Week 1 Sunday NFL Preview

  As I stated earlier this week in my NFL predictions article, I am once again trying my luck at picking three to five games against the spread each week. Last year I finished just above the .500 line with a 35 - 32 record. I hope to do a little better this year, with a goal of at least 10 games above the .500 mark. I have always felt that the best week to bet against the spread is Week 1. Each team has a new roster and the one thing I know for sure is that each year a team takes on it's own identity. That said, at this time of the year no one really knows what that identity will be. Indianapolis at Buffalo (+2.5) In the opening game of the year, you almost have to go with the home dog. Assuming the key players remain healthy, Buffalo will have one of the best defenses in the league. With Rex Ryan taking over as Head Coach, this defense will be blitzing often and will create a hard matchup for Andrew Luck. With Buffalo utilizing first-time starter Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, Indy will have no idea of what to expect. This has to be a huge advantage for the Bills. Add to that a loud, boisterous crowd and the Bills just may win outright. Take the points! Green Bay at Chicago (+7) With the recent history of the series being as it is, most of the money on this game will be with Green Bay. Since Jay Cutler has been quarterback of the Bears, the Packers have owned the Bears. This year could be different. John Fox is the new sheriff in town and this Bears team won’t be lying down like last year’s team did. They will play hard and compete. With the Bears running new schemes on both offense and defense this season, they didn’t show much of anything in preseason. They kept things very vanilla. That could make things a bit difficult for the Packers especially early in the game. While I expect the Packers to win, I feel the differential will be much closer to three than seven. Take the points! Tennessee (+3) at Tampa Bay This is the battle that everyone has been waiting for (I’m kidding). The top two picks in last April’s draft face off against each other. The number one pick Jameis Winston leads Tampa Bay while number two overall pick Marcus Mariota leads the Titans. Based on what I saw in preseason, I felt that Mariota was a little ahead of Winston as far as making quick decisions, finding the open receiver and accuracy. I also felt that Tennessee was playing a little better overall football. Except for the game in Cincinnati, I was not impressed with the way Tampa Bay played. Judging by the amount of waiver claims that the Bucs made after the final cut, I don’t think Lovie Smith was impressed either. Taking all that into consideration, Tampa Bay may win the game but I like Tennessee to cover and lose by less than three. Take the points! Cleveland at New York Jets (-3) Right now, neither club is a very good football team but the Jets are in better shape than the Browns. I’ve known Todd Bowles for a long time and I always felt he was going to turn himself in to a very good NFL Head Coach. Now that he has that opportunity, he will have the undermanned Jets playing hard. Cleveland seems to be a team without leadership and that may be too hard for them to overcome. With the game being played in New Jersey and with it being Bowles head coaching debut I think the Jets will win by at least seven. Give the points!   Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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