The Pittsburgh Steelers arguably have the two best skill-position players in the league in Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell.
While Brown is in camp and prepared to have yet another big season as the league's premier wideout, Le'Veon Bell has not shown up to the team after a summer-long holdout, and there is no telling when he will report to the Steelers and take over as the team's primary running back.
When the Steelers have their full complement, they are as talented as any offensive team in the league. However, with Bell holding out, Pittsburgh is a different proposition. There is enough talent to beat the Cleveland Browns, but the mindset may not be right.
It's one thing for a star to hold out for a portion of training camp, but it's quite another to miss the full preseason and to not show up prior to the opening game of the campaign. How can that not have an impact on the rest of Bell's teammates? There has to be some resentment, and that means there may be less than full concentration and preparedness for this game.
The Browns are hungry to start winning again. They failed to win a game in 2017 and won only once in 2016, but this team is not devoid of talent. While No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield is not ready to take over as the team's starting quarterback, Cleveland has a huge weapon in wideout Josh Gordon.
There are also a couple of defensive studs in defensive end Myles Garrett and outside linebacker Jamie Collins who are capable of turning the team around. The Browns should have a positive mindset, while the Steelers could have issues because of Bell's holdout.
The Steelers are 3.5-point road favorites, according to OddsShark, but they may have to fight for 60 minutes to scratch out the narrowest of victories. Take the Browns and the points in this game, and Cleveland should cover.
Week 1 Predictions
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5, 44.5): Eagles 27-24
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3, 43.5) at New York Giants: Giants 28-27
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5, 40.5): Bills 17-16
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings (-6, 46); Vikings 30-20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-9.5, 49.5): Saints 31-20
Tennessee Titans (-1, 45) at Miami Dolphins: Titans 24-23
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (-3, 48.5): Bengals 27-17
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-6, 50.5): Houston 34-31
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5, 45.5) at Cleveland Browns: Steelers 25-24
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 48): Chargers 37-33
Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos (-3, 43): Broncos 10-9
Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers (-3, 42.5): Panthers 34-10
Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals (-1, 44): Cardinals 27-10
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-7.5, 47.5): Packers 35-21
New York Jets at Detroit Lions (-6.5, 45): Lions 38-20
Los Angeles Rams (-4.5, 49.5) at Oakland Raiders: Rams 35-28
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
As the season gets underway, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers appear to be the two best teams in the AFC West.
The Oakland Raiders suffered a huge blow when they recently traded outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. Mack is one of the best defensive players in the league, and he can change the tempo of any game. The Raiders defense may be lost without him. The Broncos are coming off a 5-11 season and may not be able to top that mark this year.
However, the Chiefs won the division title last year. Los Angeles had a slow start in 2017, and if it can avoid that problem this year, this could be a campaign to remember.
Philip Rivers is still a dynamic quarterback, Melvin Gordon is a dangerous running back and Keenan Allen is one of the top receivers in the league.
Patrick Mahomes takes over at quarterback for the Chiefs, and he has a powerful arm. He can turn to running back Kareem Hunt, wideout Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.
Both teams should be able to move up and down the field and score in bunches. The total in this game is 48 points, and these two teams will blow by that number in the third quarter. The Chargers emerge with a 37-33 victory, making the over an easy winner.
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders
The Los Angeles Rams were the NFC West champions last year, and many expect them to rule the division again and perhaps represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Third-year quarterback Jared Goff showed tremendous improvement in his second season, and he should be even better this year.
He has a couple of fine receivers in Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks and an excellent running back in Todd Gurley. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is capable of shutting down the interior running game and pressuring the quarterback.
The Oakland Raiders are searching for a new identity following head coach Jon Gruden's return and after trading Mack. Gruden was considered an offensive guru during his first run with the Raiders, but the pressure is on to show he can still provide a team with an excellent offensive game plan.
The Rams are an established commodity, and we see them covering the 4.5-point spread without any trouble.
All point spread and total information according to OddsShark.