NFL week 1 Previews
THE NFL WEEK 1 PREVIEWS: A SUNDAY SIX-PACK INCLUDING THE NIGHT-TIME COLTS-BRONCOS BASH
Okay, so right out of the ole starting gate we see the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks “mean business” with their resounding 36-16 win/cover against Green Bay … so who else out there on the NFL Week 1 card is gonna look like a world-beater?
Here’s our quick-hitter NFL Week 1 previews for a batch of Sunday games – we’ll preview the two Monday Night Football tilts (that’s the New York Giants at Detroit and San Diego at Arizona) in the very next edition of Jim Sez).
NEW ORLEANS at ATLANTA – 1 p.m. ET, Fox
There’s a whole lot of public money momentum that’s swung onto the side of these here-and-now N’Orleans Saints.
Note that back in the early part of the summer, Sean Payton’s club was listed at 14-to-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLIX and the odds have come way down to 6-to-1 at last check.
If the Saints have a 2009-like season in ‘em – the franchise’s one-and-only Super Bowl-winning year – then making sure QB Drew Brees (5,162 yards passing and 39 TDs last year) doesn’t take a licking is key after he sat out much of the preseason with an oblique injury.
On the flip side, the Falcons – the stars of the summertime hit Hard Knocks – have a banged-up offensive line that might not be able to protect QB Matt Ryan (17 INTs a year ago was a career-worst and he was sacked 44 times in all).
Yes, we’ve noticed that the pointspread of this NFC South game went from Falcons minus 1 ½ points to the Saints minus a FG.
Spread Notes – New Orleans has covered five of its last seven head-to-head tilts versus Atlanta. The Falcons, meanwhile, are a collective 56-43-2 ATS (against the spread) in the Mike Smith Era that began in 2008.
OAKLAND at NEW YORK JETS – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The whole buzz surrounding this game is the Raiders’ choice at quarterback – yes, the three first-round NFL QB draftees (that’s Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles, Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel and Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater) won’t be starting their games in Week 1 but second-rounder Derek Carr will get the nod for the silver-and-black who have won five games or less in a season on eight different occasions the past 10 years.
So, it’s the Jets who feel as if they have the “veteran QB” here as second-year slinger Geno Smith never was in a summertime competition with Michael Vick but will Smith properly utilize new weapons WR Eric Decker and RB Chris Johnson here?
Let’s see if former Meadowlands star and now current Raiders’ pass rusher DL Justin Tuck can get to Smith at crunch time here.
Spread Notes – Last year the J-E-T-S sparkled at home with a 6-2 ATS mark but they’re only a collective 21-19 spreadwise at home in the Rex Ryan Era that started in 2009. Oakland’s actually a decent 13-10-1 vig-wise away the past three seasons.
CINCINNATI at BALTIMORE – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The NFL folks – re: Commish Roger Goodell – didn’t exactly come down hard on Ravens RB Ray Rice for his domestic violence bit but still the one-time Pro Bowler will miss this divisional clash and so that means QB Joe Flacco (22 INTs last year) must steer the ship without many hiccups.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton just spent the better part of the past six months getting the slings and arrows of critics that complain that he has yet to win a single playoff game in three tries but note Dalton’s passing yards and TD totals have increased in his three years in the league and who’s gonna argue here with the notion that wide-out A.J. Green is the single-most dangerous player on this field?
Get him the ball 8-to-10 times, Andy!
Spread Notes – Baltimore is an ugly 3-6-1 ATS in its last 10 head-to-head tilts against Cincinnati. The Bengals enter this Week 1 clash at 1-4-1 spreadwise in their last six openers.
Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers are all revved up for this NCAA and NFL season and we’ll storm our way to the winner’s circle all weekend long: Get all the above-mentioned important College Football games plus lots more on Saturday and get your weekend started right with a slew of NCAA Football winners including Michigan State at Oregon and Michigan at Notre Dame. Then, it’s a grand NFL Opening Week with lots of marquee matchups including Sunday afternoon’s action between Cincinnati at Baltimore and San Francisco at Dallas plus get in on all the prime-time action featuring Sunday Night’s Indianapolis at Denver bash and the two Monday Night Football games … that’s the New York Giants at Detroit and San Diego at Arizona.
Plus cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too as we’ve been banging out lots of “W’s” in recent weeks as we head to the home stretch of this 2014 MLB season.
Now, here’s what you gotta do: Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for tonight action and after 10 a.m. ET for the Saturday and Sunday NFL. NCAA and MLB winners!
CAROLINA at TAMPA BAY – 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
Questions, questions. The Carolina Panthers have a bunch of ‘em heading into this Week 1 divisional clash as QB Cam Newton is far from 100 percent as he attempts to recover from off-season ankle surgery along with some fractured ribs suffered in a preseason game.
Then there’s DE Greg Hardy who last year led the Panthers with 15 sacks but he’s facing the hammer of NFL boss-man Goodell for a recent domestic violence incident – so it’s not as if Ron Rivera’s club is having a dreamy time of it.
If Tampa Bay – now a 2-point betting favorite here after opening as a 2-point dog – is gonna deliver a season-starting “W” for new coach Lovie Smith then WRs Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans need to make the “chunk plays” – remember the Bucs have not made the playoffs for the past six years in a row.
Spread Notes – Carolina is a dandy 8-4 vig-wise against fellow NFC South clubs the past two years while the T-Bay Bucs are 1-6-1 ATS in season-opening tilts the past eight years.
SAN FRANCISCO at DALLAS – 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
What’s with these SF 49ers? They’ve sent more guys to the pokey in the past couple of years than any team in recent memory (our unofficial count is up to 11 players have been arrested since 2012) and so you wonder if things are just beginning to come apart for this NFC West squad that’s been to each of the past three NFC Championship Games (winning one, losing two).
No question the Niners would like to take some heat off their tattered defense and so QB Colin Kaepernick and Company won’t shock us with a 65-to-75 percent ground attack here – can the beleaguered Cowboys defense stop RB Frank Gore and friends at the point of attack?
Remember last year Dallas allowed an NFL-worst 415.3 yards per game which happened to be the third-worst yards-allowed per-game mark in the league since 1970.
One Cowboys’ offensive note here: WR Dez Bryant last year ranked third in the league with 13 TDs and 1,233 yards receiving and don’t be shocked if Dallas QB Tony Romo (2-0 lifetime against the 49ers) chucks it to him a dozen-or-so times here.
Spread Notes – The 49ers are 34-19-3 spreadwise in the Jim Harbaugh Era that started in 2011 and did you know San Francisco’s covered all three of its season-opening games under Harbaugh? Dallas actually is a nifty 19-12 ATS as an underdog side since the start of the ’09 campaign.
On Sunday Night, it’s …
INDIANAPOLIS at DENVER – 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Let the record state that the 2013 Broncos won 11 games by double-digit margins and trampled some folks – we won’t “name names” – by 22, 32, 24, 23, 24 and 20 points.
Still, Denver did not get “mission accomplished” as John Fox’s club was slaughtered 43-8 by Seattle in Super Bowl 48 … so does this current Broncos team have the proper mindset to climb all the way back to another Super Bowl appearance here?
Well, for starters, they better recognize this is an important tilt for down-the-road reasons as anyone could tell you the Colts and Broncos very well could meet in the playoffs and don’t ‘ya just think home field is a bit of an advantage in this matchup?
One thing that’s really gonna hurt Indy here is the banged-up nature of the offensive line that’s been forced to go three- and four-deep at some positions – maybe QB Andrew Luck (3,822 yards passing with 23 TDs last year) will be getting an extra second in the shotgun, but that’s it.
Meanwhile, Denver QB Peyton Manning lost Round I to his old team last year as Indianapolis snagged the 39-33 win but overall the Hall-of-Fame-to-be slinger comes off a 5,477-yard passing season with 55 TDs but no Decker anymore and now no slot receiver Wes Welker (substance violation) for the season’s first four games.
Spread Notes – The Broncos are an electric 21-9-1 ATS as betting favorites the past two seasons although that does include last year’s six-point loss at Indy as 6 ½-point road faves. On the flip side, the Colts are a good-but-not-great 11-9 spreadwise as dogs the past two years with QB Luck in charge.
NOTE: We’ll re-cap the weekend’s action plus get you those Monday Night Football Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez, so don’t miss out!
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