The NFL season kicks off tomorrow (well, technically Thursday night when Cam Newton was unable to avenge the Super Bowl loss to the Broncos). Here at The Resurgent, we’ve started covering a bit of college football, so we’ll continue to scratch that football itch with a weekly NFL column as well.
Here I’ll break down five picks for Sunday, with some key games to watch as well:
– Atlanta Falcons -2.5 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1pmET): The Falcons got off to a fast start last year and faded nearly as quickly as the season progressed. They generally play well at home, and to be a technical underdog (since home field gives teams 3 points) versus an unproven Bucs team is simply not showing a talented team enough love. The Jameis Winston-led Bucs are a trendy pick to sneak into the playoffs this season, but the Falcons, at full-strength have an excellent offense that should be able to weather the intra-division storm.
– Tennessee Titans +2.5 over Minnesota Vikings (1pmET): The Vikings were an overachieving team last season that was bound to regress a bit this year – and that was before their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a gruesome injury and was lost for the year. With recently-acquired Sam Bradford at the helm, it’ll take the Vikings a few weeks to get on the same page. The Titans meanwhile are on the upswing, thanks to a fantastic draft that included the addition of RB Derrick Henry from Alabama. Henry had an excellent preseason and is expected to split time with another talented RB, DeMarco Murray. One home underdog will win this week – I’m taking the Titans.
– Philadephia Eagles -3.5 over Cleveland Browns (1pmET): The line in this game has moved nearly as much as any game the slate in week 1, from an opening of -7 all the way down almost 4 points. Yes, rookie Carson Wentz is starting for the Eagles, and the defense is rocky. But the Browns are terrible too, and the Eagles should win a close game. With the line moving in the right direction, this may be one of the only weeks you can trust the Eagles to pull out a win.
– Miami Dolphins +10.5 over Seattle Seahawks (4pmET): Depending on what exactly the Seahawks have planned to open the game during the national anthem, this may be a fun team to root against when things kickoff in Seattle. The line has moved 3 points, and suddenly is much more attractive to bet the underdog Dolphins who have shown they have a competent offense and solid defense. The Seahawks are very likely to win, but can the Dolphins keep it under double digits? Absolutely.
– New England Patriots +6 over Arizona Cardinals (8:30pmET): This is the game with the most fluctuation of the week, opening at a pick and moving 6 points in the Cardinals favor. Sure, Tom Brady is out for his first of four weeks, and Rob Gronkowski was questionable but has now been ruled out. Still the Patriots always seem to perform well on a big stage, and with the first Sunday Night Football game sure to draw a huge amount of attention, this seems like a golden opportunity for Bill Belichick to prove he doesn’t need his star QB to win. And even if the Cardinals win, the Pats are likely to keep it close. The Patriots should never be more than 3 point underdogs to anyone all year.
How’d I do? Find out next week.