Picking NFL games in Week 1 is always a challenge.

Picking them this season is even tougher. Without preseason games and limited access in terms of practices and media availability, it’s tough to get a gauge on where teams are as we head into the first week of games.

Having that as an excuse, I offer my Week 1 picks, complete with an upset or two, one a big surprise even if the line isn’t a big one.

Maybe it’s a good thing we haven’t seen as much action or been able to get as much information as usual. Week 1 has been brutal at times in the past, so maybe things will change.

Let’s hope so.

I feel a 10-6 week against the spread. Who the heck needs the preseason? I am ready to roll.

All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.

This is a rematch of the AFC Divisional Round game that was won by the Chiefs in a blowout after rallying from 24 down. This will be a lot easier. The Texans have defensive issues that will show up here. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs roll.

Pick: Chiefs 36, Texans 20

This is a long trip to open for Seattle, but they have done well in this role on the East Coast. This should be a fun, high-scoring game between two good quarterbacks. The Seahawks aren’t the same team on defense, which is why I think the Falcons will win a shootout.

Pick: Falcons 31, Seahawks 28

The Bills are coming off a playoff season, while the Jets are trying to build something. Buffalo is the much better team. They will limit the Jets offense here and Josh Allen should have a big game against the Jets defense. Bills big.

Pick: Bills 27, Jets 10

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This should be a fun game to watch if you like offense. Carolina’s young defense will get tested in this one, while the Oakland defense might need a few weeks to jell. Look for a lot of points. Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr both light it up with the Raiders getting a road victory. 

Pick: Raiders 34, Panthers 30

It will be Mitch Trubisky at quarterback for the Bears, with Matt Stafford back healthy for the Lions after missing much of last season with a back injury. That’s a big edge to the Lions. At home, Stafford should have a big day against the Chicago secondary. Lions take it.

Pick: Lions 30, Bears 20

The Colts are the better team in this one, but this is a tough way to open on the road in a hot stadium against a division foe. Philip Rivers has played well in his career against the Jaguars and this young Jaguars defense has issues. Colts win it. But it’s closer than expected. 

Pick: Colts 24, Jaguars 21

The Packers have had trouble at Minnesota, but they won there last year. This Vikings team isn’t as good, which is why I think Aaron Rodgers will go in there and beat them again. The Packers will win a big, early-division game. 

Pick: Packers 28, Vikings 17

This will be Cam Newton at quarterback for the Pats with Tom Brady gone. Newton has impressed in camp, and I think he will be fine. The problem is the talent in other spots. Even so, the Pats will find a way to win this game against a young Miami team. But it won’t be easy. 

Pick: Pats 21, Dolphins 20

The Ravens are the favorite in the AFC North, while the Browns are trying to get going under first-year coach Kevin Stefanski. The Ravens will again be explosive on offense, but the Browns should be good on that side as well. So which defense plays better? I will go with the Ravens, but the Browns blew them out in Baltimore last year.  So be careful.

Pick: Ravens 24, Browns 20

It can be tough to open on the road in the division. It’s a lot easier when the home team’s quarterback has little experience, and there isn’t a lot around him. That’s why I think the Eagles will go into Washington and win by a touchdown over Dwayne Haskins and Washington. Carson Wentz will have a nice day against the Washington secondary. 

Pick: Eagles 27, Washington 17

This will be Joe Burrow’s first game, which can be overwhelming for a rookie passer. And he’s facing a talented Chargers defense. Even so, I don’t think Burrow will be bothered by it. He will play well. The Chargers will start Tyrod Taylor and likely try and play ball control. I smell an upset for the Bengals. 

Pick: Bengals 23, Chargers 21

This is the game of the week, Tom Brady’s first with the Bucs. But it’s a tough way to open the season. The Saints are the better team and it’s on the road. Brady has a ton of weapons, but the Saints can score too. I think Drew Brees gets the better of Brady in this one. Saints take it. 

Pick: Saints 28, Bucs 27

This is a be-careful game for the defending NFC Champions. The 49ers have some injury issues on offense, which could limit them. The Cardinals should be much improved on defense this season, and I think the offense will be explosive. Even so, it’s a tough opener. They hang around, but the 49ers win it. 

Pick: 49ers 26, Cardinals 23

The Cowboys seem to be loaded this season in Mike McCarthy’s first as the team’s coach. But this is a tough opener. The Rams were down last year, but Sean McVay will have them playing better this time around. It starts here. The Rams take it in a close one.

Pick: Rams 21, Cowboys 17

The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger back and he’s facing a defense that has issues on the corner. Look for Roethlisberger to get off to a good start after missing much of last season. The Giants have talent on offense, but this Pittsburgh defense is special. Steelers will win a Monday night road game. 

Pick: Steelers 24, Giants 17

There will be no fans at this game, but the Broncos have an edge because of the altitude. I also think they will be able to slow down Derrick Henry, which is the key to the Titans offense. Drew Lock will get off to a good start in his first real season as the starter for Denver. Broncos take it. 

Pick: Broncos 27, Titans 23

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