Based on some feedback Ill try to keep up with positing weekly picks for the game this season using the lines from an office pool I’m playing. These lines are set early in the week so if you see a big discrepancy between then and now that’s the reason why. Ill update the records throughout the year.
BROWNS (+9.5) over Steelers– I’m generally not big on the Steelers in the first week of the season and this is a massive line. Steelers would have covered this once in the last 7 years to open the season. That doesn’t mean I like the Browns to win and their QB situation scares me, but I could see this being a lower than expected score. Steelers 17 Browns 10
LIONS (+1.5) over Cardinals– I don’t expect either of these teams to have a great season, but Ill take the Lions to get off to a hot start and win a close game that I could see starting off slow and then picking up the offensive pace later on. Lions 24 Cardinals 21
TEXANS (-5.5) over Jaguars– Every year we expect something from Jacksonville and every year they fumble. The QB is a concern for the Texans but that defense should create enough to maintain a 6 point cushion throughout. Texans 23 Jaguars 13
BENGALS (-2.5) over Ravens– Baltimore is the better of these two teams but this is a team that always seems to be offensively challenged early and with Flacco’s health I doubt that changes here. Bengals have more explosive talent if their line can keep Dalton upright. Bengals 24 Ravens 16
Raiders (-1.5) over TITANS– Two teams with much higher expectations than usual at the start of the year. Raiders have superior talent and I haven’t seen enough from Mariota to say he can take advantage of the Raiders biggest weakness which is that secondary. Raiders 27 Titans 23
Falcons (-6.5) over BEARS– This is a big number for a road game but unless there is a hangover from last year I don’t see how the Bears offense can compete with the Falcons one. Falcons did come out poor last year and should learn from that. Falcons 34 Bears 17
Eagles (+0.5) over REDSKINS– I’m not a big believer in Washington even at home in week 1. Eagles have added some new parts and should be able to pick apart the Washington defense to win a close game. Eagles 20 Redskins 19
Jets (+7.5) over BILLS– If the Jets can stop McCoy they probably have a shot to win this game even with Taylor being the better QB. I don’t think its lost on anyone that the Bills are basically approaching this year the same as New York and I can see some holdovers on the team treating this game too lightly making it closer than expected. Bills 20 Jets 16
RAMS (-3.5) over Colts– Its never easy picking the Rams, but Pagano’s team generally find ways to lose in week 1 and that was with Andrew Luck at QB. I would not be surprised if after this game the chatter about the Rams increases significantly before they trip over themselves the following week. Rams 27 Colts 10
Seahawks (+3.5) over PACKERS– I always like the way the Seahawks match up with the Packers. Battle up front should be fascinating and I do think that the coverage may cause a few Rodgers mistakes that tips the scales. Seahawks 24 Packers 20
49ERS (+5.5) over Panthers– Every year teams take the 49ers lightly and every year they seem to surprise someone who overlooks them. 49ers have upgraded a few pieces and these are spots where new coaches sometimes thrive. 49ers in an upset. 49ers 24 Panthers 17
Giants (+3.5) over COWBOYS– Giants had Dallas’ number last year and I don’t think that changes. They match up well with the Cowboys offensive line. Big question is can Eli do well enough to win, especially if they are without Beckham anywhere close to 100%. Giants 30 Cowboys 24
Saints (+3.5) over VIKINGS– Should be an interesting game with Vikings defense trying to contain Brees enough to give them a chance to win. If the line was under 3 I would go the other way, but these are basically two 8-8 teams and a 3 point margin based on home field. Vikings 24 Saints 21
BRONCOS (-3.5) over Chargers– Broncos generally play pretty well against Rivers and while I do think there are some questions about the Broncos ceiling I don’t expect any of that to come into play this week. Broncos 24 Chargers 16
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.