Week One Predictions

Posted: 09/13/2015 by levcohen in Football

Week one is so hard to predict. We’re coming off a four week preseason that’s done nothing but given us some serious misconceptions about certain teams and their strengths and weaknesses, and we really have no idea whether some teams will be great, terrible, or something in between. That’s why I normally like picking the underdogs in week one, although that’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule (I picked the touchdown-favorite Patriots to cover on Thursday night in what ended in a push). And that’s also why this is the week I feel least confident about picking my “Lock of the Week” in. I’ll be able to write more most weeks, but time is not on my side this week, so this will be a quick post.

*= upset pick

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears:- Lock
Spread: Packers favored by 6
Over/under: 49
My prediction: I’m sorry to be boring, but I’m making the second biggest favorite of the week my lock. It’s Aaron Rodgers against what I think is a terrible team, after all. Packers win 31-20.
Packers cover

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans:*
Spread: Texans favored by 1
Over/under: 40.5
My prediction: This game feels so familiar because it’s one of those week one games that I have no idea what will happen in. I’m almost certain that whomever I pick will end up losing, but I’ll go with the visitors here since the Texans are missing Arian Foster and are starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback. Chiefs win 20-16
Chiefs cover

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets:
Spread: Jets favored by 3.5
Over/under: 39.5
My prediction: Here’s a matchup I really don’t want to see, especially in week one. I don’t particularly like either of these teams this season and was looking forward to picking against both. With that being said, the only thing I can logically do is split here. Jets win 20-17.
Browns cover

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills:
Spread: Colts favored by 1
Over/under: 45
My prediction: Um, well the Bills are starting Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. It’s going to be interesting, especially against the Andrew Luck-led Colts. With that being said, I struggled a lot with this one, because I could really see Buffalo’s pass rush getting to Luck and their running game keeping the Colts off the field. But I’m not overthinking this, especially in week one. Give me the stronger team. Colts win 24-17.
Colts win

Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins:
Spread: Dolphins favored by 3.5
Over/under: 44
My prediction: This is another upset I could see happening, but I could never bring myself to pick Washington in week one. I think the Dolphins will end up being a pretty good team, but they could look shaky at the beginning. Luckily, they are playing a mess of a team in the Redskins. Dolphins win 27-20.
Dolphins cover

Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars:*
Spread: Panthers favored by 3
Over/under: 40.5
My prediction: Go Jags! I feel like I’ve had a strange obsession with picking the Jaguars early in the season in previous years, and I’m keeping that up here. I also remember refusing to pick Jacksonville until they covered a spread, and I had to wait a long time. Hopefully that doesn’t happen again this season. Jaguars win 23-20.
Jaguars cover

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams:
Spread: Seahawks favored by 3.5
Over/under: 41
My prediction: This is the biggest upset I thought about picking of the week, and it would be a pretty big one. The Seahawks are a very good football team, but the cracks are showing, as second-year undrafted free agent safety Dion Bailey is starting with Kam Chancellor still holding out. With the Legion of Boom set to be less-than-elite, I think it’s easy to see the Rams, without their top two running backs, having some success in the air and punishing Seattle’s offense en route to a low-scoring victory. But I just can’t do it. I have too much trust in Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks to pick them to lose to a team with basically no offensive weapons. So Seattle is going to win and cover. Seahawks win 19-13.
Seahawks cover

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals:
Spread: Cardinals favored by 2.5
Over/under: 48
My prediction: I have to take the Cardinals in this one. The Saints are not usually very good away from home, and they’ll be without key defenders Keenan Lewis and Jairus Byrd for several weeks. Arizona should have no trouble moving the ball, and their defense should make enough stops to secure a victory in a close game between teams who will both be in the playoff hunt come December. Cardinals win 28-24.
Cardinals cover

Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers:
Spread: Chargers favored by 3
Over/under: 45.5
My prediction: Meh. This is a game in which a lot of people are picking upsets, but I’m just higher on the Chargers than I am on the Lions. I could really see this one going either way, but give me the home team with the more solid offense. Chargers win 21-20.
Lions cover

Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Spread: Buccaneers favored by 3
Over/under: 41
My prediction: In the battle of rookie quarterbacks, I’m surprised that the Buccaneers aren’t favored by more. Even with Mike Evans likely to sit out, I think the Bucs are clearly the better team, and I think they’ll win this game pretty handily. In fact, I almost made this my lock. Buccaneers win 23-14.
Buccaneers cover

Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders:*
Spread: Bengals favored by 3
Over/under: 43
My prediction: First the Jaguars and now the Raiders??? Yup, it’s going to be a crazy week. I’m probably wrong about what will be crazy about it, but I’m pretty confident it will be crazy. Anyway, the Bengals are much better at home than on the road and the Raiders are going to be much improved this season. Amari Cooper should have a great first week in a winning effort. Raiders win 26-21.
Raiders cover

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos:
Spread: Broncos favored by 4.5
Over/under: 47.5
My prediction: This is the game of the week, and I think it’s going to be a close game. But while I’m a big fan of Baltimore this year, I can’t pick against the Broncos at home at this point, especially since their defense looks very good. Broncos win 24-21.
Ravens cover

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys:
Spread: Cowboys favored by 6.5
Over/under: 51.5
My prediction: I understand why the Cowboys are favored by this much, but I don’t think they’re good enough to be getting nearly a touchdown in week one against a decent team. They also haven’t historically had much of a home field advantage, so I feel confident picking the Giants to cover. Cowboys win 31-27.
Giants cover

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons:-MNF
Spread: Eagles favored by 2.5
Over/under: 55
My prediction: This should be a super fun game to watch, with two high-scoring and exciting teams playing each other on Monday Night Football. It’s clear that the Eagles are the better team, but I thought it would be closer to a pick ’em given that it’s in Atlanta. I think both teams will play well in this game, and it will come down to the wire, and I have more confidence in the Eagles’ defense in a one-possession game. Eagles win 30-23.
Eagles cover

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers:-MNF*
Spread: Vikings favored by 2.5
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: I love the Vikings this year, but this is a classic “everyone is too low on X team” game. The 49ers had a terrible offseason, while Minnesota had a positive one, but I still think the Niners should be slight favorites at this point in the season. This could end up being one of those games we’re all confused about at the end of the season, when the Vikings are closing in on a playoff spot. Niners win 23-17.
Niners cover

Upset picks:
Niners over Vikings
Raiders over Bengals
Jaguars over Panthers
Chiefs over Texans

Lock of the week:
Packers over Bears


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