Steelers (-4) @ Browns
The Browns host this divisional game after being featured on HBOs Hard Knocks series. This line opened up originally at -6.5 but has come down to where it is now -4 before game time. These teams played in week 1 last year with the Steelers coming in as 10 point favorites but only winning 21-18. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger tends to struggle in road games throughout his career and this one was no different. Like last year, the Steelers will be without the services of RB LeVeon Bell for this game. The combination of these factors with the Browns being on Hard Knocks has seen betters come in on the Browns and bring the line down. I will be on the Steelers however. The Browns have not showed anything yet. The praise they are receiving after being on Hard Knocks seems unwarranted. Although they do have a talented defense, I think the Steelers offense shows up motivated to play well because of the loss of LeVeon Bell. Offensive linemen made comments to the media that James Connor would be able to carry the load. This game will be the first to prove that. I think they will and I like the Steelers -4.
Bengals @ Colts (-1)
The Colts host the Bengals in week 1 in a contest between teams that have been disappointing lately. This game opened with the Colts as 3 point favorites. This line tells me that the oddsmakers did not know how to rank these teams and they gave the Colts 3 points for home field advantage. The Colts will have the services of starting QB Andrew Luck which should help them improve from last year. The public has been very high on the Bengals this off-season and expect them to do well this season. I don’t think either of these teams will be any good this year. The Colts have more potential if Andrew Luck can play at the All-Pro level he was at before his injury. I think people are overrating the Bengals due to their talent but I just do not see this team putting it all together. I’m trying to make a case for either team in this game and I can’t. If I had to pick one side I am slightly leaning towards the Colts. Since this game is in a temperature controlled dome I can see it being a high scoring game and going over the total 47.5.
Texans @ Patriots (-6.5)
The Texans travel to New England with high expectations for the year. They come into the year with 3 of their best players from injury in JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Deshaun Watson. The Patriots are coming off a Super Bowl loss and come in with the legendary coach and QB combo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The Patriots also typically blow the Texans out especially in Foxboro but they had a classic game last year with the Patriots driving to score a touchdown in the games final seconds. This has people ready for another high scoring game with the total at 50. This game should once again be high scoring, but only for the Patriots. I do not think Deshaun Watson will be 100% the same as he was last year. The Patriots should also be more prepared for him this year as Bill Belichick has film to study on Watson now. This is a game I see the Patriots covering the 6.5 point spread but I do not see this game going over the total. The Patriots defense is more improved than last year’s unit that also went without Dont’a Hightower for most of the season. The talent along with their preparation should be able to stifle the Texans offense.
49ers @ Vikings (-6.5)
The Vikings are coming into this game with high expectations after making the NFC Championship last year. They were led by the leagues number one defense last year and signed QB Kirk Cousins in the offseason to fix their offensive struggles for this year. The 49ers also have high expectations after the midseason trade for QB Jimmy Garroppolo. The Vikings defense showed in last year’s NFC Championship they are susceptible to giving up big plays. They fell down early and seemed to give up. Once Jimmy G started playing for the 49ers their season outlook changed. They went from a team that has only won one game to winning their last five straight. This had the 49ers sign Jimmy to a huge contract and put high expectations on them to be successful this year. I do not feel strongly enough about either side as I could make a case for either one to cover the spread or win outright. I do believe however this will be a high scoring game. The 49ers defense is suspect at best and the Vikings should let up enough scoring for this game to go over the total of 46.
Bengals Colts OVER 47.5
Texans Patriots UNDER 50
49ers Vikings OVER 46