NFL 2023 Week 1 Prequel

NFL 2023 Week 1 Prequel

Thursday, September 7, 2023, 8pm

Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs (-5 1/2) — Yes, football is back. yes, for the first time in 30 years, the Lions have real expectations. Yes, Dan Campbell is more than a dumb jock. Yes, their 2022 regular season finale going into Green Bay was a big win. No, they do not have a chance in this game. The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions looking to build a dynasty. With Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and the Arrowhead crowd, this game could be over by halftime. The Lions are improving. The Chiefs are great. Chiefs cover

Sunday, September 10, 1pm

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3 1/2) — Does anyone even know who coaches or plays for these teams anymore? The Panthers feature top overall pick Bryce Young starting in his very first game. The Falcons start Desmond Ridder. Trying to figure out who they throw the ball to or hand it off to would take too much time. Neither of these teams will be any good. Go with the home field in a close game. Falcons win but fail to cover.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-5) at Indianapolis Colts — Doug Pederson gave the Jaguars instant respect, and Trevor Lawrence led a playoff win for the ages. The Jaguars fell behind 27-0 and won 31-30non the final play. The Colts start rookie Anthony Richardson. The Colts were so good for so long that it’s hard to see them as bad, but new coach Shane Steichen has little to work with. Star running back Jonathan Taylor is holding out in a contract dispute. Pederson’s defense will feast on Richardson. The spread is high for a road team, but the talent gain is that wide. Jaguars cover

Cincinnati Bengals (-2 1/2) at Cleveland Browns — For a long time, this was a battle of bad teams. Now the Bengals are an elite team while the Browns remain themselves. With Joe Burrow, the Bengals have swagger. With their defense, they have a clear advantage. Deshaun Watson needs to show that he is the quarterback he was three years ago before getting the benefit of the doubt. Bengals cover

Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints (-3) — The Titans are a tough, physical team in Mike Vrabel’s image, but injuries also year saw a 7-3 start go down in flames with 7 straight losses. The Saints are the big story. Dennis Allen is a great defensive coordinator, but is he head coaching material? He is now out of excuses. He has Derek Carr, who gave everything to the Raiders in exchange for the back of their hand. Carr has a chip on his shoulder and is eager to show the NFL world that he is elite. Unlike the Raiders, the Saints have a defense. In the opener, take the home field and the emotion. Saints cover

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (-6) — For some reason, Baker Mayfield has been a journeyman. The guy is tough. He can play. So can Kirk Cousins, who is under heavy pressure to show that he is still the guy. Mayfield has lifted inferior talent before, but this will most likely be the year that Todd Bowles gets fired. Bowles is a great defensive mind who has shown no ability to get an offense going. The Vikings jettison Dalvin Cook, a head-scratching move. Yet at home against a depleted Buccaneers squad, the men in Purple should roll. Vikings cover

San Francisco 49ers (-2 1/2) at Pittsburgh Steelers — The battle between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance saw them both get injured and both get traded away. Now Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy is tall in the saddle. The Steelers need to find out if Kenny Pickett can truly play. Mike Tomlin remains an underrated coach, but this is not the week to test that. Kyle Shanahan has a nasty defense. For a West Coast Offense guy, Shanahan is willing to win ugly. 49ers cover

Arizona Cardinals at Washington Commanders (-7) — The Cardinals are a dumpster fire and Kyler Murray regressed. With Murray injured, Joshua Dobbs gets the start. Riverboat Ron Rivera is still taking big risks. Rivera named rookie Sam Howell as the starter over experienced quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Rivera knows defense, and he will release the hounds after Dobbs. Howell will not be asked to do too much. The spread is high, but the Cardinals are truly wretched. Commanders cover

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-10) — This game could get ugly very early. The Texans are among the worst teams in the league. The Ravens are still very good. John Harbaugh knows how to win with power football. Lamar Jackson is still a thrilling duel threat. The Ravens are known for running the ball and playing defense. That formula has not changed since they began their existence in 1996. CJ Stroud will be playing his very first NFL game. The Ravens defense will give him a cold welcome. Ravens cover


Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-5 1/2) — Both teams have regressed since their glory days, but they both have stud coaches. Sean McVay knows offense and Pete Carroll knows defense. Aaron Donald chose millions of dollars over retirement. Yet the Rams are simply not who they were two years ago. The Rams seem old. The Seahawks seem young, as Carroll remains the oldest coach in the league while appearing young and happy. Carroll has revitalized Geno Smith. These teams are mirror images of each other, so expect a nasty dogfight that could go down to the wire. Although home field rarely matters in this series, go with the emotional 12th man in the opener. Seahawks win but fail to cover

Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (-3 1/2) — Both teams are bad, but the Broncos are expected to immediately get better. They have the richest owners in sports and Sean Payton brings instant credibility. He will fix Russell Wilson. The Raiders are a disaster. They got rid of Derek Carr, the heart and soul of their team. They refuse to pay give running back Josh Jacobs a new deal, although he did report to headquarters. Josh McDaniels is great at destroying teams. The Raiders have beaten the Broncos 6 straight times, but that streak ends here. These teams are headed in opposite directions. Broncos cover

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-1) — For 30 years, the Packers dominated the Bears. Can Jordan Love play? Nobody knows. Yet with Aaron Rodgers gone, an automatic Green Bay win is no longer a thing. This is the year we find out if the twin Matts LaFleur and Eberflus can actually coach. This is the year Love and his counterpart Justin Fields have to show who they are. If the Bears cannot win this game, they may never beat their oldest rival again in this decade. Bears cover

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers (-3) — Yes, Justin Herbert is better than Tua Tagovailoa. Herbert stays in the pocket. Tagovailoa runs around and gets killed. Mike McDaniel may look like he’s 12, but he can coach. Brandon Staley is a terrible coach who makes mind-numbingly risky decisions due to arrogance. The Chargers talent is often overhyped, but this team has truly underachieved on his watch. One year after being knocked out of the playoff race by the Raiders, Staley saw his team blow a 27-0 playoff led in an epic 31-30 loss to Jacksonville. The Chargers are loaded, and Tagovailoa does not get the benefit of the doubt until he stays healthy and strings some wins together. Chargers cover

Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at New England Patriots — The Eagles lost the Super Bowl but kept their nucleus. For the first time in over 23 years, Bill Belichick is being questioned. Mac Jones has regressed, but Belichick had success in the league before Tom Brady. Belichick at his core is about smash mouth and defense. Raimondre Stevens can pound the rock, and the Patriots defense is good. On paper the Eagles are better, but at home with the wolves circling, look for Belichick to again prove the naysayers wrong. Upset special, Patriots win outright.


Dallas Cowboys (-3) at New York Giants — Once again, the Dallas Cowboys have big expectations. Once again, those expectations are misplaced. Dak Prescott is good but not elite. Micah Parsons can’t play all by himself on defense, but he does have help now. The Giants went all in with Daniel Jones, which still seems like a mistake. Brian Daboll had a great rookie season as coach, but so did Ben McAdoo. While this game will be played in the shadow ow the 9/11 anniversary, patriotism won’t save the G-Men. Prescott is better than Jones and the Cowboys have the better defense. Cowboys cover

Monday, September 11, 8pm

Buffalo Bills (-2 1/2) at New York Jets — This game will be played on 9/11, but do not expect the Jets to play inspired football. Heck, they lost their first home game after the 9/11 attacks, also on Monday night. Aaron Rodgers is a great player, but his final game in Green Bay was a disaster. Detroit hit Green Bay in the mouth, knocked the Packers out of the playoff race, and knocked Rodgers out of Green Bay. The Jets have high expectations, but it takes time for a team to gel. The Bills have the experience. Sean McDermott and Robert sales both know defense, but McDermott usually wins these battles. Josh Allen is elite. Yes, the home crowd will be emotional, but the Bills will have emotion as well. Damar Hamlin nearly died in a football game last year. This walking miracle of a man is not only alive but back on the field. While a person risks getting punched by calling the Bills the only true New York team, in this game they are the better team. Bills cover

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