Going into the season, I had high expectations for my weekly picks. But the first week was uglier than what the Packers and Bills put on the field in Week 1.
My picks went 6-10 straight up — whew, that stinks — and 8-7-1 against the spread. The Best Bets, as part of the Pick Six Podcast, went a disappointing 3-3, but seeing Ryan Fitzpatrick knocked out for Washington didn't help and neither did the late missed field goal by Arizona that would have hit the Over in the Cardinals-Titans game.
Oh, well. Time to regroup.
Week 2 is often get-even week in the NFL, and I hope that's the case for me.
There's a long way to go, but the start isn't something the Packers, Bills or myself expected.
New York Giants at Washington Football Team (-3.5)
This will be Taylor Heinicke at quarterback for Washington with Ryan Fitzpatrick out with a hip injury. Heinicke can create issues for the Giants defense with his ability to move. The Giants offense was bad last week against Denver and now must face another top defense. Look for the Washington defense to get all over Daniel Jones. Washington takes it, although the Giants have won five straight at Washington.
Pick: Washington 22, Giants 17
Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears (-3)
The Bengals did some good things in beating the Vikings last week, while the Bears were awful. How long can they stay with Andy Dalton? He gets a chance against his former team here, and I think he will play much better than he did a week ago. I think the Bears defense will get the better of the Bengals and Joe Burrow as well. Chicago bounces back.
Pick: Bears 23, Bengals 17
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Houston Texans (+12.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Texans showed last week in blowing out the Jaguars that they might not be as bad as expected. With a lot of veterans on the roster, they will compete. The Browns lost a tough one against the Chiefs last week and they are heavy favorites here. But something says the Texans hang around with all those veteran players. Browns win it, but it's close.
Pick: Browns 30, Texans 24
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts were bad last week on defense against the pass and now must deal with Matthew Stafford, who was outstanding in his first game for the Rams. Indianapolis didn't do a lot on offense as the line struggled. That will again play out here as Aaron Donald and the gang limit the Colts offense, while Stafford hits a few big shots. Rams win it.
Pick: Rams 28, Colts 20
Buffalo Bills (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins
The Bills have won five straight against Miami, but the Dolphins have covered in five straight games overall. Something has to give. Buffalo was awful on offense last week in losing to the Steelers at home, but I think they bounce back as Josh Allen gets back on track. Tua Tagovailoa won't be able to keep up. Even in heat of South Florida, I expect the Bills to bounce back.
Pick: Bills 29, Dolphins 18
New England Patriots (-5.5) at New York Jets
The Patriots lost to Miami at home last week, but fumbled late to blow a real chance to win it. The Jets stumbled around for three quarters in losing to the Panthers. This is a game of two rookie quarterbacks in Mac Jones and Zach Wilson. The Patriots have the better defense, so look for them to make it tough on Wilson. New England, which has won five straight on the road against the Jets, will get its first victory of the season.
Pick: Patriots 24, Jets 16
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5)
This is a second straight road game for the 49ers, who handled the Lions last week. The Eagles are making their home debut after beating Atlanta on the road. Jalen Hurts looked good in that game, but this is a much better defense. Even so, I think the Eagles will find a way to pull this one out. They are 8-1 against the spread in the last nine against the 49ers and I think that plays true in this one. Hurts has another good day. Upset.
Pick: Eagles 23, 49ers 22
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)
The Raiders are playing on a short week and now must head out to face a Pittsburgh team playing its home opener. Both teams opened with victories, but it was the Steelers who truly impressed in beating the Bills on the road. The defense was suffocating. I think that will be the case here as well. The Steelers front will stifle Derek Carr and the Steelers will do enough on offense to get to 2-0.
Pick: Steelers 23, Raiders 14
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers
The Saints impressed in beating the Packers, especially on defense, while the Panthers hung on against the Jets last week as Sam Darnold played well. This will be a much stiffer test for the Panthers offense, which is why I think that unit struggles. The Saints will win another behind their defense as Jameis Winston does enough to pull it out for the offense.
Pick: Saints 23, Panthers 17
Denver Broncos (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars were awful last week, while the Broncos dominated in beating the Giants on the road. This is consecutive road games for the Broncos and the heat will be impactful. It won't matter. The Jaguars will have problems moving the ball on the Denver defense, while the Broncos will do enough on offense to pull out a road victory.
Pick: Broncos 24, Jaguars 13
Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals (-4.5)
The Vikings are playing consecutive road games, while Arizona will be playing its home opener. That's a bad combination. But what's even worse for the Vikings is their offensive line will be challenged in a big way by the Arizona front. Look for Kirk Cousins to struggle as the Cardinals get to 2-0 behind the defense and Kyler Murray.
Pick: Cardinals 31, Vikings 17
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12.5)
The Falcons were awful in their opening loss to the Eagles, with Jalen Hurts doing a number on the defense and their offensive line struggling. That won't change here. The Bucs will be rested after playing Thursday to open the season and they have the passing game to attack the Falcons and the pass rush to influence Matt Ryan. This will be ugly.
Pick: Bucs 37, Falcons 20
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers (-3)
The Chargers are coming off a tough road victory at Washington and now get to play in front of fans in their new stadium for the first time, even if there will be a lot of Cowboys fans there. I expect to see a lot of points in this one. Watching Justin Herbert and Dak Prescott in a shootout will be fun to see. The Chargers will be the team that makes the defensive play late to seal it.
Pick: Chargers 35, Cowboys 30
Tennessee Titans (+5.5) at Seattle Seahawks
The Titans were bad in their home loss to the Cardinals last week, and now must travel to Seattle to play a Seahawks team that impressed last week. The Seattle defensive front was outstanding, while the Tennessee offensive line was terrible against Arizona. The Titans are better than what they showed last week, so this will be a close, physical contest. But Seattle will take a high-scoring game.
Pick: Seahawks 31, Titans 27
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are playing on a short week after losing Monday night to the Raiders on the road, which makes this a tougher challenge. The Chiefs beat the Browns last week, but it wasn't easy. This won't be either. But the Ravens love to blitz and Patrick Mahomes will carve that decision to do so to shreds. Lamar Jackson will keep it close, but in the end the Chiefs will pull away.
Pick: Chiefs 33, Ravens 28
Detroit Lions (+10.5) at Green Bay Packers
Both of these teams looked bad in losing in Week 1, but the Packers' showing was a major surprise. The offense scored just three points and looked disjointed. That will change against a Lions defense that lacks top talent and is now without No. 1 corner Jeff Okudah. Look for Aaron Rodgers to bounce back with a big night. Detroit is 7-1 against the spread in the last eight vs. the Packers, but that trend changes here.
Pick: Packers 33, Lions 23