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Vegas Vic cautiously taking the Eagles, Panthers, Cardinals as top plays in Week 1 picks

The Eagles have won six in a row against Washington, but Vegas Vic is being conservative since there was no preseason to go by.

Carson Wentz is 5-0 against Washington since 2017 with 14 touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Carson Wentz is 5-0 against Washington since 2017 with 14 touchdown passes and three interceptions.Read more

Inquirer handicapper Vegas Vic offers his insight for this week’s NFL slate, and is joined again by our staff writers in picking each game this season. Vic won the in-house competition last season by two games over Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane. (Complete 2019-20 standings are at the bottom.)

We’ll kick it off, as we always do, with his thoughts on the Eagles' game. Otherwise, games are listed in the standard Las Vegas betting order.

Eagles (6) WASHINGTON (43.5), 1 p.m. (Fox29)

Don’t remember the NFL ever sharing the spotlight with the NBA and NHL, but this WILL BE a season like no other. At least early on.

Fans? No fans?

One thing will remain the same, as it has for the last few hundred years for Double V, STAY LIGHT in the opening week. Please! We had no preseason to judge the teams, so don’t blow your bankroll in the first few minutes.

So, The Washington Football Team. Are we giving “home teams” the usual three-point edge without fans? Computer geeks, and I, say that with YUGE respect, have the Iggles rated at 22.56 with Washington at 14.89. That’s a 7.67 edge, and apparently, the oddsmakers are throwing in a point and a hook for home field. The Green Machine is on quite a roll against Washington with six straight wins and five covers, but it’s Week 1, so it’ll only be a light tickle, with a feather, to Carson WentzYLVANIA!

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Washington

Les Bowen: Eagles

Paul Domowitch: Eagles

Marcus Hayes: Washington

Jeff McLane: Eagles

EJ Smith: Eagles

Vegas Vic: Eagles

PATRIOTS (6.5) Dolphins (42.5), 1 p.m.

Double B Belichick will be looking to prove he can actually coach without that other guy at QB. What’s his name?

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Patriots

Les Bowen: Dolphins

Paul Domowitch: Dolphins

Marcus Hayes: Dolphins

Jeff McLane: Patriots

EJ Smith: Patriots

Vegas Vic: Patriots

RAVENS (8.5) Browns (48.5), 1 p.m.

Cleveland is 1-19-1 in the last 21 openers, so you gotta believe they’re due, or at least, cover the snowman and his hook.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Browns

Les Bowen: Browns

Paul Domowitch: Browns

Marcus Hayes: Ravens

Jeff McLane: Browns

EJ Smith: Browns (Best bet of the week)

Vegas Vic: Browns

BILLS (6.5) Jets (39.5), 1 p.m.

The only team that actually plays in New York, the Bills, are really solid, but gonna go with the Jets to cover.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Jets

Les Bowen: Bills (Best bet of the week)

Paul Domowitch: Bills

Marcus Hayes: Bills

Jeff McLane: Jets

EJ Smith: Jets

Vegas Vic: Jets

Raiders (2) PANTHERS (47.5), 1 p.m.

C’mon VIC, are you WILD! You’re probably thinking that the Vegas heat, 66 straight days over 100 degrees, has warped my brain, but hear me out.

Why Carolina? How about the most DYNAMIC running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey. All he did last season was, well, staggering! He rushed for 1,387 yards, had 1,005 receiving, and put 19 TDs on the board.

Then you look at the QB, Teddy Bridgewater, and we’re talking solid pro. When he filled in for Drew Brees with the Saints last season, Bridge was SPECTACULAR! As in 5-0 in the games he started, with 133 completions in 196 attempts (67.9%), and 9 TDs against just 2 INTs.

What does Vegas have to offer other than a name change? Not much. Derek Carr will be at the controls of a team that closed out 2019 losing five of its last six. Matt Rhule, sure, you remember him from Temple, will bring the heat and break down Vegas’s Carr. Calling this the week’s best bet.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Raiders

Les Bowen: Panthers

Paul Domowitch: Raiders

Marcus Hayes: Panthers

Jeff McLane: Raiders

EJ Smith: Raiders

Vegas Vic: Panthers (Best Bet)

Seahawks (1.5) FALCONS (48.5), 1 p.m.

Atlanta was the tale of two different teams last season. The Falcons opened up with a 2-6 record in the first half, then roared back to win six of the last eight, with covers in seven of the last nine. They picked up RB Todd Gurley and LB Dante Fowler from the Rams, and get Pro Bowl S Keanu Neal back in the mix. And since Seattle is just 0-4-1 in the last five openers, we’re gonna rock the ATL.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Falcons

Les Bowen: Seahawks

Paul Domowitch: Seahawks

Marcus Hayes: Seahawks

Jeff McLane: Falcons

EJ Smith: Seahawks

Vegas Vic: Falcons

LIONS (2.5) Bears (44.5), 1 p.m.

Say what you want about Mitch Trubisky, but he’s my guy this week. Why? His numbers against Detroit. In two starts last season against the Lions, both wins, Mitch T. hit 45 of 61 for 511 yards, with six TDs and just 1 INT.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Bears

Les Bowen: Lions

Paul Domowitch: Lions

Marcus Hayes: Bears

Jeff McLane: Lions

EJ Smith: Lions

Vegas Vic: Bears

Colts (8) JAGUARS (45.5), 1 p.m.

Laying eight points with Philip Rivers? Don’t think so. Gimme some of that Minshew mustache baby!

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Jaguars

Les Bowen: Colts

Paul Domowitch: Colts (Best bet)

Marcus Hayes: Colts

Jeff McLane: Jaguars

EJ Smith: Colts

Vegas Vic: Jaguars

VIKINGS (3) Packers (46.5), 1 p.m.

Minny is 9-1 straight up and against the spread at home in September, and last time I looked, it’s still September.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Vikings

Les Bowen: Vikings

Paul Domowitch: Vikings

Marcus Hayes: Packers

Jeff McLane: Vikings

EJ Smith: Packers

Vegas Vic: Vikings

Chargers (3.5) BENGALS (43.5), 4:05 p.m. (CBS3)

Drink in these mind-blowing QB stats. Completed 402 of 527 passing attempts (76.3%). Totaled 5,671 yards. 60 (yes, SIXTY) TDs against just 6 INTs. You know where I’m going. Those were Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow’s numbers at LSU last season. Of course, this is the NFL, and he’s not going to be padding his stats against Vanderbilt and Kentucky, but Joe B made me a ton of cash and I give him the nod in his first career start against Tyrod Taylor.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Chargers

Les Bowen: Bengals

Paul Domowitch: Bengals

Marcus Hayes: Chargers

Jeff McLane: Chargers

EJ Smith: Chargers

Vegas Vic: Bengals

49ERS (7.5) Cardinals (47.5), 4:25 p.m.

Like what I’m seeing in Arizona. Why? Start with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald and Kenyon Drake. Murray played all 16 games, hit 349 of 542 passes for 64.4%. He threw for 3,722 yards with 20 TDs and 12 INTs. Now check out Drake. Kenyon rushed for 174 yards with the Fish in six games and more than tripled that number to 643 yards in eight games with the Cards. He averaged 29 yards per game with Miami and 80 with the Cards. Playing a zone? Nah, actually playing a 'Zona!

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Cardinals

Les Bowen: Cardinals

Paul Domowitch: Cardinals

Marcus Hayes: 49ers (Best bet)

Jeff McLane: 49ers

EJ Smith: Cardinals

Vegas Vic: Cardinals

SAINTS (3.5) Buccaneers (49.5), 4:25 p.m. (Fox29)

You have the NFL’s all-time leading passer, Drew Brees, against the G.O.A.T, six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. Which way do you turn? Gonna be a light Brees blowing, and if you can buy the line down to -3, New Orleans is the side.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Buccaneers

Les Bowen: Saints

Paul Domowitch: Buccaneers

Marcus Hayes: Saints

Jeff McLane: Saints

EJ Smith: Buccaneers

Vegas Vic: Saints

Cowboys (3) RAMS (51.5), 8:20 p.m. (NBC10)

Everyone is fawning over Dallas, which automatically means that we grab Los Angeles as a home dog.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Rams

Les Bowen: Cowboys

Paul Domowitch: Cowboys

Marcus Hayes: Rams

Jeff McLane: Rams

EJ Smith: Cowboys

Vegas Vic: Rams


Steelers (5.5) GIANTS (48), 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Not thrilled about laying a six spot, but Big Ben Roethlisberger is back, and NYG QB Daniel Jones has never been!

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Giants (Best bet)

Les Bowen: Steelers

Paul Domowitch: Steelers

Marcus Hayes: Steelers

Jeff McLane: Giants

EJ Smith: Steelers

Vegas Vic: Steelers


BRONCOS (Pk) Titans (41.5), 10:10 p.m. (ESPN)

Tennessee has Ryan Tannehill under center, while Denver starts Drew Lock. And Lock ain’t no lock!

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Broncos

Les Bowen: Titans

Paul Domowitch: Titans

Marcus Hayes: Broncos

Jeff McLane: Titans (Best bet)

EJ Smith: Titans

Vegas Vic: Titans


CHIEFS (9.5) Texans (54.5)

Vic didn’t love the line, but took a run at the under, which came through in Kansas City’s 34-20 win. So what if the Chiefs were knocking on the door late for another touchdown before settling for a field goal. Under was never (pant, pant, pant) in doubt.

Staff picks:

Ed Barkowitz: Chiefs

Les Bowen: Chiefs

Paul Domowitch: Chiefs

Marcus Hayes: Titans

Jeff McLane: Titans

EJ Smith: Titans

Vegas Vic: Chiefs

2019-20 final standings

Best bets in parentheses

1. Vegas Vic (13-6), 142-118-7, .552

2. Jeff McLane (11-7-1), 140-120-7, .537

3. Marcus Hayes (11-7-1), 137-123-7, .526

4. Paul Domowitch (6-11-2), 133-127-7, .511

5. Marc Narducci (9-9-1), 132-128-7, .507

6. Les Bowen (8-10-1), 132-128-7, .507

7. Ed Barkowitz (9-10), 124-136-7, .476

Note: EJ Smith has taken Marc Narducci’s place in 2020-21.