NFL picks Week 1: Falcons-Eagles and every other game

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Sep 22, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA;New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) makes a throw under pressure by Arizona Cardinals defensive end John Abraham (55) and defensive end Calais Campbell (93) in the second half of their game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos (-4.5)

Was Peyton Manning’s decline at the backend of last year a sign of what’s to come, or will he start this season as he did the last? The Ravens are strong on defense and have a good offense, so long as they are running the football. Joe Flacco is top quarterback but lacks weapons. Steve Smith Sr. is in his final year, and outside of him who is there? Even so, the Ravens will feed Justin Forsett on the ground and roll out of Denver 1-0.

Pick: Baltimore 24, Denver 21

Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers (-3)

This is a fairly even contest and is tough to call. The Lions have lost Ndamukong Suh but added Haloti Ngata to soften the blow. On offense, they should be much improved with a healthy Calvin Johnson and better run game. The Chargers are at home, but are without Antonio Gates. Melvin Gordon will make a slow start, too.

Pick: Detroit 21, San Diego 20

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)

The Cardinals were on course for the number one seed before the injury bug decimated the roster. With Carson Palmer healthy, they should have no trouble moving the football against a poor Saints defense. Drew Brees will have a good day, but the lack of firepower sans Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills will put smiles on the faces of a strong Arizona defense.

Pick: Arizona 28, New Orleans 17

Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)

Which rookie quarterback are you taking, Marcus Mariota or Jamies Winston? The Buccaneers were faced with this choice back in April and picked Winston, but I’m taking the second overall pick in this contest. Mariota has looked more comfortable in preseason, for what it’s worth, and I’m giving him and the Titans the edge in this one.

Pick: Tennessee 21, Tampa Bay 18

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Oakland Raiders

We need an upset, right? That’s what makes the NFL so special, and I’m going with the home team. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper will get on the same page right away and find a way to overcome the tricky Bengals. Jeremy Hill will have a good game to start off a strong season, but it’s a bad start for the tigers. Cooper will catch two touchdowns, and maybe they return a punt to the house. It’s just one of those days.

Pick: Oakland 28, Cincinnati 24

Next: Primetime games