Pete Prisco's NFL Week 1 odds, picks: Jaguars upset Chiefs, Ravens struggle to beat Dolphins
Prisco reveals his NFL picks for Week 1, including why the Panthers will upset the defending NFC champs
I love the dawn of an NFL season.
But the best thing about the opening of the season: I still don't have a loss in my picks column.
There isn't a blemish.
That, of course, will change. That's the NFL way. Picking games is brutal now with so much parity and uncertainty.
Let's get off to a fast start. I think this is the year I finally light it up with these picks.
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Packers at Bears (-3)
This is a tough way to open the season for the Packers. The Bears are nasty on defense, but I think this one will come down to the two quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers will be better than Mitch Trubisky. The Packers take it on the road.
Pick: Packers 23, Bears 17
This is a long trip to open the season for the Rams. They will be facing an improved Carolina team early West Coast time. That will matter. Cam Newton will find a way to pull this one out for the Panthers.
Pick: Panthers 24, Rams 20
The Browns enter this season as a trendy team with plenty of talent. But they have to learn how to win, starting with this opener. The Titans will bring a tough, physical team into this game, and I think this game will play out that way. The Titans hang around, but the Browns win it.
Pick: Browns 23, Titans 20
The battle between the Chiefs offense and the Jaguars defense is one of the treats of the weekend. Can the Jaguars slow down Patrick Mahomes and company? They won't stop them, but I think they will slow them some. The Jacksonville offense is an unknown, as is the Chiefs defense. In the end, it's a close game that the Jaguars pull out in the Florida heat.
Pick: Jaguars 21, Chiefs 20
Ravens (-5.5) at Dolphins
The Ravens are the better team. Clearly. But opening on the road in the Florida heat won't be easy. Lamar Jackson has to show he's improved as a passer. It's Ryan Fitzpatrick for the Dolphins at quarterback. I think Miami will be feisty here and hang around before the Ravens win it.
Pick: Ravens 17, Dolphins 16
So who wins Packers vs. Bears? And which side of the spread cashes in over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Packers vs. Bears spread to jump on Thursday, all from the advanced model that is up more than $7,000 on its top-rated NFL picks.
This one comes down to Matt Ryan against Kick Cousins for me. I think Ryan has a big edge. The Falcons will be better on defense this season, which will show up here. Falcons will win a tough road game.
Pick: Falcons 23, Vikings 16
This is a game matching two teams that are moving in the right direction. Can one get to the postseason in 2019? It's possible and both will make it tough for the opposition all season. In this one, I think the Jets being at home will find a way to pull it out behind Sam Darnold.
Pick: Jets 27, Bills 26
The Eagles are the class of the NFC East, while the Redskins head into the season with a bunch of questions. Look for Carson Wentz to get off a fast start in this one as the Eagles roll.
Pick: Eagles 27, Redskins 17
Jacoby Brissett takes over as the quarterback for the Colts following the retirement of Andrew Luck and immediately faces a tough road game. The Chargers will throw a ton of stuff at him. On the other side, I look for Philip Rivers to hit some big plays against the Colts secondary. The key will be his line holding up, which I think it does.
Pick: Chargers 30, Colts 21
The Bengals have a first-year coach in Zac Taylor and a new-look offense. But their season will be decided by the defensive improvement. That unit was terrible last season. Russell Wilson should have success here, but I think the Bengals hang around.
Pick: Seahawks 21, Bengals 14
This will be the first regular-season game for Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who was the first pick in the April draft. He wasn't great in the preseason, but the Cardinals didn't show much. They will here. The Lions have owned the series, going 12-5 in the last 17. That changes with Murray here. Cardinals take it.
Pick: Cardinals 23, Lions 17
The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott , but does it matter? The Giants aren't a good team, while the Cowboys have legitimate playoff hopes. The Cowboys will get the best of the Giants.
Pick: Cowboys 30, Giants 16
49ers at Buccaneers (-0.5)
This is a long trip to open for the 49ers. The key thing to watch here will be 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo against a Tampa Bay defense that could struggle. I think we see a shootout with Jameis Winston having a big day to edge out the 49ers.
Pick: Bucs 27, 49ers 26
The Steelers are a new-look team with Antonio Brown gone and the Le'Veon Bell mess behind them. They will be a good team, but opening at New England is a problem. Tom Brady is 11-3 with 31 touchdown passes and five picks in his career against the Steelers. Make it 12-3.
Pick: Patriots 30, Steelers 23
The Texans are better on the offensive line after trading for Laremy Tunsil, which will help Deshaun Watson. But this is a tough way to open the season against a good Saints team on the road. The Superdome will be rocking and the Saints will win it behind a big night from Drew Brees.
Pick: Saints 30, Texans 23
This AFC West game is a nice way to open the season for two teams that think they are improved. The Raiders added some nice pieces this offseason, but the Broncos getting Joe Flacco will be the biggest addition of them all. I think the Denver defense will limit Derek Carr and the offense here as Denver will pull off an upset.
Pick: Broncos 21, Raiders 17
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