Drew Brees

The meaningless games are behind us and the new NFL season is here. I love making Week 1 bets ‘cause the spreads or so gentle to start the season. Weeks from now you’ll have to decide whether quality teams can win by two scores or more. Not so this week. All the spreads are friendly and there are some easy picks in the lot.

At New Orleans (-5) Minnesota
The Vikings were a couple plays away from taking out the Saints in last year’s NFC Championship game, but the emotional Saints will feed off the frenzied Superdome crowd, play physical D and ruin the start of Favre’s 20th season. Fun fact: Super Bowl champs have gone on to win the next season’s opener 10 years in a row. Choose Nawlins.
PICK: Saints -5

At NY Giants (-6.5) Carolina
I’m 100 percent 50/50 on this game. Matt Moore is better than people think and Carolina’s running game is rock solid. In Week 16 last season, the Panthers traveled to New York and destroyed the Giants (the final score was 41-9). Matt Moore threw three TDs and Jonathan Stewart ran for over 200 yards. Still, the Giants have more depth in more places. Tough call. I’d steer clear of this contest, but if you must place a wager, take the Panthers and the points.
PICK: Panthers +6.5

Miami (-3) At Buffalo
You won’t see a spread this low when these two teams meet again this season. CJ Spiller is great and all, but don’t fool yourself, the Bills suck. Take the Fins to cover.
PICK: Dolphins -3

Atlanta (-2.5) At Pittsburgh
Yea, yea, yea, Big Ben’s out and the Falcons are everyone’s chic pick this season. I’ll take Dennis Dixon, Rashard Mendenhall and a Troy Polamalu-led defense at home. Fun fact: The Steelers have won seven straight season openers. The Steelers will make it eight in a row.
PICK: Steelers +2.5

At Chicago (-6.5) Detroit
I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Lions in an upset. Sure Mike Martz is an evil genius, but you have to love the weapons that Detroit has on offense. Stafford looked accurate in the preseason, Jahvid Best looks like the real deal, Nate Burleson is a solid possession receiver and Megatron is an unstoppable force. I like the over (44) in this game as well.
PICK: Detroit +6.5

At New England (-4.5) Cincinnati
Everyone’s trying to write off the Pats this year. Sure they don’t have a pass rush and yea the Bengals have two quality wideouts and a strong running game, but I’m not willing to pick against Belichick and Brady at home to start the season.
PICK: Patriots -4.5

At Tampa Bay (-3) Cleveland
Tampa’s QB is hurt and the team only managed three wins last season. The Browns aren’t going to surprise anyone this year, but Jake Delhomme is going to be better than people think. He knows a thing or two about beating the Bucs too. Cleveland wins on the road and Jerome Harrison runs wild.
PICK: Browns +3

At Jacksonville (-2.5) Denver
Kyle Orton gets no respect, but the guy’s a winner. He’s 29-19 as a starter and his passer rating has increased steadily over time. Still, Orton’s gonna miss the hell out of Bandon Marshall and Knowshon’s hammy is still not healed. David Garrard doesn’t instill confidence, but Sims-Walker is a true threat and MoJo is a beast that demands to be fed. Take the Jags to cover at home.
PICK: Jaguars -2.5

Indianapolis (-2) At Houston
Is this the year that Houston finally gets past Indy? Tough to say. Peyton Manning can’t be happy that an undrafted rookie will be starting at left tackle. Mario Williams will have all kinds of opportunities to make plays in this game. Houston’s high octane offense will put up points, but I’m not ready to bet against the Colts just yet. Take Indy to win this shootout.
PICK: Colts -2

At Tennessee (-6) Oakland
The Raiders will be much improved this year, but the Titans are just a better team. Fisher will have his squad ready to roll and the Titans will win at home.
PICK: Titans -6

Green Bay (-3) At Philadelphia
Expect lots of scoring in this contest. The Packers enter the season as favorites to take their division. The Eagles are a young team with promise and a new identity. Both these squads will go on to have great seasons, but someone has to lose this first fight. The Packers are banged up in the secondary and Kevin Kolb will do his best to prove that he’s the next Aaron Rodgers. I like the over (47.5), but if you need to pick a side, take Philly.
PICK: Eagles +3

San Francisco (-3) At Seattle

Pete Carroll got rid of half the team when he got to Seattle. The rebuilding effort is going to take time. The Niners just have more cohesion as a team at this point. I like them to take the division this year, and that all starts with a road win in Week 1.
PICK: 49ers -3

Arizona (-4) At St. Louis

If you play Fantasy Football, pick up Tim Hightower for this week’s game. Everyone is nuts for Beanie Wells, but the guy’s not 100% and Hightower is still the starter. With Derek Anderson under center, Hightower is going to get a lot of chances against a porous Rams defense. Bradford looked amazing in the preseason, but he needs more weapons.
PICK: Cardinals -4

Dallas (-3.5) At Washington
The Cowboys start strong, they just don’t finish. I think it’ll take some time before the Skins really gel as a team. Take the Cowboys to win on the road.
PICK: Cowboys -3.5

At NY Jets (-2) Baltimore
I love Hard Knocks as much as the next guy, but the Ravens are no joke. Everyone loves the Jets, but look for Sanchez to turn the ball over as Baltimore ruins the opening of the Jets’ new stadium in a low scoring affair.
PICK: Ravens +2

San Diego (-4.5) At Kansas City
The Chiefs are bound to turn it around soon, but Rivers, Ryan Matthews and the Vincent Jackson-less Chargers will maintain control of the division and cruise to victory in Week 1.
PICK: Chargers -4.5

Image via: Fantasy Football Brothers

The meaningless games are behind us and the new NFL season is here. I love making Week 1 bets ‘cause the spreads or so gentle to start the season. Weeks from now you’ll have to decide whether quality teams can win by two scores or more. Not so this week. All the spreads are friendly and there are some easy picks in the lot.

At New Orleans

-5

Minnesota

The Vikings were a couple plays away from taking out the Saints in last year’s NFC Championship game, but the emotional Saints will feed off the frenzied Superdome crowd, play physical D and ruin the start of Favre’s 20th season. Fun fact: Super Bowl champs have gone on to win the next season’s opener 10 years in a row. Choose Nawlins.

PICK: Saints -5

At NY Giants

-6.5

Carolina

I’m 100 percent 50/50 on this game. Matt Moore is better than people think and Carolina’s running game is rock solid. In Week 16 last season, the Panthers traveled to New York and destroyed the Giants (the final score was 41-9). Matt Moore threw three TDs and Jonathan Stewart ran for over 200 yards. Still, the Giants have more depth in more places. Tough call. I’d steer clear of this contest, but if you must place a wager, take the Panthers and the points.

PICK: Panthers +6.5

Miami

-3

At Buffalo

You won’t see a spread this low when these two teams meet again this season. CJ Spiller is great and all, but don’t fool yourself, the Bills suck. Take the Fins to cover.

PICK: Dolphins -3

Atlanta

-2.5

At Pittsburgh

Yea, yea, yea, Big Ben’s out and the Falcons are everyone’s chic pick this season. I’ll take Dennis Dixon, Rashard Mendenhall and a Troy Polamalu-led defense at home. Pick the Steelers to win.

PICK: Steelers +2.5

At Chicago

-6.5

Detroit

I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Lions in an upset. Sure Mike Martz is an evil genius, but you have to love the weapons that Detroit has on offense. Stafford looked accurate in the preseason, Jahvid Best looks like the real deal, Nate Burleson is a solid possession receiver and Megatron is an unstoppable force. I like the over (44) in this game as well.

PICK: Detroit +6.5

At New England

-4.5

Cincinnati

Everyone’s trying to write off the Pats this year. Sure they don’t have a pass rush and yea the Bengals have two quality wideouts and a strong running game, but I’m not willing to pick against Belichick and Brady at home to start the season.

PICK: Patriots -4.5

At Tampa Bay

-3

Cleveland

Tampa’s QB is hurt and the team only managed three wins last season. The Browns aren’t going to surprise anyone this year, but Jake Delhomme is going to be better than people think. Cleveland wins on the road as Jerome Harrison runs wild.

PICK: Browns +3

At Jacksonville

-2.5

Denver

Kyle Orton gets no respect, but the guy’s a winner. He’s 29-19 as a starter and his passer rating has increased steadily over time. Still, Orton’s gonna miss the hell out of Bandon Marshall and Knowshon’s hammy is still not healed. David Garrard doesn’t instill confidence, but Sims-Walker is a true threat and MoJo is a beast that demands to be fed. Take the Jags to cover at home.

PICK: Jaguars -2.5

Indianapolis

-2

At Houston

Is this the year that Houston finally gets past Indy? Tough to say. Peyton Manning can’t be happy that an undrafted rookie will be starting at left tackle. Mario Williams will have all kinds of opportunities to make plays in this game. Houston’s high octane offense will put up points, but I’m not ready to bet against the Colts just yet. Take Indy to win this shootout.

PICK: Colts -2

At Tennessee

-6

Oakland

The Raiders are a much improved this year, but the Titans are just a better team. Fisher will have his squad ready to roll and the Titans will win at home.

PICK: Titans -6

Green Bay

-3

At Philadelphia

Expect lots of scoring in this contest. The Packers enter the season as favorites to take their division. The Eagles are a young team with promise and a new identity. Both these squads will go on to have great seasons, but someone has to lose this first fight. The Packers are banged up in the secondary and Kevin Kolb will do his best to prove that he’s the next Aaron Rodgers. I like the over (47.5), but if you need to pick a side, take Philly.

PICK: Eagles +3

San Francisco

-3

At Seattle

Pete Carroll got rid of half the team when he got to Seattle. The rebuilding effort is going to take time. The Niners just have more cohesion as a team at this point. I like them to take the division this year, and that all starts with a road win in Week 1.

PICK: 49ers -3

Arizona

-4

At St. Louis

If you play Fantasy Football, pick up Tim Hightower for this week’s game. Everyone is nuts for Beanie Wells, but the guy’s not 100% and Hightower is still the starter. With Derek Anderson under center, Hightower is going to get a lot of chances against a porous Rams defense. Bradford looked amazing in the preseason, but he needs more weapons.

PICK: Cardinals -4

Dallas

-3.5

At Washington

The Cowboys start strong, they just don’t finish. I think it’ll take some time before the Skins really gel as a team. Take the Cowboys to win on the road.

PICK: Cowboys -3.5

At NY Jets

-2

Baltimore

I love Hard Knocks as much as the next guy, but the Ravens are no joke. Everyone loves the Jets, but look for Sanchez to turn the ball over as Baltimore ruins the opening of the Jets’ new stadium in a low scoring affair.

PICK: Ravens +2

San Diego

-4.5

At Kansas City

The Chiefs are bound to turn it around soon, but Rivers, Ryan Matthews and the Vincent Jackson-less Chargers will maintain control of the division and cruise to victory in Week 1.

PICK: Chargers -4.5

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