Week 1 NFL picks: Chiefs unanimously predicted to top Lions; Jets will beat Bills in Aaron Rodgers' debut

NFL.com editors Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Brooke Cersosimo, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr will predict every game of the 2023 NFL season, using the unbeatable combo of football analysis and excessive punctuation. Check out their Week 1 picks below.

The lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook are current as of 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 7 unless otherwise noted below.

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  • WHERE: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC, NFL+, Universo
  • MONEYLINE: Lions: +192 | Chiefs: -235
  • SPREAD: Chiefs -4.5 | O/U: 53.5

Why Gennaro is taking the Chiefs: There’s an argument to be made that, beyond the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, no team ended the 2022 season on a higher note than the upstart Lions — which makes this an appropriate way to kick off the 2023 NFL campaign. Dan Campbell’s budding bunch has realistic hopes of exorcising a posse of demons over the next five months — first playoff appearance since 2016, first division title since 1993, first postseason win since 1991 — but I still can’t bring myself to projecting a season-opening win over the Patrick Mahomes-led reigning champs in Arrowhead Stadium.


  • WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Panthers: +158 | Falcons: -190
  • SPREAD: Falcons -3.5 | O/U: 39.5

Why Brooke is taking the Falcons: What questions don’t I have about this divisional clash? How will Bryce Young look in his NFL debut? Which offensive players step up for the Panthers? Will Brian Burns play amid his contract dispute? How much improvement will we see from Desmond Ridder after a full offseason as the Falcons’ starter? Who will get the bulk of the carries in Atlanta’s backfield? Will Kyle Pitts be more involved in the offense? Did the Falcons do enough this offseason to improve the pass rush? Ultimately, I’m taking the team that’s further along in its rebuild.

  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Texans: +360 | Ravens: -480
  • SPREAD: Ravens -10.0 | O/U: 43.5

Why Brooke is taking the Ravens: After Lamar Jackson signed his long-awaited megadeal this offseason, the time has finally come to see what the electric playmaker looks like in new coordinator Todd Monken’s offense. Lamar is surrounded by the best receiving corps he’s had in Baltimore and remains at the center of the Ravens’ rushing attack. Could there be a bigger challenge for DeMeco Ryans’ new defense right out of the gate? On the flip side, Houston trots out a rookie quarterback in C.J. Stroud and a slew of offensive players making their debuts with the team — including Robert Woods, Noah Brown, Dalton Schultz, John Metchie III and Tank Dell. This could get ugly early.

  • WHERE: Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Bengals: -140 | Browns: +118
  • SPREAD: Bengals -2.5 | O/U: 48.0

Why Tom is taking the Bengals: It’s hard to know what to expect from Deshaun Watson, who has yet to prove he can make it work in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. I have far more faith in Joe Burrow, even with his inexistent training camp. Jim Schwartz and Cleveland’s pass rush should provide a good litmus test for Orlando Brown Jr. and Cincy’s reshuffled offensive line, but by Sunday evening, concerns about Burrow’s calf strain will feel like they belong to a past life.

  • WHERE: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Jaguars: -235 | Colts: +192
  • SPREAD: Jaguars -5.0 | O/U: 45.5

Why Gennaro is taking the Jaguars: Jacksonville enters the season as the clear favorite in the AFC South, largely because Trevor Lawrence began living up to the GENERATIONAL PROSPECT hype during the back half of 2022. Can the third-year passer continue his upward trajectory in Year 2 under Doug Pederson? Well, opening up the season against a secondary with serious question marks — and alarming youth at cornerback — doesn’t hurt. Neither does taking the field with a legit No. 1 receiver in Calvin Ridley, whose route artistry will demoralize Indy’s green cover men.

  • WHERE: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Buccaneers: +205 | Vikings: -250
  • SPREAD: Vikings -5.5 | O/U: 45.0

Why Brooke is taking the Vikings: The reigning NFC North champions begin the season in their comfort zone: at U.S. Bank Stadium, where they are 39-18 in the regular season since the building opened in 2016. Kevin O’Connell’s offense, buoyed by a QB playing some of his best football in his mid-30s (Kirk Cousins) and a young WR duo (reigning Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson and first-round pick Jordan Addison), should once again be the star of this year’s team. It’ll be up to new Vikings DC Brian Flores’ unit to ensure games don’t come down to the wire every week. The first test is a Bucs offense in transition, though one that has promise if the ever-erratic Baker Mayfield can limit the turnovers. (The key word: if.)

  • WHERE: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Titans: +140 | Saints: -165
  • SPREAD: Saints -3.0 | O/U: 41.0

Why Gennaro is taking the Saints: In a world of committee backfields, Derrick Henry remains one of the last traditional bell cows. But the Big Dog doesn’t traditionally eat in Week 1. Here are Henry’s combined rushing numbers from his previous seven season openers: 109 rushes for 394 yards (3.6 per) and one touchdown. Not exactly production fit for a King. That said, New Orleans was gashed by the run in numerous games last season, including the opener, when rival Atlanta racked up 201 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. What happens when the stoppable force meets the movable object? The home team wins.

  • WHERE: Acrisure Stadium (Pittsburgh)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: 49ers: -135 | Steelers: +115
  • SPREAD: 49ers -2.5 | O/U: 41.0

Why Dan is taking the 49ers: This is no knock on the Steelers, who are clearly trending in the right direction. The reigning NFC West champion 49ers are just a little better on both sides of the ball. If Brock Purdy has an off day, it’s easy to see Mike Tomlin’s group taking full advantage of miscues and pulling off the upset. I don’t think Kyle Shanahan would be sending Purdy out there if he weren’t convinced the QB can play efficiently enough to get the job done, much like he did last season.

  • WHERE: FedExField (Landover, Md.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Cardinals: +250 | Commanders: -320
  • SPREAD: Commanders -7.0 | O/U: 38.0

Why Gennaro is taking the Commanders: Arizona opens the season with a 2,300-mile road trip to FedExField. Don’t think anybody will be taking the bus. But what can we expect from a stripped-down Cardinals roster in Jonathan Gannon’s head-coaching debut? Well, the Commanders’ calling card these days is a ferocious defensive line. In related news, Arizona’s O-line projects as something between turnstile and TURN-OFF-THE-GAME. Washington kicks off the post-Daniel Snyder era with a rollicking beatdown in front of its rejuvenated fan base.

  • WHERE: Soldier Field (Chicago)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Packers: -105 | Bears: -115
  • SPREAD: Bears -1.0 | O/U: 42.0

Why Ali is taking the Bears: Chicago fans have dreamed of this day for decades: Starting a season with fewer question marks at QB than Green Bay. The Aaron Rodgers-less NFC North is wide open for the taking, and Justin Fields now has the playmakers at his disposal to succeed the four-time MVP as the top dog in the division. But in this back-and-forth battle between bitter rivals, it’s Chicago’s defense that comes up big at the end. Rookie Tyrique Stevenson carries his solid offseason into Week 1, as he and the rest of the Bears’ rising secondary spoil Jordan Love’s second career start to begin a new era in the North.

  • WHERE: Empower Field at Mile High (Denver)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Raiders: +152 | Broncos: -180
  • SPREAD: Broncos -3.5 | O/U: 44.0

Why Tom is taking the Raiders: The Broncos might be favored, but rolling with Russell Wilson feels like the riskier move right now, even with Sean Payton on the sideline. Josh McDaniels should be able to run his offense with Jimmy Garoppolo exactly how he wants to in Week 1, before the chaos of the season has had a chance to muck up the plan. There’s also the talent advantage Vegas will have at the skill positions with Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs on the field, especially if Jerry Jeudy doesn’t play for Denver.

  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Dolphins: +140 | Chargers: -165
  • SPREAD: Chargers -3.0 | O/U: 51.0

Why Dan is taking the Chargers: My prediction here comes down to health for two teams that seem to be evenly matched. The Dolphins are heading into Week 1 worse off than the Chargers in that regard, which has me leaning toward the Bolts at home. If left tackle Terron Armstead is able to go, that would be huge for a Miami team that will have to account for Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack off the edge.

  • WHERE: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Eagles: -195 | Patriots: +162
  • SPREAD: Eagles -4.0 | O/U: 45.0

Why Ali is taking the Eagles: Nowhere to go but up for the Patriots offense after last year’s debacle, but what a brutal test for this unit right out of the gate. The Eagles’ size and depth up front should pose problems for New England’s run game, putting too much pressure on Mac Jones’ shoulders. Quick passes and a heavy dose of 12 personnel could help the Patriots hang around, but they’ll be throwing jabs against a team that thrives on landing haymakers. While I expect New England to be feisty this year, not even an offseason worth of game planning from Bill Belichick or the G.O.A.T.’s return to Foxborough can compensate for the talent gap between these two clubs. Bill O’Brien might wish he had stayed in Tuscaloosa after this one.

  • WHERE: Lumen Field (Seattle)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Rams: +205 | Seahawks: -250
  • SPREAD: Seahawks -5.5 | O/U: 46.0

Why Ali is taking the Seahawks: The future NFC champions begin their march to the Super Bowl with a comfortable W against a familiar foe. The Seahawks outclass the Rams at nearly every position (L.A. still has Aaron Donald, after all), and while I’ve seen Sean McVay do more with less, the talent disparity is simply too much for the wunderkind to overcome. Pete Carroll improves to 6-0 at home in season openers.

  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC, NFL+, Telemundo, Universo
  • MONEYLINE: Cowboys: -170 | Giants: +143
  • SPREAD: Cowboys -3.5 | O/U: 45.5

Why Tom is taking the Cowboys: I want to take the Giants, who should be plenty motivated to make a statement at home in prime time. And all the optimistic quotes that have been coming out of Dallas over the past few months make me a bit wary, frankly, of a Week 1 faceplant by the Cowboys. But I have to go with the more talented roster and quarterback. New York makes it interesting, but Dak Prescott avoids turnovers and Dallas’ offense actually clicks.


  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN, ABC, NFL+, ESPN+, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
  • MONEYLINE: Bills: -145 | Jets: +122
  • SPREAD: Bills: -2.5 | O/U: 46.0

Why Dan is taking the Jets: Perhaps I’m a prisoner of the moment, trusting the Jets hype train to stay on the tracks when in reality I’m asleep at the wheel. But I do know the Bills couldn’t score more than 20 points in either of their meetings with the Jets last season. I don’t know if New York’s defense will be as good as it was last season, but the offense is better — and I can’t say the same thing about Buffalo with nearly as much confidence.

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