NFL Picks Week 1: Last-Minute Lines and Predictions for Every Season Opener
Week 1 tends to be the NFL's most crazy when it comes to prognostication.
Between emerging rookies, aging veterans, new head coaches and coordinators, and random collapses (looking at you 2012 Detroit Lions), it's not easy to predict the future when the past is so far removed for all 32 NFL squads.
That being said, it's been a long time since fans have been treated to a full slate of NFL action that matters. Just like the average fan, Vegas really has no idea what to expect from these teams, so now might be the time to get some real value.
Here's a look at the full slate of games with the line from Bovada, a prediction for each game, and a closer look at the closest calls in Week 1.
|Road Team||Score||Home Team||Betting Line|
|Cincinnati Bengals||14-7||Chicago Bears||Bears (-3)|
|New England Patriots||35-21||Buffalo Bills||Patriots (-10.5)|
|Miami Dolphins||17-21||Cleveland Browns||Browns (-1.5)|
|Atlanta Falcons||28-34||New Orleans Saints||Saints (-3)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24-10||New York Jets||Bucs (-3)|
|Tennessee Titans||17-13||Pittsburgh Steelers||Steelers (-7)|
|Minnesota Vikings||28-24||Detroit Lions||Lions (-4.5)|
|Oakland Raiders||10-31||Indianapolis Colts||Colts (-10.5)|
|Seattle Seahawks||26-20||Carolina Panthers||Seahawks (-3.5)|
|Kansas City Chiefs||24-10||Jacksonville Jaguars||Chiefs (-4)|
|Arizona Cardinals||10-21||St. Louis Rams||Rams (-4.5)|
|Green Bay Packers||24-31||San Francisco 49ers||49ers (-4.5)|
|New York Giants||34-31||Dallas Cowboys||Cowboys (-3)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||17-24||Washington Redskins||Redskins (-3.5)|
|Houston Texans||28-13||San Diego Chargers||Texans (-4.5)|
Lines via Bovada
Cleveland Browns (-1.5) over Miami Dolphins
This is one of the most intriguing Week 1 matchups because it places two teams that appear to be on similar footing heading into 2013 against each other.
Both teams have second-year quarterbacks who will be looking to take the next step in their development. Both will rely on a second-year running back to carry the load in the rushing game as Trent Richardson will once again be the featured back in Cleveland while Miami's Lamar Miller will look to take over for the now-departed Reggie Bush.
Defensively, both teams have impressive front sevens and improving secondaries. The only real thing separating these two on Sunday is the fact that this game will be played in Cleveland. That might be just enough for the Browns to pick up a pivotal win to open the season.
Cincinnati Bengals (+3) over Chicago Bears
Bears fans have reason to be excited for this season. New head coach Marc Trestman is a quarterback guru who might be just what the doctor ordered for Jay Cutler and the Bears offense.
Unfortunately, they draw a really tough test in the season's opening week. The Bears' most glaring weakness was pass protection last season (44 sacks allowed), and the Bengals were third in the league in sacks with 51.
Unless Trestman can come up with a way to completely neutralize the Bengals' ferocious pass rush, Cincinnati will have a clear edge in what should be a highly defensive game.
New York Giants (+3) over Dallas Cowboys
The rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys is among the most fun in the NFL. Both teams are capable of putting up a ton of points behind inconsistent quarterbacks in Eli Manning and Tony Romo. Both teams have a history of playing each other close.
This year's version should continue the trend of close shootouts, as both teams have weapons on the perimeter for Romo and Manning to hook up with.
Another trend that could continue is the success of road teams in the series. The road team is 5-1 in this series since 2010. Last season, the Cowboys opened up with a win in New York. Expect to see the Giants return the favor in close one again this year.
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