The NFL season has finally arrived, and the Seahawks reminded us they are here to stay. The defending Super Bowl champs returned to their fans in Seattle to raise the banner and then dismantle the Green Bay Packers. That was just game number one. There’s a full slate of games on Sunday and two games on Monday. It might be early, but there are teams that are locks to win. Let’s take a look at my NFL Week 1 locks against the spread.
1. Raiders at Jets (-5.5)
A rookie quarterback making his debut against a Rex Ryan defense. Sunday is not going to end well for Derek Carr, who gets the nod over the banged up Matt Schaub. The Raiders didn’t do much in the offseason to make you think they’re going to win more than five or six games. The Jets have one of the best front sevens in the NFL, and they will put a ton of pressure on the rookie QB. Geno Smith has looked much better thus far in preseason, and Gang Green has a solid rushing attack. Expect the Jets to dominate in front of their home fans Sunday. They should win by at least a touchdown.
2. Bills at Bears (-7.5)
Lesson to learn this season… 90% of the time you should pick against the Bills. This Buffalo team has too many issues on both sides of the ball and a quarterback who’s not very good. This Bears defense is much improved from last year, and they should make E.J. Manuel’s life a nightmare on Sunday. Jay Cutler will be throwing it up to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey all day long against this bad Bills defense. Look for the Bears to win by 10 or more points in Chicago.
3. Jaguars at Eagles (-10.5)
Another lesson to learn this season… 95% of the time you should pick against the Jaguars. For some strange reason, Chad Henne is still the starting QB in Jacksonville, and until that changes, they won’t win many games. Blake Bortles will get his chance at some point, but until then, pick their opponent. The Eagles offense is going to be high-powered again this season under Chip Kelly, and Nick Foles has plenty of guys to get the ball to and a Pro Bowl running back. This game points to an Eagles blowout win.
4. Titans at Chiefs (-4.5)
The Chiefs burst on the scene last season, making a run to the playoffs, before having an epic collapse in the Wild Card round against the Colts. Many people are high on the Titans with Jake Locker this season, but I don’t see them being better than an eight-win team. The Chiefs still have Jamaal Charles. They still have a mistake-free Alex Smith. They still have a formidable defense. They’re also home Sunday. This could be a good one, but the Chiefs win by a touchdown.
5. Browns at Steelers (-6.5)
There are more players on the Browns than just Johnny Manziel. Unfortunately for them, there aren’t many good ones. Brian Hoyer has been a career backup for a reason. He’s not good. The Steelers are due for a comeback season after struggling last year and could win the AFC North. The Browns are the favorites to finish in the top five in the NFL Draft. Expect the Steelers to win this one in Pittsburgh by at least a touchdown.