We are just 10 days from the kickoff of the 2016 NFL season so it’s time to starting analyzing the week one matchups. Our 2015 record against the spread for NFL contests was 34-23-2, we will take 10 games above .500 for most NFL seasons.
For those interested in the Junior Varisty, our week 1 college football picks came out earlier this morning. Both sets of picks will be free to access and track all season in the all new Against the Spread section of our website.
We generally do 2-3 picks per week, and our picks always include at least one point spread and one total. Week one is always the toughest week of the season, because we haven’t seen the teams play a real game in over 6 months. That being said, we have 3 winners for you guys, let’s get 2016 started with a 3-0 week 1.
Our 2015 Record
Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia (-5.5)
The Browns are riding a flashy preseason, while the Eagles maintain a negative public sentiment around oft-injured Sam Bradford and Ryan Mathews, and now injured Jordan Matthews. However, this pick is based around two groups: the Browns offensive line and Eagles defense.
RGIII looked like a tackling dummy behind the Browns offensive line, primarily right guard John Greco and right tackle Austin Pasztor. If this group can’t generate a push for the run game, and Griffen has pressure in his face it could be a long day for the Browns.
Jim Schwartz is arguably one of the 3 or 4 best defensive coaches in all of football, and the Eagles starting defense looks ready to roll. The starters have allowed a total of 9 points this preseason, and we expect that momentum to carry over into week one.
Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans (Under 41)
This one moved to a pickem game after the Bridgewater injury, so by that logic Vegas sees one team winning 21-20. The problem? In 17 games last season, only the Broncos, Seahawks, Packers and Cardinals scored over 20 points against the Vikings. There is no way the Titans are getting to 20 in this game.
Playing without Bridgewater, we like the Vikings to go into Tennessee, control tempo and field position, and to ultimately win this game 17-13, well under the 41 point total.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3)
The Falcons have won 9 straight home openers and will make it a 10th here against the Bucs. Tampa Bay swept the season series in 2015 by winning in Atlanta thanks in part to 4 Falcons turnovers, including 3 lost fumbles.
The starters for both teams could not have looked different this preseason. Matt Ryan and Julio have shown very little throughout the preseason, while Winston and Mike Evans have looked on point. The preseason means nothing when it comes to home divisional games. Everything the Falcons have done has been in preparation for this game.
We expect Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan to have a solid gameplan ready, and for the Falcons to ride a huge game from Ryan and Julio to a big divisional win in week 1.