Welcome to Week 1 in my NFL Picks Against the Spread. Each week on FakePigskin.com I will pick 5 games against the spread. I will pick one underdog a week that I think can win outright or my Upset Special. Week 1 has a ton of uncertainty but one thing is for sure it will be a ton of fun. The New England Patriots open up at home and will have something to prove to say the least. Let’s pick some games in Week 1!
New England Patriots -7 vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The opener should set up with a lot of promise. The New England Patriots will have TOm Brady under center Thursday Night. Coach Bill Belichick is going to do his best to run the score up and give a big middle finger to Roger Goodell and the NFL after a summer full of nothing but Deflategate talk. I expect the Patriots to get up big and never look back. Rob Gronkowski should be a one man wrecking crew catching passes from Brady. I think the Steelers offense may scuffle a bit without their do it all running back Le’Veon Bell, who is sitting out the first two games due to a suspension. New England will cover with ease. Take the free candy.
Carolina Panthers -3 at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Carolina Panthers will be without Kelvin Benjamin for the season due to injury. Benjamin was a big part of this offense last season. Still the Panthers have Cam Newton under center who will make Greg Olsen, Ted Ginn, and Philly Brown work. The Panthers defense will be too stout for the Jaguars to move the ball on. Blake Bortles should be better this season but he still has a long way to go. Take the Panthers on the road in this one.
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Arizona Cardinals -2.5 vs New Orleans Saints
The Arizona Cardinals will score a ton in this one. Carson Palmer is healthy and has a ton of weapons to utilize including John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald against a poor Saints defense that will be without Keenan Lewis. On defense Arizona is still stout and should slow the new look Saints offense led by Drew Brees. They have shifted the offensive focus a bit towards Mark Ingram and the rushing attack. It will be slow going for the ground game. The Cardinals win by at least a touchdown.
Kansas City Chiefs +1 at Houston Texans
An offense led by Brian Hoyer and without the services of Arian Foster is one im happy to go against anytime. The Texans still have DeAndre Hopkins who should make plays for this offense but I expect a Hoyer turnover or two against a really talented Chiefs defense that will have Eric Berry back. On offense Kansas City will be led by do it all running back Jamaal Charles. They also gave Alex Smith a weapon on the outside in Jeremy Maclin. Don’t be surprised if a wide receiver catches a touchdown to end the streak from last year. I like the Chiefs on the road in this spot.
San Francisco 49ers +2.5 vs Minnesota Vikings
My eyes light up whenever I see a home underdog in a primetime game. This line opened with the 49ers a 3.5 point favorite and has swung to Vikings -2.5. That is a major shift due mostly to the tumultuous offseason in San Francisco. While it was less than ideal the demise of the 49ers may be a bit overstated. I think they still have enough playmakers on both sides of the ball to pull out a win in this one. I think the Vikings will be a good team this season but it will take them a game or two to get it rolling.