Way Too Early 2017 NFL Week 1 Picks

Way Too Early 2017 NFL Week 1 Picks

The NFL schedule for the 2017 season was released this past week. The New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs will open the show, but there are also some other good games going on in Week 1.

The pay per head bookie service already set up the NFL betting lines for the 16 games in week one. So let’s dive into each matchup.

Quick navigation:

> Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
> New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
> Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears
> Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
> Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
> Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions
> Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
> Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins
> Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
> Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
> Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams
> Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
> Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
> New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
> New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
> Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-7, 50 o/u)

  • When: Thursday, September 7
  • Game Time: 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

The Patriots opened as 7-points favorites according to the pay per head bookie, but that number seems a little low. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time of the kickoff we get the Pats at -9 or even as double-digit favorites.

The last time New England hosted Kansas City was in the divisional playoffs round on the road to Super Bowl 50. The Patriots won the game 27-20, but it never felt like it was that close.

Kansas City will have major issues stopping Tom Brady and the Patriots juggernaut offense. New England will get TE Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup after missing the second half of the 2016 season. They also added WR Brandin Cooks and TE Dwayne Allen as part of offseason trades. Both will join Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and Chris Hogan in an already stacked offense.

Not only are the Patriots the favorites to win Super Bowl LII via the sports bookie software, but they could have a better roster than what they had when they won Super Bowl LI in Houston.

Kansas City’s offense will have a major challenge in week 1. Not many teams can keep up with the Patriots offensive power. Their primary problem is their quarterback Alex Smith, who never blossomed into a fearless passer. Smith recorded only 15 touchdown passes last season. Tom Brady, on the contrary, recorded 28 and played four fewer games.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Patriots -7.

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-6.5, 42 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: New Era Field, Buffalo, NY

A divisional game is a little more important than rest of the schedule. A win could do some damage to a direct opponent. And a loss could be a major setback which can change the course of the season.

The Bills were listed 6.5-point favorites by the book making services to start the season. Buffalo lost both games against the Jets last season. Those two losses ended up eliminating them from the playoffs contention.

Buffalo will remain as a running team first. Last season they led the league averaging 164.4 rushing yards per game. The combination between QB Tyrod Taylor and RB LeSean McCoy was nearly unstoppable when they went on the ground.

The NY Jets are a question mark this season. They are perhaps the worst team in the AFC East division. Unlike the Patriots, Dolphins, and Bills, the Jets have no clue who will be under center when the season starts.

HC Todd Bowles is a defensive minded coach in his third year with the team. At this point, one would think the Jets could have found an identity by now, but that’s not the case. New York had the 11th total defense in the NFL in 2016, but the 29th regarding sacking opposing quarterbacks.

The Bills always struggle against the Jets. It doesn’t matter the momentum of both teams. Buffalo should get the win, but it might be closer than a touchdown.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Jets +6.5.

Atlanta Falcons (-5.5, 50.5 o/u) at Chicago Bears

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

Perhaps there isn’t a team more eager to get back on the field than the Atlanta Falcons. After the loss in Super Bowl LI, the Falcons want to prove what happened in Houston was a fluke.

They will get the rebuilding Chicago Bears in week one. The best pay per head sportsbook, of course, jumped all over Atlanta to make the visitors big favorites, but this could be closer than expected.

This is the third year of the Bears under head coach John Fox. This is the season where he needs to show some improvement. That’s why he went in the Free Agency and shopped around without any remorse.

The Bears added CB Prince Amukamara and SS Quintin Demps to help the secondary. They also added three new weapons for the offense. TE Dion Sims, WR Markus Wheaton, and WR Kendall Wright could help a lot. All with QB Mike Glennon under center.

I get Mike Glennon is not the sexiest name at quarterback out there, but during his time in Tampa Bay, he showed good things. We don’t know what he is; so let’s just give him the benefit of the doubt.

The Falcons had the best offense in the NFL a year ago. The offense averaged 33.8 points per game and terrorized the pph sportsbooks last season.  But they lost offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is now in San Francisco. Atlanta will still roll on offense, but it might take some time to adjust.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Bears +5.5.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-4.5, 42 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

The Texans dominated the AFC South division last year despite not having a decent quarterback under center, and after losing their best player, DE JJ Watt, early in the season.

Watt should be healthy to make another run at the defensive of the year award. But they still have an issue at the quarterback position. With QB Brock Osweiler now in Cleveland, Houston might give the keys to the castle to QB Tom Savage, who played a few last season.

Jacksonville has an underrated defense, and the betting software for bookies took consideration of it. Quietly they had the 6th best total defense a year ago. They added CB AJ Bouye, and SS Barry Church to help the secondary and paid plenty of money for the rights of DE Calais Campbell.

New head coach Doug Marrone is an offensive guru. His number one job is to fix QB Blake Bortles. The 4th year quarterback threw 12 touchdowns fewer than in 2015. He’s also looking to see his first season with less than ten interceptions on his stat sheet.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Jaguars +4.5.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (-2.5, 48 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: FedEx Field, Landover, MD

The Eagles finished last season as the worst team in the NFC East division. It sounds a little dramatic considering the Dallas Cowboys, and the NY Giants made it to the playoffs, and Washington was close. But that’s the reality in Philly.

They went into the free agency looking for some talent to help the second-year QB Carson Wentz. The arrival of wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith gives the offense the talent they needed outside the numbers. On defense, they got Super Bowl champion, DE Chris Long.

Washington, on the other hand, lost two great playmakers in WRs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Carson. They added WR Terrell Pryor, who is coming from Cleveland. It will be fun to see how QB Kirk Cousins deals with the lack of trust from the front office to try to land a big contract in 2017.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Eagles +2.5.

Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions (-2.5, 49.5 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI

The Arizona Cardinals were one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL in 2016. They went from losing in the NFC Championship game in 2015 to missing the playoffs the next season. The good news is the talent still there and they can make another run in the NFC West.

The best pay per head bookie service expects RB David Johnson to have a monster year in 2017.  Johnson recorded 2118 purpose yards and 20 touchdowns before going down with an injury. The Cardinals say they want Johnson to get 30 touches per game this season. He will be the team’s workhorse this year.

The Detroit Lions usually have slow starts, especially with head coach Jim Caldwell in charge. Despite they made it to the playoffs in 2016, the Lions is that kind of team you don’t trust completely. Consistency has been a major issue for this squad since Matthew Stafford is their quarterback.

Arizona has won the last seven games against Detroit. The last time the Lions won in this series was back in 2005.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Cardinals +2.5.

Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (PK, 53.5 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

The Raiders and the Titans have suffered for the most part of the last decade. But it seems that drought is coming to an end. Both teams have found quarterbacks, and they are trending in the right direction.

Curiously both squads saw their season end in the same way last season. QBs Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota suffered a fractured fibula at the end of the regular season, and their chances were trumped. Yes, the Raiders made it to the postseason, but after losing to Houston, it looked like they didn’t want to be there.

The pay per head sportsbook made this game a pick’em. Probably, the betting line will move as the kickoff gets closer. Plenty of people is in love with Oakland’s offense, putting aside than their defense stinks. Tennessee’s offense is not as explosive, but it’s good enough to compete. Their defense is better than the Raiders’, especially their front seven.

This is an unpopular opinion, but I’m taking the home team in a close one. The Titans’ new blueprint is to run the football, and the set the play action. The Raiders have a lot of work to do to have a decent defense to compete this season.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Titans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (-2, 48 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL

It’s a Florida classic between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins. Miami made the playoffs last season, and now it’s time to confirm it wasn’t luck.

They started the 2016 season with a 1-4 record only to win nine of their next 11 games. The Dolphins can’t afford another start like that or things could get ugly.  Miami will put most of the offensive workload on RB Jay Ajayi, who recorded 1272 rushing yards last season along eight touchdowns; despite he wasn’t the number one option when the season started.

Tampa Bay is ready to make the playoffs in the third year of QB Jameis Winston. They added WR DeSean Jackson to play the deep threat part in this offense. He could be a great complementary player to WR Mike Evans, who had become a star in this league. Evans caught 96 balls last season for 1321 yards and nine touchdowns.

Winston could be in for a great season. He threw 4090 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2016. However, he needs to tone down the interceptions. He has thrown 33 picks in two seasons in the NFL.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Bucs +2.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-9.5, 47.5 o/u) at Cleveland Browns

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH

The Cleveland Browns have beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers just two times in the last 14 games in the series. In fact, they are 0-4 in the last two seasons against the Steelers.

Once again, Cleveland is a rebuilding year, trying to find a good system and good players to compete in this league. And once again they don’t have a quarterback to fight. It’s been their primary issue for years, and they haven’t been able to fix it.

The Steelers were good last season, but not good enough to make a run at the Super Bowl title. The difference in styles with the New England Patriots was revealed in the AFC Championship game.

But for Pittsburgh, the time to answer the Super Bowl questions will come later. The Steelers need to deal with the Browns first. They are 3-0-1 in the last two seasons against Cleveland.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Steelers -9.5.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-1, 44 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
  • Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

After missing the playoffs last season, the Bengals and the Ravens are in needs of a good start. Both teams have plenty of holes to think about the Super Bowl title, but a win in week one could go a long way.

The Bengals have dominated the Ravens over the last few seasons.  Cincinnati is 6-1 SU in their last seven games against Baltimore. Last season they split the series, but the Bengals took the last meeting winning by a 17-point margin.

The sports bookie software also knows the Bengals have covered the spread in five of those last seven meetings in the series.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Bengals -1.

Indianapolis Colts (-3.5, 48 o/u) at Los Angeles Rams

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 4:05 PM ET
  • Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA

The Colts and the Rams missed the playoffs last season. Indianapolis was a disappointing squad in 2016 while Los Angeles is in a rebuilding process that might take longer than expected.

Indianapolis revealed QB Andrew Luck had been playing hurt over the last two seasons. Luck underwent surgery on his right shoulder and should be ready in Week 1.  The Colts and especially his head coach need him at 100%. HC Chuck Pagano is in overtime on his contract with Indy. He should have been fired a long time ago.

The Rams, on the other hand, hired the youngest coach in NFL history. Sean McVay is only 31-years old and is in his first coaching gig. He inherited a franchise trying to reestablish a fan base in Los Angeles. But also a second-year quarterback in Jared Goff, who showed microscopic progress in his rookie year.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Colts -3.5

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (-2.5, 50.5 o/u)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 4:25 PM ET
  • Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

We saw this movie a year ago. During week 14 the Seahawks visited the Packers and were demolished with a 38-10 score. QB Aaron Rodgers was outstanding, throwing 246 yards and three touchdowns over the Legion of Boom.

Seattle might be better prepared for this matchup, but Green Bay is tough to beat at Lambeau Field.  The Seahawks have lost in their last five visits to Wisconsin, and are 0-3 against the spread in their last three visits. The Packers have averaged 37.8 points per game in those last three games.

The Seahawks need to figure out a way to take care of QB Russell Wilson. The quarterback was sacked 41 times last season and hit several others. If Seattle doesn’t fix the o-line, then the bookie software might not give them a good set of odds to win Super Bowl LI.

These two teams should be in the postseason. But for now, the home team looks like a heavy favorite.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Packers -2.5

Carolina Panthers (-4, 49 o/u) at San Francisco 49ers

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 4:25 PM ET
  • Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

Reaching Super Bowl 50 had consequences for the Carolina Panthers. They missed the playoffs in 2016, and many questioned the path the team took on the offensive side.

Carolina has a favorable matchup against San Francisco. They met last season in week two as the Panthers had a walk in the park winning 46-27. QB Cam Newton had 353 passing yards, and four touchdown passes.

San Francisco is rebuilding, but it’s going to take time. They hired their third head coach in three years. HC Kyle Shanahan will enjoy his first head coaching job knowing that this team doesn’t have talent at any skill position.

The quarterback position is an issue for the Niners. Currently, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley will battle for the starting job.

Carolina has won the last five meetings against San Francisco. They also are 6-0 against the spread in the last six meetings in the series.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Panthers -4

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-6, 50.5)

  • When: Sunday, September 10
  • Game Time: 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

The Dallas Cowboys owned the NFC East division last season. The NY Giants own the Cowboys, beating them twice.

Dallas had a great season in 2016, unexpected by many. This time team will be waiting for them. A team like the Giants already has videos of QB Dak Prescott and has faced RB Ezekiel Elliot twice. They know what they are in for.

The Cowboys also lost three significant players in the secondary. This is especially important when facing a passing team like the NY Giants. New York added WR Brandon Marshall to team up with WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. It’s a bad matchup for the Dallas’ weak secondary.

The Giants have won and covered the spread in the last three meetings against the Cowboys.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Giants +6

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4, 48 o/u)

  • When: Monday, September 11
  • Game Time: 7:10 PM ET
  • Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

The Saints defense is so bad, the per head sportsbook decided to make them 4-point dogs, despite facing a weak Vikings’ offense. New Orleans is trying to improve the defense with potential trades and draft picks, but there still is a long way to go.

It’s probable the Vikings will go with QB Sam Bradford under center in 2017. QB Teddy Bridgewater still is recovering from a nasty knee injury suffered in training camp last season. Bradford doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, but he’s not the type of player who can take you far.

Once again, for the Saints, it’s about Drew Bress and the offense. They added WR Ted Ginn Jr. to help as a deep threat and in special teams. They sent WR Brandin Cooks to the Patriots and expects Brees carries them once again.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Saints +4

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos (-3.5, 44.5)

  • When: Monday, September 11
  • Game Time: 10:20 PM ET
  • Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO

Sounds weird to call them the LA Chargers, but that’s what we are in 2017. The Chargers and the Broncos will close out the 2017 NFL week 1 with a divisional matchup late on Monday Night.

Both teams will be under new head coach, so it’s complicated to know what they will show in the first game of the season.

Denver has won five of the last six meetings against the Chargers. They covered the spread in four of the last six meetings.

The Broncos issues come on the offensive line. They need to give quarterback Trevor Siemian some protection; otherwise, it could be a long year for Denver. They need to put particular attention to DE Joey Bosa. He won defensive rookie of the year in 2016 despite missing the first month due to contract issues.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Broncos -3.5

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