Selection: Bears 30 - Colts 17
****Philadelphia Eagles @ Cleveland Browns (+9.5) - My first lock of the season, I expect a big win from the Eagles in Cleveland. Brandon Weeden facing one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, that spells trouble for the Browns. Michael Vick needs to put his money where his mouth is and make it through a series without a bump or bruise. Vick only dropped back 12 times in the preseason and was injured twice. LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, and of course Michael Vick are all must-start fantasy options this week. Eagles win big on Sunday.
Selection: #1 Lock of the Season - EAGLES 35 - Browns 13
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-3) - This should be a good game. The Bills have a strong offense, with an improved offensive line, and a more experienced CJ Spiller splitting touches with Fred Jackson. On the other side, Mario Williams will provide a big bump in run-stopping and quarterback pressure for the Bills defense. The Bills are a well rounded team, but they always find a way to lose a game. Not so fast in this one. The Jets had an awful preseason and now go into the regular season with drama surrounding. Should Tim Tebow start? What if Sanchez struggles early? Is Santonio Holmes a leader on this team or still a distraction? Where will the Jets find offense? Thank God the Jets have a good defense or else this would be an easy win for the Bills. I think the Jets will struggle to find an identity this season and the Bills will take advantage of early miscues. No explosiveness on offense will really hurt the Jets in this one. Bills get the road win.
Selection: Bills 16 - Jets 10
Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints (-7.5) - The bounty bans have been temporarily removed for the banned players from "Bounty Gate". That should spark some new life into the locker room in New Orleans. While I think the Redskins could possibly make a lot of noise this year in the NFC East, this is too big a game for RG3 to win. New Orleans is a very tough place to beat Drew Brees at, and I do not think the Skins can do it. Brees and his boys will use a balanced offense to win this game. I do like the Skins getting the points as I think Griffin will be fine against the Saints defense, and he will also use his legs to extend the play.
Selection: Saints 27 - Redskins 24
New England Patriots @ Tennessee Titans (+6) - The spread has to tell you something about this game right. It is screaming for me to take the points and bet the Titans. But, Brady is so loaded on offense and their defense should be improved from last season! This Patriots team has a legitimate shot at 13 or 14 wins this season. The Titans are a playoff team in a tough spot here. While I think they keep it close, I just don't know if they have the playmakers on defense to come up with a big play in the fourth quarter that can slow down this Patriot offense and give the Titans an opportunity to be in the game with the ball under two minutes.
Selection: Patriots 31 - Titans 24
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) - Blayne Gabbert has the weapons with him on offense to give his team an opportunity to win this football game. Using Robinson and Blackmon down the field will open up some running lanes for Jennings and Jones Drew to gain some extra yards. Whether AP plays or not does not change my view on this game that the Jaguars will outwork the Vikings and get the job done in Cleveland.
Selection: Jaguars 17 - Vikings 13
Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans (-13) - Ryan Tannehill...welcome to the NFL. Even if Foster is ruled inactive at game time, the Texans have Ben Tate ready to run hard against the Dolphins defense. Hard Knocks exploited the Dolphins as a potential 2-4 win team this year. They are weak and lack talent on the outside that would allow Reggie Bush to have a successful season running the football. This will be an eye opener for how the Dolphins will have to approach each upcoming game. Schaub and the Texans defense cruise to a home victory.
Selection: Texans 30 - Dolphins 7
St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions (-7.5) - The St. Louis Rams are not a bad team, and with Jeff Fisher on the sidelines they will improve. That being said, they remind me a lot of the 2010 Detroit Lions, a team that would hang tight in every game, but just disappear in the 4th quarter. The Rams have a strong front seven to keep the opposing running backs in check, their secondary has improved, but its the offensive side of the ball that they will have a hard time competing with other teams. Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson are not the wideouts that Sam Bradford should be targeting. They need help. They have a great, but aging, back in Steven Jackson and Bradford is now in his third year behind center. The lack of talent around him will be clearly evident this season. On the flip side, the Lions scream talent everywhere but their defensive secondary. Matthew Stafford will have no issues hooking up with Megatron, Burleson, Broyles, Young, Pettigrew all day against the Rams defense. Lions in a smooth home victory.
Selection: Lions 27 - Rams 17
*****Atlanta Falcons @ Kansas City Chiefs (+3) - Okay, it is time for everyone to smell their coffee. While I know how difficult it is to play in Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs are not ready to beat the Falcons. Matt Cassell had one good year, and it was with the Patriots! The quarterback is the most important position on the field and I trust the Falcons quarterback a lot more than the Chiefs quarterback. The Falcons are stacked on offense, and Julio Jones will emerge as the number one target for Matty Ice. Mind you that he also can target Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Harry Douglas, Quizz Rodgers, Michael Turner....yeah. Chiefs will be good come week 7, but they will go through growing pains early this season, and they will be fortunate that 8-8 should win their division. Lock it up, Falcons win big.
Selection: Falcons 27 - Chiefs 13
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers (-5) -
This should be an awesome game. Alex Smith and the 49ers heading in the Green Bay to play Aaron Rodgers and the explosive Packers offense. A tremendous defense on the road against an explosive offense in their backyard. Wow. After the performance against the Saints in the playoffs last season this seems doable for the 49ers. But, Green Bay will win this game. It is one of those things that is hard to explain. Look at the Patriots/ Titans game; you know the Patriots will win, but you also know the Titans have all the weapons to keep the game close and try for an upset. But you just can’t pick the Titans outright…maybe they cover, but not an outright win you know? This is how I feel in this game. The 49ers could lead the entire game, but you know Rodgers is gonna’ hook up with James Jones in some crazy scramble play and the Packers will go on to get an exciting home win. I don’t need to get in to stats or details about the players on each team. We know who has who and where each team performs really well. I do think that if the Packers can establish any bit of a run game with Cedric Benson against the 49ers front seven, then this game will be over early. That being said, it should be close, it could be a preview of the NFC Championship, but I expect the home team to handle their business.
Selection: Packers 26 - 49ers 20
*****Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) -
Pay close attention to my site all year and you will see that I am high on the Panthers this season, and I think they are a playoff team. Cam Newton is the reason. What he can do with his arm and with his legs, few quarterbacks in the league can compete with. He has a year under his belt, he has two tremendous running backs in Williams and Stewart, and of course he has Steve Smith split out on his left. The Panthers have the players to win games; it’s the mental mistakes that they have to limit this season in order to win the close games. This will be a prime example as they go on the road into Tampa Bay to play a much improved Buccaneers football team. Vinny Jackson acquired in the off season proves Joshua Freeman with a Pro Bowl receiver, and Doug Martin looks like he will be a rookie stud in the backfield after winning the starting role from L. Blount in the preseason. But, a rookie coach is on the sidelines for the Buccaneers and I expect Greg Schiano to struggle early in his rookie season. It is very tough to open your season against a strong, mobile quarterback like Cam Newton, let alone the fact that it is your first game as a Head Coach in the NFL. Take the Panthers as the road favorite.
Selection: Panthers 24 - Buccaneers 17
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (+3) - Russell Wilson in his rookie debut against a very weak Arizona Cardinals football team, I like Wilson to impress and get a nice road win for Pete Carrol and the Seahawks.
Selection: Seahawks 17 - Cardinals 9
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (-2) - I am not sold yet that Peyton Manning can jump right into the NFL and open up with a win against the most ferocious NFL defense of his era. The Steelers are older, but they are savvy veterans and they will get the job done. Manning has not shown that he can make the 20+ yard passes on a crisp, tight line. What he has shown all preseason is that 8-14 yard ins,outs,curls, and back shoulder passes are where he is most comfortable. So this means that Polamalu will be able to play his game, meander through the secondary, and attack these shorter passes. Broncos will not be able to run the ball successfully against the Steelers front seven, so it will be on Manning to outshine Roethlisberger and I do not see that happening. The Steelers should be the favorite here, in my opinion it is an upset if the Broncos win this game. The Steelers will exploit the Broncos secondary with Wallace and Brown on deep routes. Steelers win and spoil Manning's Bronco debut.
Selection: Steelers 20 - Broncos 16
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-7) - My prediction for the Bengals this season is that they take a step backwards, and by that I mean that Andy Dalton will not have the success that he did last year. The Ravens boast an All-Pro defense led by Ray and Ed, but it is the Ravens offense that I am looking most forward to this season. I expect Flacco to have a big year throwing to Torrey Smith and Quan Boldin, and we obviously all know what Mr. Rice brings to the table. The Bengals defense is still formidable but I think the Ravens have too many weapons on both sides of the ball, and they know that this could be the year they finally make it to the Super Bowl. Ravens come up guns firing, win in a big way against Cincy.
Selection: Ravens 24 - Bengals 13
San Diego Chargers @ ******Oakland Raiders (-1) - Lock this up. The Chargers are notorious slow starters under Norv Turner and that trend continues this year. Mr. Rivers and Co. won't have enough to answer for the feisty Oakland Raiders. Carson Palmer has weapons, not studs, but weapons on the outside that make plays for him. And of course RUN DMC will be the difference maker in this game for the Raiders on offense. Defensively the Raiders are stout and always play better at home. Seymour is a beast and he will have fun with the Chargers O-Line. Look for the Raiders to make big plays, come up with a big turnover, and capitalize on special teams as the Chargers are always slow starts in the area too. Oakland is a lock at home on Monday night.
Selection - Raider 27 - Chargers 23