I'll be looking at the 2020 Week 1 NFL point spreads that were released today. I'll give my take on the spread and which way I'm leaning at the moment. Of course, I'll have my official selections posted on my NFL Picks
page come September, so stay tuned for that!
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
Line: Chiefs by 10.5
This number seemed very high to me at first glance. The Chiefs were just -4.5 against the Texans in a Week 6 meeting in Kansas City last year, so why are they suddenly favored by double digits against the same team, albeit one without DeAndre Hopkins? However, Andy Reid has a colossal coaching edge over Bill O'Brien, considering that he'll have lots of time to prepare for this game. I could see the Chiefs getting out to a big lead with Deshaun Watson staging some late scores to potentially get a late back-door cover. I don't think I'll be betting this game very heavily, but as long as this spread is in the double digits, I'll probably side with the underdog.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Line: Seahawks by 1
The Falcons might have the worst group of cornerbacks in the NFC, so it'll be difficult for them to slow down Russell Wilson and his two talented receivers. This is an early game on the East Coast for the Seahawks, but they've thrived in this situation under Pete Carroll. It's dangerous to go against Wilson, especially against an inferior opponent in a pick-em situation.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Line: Eagles by 6
The Redskins aren't a bad team. They'll have a good defense with Chase Young joining the front seven; they have some intriguing, young play-makers, and the right side of the offensive line is stout. However, I'm not sure they can compete with the Eagles, especially when considering that they have a terrible home-field environment. There are barely any Redskin fans who show up to home games these days, so there will be more Philadelphian representation, if fans can even go to NFL games in Week 1, that is.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Line: Patriots by 6.5
I was hoping to get a nice number with the Patriots, but the oddsmakers have made betting them difficult, at least for other people. That could be a sign that New England is the right side. With Bill Belichick having plenty of time to prepare, I imagine I'll be betting the Patriots, as they'll want to prove that they can win without Tom Brady.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Line: Vikings by 3.5
The Packers have made it known that they're ready to give up on Aaron Rodgers. I'd normally say that getting more than a field goal with Rodgers is a great proposition, but I'm not sure about that now. The Vikings are the better team, and with Mike Zimmer having plenty of time to prepare, I'm inclined to believe that the host is the right side. I just hope we get -3 rather than -3.5.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: Colts by 8.5
This number seemed high when I first saw it, but now I'm wondering if it's high enough. The Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL, and it's not even close. The Colts, conversely, are a Super Bowl contender. They're also extremely well coached by Frank Reich, who usually takes advantage of having extra time to prepare for a game.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Line: Lions by 1.5
I love the Lions at this time. Things may change if Matthew Stafford's back is still iffy to start the year, but if he's 100 percent, the Lions seem like a great play. Detroit, with a healthy Stafford, is better than Chicago. The Bears are not very good, and yet people don't seem to realize it quite yet. Their defense isn't as strong as it once was because of some departures, while their offensive line is especially weak.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Line: Ravens by 8.5
What a frustrating point spread. I wanted to bet the Browns because I believe they'll be much better this year. Remember, people thought they would reach the Super Bowl last year. They could meet those expectations now that they have a better offensive line and a more experienced quarterback and secondary. However, John Harbaugh is an exceptional Week 1 coach because he fully takes advantage of having extra time to prepare. I think I'd wager on the Ravens, but hopefully we get some line movement.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Line: Bills by 5.5
The Bills were one of the top winners of the offseason, and they're a threat to advance deep into the playoffs. However, the Jets should be better in 2020 as well. They were 7-9 last year, but remember that they didn't have a healthy Sam Darnold for the first four games of the season. They were 7-5 with a healthy Darnold, and now they have a better offensive line. This should be a close game decided by one score. I'm not sure which team I'll pick yet.
Las Vegas Raiders at Carolina Panthers
Christian McCaffrey would've had a field day against the Raiders' linebackers last year, but that's not the case now in the wake of some solid signings. The Raiders are the better team, but considering Carolina's home field and the early start time, it seems as though this point spread is right where it should be.
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Line: Chargers by 3.5
I nearly choked on the chicken and rice I was eating when I first saw this spread. Tyrod Taylor will be a 3.5-point road favorite in his first start with the Chargers? How does that make any sense? I know San Angeles has a great defense, but the Bengals will be much better this year with Joe Burrow, A.J. Green and Jonah Williams joining the offense. I'd argue that the Bengals should be favored by a point or two, so I obviously love them as of this moment.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Line: Saints by 4.5
Tom Brady versus Drew Brees in Week 1? Sign me up! Though, at this point, I'd be willing to watch nothing but Week 4 preseason games amid this stupid pandemic. At any rate, it's not a common occasion that we get more than four points with Brady. The last time that happened in the regular season was in 2010 when Brady was a five-point dog against the Steelers. He won that game, 39-26. I love the Buccaneers at this moment, as Brady should be able to keep this game close or perhaps even prevail. The Saints have a dubious history in early-season contests.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Line: 49ers by 8
The Cardinals played the 49ers very closely twice last year. Perhaps that'll happen once more. Arizona has a very injury-prone offensive line, but the blocking unit is healthy at the moment. That is vital against the 49ers and their devastating defensive line. Even if the Cardinals fall behind, Kyler Murray will have the talent around him to potentially cover at the end.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams
Line: Cowboys by 3
The 2020 Cowboys are the 2019 Browns and the 2011 Eagles. They're absurdly hyped, with the NFL Network's Steve Smith comparing them to the Akiman-Smith-Irvin Cowboys from the 90s. That is absolutely ridiculous, so we'll be able to make some money fading them in the early part of the season, including this game. When I first saw this matchup, I thought the Rams would be favored by two or 2.5, so I love the value we're getting with the home dog, especially when considering the amount of time Sean McVay will have to prepare for this game.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants
Line: Steelers by 3.5
If you've listened to our podcast or read the NFL Power Rankings
, you know how much I love the Giants this year. I think they have the potential to make a deep run into the playoffs. Their offensive line and defense have both improved, while Daniel Jones will be much better in his second season. We haven't seen a healthy Ben Roethlisberger since 2018, so I don't agree with him being favored by more than a field goal on the road.
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos
Line: Broncos by 3
When this game was announced, I initially thought this spread would be Denver -6.5. I don't know why. I'm not even saying that -3 is incorrect. But between the Broncos' post-draft hype, and the fact that home teams have had a big advantage in the Week 1 late Monday games, it seems as though Denver should cover this spread.
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NFL Picks - Feb. 2
2020 NBA Mock Draft - Sept. 27