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NFL Week 1 picks against the spread

Week 1 of the NFL season is under way. Let's make some picks against the spread.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the 2015 NFL season is underway, with the New England Patriots beating the Pittsburgh Steelers. As we did last year, we will attempt to bring you picks against the spread for the Sunday and Monday contests. Last year, we had some really great weeks, and then we had some really, really bad ones. It seemed like everything was either right or wrong, and there was no telling which way the week would go until it was over.

Let's see if we can do better in 2015. This year, every game (save Thursdays) will be picked, but we will only write up a reasoning behind three of the games.

Week 1 of the season can be a crap shoot, with some teams coming out of the gate hot, others starting slowly, and teams that have no business keeping a game close coming away with the upset because they have had weeks to prepare a game plan for the contest. As such, this week is hard to accurately predict, but that has never stopped us before - so why should it now?

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos (-5)

I am a little surprised this number is as big as it is, given the doubts people have about Peyton Manning at times, and the assumption that the Ravens will be an AFC Playoff contender. Manning should see some of the burden of carrying the team lifted off his shoulders as the Broncos look to the run game to carry their future Hall of Fame quarterback toward a late career Super Bowl. It seemed to work pretty well for John Elway, and it should work for Denver. I just think this game ends up closer than the five points.
Pick: Ravens +5

Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Buffalo Bills

This line surprises me as well. With all the love Andrew Luck gets, and how a lot of people seem to think the Colts could be a Super Bowl team this year, to have them just a field goal favorite seems interesting. That seems like a lot of faith to put in the Buffalo defense, even if you automatically trust a Rex Ryan defense. Tyrod Taylor will make his first career start, and that is not exactly confidence instilling. I see this game more of a touchdown to ten point win for Indianapolis.
Pick: Colts -3

Miami Dolphins (-4) at Washington Redskins

The Dolphins should be able to ride a dominating defense to a win over the offensive line challenged Redskins. The Miami offense will have a tougher time establishing the run against a stout Washington defensive front, but should be able to find success in the quick passing game, especially with Jarvis Landry coming out of the slot. I think Miami looks to make a statement early this season, and Washington happens to be the first team in the way.
Pick: Miami -4

The Others

Seattle Seahawks (-4.5) at St. Louis Rams
Pick: Seahawks -4.5

Green Bay Packers (-7) at Chicago Bears
Pick: Bears +7

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (-1)
Pick: Chiefs +1

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets (-3.5)
Pick: Browns +3.5

Carolina Panthers (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Panthers -3

Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers (-3)
Pick: Chargers -3

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)
Pick: Cardinals -2.5

Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at Oakland Raiders
Pick: Bengals -3

Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Pick: Titans +3

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-6) - Sunday Night Football
Pick: Giants +6

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Atlanta Falcons - Monday Night Football
Pick: Eagles -3

Minnesota Vikings (-3) at San Francisco 49ers - Monday Night Football
Pick: Vikings -3