HOU (0-0) @ KC (0-0) / KC -10.5
- The 2020 NFL season kicks off on Thursday Night with a game between the Texans and the Chiefs, a matchup that we actually saw twice last year that was split. However, heading into this year this Texans team is quite different with the biggest loss obviously being DeAndre Hopkins, while having added guys like David Johnson and Brandin Cooks offensively. The offensive line for the Texans is also still a bit of a question with Watson consistently running for his life last year and we expect that to carry over a bit into 2020, which might be an issue versus a KC defense that started to improve towards the latter part of 2019. Overall we have to give the edge to KC pretty much at every single position offensively, from QB to WR, TE, and even RB where versatile rookie Clyde-Edwards Helaire should see a lot of action. With no preseason games this year we wouldn't be shocked if this game starts off sloppy and then picks up later. The Chiefs come in as heavy favorites at -10.5 and while we agree that they should be favored that is a big number and with some expected rust and this being the first game of the year this game will likely be a lot closer than most anticipate.
SEA (0-0) @ ATL (0-0) / ATL +1.5
- On paper this should be one of the top games on Sunday, Seattle is an ever so slight favorite heading into the game in what could end up being a shootout. The fact is that the Atlanta defense these last two years has been a weak point and Wilson is a QB that can absolutely take advantage of this matchup. We absolutely LOVE this Atlanta offense and believe it should be one of the best units in the NFL. The growth of Ridley, additions of Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst along with a healthier offensive line gives the Falcons the slight edge weapons wise. However, when it comes to close games which we absolutely believe this will be, then we have to look at the QB and in that case we think Wilson is one of the best in the NFL at managing those situations. Overall, we believe this will be a very back and forth type of game with both teams having a chance to win late in the game. The spread at +1.5 for Atlanta backs up this theory and the wisest thing to do here might be to hedge your bets and go with Seattle outright but Atlanta on the spread.
NYJ (0-0) @ BUF (0-0) / BUF -6.5
- In our eyes these are two teams where the arrow is pointing in completely different directions. In all likelihood the Jets will be one of the worst teams in the NFL this season while the Bills are coming off a playoff appearance in 2019 that they hope to improve on this year. Yes, this is a divisional game and could be a little bit closer but we think that talent wins out and by the 4th quarter the Bills will have pulled away. Offensively the Jets have problems with their offensive line, have a lack of bonafide weapons and also have a very inconsistent Sam Darnold at QB. Meanwhile Buffalo just added someone like Stefon Diggs, has a great line, an improving Josh Allen and a great defense. In truth this should be close to a Lock when picking outright, maybe you want to be cautious with the spread since it's only Week 1 but we believe in the Bills especially versus this opponent.
CHI (0-0) @ DET (0-0) / DET -1.5
- One of the biggest storylines for Chicago all offseason was who would win out the starting QB job Trubisky or Nick Foles. Well like we predicted, the Bears chose to give Trubisky one last chance as he was announced the Week 1 starter vs a team that he has surprisingly had a LOT of success against. Last season Trubisky actually had two of his best games passer rating wise versus Detroit who were a mess defensively all year. While Detroit added some pieces in free agency and in the draft to the defense it's still a young unit that will likely have its fair share of struggles. But make no mistake about it, this game will come down to Stafford (who was hurt for both matchups last year) and the great Chicago defense. Ultimately we still think this Chicago defense will be a Top 5 unit in the NFL and with Trubisky only having to be average in this game, the Bears should likely squeeze out a very close win in what could end up being a low scoring affair.
CLE (0-0) @ BAL (0-0) / BAL -8.5
- On paper this game is expected to be one of the biggest blowouts of the week. You have got reigning MVP Lamar Jackson versus a Cleveland squad that was one of the biggest disappointments in 2019 and still has an unproven Baker Mayfield at QB. However, this is a classic divisional game where these two teams could play each other close and the Browns actually split this series with Baltimore last year. While we slightly favor the Ravens still in this game due to the game breaking ability Lamar has, don't sleep on the Browns to make this a very competitive game. Cleveland has a vastly improved offensive line, two great RB's in Chubb and Hunt and a plethora of weapons at the disposal of Mayfield. We also do expect a slight decrease in efficiency for the Ravens offensively so Lamar probably won't be quite as dominant as last year, but he still remains one of the hardest QB's in the NFL to game plan against.
GB (0-0) @ MIN (0-0) / MIN -3.5
- Two of the favorites in the NFC North square off in a series that GB swept last year with two very balanced rosters. Offensively even though Rodgers maybe had a down year compared to his standards in 2019, we still have to give him the edge over Kirk Cousins. Otherwise skill position player wise both offenses have game changers at WR and RB with GB however boasting a slightly better offensive line. Defensively the Vikings have added a LOT of talent on the front seven and that might be the battle to watch in this game and if Rodgers can avoid the pressure from the front 4 of the Vikings. However, the GB defense like we saw last year has also improved and will force Kirk Cousins to beat them and focus on containing Dalvin Cook who is the focal point for the Vikings. Altogether, with home field advantage not really being a factor this first week we like the Packers to get a close victory late in this game by probably less than a TD.
IND (0-0) @ JAX (0-0) / JAX +7.5
- Regardless of this being a divisional game this should be one of the easiest games of the week to pick outright. With the addition of Philip Rivers the Colts once again have a viable QB that makes them a serious contender in the AFC. On the flip side the Jaguars are busy cutting and trading their most talented players as they will likely be one of if not the worst teams in the NFL this year. While Gardner Minshew showed some nice flashes last year and is the starter for the Jaguars he is on a team void of weapons outside of D.J. Chark. On the flip side the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, great talent at WR, TE, QB and a very good young defense. We expect this to be one of the biggest blowouts of Week 1 and wouldn't be shocked to see the Colts resting their starters by the 4th quarter as they run the ball down the throats of the Jaguars.
LV (0-0) @ CAR (0-0) / CAR +1.5
- The Raiders vs the Panthers won't get a lot of headlines but it could quietly be a very competitive game. The Raiders have more consistency as a whole from their QB, HC all the way to their defense and could be slightly favored due to that reason. The truth is though that nobody knows what to expect from the Panthers this year as they have a new HC in Matt Rhule, a new QB in Teddy Bridgewater, and a completely revamped defense that is now without Luke Kuechly. The spectrum of possibilities for the Panthers are many this year as they could end up being one of the worst teams in the league or close to an 8-8 team. We have doubts that Bridgewater can be a franchise QB as this Carolina team is nowhere close to the squad the Saints had last year that helped make Bridgewater look a lot better than he might have been while filling in for Drew Brees. In all likelihood this will be the Christian McCaffrey show and if the Raiders can neutralize him then they will have a good chance of winning. But because of the many question marks that could prove to be better than expected on the side of the Panthers you might be better off hedging your bets here or waiting until later in the season to comfortably bet on Carolina.
MIA (0-0) @ NE (0-0) / NE -6.5
- What would have once been a slam dunk prediction in the past all of a sudden becomes a lot harder in 2020. The Patriots will be ushered into the post Tom Brady era by former MVP QB Cam Newton who has a lot to prove himself as well, but doesn't have all that many weapons at his disposal. On the defensive side, the Patriots were one of the hardest hit teams due to COVID-19 opt outs and will be without several big name starters for the entire year which means don't expect the same dominant defensive efforts from them like last year. The Dolphins on the other hand will start off the season with Fitzpatrick under center who put together some very respectable performances last season and has some nice weapons to rely on. While the Patriots are favored by almost a TD we think it would be smarter to treat this as a close game that will be decided in the 4th quarter. That's not to say we aren't going with the Patriots as they have the advantage at QB and Cam Newton should be good enough to give them the victory here.
PHI (0-0) @ WAS (0-0) / WAS +6.5
- Another divisional game with two teams that are in very different place. The Eagles are a playoff caliber team while Washington will probably be one of the worst teams in the NFL. The latter will definitely depend a lot on the development of Dwyane Haskins but the truth is we just did not see enough from him last year to give us confidence that he is the long term answer at QB. While there are some nice weapons to get excited about for Washington like McLaurin and Gibson this team still has a very poor offensive line that will be a crutch offensively all season long especially after the loss of Trent Williams. On the flip side the Eagles are hurting yet again at WR but with some help from their TE's and Miles Sanders they have the edge offensively here. And while we actually think this game will be closer for longer than some might expect as this Washington defense is actually very talented we expect them to wane as the game progresses. If the spread continues to rise in favor of the Eagles we might avoid betting this game but at least outright the Eagles feel like a pretty comfortable pick.
LAC (0-0) @ CIN (0-0) / CIN +3.5
- If you're looking for a sneaky good game where the underdog has a real chance of winning this is the game to circle for Week 1. Without Philip Rivers the Chargers are one of the BIGGEST question marks as a whole this year. While Tyrod Taylor has some nice veteran presence and plenty of weapons around him, it will ultimately fall on his shoulders to be the difference maker in this game and we just aren't sure that will happen. On the flip side you have got the debut of rookie Joe Burrow who has some good weapons around him and will be playing versus a very up and down Chargers team. As crazy as it sounds we think the Bengals have the advantage at QB but do expect Burrow do be challenged by this talented Charger defense. Currently we are on the fence as to who to pick outright but we LOVE the Bengals on the spread. The most likely scenario is that this is a close game late and maybe it comes down to a game winning drive for Burrow where we would bet on the experienced Chargers defense to be able to make a stop versus the rookie in his first start.
TB (0-0) @ NO (0-0) / NO -3.5
- No doubt this is our FAVORITE game of the week! In 2020 we will be blessed with Brady vs Brees TWICE as Brady is now a member of this star-studded Tampa squad. If there is a game for you to take the over on total points this is the one to pick. Both of these teams project to be offensive juggernauts with weapons at every single level and also have pretty good defenses with the Saints however having the slight edge. In all likelihood this is a series that will probably be split so we will give the advantage to the home team but don't be surprised one bit if the Bucs pull this off. Right now we are simply giving the edge to the team with more chemistry and experience which would be the Saints, but either way expect this to be a back and forth game with a BUNCH of passing yards that both teams will have a chance to win late.
ARI (0-0) @ SF (0-0) / SF -7.5
- Considering how tough Arizona played the 49er's last year and with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins along with the expected growth of Kyler Murray we are a bit surprised by how large this spread is. In reality we think the Cardinals can split this series and that SF will have a bit of a decline but defensively they should still be one of the best units in the NFL. This paired with a great HC in Shannahan who prepares so well for whatever the situation and an Arizona defense that can be taken advantage of we still like the 49ers but don't be surprised to see a battle here. Offensively we actually like the Cardinals more but the experience of Garoppolo and great offensive line and rushing attack should be enough to control the pace of this game and let the 49ers play to their plan. Overall, this should be a competitive game that the Cardinals could very well have a chance to win late.
DAL (0-0) @ LAR (0-0) / LAR +2.5
- The Cowboys enter 2020 with lofty expectations as usual, but it's hard not to like what they have going offensively it's just a matter of can they play up to their potential. With a new HC in town and a QB playing on a Franchise Tag there will be lots of storylines to follow but regardless this Dallas offense is LOADED. From a great offensive line to a Top 3 RB in Elliott and one of the best trio of WR's Dallas can be one of the best offenses in the NFL as long as Dak doesn't take a step back. For the Rams they are coming off a very disappointing year where Goff regressed and the offensive line was a huge issue. In truth, we don't see a quick fix for this Ram line and with the losses of Cooks and Gurley this offense will heavily rely on Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. While the Ram defense is great this ultimately comes down to Dak vs Goff and at this point in time we have to give the edge to Dallas and believe that they win a close game by between 4-7 points.
PIT (0-0) @ NYG (0-0) / NYG +3.5
- Last year was an injury riddled season for the Steelers but truthfully they got a pass as soon as Roethlisberger went down in Week 2. Now with a fully healthy Big Ben, JuJu, and James Conner we expect the Steelers to be a force offensively yet again. On the other side you have sophomore QB Daniel Jones who has plenty of weapons himself along with one of the best RB's in the NFL in Saquon Barkley. We expect the Giants to take a step forward this year and surprise some people especially offensively, but we just aren't sure that this matchup is the one we will see it in as this Steeler defense is tremendous. Most likely the Giants keep this game close for a few quarters but we expect the better team to pull away late as the Steelers will wear down the Giants and likely force Jones into several turnovers.
TEN (0-0) @ DEN (0-0) / DEN -2.5
- The final game of Week 1 could be one of the lowest scoring contests as both these teams have run first mentalities while playing stout defense. What is the most surprising thing here however is the fact that the Broncos are actually favored! This isn't to say that Denver can't win as both these teams can be very inconsistent but Denver will be relying on one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, an unproven second year QB in Drew Lock and a defense that isn't as good as what it was several years ago. And while we have questions as to whether Tannehill can actually be a franchise QB we still have more faith in him and that Titan offensive line which is what makes us favor Tennessee. The style of this game could lend itself to a closer game that could go either way so at the end if you choose to pass betting on this contest we can't blame you.
- BUF, IND, PHI