Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 9/6/12

The Patriots opened as 5.5-point favorites as they travel to Tennessee to face the Titans in Week 1.

After hitting four in a row through the preseason, it's safe to say that I'm hotter than Ryan Tannehill's wife. OK, almost. Of course, I recognize that this kind of heater is inevitably followed by a cold streak that rivals those you might see from a blogger's wife when said blogger openly comments on the hotness of another woman (i.e. Ryan Tannehill’s wife). So I’m sure I’ll return to poverty and loneliness again in no time.

While I typically go back and forth on each spread, playing devil's advocate to get inside the heads of bookmakers and fellow bettors, this one seems pretty easy to figure. With New England, what you see is what you get -- a dangerous, up-tempo offense, some questions along the offensive line, youth and inexperience cobbled around veteran studs on defense, and a whole lotta hoodie. The Titans have a superstar RB, a very green QB and an average D. The Titans could easily finish 2nd in their division and boast a winning record, but they match up very poorly against any team that features a high-powered offense and run-stuffing defense.

If Chris Johnson can't get loose for a few big plays, the Titans could have a longer day than Rex Ryan's bariatric surgeon. I’d give the points and take the Patriots.
 

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NOTE: I’m cutting back to two extra games a week this season, with the occasional bonus pick when a few spreads are particularly intriguing. Plus it’s easier for those who like to bet a parlay. I am to please! (and I also aim to avoid last year’s disaster of missed picks in non-New England games … yyyech)

Eagles (-9) @ Browns

Giving up 9 points for a team marred by inconsistency last season? Not to mention the fact that said team is also playing on the road, and after their injury-riddled QB took a pounding in the preseason? Am I insane? Probably. This pick has less to do with the Eagles offense and more to do with Cleveland’s deficiencies team-wide. Philly has a wicked defensive line and secondary, so it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Browns find a way to score well into the teens. That Philly defense will set up lots of short fields and could easily score points of their own against a rookie QB. I would have been comfortable giving up a dozen points.

Steelers (-1.5) @ Broncos

I’m not quite a believer in the Broncos yet. Peyton improves that offense, sure. But at this point, it’s more in the way that someone upgrades their mode of transportation from a bicycle to a beat-up silver Camry with a blue driver’s side door and rusted hood. It’s going to take time to gel with the receivers and the offensive line, so we’re not talking about a Ferrari here. And Peyton has never done particularly well against the Steelers, who typically create issues for offensive linemen. I don’t think the Denver secondary matches up well against Pittsburgh’s receivers, so expect the Steelers passing game to treat the Broncos like Big Ben treats drunk girls and hotel concierges. Yes, I realize I used that joke last year. And yes, I still think it’s funny and clever.

2012 Record 4-0

2010-11 Record 76-66-4

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