Walk the Line: Week 1
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Week one is finally here. Like the first day of school, every team dreams of achieving their ultimate goal. Fans dream of earning the most important bragging rights sports fan can have: winning their fantasy football league. And some use Sundays to dream of increased bank accounts.
If you missed my column last week, I focus on the latter. Every week I’ll be picking lines that will help you make your bookies want to change their careers. I’ll pick the most competitive matchup of the week, two games I consider to be locks and a couple games I can’t guarantee, but you should consider rolling the dice on.
Note: Lines are as of Sept. 6, via www.sportsbook.ag.
Matchup of the Week: San Francisco 49ers (+5) at Green Bay Packers (-5). The 49ers are my pick here, though you should probably stay away from this game. The Packers will be home at Lambeau Field and they should be able to pull off the ‘W.’ But beating the NFC runner-up by much more than a field goal would be a bold prediction. Rodgers should find the end zone at least twice, but the stellar defense of the ‘Niners should be enough to keep this game close.
Packers 27, 49ers 23
Locks: St. Louis Rams (+7.5) at Detroit Lions (-7.5). I’m taking the Lions. The line here is a little kind to the Rams after Sam Bradford’s solid preseason performance, but I’m still not buying a dramatic improvement for them this year. On the other hand, the Lions are poised for a deep playoff run. Matt Stafford’s 5,048 yards, 41-touchdown season last year was overshadowed by the dominant performances of Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Look for the Lions to blow this one open and show the NFC North early on why they’re a rightful contender.
Rams 13, Lions 34
New England Patriots (+6) at Tennessee Titans (-6). Tennessee’s quarterback controversy was put to bed when the Titans named Locker their starter, and they should see resurgence from Chris Johnson. But Locker will not be able to keep up with the Brady Bunch for four quarters. The Patriots should put up at least three touchdowns on the board, which should be plenty enough for the Pats to cover the spread on Sunday.
Patriots 31, Titans 17
Take a chance on: The Cincinnati Bengals, who are a generous +6 against Baltimore on Monday night. The Bengals improved by five wins last season with Andy Dalton at the helm of the offense, and A.J. Green is now considered one of the best wideouts in the league. Baltimore should win this game with its home-field advantage, but the Bengals have a legitimate chance to keep the game closer than a touchdown differential.
Bengals 20, Ravens 24
The Buffalo Bills, who are getting three points from the New York Jets.The Bills may have improved more than any other team this offseason and I think they should be the favorite to come in second in the AFC East. And didn’t the Jets first-team offense fail to record a single touchdown through four preseason games? I know it was the preseason, but still. Despite Mark Sanchez’s flaws, the Jets always find a way to find themselves in the playoff hunt at the end of December. I like the Bills here, regardless of the spread. The Jets aren’t going to be able to fix the problems they had all preseason this early in the year.
Bills 17, Jets 13