The NFL season is finally upon us, and that means the return of BLTD Pick ‘Em. After picking last year’s playoff matchups our own Ryan Wolfe proved to be the smartest of the bunch, while I finished far far worse. However, revenge will be sweet.
Our picks are made by site owners Ryan Wolfe and Brayton Wilson along with writers Louie DiBiase, Derek Kramer, Frank Arcury, and myself.
Green Bay Packers (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars 1pm EST
The Game: The Jaguars have had some hype this offseason adding Jaylon Smith in the draft, and anticipating the debut of Dante Fowler Jr. However, this is still a very young defense, and team for that matter. The talent in Jacksonville is improving, and the team will improve this year, but even if they are home it’s going to be hard for anyone to bet against Aaron Rodgers and the returning Jordy Nelson.
The Line: Taking the Packers is tempting. The Jags are probably a better team than that line signifies, but they have yet to earn the right to be thought of differently as in past years. The line favors the Packers.
PICKING GREEN BAY: Ryan, Joe, Lou, Frank
PICKING JACKSONVILLE: Brayton
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-3) 1pm EST
The Game: The Bills have a lot of players suspended for this game and that will hurt them, especially the loss of Marcell Dareus. The game-zflow will benefit the Bills. I don’t see Baltimore airing it out in this game, and the Bills run game is superior to the Ravens. Baltimore has a committee at seemingly every offensive position.
The Line: This should be an easy one. Despite being on the road, I feel this game should have been a pick ’em or the Bills been a favorite.This line favors the Bills.
PICKING BUFFALO: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
PICKING BALTIMORE: None
Chicago Bears @ Houston Texans (-5) 1pm EST
The Game: It’s the debut in Houston of Dwayne “The Brock” Johnson. Don’t worry I have enough nicknames to go on forever. Almost as important as Oisweiler’s debut is the debut of running back Lamar Miller who figures to be a star in this offense. For Chicago, it looks poised to have a very “blah” season. I suppose if Jay Cutler throws for 400 yards a game this could be a decent team, but he’s not doing that against the stout Houston defense.
The Line: Give me the Texans all day with this one, especially with them at home. The line could probably be a few points higher, but this one favors the Texans.
PICKING CHICAGO: None
PICKING HOUSTON: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
Cleveland Browns @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) 1pm EST
The Game: Yuck alert. If you read my power rankings you know that these are my 32nd and 30th ranked teams. With Carson Wentz jumping from the FCS straight to starting his first NFL game, I expect the Eagles offense to look pitiful. Not to be overdone, the Browns also have a pitiful offense, but there’s a small part of me that thinks RG3 still has game in him. Could be a fun game, but probably not.
The Line: This is a solid line, favoring the Eagles by 3.5. I’d take the Browns in this one. It’s an unpredictable game, give me the underdog with who I think has a better quarterback.
PICKING CLEVELAND: Ryan, Brayton, Joe
PICKING PHILADELPHIA: Lou, Frank
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (-3) 1pm EST
The Game: This is an intriguing one. I think Tampa Bay will be a better team than Atlanta this season, led by a big jump in Jameis Winston’s game. However, we haven’t seen the jump yet. With the Panthers losing on Thursday, this is an opportunity to establish yourself early with a division victory.
The Line: Something about the Falcons just screams “SAFE” in this game. My guts telling me that the Falcons are going to cover the spread.
PICKING TAMPA BAY: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
PICKING ATLANTA: None
Minnesota Vikings (-3) @ Tennessee Titans 1pm EST
The Game: Shaun Hill everyone. Nothing says I love NFL football than getting excited to watch a savvy vet like Shaun “The Thrill” Hill. In reality the Vikings won’t miss Teddy Bridgewater all that much, because they throw the ball less than anyone in the NFL. Last season they had 14 passing touchdowns. I’m sure even Hill can do that. The Titans love to run the ball too. Over/under 30 pass attempts in this game?
The Line: The line moved on this game about 3 points, depending on who you looked at, after the Bridgewater injury. Easy money is on the Vikings.
PICKING MINNESOTA: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
PICKING TENNESSEE: No one
Cinncinnati Bengals (-3) @ New York Jets 1pm EST
The Game: This is two of the better teams in the AFC. The Jets won’t end up proving that because of their schedule, but in terms of this game it’ll be a close physical game that goes right down to the wire. Both rosters are very talented, so the difference maker will be the quarterback. Andy Dalton seems to be pretty consistent when he’s not playing primetime, so the edge should go to Cincy.
The Line: This is the hardest line to pick. I think it could have been a pick ’em, so with the points and home field advantage this line favors the Jets ever so slightly.
PICKING CINNCINNATI: Ryan, Brayton, Lou, Frank
PICKING NEW YORK: Joe
Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints (-1.5) 1pm EST
The Game: Get ready for lots and lots of passing. That’s basically all the Saints do well, and it’s what the Raiders do best. Oakland added a lot of talent on their defense this offseason. The Saints didn’t, so their only hope is if Drew Brees and company can keep pace with maybe 35-40 points. With the Broncos looking strong on Thursday night, it’s important Oakland get out to a hot start this season if they want to compete for the AFC West crown.
The Line: I think this is one of the easier ones Vegas gave us. Even though the Raiders are on the road, and making a pretty long trek, they are a balanced team. On the other side the Saints are the most one-dimensional team in the league. The line favors the Raiders.
PICKING OAKLAND: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
PICKING NEW ORLEANS: None
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7) 1pm EST
The Game: Many people see the Chargers as a flaming pile of Philip Rivers’ used tissues from wiping his own tears. Don’t get me wrong I think they stink too, but they’re not the worst team in the league by any means. Rivers alone can keep games close. Even without Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs should run all over San Diego. Also, with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali against that putrid Chargers o-line, Rivers will be under distress all afternoon.
The Line: Getting a touchdown in a division game is usually a game I’ll target. A huge reason why the Chargers were a dumpster fire last year was injuries. For now they’re fairly healthy. The line favors the Chargers.
PICKING SAN DIEGO: None
PICKING KANSAS CITY: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
Miami Dolphins @ Seattle Seahawks (-10) 4:05pm EST
The Game: This could be the biggest blowout of the weak. Even before you get to all of the issues Miami has with their own team, no one bets against the Seahawks at home. If Miami gets down early it’s over. One of their biggest issues is they start slow, and then Ryan Tannehill has to throw the ball 50 times to play catch up. They won’t get close with that recipe against the Seattle defense. Simply put, it’s a bad team on the road against a great team at home.
The Line: A double-digit line is always tough in the NFL. Despite that, I’d still take the Seahawks here. Nothing about the Dolphins makes me think this game will be anywhere close. The big line slightly favors the Seahawks.
PICKING MIAMI: None
PICKING SEATTLE: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis Colts (-3) 4:25pm EST
The Game: This will be another one of those lots of offense, little defense games. The best player on both teams are their quarterbacks, but both have sub-par support around them. The Colts are missing three in their secondary including Vontae Davis, which is a big loss. Andrew Luck is still nursing a shoulder injury, so we’ll see how good he is Sunday, but if he’s near 100% the Colts can cruise.
The Line: When both teams rely almost soley on their quarterbacks, giving 3 points to the road team seems fair. This line favors the Colts, however. They have the better quarterback.
PICKING DETROIT: Lou
PICKING INDY: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Frank
New York Giants (-1) @ Dallas Cowboys 4:25pm EST
The Game: Most football fans in the country will be watching this game Sunday. With Dak Prescott getting his first career start, the Cowboys are underdogs at Jerry World. This game will depend on game flow. The Giants are built to pass the ball with new head coach Ben McAdoo. The Cowboys are built to run the ball with new rookie Ezekiel Elliott. If Dallas gets down early, I’d be surprised if Dak was able to keep them in it.
The Line: Dallas getting a point is fair. We don’t know what Dak will do in an actual game yet, so it’s hard to predict this one.
PICKING NEW YORK: Brayton, Joe, Lou
PICKING DALLAS: Ryan, Frank
New England Patriots @ Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) 8:30pm EST
The Game: Saying the Pats are missing some key players is an understatement. Without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, you’d already be smelling blood. Now take away starting o-lineman Jonathan Cooper and Nate Solder. The Cards definitely have health on their side. Another thing the Cardinals have is a running game. David Johnson is going to be a star this year, meanwhile the Patriots still have LeGarrette Blount and James White handling their workload.
The Line: Giving the New England Patriots 6.5 points never seems like a good idea, but it works here. I believe Arizona is the best team in the NFL, and while New England may be close, they’re missing far too many key players to win this game on the road. Line favors the Cardinals.
PICKING NEW ENGLAND: No one
PICKING ARIZONA: Ryan, Brayton, Joe, Lou, Frank
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Washington Redskins 7:10pm EST
The Game: This comes off as a strange game to me. I think the Redskins are about as good as the Steelers, but many are expecting regression from them. I still think they have an issue at running back especially. The Steelers will be missing Markus Wheaton, but they’ll hardly notice.
The Line: I think this line should be a pick ’em. The way it currently stands favors the Skins, who are a better team than given credit.
PICKING PITTSBURGH: Ryan, Lou, Frank
PICKING WASHINGTON: Brayton, Joe
LA Rams (-3) @ San Francisco 49ers 10:20pm EST
The Game: Another yuck alert. It’s Case Keenum vs. Blaine Gabbert…. Do I need to go on? At least we’ll get to watch the greatness that is Todd Gurley before falling asleep because the game will end in the middle of the night. Whoever loses this game is eliminated from NFC West title contention.
The Line: The 49ers shouldn’t be favored all year. It’ll be a close game, but this is a good line. It slightly favors the Rams.
PICKING LOS ANGELES: Ryan, Joe, Frank
PICKING SAN FRANCISCO: Brayton, Lou