Welcome to Caesar’s Picks everyone! This will be a weekly project where I pick every game from the NFL
schedule. I’ll offer my quick thoughts, some stats and predictions for each game. I’ll give a final score for
each game as well as a confidence scale. My confidence scale is based not on the winner of the game,
but the spread of the game from the Hilton in Las Vegas. The scale simply ranges from low, to medium,
to High confidence. Now, it’s time to dive into this weeks slate of games.
Buccaneers 0-1 vs Panthers 0-1 (-7)
This NFC South matchup sees two teams looking to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. Both Jamies Winston
and Cam Newton struggled in week 1, but I trust Cam Newton to bounce back with the help of his star
RB Christian McCaffery, and a Bucs defense that is still adjusting to the 4-3 scheme by Todd Bowles .
Panthers 27, Buccaneers 17/ Medium Confidence
49ers 1-0 vs Bengals 0-1 (-2)
In Zac Taylor’s first game as a Head Coach, he churned out one of Andy Dalton’s best career
performances on the road in a raucous Seattle crowd. While they walked away with a 1 point loss, they showed potential for the offense to be special in 2019. The 49ers did win their week 1 game, however Jimmy Garoppolo struggled at points in the game, and the niners still can’t find their identity. I like the Bengals to win their home opener this week.
Bengals 30, 49ers 24/ High Confidence
Bills 1-0 vs Giants 0-1 (+1.5)
The Bills started week 1 with an impressive 16 point comeback against the division rival Jets. This week they return to play in the same stadium against the NFC New York team, the Giants. The G-Men lost decisively to the Cowboys last week, as their lack of talent on defense reared its ugly head with 4 Dak Prescott touchdowns. While the bills played a sloppy game last week, they showed that they can play tough when their backs are against the wall. Combined with their advantage in talent and scheme on
defense, I got the bills going 2-0 to start the season.
Bills 21, Giants 17/ Low confidence
Cardinals 0-0-1 vs Ravens 1-0 (-13.5)
The Ravens play their home opener against a Cardinals team who were very close to a victory in week 1, but settled for a tie (gross).For the Ravens, Lamar Jackson had his best game by far as a pro against a lackluster dolphins team, scoring 6 touchdowns, with 3 of them going to rookie Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. While the Cardinals are in a rebuilding phase like the dolphins, they showed last week that they’re not giving away free wins this season. Kyler Murray showed his playmaking ability and moxie in the second half last week, and I believe he’ll have more of those moments this week. I like the Ravens to win this game, but if I were a betting man (which I’m not), I would take the Cardinals in this spread.
Ravens 26, Cardinals 20/ Medium confidence
Chargers 1-0 vs Lions 0-0-1 (+2.5)
All it took was one week for the Chargers to forget about Melvin Gordon, as Austin Ekeler produced over 150 scrimmage yards with 3 touchdowns, including a game winner in overtime against the Colts. Now they travel to Detroit to take on the Lions team that tied with the Cardinals. While the Lions have some issues to address (poor clock management!), the offense looked great for three quarters. Rookie Tight
End T.J Hockenson had over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns, helping Matt Stafford find his big security
target. This is a solid game that I’m interested in seeing, and I’m going to pick the upset this week and
give the Lions their first win on the early season.
Lions 27, Chargers 24/ Low Confidence
Colts 0-1 vs Titans 1-0 (-3)
While most of the sports world is sad from the Andrew Luck Retirement, one team that may be relieved that they don’t have to play him twice a year anymore are the Titans. Luck was a perfect 12-0 against the Titans in his career, but now Jacoby Brissett is the QB, coming off a solid week 1 performance. He’ll match up against a Titans defense that caught 3 interceptions in the 4 th quarter against Baker Mayfield, leading to a 43-13 blowout. This one is extremely difficult to pick, but I think the Colts need this game a little more than the Titans, so I got the Colts squeaking one out the road.
Colts 24, Titans 23/ Low Confidence
Cowboys 1-0 vs Redskins 0-1 (+5.5)
The cowboys offense showed out last week with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. They have to continue that momentum against a solid front 7 in the Redskins. Case Keenum played surprisingly well in week 1 against an Eagles team that looked sluggish in the first half. I don’t believe Dallas will come out slow like the eagles did, and the offense will continue its success with Dak Prescott still playing for a contract. I really like Dallas in this game.
Cowboys 31, Redskins 21/ High Confidence
Jaguars 0-1 vs Texans 0-1 (-9)
One week into the NFL season saw Philadelphia Hero and now Jaguars Quarterback Nick Foles break his collarbone . With Foles out for the foreseeable future, enter former Washington State Quarterback Gardner Minshew. Minshew has already gained a following on social media from basically being a real life version of Uncle Rico, but now it’s time to throw the football over the mountain that is Texans pass rush featuring JJ Watt and Whitney Mercileus. Deshaun Watson also looks to be in mid season form after a 4 touchdown performance against the saints. As long as the Texans o-Line can keep Watson on his feet and not his back, I see the Texans covering this spread.
Texans 34, Jaguars 20/ Medium Confidence
Patriots 1-0 vs Dolphins 0-1 (+18.5)
Nothing says tanking like being an 18.5 point underdog at your home-field. I don’t however blame the oddsmakers after the pitiful effort the Dolphins put out against Baltimore, and now have to play the defending champs, as well as this years super bowl favorite in the Patriots. As lopsided as this matchup is on paper, history is on the Dolphins side. The Pats are a surprising 1-5 when playing Miami on the road the last 6 years. Bill Belichick also lost to two of his former protégés last year (Matt Patricia, Mike Vrabel), with Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores as the linebacker coach for the Pats last year. Will that help the Dolphins win? Well, no, but I have a tough time taking a point spread as big as 18.5 for a
divisional matchup. I’ll consider that a win for the dolphins.
Patriots 31, Dolphins 16/ Medium confidence
Seahawks 1-0 vs Steelers 0-1 (-4)
The Steelers are coming off a week where they were completely shut down offensively against the Patriots. As embarrassing as that game was, there’s still a lot of games left this season, and there’s nowhere to go but up for the Steelers who have a great o-line and future hall of famer Ben Roethlisberger. They play a Seahawks team coming off a close win against the Bengals. West coast teams always have a difficult time traveling to the east Coast for games, and after a tough win, Seattle may not play with that same energy we’re used to seeing. Russell Wilson will keep Seattle in the mix, but I expect the Steelers to win this game and avoid an 0-2 start.
Steelers 28, Seahawks 21/ medium Confidence
Vikings 1-0 vs Packers 1-0 (-3)
In an stacked early game lineup, this could be the best matchup in the group. Two rivals in the Vikings and Packers are coming off big week 1 victories. The Vikings dominated the Falcons at all three levels of football, while the Packers shut down the Bears offense to 3 points in the game. The Packers secondary will have to matchup with two great receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefan Diggs, as well as keep running back Dalvin Cook in check after his big week 1 performance. The Packers offense struggled on third down against the ferocious bears defense, and the Vikings have a pass rush that can re-create those problems in this game. The big difference this week is the Packers homefield advantage, which will keep Rodgers comfortable to make adjustments in those situations. This is a close contest, but I’ll take the
Packers by a field goal to take the early division lead.
Packers 27, Vikings 24/ Low Confidence
Chiefs 1-0 vs Raiders 1-0 (+7)
The Chiefs continued their tradition of early season success under Andy Reid by dropping a 40 burger on a good Jacksonville defense. Their next stop is against the Raiders who won their first game in their last season in Oakland. Rookie Josh Jacobs found his way into the end zone twice against the broncos for Oakland, and will be a key part in keeping the Chiefs offense off the field. For the chiefs, Tyreek Hill is out with a collarbone injury for 4 to 6 weeks, meaning receivers Sammy Watkins, and Rookie from Georgia, Mecole Hardman will have to step up to the plate . Watkins already went for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns last week, and with Andy Reid’s creative mind, expect more success with these receivers at the helm. Also, reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes is the Quarterback. I’m very comfortable with the Chiefs
on this spread.
Chiefs 38, Raiders 27/ High Confidence
Bears 0-1 vs Broncos 0-1 (+2.5)
This is a classic trap game scenario for the Bears. They travel from Chicago to Denver, playing in a high altitude that’s uncomfortable for visiting players, in a loud stadium, against a dangerous pass rush with young stud Bradley Chubb and All-Pro level player Von Miller, coached up by former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. This after the Bears put together a 3 point performance in the season opener. All that and yet I still can’t pick this Broncos team because of how inept their offense is. They played a bottom tier defense from a year ago in the Raiders and only came away with 16 points. Now Joe Flacco and company have to play against the best pass rusher in the game today in Khalil Mack, while avoiding
throwing the football to the side of Kyle Fuller, and Eddie Jackson roaming over the top. As long as Head Coach Matt Nagy remembers that running the football is an option, I like the Bears to bounce back with a win.
Bears 20, Broncos 10/ High Confidence
Saints 1-0 vs Rams 1-0 (-2)
The revenge game is here for the Saints as they have waited all offseason to play the Rams again. After the controversial NFC Championship Game in January, the Saints had to show that they’re not in the dumps after a heartbreaking loss, and last week showed that they are still in it with a great drive from Drew Brees that led to a game winning field goal against the Texans. The Rams are coming off a win as well against the Panthers on the road. A few concerns are still there for the Rams however as Jared Goff struggled and seems to have slowly regress since around November last season. The same could be said for Todd Gurley as that has more to do with arthritis in his knee. He ran well in the opportunity given,
but wasn’t a bell cow back as Malcolm Brown got more run in the 2 nd half. This game will be close just like the last encounter, however the Saints thirst for revenge will help them make a few more plays on defense for a W.
Saints 30, Rams 26/ Medium Confidence
Philadelphia Eagles 1-0 vs Atlanta Falcons 0-1 (+1.5)
If you bother betting on a Falcons game, do yourself a favor and don’t. The Falcons only covered a spread 5 times last year, and last week looked abysmal in all phases against the Vikings. The Problems that were there last year for this team reappeared against Minnesota, but this time there was no injury excuse. The Falcons suffered from being too small on the offensive and defensive line, so of course they play the biggest o-line/d-line combo this week in the Eagles. The eagles had there first half jitters and Washington, and the secondary is still shaky, but by the second half they were comfortable on both
sides of the football and were back to regular form. A bad matchup for the Falcons against a favorable spread equals me taking the Eagles on this one.
Eagles 28, Falcons 20/ High Confidence
Browns 0-1 vs Jets 0-1 (+6.5)
Both of these squads suffered crushing losses in different ways in week 1. The Browns were blown out at home after months of hype , with some believing a super bowl run is in the cards for them. The Jets gave up a 16 point lead after months of being dubbed as the sleeper team to watch out for in the AFC. Both need a victory to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. That will tougher for the Jets however as Sam Darnold is out with Mono (yes the kissing disease), meaning former Broncos Quarterback Trevor Siemien will start on Monday night. Not only that, but Le’Veon Bell’s status for Monday is uncertain with an elbow injury. Two big injures for the Jets will leave Cleveland an opportunity to capitalize and pick up the victory.
Browns 28, Jets 17 /High Confidence
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