Prisco's Picks: Week 1

 
 
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WEEK
 
1
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Thursday, Sep. 6, 2018
 
Atlanta
Falcons
21
Let's be real: The Falcons should have won in the playoffs last year. And this team is better, while the Eagles are dealing with a ton of injuries, including quarterback, which is why Nick Foles will start. Winning on the road in a Thursday night opener won't be easy, but Atlanta will take it.
Result: Atlanta Falcons 12, Philadelphia Eagles 18
Philadelphia
Eagles
17
 
Sunday, Sep. 9, 2018
 
Baltimore
Ravens
31
The Bills have issues in a lot of spots and quarterback is No. 1 on that list. They will start Nathan Peterman, who threw five picks in a half in his first start in 2017. This won't be that bad, but it won't be good either against an improved Ravens defense. Joe Flacco will also have a big day. Ravens big.
Result: Baltimore Ravens 47, Buffalo Bills 3
Buffalo
Bills
17
 
 
Pittsburgh
Steelers
23
The Browns will be improved this season, but this is a tough way to start. They will be better on defense, which will show up against a good Steelers offense. That will keep this game close.
Result: Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Cleveland Browns 21
Cleveland
Browns
20
 
 
Cincinnati
Bengals
28
Andrew Luck is back for the Colts, which is a good thing. But he doesn't have a lot of skill players around him. The Bengals will be improved on defense, and the offense is healthy after a lot of injuries last year. Bengals win it on the road with Andy Dalton playing well.
Result: Cincinnati Bengals 34, Indianapolis Colts 23
Indianapolis
Colts
24
 
 
Miami
Dolphins
27
The Titans have a new-look offense under Matt LaFleur, but Marcus Mariota didn't look comfortable in it during the preseason. The Dolphins will be better on defense this season and Ryan Tannehill is back at quarterback, which is an upgrade. Dolphins take it in an upset.
Result: Miami Dolphins 27, Tennessee Titans 20
Tennessee
Titans
20
 
 
Minnesota
Vikings
21
The 49ers have a lot of expectations this year, but this is a tough way to open. Jimmy Garoppolo will be facing one of the best defenses in the league without his projected starting running back. The 49ers will be improved on defense, so look for a low-scoring game as they limit Kirk Cousins.
Result: Minnesota Vikings 24, San Francisco 49ers 16
San Francisco
49ers
13
 
 
New England
Patriots
31
The Texans have Deshaun Watson back at quarterback, which is a big thing. But the offensive line has issues, and that's never a good thing against the Patriots. Tom Brady has a limited number of weapons, but he has enough. Patriots take it.
Result: New England Patriots 27, Houston Texans 20
Houston
Texans
21
 
 
New Orleans
Saints
26
The Bucs are an improved team, but they will be without Jameis Winston for three games. Even so, Ryan Fitzpatrick can do a nice job in relief for a short time, which is why I think they keep this close. The Saints are the better team, and they will pull it out, but it's tighter than you think.
Result: New Orleans Saints 40, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers
23
 
 
Jacksonville
Jaguars
23
The Giants feel like their offense, especially with the return of Odell Beckham Jr. and the addition of Saquon Barkley, will be much better. It will, but not against this defense. The Jacksonville defense has a chance to be special. That shows here. Jaguars take it.
Result: Jacksonville Jaguars 20, NY Giants 15
New York
Giants
10
 
 
Los Angeles
Chargers
30
The Chiefs are now Patrick Mahomes' team, but this is a tough road start against a good pass-rushing team. The Chargers will get after Mahomes and force a couple of turnovers that Philip Rivers will turn into points. Chargers take it. The Chiefs have defensive issues as well.
Result: Los Angeles Chargers 28, Kansas City Chiefs 38
Kansas City
Chiefs
20
 
 
Arizona
Cardinals
24
This is a long trip to open the season for Alex Smith in his debut with the Redskins. The Cardinals have more talent than most think, and Sam Bradford is accurate when he's on the field and healthy, and that shows here. The Cardinals take it.
Result: Arizona Cardinals 6, Washington Redskins 24
Washington
Football Team
20
 
 
Carolina
Panthers
21
Both teams have offensive-line issues, which could make this a defensive battle. Something looks off with this line, though (Carolina -3). I think the Panthers are the better team right now and they are at home, but the line doesn't reflect that the way it should. Even so, I will go with Carolina.
Result: Carolina Panthers 16, Dallas Cowboys 8
Dallas
Cowboys
14
 
 
Denver
Broncos
27
The new-look Seahawks face a big challenge to open the season at a tough venue against a good defense. Case Keenum makes his first start for Denver after signing as a free agent and will have a good day against a Seattle defense that is far from what it used to be. Broncos take it.
Result: Denver Broncos 27, Seattle Seahawks 24
Seattle
Seahawks
21
 
 
Green Bay
Packers
33
This is the return of Aaron Rodgers to the Packers lineup after missing much of last season with a shoulder injury. Rodgers owns the Bears, going 15-4 with 42 touchdown passes and nine picks in his career. Even with Khalil Mack on the Bears defense, the Packers will roll here.
Result: Green Bay Packers 24, Chicago Bears 23
Chicago
Bears
20
 
Monday, Sep. 10, 2018
 
Detroit
Lions
27
This will be a tough way for Sam Darnold to open his career -- on the road on a Monday night. The Lions will take advantage of a rookie on the road in his first start. Matt Stafford will pick apart a Jets defense that lacks a pass rush.
Result: Detroit Lions 17, NY Jets 48
New York
Jets
13
 
 
Los Angeles
Rams
24
This is the student (Sean McVay) against the teacher (Jon Gruden). The student, though, has the better team. One problem: His team is playing on the road on a Monday night to open the season. Rams will win it, but it's close.
Result: Los Angeles Rams 33, Oakland Raiders 13
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