Welcome to the newest installment of Madden Daily: my weekly picks for all NFL games this weekend! I’ll be going through Sunday and Monday’s games with the betting line and summary for each one. Follow along and choose your picks wisely!
Colts at Bears (Bears by 9.5): Andrew Luck makes his NFL regular-season debut against the hungry Bears, who have an improved squad after last season’s disappointment. Between home-field advantage for Chicago and Jay Cutler’s weapons at hand, I can’t see Indianapolis covering the spread.
My Pick To Cover the Spread: Chicago
Random Score Prediction: The Bears win 28-17
Eagles at Browns (Philly by 8.5): Will the Eagles actually play as well as their roster would show? The Browns are a steadily-improving team but look to be mis-matched against Philadelphia. Mike Vick begins another season in which he teases and tantalizes fantasy owners simultaneously; look for him to have a huge game against a mediocre Browns defense.
My Pick: Eagles
Random Score Prediction: Philly wins 27-12
Bills at Jets (Jets by 2.5): It’s not that I dislike the Jets; rather it’s just that their offense is bumbling and mediocre. The incompetent dynamic duo of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow will have Jets fans pulling their hair out all season. The Bills are 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games against the Jets. In-division games are always tough; I’m choosing Buffalo to squeak a game out and get the upset.
My Pick: Bills
Random Score Prediction: Buffalo wins 20-13
Redskins at Saints (Saints by 7): I think this line is a bit too stingy for the Saints. Despite Bounty-gate and all the trouble they’ve had this offseason, their offense is as lethal as ever. Poor Robert Griffin III will have to have the game of his life (already) just to keep up with New Orleans.
My Pick: Saints
Random Score Prediction: The Saints win 34-16
Patriots at Titans (Pats by 5.5): Again, another generous line for the underdog. Simply put, it’s a matchup of another guy making his first NFL start (Jake Locker) against the NFL’s best franchise of the past decade. I can not endorse Tennessee this weekend; let’s just say this would be my Lock of the Week.
My Pick: Patriots
Random Score Prediction: New England wins 37-14
Jaguars at Vikings (Vikings by 4): This is easily the worst matchup of the opening weekend. It would be a little better if we knew how many carries Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson would be getting but it’s a bit of a crapshoot. I pick the Vikings on the sole reason of home-field advantage. (Also, their fans don’t hate them as much as the Jaguars’ do.)
My Pick: Vikings
Random Score Prediction: Minny wins 20-10
Dolphins at Texans (Texans by 12): This is the largest spread of all Week 1 games and I still think it should be bigger. A more interesting bet I propose is “Will the Dolphins win more than 3 games this season?”
My Pick: Texans
Random Score Prediction: H-Town doubles up Miami 32-16
Rams at Lions (Lions by 7): You want to hope that Jeff Fisher can revive a stumbling Rams franchise, but he has a lot of work ahead of him. Acquiring Cortland Finnegan was a great move but not even he can stop Calvin Johnson. The Lions may crack 40 points on Sunday.
My Pick: Lions
Random Score Prediction: Lions thrash 34-12
Falcons at Chiefs (Falcons by 3): As many fantasy “experts” have forecasted, I also predict a down year for Michael Turner; however, this may be cancelled out by the impending beastliness that is Julio Jones and Roddy White catching passes by Matt Ryan. Kansas City have one of the league’s greatest home-field advantages, but can Peyton Hillis and a recovering Jamaal Charles crack Atlanta’s D? I want to say yes, and why not? It’s opening weekend.
My Pick: Chiefs
Random Score Prediction: 23-20 goes the way of Kansas City
49ers at Packers (Packers by 5): This was the last pick I could make because I spent too much time thinking about it. It’s a battle of two elite teams combined with the craziness of opening weekend. The Niners were two fluke turnovers from making a Super Bowl but the Packers were most people’s favorites to go to the Big Game (on paper at least). I may have to resort to Green Bay in this one.
My Pick: Packers
Random Score Prediction: Green Bay wins 30-24
Panthers at Buccaneers (Panthers by 2.5): I hate 2.5 point spreads. A winning field goal will give the favorite the cover every time. However, the Bucs are horrific and feature first-year NFL head coach Greg Schiano. Being a relatively-objective Panthers fan, I’ll give my team the cover. Besides, Carolina has Cam Newton and TampaBay doesn’t.
My Pick: Panthers
Random Score Prediction: Carolina wins 30-14
Seahawks at Cardinals (Seahawks by 2.5): Ladies and gentlemen, I’m officially selling tickets to the Russell Wilson Bandwagon. A good game against the mediocre Cardinals should unleash a fury of waiver wire pickups for the pint-sized playmaker. Particularly, I’m not a fan of John Skelton as an NFL quarterback. Good luck this season, Arizona.
My Pick: Seahawks
Random Score Prediction: Seattle wins 24-10
Steelers at Broncos (Broncos by 1.5): This line confuses me. Denver is led by Peyton Manning, who hasn’t played in a meaningful game in over a year.Pittsburgh has an overwhelming majority of last season’s squad and is probably still motivated from being upset from Tebow Christ and the Broncos last January. I think the Steelers may tee off on Manning, I won’t lie.
My Pick: Steelers
Random Score Prediction: Pittsburgh plays old-school football and grinds it out 20-17
Bengals at Ravens (Ravens by 6): I was going to choose Baltimore relatively quickly but then I saw this: The Ravens are 1-7-1 ATS last season when they were favored by at least 5.5 points. Between Joe Flacco’s artistic mediocrity and Ray Rice just getting a new contract, I think this will be a regression of a season for B-More. The Bengals will fight as usual and make it close.
My Pick: Bengals
Random Score Prediction: The Ravens win late, 24-21
Chargers at Raiders (Raiders by 1): BY ONE POINT? That’s basically a “pick” spread. The Chargers are 8-2 in their last 10 games at Oakland. Love him or hate him, Philip Rivers is still a good quarterback; don’t argue this with me.
My Pick: Chargers
Random Score Prediction: A Whale’s Vagina wins 27-22. I hope you got that reference.