The 2010 NFL Regular Season has arrived. I started writing NFL predictions against the spread for Associated Content last year. Before that, I ran an office pool for years. I’ll be making predictions against the spread and straight up picks for the 2010 season. I also intend to write a top-10 Power Rankings list and an NFL Under/Over series throughout the regular season, which can be found on my website below.
Visit my website HERE for plenty of weekly NFL prediction links from other Associated Content writers that’ll be updated throughout the week. I keep their records throughout each week so you know who’s been streaky and who you should follow each week.
UPDATE 9-8-10: MNF games have been updated. These are my final predictions for all the games in the 2010 NFL season of week 1. Good luck!
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-5.5)
The Minnesota Vikings limp into the 2010 season with a depleted receiving core and a future hall-of-fame quarterback who might still be having nightmares of his conference championship against the New Orleans Saints. He also looks rusty after missing training camp and possibly suffering through his ankle surgery he had months ago.
That doesn’t bode well against the Saints. The Saints don’t have the league’s greatest defense and they are prone to giving up points. However, Kurt Warner and Brett Favre know that the Saints defense is designed around disrupting the quarterback’s momentum with high-pressure blitzes and brutal hits.
The Super Bowl champion rarely loses its regular season opener the next season. The electricity of the New Orleans crowd, the will of Drew Brees, the aggressiveness of the Saints defense, and the playcalling of Sean Payton should damn of the Vikings in week 1. The Saints should also be amp’ed up in that many critics have disrespected them to the point of taking the Atlanta Falcons to win the division.
Straight & Against the Spread: New Orleans Saints (-5.5)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Cleveland ended the 2009 season with 4 consecutive victories. They don’t have much talent on paper, but they have a respectable defense and running game. Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace would be outcasts on most teams, but they should be an upgrade when compared to Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn who couldn’t throw within 10 yards accurately.
Tampa Bay doesn’t have much to be excited for. The Saints, Panthers, and Falcons are far better teams. The one concern I’d have for Cleveland is the September heat of Tampa Bay. I still like Cleveland in a close game. Got to take the points.
Straight & Against the Spread: Cleveland Browns (+3)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Miami Dolphins (-3) at Buffalo Bills
From 1 to 11 to 7: Which Miami Dolphins team can you expect in 2010? Chan Gailey didn’t fare ware with Dallas’s stockpiled roster, so it’s hard to imagine him being successful in Buffalo. The Bills offensive arsenal is rendered useless with their quarterback situation, and they can’t take advantage of the Buffalo weather against Miami in September.
Unless C.J. Spiller can make a couple huge plays, the Bills woes continue.
Straight & Against the Spread: Miami Dolphins (-3)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots(-4)
During the 2009 regular season, the New England Patriots were 8-0 at home. Tom Brady should be fully recovered from his injuries and be amidst the prime stages of his career. Bengals morphed into a defensive team in 2009, but the Patriots have seen better defenses in New York.
Should be a good game, but I like New England with Tom Brady and home field advantage.
Straight & Against the Spread: New England Patriots (-4)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Indianapolis Colts (-2) at Houston Texans
The sexy pick of 2010, can the Houston Texans qualify for their first playoff spot? I’m interested to see how the umpiring positioning will affect the Indianapolis Colts no-huddle offense. Peyton Manning was visibly upset against the Packers in the preseason after being called for two illegal snaps. If this becomes problematic or an inconsistent issue for different umpires, then will it interfere with Manning’s concentration?
I’m hard pressed to pick against Peyton Manning. Whenever I do, it seems to backfire on me.
Straight & Against the Spread: Indianapolis Colts (-2)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.0)
The Jacksonville Jaguars spent the 2010 NFL Draft revamping their defensive line. Their defensive scheme relies on tremendous up-front pressure, and it failed to achieve that in 2009. The Denver Broncos continued to eliminate the nucleus of a former playoff team by eliminating Brandon Marshall and Tony Schefter.
Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that screams “mediocre.” The Broncos could struggle with their onslaught of preseason injuries. Both teams rely on a defensive style, so it should be low scoring. The Jacksonville heat could become a factor for the Broncos, but Jacksonville isn’t much of a home field advantage because of their fans.
It’s one of those games where you take the points because it could go either way. I’m taking the points, and Denver is getting the points.
Straight & Against the Spread: Denver Broncos (+3.0)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons (-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers could start the season with a third string quarterback against an Atlanta Falcons team who many feel is posed for a Super Bowl run. In his third season, Matt Ryan is expected to elevate himself into the elite class of NFL quarterbacks. Pittsburgh is expected to find themselves in the AFC North cellar as Ben Roethlisberger is suspended four games.
However… don’t count out the Steelers. The Steelers success relies around their invigorating defense, primarily on the health of Troy Polamalu. Their defense always keeps them in games, and Pittsburgh is one of the league’s premiere home field advantages. They also have a good running attack with Rashard Mendenhall entering his third season.
The Steelers will likely start Dennis Dixon. Had they decided to start Charlie Batch, I’d feel very confident in their chances to upset the Falcons. I’m less confident with Dennis Dixon, but he saw a better defense when starting against Baltimore 2009 and nearly won. What they’ll miss from Big Ben is his ability to orchestrate 2-minute offenses toward the end of games.
I forecast that the Steelers defense, veteran leadership, and home field advantage will propel them to a week 1 upset over the Atlanta Falcons. The -2.5 line just screams sucker bet to me.
Straight & Against the Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.0)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (-6)
The Oakland Raiders had one of the league’s worst offenses after failing to score 200 points over 2009. However, The Raiders could have a young and up-and-coming defense. They showed glimpses of a stellar defense last season but were inconsistent. If the Raiders can maintain a dirty and hard-hitting defensive mentality, they won’t be a cakewalk.
Tennessee is going to be a difficult challenge, however. The Titans ended 2009 8-2 once Vince Young retained the starting quarterback duties from Kerry Collins. Unimpressive statistically, Young knows how to win regular season games.
I expect Chris Johnson to run through the Oakland Raiders defense this week. Too much speed and elusiveness for the Raiders front 7 to handle. Expect a trademark Titans game where they win toward the end.
Against the Spread: Oakland Raiders (+6)
Straight: Tennessee Titans
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants (-6.5)
Flashback to 2009: The Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Giants 41-9 in a week 16 match-up that eliminated the Giants from playoff contention. The year before that, the Giants narrowly escaped with an overtime victory.
The Panthers have proven to be an unfavorable match-up for the Giants. The Panthers remind me of the Packers from early and mid 2000s who, despite having talent on both sides of the ball, were never able to jump over the “good team” barrier into a “championship” team.
The general consensus seems to be an easy Giants victory. The Giants haven’t been the same since that throttling that the Saints served them last season, especially defensively. They were 5-0 before that, then fell to 8-8. Jonathan Stewart ran for over 200 yards. The Giants ran for over 300 yards the season before that.
Love the Panthers if they get points. The Giants should be hungry to revenge their embarrassment from last season. Then again, they didn’t seem motivated by playoffs last season. Whoever stops the run wins…and I think the Panthers have the better shot of doing that.
Straight & Against the Spread: Carolina Panthers (+6.5)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-6.5)
The Chicago Bears have been on a downfall since their Super Bowl run in 2006. The Detroit Lions are 2-37 in their past 39 games. Both teams have spent heavily in free agency to improve their teams.
The Lions have offensive talent and an offensive coordinator who coached one of the NFL’s most historic offenses in Minnesota. If Jim Schwartz’s 4-man rush defensive scheme can produce pressure with the signings of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Ndamukong Suh, the Lions should be competitive. The Bears offensive line and defense has struggled immensely during the preseason and has deflated the hopes of many Bears fans.
I’m still going with the Bears because their entire team and coaching staff is desperate. Opening 2010 with a home loss to Detroit would be devastating. Combined with a home defeat against the Packers in primetime in week 3, and Lovie is good as gone.
Against the Spread: Detroit Lions (+6.5)
Straight: Chicago Bears
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Arizona Cardinals (-4) at St. Louis Rams
The Arizona Cardinals are a fraction of what they were the past seasons. Derek Anderson as the starting quarterback suggests that Wisenhunt is relying on him to become the gun slinging quarterback who made the Pro Bowl with Cleveland because that Arizona defense was atrocious during the playoffs. Matt Leinart’s game managing style won’t work with a defense giving up 30+ per game.
The Cardinals were 6-2 on the road last season, so they’re too well coached to give in to a Rams team who’ll be starting a rookie quarterback or A.J. Feeley.
Straight & Against the Spread: Arizona Cardinals (-4)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Green Bay Packers (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles
Once again, Aaron Rodgers enters the regular season amidst experts crying “MVP!” because of a remarkable preseason, noteworthy of his performance in the third preseason game against the Super Bowl runner-ups. Just like the 2009 preseason.
Aaron Rodgers is a top-5 quarterback, but don’t get too excited about the Packers preseason performance: They did this in 2009 before an offensive line nearly got Rodgers killed.
The Philadelphia Eagles are tough at home. Their fans are ruthless and demand greatness. They’ve always had a high-pressure defense who’ll try to exploit the Packers offensive line.
Kevin Kolb looked great last season, but this will be his first time against a 3-4 defense. In 2009, the Packers had one of the league’s most opportunistic defenses. They were decimated when playing against solid quarterbacks and strong 4-wide receiver sets, i.e. Roethlisberger, Warner, Favre, and Palmer. Kolb isn’t there yet, and I expect him to struggle against the Packers defense.
If the Packers secondary can slow down the speed of Philadelphia’s receivers, then I see them beating the Eagles in a lower scoring game than anticipated.
Straight & Against the Spread: Green Bay Packers (-3)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers are expected to win the NFC West this year and carry a growing defense into the postseason. The 49ers biggest problem in 2009… along with quarterback play… was their 2-6 road record Seattle has some of the league’s most rowdy fans and will make the 49ers regular season opener a struggle.
This should be a defensive struggle. I like the 49ers to win straight up, but I’d take the points if they’re over 3.
Straight & Against the Spread:: San Francisco 49ers (-3)
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Washington Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins are always in disarray. The only logical way to start Sunday Night football is pitting them up against each other.
Redskins were 0-6 in the NFC East in 2009. They’ve always had a strong defense, but they could experience growing pains as they change into a 3-4 scheme. Donovan McNabb’s status is questionable for the season opener.
If any team were going to blow this game, it’d be the Cowboys. They’ll pull it off, however.
Against the Spread: – Washington Redskins (+3.5)
Straight: Dallas Cowboys.
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets (-2.5)
After starting 2009 at 3-0, the Jets went 4-7 before making the playoffs on the carelessness of the Colts and Bengals. They managed to get to the AFC Championship game with their stout defense and are a preseason favorite to win the AFC in 2010.
Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco are developing quarterbacks who’ve had their glorious moments. Both of these guys should struggle against each other’s defense. Ravens proved they could win in New England last season, and Jets home field is much less daunting.
Will the Jets and Rex Ryan be overconfident from their late season run? Maybe. Low scoring defensive struggle and I expect the Ravens to pull out.
Straight & Against the Spread: Baltimore Ravens
Week 1 NFL Predictions against the Spread: San Diego Chargers (-4.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Don’t be too overconfident with the Chargers. The Chiefs running tandem of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles could create problems for the Chargers rush defense, especially with the release of NT Jamaal Williams. The Chargers are known for getting off to sluggish starts every season. Also, it wasn’t long ago when Arrowhead was known as “The home field advantage of the NFL.”
Chargers should win based on talent alone, but look for a close game.
Against the Spread: Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5)
Straight: San Diego Chargers
Interested in my totals predictions and top-10 power rankings? Want some predictions from other writers? Visit my website HERE
Point Spreads Come From Cooper’s Picks.