My week 1 picks will be all about just three things, coaching, QBs, and the offensive lines. Success in the NFL often comes down essentially to just these basics. If you have all three, you will likely be a playoff team. If you have just one or two, you will likely be home watching on games in TV come January.
NFL: Patriots (-3) Vs Dolphins $
What do I have to say about Bill Belichick? How many Super Bowl do you think Brady would have won without Bill on the sidelines? Maybe one or two, but not six! He is still the best coach in the NFL manages to retool this Patriots team every year.
Last year the Pats had down year after Cam Newton took over for Brady. That experiment didn’t work out and Bill immediately went out and found a solution drafting Mac Jones number 15 overall out of Bama. Jones will be an immediate upgrade over Newton and will fit into the Belichick scheme very quickly. Patriots will not Super Bowl contenders this season, but I do expect them to return to the playoffs.
Tua Tagovailoa was also drafted in the first round out of Bama and comes back for his second season for the Dolphins. The Miami coaching staff has a history of not developing high toted QBs and there is word from the team they may already be looking to trade or upgrade Tua.
Dolphins had a decent season last season narrowly missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record. I get the impression however, they may have over performed last year and could very likely take a small step back this year. Going on the road to New England to start the season is not a good way to build confidence as they lost 21-11 in the same spot last year.
The Patriots get the check mark here under the coaching and QB column, so I like their chances of covering the small point spread at home.
NFL: Bills (-6.5) Vs Steelers $
The Buffalo Bills established themselves as a top tier team in the AFC losing in the conference finals to the Chiefs. It was an amazing 15-4 season lead by Josh Allen who took a giant leap forward in his play and established himself as a top notch NFL QB.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a massive collapse after an 11-0 start that finished with an embarrassing home playoff loss to their rivals from Cleveland. I detailed all the reasons I think this team will be worse this year in my AFC Preseason props post a couple weeks ago. Ben Roethlisberger playing in his 18th season is no longer the elite QB he used to be and frankly I would have preferred see him retire.
Worse yet the Steelers offensive line is one of the worse in the NFL and they their RB hopes are pinned to the rookie Najee Harris out of Bama. They will struggle running the ball and Ben no longer has the arm strength to throw accurately down field.
This should be an easy opening day victory for the Bills.
NFL: Rams (-7.5) Vs Bears $
The Bears are another team that are going to struggle with their offensive line this season and I detailed some of their challenges for this season in my AFC preseason props post. Andy Dalton starts for his third NFL team in three years, but I cannot almost assure you he will not finish the season as starter as Justin Fields is sure to be promoted to that role sooner rather than later. Dalton, in his prime, was at best an average NFL QB and his best games are now behind him. Fields will be good in time, but he is not ready to start behind a line that cannot adequately protect him.
On the other side of the ball, the Rams rescued Matthew Stafford out of Detroit as he looks to revitalize his career behind a more quality team. I really like this coaching staff as well lead by head coach Sean McVay, who now in his fifth season is primed to take the next step forward and get the Rams to the NFC conference game.
The Rams should get the victory week 1 but my only concern may be the big point spread. We should get a more clarity on just how bad the Bears will this season fairly quickly.
I plan on releasing my NFL picks every Friday morning this season. If there are any late picks or updates, they will be released either Saturday night or Sunday morning so make sure you check back here Daily for my updated picks.
NFL odds and analysis provided by Odds Shark.