 1 Picks Against the Spread

Will Eric Berry be the defensive player of the year?

I am back with another season of NFL picks and predictions against the spread. We started the beginning of last season strong and then had our best days around Thanksgiving time. Rather than previewing every single game in the NFL, I’m going to focus on the top 3-5 games that I like. I apologize for the inconsistency in weekly postings towards the final stretch of the season last year, but work caught up with me. By focusing on just the top games of the week, I’ll be able to maintain the discipline for timely weekly write-ups. I also wanted to plug my NFL Fantasy Cheat Sheet — feel free to use that in your draft to check rankings and stats. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the action.

Check out my FINAL WORD for all applicable addendums and don’t forget to sign up for our PICK ‘EM LEAGUE.


I love betting against bad teams and the 6.5 spread looks like a good play here since I’m sure it will move to Cardinals -7 by kickoff. You have Cam Newton’s NFL debut on the road. Rookies are prone to make mistakes in their debut and I think that’s what you see here. Newton completed just 42% of his passes in the preseason and has thrown just 1 TD. His yards per attempt is a dismal 5.3.  That comes out to a 64.9 QB rating. Compare that to Kolb’s 55% completion percentage, 8.9 YPA, and 95.3 QB rating. The Carinals were also the 1st-ranked overall and passing offense in the preseason if you want to put any weight into preseason numbers. The Panthers ranked 26th.

Prediction: Cardinals 27 – Panthers 13

Free Pick Against the Spread: Cardinals -6.5 (Confidence: 4/5)


This is another line that I expected to to open at Chiefs -7, so I would grab it at -5 while you can. Other than the New England Patriots, do you know which team had the best home record last season? It wasn’t the Jets. It wasn’t the Steelers. It wasn’t the Saints. It was the Chiefs (also tied with Green Bay, Atlanta, and Baltimore) at 7-1.  The Chiefs have a tremendous advantage when playing at Arrowhead.

Cassel threw for 27 TDs and had just 7 INTs last season. I’ll be targeting him in late rounds of my fantasy draft as a backup QB. Last year his only receiving threat was Dwayne Bowe. Kansas City has added Steve Breaston and  WR Jonathan Baldwin, a big-bodied wide receiver out of PITT with great hands. With three solid targets in the passing game, Cassel should have another solid season accompanied by a strong running game with Jamaal Charles. I was weary of Cassel’s first two preseason starts since he put up a 55 QB rating in those first two games, but Cassel got in some nice reps in his last game, completing 88% of his passes for a 118 QB rating, albeit against Green Bay’s backups. Before taking this game, check up on Cassel’s ribs since he took a nasty hit that game and is listed as questionable.

The Chiefs had a solid defense last year too that I expect to improve this season. They have Eric Berry roaming the secondary, who is entering his 2nd season and should only be more impressive. The Chiefs ranked 14th in yards allowed and 11th in points allowed last year. The Bills, on the other hand, ranked 24th in yards allowed 28th in points allowed. They’ve boosted that unit with first-round pick DT Marcel Dareus, added Packers LB Nick Barnett, and have a healthy Shawn Merriman. Despite those defensive additions to the Bills, I still think the Chiefs win and cover in their home opener.

Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Bills 16

Free Pick Against the Spread: Chiefs -5 (Confidence: 3/5)


I expected the line to come out Patriots -9 so I think you’re getting good value at -7. I hate betting against the home dog on Monday night, but we’re talking Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Patriots finished last season 14-2. The Patriots visited the Dolphins last year on Monday Night and whooped them 41-14.  I believe the Pats defense had 2 TDs in that game though. In any event, it was a beat-down none-the-less and the Patriots beat them down again in week 17, 38-7. I don’t see Chad Henne outduelling Mr. Tom Brady. Miami had a solid defense last season, ranked 6th in yards allowed and 8th against the past, but that didn’t matter much in their games last season.

Prediction: Patriots 31 – Dolphins 17

Free Pick Against the Spread: Patriots -7 (Confidence: 4/5)


As you know, I don’t want to bet against too many home dogs. The Falcons are a top 5 caliber football team in my opinion. With the additional of WR Julio Jones, their passing offense should be even more explosive. The Falcons defensive unit is also solid and they’ve added DE Ray Edwards’ 16.5 sacks from last two season across from DE John Abraham, who piled up 10 sacks last season.  The Falcons also have LB Sean Weatherspoon, last year’s first-round pick, who is poised for a breakout season. The Bears were 5-3 at home last season while the Falcons were 6-2 on the road. I say take the Faclons.

Prediction: Falcons 24 – Bears 17

Free Pick Against the Spread: Falcons -2.5 (Confidence: 3/5)

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