Fearless Rick's Football Picks - Week 1 early games

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NFL WEEK 1

All times Eastern

Last week: Coin: 8-7; Fearless Rick: 7-8

Cumulative Preseason: Coin: 30-32-2; Rick: 31-31-2

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Thursday, September 7

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-9, 48 1/2), 8:30 pm, NBC - Look, it's the season opener and the Patriots are Super Bowl champs, so there's nothing pointing toward an upset by the Chiefs. The only question is whether the Patriots are capable of covering the enormous line, which could be a sucker bet, but probably is not.

Anything can happen, but the Patriots - including the 2016 post-season - are riding a 10 game winning streak. KC lost in the divisional round last season, 18-16, to the Steelers and are somewhat offensively-challenged.

Coin Flip: New England

Prediction: Patriots 34 Chiefs 17


Sunday, September 10

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-10, 40), 1:00 pm, CBS - In what could possibly be the worst game of not just this week, but the entire season (except maybe the meeting between these two dogs in New Jersey on November 2), there seems to be a feeling that the Jets are one of the worst teams in the league, can't score and Buffalo is going to rout them.

However, considering that the Bills are arguably a worse team than their 7-9 team of 2016 and lost to the Jets twice last season, there's no way anybody should offer up 10 points to the low-flying Jets.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Jets 19 Bills 17


Atlanta Falcons (-7, 49) at Chicago Bears, 1:00 pm, FOX - The Bears are home for their season opener, which is a positive for them, and the Falcons have to shake off last season's implosion in the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. While Atlanta is probably a Super Bowl contender again, Matt Ryan may not have the kind of success he did last season and the Bears, with the addition of rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky, may stand a chance here.

Atlanta may eek out a win, but the points are just too tempting.

Coin Flip: Atlanta

Prediction: Falcons 27 Bears 23


Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, 42 1/2), 1:00 pm, CBS - During the preseason, the Bengals appeared often disorganized and somewhat uninterested at times. They failed to make the playoffs last season, as did the Ravens, but they were 6-9-1, while Baltimore was 8-8.

The teams split last year's meetings, but the Ravens appear to be the team playing with more purpose during the preseason and should take it to the striped ones.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Ravens 24 Bengals 17


Pittsburgh Steelers (-8, 47) at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 pm, CBS - Gotta love that the Browns were 4-0 preseason, but they traditionally have issues with the Steelers, as Pittsburgh is a perennial playoff team, Cleveland usually a bottom-feeder.

Yes, the Browns were 1-15 last year, but they won in week 16 and took the Steelers to overtime in a 27-24 loss at Pittsburgh in the final week of the season. The Steelers won, 24-9, at Cleveland, but the Browns may be quite a bit better than many expect, especially if rookie QB DeShone Kizer, out of Notre Dame, can produce some key plays.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Prediction: Browns 24 Steelers 21


Arizona Cardinals (-1 1/2, 48) at Detroit Lions, 1:00 pm, FOX - The Lions would assuredly like to win this one at home, especially with their main rivals in the division, Green Bay and Minnesota, playing the Seahawks and Saints, respectively. A win here could put them possibly a game up on both.

That said, Arizona is loaded on offense, and the combo of David Johnson in the backfield with Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown as wideouts will be tough to stop. The Cards don't have to win by much and they could possibly roll to a big one.

Coin Flip: Arizona

Prediction: Cardinals 31 Lions 21


Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-5 1/2, 39 1/2), 1:00 pm, CBS - The Jaguars were one of the worst teams in the league last season, finishing with a record of 3-13. They were 1-7 on the road while Houston was winning the division at 9-7.

The Texans didn't win the two games against the Jaguars by much last season, taking them down 24-21 in Jacksonville and 21-20 in Houston, later in the year. Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville QB, is always a threat to throw three TD passes, but is also prone to major errors.

Additionally, the crowd at NRG Stadium will be strong behind the Texans after hurricane Harvey, and that will be an enormous emotional lift for Houston.

Coin Flip: Houston

Prediction: Texans 27 Jaguars 10



Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2 1/2, 41) at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 pm, FOX - It's something of a surprise to see the Buccaneers favored, however, the NFL has released a statement effectively postponing this match-up. The game will be played at a time and location still to be determined.

The league has not ruled out playing the game on Sunday in a neutral location or making up the game at a later (Week 11 bye) date. In any case, the Bucs were on the verge of the playoffs last season and may be a force with which to reckon in the NFC South this season. James Winston is a year older and wiser and the Tampa Brass has added some solid players around him.

Coin Flip: Tampa Bay

Prediction: Buccaneers 35 Dolphins 21


Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (-2, 50 1/2), 1:00 pm, CBS - Going 9-7 last season, the Titans were very successful, but missed out on the playoffs due to the lack of parity in the AFC. The Raiders were 12-4, but could have been even better had QB Derek Carr not been injured in the next-to-last regular season game (a 33-25 win over Indianapolis).

In the playoffs, Oakland, without Carr, were handled by the Texans, 27-14, in the wild card game. With Carr behind center, the Raiders may prove to be one of the top teams in the league, perhaps replacing New England as the elite team in the AFC. A win here would be a positive start toward that end.

Coin Flip: Tennessee

Prediction: Raiders 30 Titans 16


Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (even, 47 1/2), 1:00 pm, FOX - One of the biggest flops in the NFL last season, the Eagles started 3-0 and finished 7-9, though they managed to beat both the Giants and Cowboys in the final two weeks of the season.

Washington beat them twice, 27-20 in DC, and 27-22 in Philly. The Redskins were only marginally better, at 8-7-1, but they may own the Eagles, as demonstrated last season. As the line indicates, nobody really knows for sure, but home field is usually worth three points.

Coin Flip: Washington

Prediction: Redskins 23 Eagles 20

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