Prisco’s NFL Week 1 picks: Chargers roll over Raiders, Baker Mayfield top ex-team, Jaguars upset Commanders

One game at a time. One week at a time.

Never look ahead. It should be week to week.

It’s a four-quarter season, with the first quarter being the most important at the moment.

Coach speaking. Do not you like it? Well, it also covers choosing games. Getting off to a good start is imperative if you want to stand a chance of a winning season — and maybe win everything. It’s also hard to get off to a good start. There is so much uncertainty, especially with all the annual free agency and coaching changes.

Here’s some advice to get you started quickly:

1. Don’t mind the preseason. It means nothing.

2. Look for teams that bring back a lot of experienced players to get off to a good start.

3. Passers-by and passers-by. That’s what the league is about. Take those teams – especially in the beginning.

With that, it’s time for my first picks of the season. I’ll be picking out the games here every week, including against the spread in our expert picks, and will again be giving away my best bets on the Pick Six Podcast every week.

Last year was a good season. Let’s continue. After all, I had a great off-season, recovered from all my injuries this season and am confident that I can win it all.

I will of course choose it one by one.

One winner at a time.

No looking ahead for this man. Not when a Week 1 debacle can ruin an entire season.

Last Chances:

Los Angeles Rams +2.5

The home team coming out of the Super Bowl has played well in these games, 10-5-1. But I’m going against that trend and taking the bills to cover and win this game. Buffalo will be explosive in attack all year round and it starts here. But the biggest difference is that they have Von Miller and the Rams don’t. That means the Bills is too late to win it.

Choose: Bills 30, Rams 24

Last Chances:

Atlanta Falcons +5.5

These two teams don’t like each other and it usually shows. The Saints are the better team, but what do they get from Jameis Winston every week? Marcus Mariota starts for the Falcons. He can move, but the Saints’ defense has a chance to be special. They will limit the Atlanta attack here and Winston will make plenty of plays on the field.

Choose: Saints 29, Falcons 13

Last Chances:

Carolina Panthers PK

This is the Baker Mayfield scale. He is the starting quarterback for the Panthers after being thrown out by the Browns for Deshaun Watson, who is now suspended. Jacoby Brissett will start for the Browns. Mayfield has a lot of skill talent around him and the young Panthers defense will be improved. Carolina wins when Mayfield beats his old team.

Choose: Panthers 23, Brown 17

Last Chances:

Chicago bears +7

This is Trey Lance’s first game as the bonafide starter for the 49ers at quarterback. That can put a lot of pressure on the road. But the 49ers are clearly the better team. Kyle Shanahan will make it easy for Lance. Justin Fields will have trouble behind a shaky line for the Bears against a good 49ers defense. The 49ers win big.

Choose: 49ers 23, Bears 14

Last Chances:

Cincinnati Bengals -6.5

The Steelers come in as a division dog, a role in which Mike Tomlin has done well as a coach, 14-6. There are concerns about the Steelers offensive line, which is why this number has been inflated. But Bengal quarterback Joe Burrow has been dealing with appendicitis all preseason, which could lead to some rust. The Steelers will stick around in this one, but the Bengals will win it late.

Choose: Bengal 23, Steelers 20

Last Chances:

Detroit Lions +4

The Eagles seem to have the makings of a deep playoff team. That’s if quarterback Jalen Hurts can make strides as a passer, which he supposedly did this off-season. The Lions will be a spirited, tough team every week, taking on the personality of their coach. But facing this attack from Eagles will be a challenge for their defense. Hurts will start his season well.

Choose: Eagles 31, Lions 21

Last Chances:

Houston Texans +7

This will be Matt Ryan’s first game as Colts quarterback after coming over in a trade. Ryan is still more than capable of spice things up, which will prove challenging for the Texans’ defense. They can also pound Jonathan Taylor. Davis Mills looked good late last year for the Texans, who will be transitioning here. Look for many points in a tight game.

Choose: Colts 31, Texans 27

Last Chances:

Miami Dolphins -3.5

The patriots find themselves here in an unusual situation as a mutt. They are coming out of a troubled preseason, while Miami is coming out of a preseason filled with Tua Tagovailoa hype. He has a lot of weapons and good looks, which makes this a great game for him. I think Mike McDaniel will quickly get the ball to his playmakers and cause trouble for a defense that isn’t as talented as it has been in years. The Dolphins have beaten the Patriots three times in a row. Make it four.

Choose: Dolphins 24, Patriots 19

Last Chances:

New York Jets +7

This could be Joe Flacco starting for the Jets against his former team if Zach Wilson doesn’t come back from a knee injury. Flacco won a Super Bowl for the Ravens, but it’s been a while since he did. Lamar Jackson is back to health after a bad season in 2021 and I think he’s off to a good start here. The Ravens have some pass rush questions, but they’ll sort it out against their old quarterback. It is near.

Choose: Ravens 26, Jets 23

Last Chances:

Washington Commanders -2.5

This will be former Eagles coach Doug Pederson taking on his former Eagles quarterback in Carson Wentz. The Jaguars defeated Wentz and the Colts in the final last year, putting him out of Indianapolis. They will beat him again. Jaguar’s defense has a chance to be really good, and it shows here.

Choose: Jaguars 21, Commanders 17

Last Chances:

Tennessee Titans -5.5

The Titans got a hit in their defense last week when Harold Landry crashed with a torn ACL. That has major consequences for the pass rush. Giants coach Brian Daboll will make his debut here and he should be able to create problems for that defense without Landry. The Titans will beat Derrick Henry, but their passing game is in trouble. The Giants will hang out in this.

Choose: Titans 28, Giants 27

Last Chances:

Arizona Cardinals +6

This must be fun to watch with Patrick Mahomes playing against Kyler Murray. It will be interesting to see how Mahomes fares without Tyreek Hill. Here’s a thought: He’ll be fine. The corner situation in Arizona is shaky, which Mahomes will benefit from here. The Chiefs will win a high scoring match.

Choose: Leaders 33, Cardinals 24

Last Chances:

Los Angeles Chargers -3

This game features two teams who will compete for a playoff spot and a division title. The Raiders defeated the Chargers in last season’s final to reach the playoffs. This time it will be different. The Chargers at home with Khalil Mack added to the defense will be able to slow down Derek Carr. Justin Herbert will have a big day on the other side.

Choose: Chargers 30, Raiders 21

Last Chances:

Minnesota Vikings +1.5

Aaron Rodgers has 13 touchdown passes and no picks in his last four games against the Vikings. But he went 2-2 in those games. The difference this time is the defense of Green Bay. That unit has a chance to be special. The Vikings counter with an explosive attack, but in this one the attack does not start. Packers take it.

Choose: Packers 24, Vikings 19

Last Chances:

Dallas Cowboys +2.5

These two both come into play with concerns about their offensive lines. That’s a problem for Tom Brady, who doesn’t move very well. Dak Prescott will be able to handle himself by moving and creating problems outside the bag. The Cowboys will win a tough, defensive game to make a 1-0 start.

Choose: Cowboys 20, Bucs 17

Last Chances:

Seattle Seahawks +6.5

This is Russell Wilson’s return to play his former team, which makes this really intriguing. The Seahawks are almost in rebuilding mode after trading him, but when they play at home Monday night, it’s going to be a tough game for Wilson. I think the Seahawks are keeping it close.

Choose: Broncos 27, Seahawks 23

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