Prisco’s NFL Week 1 picks: Chargers roll over Raiders, Baker Mayfield tops ex-team, Jaguars upset Commanders

One game at a time. One week at a time.

Never look ahead. It has to be week after week.

It’s a four-quarter season, with the first quarter being the most important right now.

Coach-talk. You do not like him ? Well, this also concerns the choice of games. Getting off to a good start is imperative if you want to have any chance of having a winning season – and maybe winning it all. It’s also hard to get off to a good start. There is so much uncertainty, especially with all the changes in free agency and coaches every year.

Here are some tips to get you started quickly:

1. Don’t pay attention to the pre-season. It means nothing.

2. Look for returning teams with plenty of veteran players to get off to a good start.

3. Setters and pass throwers. That’s what the league is all about. Take these teams – especially early on.

With that, it’s time for my top picks of the season. I’ll pick games here every week, also against the spread of our CBSSports.com expert picks and again give my best bets every week on the Pick Six Podcast.

Last year was a good season. Let’s go on. After all, I had a great off-season, I entered this season healed of all my injuries and I have confidence that I can win everything.

Of course, I’ll take it one choice at a time.

One winner at a time.

No future for this guy. Not when a Week 1 debacle can ruin an entire season.

Featured Game | Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills

The home team coming out of the Super Bowl has been a good play in those games, going 10-5-1. But I’m going to turn that around and take the Bills to cover and win this game. Buffalo will be explosive on offense all year and it starts here. But the biggest difference is that they have Von Miller and not the Rams. It will mean a late sack-fumble-game-over for the Bills to win it.

Take: Bills 30, Rams 24

Featured Game | Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

These two teams don’t like each other and it usually shows. The Saints are the better team, but what will they get from Jameis Winston each week? Marcus Mariota leaves for the Falcons. He can move, but the Saints’ defense has a chance to be special. They’ll limit Atlanta’s offense here and Winston will make enough plays on the field.

Take: Saints 29, Falcons 13

Featured Game | Carolina Panthers vs. Cleveland Browns

This is the Baker Mayfield bowl. He is the starting quarterback for the Panthers after being waived by the Browns for Deshaun Watson, who is now suspended. Jacoby Brissett will start for the Browns. Mayfield has a lot of talent around him and the young Panthers defense will be improved. Carolina wins as Mayfield defeats his old team.

Take: Panthers 23, Browns 17

Featured Game | Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers

This is Trey Lance’s first game as the 49ers’ bona fide starter at quarterback. This can cause a lot of pressure on the road. But the 49ers are clearly the better team. Kyle Shanahan will make it easier for Lance. Justin Fields will have trouble behind a shaky line for the Bears against a good 49ers defense. The 49ers win big.

Take: 49ers 23, Bears 14

Featured Game | Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Steelers arrive as a division dog, a role Mike Tomlin has played well as a coach, going 14-6. There are concerns about the Steelers offensive line, which is why this number is inflated. But Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been battling appendicitis all preseason, which could lead to some rust. The Steelers will trail in this one, but the Bengals will win it late.

Take: Bengals 23, Steelers 20

Featured Game | Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles seem to have the makings of a deep playoff team. That’s if quarterback Jalen Hurts can make progress as a passer, which he’s supposed to have done this offseason. The Lions will be a brave and tough team every week, taking on the personality of their coach. But dealing with this Eagles attack will be a challenge for their defense. Hurts will start his season on the right foot.

Take: Eagles 31, Lions 21

Featured Game | Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts

This will be Matt Ryan’s first game as a Colts quarterback after coming on a trade. Ryan is still more than capable of lighting things up, which will prove to be a challenge for the Texans defense. They can also beat Jonathan Taylor. Davis Mills looked good for the Texans late last year, which will continue here. Look for a lot of points in a close game.

Take: Colts 31, Texans 27

Featured Game | Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

The Patriots are in an unusual situation as a road dog here. They are coming off of a shaky preseason, while Miami is coming off of a preseason filled with Tua Tagovailoa hype. He has a lot of guns and looked good, making it a big match for him. I think Mike McDaniel will get the ball to his playmakers quickly and cause problems for a defense that isn’t as talented as in years past. The Dolphins have beaten the Patriots three times in a row. Make four.

Take: Dolphins 24, Patriots 19

Featured Game | New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens

It could be Joe Flacco starting for the Jets against his old team if Zach Wilson doesn’t return from a knee injury. Flacco won a Super Bowl for the Ravens, but he hasn’t done so in a while. Lamar Jackson is back healthy after a down 2021 season, and I think he’s off to a good start here. The Ravens have pressing passing questions, but they’ll sidestep them against their former quarterback. Is it close.

Take: Ravens 26, Jets 23

Featured Game | Washington Commanders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

It will be former Eagles coach Doug Pederson taking on his former Eagles quarterback in Carson Wentz. The Jaguars beat Wentz and the Colts last year in the Finals, which is why he’s no longer in Indianapolis. They will beat him again. The Jaguars defense has a chance to be really good, and it shows here.

Take: Jaguars 21, Commanders 17

Featured Game | Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants

The Titans suffered a major blow to their defense last week when Harold Landry tore his anterior cruciate ligament. This will have a huge impact on the pass rush. Giants coach Brian Daboll will make his debut here and he should be able to create problems for this defense without Landry. The Titans will beat Derrick Henry, but their passing game has issues. The Giants will hang out in this one.

Take: Titans 28, Giants 27

Featured Game | Arizona Cardinals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

It should be fun to watch with Patrick Mahomes versus Kyler Murray. It will be interesting to see how Mahomes fares without Tyreek Hill. Here’s a thought: He’ll be fine. The situation in the corner of Arizona is precarious, which Mahomes will take advantage of here. The Chiefs will win a game with high scores.

Take: Chiefs 33, Cardinals 24

Featured Game | Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

This game features two teams that will push for a playoff spot and a division title. The Raiders beat the Chargers in the Finals last season to qualify for the playoffs. This time it will be different. The Chargers at home with Khalil Mack added to the defense will be able to slow Derek Carr. Justin Herbert will have a big day on the other side.

Take: Chargers 30, Raiders 21

Featured Game | Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers has 13 touchdown passes and no picks in his last four games against the Vikings. But he went 2-2 in those games. The difference this time will be the Green Bay defense. This unit has a chance to be special. The Vikings counter with an explosive attack, but in this one that attack doesn’t go the way it will. The packers take it.

Take: Packers 24, Vikings 19

Featured Game | Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

These two both come into the game with concerns about their offensive lines. It’s a problem for Tom Brady, who doesn’t move very well. Dak Prescott will be able to handle himself by moving around and creating problems outside the pocket. The Cowboys will win a tough defensive game to start 1-0.

Take: Cowboys 20, Bucks 17

Featured Game | Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos

It’s the return of Russell Wilson to play his old team, which makes it really intriguing. The Seahawks are almost in rebuilding mode after trading him, but playing at home Monday night will make this game tough for Wilson. I think the Seahawks are keeping him close.

Take: Broncos 27, Seahawks 23

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