A lack of preseason games means that projecting how NFL teams will fare this season is as much of a guessing game as it has ever been. It gets even trickier when you try to make picks against the spread.
Nonetheless, we will attempt to find some of the most interesting lines around the NFL and make a case for going one way or the other with it. This season opener is particularly interesting given the lack of football played in front of our eyes, but let's give this a shot. There are two favorites that really stand out and a handful of underdogs that may even win straight-up.
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Sept. 13
Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread:
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have waited a long time to get rid of the bad taste in their mouth from their premature playoff exit last year. That spells bad news for the Cleveland Browns. Despite Baker Mayfield's best efforts, the Ravens are not about to be stopped in this one. Ravens 27, Browns 17
Buffalo Bills (-6.5) vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m.
Are the Bills the team to beat in the AFC East? That is certainly the hope as the changes are in the air in New England. To jump out in front of the division in the opener would be nice, and the Bills should be able to do that with relative ease. The Jets still have plenty of ground to make up and it won't happen here. Bills 30, Jets 14
Carolina Panthers (+3) vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 1 p.m.
The Matt Rhule era with the Panthers begins as the franchise moves on from Cam Newton at quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater will get the shot to be the guy running the Panthers offense, and having Christian McCaffrey in his backfield will help. Expect a good gritty performance from the Panthers, and don’t be surprised if they take the outright win. Panthers 23, Raiders 16
The quarterback showdown of the week between veterans Tom Brady and Drew Brees is definitely something to get excited about. And the new-look Bucs look like a potent threat in the NFC South this season. The Saints are tough to beat in New Orleans, but Brady has plenty of weapons at his disposal. The Saints win in a nail-biter. Saints 31, Bucs 30
Los Angeles Rams (+3) vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. (SNF)
The Rams are a bit of a mystery this season. Not far removed from the Super Bowl, the Rams have fallen back to the pack in a competitive NFC West, but they can still be dangerous. The Cowboys, with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, are road favorites, but the Rams are hoping to open brand-new SoFi Stadium with a bang. Rams 27, Cowboys 24