Week 1 kicks off with the defending Super Bowl champions from Baltimore in Denver on Thursday night, but the action really heats on Sunday with a full slate of games. Here are a few picks you should consider in your sportsbook this weekend.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Odds: Patriots -10
The Patriots have dominated their AFC East rivals as of late, winning nine of the last 10 meetings with the Bills and they have covered the spread in five of those games. They may be even better in Buffalo, winning eight of their last 10 trips there and they have covered the spread in seven. There is still no one in the league better at motivating his team than Bill Belichick, and given the craziness of New England’s offseason (Tim Tebow, Aaron Hernandez, etc), he’ll want his team to start with a bang. Combine that with Buffalo having a rookie QB in E.J. Manuel (who had a bum knee in the preseason) and a defense that won’t be nearly as bad as they were last year, and the Pats cover the NFL spread in a rout.
Pick: Patriots -10
Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Odds: Chiefs -4
The Chiefs are the trendy “they’ve improved” team of the season with a new head coach in Andy Reid and a decent quarterback in Alex Smith, and they actually had a solid defense last season, they were on the field too much because of an absolutely terrible offense. They should be able to feast on the Jaguars, unless Blaine Gabbert has stopped looking like he is terrified every time he dropped back. The only way that the Jaguars can keep this game close is if Maurice Jones-Drew has a monster game (which is completely possible). The Jags have won six of nine meetings with KC since 1997, with both teams covering four times (with one push), and the Chiefs are 1-4 in Jacksonville, but they have covered twice. They’ll roll in Week 1 of this season, however.
Pick: Chiefs -4
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers
Odds: 49ers -4.5
This could be the most explosive game of the week as the Packers will be out to avenge a 45-31 loss to the 49ers in last season’s playoffs. Colin Kaepernick really burst onto the scene in that game, throwing for 263 yards and running for another 181 yards, and there have been some comments made that the Packers were going to “target” the QB (although most defenses are trying to do that anyway). The Packers have their own quarterback to watch in Aaron Rodgers, who took some criticism in the offseason concerning his leadership and he has a lot to prove. Green Bay has the upper hand in recent matchups, winning eight of the last 10 meetings while covering six times, but the 49ers have won the last two. They’re also 6-2 in their last eight in San Francisco, covering six times, but the 49ers won the most recent meeting in the playoffs. The 49ers are the NFC favorites; look for them to make a statement on the NFL lines on Sunday.
Pick: 49ers -4.5