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NFL Week 1 picks

Patriots at Dolphins, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Spread: Patriots by 6 1/2

Outlook: This is first time since 1999 New England has fielded a team without Tom Brady. The Patriots have sunk from dynasty to a mid-pack team with the departure of Brady and all those coronavirus-related opt outs. That’s why I like Miami with the points here and why an outright upset would only mildly surprise.

Prediction: Patriots 24-20

GAME OF THE WEEK

Buccaneers at Saints, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)

Spread: Saints by 3 1/2.

Outlook: Tom Brady’s debut is against the really good Saints and Drew Brees, and Tampa Bay is predictably overhyped because of Brady. He’ll make Bucs a playoff team, but they’re not on the Saints’ echelon.

Prediction: Saints 34-30.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Chargers at Bengals, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)

Spread: Chargers by 3.

Outlook: It’s a storybook debut for overall No. 1 pick Joe Burrow, the QB out of LSU. The setting is right. Chargers aren’t much better, have lost six of past seven meetings with Cincy, and could struggle with Philip Rivers gone and journeyman Tyrod Taylor taking snaps.

Prediction: Bengals 23-20

OTHER GAMES

• At Falcons (+1 1/2) over Seahawks, 27-23: Seattle is the better team all-round but have a hunch Matt Ryan will light up their defense. Atlanta was 6-2 in second half last year.

• At Bills (-6 1/2) over Jets, 24-6: Stefon Diggs faces Jets corners who might be worst in NFL. Adam Gase will be coaching for his job all season. The Jets have lost 17 of 20 as road underdogs.

• At Lions (-3) over Bears , 24-23: Matthew Stafford launches his comeback year with a good matchup. Plus, there’s simply no trusting Mitchell Trubisky. .

• Packers (+2 1/2) over At Vikings, 24-20: Green Bay seems to be nudging Aaron Rodgers out the door, but he is still elite and will show it here.

• Eagles (-6) over At Washington, 21-13: The Washington No-Names (good riddance, old name!) upgraded with Ron Rivera as coach but it’ll be a long season in D.C.

• At Panthers (+3) over Raiders, 24-20: Watch Teddy Bridgewater prove he’s more than capable of making Carolina not miss Cam Newton all that much.

• Colts (-8) over At Jaguars, 30-16: The Jaguars stink. And Indy’s stout O-line and solid ground game will be a fountain of youth for new QB Philip Rivers.

• At Ravens (-8) over Browns, 31-13: Lamar Jackson will be better as a passer this year. I’ll peg the Ravens as unbeatable until somebody does.

• At 49ers (-7) over Cardinals, 27-23: Arizona has beaten San Fran in eight of past 10, and adding DeAndre Hopkins will be a jolt, and the Cards should cover.

• Cowboys (-3) over At Rams, 34-23: There’s buzz for a home-’dog upset but I’m not buying. The ’Boys are thinking Super Bowl. Find out why.

• Steelers (-5 1/2) over At Giants, 19-16: The Monday Night opener finds Big Ben Roethlisberger back healthy, but Pitt will win with defense first.

• Titans (-1 1/2) over At Broncos, 20-17: Tennessee again will ride RB Derrick Henry and rely on a tough defense that got better by signing Jadeveon Clowney.

2019 record: 169-86-1 overall; 129-120-7, vs. spread.

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