2013 NFL picks against the spread: Take the champions on the road to open the season?

USA TODAY Sports

The champs should start at home. But it won't matter.

The NFL season officially kicks off tonight with the world champion Baltimore Ravens traveling to Denver to take on the team they defeated in the playoffs last year -- Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Joe Flacco no longer has Anquan Boldin and the defense is without Ray Lewis, as he is now retired. Can they repeat the win from January or will Denver avenge the loss?

Here is my against the spread pick

Ravens at Broncos (-7.5): While the champs typically start at home, because of the scheduling conflict with Major League Baseball, they take to the road. Denver adds Wes Welker and should hfave one of the most feared offenses all season. However, with Von Miller out for six games on suspension and Elvis Dumervil having gone to Baltimore, they will lack any punch to the pass rush. This is where the Ravens will make a difference. With Terrell Suggs and Dumervil, the Broncos will find their competition stiff. Denver by more than a touchdown? Nope. I have Baltimore for the win straight up, so naturally I am taking the points. Pick: Ravens, +7.5.

Interested in measuring up your against the spread picks through the season against mine? Join my Yahoo! pick'em group. Group 49978, password: Cardinals

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