Every week I will make my picks against the spread for all NFL games this season. Week 1 is usually one of the most difficult weeks to prognosticate -- we don't know exactly how teams will look.
That said, here is where I would make my bets for the Sunday games.
Saints (-3) at Falcons: Atlanta can't possibly be as bad as they were a season ago, but they still have no pass rush. That's not going to be good against Drew Brees and a team that is thought by many to be a Super Bowl team. I am all over New Orleans here. Pick: Saints -3.
Bills at Bears (-7): Buffalo has not looked good in the preseason. The Bears have a very good offense and their defense should be improved. I do like Buffalo's ability to run the ball, but I don't think this game is close. Easy pick: Bears, -7.
Titans at Chiefs (-3.5): Tennessee has a new QB, a new head coach and a new defensive system. I know how long it takes for players to get used to Ray Horton's playbook and how they struggle until they do. Kansas City's defense has the pass rush and can you really trust Jake Locker yet? Even without some offensive weapons to start the year, you have to go with the Chiefs covering at home. PIck: Chiefs, -3.5.
Vikings at Rams (-3.5): The Rams are dead, right? Well, they still have a dominant front seven on defense and managed to stay competitive with Kellen Clemens at quarterback in 2013. They now will start Shaun Hill, who is a better QB than Clemens. And while Matt Cassel looked good in the preseason, he is still Matt Cassel. That Rams defense will give him fits. Pick: Rams, -3.5.
Dolphins at Patriots (-5): Is there any way you can throw money against Tom Brady at home, especially when he has Rob Gronkowsi back and a defense that now has Darrelle Revis? One general rule -- don't bet against Brady at home. Pick: Pats, -5.
Raiders at Jets (-5.5): Truthfully, I don't touch this game at all. There are too many unknowns. Derek Carr gets the start for the Raiders. Geno Smith is still an unknown. I say the Jets cover since they are at home and Carr is making his debut, but it is a no-confidence pick. Pick: Jets, -5.5.
Jaguars at Eagles (-10.5): The Jags were terrible last season. The Eagles were pretty dang good. Philly still has the Chip Kelly offense and LeSean McCoy. while I expect an improved Jags team, especially on defense, starting on the road against a team that moves the ball very well, I am not shying away from the big spread. I don't generally like big spreads early in the season, but I do here. Pick: Eagles, -10.5.
Browns at Steelers (-6.5): I'll be honest. I liked the Browns for the playoffs this year. But the loss of Josh Gordon makes that difficult. But they have leadership and some very solid players on defense. I am not sold on the Steelers and this should be a good game. I am not picking the Browns to win outright, but it will be a good, close game. Will Johnny Manziel get featured in a few plays? Pick: Browns, +6.5.
Bengals at Ravens (-2): This is another game I don't like in terms of actually wagering. Cincinnati looks like it could be a very good team in 2014. Baltimore? it will be in the running in the division. No Ray Rice, but they are at home to start the year and that usually brings an emotional high. It is another no-confidence pick. Pick: Ravens, -2.
Redskins at Texans (-3): Houston is still terrible. They have Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. He won't win you games. I just can't bring myself to wager on them yet. Go with Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris. Pick: Redskins, +3.
49ers (-5) at Cowboys: San Francisco improved on offense, but they have a lot of missing players on defense. Aldon Smith is suspended. NaVorro Bowman is injured. While Dallas' defense is still awful, you know that Tony Romo can play. This game will have lots of points. I don't have the Cowboys winning, but I think it goes down to the wire. I like the Cowboys to cover in a loss. Pick: Cowboys, +5.
Panthers at Buccaneers (-2): Carolina took a hit offensively when all their receivers left. Tampa Bay improved offensively a lot and don't have Greg Schiano leading them. Carolina looks like the most likely team to step back from their 2013 play. Josh McCown plays well enough to win and has some very tall weapons. Pick: Tampa, -2.
Colts at Broncos (-7.5): The Colts somehow beat the best teams in football last year, but they still aren't a great team. It is still a seemingly below average team in terms of talent, except they have Andrew Luck. Denver will remember their loss last season to Luck and even without Wes Welker, this is a Peyton Manning revenge game. Plus, Denver has added pass rush and coverage help. This is an easy pick. Pick: Broncos, -7.5.