In typical fashion the Patriots cheated and won last night. They’ve been doing it for years. You don’t think they cheated? Well, Mike Tomlin thinks otherwise. That aside, the Patriots dominated as expected and were on their way to an easy cover if not for some garbage time points from Pittsburgh. (Al Michaels, as always, was quick to point that out to everyone.) The key is New England’s defense isn’t as good as last year. If Indianapolis doesn’t have their head up their ass, they might be able to go head to head with Brady this year. It’ll help if they get that #1 seed and home field advantage. Without further ado, here are your NFL week 1 2015 picks against the spread. Happy betting!
Locks of the Week:
Green Bay -6.5 over CHICAGO
In Jay Cutler’s type as a Bear, he’s 1-6 against the Packers at Soldier Field including regular season and playoffs. The average margin of defeat in those games is 9.67 points and the five of the six losses were by a touchdown or more. Now Cutler comes into this game with his #1 receiver from last year is in New York and his #1 receiver this year is playing at less than 100%. That’s not what you need when you’re going up against arguably the best offense in the NFC.
J.Camm: Green Bay
ARIZONA -2.5 over New Orleans
The Saints are getting some early season love, but I’m not really sure why. Their offense lost weapons and now their best cover corner is out 4-6 weeks. That’s not what a bad Saints’ defense needed to contain all of Arizona’s quality wide receivers. Carson Palmer is back for the Cardinals, which means their offense won’t be atrocious like it was towards the end of last year. The Cardinals deserve continued respect as long as Bruce Arians is coaching them up.
J.Camm: New Orleans
Detroit +3 over SAN DIEGO
The late slate has some quality games and here’s another one. Detroit may have lost the aforementioned Suh, but the addition of Haloti Ngata means their defense isn’t disappearing just yet. They should still be able to get after San Diego’s mediocre offensive line and stop their running game. San Diego meanwhile will struggle to contain Detroit’s receivers. And locals on the beach everywhere will get to enjoy Matt Stafford’s wife in a bikini on the beach.
Trap Game of the Week:
New York Giants +6 over DALLAS
Games between the Giants and the Cowboys always seem to be very competitive. The Giants owned AT&T Stadium after it opened, winning their first four games there. Dallas has rebounded in the last two and also owns four straight wins and wins in five of the last six against the Giants. We’ll find out whether or not Dallas’ running game can be anywhere near 75% as potent without Demarco Murray. Their passing game should still be as effective as ever, so they will likely have success against a Giant’s secondary devoid of quality safeties. Despite how bad they looked in the preseason, the Giants should be able to do damage against a Cowboys’ defense that was protected by their running game last year. Points will be scored, fun will be had, and the Giants think this number is too high.
Rest of the Picks:
Seattle -4 over ST. LOUIS
Get excited Rams’ fans. This weekend you get to watch the dynamic trio of Nick Foles, Benny Cunningham, and Brian Quick lead your offense. They’ll go up against one of the best defenses in football, who come into the season motivated after giving up the Super Bowl. They added offense as well in the form of Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett. Have fun on Sunday.
N.Y. JETS -3 over Cleveland
The over/under for this game is 39.5, the lowest of any game this week. If you’re watching games on Sunday, I suggest you focus on something other than this one. The Browns might be the only team in the league with worst offensive weapons this week than the Rams. That doesn’t bode well as the Jets improved their secondary in the offseason. The loss of Sheldon Richardson will hurt, but we’ll have to see how much. The Jets meanwhile offer something better on the other side of the ball, but they’re still starting Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. This game will be extremely close and low scoring, but I’ll take the one with the better chance of getting the points. The under on Cleveland’s 18.5 team total is the real lock of the week.
JACKSONVILLE +3 over Carolina
Another close, low-scoring game is expected in Jacksonville. There’s something about the Jags that intrigues me this year. Maybe their offense is more fantasy than reality, but their defense wasn’t terrible last year. They were 19th in the league in yards per play allowed, which is a better indicator of their defense than yards or points allowed per game. One step ahead of that is yards per carry allowed, where Jacksonville finished 12th in the league. Carolina won’t be able to do much in the air this week starting wide receivers like Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey (formerly known as “Philly”) Brown. I’ll take the points in the hope that Jacksonville’s fantasy offense gets it done.
HOUSTON -1 over Kansas City
These early games are really beating offensive football to death. This is the third game in a row where not much offense is expected. Kansas City’s rebuilt offensive line will face a massive test in Houston’s front seven and Jeremy Maclin will likely find it hard to break loose against Houston’s above-average cornerbacks. Houston should at least be able to run the ball a little against a team that was 30th in yards per rushing attempt last year and the home-field advantage will help them push over the edge. J.J. Watt can celebrate with some hamburgers.
Miami -3.5 over WASHINGTON
I couldn’t be more in on the Dolphins this year and more off on the Redskins. (Realistically, when is anyone ever really in on the Redskins. Even their name draws anger.) Washington’s running game will struggle without the read-option element of Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins is not Joe Theismann in the air. He played in six games last year and had an ESPN QBR of 46.5. Had Cousins gotten enough plays to quality, he would’ve been 24th in the league. Meanwhile Ryan Tannehill is on the rise, Ndamukong Suh is in the fold, and football is back in SOUTH BEACH!
Indianapolis -2.5 over BUFFALO
Buffalo is saying they see Andrew Luck as a regular quarterback. Maybe they need to get their eyes checked. Buffalo’s defense is legit and Indianapolis’ offense doesn’t perform as well on the road, but the Colts will score 20 points this week. Can Buffalo really get anything done with Tyrod Taylor and a banged up LeSean McCoy? 14 would be lucky and not enough to cover.
Baltimore +5 over DENVER
The third great late slate game has two huge questions. For starters, is Peyton Manning back to his old self or was the end of last year a sign of things to come? Next, will Baltimore’s offense be good enough to compete after the loss of Torrey Smith and former offensive coordinate Gary Kubiak to Denver. We’ll get some answers to these questions this weekend. It’s a tough call, but I think Manning will start trending down soon enough and the Ravens’ defense should keep them in this one.
Tennessee +3 over TAMPA BAY
This game is fun if for nothing else the players picked with the two first selections in the NFL Draft will take on each other. It helps make it more fun since both are quarterbacks. Neither team is going to be competitive this year as they both still have plenty of room to grow. With Mike Evans running at less than 100%, I’ll lean towards Tennessee in this matchup because I think Jameis Winston is more prone to the big turnover than Marcus Mariota will be.
J.Camm: Tampa Bay
Cincinnati -3 over OAKLAND
The Bengals will always struggle when facing a good defense because Andy Dalton is clearly a questionable answer at QB. Fortunately for them the season starts in Oakland, where they shouldn’t have any problems. The Raiders’ pass defense doesn’t have enough weapons to cause Dalton to panic and I don’t trust their coaching staff enough to scheme something up. The Raiders are still working through the kinks offensively and it facing a top 10 defense won’t make them look too effective this weekend.
ATLANTA -2.5 over Philadelphia
Everyone’s on the Eagles’ bandwagon this year, but the Falcons are no slouch. They also have a great home field advantage and the Eagles don’t have the defense to frazzle Matt Ryan too badly. This one will be a shootout, so let’s go with the home team to have the last laugh. The Eagles should’ve kept Tebow. He would’ve improved their karma.
Minnesota -2.5 over SAN FRANCISCO
Is anyone left to play football in San Francisco? It doesn’t seem like it. Harbaugh left town and his players soon followed with numerous retirements and off the field issues being the cause. Minnesota should take a step forward this year and obviously have Adrian Peterson back. San Francisco’s got nothing left to stop AD this week.
J.Camm: San Francisco
This Week: 0-0-1