And so to a week of picks I feel singuarly unqualified to make, although in fairness week one is always tough with so little to go on other than instinct. This feels particularly true this year given how little most team played their starters in pre-season.

Still, running with the theme of unprepared here we go with the week one trivia question:

‘Prior to arriving in St. Louis in 1960, in which city did the Cardinals play their home games?’

Now, I’m fairly sure I remember this from an offseason feature about franchise records and so I’m going with them moving from Chicago to St Louis before becoming the Phoenix then Arizona Cardinals. I’m also going to take a guess at the them being the pre-merger teams given we are celebrating the NFL’s 100th season. Now for Dan’s answers:

‘Well, this couldn’t have been a better start for me as I immediately knew the answer to the trivia question!  The Cardinals moved from Chicago in 1960.

For the question link, it literally could be anything at this stage! I’m going to make a guess at the answers are all places that my dad has been to?’

Falcons @ Vikings (-4.5)

This is an intriguing matchup as the Vikings, who are always competitive under Mike Zimmer, host a Falcons team who did surprisingly well last season given how ravaged they were by injury. The Falcons have invested a lot in strengthening their offensive line and I’m expecting a close game. The Vikings have a good home field advantage, but I’m expecting more of a contest than this and so based purely on the number I’m backing the Falcons to keep it within five points.

Gee’s Pick:       Falcons
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Bills @ Jets (-3.5)

This should be an interesting game that sees two division rivals looking to improve on last year’s showing and given the offseason moves I’m really not sure how these teams are going to matchup. I think that Sam Darnold is the more talented quarterback starter and the addition of Le’Veon Bell has the potential to really help Darnold. I am also looking forward to seeing what Adam Gase can do with him after the difficult years in Miami but the Bills have been frequently competitive under Sean McDermott and the extra half point has me nervous about the Jets. I don’t trust either team really so I’m once again basing this pick on the number.

Gee’s Pick:       Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Jets

Titans @ Browns (-5.5)

It is interesting that the consensus line I’m seeing matches the one ESPN have given us and it clearly reflects the positivity surrounded the Browns. Opening their season against the Titans at home they will be looking to break their fourteen game losing streak in opening games and I can definitely seem them doing so, but this feels like a high line to me. The Titans were nothing if not competitive last season and I expect them to be so again. I think the Browns have as much hope as I can remember and I could live to regret this, but I want to see it before I start given away these kinds of points, even if they are at home.

Gee’s Pick:       Titans
Dan’s Pick:      Browns

Chiefs @ Jaguars (+3.5)

The Jaguars will be looking to get revenge from last season as they welcome the Chiefs in what should be a fascinating contest between the Chiefs high powered offence and the Jaguars defence. This may well be my first coaching tape matchup of the new season but right now we have a home underdog who only have to be within a field goal for me to get the point. I’m really not sure about this line and with no numbers to work on I’m falling back on the fact that head coach Andy Reid is spectacularly good when he’s had time to prepare and so despite being tempted by the home points, I’m nervously backing the Chiefs and their high-powered offence. This feels very wrong,..

Gee’s Pick:       Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Rams @ Panthers (+2.5)

Much like the previous game, the Rams starting their season in Carolina sees one of last year’s high powered offences starting their season on the road, but whilst even on a down year the Jaguars’ defence was top ten by DVOA – the Panthers very much weren’t. The Panthers have not had the best preparation this off-season either with Cam Newton suffering a foot injury and having to manage his shoulder after another injury last season. This is another home underdog game where I should probably grab the points but I am not going to – I have a lot more faith in Sean McVay and the Rams right now to win by a field goal. I don’t like taking two road favorites in a row but these project to be some of the strongest teams in the league and so I’m picking like it.

Gee’s Pick:       Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

Ravens @ Dolphins (+4.5)

If there is one thing I know about the Dolphins it is that Dan will be blindly picking them even though they are clearly focusing on the future rather than this season. This is also the third home underdog in a row and I’m still not taking one of them. I’m sorry Dan, the points make me pause a little, but I think the Ravens are going to be very competitive and with the trading away of their talent last weekend I’m not sure even Fitzmagic can rescue a cover for the Dolphins.

Gee’s Pick:       Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Dolphins

Washington @ Eagles (-9.5)

This is the first of two giant lines and I can totally see why. The Eagles have one of the deepest looking rosters in the league thanks to their top-notch front office and a Super Bowl winning head coach, whilst Washington’s front office is questionable to say the least. There are some injuries amongst the Eagles starters that might make me pause, but the consensus line I’m seeing is actually higher than this line and so I’m once again backing a strong hunch.

Gee’s Pick:       Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Washington

Bengals @ Seahawks (-9.5)

So the Bengals have one of the toughest starts to the season I can remember, on the road in Seattle and with yet another potential starting lineman missing through injury they are starting Andre Smith at left tackle. I want to be full of hope, but I have a feeling this could be a rough start to the season. That said, this would be the fifth straight pick where I back the favourite and given how the Bengal’s move the ball in the offseason and Russell Wilson losing his favourite target in Doug Baldwin, I’m going to back the Bengals to keep this within ten. If I can’t have hope in the first game of the season, when can I?

Gee’s Pick:       Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Colts @ Chargers (-2.5)

I never know how to treat the Chargers given their unusual home field situation as it definitely feels they have lost out to the Rams in the battle for LA fans . They go into this game as favourites despite the injuries and likely because of Luck’s retirement and I don’t have a strong feeling on how the Colts will cope. The good news is that Jacoby Brissett has taken first team snaps all pre-season and the Colts are perhaps the healthier team but I’m going to stick with the home team as they only need a field goal to cover. I’m just worried this is a reflex pick because of how good Philip Rivers is.

Gee’s Pick:         Chargers
Dan’s Pick:        Chargers

Giants @ Cowboys (-7.5)

The Dallas Cowboys have Ezekial Elliott in the fold but the Giants have their own star running back. However, the Cowboys have their strong offensive line and an improving defence to rely on whilst the Giants are very much in transition. However, this is a big line and I do wonder if big blue might be a bit more competitive than this given the rust that Elliott might have with his lack of off-season work. I’m basing this pick purely off the number as I need to see the Cowboy justify a choice back them to win by eight before I am going to do it – I don’t have that much faith Jason Garrett.

Gee’s Pick:       Giants
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Lions @ Cardinals (+2.5)

And here is the first game where I throw up my hands and state I don’t know what to do. We haven’t seen what Kliff Kingsbury has in store for his offence and this could well be a game where he can spring a surprise thanks to the lack of tape. They host a Lions team who struggled last season and I’m not sure they have made the moves in the off-season to turn things around. This is my last chance to pick a home underdog and given that I have no earthly clue what is likely to happen in this game that is what I am going to do…

Gee’s Pick:       Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

49ers @ Buccaneers (-1.5)

I am interested in every game this week, but given the soft spot I have for Bruce Arians I am really curious about what he can do with his new team and Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers start the season by hosting a 49ers team who still don’t really know if the player they are paying like a franchise quarterback is one, and Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a torn ACL that cost him most of last season. I’m really not sure how this game is going to play out and that is what worries me. Still, the Football Outsiders playoff odds predicts the 49ers to be 1.4 games better than the Buccaneers and this line is half a point higher than the consensus so I’m going with the 49ers.

Gee’s Pick:       49ers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Steelers @ Patriots (-6.5)

Now this should be fascinating match-up as the Steelers roll into New England to take on the Super Bowl champion Patriots. The Steelers will be hoping that the removal of two of their killer Bs will improve their team through the subtraction of their distractions, but they go into this game with a 2-6 record over the last ten years against the Patriots. If there is a good time to catch the Patriots though it is at the start of the season, and the Pats do have problems coming into the season thanks to injuries on the offensive line. I think come the end of the year the Patriots will be right up with the best teams as usual but they deliberately start the season slow, have injuries, and even though Roethlisberger’s road from is questionable this feels like too many points to be giving the Steelers.

Gee’s Pick:       Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Texans @ Saints (-6.5)

The first Monday Night Football game of the seasons sees the Houston Texans travel to take on the New Orleans Saints. Their has been a lot of roster movement in the last week or so for the Texans and there only a few places tougher to go to in the league than the Superdome. The Saints are all in for another year and my only concern is the way Drew Brees struggled to throw the ball deep in the second half of last season, yet the Saints were close to getting to the Super Bowl and look to be in the mix again this year. As much as I love JJ Watt, the Texans do not convince me so whilst this is a lot points I’m still leaning to the Saints and hope that I’m not underestimating the Texans.

Gee’s Pick:       Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Broncos @ Raiders (-2.5)

The second Monday night game of the week sees the Oakland Raiders welcome the Denver Broncos and I really don’t know what to do. The Raiders have not convinced under Jon Gruden one bit and the Denver Broncos are relying on Joe Flacco to lead the offence. I like the hire of Vic Fangio for the Broncos but this feels a little like the meeting of the also rans of the AFC West. The presence of Von Miller gives the Broncos possibly the biggest difference maker but I don’t have strong lean either way. I don’t like the idea of giving away points picking the Raiders so that will have to do as the final deciding factor in this one. Oh to have some numbers to work with in the coming weeks!

Gee’s Pick:       Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Broncos