Week 1 best bets: Bengals, Skins, Texans are safe picks
Don't take these to the bank, but the Bengals and Texans are good picks on the road, while the Redskins should be able to take down the Eagles.
I'm going to try to highlight a few games each week that intrigue me from a point-spread perspective, with the caveat that I'm not some master prognosticator. Yes, I did pretty well last season ATS (only Will Brinson was better on this here site), but, alas, past performance is not an indicator of future results.
And, in further full disclosure, I loved the Ravens getting 9½ on Thursday night (which is about where that line opened). So go ahead and count me 0-1 with my best bets right there.
So, with that out of the way, here are a few other games that pique my interest:
Bengals (+ 3½) at Bears
I know Cincinnati is the sexy AFC pick, but that's for good reason. Jay Cutler could be running for his life. The Bengals are stout against the run and Mike Zimmer will take Brandon Marshall away and force someone else to beat him. ... I know for sure the Bears have that guy in the passing game. Cincy can spread you horizontally now, and the Bears are long in the tooth on defense. If the Bengals are going to be legit they know they have to win on the road. I like them in this spot.
Redskins (-3½) vs. Eagles
I want to see the Eagles stop a team on defense before I believe they can with any regularity. I don't see why Washington's zone running scheme won't be even more productive this season. Robert Griffin III's health is a minor concern I suppose, but with a healthy Pierre Garcon and with Brian Orakpo back to help the pass rush, I like their chances here. DeSean Jackson might exploit the Redskins' secondary a time or two, but if the Eagles go super hurry-up, and that offense has some 3-and-outs, and Mike Shanahan concocts the kind of run-based methodical drives I think he will, then Philly's defense might be gassed before halftime.
Texans (-4½) at Chargers
The Texans are fired up after wilting in the playoffs. Brian Cushing just got paid. J.J. Watt wants to be the best ever. Arian Foster has healed up. And this Chargers team could have some major issues on offensive line and lacks pass catchers and they haven't been great on the ground the past few years, either. And I'm not sold on their pass rush. And The Murph, or whatever they call it these days, isn't exactly a fortress.
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