The 2010 season starts on Thursday with a great game. It’s a rematch of the NFC Championship game when Brett Favre and the Vikings was one or two plays away from going to the Super Bowl. The Saints ended up winning the game and went on to win their first Super Bowl. The rest of the schedule is pretty loaded and should be an interesting week. Here are my betting picks against the spread for Week 1 of the 2010 NFL season.
Minnesota Vikings (+5) at New Orleans Saints (-5) – My pick is New Orleans
Brett Favre hasn’t had much practice and he’s still having ankle issues. The Vikings will miss Chester Taylor’s pass catching ability out of the backfield and Sidney Rice as a deep threat. The Saints appear to be the same team on paper this season and I see them covering this game, because the Super Bowl champ always wins and covers the next season’s opener.
Carolina Panthers (+7) at New York Giants (-7) – My pick is Carolina
This line seems kind of off. I know that Carolina wasn’t great last season and they lost Julius Peppers, but Matt Moore showed promise and they still return DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Giants had defensive issues last year and I’m not sold on either Ahmad Bradshaw or Brandon Jacobs to help make the Giants offensive attack balanced. I see the Panthers ruining the Giants home opener and not only win against the spread, but win outright.
Miami Dolphins (-3) at Buffalo Bills (+3) – My pick is Miami
The Dolphins is a darkhorse to win the AFC East this season, if they can take care of their own business. They need to win their divisional games and the rest should play itself out. The Bills lack blue chip players are nearly every position and will have trouble winning games this season, Miami should thank the scheduling Gods for not having this game in December. The Dolphins win and cover this game.
Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5) – My pick is Atlanta
This line should be higher in Atlanta’s favor, but the Steelers are a “public team,” so homers for the team bet blindly on their team. The Steelers are without Big Ben and trot Dennis Dixon out there to start. Dixon looked “good” in garbage time last season, but Atlanta is a good football team. The Steelers defense will have to play out of their minds to keep this one close. I am picking the Falcons to cover this game big.
Detroit Lions (+6.5) at Chicago Bears (-6.5) – My pick is Detroit
I really don’t feel great that I am picking the Lions. It’s not that I don’t feel comfortable in doing so, but the franchise has been synonymous with losing for the last decade. The Lions have had a couple decent drafts in a row and some of their younger players are starting to turn the corner. The Bears add Mike Martz in as Offensive Coordinator, but that will a disaster if they can’t get better at protecting Jay Cutler. Martz’s plays take longer to develop and Cutler will end up on his back more times than any other time in his career. I see the Lions keeping this game close and winning against the spread.
Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5) at New England Patriots (-4.5) – My pick is new England
I know the Bengals made the playoffs last season and I should like them more, but the AFC Central teams didn’t show up to play them last season. They swept their division and backed into the playoffs. New England does well when they have plenty of time to study their opponent. Since this game was announced months ago, I see the Patriots taking care of business at home and covering the spread.
Cleveland Browns (+3) at Tampa Buccaneers (-13.5) – My pick is Cleveland
The Browns played themselves out of a top 3 pick last season by winning their last few games of the season. Jake Delhomme steps in at QB and adds a few new weapons on offense and defense. Tampa Bay was another team that scraped the bottom of the league in 2009. Josh Freeman gained a lot of experience last season, but they have a lot of youth on their team as well. The Browns should be able to keep this close and pull out a victory and cover, if Delhomme takes care of the ball.
Denver Broncos (+2.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5) – My pick is Denver
Denver’s training camp reads like a MASH unit. Everyone from Elvis Dumervil to Knowshon Moreno have been injured. The Broncos started out red hot last season, but cooled off and didn’t even make the playoffs. They added some pieces, but lost Dumervil for the season with injury and traded away Brandon Marshall. The Jaguars had trouble scoring points last season and could be the last year in Jacksonville for head coach Jack Del Rio and for starter David Garrard, if they don’t pull out a winning season. I see Denver winning a close game, I would pick them with the money line.
Indianapolis Colts (-2) at Houston Texans (+2) – My pick is Indianapolis
I realize that everyone picks Houston to finally make the playoffs before every season, but having the spread at only 2 points in favor of the Super Bowl runner-ups, is ridiculous. I know that Sage Rosenfels is no longer on the Texans and can’t fumble away victories, but the Colts are going to cover this one big.
Oakland Raiders (+6) at Tennessee Titans (-6) – My pick is Tennessee
I realize that one of these years the Raiders will win games like this, but not in 2010. The Titans are still a dangerous team with the speed of Chris Johnson and Vince Young. The safeties have to play in the box to stop the running attack and that could leave Kenny Britt open a few extra times a game. The Titans should win and cover this game at home.
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (+3) – My pick is Green Bay
The Packers have looked great this preseason and I look for them to keep adding to their resumé this season and cover in Philadelphia. Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings should have big games against the Eagles secondary. Kevin Kolb looked impressive last season for the Eagles, but the Packers defense is very tough and will throw out a ton of different looks to confuse the young QB. The Packers are my pick to win the NFC this year.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Seattle Seahawks (+3) – My pick is San Francisco
The 49ers are the favorite to win the weak NFC West this season and Seattle looks to be in full rebuilding mode. The Seahawks don’t have many blue-chip players yet and will have issues this year winning games. If Alex Smith can hit his receivers and Frank Gore stays healthy, they should have a big season. The Niners will cover this game on the road.
Arizona Cardinals (-4) at St. Louis Rams (+4) – My pick is Arizona
The Cardinals is another team in transition, but won’t get much of a test during Week 1. The Rams haven’t done much to improve their team in the off-season and lost their best wide receiver (Donnie Avery) to injury for the season. The Cardinals have Derek Anderson as their starting QB and some key pieces were traded or signed elsewhere in the off-season. Arizona should win this game and cover the spread against an even weaker Rams team.
Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Washington Redskins (+3.5) – My pick is Dallas
I struggled with this pick the most out of any of the other games on the schedule this week. The NFC East is a toss-up at this point and it will all come down to which team has a better divisional record. The Cowboys have their eyes set on the Super Bowl and the Redskins are definitely improved, but to what extent is still to be determined. This is a true rivalry game and should be intense, since it’s also opening weekend. The Cowboys offense is improved and looks like a team ready to take the next step. Both teams have issues at left-tackle, so both teams should be able to pressure the quarterback. The Cowboys are a stronger team, so I am picking them to win and cover.
Baltimore Ravens (+2.5) at New York Jets (-2.5) – My pick is NY Jets
This should be one of the better games during Week 1, since both teams have been picked by experts to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this season. The Ravens improved their offense by adding receivers to a prolific rushing attack. The Jets improved their team on both sides of the ball, but adding veterans at skilled positions. If Darrelle Revis wasn’t playing, I would pick the Ravens to win against the spread, but since he just ended his holdout, I will pick the Jets to cover, it will be that close of a game.
San Diego Chargers (-4.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5) – My pick is San Diego
It’s been a long time since a Monday Night Football game has been played in Kansas City. I can see that energizing the Arrowhead crowd, but that can only do so much for the team. I believe KC is an improved team, but San Diego, even without Vincent Jackson, is a much better team. The Chargers should win this game big and cover this spread at halftime.
These picks are for entertainment purposes.