NFL Gridiron Guide Week 1 picks: Not wild about Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and Jets

Mark Sanchez leads the Jets onto the field

Mark Sanchez leads the Jets onto the field along with Tim Tebow for a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. (Aug. 10, 2012) (Credit: AP)

BILLS AT JETS, 1 p.m.

Jets by 2 1/2; O/U: 39

TV: Ch. 2. Radio: ESPN (98.7 FM)

When I was a kid, I would watch "General Hospital" after school with my mom. But the soap opera that had my attention all summer was the Jets. Some show ideas for Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez: "As the Jets Turn" . . . "Days of Our Jets" . . . "All My Quarterbacks" . . . "The 'Bow and the Beautiful." I'll be here all week -- and the next 16, too. Back to the game: I just can't see the Tebow-Sanchez experiment working out. Third-stringer Greg McElroy was on the only Jets QB to lead the Jets to a preseason touchdown. The Jets are 7-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 September games, but the Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games vs. Jets.

THE PICK: Bills

 

OTHER 1 P.M. GAMES

PATRIOTS AT TITANS

Patriots by 5 1/2; O/U: 47

Surprising stat of the preseason: The AFC East won just one game! The Pats went 1-3, while the Jets, Bills and Dolphins each went 0-4. The Pats win a lot in the regular season and boast a 50-24-2 ATS in their last 76 road games. Titans QB Jake Locker, making his first NFL start, could be in for a long day.

THE PICK: Patriots

 

 

FALCONS at CHIEFS

Falcons by 3; O/U: 43 1/2

The Chiefs very quietly strengthened their roster by signing free-agents Peyton Hillis (RB) and former Giant Kevin Boss (TE). Plus, they have RB Jamaal Charles and S Eric Berry returning from season-ending knee injuries. Take the points in a close one.

THE PICK: Chiefs

 

 

COLTS AT BEARS

Bears by 9 1/2; O/U: 43

The player who most impressed me during the preseason was Colts QB and No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck, one of five rookie QBs making their first NFL start this weekend. Luck will be tested by the Bears, who are 11-20 ATS as a favorite in September games dating to 1990.

THE PICK: Colts

 

REDSKINS at SAINTS

Saints by 7; O/U: 50

One of the biggest offseason stories was "Bountygate." The Saints, who will be without coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma all season, were the NFL's second-best team ATS (12-4) last season. Drew Brees and the Saints should have enough firepower to outduel Robert Griffin III and the 'Skins.

THE PICK: Saints

 

 

EAGLES AT BROWNS

Eagles by 8 1/2; O/U: 43

What is it with Eagles QBs and words that begin with 'D'? Last season, Vince Young called Philly a "Dream Team." This season, Michael Vick said they could be a "dynasty." Really? My advice: Be quiet, stay healthy, and deliver -- another 'D' word -- Philly its first Super Bowl!

THE PICK: Eagles

 

 

RAMS at LIONS

Lions by 7 1/2; O/U: 45 1/2

The Lions were a bettor's dream two seasons ago (12-4 ATS), but cooled off last season (7-8-1 ATS). The Rams were the NFL's worst ATS team (3-12-1) a year ago. New Rams coach Jeff Fisher has his work cut out for him.

THE PICK: Lions

 

JAGUARS at VIKINGS

Vikings by 4; O/U: 39 1/2

Not sure how much either team will get out of their star running backs (Jags' Maurice Jones-Drew and Vikes' Adrian Peterson). I'm taking the underdog in a meeting of subpar teams.

THE PICK: Jaguars

 

 

DOLPHINS at TEXANS

Texans by 12; O/U: 42 1/2

The line opened with the Texans favored by seven and continues to climb. The Texans are my choice to win Super Bowl XLVII (against the Packers). Rookie coach, rookie QB . . . it will be a "Hard Knocks" season for Miami.

THE PICK: Texans

 

4 P.M. GAMES

PANTHERS at

BUCCANEERS

Panthers by 2 1/2; O/U: 47

The Bucs, 4-12 ATS in 2011, look for better things from young QB Josh Freeman under new coach Greg Schiano. Meanwhile, the Panthers' young QB Cam Newton looks to build on his remarkable rookie season. Carolina is a lock.

THE PICK: Panthers

 

SEAHAWKS at

CARDINALS

Seahawks by 2 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2

Maybe the Seahawks -- who opened as a 1-point underdog and will start rookie QB Russell Wilson -- can do the Cardinals a favor and lend them one of their QBs. Cards could be in for a long season if former Fordham QB John Skelton doesn't produce.

THE PICK: Seahawks

 

49ERS at PACKERS

Packers by 5; O/U: 46 1/2

TV: Ch. 5. Radio: WFAN (660)

The Niners were an NFL-best 12-3-1 ATS a year ago. Green Bay, at 11-5 ATS, was no slouch either. Both of their season's ended with home playoff losses against the eventual Super Bowl-champion Giants. I see Aaron Rodgers leading a 7-point win and showing everyone that the Pack is back.

THE PICK: Packers

 

SUNDAY NIGHT GAME

STEELERS at BRONCOS

Broncos by 1 1/2; O/U: 44 1/2

TV: Ch. 4. Radio: WFAN (660)

He's baaack! After missing all of last season, Peyton Manning makes his Mile-High debut with the Broncos. He gets a big test in the Steelers, who are still stinging from losing last year's playoff opener to Tim Tebow at Denver.

Steelers get a small measure of revenge and spoil Peyton's party.

THE PICK: Steelers

 

MONDAY NIGHT GAMES

BENGALS AT RAVENS,

7 P.M.

TV: ESPN

Ravens by 6; O/U: 41

Hard to ignore these numbers: Baltimore was 1-7-1 ATS in last year's regular season and playoff games when they were favored by at least 5 1/2 points. Cincy is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six vs. Ravens.

THE PICK: Bengals

 

CHARGERS at RAIDERS,

10:15 p.m.

Raiders by 1; O/U: 46 1/2

TV: ESPN. Radio: WFAN (660), joined in progress

I know RB Ryan Mathews is dinged up, but San Diego is 8-2 in last 10 meetings in the Black Hole.

Philip Rivers gets the job done.

THE PICK: Chargers

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