With the NFL draft now completed, it's time to look ahead at Week 1 of the NFL season. The betting lines have been out for a couple of weeks now, and we have you covered with expert picks and predictions for every game on the board. Below is an early look at every game on the Week 1 slate, complete with analysis and wagering advice.
Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos (Pick'em, 43)
This rematch of Super Bowl 50 kicks off the season on Thursday, Sept. 8. The early money has come in on Denver and the "under," as this game opened at Carolina -1 with a total of 44. This will be a different Broncos squad than the one that beat the Panthers last February. Several key contributors were lost to free agency this offseason, especially defensively, and either Mark Sanchez or Paxton Lynch will be under center in place of Peyton Manning. The Panthers will also be prowling for at least some measure of revenge.
The Pick: Carolina
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5, 47.5)
You can still get the opening line of Atlanta -3 at many shops, but most have bumped it up a half-point from the key number. Both teams focused on beefing up their porous defenses through both free agency and draft, almost to the exclusion of the other side of the ball. The Bucs made news when trading up to draft kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round. The good news? He won the Lou Groza Award as college football's best kicker last season. The bad news? He was just 5-of-10 from beyond 40 yards. With that said, the Bucs look to be improved this season. Especially if Jameis Winston improves off a solid rookie campaign.
The Pick: Tampa Bay
Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans (+3, 42.5)
This line hasn't budged. Minnesota, last year's NFC Central champs, added some nice pieces to surround Teddy Bridgewater both through the draft and free agency. The Vikings signed a pair of projected starting offensive lineman in guard Alex Boone (San Francisco) and Andre Smith (Cincinnati). They also drafted promising wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who will replace the underachieving and released Mike Wallace. The Titans, who are coming off a three-win season, added free-agent signees DeMarco Murray and underrated free safety Rashad Johnson from the Broncos. After trading the No. 1 overall pick, they wound up taking OT Jack Conklin with the No. 8 pick and adding Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. Not a bad offseason for the Titans, but the Vikings look to be one of the better teams in the NFC this season.
The Pick : Minnesota
Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles (-7, 45)
This opened at Eagles -7.5. So who will be under center in Philly for unproven, first-year coach Doug Peterson? The disgruntled Sam Bradford or small-school rookie Carson Wentz? Neither seems a great option for the immediate future. Philly signed six free agents that were ranked among NFL.com's Top 100 available but did lose DeMarco Murray. This will be a new-look Eagles looking to move past the Chip Kelly era. It's hard to be too optimistic about the Browns given their track record, but they did have a decent enough offseason. They rid themselves of the Johnny Manziel mess, hired a well-regarded coach in Hue Jackson and gave free-agent signee Robert Griffin III a potential big-time receiving target when drafting Corey Coleman of Baylor in the first round. Philly laying a touchdown against anyone seems a stretch.
The Pick: Cleveland
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets (+1, 42.5)
This game opened as a pick'em, but the unsettled situation at quarterback for the Jets has likely left bettors wary. The Bengals suffered some key losses via free agency, namely with the departures of wide receiver Marvin Jones and the aforementioned Andre Smith signing by Minnesota. Their draft was just OK. They will also be without top linebacker Vontaze Burfict for this one as he serves a three-game suspension stemming from last year's playoffs. It seems whatever window of opportunity existed in Cincinnati may be starting to close. The Jets still haven't re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has threatened to sit out the season. However, with Geno Smith as the alternative, it seems unfathomable the up-and-coming Jets don't eventually ink Fitzpatrick.
The Pick: New York Jets
Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints (-1, 50.5)
The Raiders are a budding playoff team that continued to improve its roster this offseason. They signed four of the Top 22 free agents ranked by NFL.com and then used their first three picks in the draft all on bolstering its defense. The Saints didn't do much in free agency, but drafting defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins No. 12 should plug a big hole in what was a miserable defensive unit a season ago.
The Pick: Oakland
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-7, 43)
This game opened with the Chiefs -7.5. Kansas City re-signed three of its most important free agents (OLB Tamba Hall, DE Jaye Howard, LB Derrick Johnson), but did suffer the loss of rock-solid cover corner Sean Smith to the Raiders. The Chiefs traded their first-round pick. San Diego lost All-Pro safety Eric Weddle and talented tight end LaDarius Green to free agency but did add WR Travis Benjamin from Cleveland. Some consider their selection of DL Joey Bosa with the No. 3 pick a bit suspect given he's not a natural fit in the Chargers' 3-4 base defense.
The Pick: Kansas City
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5, 43)
The Ravens brought in Weddle to bolster the secondary but also suffered a stinging loss when Kelechi Osemele, one of the best guards in the game, signed with the Raiders. Baltimore reinforced its O-line ranks by drafting OT Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 pick. The Bills did very little in free agency, but in the draft they selected all linebackers and defensive lineman with their first three picks. The Ryan brothers are hoping that's enough to solidify the front seven.
The Pick: Baltimore -2.5
Chicago Bears at Houston Texans (-5.5, 44)
This game opened Houston -4.5. The Texans' signing of QB Brock Osweller was the big news of free agency. Will it pay off? He'll almost certainly be an improvement at the position for Houston, but with that said he's still largely unproven as a full-time starter in the NFL. The Bears only free agency news was the loss of aging RB Matt Forte. Some questioned their selection of DE Leonard Floyd with the No. 9 pick, but any additional pass rush he provides would be huge for the Bears.
The Pick: Chicago
Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4, 47)
No team had a better offseason than Jacksonville. They drafted two potential standouts on defense in CB Jalen Ramsey and LB Myles Jack, and their free-agent haul included coveted DT Malik Jackson (Denver) and starting corner Prince Amukumara (Giants). Plus, last year's top pick--corner Dexter Fowler--will finally see action after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. This should be a vastly improved team. The Packers were quiet in free agency and used their first two picks on interior lineman. They don't figure to be all that improved from a team that was too inconsistent last season.
The Pick: Jacksonville
Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks (-8, 44)
This game opened Seattle -7.5 and has been bet up a full point at some shops. The Seahawks lost OT Russell Okung and OLB Bruce Irvin to free agency, which are two pretty big hits. Many are also skeptical of the pass-blocking ability of first-round pick Germain Ifedi out of Texas A&M. Still, the Seahawks have talent and a QB capable of masking all kinds of deficiencies. The Dolphins' lost five free agents in the NFL.com Top 100, including second-ranked Olivier Vernon. The DE signed a monster contract with the Giants after posting 61 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season. Mario Williams, signed from the Bills, will try and step in as an edge rusher. Miami may have gotten steal when drafting Laremy Tunsil at No. 13. First-year coach Adam Gase is a supposed QB guru, so if he can get Ryan Tannehill to improve then the Dolphins should be at least competitive this season.
The Pick: Miami
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5, 49)
It may not be Aikman, Smith and Irvin, but first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott joining Tony Romo and Dez Bryant gives the Cowboys a potential "big three" that stacks up with anyone. They also added a potential big-time pass rusher in Jaylon Smith from Notre Dame. The Giants added the aforementioned Vernon and re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul, giving them two big-time pass rushers. Their draft haul was also solid. Still, the Cowboys figure to be tough at full health.
The Pick: Dallas
Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts (-5.5, 49)
The Colts did virtually nothing in free agency but did draft four offensive lineman to help protect Andrew Luck. The Lions only big free agent move was signing Marvin Jones (Cincinnati) to replace the retired Pro Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Neither team made much of a splash in the draft. Simply having a healthy Luck behind center should be enough for the Colts to cover against the Lions.
The Pick: Indianapolis
New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5, 51)
This line moved from an opening of pick'em to this current line following the suspension of Tom Brady. The Cardinals figure as one of the best teams in the NFC, and their wildly-talented secondary figures to give fill-in QB Jimmy Garoppolo all he can handle in primetime.
The Pick: Arizona
Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins (+3, 50.5)
The Steelers are likely the most talented team in the AFC and they added to their arsenal of weapons by signing pass-catching TE Green from San Diego. They will be without suspended big-play wideout Martavis Bryant, however. The Steelers also added two corners in the draft to shore up what was a shaky pass defense last season. Washington made big upgrades to its defense by signing CB Josh Norman and drafting S Su'a Cravens and CB Kendall Fuller. This should be a fun one.
The Pick: Pittsburgh
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (+2, 46)
It's a new city and a new quarterback for the Rams. Los Angeles has adequate talent to be a contender this season, but it is likely to all come down to the play of No. 1 pick Jared Goff at quarterback. The lowly 49ers seem like an excellent first opponent for the rookie, however, as they ranked 29th in total defense. They did add a potential big-time pass rusher by drafting Oregon's DeForest Buckner and the offense figures to be better with Chip Kelly now in charge.
The Pick: Los Angeles
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