Jets at Bills
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 51.3 | Spread: BUF -6.5 (39.5)
What to watch for: This is Stefon Diggs’ and Josh Allen‘s first game together, and it comes against a mediocre Jets secondary. Look for the third-year quarterback to target the Bills’ new star wide receiver often as they continue to build chemistry. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bold prediction: The Jets will score only one touchdown, and it won’t happen until late in the game. In his past six games against Sean McDermott-coached defenses, Adam Gase’s offenses haven’t scored more than 21 points — and the average per game is just 16.5. The Jets’ offense has so many new players that it’s hard to imagine an efficient performance. — Rich Cimini
Stat to know: Jets quarterback Sam Darnold went 6-2 over the final eight games of the 2019 season, throwing 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. His first five? A 1-4 record, six TDs and nine interceptions.
What to know for fantasy: The Bills’ Allen has just one touchdown pass in his career against the Jets (78 passes thrown), but he has scored 25.9 fantasy points with his legs in his two full games against the divisional rival. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The underdog has won four of the past five meetings outright in this series. Read more.
Cimini’s pick: Bills 24, Jets 13
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 31, Jets 10
FPI prediction: BUF, 62.9% (by an average of 4.8 points)
Buffalo Bills 22, New York Jets 9
The last time we saw Sam Darnold, he put up three points in the first three quarters of a Week 17 game in Buffalo against the Bills’ backups. Now the Jets return to Buffalo to face a defense that returned all of its key players, while reloading up front with Mario Addison, rookie A.J. Epenesa and underrated super sub Quinton Jefferson. It’s a difficult matchup for the Jets. No team relies more on short passing and no defense is better at patiently waiting out mistakes, especially with football’s best coverage linebacker duo in Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds.
Jets at Bills (-6.5)
The dream scenario for Bills fans: Josh Allen connects with Stefon Diggs on a downfield bomb in the first quarter, and Buffalo immediately looks like a legit contender in the AFC. The nightmare scenario: Allen overthrows Diggs on a couple downfield bombs, Diggs storms to the sideline in a huff, and afterward he tells reporters he misses Kirk Cousins. As for the Jets, maybe they will surprise, but this just feels like it’s going to be a wasted year where they need the results to be bad enough to justify parting ways with Adam Gase and allowing Joe Douglas to pick a new head coach.
The pick: Bills (-6.5)
From: The Athletic
Dolphins at Patriots
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 46.5 | Spread: NE -6.5 (42)
What to watch for: While all eyes will be on Cam Newton becoming the first non-homegrown quarterback to start for the Patriots since Scott Secules in Week 10 of the 1993 season, equally as compelling will be the matchup between Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (assuming both play through hamstring injuries). Parker got the better of Gilmore — the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year — in last year’s season finale (eight catches, 137 yards) in a performance that sat with Gilmore all offseason. — Mike Reiss
Bold prediction: Preston Williams — not Parker — leads the Dolphins in receiving, totaling over 100 yards in his first game back from a torn ACL. Parker was the star of the previous matchup between these two teams. But with a healthy duo and extra attention on Parker, Williams will be the main beneficiary of Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s aggressive downfield throws. — Cameron Wolfe
Stat to know: Newton will become fifth quarterback to make his first start for the Patriots since Bill Belichick became the team’s head coach. The previous four all won that first start.
What to know for fantasy: After getting shut out in Week 2 against the Patriots, Parker’s 137 receiving yards in Week 17 were the most against New England since Tyreek Hill‘s 142 in Week 6 of 2018. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: Miami was 9-3 ATS over the final 12 games last season, all as an underdog. Read more.
Wolfe’s pick: Patriots 20, Dolphins 16
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 20
FPI prediction: NE, 70.3% (by an average of 7.7 points)
New England Patriots 23, Miami Dolphins 17
The Tom Brady era didn’t end against the Titans in the playoffs. It ended when the Fighting Floreses stole the Patriots’ bye with a win in Foxborough the week prior. Bill Belichick won’t take this Dolphins team lightly, and it’s safe to expect a lot of surprises from both coaches after spending August in hiding. That could include some extreme option football by Cam Newton and some use of Tua Tagovailoa as a change-up by the Dolphins against a Patriots defense which is awfully thin up front. In a potential battle of ground games, the Patriots have a better backfield, offensive line and, remarkably, a better running quarterback than the Dolphins’ 2019 leading rusher, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Dolphins at Patriots (-6.5)
These two teams met in Week 17 of last season, and the Dolphins’ upset win cost the Patriots a playoff bye. New England will unveil its Cam Newton-led offense, and we’ll get answers to a lot of questions. Will they incorporate a quarterback-inclusive run game? Will they rely on a methodical passing game like we saw Newton use in 2018? Do they have enough firepower at wide receiver? Will Newton be able to push the ball downfield? For the first time in forever, we go into a season not knowing what to expect from the Patriots.
The pick: Dolphins (+6.5)
From: The Athletic