Week 1 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Hanson
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4.5 (over New York Jets)
The Buccaneers may have their own controversy surrounding their quarterback(s) as the team did not elect Josh Freeman as one its captains, but the Jets will start rookie Geno Smith against a much-improved Buccaneers secondary.
Freeman has many more weapons at his disposal with Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Doug Martin than Smith has and it will be tough for the Jets to establish the run against the league's top-ranked run defense from last season.
Revis and the Bucs will give plenty of stuff for Smith to "study" after this week's game in what could turn out to be an ugly blowout.
Cincinnati Bengals +3 (over Chicago Bears)
The Bengals are a popular pick, perhaps partly attributable to their appearance on HBO's Hard Knocks, to go far in the playoffs, but it's for good reason. There are few teams as complete as the Bengals.
Although the Bears have made some improvements along their offensive line, the Bengals defensive line is as good as it gets in the NFL. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of the league's best defensive tackles and the team finished third in the league in sacks (51) last year.
I expect this game to be close and I wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals win this game outright.
St. Louis Rams -3.5 (over Arizona Cardinals)
If home-field advantage is considered to be worth three points, this line is saying that the Rams are only a half-point better than the Cards on a neutral field. I don't buy that.
Either through the draft or free agency, the Rams made a number of moves to help out quarterback Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. They drafted wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, teammates at West Virginia, and signed tight end Jared Cook and left tackle Jake Long in free agency.
The Rams defense is an underrated unit with talent on all three levels and I expect them to put a lot of pressure on new Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and force a couple of turnovers.
Five of our contributors make three weekly picks ATS every week and they will be posted here.