NFL Week 1 Predictions & Picks

Doug Bonjour
Last Updated: Sep 6, 2023

The NFL season is here. Well, almost.

Week 1 kicks off Thursday in Kansas City, with the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs hosting the Detroit Lions in primetime, and continues with the traditional Sunday slate.

There are plenty of games to wager on, but let’s zero in on a few of our favorite NFL Week 1 picks to prepare for the action.

NFL Week 1 Predictions

All NFL betting odds used for these Week 1 predictions are current as of Monday, Sept. 4, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Packers vs Bears Prediction

Best Bet: CHI -1 (-108)

Aaron Rodgers may still own the Bears, but Chicago needs no longer worry. The Packers are now Jordan Love‘s team, but besides Christian Watson, the former first-round pick doesn’t have a horde of playmakers at his disposal.

Love performed well in the preseason, completing 63.6% of his passes for 183 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. More than that, he appeared in command of the offense.

But with only 83 career regular-season attempts under his belt, the jury’s still very much out on Rodgers’ successor. Green Bay is a franchise in transition, and the Packers’ odds say as much.

The Bears may not be ready to contend atop the NFC either, despite the emergence of Justin Fields, who joined Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson as only the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. But they’re further along than their NFC North rivals.

I like Chicago to cover this small spread at home.

Eagles vs Patriots Prediction

Best Bet: PHI -4 (-112)

Philadelphia might be even stronger than last season.

The defending NFC champions added D’Andre Swift to their backfield and landed arguably the best defensive player in the draft in Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter – at No. 9, no less.

On top of that, Jalen Hurts is primed for a huge year. He’s even considered one of the favorites in the NFL MVP odds, right behind the likes of Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen.

Meanwhile, the Patriots, of all teams, are far more of an uncertainty after Mac Jones‘ underwhelming sophomore season. Jones averaged only 6.8 yards per attempt and was sacked 34 times.

New England also didn’t do much this offseason to help him. The offensive line, in particular, is an ongoing concern.

That doesn’t bode well against the Eagles, who deserve more respect in this spot. I’m taking Philadelphia -4 on the road.

Buccaneers vs Vikings Prediction

Best Bet: MIN -6 (-110)

Another favorite? Why not?

Let’s face it: With Baker Mayfield replacing Tom Brady, the Buccaneers are already counting down the days until the 2024 NFL Draft. Mayfield is a turnover machine — his 66 interceptions are the most of any quarterback since 2018 — and the front office is now embroiled in a contract dispute with Pro Bowler Mike Evans.

Minnesota is in much better shape. Justin Jefferson is the NFL’s best receiver, and there’s plenty of talent around him in T.J. Hockenson and rookie Jordan Addison. Even if Tampa Bay’s defense limits the damage, I’m not sure Mayfield can make enough plays to keep this close.

The Vikings were 8-1 at home in 2022. Expect them to roll the Bucs in this matchup.

Titans vs Saints Prediction

Best Bet: Under 41 (-108)

The Saints’ offense should be markedly better this season. In signing Derek Carr, they finally have the stability they’ve longed for since Drew Brees retired. That said, they’ll face a tough opening act against the Titans.

Tennessee has consistently been one of the NFL’s tougher defensive teams under Mike Vrabel. Last season, the Titans allowed the fewest rushing yards per game (76.9) and the 12th-fewest points (21.1).

With Ryan Tannehill back under center, look for the Titans to stick with what they do best: feed Derrick Henry, control the clock, and let their defense do the rest.

With that game plan in mind, I like this total to stay Under 41.

Raiders vs Broncos Prediction

Best Bet: LV +4 (-110)

So, are we just going to place the blame entirely on Nathaniel Hackett and assume Russell Wilson reverts back to his Pro Bowl self? I’m not so sure.

The Broncos will improve. Sean Payton is a sizable upgrade, no matter what you think of his predecessor. Still, I’m not entirely sold on Wilson having much left in the tank.

It also doesn’t help that one of his favorite targets, Jerry Jeudy (hamstring), is already hurt. It’s unclear whether Jeudy, who posted personal bests of 67 receptions for 972 yards and six touchdowns in 2022, will be available Sunday.

Expect Jimmy Garoppolo and the Raiders to keep this game close, even if they don’t win.


Doug Bonjour

Doug covered college and prep sports in Connecticut for more than a decade, including stints as the UConn women’s basketball and UConn football beat reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media. During his time reporting on the 11-time national champion Huskies, he covered three NCAA Final Fours. He also has written for the Associated Press and New York Times.

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