HAPPY NEW YEAR! Forget the silly New Years where the ball comes down, you get a peck on the cheek and watch 20 College Bowl games with teams you have never heard of.
THIS Sunday (and really tonight), is the beginning of the New Year…in the NFL. With all of the drama off the field, it is refreshing to get back to the big plays, rookie sensations, coaching carousel and the fight to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
We will pick each and every game throughout the season. As a reminder, all lines are taken from BetDSI, where they will match any deposit, as part of their Welcome Package, up to $2,500 each using the code: FANTOM. Get in the game and take advantage of that amazing offer!
But lets dive right in with our Week 1 selections (all lines as of Thursday PM)
Falcons Pick’em @ Eagles: This game was once Eagles -5, which shows how little faith the betting community has in Nick Foles despite his 2017 Postseason success. When I initially picked the game it was Falcons +3.5, but since we are all about consistency, as of Thursday, it is now a pick’em. I still like the Falcons. No Wentz, no Jeffrey, no Blount and no Trey Burton. That is a lot of offensive firepower to lose. Remember, this was a 15-10 Eagles win during the playoffs, in which the Falcons had multiple chances at the goal-line to win. Falcons win outright 20-17
Steelers -4.5 @ Browns: I am a Josh Gordon fan. I like Baker Mayfield. And Jarvis Landry is one of the more under-appreciated receivers in the game. But from the looks of it, the Steelers are fed up with Le’Veon Bell and want to show him that they do not need him. James Conner is a very talented back who enjoyed a monster college career at Pitt. Antonio Brown is still there, as well as JuJu Smith-Schuster. Big Ben will hit some big plays and the Steelers will not look past the Browns. Steelers win 31-17
Vikings -6.5 vs. 49ers: As a Pats truther, I love Jimmy G as much as the next guy. But how is this 49ers team going to score points against the Vikings stout defense? Via Matt Breida? Alfred Morris? George Kittle? I do not see it. The Vikings were one game from hosting the Super Bowl last year, added an improved quarterback and have Dalvin Cook back in the fold. Love the Vikings making Jimmy G’s life miserable in the opener, while scoring plenty of points to cover the 6.5 points. Vikings win this won easily, 27-13
Bengals +2.5 @ Colts: Something concerns me about the fact Andrew Luck attempted all of two passes over 20 yards during the preseason. And his touchdown pass to Eric Ebron was a floating duck that luckily was not intercepted. Combine that with the fact that the Colts secondary is a mess and will have no answer for A.J. Green, John Ross and Joe Mixon out of the backfield, the Bengals go on the road and win this outright. Bengals win 26-20
Ravens -7 vs. Bills: So let me get this straight. The Bills draft Josh Allen with a first round pick and then start Mr. Peterman from Seinfeld? Oh, it is Nathan Peterman? Oh soooo much better. The guy that threw 153426 interceptions in one game last season is not going to go into Baltimore, who is looking to rebound from a disastrous end to the 2017 season where they failed to make the playoffs and win the game. Flacco will hit some big plays with new weapon John Brown, while Alex Collins scores a few short scores. Ravens win 23-6
Giants +3 vs. Jaguars: The OBJ saga is over. He is back in NY for good and Eli could not be happier. Will the Jaguars rebound following their collapse in the AFC Title Game? With no depth at receiver and the Giants keying on their ground game, will Blake Bortles be able to win the game? Doubtful. I like OBJ winning his matchup against Jalen Ramsey and Evan Engram having his way in the middle of the field now that he is out of the concussion protocol. And oh yeh, that Saquon Barkley guy is likely to get very involved. Giants win outright 23-20
Saints -9 vs. Buccaneers: Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing quarterback for the Bucs. Enough said. Drew Brees, Mike Thomas and Alvin Kamara will go bananas on the Bucs defense and dominate the overmatched Bucs offense. Saints win big 34-10
Texans +6 @ Patriots: Full disclosure, I am a Pats fan. But this matchup scares me. Not the Texans that show up in the playoffs…or shall I say, do not show up in the playoffs. The Texans played very well, with Deshaun Watson, in Foxboro last season and there is no reason to think they will not do so again. That game was 36-33 and tight throughout. Watson threw for over 300 yards and was really impressive for a rookie. Brady and the Pats will not lose two consecutive home openers in a row, especially since they know what kind of talent Watson is. I think the Pats win, despite their backfield injuries and Edelman suspension, but it will be closer than the experts predict. Pats win 31-27
Titans -1 @ Dolphins: Moving away from DeMarco Murray and investing in Dion Lewis was a sound investment by the Titans. I do not trust Ryan Tannehill against a solid defensive unit and this is the year Corey Davis breaks out for the Titans. The Fins have no clear cut running back (Gore, Drake, Ballage) and their wide receivers are nothing to write home about (Amendola, Parker, Stills). Gimme the Titans to go on the road and win 24-14
Chargers -3.5 vs. Chiefs: Eric Berry is likely to miss this game for the Chiefs. The Chiefs secondary, even with Berry, is a mess. They will have no answer for Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams, not to mention the skills of Melvin Gordon. The Chargers are a trendy Super Bowl pick and it is because of their explosiveness. Their campaign gets going in style this Sunday. Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs have plenty of talent, but the Chargers will get pressure on him, forcing him into some rookie (although he is in his second year) mistakes. Chargers win 30-21.
Broncos -2 vs. Seahawks: The return of Earl Thomas will mean next to nothing in this game. He may be able to step right in from a scheme perspective, but with no preseason snaps, there is no way he will be in football shape. Not to mention, playing this game at altitude will be hard for the entire Seahawks roster. Love Russell Wilson, but with Von Miller and Nick Chubb, their running game will fail to get on track. And outside of Doug Baldwin, who is the Hawks game-changer on offense? Early in the season, good weather, I expect Case Keenum to be solid, use his weapons effectively and rely on rookie Royce Freeman to control the clock. Broncos win 24-20.
Panthers -2.5 vs. Cowboys: With Travis Frederick out indefinitely, the Cowboys offensive line continues to be a MASH unit. With no offensive weapons to speak of outside of Zeke Elliot, who is going to be a trusted weapon for Dak? Cole Beasley? Terrence Williams? Michael Gallup? I want to see more from the Cowboys before I go out on a limb and take them to cover this type of game on the road. I will take Cam. Panthers win 24-17
Packers -7 vs. Bears: Aaron Rodgers is back. Mitch Trubisky still plays for the Bears. Yes they added arguably the best defensive player in the league and added Allen Robinson to the offense, but Trubisky is not ready to take his team on the road in an opener and upset the Pack. Rodgers wants to make a statement and he gets his wish. Packers win 33-13
Redskins/Cardinals Under 44: Alex Smith and Sam Bradford are the two starting quarterbacks in this game. Adrian Peterson is the starting running back for the Redskins. And outside of Larry Fitzgerald, name one starting receiver on either team….I am waiting. Given the lack of offensive firepower on both sides, I anticipate this being a low scoring game. Cardinals win 17-13.
Lions -6 vs. Jets: When Sam Darnold starts Week 1 on Monday Night Football against Detroit, he’ll become the youngest quarterback to ever start a team’s season opener. While I think Darnold will be a solid pro quarterback, his lack of weapons will haunt him this season. Yes the Jets have the secondary to match up against the Lions passing attack, however watch out for talented rookie Kerryon Johnson. Low scoring game, as both defenses should be solid, but the Lions do enough to cover. Lions win 23-16
Rams -4 @ Raiders: So the Raiders dealt their best player for two future lottery tickets. They got rid of Michael Crabtree. They still have Marshawn Lynch as their lead back. Given all of the moves the Rams made to improve on an already solid team, they have a chance to take the next step and make the Super Bowl. Love the Rams in this spot to get off to a hot start and blow out the Raiders in the black hole. Rams win 33-20
Good luck to all and be sure to check out “The All Out Blitz” show every Sunday at 11:30am ET as I answer ALL questions about fantasy lineups (daily and yearly), who to target on the waiver wire and any gambling questions you have.
And once again, HAPPY NEW YEAR!