NFL Week 1 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 1 Early Games

All times Eastern

Click here for late games.

Thursday, September 10

8:20 pm Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-9, 54 1/2) - OK, it may be a complete joke with no fans in the stadium, but we'll give it a whirl on the first actual game of the NFL season. Patrick Mahomes is all-world, we know, so the Chiefs should blow away the Texans... at least that what the line tells us.

Houston went 10-6 in the 2019 regular season and slipped past Buffalo, 22-19, in the wild card game, but then lost to the Chiefs in a wild divisional playoff contest, 51-31. Some say the Texans blew that game, but purists believe the Chiefs were simply an unstoppable force under those conditions.

Since this is the NFL opener, it shoudl be a real firecracker, but one wonders how sharp both offense will be with limited practices and no preseason games. With J.J. Watt back from injury and Deshaun Watson seeking some recognition, the Texans will likely have a better outcome, though the winner may be determined only by a late score.

Coin Flip: Kansas City

Prediction: Texans 31 Chiefs 28

Sunday, September 13

Seattle Seahawks (-2, 49) at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 pm (Fox) - Finishing last year's regular season with an 11-5 mark, the Seahawks made the playoffs while a disappointing Atlanta went 7-9 and stayed home.

Matt Ryan returns at QB for the Falcons, and he still has his favorite target, Julio Jones, in addition to Calvin Ridley on the opposite side. RB Todd Gurley was acquired in the off-season and a strong running game could make a world of difference for Atlanta.

Seattle's offense will be commandeered by Russell Wilson once again> Chris Carson gets the nod at RB and the defense has some new faces and some already injured players. This should be a close one, favoring the home team.

Coin Flip: Atlanta

Prediction: Falcons 23 Seahawks 17

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7 1/2, 48 1/2) 1:00 pm (CBS) - The Browns finished a disappointing 6-10 last season, but the trio of offensive stars - Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, and Nick Chubb - all return healthy and with a new outlook. Cleveland actually got to 6-7 by week 14, but dropped their last three, including a week 16 home game to the Ravens, 31-15.

Cleveland actually topped home-standing Baltimore in week 4, 40-25, but after that the Ravens won 12 straight, but ended up losing their first playoff game to Tennessee, 28-12. Lamar Jackson was a monster last season and he'll be hard-pressed to repeat his MVP season. Cleveland has proven capable of hanging with some quality squads and may spring a surprise in Charm City

Coin Flip: Cleveland

Prediction: Browns 30 Ravens 27

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-6 1/2, 39 1/2) 1:00 pm (CBS) - Year three of the Josh Allen project offers high hopes for the Bills. They made the playoffs last year with a 10-6 mark and lost a heart-breaker at Houston in the wild card, 22-19 in overtime.

HC Sean McDermott is working towards an AFC East title now that Tom Brady has departed the Patriots and kicking off at home against one of the weaker teams in the league should get Buffalo off to a solid start.

The Jets were 7-9 in 2019 but still have many questions to answer.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Bills 24 Jets 10

Las Vegas Raiders (-3, 47 1/2) at Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm (CBS) - The Raiders will have to wait until next Monday night to debut at their new home, and heading there with a 1-0 mark would be a big boost. Last season in Oakland saw the Raiders lose five of their final six and finish a disappointing 7-9. They plan on doing better this season and to do so, a running game must emerge to take pressure off QB Derek Carr.

Second year back, Josh Jacobs, out of Alabama, should fit well after grinding out 1,150 yards a season ago.

Teddy Bridgewater replaces departed Cam Newton at QB and the reliability of Christian McCaffrey at RB is never in doubt. Carolina made wholesale changes, including hiring Matt Ruhle as head coach. Being underdogs at home adds to the intrigue and may motivate the Panthers.

Coin Flip: Carolina

Prediction: Panthers 24 Raiders 20

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-3, 44) 1:00 pm (Fox) - Yes, that's right. The Lions are favored over the Bears. Detroit was 3-12-1 last season; Chicago went 8-8. Matthew Stafford returns for Detroit and Mitchell Trubisky makes the calls for the Bears.

Chicago won both meetings last season, 20-13, and 24-20, and there's reason to believe they will be solid again in 2020.

Coin Flip: Detroit

Prediction: Bears 24 Lions 14

Indianapolis Colts (-8, 45) at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm (CBS) - Kind of early in the season for such a heavy favorite in a divisional contest, but the Jags are testing out lots of new faces after going 6-10 in 2019 and the Colts got aging gunslinger, Phillip Rivers to replace the retired Andrew Luck.

Rivers has a capable receiving corps headed by T.Y. Hilton, but will they all be on the same page? Jacksonville sticks with last year's surprising Gardner Minshew II and plenty of holes on defense.

Coin Flip: Jacksonville

Prediction: Colts 34 Jaguars 20

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-2 1/2, 45 1/2) 1:00 pm (Fox) - The Packers went 13-3 last season, took a first round playoff bye, whipped Seattle, 28-23, and lost the conference championship to the 49ers, 37-20. Aaron Rodgers returns healthy and the team has few weaknesses.

The Vikings played chase all season to the Packers and didn't quite make it, finishing 10-6 with a wild card. They topped New Orleans, 26-20, in the wild card game and took it on the chin at San Fran, 27-10. Kirk Cousins has turned into a reliable QB but one has to question trading Stefan Diggs to Buffalo.

Defensively, the Vikings are only marginally better than the Packers. The only reason Minnesota is favored here is because they're home. Green Bay won both meetings last season.

Coin Flip: Green Bay

Prediction: Packers 30 Vikings 24

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-6 1/2, 43) 1:00 pm (CBS) - New England without Tom Brady? Cam Newton has some big shoes to fill, that's for sure, but the Pats are always pretty solid everywhere.

Miami has named Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter at QB over rookie Tua Tagovailoa, and it will be interesting to see how many losses the Dolphins have to build up before putting Too behind center permanently. They can start counting right here.

Coin Flip: New England

Prediction: Patriots 34 Dolphins 13

Philadelphia Eagles (-5 1/2, 42 1/2) at Washington Redskins 1:00 pm (Fox) - Even though the Eagles won the NFC East last season, their 9-7 record wasn't very impressive, but it was a heck of a lot better than Washington's 3-13 mark. If the line holds below 8, the Eagles could be the play of the week. Washington is breaking in Ron Rivera at head coach and there's been ongoing controversy over the name Redskins, to the point that they'll be known as the Washington Football team, or something like that this season.

Coin Flip: Philadelphia

Prediction: Eagles 27 Washington Whatevers 10

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