NFL Picks: Week 1 Fades & Games to Avoid

David Lawrence

Saturday, September 12, 2015 2:08 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 12, 2015 2:08 PM UTC

The NFL season starts on Sunday for most of the league’s teams, and while there are some games on the card which look really good, there are other games which scream for caution and an inclination to stay away. Here are three such examples for week one:

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans

NFL Odds: Houston -1

Who really does know which team will win? The Chiefs and Texans both have strong defenses and suspect offenses. The Chiefs probably have the better offense but the Texans can counter that with home-field advantage. They both have a lot of questions they have to answer in the passing game as the Chiefs didn’t even have a single passing touchdown to a receiver last year while the Texans have Brian Hoyer as their starter. Both teams are roughly in the same range, which can go from anywhere between 6-10 and 10-6. This is an ugly game to look at with your NFL picks.

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets

NFL Odds: Jets -3.5

The reason why this is such a “don’t touch” betting situation is that when you have two teams as bad and as disorganized as the Browns and Jets, you don’t want to put your money in the hands of either side. You might think that the Jets are a great bet against a Browns team quarterbacked by Josh McCown, but it’s not as though New York quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a good career. He is average at his absolute best and that’s probably being generous. He is generally a below-par player who does not inspire much of any confidence. Then there’s the coaching situation, which doesn’t provide any help in the handicapping. The Jets have a first-year head coach, Todd Bowles, while the Browns have Mike Pettine, who could be in his last year. Neither team seems to have any discerning properties on offense, although the Jets should have the slightly better receiving corps.

Home-field advantage is why the NFL odds are forcing you to lay points with the Jets here, but do you really want to do that in what should be an grind-it-out, defensive contest? Probably not.

Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers

NFL Odds: Chargers -3

The Chargers and Lions could both make the playoffs, which means they stand on fairly even terms. The Lions are probably a little better in an overall evaluation of the teams since they made the playoffs last season while the Chargers did not. But they did lose Ndamukong Suh off of their defense in the offseason and we’re not sure how big of a step – or if – their defense will take a step back. Beyond that, this is a road trip to a warm climate early in the season for an Eastern time zone team. They’re also an indoor, dome team going to play outdoors.

As for San Diego, this is a team that’s a bit of a conundrum. They started last season 5-1 before going 4-6 the rest of the way. Which team are they? They’re breaking in a new running back and they don’t have the services of Antonio Gates at tight end…might they be limited on offense by a quality defense? This should be one of the more entertaining matchups in Week 1 but not one that’s great to bet. Either stay away or watch some of it and place some in-game action.

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