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Week 1 NFL Picks with Spread

(Image credit Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick

NFL Kickoff is here! You know what that means, the return of picking NFL games. I will give my weekly NFL draft picks with spreads over the course of the entire NFL Season. The spreads from these games were all found on Draftkings.

Thursday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Spread -7.5)

This is a weird matchup to have on a Thursday Night kickoff game. But I am excited to see football being played on Thursdays again. I really like Tampa in this game. Dallas is a complete mess right now on both offense and defense. Let's look at the Offense first. The o-line could be without both starting tackles La’el Collins and Zack Martin. Collins is currently dealing with a shoulder/neck injury which could prevent him from playing and Zack Martin tested positive for Covid-19. The offensive line is bad enough and if their best o-linemen won't play, the Buccaneers will dominate all game. I doubt that Dak Prescott will be healthy, not only with his ankle injury but he is now dealing with a shoulder injury. The Cowboys' defense is terrible excluding Demarcus Lawrence and maybe Micah Parsons. It also doesn't help that the Cowboys head coach, Mike McCarthy might be the worst coach in the entire conference. Tampa Bay is stacked on both offense and defense and did not lose any players to free agency. I am picking Tampa to not only win but blowout Dallas if La’el Collins is out in this game.

My Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -7.5

Sunday Football 1:00 PM

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (Spread +2.5)

I went back and forth with this game. I have no clue what is going on with Deshaun Watson but I doubt he plays for the team this season whether his legal issues are cleared or not. He has made it clear that he wants out with the Texans and the organization would rather keep him as a healthy scratch than get some value for him via trade. The Texans did not attract a lot of top free agents due to Watsons' request for a trade and Easterby’s influence on the toxic culture of the organization. Again Why is Jack Easterby still a part of the Houston Texans organization again? I will admit that Tyrod Taylor is a decent option at QB and at least they have depth at running back position. But the rest of this offense and defense is awful. Now let's go onto Jacksonville as they have Trevor Lawrence at QB and hopefully he will be the most consistently good QB that they have had since Mark Brunell. I have a lot of high hopes with Jacksonville but I don’t think this team is truly ready yet. Especially as Jacksonville’s defense is not good but they do have potential with Shaquill Griffin and C.J. Henderson at the secondary. But I have to say that I am not a fan of both teams' decisions about who they hired as head coach. This game is a no-bet for me but I will take the points with the Houston Texans but I'm not confident.

My Pick: Houston Texans (+2.5)

Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football Team (Spread +1)

This to me is the game of the afternoon that is the most interesting. I want to see if Justin Herbert can repeat his performance during his rookie year and I want to see how he performs against one of the best defenses in the NFL. I love what the LA Chargers did during the offseason especially when protecting Herbert by bringing in Bryan Bulaga and Corey Linsley via Free Agency and drafting Rashawn Slater Jr in the first round. Which is a great move as an offensive line will always strengthen the offense being successful. The Chargers' defense is also solid as well. As always, roses are red, violets are blue, the Chargers special teams are a continuous mess too. The Washington Football Team is also a team I am very high on. They are extremely talented on defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be the starting quarterback but he has a ton of options for him to work with on offense. I am going to go with the Washington Football Team mainly because it is a West Coast team that is traveling to play on the East Coast. But this is a game that I am excited to watch.

My Pick: Washington Football Team (+1)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (Spread -6.5)

I think the Steelers are kind of garbage. This offensive line is absolutely terrible as they lost a ton of free agents including Alejandro Villanueva and David DeCastro. They waited way too long to fix it in the draft and decided to use a first-round pick on running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth. Yes, they do have talent in receivers Juju Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool but I am not confident with Ben as the QB. The Steelers Defense is also a mess and they could be without TJ Watt as he is holding out for a new contract. That leaves only Minkah Fitzpatrick as the only defensive player that I have confidence in. I really like Buffalo and they are going to win this game easily because of how talented they are in defense and offense.

My Pick: Buffalo Bills (-6.5)

San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions (Spread +7.5)

This game will be taking place in Ford Field. It is clear to me that the Detroit Lions are the worst team in the NFC conference. Jared Goff is now the Lions' QB which is a big downgrade from Matthew Stafford (At least the Lions got two first-round picks from the Rams). The Lions could tank for a top pick to get their QB of the future whether it is Sam Howell or Spencer Ratter. I am going to go with the 49ers in this game. Especially as I think the 49ers have the better QB, WR, defense, coaching, and even special teams. The Lions do have a solid O-line and I do like Hockenson as a fantasy football option. D'Andre swift is beaten up as he has a groin injury but should play. The 49ers will most likely have Jimmy Garoppolo at QB as Trey Lance does have a finger injury. If you haven't taken a look at my recent Top 5 survivor pick options article I have mentioned that the San Francisco 49ers will be my survivor pick. I think San Francisco will dominate the Detroit Lions and I would be shocked if Detroit wins this game.

My Pick: San Francisco 49ers (-7.5)

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals (Spread +3)

The Bengals are a complete mess right now. Especially with Ja’Marr Chase having issues with catching the football which is a tremendous issue especially as the most important part for a receiver is catching the football. I wonder how many snaps Chase will play as he struggled during the preseason. Hopefully, he improves and does a better job catching the football. I question how healthy Burrow is as he only played three snaps in the preseason and has not looked the same in practice. One thing the Bengals and Vikings share is that both offensive lines are not good at all. At least the Bengals don't have Bobby Hart or Michael Jordan starting at the o-line anymore. The Bengals' offense will have a test as they will face the Vikings' defense which is good. The Vikings are solid at Offense and I think that they will have a big advantage over Cincinnati as their defense is not good at all. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are going to have a field day with the Bengals' terrible secondary. I think the Bengals have more question marks than the Vikings do. I will take the Vikings but I would stay away from this game.

My Pick: Minnesota Vikings (-3)

Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts (Spread +2.5)

The Indianapolis Colts have for the past few years failed to find the replacement for Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer failed to replace him and Philip Rivers was the short-term answer. Now the Colts decided to take the gambling approach, Carson Wentz. No surprise is that he suffered an injury that was originally going to take him out for 5-12 weeks. Luckily it seems his injury isn't severe as hoped and he was expected to be ready to go for week 1. Which is a huge boost for the Colts' offense as he is a tremendous upgrade over Jacob Eason. One Question: Who will step up in the receiver game? TY Hilton was placed on IR due to a neck injury and I wonder who is ready to step up. I fully expect the Colts to utilize the running back core as a result. I like Seattle but I think this is the Seahawks' last chance to get Carroll and Wilson another ring with the Seahawks. The Seahawk o-line did get better and they do have tools for Wilson to utilize on offense. I am a bit concerned with the Seahawks defense Especially as I am not confident with the Pass rushers on this team. The secondary is meh except for Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. I like the Colts here as they are the home team.

My Pick: Indianapolis Colts (+2.5)

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons (Spread -3.5)

I don’t understand how the Falcons are favored in this game. Yes, they are home and that gives them an advantage but look at the entire team as a whole this team is absolutely terrible. Let's start with the Falcons Offense, Look I love Matt Ryan and I hate one of his years in the NFL is going to be wasted this season but this team lost two big parts of this offense Julio Jones and Alex Mack. Julio Jones is one of the best receivers that I have ever seen catch a football in my life. If the Falcons won that Super Bowl he easily would have been the Super Bowl MVP. Alex Mack leaving this team has already had a big effect as during the preseason the snaps are very inconsistent and a bad snap can easily affect the momentum of the play. If you think their offense is bad take a look at how awful this defense is especially with their secondary AJ Terell was not good last season and Duron Harmon is starting to decline. The only player in this secondary that could be good and that I like is Fabian Moreau as he showed a ton of flashes during his time with the Washington Football Team. This team absolutely needed to blow it up and they couldn't because they still have a ton of bad contracts. At least Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff have been fired and I do like the hiring of Arthur Smith. Now with the Eagles, they are also another mess but at least they are still a lot better than the Falcons are both on offense and defense. I think Jalen Hurts has a ton of potential and I think he will expose how bad this defense will be. So obviously I am going with the Eagles as my pick in this game

My Pick: Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5)

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (Spread -5)

Here we go, this is the game that I will be keeping an eye on the most. In past articles, I have been extremely high on Robert Saleh as the Head Coach for the New York Jets. Their offense is a lot better than what it was last season. They drafted Zach Wison at QB after the team ruined Sam Darnold. This Offensive line is a lot better than what it was and Wilson has a ton of targets to throw the football to including Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Tyler Kroft, Denzel Mims, Trevon Wesco, and Keelan Cole. He even has a solid running back core with Tevin Coleman, Michael Carter, and Ty Johnson. But we have to admit the Jets defense is absolutely terrible. Excluding the Defensive Line, the safeties, and LB CJ Mosley I am not confident with the rest of this defense. The experimental players Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood both will be starting at Linebacker and have the potential of being a good part of this defense. However, they're going to have a challenge with Carolina’s offense including Christian McCaffery who has been known to expose linebackers. I have no confidence with the cornerbacks currently on the Jets roster. It still makes zero sense why the team decided to release Blessuan Austin as he was clearly the best corner on the team. DJ Moore, Terrance Marshall, and Robby Anderson (Who again Should still be a New York Jet today.) should do a good job against them. This is a revenge game for Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson but I do have a concern with Carolina as their offensive line is terrible. It is so bad that this team decided to put Cam Irving at starting blindside tackle. Cause that worked out so well in Cleveland that he was the one that got pancaked by defenders. Irving is more valuable as a guard than at tackle so this move makes no sense. I like the Jets spread-wise in this game and I think this game will be a lot closer than many think it will be.

My Pick: New York Jets (+5)

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans (Spread -3)

This was another game that I went back and forth with. I like the talent on Arizona’s offense with Kyler Murray at QB. He is absolutely a Top 10 QB in the NFL. Their running back is a question mark with either Chase Edmonds or James Connor. The Cardinals have an elite receiver in Deandre Hopkins (Thank you Bill O’Brien) and a decent offensive line. The Cardinals have a solid defensive core with a stacked Linebacker core. The Secondary is okay and I wonder if the Chandler Jones and JJ Watt pass rush tandem will work or not. The Titans are solid on offense with Ryan Tannehill free from the inept coaching of Adam Gase. Derrick Henry is a transcendent talent at running back and the Titans have good receivers in AJ Brown and Julio Jones. The Titans' defense is mediocre and could be exposed by the Cardinals. To me, this came down to who is the better-coached team Kliff Kingsbury or Mike Vrabel. I obviously am going to choose Mike Vrabel all day. This is a no bet for me though.

My Pick: Tennessee Titans (-3)

Sunday Football 4:25 PM

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (Spread -6.5)

This is the game of the Week. A rematch of one of the best playoff games last season. The Chiefs' offense continues to be unbelievable and their o-line needed to improve after it got exposed during the Super Bowl which is why the Chiefs traded for Orlando Brown Jr. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was dealing with an injury but he should be ready to go vs Cleveland. The Chiefs' defense is still solid and with Chris Jones, he will be big on stopping Cleveland’s running backs, Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. Baker Mayfield has a ton of targets to throw the ball to from Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Austin Hooper, and a returning Odell Beckham Jr. He also has a competent offensive line and I just wish Joe Thomas was still playing as he deserves playoff football after the years of incompetence that he had to deal with during his time with the Browns. Cleveland’s defense got better especially as the team upgraded in the secondary. I do think that this spread is way too high. I have the Chiefs winning this game but I will be taking the points with Cleveland as I think this game will be close.

My Pick: Cleveland Browns (+6.5)

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (Spread -3)

This was a game that I heavily debated with myself on. I got to say I really like the job Brian Flores has been doing with the Miami Dolphins. I am a believer in Tua Tagovailoa. People seem to forget that he was recovering from the same injury that ended Bo Jackson’s football career. This year the dolphins surrounded him with a ton of targets by signing Will Fuller and drafting Jaylen Waddle in the 1st round. I think this defense will still be good as Brian Flores is a defensive-minded head coach. The Patriots are also an interesting team as well this season as they drafted QB Mac Jones during the draft. They have a nice running back core and I am high on Rhamondre Stevenson. If Harris or White get injured he should have an impact. Their offensive line did improve and they signed two Tight ends in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. I am not confident with the receivers that they signed and I think that they overpaid for Kendrick Bourne. This defense will be better as the defense either opted out of last season or was injured. This game could go either or so I will take the points with Miami.

My Pick: Miami Dolphins (+3)

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (Spread +4)

As a result of Hurricane Ida, this game will not be played in New Orleans and has been moved to Jacksonville. First off my thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this storm. Thank goodness the Packers settled the Aaron Rodgers drama with the team. If he was not on the Packers roster then this team would have absolutely been a mediocre to below-average team. I don't think David Bakhtiari will play which is a big blow to this offensive line which could be an issue. I love what the packers did on defense and I have high hopes with Eric Stokes who was solid for the Packers during the preseason. I am also a believer in Jameis Winston. He has a ton of tools to help him out on offense. Michael Thomas won't play as he has recently been placed on the PUP List. I also have him as a trade candidate due to how much of a locker room problem Thomas has been and so they can get his big contract off the books. It is scary how good their offensive line is like 4 out of the 5 starting o-linemen were first-round picks made by the team. I do have to ask the Saints Why the heck would you release Latavius Murray when you don’t have a replacement for him on the team? You might have overutilized Alvin Kamara this season. The Saints' defense is still solid but there is a bit of concern with their secondary. I like the Packers to both win and cover the spread.

My Pick: Green Bay Packers (-4)

Denver Broncos at New York Giants (Spread -2.5)

Like I said during my NFC win totals over/under article, This is Daniel Jones' last chance to show that he belongs. If he doesn't the Giants will use one of their 1st round picks to find themselves another Quarterback in the future. He has all the receivers he needs and a solid running back in Saquon Barkley if he is healthy. I got to say the Giants' offensive line is not good at all. Excluding Will Hernandez, I have no confidence in this o-line and Andrew Thomas better show improvement this season as he was not good at all last season. It's going to be a problem as the Denver Broncos have a strong pass-rushing duo with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller. The Broncos also improved their secondary with the selection of Patrick Surtain. I do love that the Broncos will be starting Teddy Bridgewater at QB as he is a lot more consistent than Drew Lock has been. I think the Giants' defense is a bit underrated with their secondary being their strong point. I am going to take the points with the Broncos but this game is a no bet for me.

My Pick: Denver Broncos (+2.5)

Sunday Night Football

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (Spread -7.5)

I am not going to go too long with this game because I think it is a mismatch. I like Chicago’s defense a lot but I am not solid with Andy Dalton as the starter with how terrible that o-line currently is. This is not the same Dalton he was in Cincinnati as he no longer has smooth footwork to move in and out of the pocket. The Rams made the right decision trading Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford. Stinks losing two first-round picks but Goff’s contract with the team was ridiculous even when they signed him. It will be interesting seeing Stafford with a competent coach as he has not had that for many years. Their offense is going to improve this year even after they lost RB Cam Akers for the year due to injury. This Rams defense is going to steamroll the Bears and I would be surprised if this game is not a blowout.

My Pick: Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)

Monday Night Football

Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders (Spread +4.5)

Baltimore’s offense is solid especially with Lamar Jackson at QB. The Ravens re-signed TE Mark Andrews to a new contract a few days ago. There is an issue with the Ravens and that is injuries. They lost RB Justice Hill and JK Dobbins due to season-ending injuries and will be without WR Miles Boykin and Rashod Bateman as both are placed on IR but should return to the season later. Injuries have been an issue with the offense but it has not been an issue with their stacked defense. Which is going to be an issue for the Raider. I still don’t get why they restructured the o-line when it was your biggest strength last season. I like Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs but this o-line is not going to help their play on the field. The thing about the Raiders is that their defense is absolutely terrible. I fully expect Baltimore to win this game and cover the spread.

My Pick: Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)


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