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So, what have we learned after week 1? If you’re smart, nothing, really. I’m not going to say it’s as useless as the preseason (thanks, New York Jets), but what you see Week 1 can often be more mirage than harbinger. Unless, of course, what you saw in Week 1 confirms what you already knew.

For example, nobody in their right mind is buying the fact that the aforementioned Jets scored 48 points last week and resembled a modern NFL offense. (Well, except for the rotating quarterbacks thing, so it what it really resembled was more like one of those University of Texas teams where Mack Brown can’t figure out who his QB is.) After all, they beat the hell out of those horrible Buffalo Bills, who suck and are no good, as predicted by everyone. Oh, wait.

What we already knew is that the San Francisco 49ers had one hell of a defense, and they opened the season with a sound defeat of the Green Bay Packers. Despite having a game manager QB, they seem to have announced that they may be the favorites to be Super Bowl champs. In the current era where an “elite” QB who can paper over team weaknesses is supposedly required in order to win it all, can Alex Smith strike a mighty blow in the mold of Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, and Jeff Hostetler? It might be the philosophical question that drives this season, and all the television banter. You’ll hear it more as the 49ers pile up regular-season wins.

All home teams in caps, lines from ESPN.

BILLS (-3.5) over Chiefs: I’m somewhat count on the Bills to have some pride, and show why they were such a chic preseason pick. Unless of course, Ryan Fitzpatrick is as horrible as he was last week, which he just can’t be.

BENGALS (-6.5) over Browns: Brandon Weeden did not debut to rave reviews, but what do you expect for a young, er, middle-aged rookie QB? Cincinnati was competitive with the Ravens for a little over a half when things sort of got out of control. The Browns arrive at a much-needed time.

COLTS (+1.5) over Vikings: Adrian Peterson’s healing abilities hopefully have been recorded for and studied by science. But Andrew Luck has probably heard enough of the “RGIII might be better” talk already.

DOLPHINS (+2.5) over Raiders: Stop laughing! The Raiders are flying to the East Cost for a 10 am game their time off a short week. Joe Philbin will keep the wraps on Ryan Tannehill just enough for them not to lost this one to a sleepwalking Raiders team that, quite frankly, put me to sleep late Monday night.

Cardinals (+13.5) over PATRIOTS: Sunday, Kevin Kolb finally steps up and takes what is rightfully his with a late backdoor cover that relegates John Skelton to the bench.

Buccaneers (+7.5) over GIANTS: I just traded Doug Martin in my fantasy league for much-needed QB help. Just in time for me to watch him follow in DeMarco Murray’s footsteps and break off a few big runs during this one.

Ravens (+2.5) over EAGLES: Michael Vick looks like he’s regressed a bit from his comeback season of two years ago. Ed Reed and friends will keep it looking that way.

PANTHERS (+2.5) over SAINTS: It’s going to take a couple of weeks for the Saints to figure out their new Steve Spagnuolo defense, so expect Cam Newton to follow is Robert Griffin’s footsteps as well as passing routes and take full advantage.

JAGUARS (+7.5) over Texans: I still don’t totally trust Gary Kubiak, and I don’t want to jinx it yet, but, maybe, possibly, Blaine Gabbert doesn’t suck.

RAMS (+3.5) over Redskins: Congratulations on the new era, Redskin fans, I think you have your franchise quarterback. But these are still the Redskins, and they have to win a game like this before I start believing that things done changed in DC.

SEAHAWKS (-3.5) over Cowboys: Russell Wilson wasn’t bad, he should have led a comeback over the Cardinals (then again, considering the fourth time out fiasco, make the Cardinals should have won,) except for the dropped passes and fade-happy play-calling. It’s not like Russell Wilson is unathletic and has to stay in the pocket. Why go offensive coordinators hate rollout and bootleg plays around the goal line and love difficult-to-precisely-execute fade patterns so much?

STEELERS (-6.5) over Jets: I was going to pick the Jets, but Revis not playing has become a very real possibility. The only upside of that might be that the Jets would know going in they have to score points and stay on the offensive. Alas, I think Ryan and Sparano will go back to playing close to the vest against the Steelers and playing totally into their hands. Besides Mike Tomlin can’t allow 0-2 to happen, can he?

Titans (+6.5) over CHARGERS: Also from the Not Totally Sucking Department, Jake Locker! Before he got hurt, he wasn’t great against a rejuvenated Pats defense, but he sure didn’t embarrass himself. Sometimes, there’s inherent satisfaction in the relief of lowered expectations.

49ERS (-6.5) over Lions: The Lions can’t run the ball, but you can bet your life NBC will be running video of the Harbaugh-Schwartz throwdown ad nauseaum Sunday night.

FALCONS (-3.5) over Broncos. Julio Jones and Roddy White are poised to dominate this season. The only question will be if they, with Matt Ryan pulling the trigger, can dominate a playoff game for once.

Best Bets: Colts, 49ers, Falcons


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