NFL Week 1 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread

Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Line: Chiefs -4.5 | Total: 52.5

Kansas City seems to love to play a game within a game: How many players can be taken away before Patrick Mahomes can’t thrive? The speedy receiver Tyreek Hill, as demonstrated last year, was expendable. So were other receivers like Sammy Watkins, DeMarcus Robinson and JuJu Smith-Schuster. The team goes through running backs quickly enough that Mahomes doesn’t need to introduce himself. But through it all, Travis Kelce has been there at tight end. Beyond Mahomes’s very first start, which came with the team’s key starters resting in the final week of the 2017 regular season, Kelce has been on the field for all 79 of Mahomes’s starts in the regular season and all 14 of his postseason starts.

Kelce’s hyperextended knee has that streak in jeopardy and while no one would suggest the Chiefs are without options should he be forced to sit, his absence would certainly alter Kansas City’s game plan.

The defending Super Bowl champion, Kansas City is rightly the favorite at home, but with a tendency to start the season slow and then race to wins, the team may not want to mess around with the Lions. Detroit’s offense, led by quarterback Jared Goff, was a top-five unit last season and running back David Montgomery, a newcomer from the Bears, should make the team even more potent. Pick: Chiefs -4.5

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Line: Bears -1 | Total: 43.5

On Oct. 25, 1992, quarterback Jim Harbaugh led the Chicago Bears to a 30-10 win in Green Bay, Wis., over the Packers and their first-year starting quarterback, Brett Favre. It was Chicago’s fifth consecutive win against Green Bay in a rivalry that had become decidedly one-sided. But that was about to change.

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