The 2014 NFL schedule is out and that means we know who is playing Week 1. Which means we have NFL opening lines. For entertainment purposes only, of course.
The lines went up almost immediately at the Las Vegas Sportsbook and our friends at Covers.com were kind enough to tweet them out.
Packers at Seahawks (-5)
A perfect opening salvo for bettors. Going against Aaron Rodgers getting five points is dangerous but the defending Super Bowl champs usually win this matchup. Everyone expects Russell Wilson and Seattle to come out motivated and their defense harassed Rodgers in previous matchups. Tough to figure out right now.
Early Pick: Packers +5
Saints at Falcons (-2)
This rivalry is full of hatred and these games are almost always close. Not pushing anything above three points is smart because it splits the sides to the point it should be fairly even. I like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in a bounceback year and expect the Falcons to address offensive line or pass rush early and often in the draft. But grabbing Jairus Byrd in free agency is really going to make the Saints defense difficult to deal with. Assuming Jimmy Graham is signed to a deal and/or reports the offense shouldn't slow down."
Early Pick: Saints +2
Vikings at Rams (-5)
Love, love, love what the Rams do with their pass rush. Robert Quinn is a total freak and Chris Long ain't too shabby either. A lot depends on what the Vikings are doing at quarterback. If they've got a rookie under center it's somehow more terrifying than Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel back there. Adrian Peterson will run but how much if there's no threat of a pass? Add in impact rookies for St. Louis from this draft and it's hard to go against Jeff Fisher.
Early Pick: Rams -5
Browns at Steelers (-5)
Lot of respect for the Browns here? Or perhaps a recognition the Steelers aren't elite at the moment. They have deficiencies for sure and Cleveland could potentially exploit them. If the Browns add a wideout to pair across from Josh Gordon or a quarterback to throw to him (no offense Brian Hoyer) Pittsburgh could be vulnerable in the secondary. On the other hand, there is a major "big brother" factor here.
Early Pick: Browns +5
Jaguars at Eagles (-11)
MAMMOTH line here considering it's only April. Pretty simple rule for me, regardless of whose playing: gimme the double digits in Week 1. Philly losing DeSean Jackson and the Jaguars improving their personnel in free agency doesn't hurt either.
Early Pick: Jaguars +11
Raiders at Jets (-4.5)
I'm irrationally high on the Jets new offense. Michael Vick, Eric Decker, Chris Johnson and potentially a first-round pick doesn't guarantee success. But it should guarantee improvement. Not sure the changes Oakland made in free agency -- namely bringing in Matt Schaub, LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck -- will match what New York did. Rex always coaches his teams up in Week 1.
Early Pick: Jets -4.5
Bengals at Ravens (-2.5)
One of Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton will feel the heat after this one. And while Flacco might be the preferable long-term option and sitting on that Super Bowl ring, Dalton's got better personnel around him in A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. Plus, the Bengals defense is secretly (?) superior at this point. "
Early Pick: Bengals +2.5
Bills at Bears (-6.5)
Big line here as well. Gonna bank on the Bears grabbing a defensive tackle like Aaron Donald to plug in between Willie Young and LaMarr Houston which will make for a lengthy afternoon for EJ Manuel. Can't count on the Bills to slow down Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall either.
Early Pick: Bears -6.5
Redskins at Texans (-2.5)
The Texans are favored by more points (2.5) than games they won in 2013 (2). You can be optimistic about them all you want but there's a lot to be concerned about, particularly with the quarterback position. Case Keenum, Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins could take advantage of the Washington secondary but Robert Griffin III should help Washington put up some points.
Early Pick: Redskins +2.5
Titans at Chiefs (-5.5)
Another easy start for Andy Reid in Kansas City. Ray Horton's 3-4 defensive shift will be interesting to watch. Will it limit Jurrell Casey's ability to get after the quarterback? Will it neutralize Zach Brown's speed? Can they find a 3-4 pass rusher in the draft? Many questions. I know what the Chiefs are and they're good enough to win this one handily.
Early Pick: Chiefs -5.5
Patriots at Dolphins (+3.5)
No shock that Miami isn't favored here. They've brought in Branden Albert and Knowshon Moreno on offense and picking up another offensive lineman in the draft wouldn't be shocking. Tom Brady doesn't always play well in South Beach and we don't really have a clue if Rob Gronkowski will be ready. The Patriots still lack weapons but that's a lot of time for Bill Belichick to prepare.
Early Pick: Patriots -3.5
Panthers at Buccaneers (+2.5)
Two teams on the opposite end of the free-agent spectrum. Carolina didn't do much except watch wideouts like Ted Ginn, Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Domenik Hixon walk out the door. Tampa brought in Lovie Smith at coach, Anthony Collins at tackle, Michael Johnson at defensive end and Alterraun Verner at cornerback. This is a team on the rise, although there are still question marks. Just not as many as Carolina.
Early Pick: Buccaneers +2.5
49ers at Cowboys (+3.5)
Fun fact: Tony Romo and company handed Jim Harbaugh his first-ever loss as coach of the 49ers in 2011 Week 2. That was an overtime thriller; Vegas isn't expecting the same here. The hallmark of the 49ers is their defense, but will Aldon Smith play? Can the cornerbacks contain Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten? Home dog upset watch even if you don't care for the Cowboys. At the very least 3.5 is a half point too much to pass on.
Early Pick: Cowboys +3.5
Colts at Broncos (-7)
Second-biggest line of Week 1 and clearly it forgets that the Colts beat the Broncos last year. Reggie Wayne is up in the air (can Hakeem Nicks fill the void early?) and there's no way the Colts can limit Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, even with Decker and Moreno gone. The Broncos offense is terrifying and they've gotten better on defense by bringing in DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib. But a full touchdown is too much before the draft even happens.
Early Pick: Colts +7
Giants at Lions (-4)
Lot of faith in Jim Caldwell here. Or, I suppose, a lot of faith in Matthew Stafford finding Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush doing what he does. I might like the Lions more here if they add another wideout, even if that's not necessarily the smart move long term. The Giants are just hard to trust with Eli Manning struggling the way he did last year and Nicks departed after a disappointing season. Four's a lot unless you think Caldwell calms this team down out of the gates.
Early Pick: Giants +4
Chargers at Cardinals (-3.5)
Love, love, love what the Cards are doing this offseason. Adding Antonio Cromartie and Jared Veldheer were great moves in free agency. Jonathan Cooper will be back next year and they've got a decent pick in a deep draft class to bolster the defense. If Carson Palmer picks up where he left off, they'll threaten in the NFC West. Philip Rivers does #BOLO though ...
Early Pick: Cardinals -3.5