The time has come. Fantasy Football Sportal and other fantasy football/NFL sites around the world are back in the saddle and preparing to offer readers everywhere top fantasy advice. And that includes free NFL picks.
We performed admirably, picking up mid-way through the season in 2009, and routinely pitching 70% weekly wins. We hope to get it started off on the right note for 2010, as well.
Every week we will be giving you the matchups, the spread, and a final outcome. We'll also give you a special upset, and three near-lock "gimme" picks.
Without further haste, here are our Week One free NFL picks:
Note: Check out the spread next to the home team. All spreads/lines are taken from covers.com.
UPSET SPECIAL: Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints (-5)
Brett Favre is short of Sidney Rice, but there is bad blood here that won't go away until the final tick. We like Adrian Peterson to cram it down the Saints throats just like he did last time, and Favre to rely more on a conservative approach. New Orleans will get to him early and often, but the Vikings are too determined to get their revenge after missing out on the Super Bowl last year. It'll be close, but we're going with the Vikings in a nail-biter.
A lot of people are picking the Saints at home in the opener, but even if they do win, we're calling to close.
Vikings 30, Saints 27
GIMME PICK 1: Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans (-6)
Oakland has improved their quarterback position and beefed up their already sometimes stingy defense, but they're on the road against a better team, and should be without their top running back, Michael Bush. If the Raiders can keep Chris Johnson in check, they have a chance, but it's not likely.
Titans 24, Raiders 16
GIMME PICK 2: Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (+3)
Miami has a growing quarterback, a new stud receiver, and a no-name defense that can often be fairly impressive. The Bills have two injured running backs, an inconsistent quarterback, and no help at receiver outside of Lee Evans. It could still be close because it's a division battle, but it will be awfully hard to pick the Bills in any matchup this year, unless they blow everyone away and play better than expected.
Dolphins 27, Bills 9
GIMME PICK 3: Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams (+4)
The Cardinals may be without Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin, but they're still talented and a more complete team than the Rams. Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford looked sharp in preseason action, but an aggressive Cardinals defense will give him a rude welcome to the NFL.
Cardinals 22, Rams 13
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)
Denver loses pass-rushing demon Elvis Dumervil, but they still bring a solid defensive unit to any matchup. Considering they're going up against a fairly one-dimensional offense, this works in their favor. The real question is, will the Jaguars defense be better this year? It will be interesting to see how they perform against a Denver offense that no longer relies on Brandon Marshall to make plays.
Broncos 17, Jaguars 16
Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants (-6.5)
Carolina man-handled the Giants to end the season last year, and while the lopsided score won't be the same, the end result will be. The Giants have a lot to prove this year, as they looked deflated and lacked passion down the stretch in 2009. Is their defense back where it was two years ago? Can the running game be effective again? Carolina has its own questions on defense, but their running game should be able to plow them to a Week One win.
Panthers 27, Giants 23
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans (+2)
The Colts' defense clearly had a lot of issues in a disturbing performance against the Green Bay Packers in preseason, where they allows 59 points. Bob Sanders is back and healthy, but for how long? Houston barely missed out on their first playoff appearance last season, starts 2010 at home, and is eager to un-seat the Colts as top dogs in the AFC South. Whether or not that happens in 2010, Matt Schaub and co. will finally get the last laugh in this opening contest.
Texans 38, Colts 31
Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers (+2)
Atlanta should be the favorite this week, returning all of their explosive weapons to the field at full health for 2010, while the Steelers start the season without Ben Roethlisberger, and will lean on Dennis Dixon to make plays. It might be a close one, but the Falcons run defense shouldn't be able to stop Rashard Mendenhall, and the Steelers are always hard to beat at home.
Steelers 23, Falcons 20
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (-6.5)
The Lions are much improved, but Chicago returns Brian Urlacher and welcomes Julius Peppers to a suddenly vastly under rated Bears defense. It could be close, but Chicago wins at home.
Bears 29, Lions 27
Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots (-4.5)
Cincinnati was already a talented team in 2009, but now they have a more balances and explosive offense with the additions of veteran Terrell Owens, and rookies Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham. But on the road at New England, it won't be enough.
Patriots 34, Bengals 21
Cleveland Browns @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Both of these bottom feeders look to be at least slightly improved for 2010, but Cleveland is the team with the more complete roster, and shockingly has less questions on offense.
Browns 30, Buccaneers 21
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks (+3)
San Francisco is priding itself as the NFC West favorite and a possible Super Bowl contender. Mike Singletary and co. won't let a week one visit to Pete Carroll's new stomping grounds get in the way of their mission.
49ers 27, Seahawks 17
Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Green Bay is marching into a tough environment, and will be thrown against a very active Philadelphia defense. Kevin Kolb could make things interesting, but an Aaron Rodgers-led offense gets the nod in this matchup.
Packers 33, Eagles 26
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (+3.5)
Dallas hasn't looked too sharp offensively throughout the preseason, but their opponent in week one has some major questions on offense, and might be missing their key cog in the middle, Albert Haynesworth. Look for Tony Romo and co. to get off to a good start.
Cowboys 24, Redskins 14
Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets (-2.5)
The Jets and their Hard Knocks television show get all the hype, but Baltimore is the team with the more balanced offense, and a defense that can rival Rex Ryan's new crew. Look for Joe Flacco to use his new weapons (Anquan Boldin and T.J. Housmandzadeh) en route to a week one win.
Ravens 24, Jets 23
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5)
On paper, this looks like the easier call, and could really be week one's biggest blow-out. Kansas City looks to have improved enough to compete, but it will still be the same old result.
Chargers 41, Chiefs 27