Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Fox)…ESPN-nfl week one predictions
Point spread: TEN -1.5
Turron Davenport’s pick: New offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur hopes to take advantage of the Dolphins linebackers with Dion Lewis and the tight end combo of Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith. The Titans secondary, bolstered by the addition of Malcolm Butler, will protect an early lead to give Mike Vrabel a victory in his first game as coach. Titans 24, Dolphins 17
Cameron Wolfe’s pick: The Dolphins should use their up-tempo offense and South Florida humidity to wear out the banged-up Titans front seven, but none of that will save them if they can’t score enough points. Tennessee’s route to a win seems simple — Lewis, Derrick Henry and Marcus Mariotaexploiting the Dolphins’ struggles to stop the run. Titans 20, Dolphins 16
1 p.m. ET (FOX) | Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
This is a tough game to call. The Titans are a better team overall, and especially on defense. That said, heat can be a factor in these early-season games in Florida. The Dolphins will be wearing their whites, not surprisingly. They are also better at quarterback than they were last season, when Jay Cutler was essentially removed from the booth to run this offense. A huge factor for Miami this week (and, really, this year): wide receivers Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker, who must make up for the loss of Jarvis Landry. So, basically, they need to catch 1,000 bubble screens. As far as tandems go, look for Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis to give Miami trouble.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS)…ESPN-nfl week one predictions
Point spread: NE -6.5
Sarah Barshop’s pick: Houston certainly has the playmakers to win in New England — especially with a healthy Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney — but it’s hard to pick against a Patriots team that never has lost to the Texans at Gillette Stadium. It will be a close game like last season, but the Texans will come up short again. Patriots 30, Texans 24
Mike Reiss’ pick: Three of the Patriots’ key starters — Rex Burkhead, Marcus Cannon and Trey Flowers — didn’t play in the preseason, and the team enters the game with just three wide receivers who were with the club in training camp: Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson. Add in the fact that Jacob Hollister might not be ready, and it’s asking a lot of the offense against the Texans’ D. Texans 24, Patriots 20
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
This sucker might be a track meet, not tooooo dissimilar from last year’s tilt. Can Deshaun Watson pull off his insane three-touchdowns-in-every-game act again? There is plenty of concern about the Patriots‘ defense providing the kid with plenty of opportunities. After narrowly escaping with a win over the Texanslast year, New England’s defense majorly flipped the script, going from Swiss cheese to the stingiest unit in the league the rest of the season. Houston’s defense will have trouble covering the Patriots‘ backs. Give James White 10 catches.
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS)…ESPN-nfl week one predictions
Point spread: BAL -7.5
Mike Rodak’s pick: Baltimore’s defense allowed the NFL’s 10th-fewest passing yards in 2017. The chances seem low of seeing new Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, quarterback Nathan Peterman and an offensive line that struggled this preseason all click immediately in a road opener. Ravens 20, Bills 13
Jamison Hensley’s pick: Since 2008, Baltimore is 5-1 when opening the season at home, with an average margin of victory of 17.2 points. To make matters worse for the Bills, the Ravens return every starter on defense, and their pass rush has been dominant this preseason. That spells a long day for Peterman. Ravens 20, Bills 6
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
This is the 16th-most-anticipated game on this week’s slate. Buffalo’s offensive line will have to endure an onslaught from both the Ravens‘ committee pass rush and a raucous opening-day crowd. On that note, Nate Peterman can ill-afford to lose his poise under pressure or dwell on mistakes, which is precisely what went awry for him against the Chargers in his first NFL start. Look for a heavy dose of Alex Collins in this game, like 20 to 25 carries’ worth. Baltimore wins.
New York Jets at Detroit Lions (7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN)..ESPN-nfl week one predictions
Point spread: DET -6.5
Rich Cimini’s pick: The Jets have a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnoldplaying behind an offensive line that didn’t play together for a single snap in the preseason. The Lions have their own issues, especially on both lines, but they have Matthew Stafford and the home crowd. In the end, the Jets will be undermined by their woeful pass rush (only 28 sacks last season) and fans will be second-guessing them for not offering more for Khalil Mack. Lions 27, Jets 23
Michael Rothstein’s pick: It’s a first-time head coach (Matt Patricia) facing a quarterback (Darnold) in his first start. Considering Patricia’s familiarity with some of the Jets’ personnel and with coach Todd Bowles from his time in New England, that should be enough to help the Lions fluster Darnold. Detroit has won six of its past seven season openers and usually plays well on Monday nights, including going 2-0 last season. Lions 35, Jets 23
7:10 p.m. ET (ESPN) | Ford Field (Detroit)
There are a few folks who feel that the Jets will deliver an upset in Detroit. That’s putting a lot of confidence in Sam Darnold, because the Lions‘ offense will move the ball. One of the things to watch in this matchup is the running-game mixture. Not only in how much support Todd Bowles and the staff will provide for their (uber-talented) rookie QB, but also in how the workload is split between projected RB1 Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. That same point of interest is going on with Detroit, as well. The Lionsdrafted Kerryon Johnson and signed LeGarrette Blount, with Theo Riddick still contributing. If Johnson is as effective as many of his fans have predicted, Blount is a goal-line hoss and Riddick converts passing downs into first downs, this offense will hum in the Motor City.
Titans @ Dolphins: 24-20 (Titans) Titans better team will prevail
Texans @ Patriots: 27-24 (Texans) Upset special! Last year it was the Chiefs, this year the Texans shock NE
Bills @ Ravens: (9-24) (Ravens) Snooze Fest watching Bills O, Bills D will be on the field often, Flacco and Collins will be too much
Jets @ Lions: 27 – 23 (Jets) Surprise of the week! Jets can stop the run even with injuries, Stafford will regress this year
My upset special: 49ers defeat the Vikings