September 7, 2018

Deja Vu all over again + Week 1 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Tell me if this sounds familiar: The Falcons had a first and goal needing a touchdown in Philadelphia with time winding down. But despite having one of the league’s best offences, they can’t do it in four tries.

Yes, the same thing that happened in last year’s playoffs happened again.

At what point will Atlanta give offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian the boot? That was brutal stuff down at the goal on Thursday night.

The lines are from Westgate and the home teams are in CAPS.

Atlanta +1 over PHILADELPHIA

Nick Foles wasn’t good and the Eagles should be concerned if Carson Wentz isn’t going to be back for a few more weeks. Also, it was nice of the Eagles to play their greatest hit and roll out the Philly Special in the opener.

Pittsburgh -4.5 over CLEVELAND

Do the Steelers really need Le’Veon Bell to beat the Browns? Probably not. And this team might actually be galvanized by the star RB’s holdout and eager to prove that they don’t need him. Big Ben has an outstanding record vs. the Browns, too.

MINNESOTA -6 over San Francisco

Jimmy G’s first season as a  franchise QB gets off to a rough start. The Vikings are one of the best teams out there and their defence is no joke. Home-field advantage is big in Minny, too.

Cincinnati +3 over INDIANAPOLIS

The Bengals came off the rails at the end of last season, but could regroup with the help of an outstanding pass rush and A.J. Green’s ability out wide. Andrew Luck makes his long-awaited return, but will it be enough?

BALTIMORE -7.5 over Buffalo

We’re not very high on the Ravens, but we are very low on the Bills. This is a squad that is seriously lacking and starting Nathan Peterman demonstrates just how low it can go. At least Shady McCoy can play, for now, but what line is there to block for him?

Jacksonville -3 over N.Y. GIANTS

The Giants’ full recovered offence gets a big test right off the bat. The Jags defence should put Eli Manning under pressure all day and not give No. 2 pick Saquon Barkley much room to run.

Tampa Bay +9.5 over NEW ORLEANS

This could be one of those wonky Week 1 games, where nobody is really up to speed. We like the Saints to take this one, but covering by double-digits is a bit much against a division rival.

NEW ENGLAND -6 over Houston

There’s a lot of hype for Houston this season with so many players coming back from injury, but the Pats are still one of the league’s best teams. There’s also no telling what we’re going to get from Deshaun Watson in his first game back from a torn ACL less than a year ago.

Tennessee -1.5 over MIAMI

The Titans are coming off a playoff berth and could be even better while the Dolphins could be on their way to the first overall pick. Two teams going in different directions.

Kansas City +3 over L.A. CHARGERS

We’re not sure why they’re giving the Chargers a home-field advantage boost when they don’t really have one. Expect a ton of Chiefs fans in L.A. As for the teams, the Chiefs are the more talented team and should take it.

DENVER -3 over Seattle

Somehow, Case Keenum is a big upgrade at QB for the Broncos and the pass rush should have Russell Wilson on the move all game long. Getting the Mile High advantage also helps early in the season when conditioning isn’t great for visitors.

CAROLINA -3 over Dallas

Losing your centre is tough news – it’s even worse when your backup is in charge of marking Luke Kuechly. The Panthers are the more talented team, but we’re interested to see what Dallas’ offence looks like this season.

Washington +1 over ARIZONA

The Cards could be a very deep sleeper, but we think Washington is a better bet to make some noise this season. Arizona’s biggest advantage, Patrick Peterson, is kind of neutralized in this one, considering Washington seemingly lacks a true WR1 for him to blanket.

Chicago +7.5 over GREEN BAY

A rivalry game in Prime Time? Are you really ready to surrender more than a touchdown? The Bears get a big boost from landing Khalil Mack and Matt Nagy’s offence could do well against the Packers’ inexperienced secondary.

New York Jets +6.5 over DETROIT

The Lions haven’t been able to really put the boots to anybody consistently for a few seasons, so it’s difficult to give so many points. The Jets have experience going against new Detroit coach Matt Patricia from his Pats days, too.

L.A. Rams -4 over OAKLAND

This one could be a blowout. There’s no reason to think that the Raiders will be able to hang with a team like the Rams.

Last season: 127-107-10

Last playoffs: 6-5

PREDICTIONS

AFC EAST: New England Patriots

AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC SOUTH: Tennessee Titans

AFC WEST: Kansas City Chiefs

AFC WILD CARDS: Jacksonville Jaguars, L.A. Chargers

NFC EAST: Philadelphia Eagles

NFC NORTH: Minnesota Vikings

NFC SOUTH: Atlanta Falcons

NFC WEST: L.A. Rams

NFC WILD CARDS: New Orleans Saints, Washington.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Jaguars over Chiefs

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Vikings over Rams

SUPER BOWL: Vikings over Jaguars

MVP: Drew Brees, NO

FIRST-OVERALL PICK: Oakland Raiders

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