Oakland Raiders (0-0) at New Orleans Saints (0-0)
Almost every season, one team goes from out of the playoffs to a first round bye. The Raiders are my pick to do that this year, or at least come close. A young team that has drafted well over the past few years, adding the likes of Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, and Gabe Jackson in 2014 and 2015, the Raiders have had a lot of money to play with in free agency over the past two off-seasons and have done well adding veteran talent in free agency to complement their young talent, adding the likes of Rodney Hudson, Michael Crabtree, Sean Smith, Michael Griffin, Bruce Irvin, and Kelechi Osemele over the past 2 off-seasons. On paper, this is one of the most talented teams in the AFC.
Meanwhile, the Saints have a strong offense, but a pathetic defense and figure to finish under .500 for the 3rd straight season. If the 37-year-old Drew Brees starts to show his age, the Saints could easily be one of the worst teams in the league in 2016. Despite that, they’re actually favored by a point and half here at home week 1. I obviously wish we were getting the whole field goal with the Raiders, but the Saints shouldn’t be favored by any amount of points here. There’s a very good chance Oakland would be favored by at least a field goal on the road in mid-season against New Orleans, after people realize how talented this team is. The Saints’ Superdome magic seems to have worn out in recent years, as they’re just 6-9 ATS at home over the past 2 seasons, after going 20-4 ATS at home during better times from 2011-2013, so I see no reason not to take Oakland.
Oakland Raiders 27 New Orleans Saints 20 Upset Pick +105
Pick against the spread: Oakland +1.5