Football gods, help us: We’re starting off Week 1 of the Westgate SuperContest putting faith in the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With the help of OddsShark, NESN.com is back in the SuperContest, the premiere season-long football picks contest, for a second consecutive year.
Every week, the NESN.com team — as well as nearly 2,000 other entrants — will select five games from the NFL slate and make against-the-spread picks for those games. The NESN crew had a forgettable finish last season, so we’re hoping for a bounce-back showing in 2016.
And like we said, we’re starting by picking the Browns and Bucs. Welp.
NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle picked five games from the weekly slate to enter into the Westgate SuperContest on behalf of Team OddsShark.
Here’s who we’re locking up this week:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) over Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
The Bucs are a trendy pick to be one of the NFL’s most improved teams, and some even think they have a shot to win that division. When you consider Tampa Bay beat Atlanta twice last season and is also getting points here, we can’t pass up that opportunity.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) over New York Jets, Sunday, 1 p.m.
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
No one’s expecting a shootout, and we’re somewhat weary of the Bengals going through some growing pains after a bevvy of offseason changes. But the Jets are a banged-up bunch on defense, especially on the front seven — and they’re without Sheldon Richardson, who’s suspended for Week 1. While it might not be easy, we’re confident Cincinnati can win by at least a field goal.
Cleveland Browns (+4) over Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Admittedly, there’s not a lot of confidence in this pick — no one likes taking the Browns. But there’s just so much unpredictability in this matchup, that we’ll take the points and just hope it’s within a field goal one way or the other. Players also seem to love new Cleveland head coach Hugh Jackson, and hopefully the Browns’ play Sunday reflects that notion.
Seattle Seahawks (-10.5) over Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
CenturyLink Field, Seattle
That’s a lot of points for an NFL game, especially in Week 1 where it’s tough to gauge any team until you’ve seen them play. It’s not unrealistic to think Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins will be better under “quarterback whisperer” Adam Gase, but Miami doesn’t have much of a run game to speak of. If Seattle can make a team one dimensional, the Legion of Boom and the Seahawks crowd should take care of the rest.
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) over Detroit Lions, Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Vontae Davis is out, Clayton Geathers is doubtful and Patrick Robinson is nursing a groin injury, so the Indy secondary will be depleted against Matthew Stafford. However, to whom exactly will Stafford throw? Home field and Andrew Luck being (slightly?) better than Stafford are the factors we like the most here.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images