We opened up Week 1 by going a combined 15-17 on both spreads and total points. As far as Week 1 performances go, I trust this is just a speed bump on the road to success. For some, we were extremely close but others didn’t exactly go to plan. We were just one point off in the Cowboys vs Giants (35-17 instead of 34-17) and three points off in the Rams vs Panthers (30-27 instead of 30-24). We were also extremely close on the Chargers vs Colts.
Overall, Week 1 is traditionally a big hit or miss week with predicting games. As the season rolls along, the opportunity for taking advantage of soft lines will diminish, but it should also give us a lot more information by which we can analyze.
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This week, there are some intriguing matchups. If you have a few minutes, check out Collin’s thoughts on each of this week’s games. Got just a minute? Here is a summary of Collin’s picks for the upcoming week.
|Matchup/Line||Collin's Pick||Take With the Spread||Over/Under|
|Bucs @ Panthers -7 O/U: 48||Panthers 31 Bucs 20||Panthers||Over|
|Cardinals @ Ravens -13 O/U: 46.5||Ravens 27 Cardinals 17||Cardinals||Under|
|Bills -1.5 @ Giants O/U: 43.5||Bills 27 Giants 16||Bills||Under|
|Cowboys -6 @ Redskins O/U: 46.5||Cowboys 30 Redskins 22||Cowboys||Over|
|Colts @ Titans -3.5 O/U: 44.5||Colts 20 Titans 19||Colts||Under|
|Jaguars @ Texans -9.5 O/U: 43.5||Texans 24 Jaguars 20||Jaguars||Over|
|Chargers -2.5 @ Lions O/U: 48||Chargers 31 Lions 23||Chargers||Over|
|Vikings @ Packers -3 O/U: 44||Packers 24 Vikings 20||Vikings||N/A|
|Patriots -18.5 @ Dolphins O/U: 48.5||Patriots 45 Dolphins 10||Patriots||Over|
|Seahawks @ Steelers -4 O/U: 46.5||Steelers 31 Seahawks 23||Steelers||Over|
|49ers @ Bengals -1.5 O/U: 45.5||49ers 24 Bengals 19||49ers||Under|
|Chiefs -7 @ Raiders O/U: 53.5||Chiefs 30 Raiders 24||Chiefs||Over|
|Bears -2.5 @ Broncos O/U: 40.5||Bears 20 Broncos 16||Bears||Under|
|Eagles -2 @ Falcons O/U: 52.5||Eagles 31 Falcons 24||Eagles||Over|
|Saints @ Rams -2.5 O/U: 52.5||Rams 30 Saints 27||Rams||Over|
|Browns -6.5 @ Jets O/U: 44.5||Browns 34 Jets 13||Browns||Over|
September 12th (Thursday night)
Bucs @ Panthers -7 O/U: 48
The opener wasn’t great for either of these two teams. In fact, the Bucs opener was downright depressing. With no quarterback controversy to deal with in 2019, it seemed like the Bucs are ready to see one last season of Jameis to decide if they want to extend him and make him their long-term franchise quarterback. Jameis was awful, to say the very least. There’s some who believe Cam Newton still isn’t quite healthy, which would be tough to refute, given the performance from last week.
Newton didn’t look especially potent, nor did he look very mobile. The Panthers defense was difficult to grade in Week 1, due to a unique challenge in the LA Rams. With this matchup, I think the Panthers can play a very safe game plan and have less of variance of outcomes than the Bucs. I think the Bucs will lean towards a more conservative game plan to work Winston into a comfort zone, but doing this will result in a negative game script. I think the Panthers will put it out of reach late. Panthers 31 Bucs 20
September 15th (Sunday)
Cardinals @ Ravens -13 O/U: 46.5
This line seems especially high, given the fact this sort of line is usually designated to high-scoring teams and not this early in a season. Before last week, no one would tell you the Ravens are a high-scoring, complete team. Alas, the dominating performance against the Dolphins in Week 1 was enough to convince oddsmakers the Ravens are more of a force than anyone believed this time a week ago. I think the Dolphins lack of talent, offensive identity, and lack of leadership were the primary reasons for their collapse last week. I think the Ravens may be getting more credit than they actually deserve here.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, fought back to tie the Lions in Week 1. The first half was particularly awful for the Cardinals, but they overcame a large deficit and overcame the odds when it mattered most. For this home opener, the Ravens will be riding a wave of momentum. They have a strong defense and a versatile offense, but there isn’t a lot to suggest this game should have such a high line. I think the Cardinals aren’t as bad as we fear and this game isn’t going to be nearly as lopsided as the line indicates. Ravens 27 Cardinals 17
Bills -1.5 @ Giants O/U: 43.5
It strange seeing the Bills listed as a road favorite; especially given the NFC matchup. Buffalo’s defense came up huge last week when the Bills won a road opener against the new-look Jets. Just when the game seemed out of reach for Buffalo, the Bills dug deep and pulled off a squeaker. The Giants were completely dominated by the Cowboys, as Kellen Moore looked like Sean McVay in his first few seasons with the Rams. I think the Bills defense will be too much for the Giants in this one.
Even if the Giants manage to break off a few big plays with Barkley or Engram, they are limited with Eli and a hobbled receiving corps. I think Buffalo will balance their offense well and Josh Allen will make plays when the Giants force him to. Last week, the Giants not only couldn’t pressure Dak, they didn’t force him to beat them on the ground. Allen isn’t likely to dissect the Giants in the pocket like Dak was, so I expect he’s going to do most of the damage with his legs. I think the Bills coast in this matchup.
Bills 27 Giants 16
Cowboys -6 @ Redskins O/U: 46.5
Kellen Moore’s new offense was unveiled last week as the Cowboys completely eviscerated the Giants in most phases of the game. The Redskins got off to a surprisingly strong start against the Eagles but ultimately ran out of gas in the end. I don’t think the Cowboys will be as caught off guard as the Eagles were last week, especially now with film on Case Keenum in that offense. This one should be a battle in the trenches and honestly, I like the Cowboys to take this one over in the second half and never look back. Cowboys 30 Redskins 22
Colts @ Titans -3.5 O/U: 44.5
I’m a firm believer that the Colts are for real. I get the Chargers were missing Derwin James last week, but the Colts proved what I already suspected. Jacoby Brissett is much better than the 2017 version we saw and that offensive line is elite. For those reasons alone, we can’t rule out the Colts in 2019 and I’m not abandoning hope anytime soon, especially with their solid defense.
The Titans might have benefitted from a weakened Browns offensive line as they got heavy pressure on Baker Mayfield throughout the game, forcing three interceptions. Defensively, the Titans swarmed. This game should reflect more of the first half of both these teams’ Week 1 performances. The Titans will need to neutralize the Colts defense with screens and utilize a lot of pre-snap motion to keep the Colts off balance. Given how strong the Titans defense looked against the Browns, I’m expecting the Colts to hammer the run and employ a lot of play-action. I expect their rate will exceed their 2018 average of 22%. This one should be a defensive struggle. Colts 20 Titans 19
Jaguars @ Texans -9.5 O/U: 43.5
The Jaguars will be without quarterback Nick Foles for the foreseeable future and must rely on a rookie, Gardner Minshew. The Jags lost their cool against the Chiefs last week and seemed to lose their discipline on defense as well. The Texans lost a heartbreaker against a solid Saints team on the road. Will the Texans bounce back from a heartbreaking loss and regroup against a division rival at home? I think they will but I’m not convinced it’s going to be as big of a victory as the books indicate. Texans 24 Jaguars 20
Chargers -2.5 @ Lions O/U: 48
Both the Chargers and Lions struggled to close out their games last week. Both teams led late but got a little too conservative and it cost the Lions. In this home opener, the Lions will have the tough task of slowing the Chargers dynamic offense. The loss of Hunter Henry will be another big blow for the Chargers and adds to the long list of Chargers players who seemingly get hurt every season. The Lions are going to have a rough time exploiting this Chargers defense, even if they’re down Derwin James. The Lions are going to have to stay committed to the run if they want to find success and Matt Stafford will have little room for error. I think the Chargers win going away. Chargers 31 Lions 23
Vikings @ Packers -3 O/U: 44
The Vikings defense, which was on vacation in 2018, returned to their 2017 form last week against the Falcons. Call it what you want, but the Falcons struggled mightily to stop the run and as a result, Kirk Cousins only had to throw the ball ten times. The Packers looked strong defensively a week ago, but it could’ve been more of an indictment on Mitch Trubisky’s awful play. The Packers play count last week was shockingly low, so the idea this will somehow be a fast-paced game when you consider Cousins’ attempts from a week ago. Packers 24 Vikings 20
Patriots -18.5 @ Dolphins O/U: 48.5
Alright, folks, this might be the biggest spread in NFL history, but there are some things to consider here. First, we know the Dolphins are in full tank mode. The Patriots might have the best defense they’ve ever had. The Dolphins have no decent receivers and they have a very turnover-prone quarterback. The gameplan last week against the Ravens was designed to stop Lamar Jackson by pulling in the safeties and committing to the run. Because of that, the Dolphins were killed by deep, quick strikes and the game snowballed early. I don’t expect the same drubbing. Well, I do, just not to the same degree. Patriots 45 Dolphins 10
Seahawks @ Steelers -4 O/U: 46.5
The Seahawks didn’t look very good last week as they squeezed out a close victory at home against the Bengals, who lost their star running back and were without their best receiver. The Steelers looked like a team using an old Texas Tech playbook from the late 90s out there. Neither team offered an inspiring performance in Week 1, but I suppose we should credit the Seahawks for winning. For this matchup, I think the Seahawks and their inept passing defense will be an utter disaster. I expect the Steelers to throw the ball all over the Seahawks will struggle to keep up. Steelers 31 Seahawks 23
49ers @ Bengals -1.5 O/U: 45.5
Conventional wisdom makes us all doubters of the Bengals at the start of every season. We never really take them seriously because they haven’t won a playoff game since before the majority of the players in the league were born. They hung tough last week and it was hard to tell if the Seahawks were just playing that poorly or if the Bengals actually were decent.
The 49ers were difficult to grade too. They looked out of synch on offense for chunks of the game but still managed to win easily, thanks in part to two pick-sixes thrown by Jameis Winston. I like the coaching staff and talent more on the 49ers so I’m going to gamble a bit here and say the Seahawks were actually just bad last week and this isn’t really a team we’re going to need to be worried about just yet. 49ers 24 Bengals 19
Chiefs -7 @ Raiders O/U: 53.5
As good as the Chiefs looked last week, the Raiders looked equally cleanTyreek Hill will be a huge blow for the Chiefs, but they have enough weapons and a capable quarterback (to say the least) to make plays when they need to. The Raiders looked sharp. Derek Carr looked really solid again. Waller and Jacobs emerged as offensive weapons, while the defense did alright Week 1. This won’t be the blowout we’d have expected prior to the season. Chiefs 30 Raiders 24
Bears -2.5 @ Broncos O/U: 40.5
The Bears looked like a broken wheel in the opener last week. Mitch Trubisky, who many expected to emerge in 2019 as a third season quarterback, looked like a freshman making his first high school start. The Broncos matchup certainly doesn’t look intimidating, given how the Broncos were dismantled by the Raiders in Week 1. I think the Bears will scale back the offensive playcalling and look to beat the Broncos on the ground by a combination of designed Trubisky runs, a heavy dose of Montgomery, and utilizing Tarik Cohen through a variety of methods .Bears 20 Broncos 16
Eagles -2 @ Falcons O/U: 52.5
The Eagles got off to a very slow start last week but finished strong on both sides of the ball. The Falcons got off to a very slow start against the Vikings but managed to preserve a bit of their dignity with a few garbage-time touchdowns. This week, the Falcons will be hosting the Eagles, who sport an elite pass rush, receiving corps, and offensive line. It’s going to be a challenging road game, but I think the Eagles will make a statement with a big, early road win. Eagles 31 Falcons 24
Saints @ Rams -2.5 O/U: 52.5
The Saints were all over the place on Monday. Early on, they looked very bad all over and then, they seemed to settle in when the game was winding down. With under a minute to go, the Saints gave the Texans two long completions and made a strong attempt to blow the game, until the offense picked up the slack and drove into field goal range. This Saints versus Rams matchup has all the makings of a classic. With the Rams having won each of their past two meetings and this game being at home for the Rams, I find it unlikely the Saints will leave feeling vindicated for the “No call” in last year’s NFC Championship game. Rams 30 Saints 27
September 16th (Monday night)
Browns -6.5 @ Jets O/U: 44.5
Let’s move past what happened last week with the Browns offensive line being destroyed and the Jets choking at home against Buffalo. This matchup is about the stars: Lev Bell, OBJ,