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Sam Farmer’s NFL Week 1 game picks

Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden gestures on the sideline during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 29.
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden gestures on the sideline during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 29.
(Associated Press)

The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups. Lines according to Pregame.com (O/U = over/under). Last season’s record 170-84-2 (.669). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer had predicted, the record against the spread last season would have been 129-119-8 (.520). Times are Pacific and records are from last season.

Tennessee Titans (9-7) at Cleveland Browns (7-8-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.
Predicted score: Browns 30, Titans 21
TV: None. DirecTV: 705.
Line: Browns by 51/2. O/U: 451/2.

Browns are legit … enough. They need to prove they’re worthy of hype, but they’re still loaded with talent and were on a roll at the end of last season. The Titans are missing their stalwart left tackle.

Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

Sunday, 10 a.m.
Predicted score: Jaguars 27, Chiefs 24
TV: None. DirecTV: 706.
Line: Chiefs by 31/2. O/U: 511/2.

No question, the Chiefs are going to score a ton of points this season, but their defense has lost ground since. Healthy is Jacksonville’s defense and Leonard Fournette. Upset in making?

Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Miami Dolphins (7-9)

Sunday, 10 a.m.
Predicted score: Ravens 28, Dolphins 17
TV: None. DirecTV: 707.
Line: Ravens by 61/2. O/U: 381/2.

Hard to know how effective Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson will be in his first full season as the starter, or how this reworked Ravens defense will work, but the Dolphins are overmatched in this one.

Buffalo Bills (6-10) at New York Jets (4-12)

Sunday, 10 a.m.
Predicted score: Jets 24, Bills 20
TV: None. DirecTV: 708.
Line: Jets by 21/2. O/U: 401/2.

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Both teams are on the upswing. Sam Darnold is much better at home than on the road. The middle of the Jets’ defense might be the best in the NFL. Josh Allen shows promise but he’s not there yet.

Los Angeles Rams (13-3) at Carolina Panthers (7-9)

Sunday, 10 a.m.
Predicted score: Rams 31, Panthers 21
TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 709.
Line: Rams by 2. O/U: 50.

Rams starters sat out preseason again but were not rusty in last year’s opener and should hit ground running again. Cam Newton was banged up this summer, and the Panthers lost their kicker.

Atlanta Falcons (7-9) at Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.
Predicted score: Vikings 28, Falcons 23
TV: None. DirecTV: 710.
Line: Vikings by 4. O/U: 471/2.

The Vikings are graying on defense, but they’re still really good. They should do a solid job of establishing the run. Atlanta’s defense could struggle here, especially if the Vikings get an early lead.

Washington Redskins (7-9) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

Sunday, 10 a.m.
Predicted score: Eagles 30, Redskins 17
TV: None. DirecTV: 711.
Line: Eagles by 10. O/U: 45.

The Redskins are outmanned here. The Eagles should be the class of the NFC East. Their defense is for real, and they’ve upgraded the offense. Look for a strong debut from back Miles Sanders.

Indianapolis Colts (10-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)

Sunday, 1 p.m.
Predicted score: Chargers 27, Colts 21
TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 712.
Line: Chargers by 61/2. O/U: 441/2.

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Losing Andrew Luck was a big blow for the Colts, of course, but Jacoby Brissett isn’t bad and that’s a well-coached team. Even with their injuries, the Chargers have the firepower to get it done at home.

Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) at Seattle Seahawks (10-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m.
Predicted score: Seahawks 28, Bengals 23
TV: None. DirecTV: 713.
Line: Seahawks by 91/2. O/U: 44.

Does Jadeveon Clowney matter a ton to the Seahawks? If he can stay healthy … we’ll see. Still, Seattle is a very tough place for visitors to play, and take Russell Wilson over Andy Dalton any day.

Detroit Lions (6-10) at Arizona Cardinals (3-13)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
Predicted score: Lions 27, Cardinals 21
TV: None. DirecTV: 714.
Line: Lions by 21/2. O/U: 461/2.

Arizona’s pass defense is bad and its run defense is worse, so Lions back Kerryon Johnson could have a big day. Cardinals’ offense could be exciting to watch, but look out for some quick three-and-outs.

New York Giants (5-11) at Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
Predicted score: Cowboys 30, Giants 20
TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 715.
Line: Cowboys by 71/2. O/U: 451/2.

Ezekiel Elliott is back — he’s the main cog in the Dallas offense — and that Cowboys front seven is sure to show up. Hard to know what to expect from the Giants offense. Go with the home team.

San Francisco 49ers (4-12) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
Predicted score: Buccaneers 31, 49ers 24
TV: None. DirecTV: 716.
Line: Buccaneers by 1. O/U: 51.

The 49ers are banged up and on a long trip. Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t been sharp. Bruce Arians will have the Buccaneers ready, and Todd Bowles has added a lot of speed to that defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) at New England Patriots (11-5)

Sunday, 5:15 p.m.
Predicted score: Steelers 34, Patriots 27
TV: Channel 4.
Line: Patriots by 51/2. O/U: 491/2.

At last, Steelers have a relatively drama-free locker room, plus an outstanding offensive line and lots of weapons. The Patriots haven’t been terrific in these openers — see K.C. a few years ago.

Houston Texans (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (13-3)

Monday, 4 p.m.
Predicted score: Saints 31, Texans 23
TV: ESPN.
Line: Saints by 7. O/U: 521/2.

The Saints are loaded with talent, but they’re still forming their offensive identity. They need a second receiver to step up opposite Michael Thomas. This could be lopsided if the Saints jump out early.

Denver Broncos (6-10) at Oakland Raiders (4-12)

Monday, 7:15 p.m.
Predicted score: Raiders 24, Broncos 20
TV: ESPN.
Line: Broncos by 2. O/U: 43.

So much drama around the Raiders already, with Antonio Brown’s sagas and release. Still, they should be able to run the ball with Josh Jacobs. Joe Flacco gives the Broncos some veteran stability at quarterback.


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