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NFL Picks, Week 1: The NFC West takes to the road... except for the Seahawks!

Will the home teams have the advantage in these match-ups?

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The NFL’s opening weekend is here and it is practically guaranteed to be wild. Sunday will feature a full slate of games, including a clash between two NFC West teams. DraftKings Sportsbook is listing some pretty close lines to start out Week 1, but the projections aren’t so great for the Rams and Cardinals. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are in pretty good shape, as both are favored in their respective contests. Also, a new season means another year of Russell Wilson Watch, so we’ll even be checking in on the Broncos before rounding things up with an NFC East clash on Sunday Night Football. Let’s get to the picks!

San Francisco 49ers (-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (+2) — 10am — Fox — O/U 41.5

The 49ers open the season as road favorites over Kenny Pickett and the Steelers, which tracks given the results of last season. The Niners just re-signed Nick Bosa and will look to head to the East Coast with a full head of steam. The big question mark for me is Brock Purdy; I need to see more before I will trust the 49ers’ offense to put up big points. Regardless, the Steelers offense will have their hands full with CMC as well as the San Francisco defense, and ultimately fall at home by at least a field goal.

The Pick: Under 41.5 points, 49ers win straight up and cover the spread

Arizona Cardinals (+7) @ Washington Commanders (-7) — 10am — Fox — O/U 38

The Cardinals will start the year with the second worst spread of any team (next to the Houston Texans). The organization in Glendale has been a focal point of criticism throughout the offseason, and it isn’t difficult to see why. The team had a 28-37-1 record under Kliff Kingsbury. They will be starting Josh Dobbs at quarterback, their roster is a wreck, and new head coach Jonathan Gannon may be inspiring something, but it isn’t confidence.

The Pick: Under 38 points, Commanders win straight up but Arizona covers the spread

LA Rams (+5) @ Seattle Seahawks (-5) — 1:25pm — Fox — O/U 46

A lot has changed since last season, when we saw the Seahawks start the year as a heavy underdogs to DenveRuss, who was riding high in Broncos country until this game kicked off his downward spiral. The Rams had a similarly disappointing season; what was supposed to be their victory lap following the second Super Bowl win in franchise history ended up being a disaster. Their struggles wont get much easier this season, as they will start the year without Cooper Kupp. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are banged up too, but they are expecting all of their top offensive playmakers to be available, including Jaxon Smith-Njigba who has made a seemingly superhuman recovery following wrist surgery. Still, I think this game will be close, as almost every Seahawks game is, and even with their potentially high-powered offense, I don’t see this turning into a shootout.

The Pick: Under 46 points, Seahawks win straight up but the Rams cover the spread

Las Vegas Raiders (+3.5) @ Denver Broncos (-3.5) — 1:25pm — CBS — O/U 44

Russell Wilson watch begins again. Despite finishing as one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL last season (*Seahawks fans were not disappointed), the Broncos will start the year as favorites over their divisional foes. The Raiders will also be featuring a familiar face at quarterback, as they signed free agent Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year, $72.75M contract this offseason, according to Over the Cap. The Raiders have one of the league’s most talented and consistently threatening receivers in Davante Adams, but he will have to face up against talented corner Pat Surtain II. Josh Jacobs could be an X-factor, but I think the Raiders will struggle to gel under their new QB in Week 1, and Russell Wilson will manage to harness just enough of that patented magic that he once flaunted so freely in Seattle.

The Pick: Under 44 points, Broncos win straight up but the Raiders cover the spread

Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) @ New York Giants (+3.5) — 5:20pm — NBC — O/U 46

This is the Cowboys year. As was last year. And seemingly every year before that. But it might be true this time! Typically, I am the eternal naysayer when it comes to projecting the Cowboys, and I have typically been correct. Which is why I say... when I think it is actually the Cowboys year, then maybe it is? I think Dak is back and more determined than ever, and he will want to pad his winning streak against the Giants. The defense returns Micah Parsons and some other key starters and stars as well; they simply look to be the more complete team right now. Simple as that.

The Pick: Over 46 points, Cowboys win straight up and cover the spread