Every Wednesday I’ll be making picks against the spread. We’ll be tracking the progress all year long.
Here are my favorites for Week 1.
Ravens (+7 1/2) at Broncos (-7 1/2) — The Broncos have a high-powered offense that only got better with the addition of former Patriot Wes Welker. The Ravens, depleted after last season’s Super Bowl run, has questions at linebacker and safety. The Broncos have also been boosted by the return of cornerback Champ Bailey.
My pick: Broncos
Patriots (-11) at Bills (+11) — The Patriots have won nine of their last 10 games against the Bills and 18 of their last 20. The Bills have a new coach and a new quarterback, going with either top draft pick E.J. Manuel or undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel.
My pick: Patriots
Titans (+7) at Steelers (-7) — Talented running back Isaac Redman gets the start for the Steelers. While he’s no Chris Johnson, who appears primed for a comeback season, he’s on a team that is less talented overall.
My pick: Steelers
Falcons (+3) at Saints (-3) — The Falcons are expected to compete for a Super Bowl berth and that means they have to start by beating tough division opponents like the Saints. Matt Ryan continues to get better.
My pick: Falcons
Buccaneers (-3) at Jets (+3) — While the easy route may be to pick against the seemingly hapless Jets, what’s more concerning is the dismal quarterback play in Tampa Bay during the preseason. Josh Freeman is not worthy of your trust.
My pick: Jets
Chiefs (-3 1/2) at Jaguars (+3 1/2) — There’s way too much hype about what Andy Reid is doing with the Chiefs and Alex Smith. On the other hand, there’s no hype whatsoever surrounding the Jaguars. There’s good reason for the latter.
My pick: Chiefs
Bengals (+3) at Bears (-3) — The Bengals hold the edge on defense with the dominant Geno Atkins manning the trenches. The question is whether former Canadian Football League coach Marc Trestman is having a positive impact on the Bears.
My pick: Bengals
Dolphins (+1) at Browns (-1) — There is an expectation that Ryan Tannehill will be much improved this season, especially with new wide receiver Mike Wallace on the roster.
My pick: Dolphins
Seahawks (-3) at Panthers (+3) — The Seahawks will have arguably the best defense in the league. While the Panthers have a dynamic quarterback, they’re light years away in every other facet of the game.
My pick: Seahawks
Vikings (+5 1/2) at Lions (-5 1/2) — Adrian Peterson is always fun to watch. But the Lions, sporting some of the league’s most talented players in multiple positions, is a team that’s fun to watch.
My pick: Lions
Raiders (+10) at Colts (-10) — The Raiders do not appear to have improved in any meaningful way despite news that Terrelle Pryor may start at quarterback.
My pick: Colts
Cardinals (+4 1/2) at Rams (-4 1/2) — St. Louis has the explosiveness on offense with wide receiver Tavon Wilson and the pass rush up front with defensive end Chris Long to make life hell for Arizona.
My pick: Rams
Packers (+4 1/2) at 49ers (-4 1/2) — Colin Kaepernick may be the offseason’s most talked about quarterback after guiding the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He torched the Packers in the NFC divisional playoffs, so the Packers are surely thinking about revenge. Meanwhile, SF downgraded in the secondary, its receiving corps is depleted, and there are concerns about Patrick Willis’ health.
My pick: Packers
Giants (+3) at Cowboys (-3) — While it was tough for the Giants to lose Andre Brown in the preseason, David Wilson is considered a home run hitter. The running game is the difference.
My pick: Giants
Eagles (+3 1/2) at Redskins (-3 1/2) — After watching the Eagles up close against the Patriots in the preseason, it’s clear that despite the prospect of a blazing fast offense, Philadelphia will have numerous issues on the defensive side of the ball. Oh, and Robert Griffin III is back.
My pick: Redskins
Texans (-4) at Chargers (+4) — There’s no reason to think that Phillip Rivers is going to be better. Meanwhile, the Texans have upgraded at wide receiver, in the secondary, and are healthy after a 12-4 season.
My pick: Texans
Last season: 169-83-1
This season: 0-0
Zuri Berry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry.