We are back! The 2020 NFL season is finally here and it’s time to start looking at some lines. As soon as the NFL schedule was released back in May, I actually wrote a piece predicting how each Week 1 matchup would go, and I’m going to be using a couple of those here again, as my mind has not changed. 

Opening week is always so interesting because everyone is going to have teams that they are high on and others they are low on. Some games you are going to absolutely nail while others will leave you shell-shocked. With no preseason, these contests could be even more unpredictable, and I honestly doubt if I will bet on a single Over this week. Still, there are a few things I’m still sure of even in a world dominated by the coronavirus. Why are the Washington Football Team-ers predicted to lose by just one score to a squad that underwent some massive upgrades his offseason? Why are people still sleeping on the Green Bay Packers, and why have we already forgotten that the Tennessee Titans made it all the way to the AFC Championship game last season? I hope you’re ready to make some money, because football is finally back.

Let’s take a look at five of my favorite picks for Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season:

All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox) 
Point spread: Eagles -5.5

The Eagles have won the last six games against Washington and the “Football Team” is coming off of a nightmare of an offseason. They were forced to change their name, their uniforms and were blasted in the media for the environment team owner Dan Snyder allegedly fostered behind the scenes. On the other hand, Philly is on the upswing in almost every way. I truly do believe that Washington is headed in the right direction with Ron Rivera at the helm, but this team still has tough days ahead of them before they get back to competing in the NFC East. I believe that Miles Sanders, who led all rookies in 2019 with 1,327 scrimmage yards, is going to have a monster second season and I believe Carson Wentz could have one of his better campaigns as well. It’s incredible that this squad made it to the postseason despite all of the injuries at wide receiver, but I think first-round pick Jalen Reagor could come in and make an immediate impact. Terry McLaurin is not going to catch this team by surprise again — especially with Darius Slay now in the secondary, so go ahead and take the Eagles to win by more than a touchdown.

The pick: Eagles 30-17 

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox) 
Point spread: Vikings -2.5

I’m still trying to figure out when the Packers became America’s punching bag. All of the talk last preseason was about how Aaron Rodgers apparently wasn’t going to get along with first-year head coach Matt LaFleur because of how rocky his relationship with Mike McCarthy was, but Green Bay went 13-3 and made it to the NFC Championship game. Then, the Packers took Jordan Love in the first round — which apparently is one of the worst picks of all time and means Rodgers is on the outs — and now, they are underdogs to the team they swept last season? I admit that the Packers didn’t face a tough schedule in 2019, but they still went undefeated against their own division and saw the birth of several stars. 

Running back Aaron Jones tied for the NFL-lead in scrimmage touchdowns with 19 and rushing touchdowns with 16 in what was a fantastic season. When several of Green Bay’s wideouts went down with injury, he was there to step up for Rodgers in the passing game. We also got to meet the Smith Bros., who both set career highs in sacks and recorded a combined 25.5 quarterback takedowns last season. Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are absolute monsters, and we should expect them to have another great year while other young players like Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage Jr. continue to improve. I truly do think LaFleur is going to prove that he’s an up-and-coming star in this league, and Rodgers is going to take the Packers’ drafting of Love seriously. They start with a win against a divisional opponent in 2020.

The pick: Packers 24-20 

Which picks can you make with confidence in Week 1? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that is up over $7,000 on its top-rated picks.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) 
Point spread: Colts -8

Last year, we thought the Miami Dolphins were orchestrating the most egregious tank of all time, but that honor may belong to the Jaguars this year. We don’t have enough time to go through all of the players that are no longer a part of this team, but this unit is virtually unrecognizable from the squad that went to the AFC Championship game just a few years ago. Several of these players such as star cornerback Jalen Ramsey claimed the best day of their lives was when they got the news that they were leaving Jacksonville, so it’s hard to imagine the culture down there is great. Additionally, we will have to see if Gardner Minshew really is a franchise quarterback, because it’s possible the Jaguars could be in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes if this team is as bad as we think they might be.

As for the Colts, they have their question marks as well. I love the talent they have on both sides of the ball, but everything appears to hinge on their new quarterback. Philip Rivers will make is Colts debut after a 16-year career with the Los Angeles Chargers. Last season was one of the worst campaigns of his career, so it remains to be seen if he still has enough football left in him. Even if he isn’t in the running for MVP this year, he has an impressive stable of backs to work with in Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and now rookie Jonathan Taylor. I’m undecided on what Indy’s ceiling is in 2020, but go ahead and take this large spread in Week 1 since I’m confident the Jaguars could be that bad.  

The pick: Colts 28-13 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Saints -3.5

The streak has been broken! Tom Brady enters the 2020 season having been favored in an NFL-record 74 consecutive games, but is an underdog in his first contest with the Buccaneers. Despite this, the hype around the Buccaneers this offseason has reached unprecedented levels. I feel like I’m missing something, when did Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy and Rob Gronkowski become incredibly sexy signings? And while Brady is probably the greatest of all time, don’t you think his first-ever change of scenery coupled with the lack of an offseason/preseason could contribute to somewhat of a slow start? I think the Buccaneers will make the playoffs this year, but I’m not going to claim they are a Super Bowl contender. Drew Brees is probably playing out his last season and knows that anything other than a Super Bowl appearance is a failure. The Saints will be out to avenge the last three painful postseason losses they have suffered and that starts with defeating the offseason champions that reside in their division. It’s hard for me to believe that the Buccaneers will come out swinging in 2020. It may take them a game or two to get going.

The pick: Saints 33-27 

Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos

Monday, 10:10 p.m. ET (ESPN) 
Point spread: Titans -2.5

This line started off around Broncos -3, but the addition of Jadeveon Clowney has people thinking the Titans could be pretty decent in 2020. It’s about time, since this unit made it all the way to the AFC Championship game last year without him! The Titans didn’t lose much this offseason, so why were we listing the Broncos as the favorite in this matchup after they went 7-9 last season?

Now, I do think the Broncos are going to be much improved this year. Their offense could be dangerous with Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Noah Fant and then Melvin Gordon just to name a few players. But I think it’s going to take some time for this unit as a whole to get on the same page. I think Denver is going to make a late-season push for a Wildcard spot, but they fall to 0-1 as Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill lead Tennessee to victory. This game is also somewhat personal for Tannehill. The 16-0 loss in Week 6 last year marked the end of the Marcus Mariota era and the beginning of the Tannehill era. The disgraced Dolphin has reemerged with a lucrative new contract, and he needs to prove that 2019 wasn’t just a one-year ordeal.

The pick: Titans 27-23 

Other Week 1 picks

Chiefs 28-21 over Texans (+9.5)
Bills (-6.5) 17-10 over Jets
Patriots 27-24 over Dolphins (+6.5)
Lions (-3) 30-17 over Bears
Seahawks (-2) 27-21 over Falcons
Ravens 35-31 over Browns (+7.5)
Raiders (-3) 20-14 over Panthers
Chargers (-3) 23-16 over Bengals
49ers 30-27 over Cardinals (+7)
Cowboys (-3) 24-20 over Rams
Steelers (-6) 30-20 over Giants

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here