Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season is just about to start and Smooth’s NFL Football picks are ready for some action. Some important matchups already with big implications for teams later this fall. Let’s get started!
All odds courtesy of oddsshark.com
Thursday September 6
Atlanta at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 3
This is a rematch of the NFC Divisional semi-final from January. The Falcons played hard, but in the end lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions. Even though the line favors the Eagles, the Falcons high powered offense looks to get back to 2016 form. I like the “dirty birds” in this one.
Smooth’s Pick – Atlanta (31-17)
Sunday September 9
Jacksonville at NY Giants
Line: Jags by 3
This is the Jags year, but their run to the Super Bowl may have taken a hit on offense with wide receiver Marquise Lee out for the season. They still with run the ball with RB Leonard Fournette. The Giants completely re-did their O-line. They brought back Eli Manning and drafted Saquon Barkley 2nd overall to get their run game back in line. The key to success is their secondary and with Eli Apple coming back, that’s a huge question mark. But in this game, I lean towards the Jags.
Smooth’s Pick – Jacksonville (23-20)
Buffalo at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 7
This is gonna be a tough game for Jake Allen for his debut if they do start him. The Ravens defense always tough on young QB’s. The key to the Bills winning is keeping the score low. That was the formula in their playoff run last season. As for the Ravens, QB Joe Flacco needs to stay health all season long. They should be able to handle the Bills secondary.
Smooth’s Pick – Baltimore (24-10)
Cincinnati at Indianapolis
Line: Colts by 3
Not sure I understand this spread. Yes, Andrew Luck is coming back from a season long injury sabbatical. Yes, there’s a new head coach. But despite home field, I’m not quite impressed with the Colts chanses. Marvin Lewis continues to get chance after chance as head coach. But he does have a more stable squad than in previous seasons. I like the Bengals.
This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick – Cincinnati (24-21)
Houston at New England
Line: Patriots by 6½
The last time the Texans went into Gillette stadium last season, they shocked the Patriots with a victory last season. DeShaun Watson was outstanding at QB in 6 games until a knee injury ended his season. How he plays this season with a restructured knee is anyone’s guess. But the Patriots won’t be surprised this time around.
Smooth’s Pick – New England (30-17)
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Line: Steelers by 5½
The Browns look to start fresh after going winless last season. If there’s a chance for an upset you would think this would be it. But the Browns are still rough along the edges with young talent. The Steelers look to continue their domination over the Browns. I think they handle them easy.
Smooth’s Pick – Pittsburgh (34-13)
San Francisco at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 6
The Niners finished last season strong winning 5 of their last 6 games. Jimmy Garofalo gets a full 16 games to start at QB for the Niners. They get a challenge with a Vikings team that were tough at home all season long and was a game away from the super bowl last year. This will be a compelling game on how the Vikings do with key losses in coaching personnel and new QB Kirk Cousins taking over.
Smooth’s Pick – Minnesota (27-21)
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 9½
The Saints are looking for a bounce-back after last season’s last minute loss in the Divisional semi-final. They should be able to handle the Bucs who will be without their starting QB Jameis Winston for three games. This will be tough for them as they’re on the road against a division opponent.
This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick – New Orleans (35-14)
Tennessee at Miami
Line: Titans by 1
The Titans come off their best season since 2008. They look to improve with a healthy Marcus Mariota at QB. The Dolphins are on short time for head coach Adam Gage and QB Ryan Tannehill. They need to get results after two disappointing seasons. This will be a close matchup.
Smooth’s Pick – Tennessee (20-17)
Kansas City at LA Chargers
Line: Bolts by 3
Disappointing ending to the Chiefs last season losing in the AFC Wildcard game after starting 2017 strong. They go with 2nd year pro Patrick Mahomes at QB. They won’t get the benefit of a fast start this time around with the Bolts, as they just barely missed the playoffs themselves.
Smooth’s Pick – LA Chargers (27-20)
Dallas at Carolina
Line: Panthers bv 2½
These are two teams that need this game to a quick start in their seasons. The Cowboys won’t have Jason Whitten, as he retired and they jettisoned Dez Bryant. Dax Prescott is still the QB and he still has a strong O-line. As for the Panthers, Cam Newton is still the guy at QB, but head coach Ron Rivera can’t afford another disappointing loss in the playoffs.
Smooth’s Pick – Carolina (26-18)
Seattle at Denver
Line: Broncos by 3
Big changes for the Seahawks as Richard Sherman and Jimmy Graham are gone, but Russell Wilson still is the key to the Seahawks’ success. For the Broncos, everything went south for them last season after a rough losing streak. I’m predicting a low scoring matchup.
Smooth’s Pick – Denver (17-15)
Washington at Arizona
Line: Pick ‘em
Why, because both teams have major changes. The Cardinals have a new head coach and Washington has a new starting QB in Alex Smith. Both teams had disappointing seasons last year. This looks like a low scoring affair, as well.
Smooth’s Pick – Arizona (18-13)
Chicago at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 8
Aaron Rodgers getting hurt mid-season ruined the Packers chances at another Super Bowl. He is back and so are the Pack, who are heavy favorites in the NFC North. The Bears on the other hand are still regrouping after another 10+ loss season. They acquired Kalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders and he should help on defense. But their offense is still a problem.
Smooth’s Pick – Green Bay (25-16)
Monday September 10
NY Jets at Detroit
Line: Lions by 6½
The Sam Darnold era begins for Gang Green, but I’ll be very surprised if he gets the start on the road verses a very good Lions team who under achieved with the departed, Jim Caldwell. Matt Patricia gets the knod as head coach for the Lions, and the key will be their defense. Matthew Stafford could be an MVP candidate if his offense holds up.
Smooth’s Pick – Detroit (24-17)
LA Rams at Oakland
Line: Rams by 4½
The Rams got off to a quick start last season winning their first 4 games en-route to an 11-5 record and their first division title since moving back to LA. That will be hard feat to repeat with the tougher schedule and starting on the road. Oakland brings back Jon Gruden to coaching after many years on Monday Night Football. He looks to bring back the silver and black to their winning ways. Should be a tough game to end the week.
Smooth’s Pick – LA Rams (21-19)
Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblers anonymous dot org.