Pittsburgh at New England (-7.5), Over 52.5
Defending champion New England hosts Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Opening Night in the NFL. I expect New England, with angry Tom Brady, to dominate this season. Pittsburgh is without Maurkice Pouncey, although his replacement, Cody Wallace, has experience, star Running Back Le’Veon Bell and Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant, each serving suspensions.
I expect a pourous Steeler defense in 2015. Tom Brady, motivated to show everyone he’s every bit as good with properly inflated footballs, combined with the atmosphere in Foxboro, and an improved New England defense despite the departures of Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork, have New England making easy work of the Steelers in Week 1. New England 38 Pittsburgh 24.
Week 1 Late Games
One has to actually write if one is a writer.
Cincinnati at Oakland (+3)
I’m a believer Cincinnati under achieves and this is Marvin Lewis’ last year in Cincinnati. The offensive line is good, the defense is goodc, returning key players from injury, Andy Dalton can play, Jeremy Hill and A.J. Green are fantastic, and TE Tyler Eifert, finally healthy, may shine this season … it just doesn’t translate into success in Cincinnati this season during the regular season, starting with a surprise in Oakland. There’s hope Raider fans. The defense could be stellar. Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, feature back Latavius Murray, and QB Derek Carr has a full season of experience, 21 TDs and 12 INTs on a horrible Raider offense last season. There’s hope Raider fans. Oakland 24 Cincinnati 23.
Baltimore at Denver (-5)
I’m a believer Baltimore goes 5-11 this season. Haloti Ngata is gone leaving Terrell Suggs the lone representative from last season’s Pro Bowl. No Torrey Smith. The ageless Steve Smith. No name receivers. No name TE. Joe Flacco, I’m not sold. Never have been. In Denver, people are down on Peyton Manning. He has enough gas in the tank early in the season. He had the flu last winter. Power Kubiak running game. Demaryius Thomas. Spread just went to -4.5 in this game. Denver 38 Baltimore 24.
Detroit at San Diego (-3.5)
Detroit over achieved last year. All those games they won by 3 or less points in 2014 … turn into losses in 2015. Have I mentioned the Minnesota Vikings are going to win the NFC North? Cleveland the AFC North? Behind Johnny Manziel’s spectacular season and a much improved Cleveland defense? These are Week 1 Predictions. Detroit wins outright, the defense shines, Calvin Johnson is healthy, Eric Ebron has a year of experience. Ameer Abdullah may be 2015 offensive rookie of the year. Lions 24 Chargers 20.
Philadelphia at Atlanta (+3)
Healthy Sam Bradford running Chip Kelly’s offense against a terrible defense. 35 fantasy points for Bradford. Atlanta has trouble on the offensive line, the defense … Atlanta hasn’t been able to produce high draft picks because of the Julio Jones trade. Will Matt Ryan have time to throw? Will the defense be able to stop anyone this season? New head coach, Dan Quinn. The trouble starts early this season. Philadelphia 45 Atlanta 17.
New York Football Giants at Dallas (-7)
Dallas could make the Super Bowl this year. The Giants, do people really still doubt Eli Manning? The Dallas defense gets tested … the offensive line dominates, Dez Bryant is electric … Dallas prevails at home. Dallas 27 New York Giants 24
Minnesota at San Francisco (+3)
San Francisco, host of Super Bowl 50 (hasta la vista, roman numerals), is a hot mess. Harbaugh, Patrick Willis, the two first round offensive linemen from the 2010 draft (Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati), Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Kaepernick hasn’t progressed the way a coach would like to seen … the Read Option was a flavor of the month, think WildCat, … it’s big boy football gentlemen and there’s game film … Minnesota wins the NFC North in 2015 behind a Top 3 defensive unit, the maturation of Teddy Bridgewater, and the return of a committed Adrian Peterson. The niners get steam rolled at home. Minnesota 34 San Francisco 10.