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Tampa Bay @ Carolina
Both the Panthers (20/59) and Buccaneers (47/20) made losing starts to the season last weekend. Carolina recovered from giving the Rams a 13-0 head start on them before losing 30-27 in Charlotte. After Tampa Bay led the 49ers 7-3 in the first quarter, things went from bad to worse for the Buccaneers who saw two interceptions returned for touchdowns in a 14-point loss to San Francisco.
Jameis Winston, who has lost his last 12 away games dating back to 2016, will be grateful this game comes around as quick as it does rather than wait until the weekend to put that nightmare behind him. The one bright spot for the Buccaneers against the 49ers was their running game that provided 121 of their 295 total net yards. Ronald Jones led the way with 75 yards from 13 carries and will look to improve on that total against a Panthers side that gave up 166 rushing yards to the Rams in their opener.
The two meetings last season produce a total of 111 points at an average of 55.5 points per game. The Panthers’ opening game with the Rams produced 57 points while the Buccs’ meeting with San Francisco saw 48 points scored. The over/under is 49.5 with over available at 25/26 and under on the market at 25/29.
Carolina -6.5 @ 50/57
Under 49.5 @ 10/11
Cardinals @ Ravens
Baltimore produced one of the biggest wins last weekend beating Miami 59-10. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson had a perfect passer rating in that rout and they are expected to make it back-to-back wins against a Cardinals side that tied their opener 27-27 with Detroit after trailing 24-6 at the start of the fourth quarter. The question raised by Baltimore’s emphatic win was whether they are that good, or were Miami that bad?
After trading many of their top players, the Dolphins are expected to have a poor season as they look to land the number one draft pick next year. This year’s number one draft pick was Kyler Murray who brought Arizona back from the brink of defeat against Detroit last weekend which will help him this week. However, the Ravens defense are formidable and have carried on from last season when they restricted their opponents to an average 17.9 points per game. Expect Murray to struggle in this one.
Ravens -12.5 @ 10/11
Over 46 @ 25/28
49ers @ Bengals
Jimmy Garoppollo led the 49ers to victory last weekend against an out-of-sorts Tampa Bay side but the 49ers needed their defense to bail them out returning two interceptions for touchdowns in their 31-17 win. Cincinnati came close to a win in Seattle but lost by a single point in a 21-20 defeat.
The one highlight for the Bengals was the performance of WR John Ross who scored both Cincinnati’s touchdowns on passes from Andy Dalton. The pair combined for 158 yards on seven passes but they might struggle to replicate those numbers against a San Francisco’s defense that allowed just 194 yards passing.
Cincinnati’s defense gave a good account of themselves against Seattle who managed just 12 first downs in their match-up. The Bengals defense also restricted their opponents to 233 net yards. If they can keep the 49ers to a similar number then this could be a home win.
Bengals – 2.5 @ 10/11
Under 45 @ 10/11
Chargers @ Lions
Both the Chargers and the Lions were taken to overtime in games many felt they should have won without too much fuss. The Chargers led 24-9 midway through the third quarter before the Colts rallied under Jacoby Brissett, who replaced the retired Andrew Luck at QB just days before the season started.
Austin Ekeler had a big game for LA with three TDs including the game winner in overtime to seal a 30-24 victory. The Lions also saw a 24-9 lead slip through their fingers before coming away from the desert with a tie. Detroit’s offense led by Matt Stafford racked up a total of 477 yards in the opener, but their defense let Arizona back into a game they should have won.
This should be a good contest between two very good passers and if Philip Rivers can edge his duel with Stafford, it should be the Chargers taking the win in this one.
Chargers -2.5 @ 10/11
Over 47.5 @ 10/11
Vikings @ Packers
Green Bay will start as favourites in their home opener against NFC North rivals Minnesota especially after their 10-3 win at Chicago in the season’s curtain-raiser. The Packers’ offense stuttered at times, but it was their defense that took the headlines restricting the Bears to just a field goal on their home soil. Aaron Rodgers was steady if not spectacular against Chicago and he will be looking to improve his numbers against a Vikings team that did a professional job on Atlanta in Minnesota.
The Vikings can be forgiven for taking the foot off the gas in the fourth quarter leading 28-0 to allow the Falcons a couple of scores. QB Kirk Cousins only threw the ball 10 times as the Vikings running game ran through Atlanta’s defense for 172 yards. Green Bay need to get more from their running game which produced a total of just 47 yards last week. With home advantage, the Packers should take control of the division and improve their record to 2-0.
Packers -3 @ 25/27
Over 44 @ 10/11
Patriots @ Dolphins
This could be one of the biggest mismatches of the season. Dolphins fans are expecting a poor season and after losing their opener by 49 points, things are expected to get worse against the defending champions. The Patriots generally struggle in Miami in recent seasons, but the Dolphins aren’t expected to put up much of a struggle this week.
After their loss to Baltimore, some Miami players are reported to have asked for trades elsewhere which does not bode well for the visit of Bill Belichick and his Patriots. Miami’s 200 total yards was the lowest on the opening weekend while the Patriots piled up 465 in their 33-3 win over Pittsburgh. If New England can keep a potential Super Bowl contender to three points and beat them by 30 points, the Dolphins will be on a damage limitation mission.
Patriots -17.5 @ 25/27
Over 47.5 @ 10/11
Bills @ Giants
Buffalo make the short trip to New York buoyed by their fourth quarter comeback to beat the city’s other team – the Jets. A Big Apple double is possible if the Bills can start this game the way they ended last week’s match-up with the Jets when they overturned a 16-0 deficit into a 17-16 win. The Giants started strong against the Cowboys scoring the first TD but eventually lost 35-17 in Dallas.
The only true star on the Giants roster is Saquon Barkley, who ran for 120 yards on just 11 carries. The Giants have been criticised for not giving Barkley the Ball more often and perhaps that will happen against the Bills. Buffalo dominated the Jets in most significant departments with Josh Allen and John Brown linking up for 123 yards on seven passes and the crucial game-winning TD with three minutes to play.
Bills -1.5 @ 25/28
Under 43.5 @ 10/11
Seahawks @ Steelers
Ben Rothlisberger admitted he let him team down with his performance in the Steelers’ 33-3 loss in New England on Sunday night. A failure to lead his team into the endzone is down to him but he was also let down by his running backs who managed just 32 yards on 13 carries. Pittsburgh may struggle again with the ground game as the Seahawks defense kept Cincinnati to just 34 rushing yards on 14 attempts.
Russell Wilson just about did enough to guide Seattle to a 21-20 win on home soil. Wilson led his offense to just 12 first downs – the same number Miami managed in their 59-10 loss to Baltimore. There is room for improvement on the Seahawks offense and a trip to Pittsburgh could prove tricky.
Steelers -4.5 @ 10/11
Over 46 @ 10/11
Colts @ Titans
Few people gave Tennessee a chance in their season opener against the Browns who have been hyped up to make the play-offs. However, it appears the bubble floating above the city of Cleveland has been popped. The best thing the Browns can do is to beat the Colts and get the public believing again. But that might not be as easy as it sounds.
The Colts have quickly moved on from the sudden retirement of QB Andrew Luck to put their faith in new starter Jacoby Brissett who almost led Indianapolis to an opening day win over the Chargers, who needed overtime to secure a 30-24 win. Brissett went 21 from 27 for 190 yards and two TDs while Marlon Mack ran for 174 yards including a 63 run to the endzone. The Titans managed to get scores from all sources with three TDs through the air, one on the ground, one from their defense who also managed a safety.
Titans -3.5 @ 50/51
Under 44.5 @ 50/57
Cowboys @ Redskins
After beating fellow NFC East rivals New York Giants 35-17, the Cowboys can move to 2-0 with a win against Washington. The Redskins blew a 17-0 lead in their opener against the other team in one of the more competitive divisions, Philadelphia. What scars that loss has left the Redskins with will become clear when they take to the field in the nation’s capital. The series was split last season with both teams winning on home soil in one-possession games.
The Redskins won 20-17 at home last October while the Cowboys got their revenge in November winning 31-23. All is well in the Cowboys camp after Ezekiel Elliott ended his hold-out by signing a lucrative contract making him the highest paid RB in the NFL. Dallas owner Jerry Jones probably wasn’t smiling when he agreed the $90m deal, but he was when Elliott scored in their season opener.
Elliott led the league in rushing last season despite missing a game and now he has his future sorted, he should be there or thereabouts this season too. Washington can only wish they had a RB of the calibre of Elliott as they could only manage 28 yards from 13 attempts against the Eagles. Maybe if they had a better ground attack, they would have been able to see that game out.
Cowboys -5.5 @ 25/28
Over 46.5 @ 10/11
Chiefs @ Raiders
The only thing worth watching more in the NFL this season is the facial expressions of Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Gruden was one of the stars of the HBO show ‘Hard Knocks’ that followed Oakland in pre-season with Gruden stealing the show. If Kansas City carry on the form they have started the season with, then Gruden’s expressions should be worth looking out for.
The Chiefs scored points for fun last season as they reached the AFC Championship game, and they began the season scoring 40 points in their win over Jacksonville who lost starting QB Nick Foles with a broken collarbone. One area of concern for Kansas City and an area of hope for Oakland is the Chiefs’ inability to stop teams from scoring. Jaguars back-up QB Gardner Minshew led two fourth quarter TD drives to bring some respectability to the final score.
Chiefs -7 @ 10/11
Over 53 @ 25/28
Bears @ Broncos
Neither of these sides lit it up on offense in week one and this is a chance for both of them to show the rest of the league what they are capable of. Between them, Denver and Chicago managed to score just one TD courtesy of Emmanuel Sanders’ one yard pass from Joe Flacco in the closing stages of their loss in Oakland.
Denver were able to move the ball downfield, but were unable to get into the endzone having to settle for three FGs earlier in the game as Oakland’s defense did their job well. Defensively, the Bears did their bit keeping the Packers to one TD and the Broncos might find scoring tough against Khalil Mack and the rest of Chicago’s defense. Mitch Trubisky got very little help from Chicago’s running game which accounted for 46 of the Bears’ 254 total net yards.
Both sides will be encouraged by the fact their losses in week one was decided by eight points or less and the outcome could have been different had it been for one play. Chicago start as slight favourites but this match-up could come down to a field goal.
Bears -2.5 @ 50/57
Over 40.5 @ 10/11
Saints @ Rams
We were treated to two very entertaining and high-scoring games last season with the second coming in the NFC Championship game that saw the Rams win in New Orleans and advance to the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t without controversy when a missed pass interference call denied the Saints a chance of winning late in the game.
The Rams will be pleased to have home advantage in this meeting and despite getting their season off to a winning start, they allowed Carolina a way back into their opener that saw 57 total points scored. That was one fewer than the Saints’ thrilling win over Houston on Monday night. The two meetings last season saw an average of 64.5 points scored so we could be in for another high-scoring game especially if QBs Jared Goff and Drew Brees are on top of their game, which they usually are.
Rams -2.5 @ 50/59
Over 51.5 @ 25/27
Eagles @ Falcons
Philadelphia staged a stunning fightback to get their season off to a winning start against the Redskins. Trailing 17-0, the Eagles coaching staff made the appropriate adjustments to get their offense firing. Carson Wentz kept his composure to throw for 303 yards and three TDs with Deshone Jackson benefiting the most with eight catches for 154 yards and two scores.
The Eagles cannot afford to give the Falcons, led by Matt Ryan, a 17-point lead, especially in Atlanta as they might not be able to retrieve the situation like they did at home to Washington. The Falcons were blown away by Minnesota for the majority of their opener and Ryan will hope to have a better game plan to get the better of an Eagles defense that allowed just 28 yards on the ground.
If the Falcons struggle to establish a running game then it adds pressure to Ryan who threw the ball 46 times last week. The Eagles are well fancied to win this game and move to 2-0. A loss for Atlanta will it extremely difficult to make the play-offs in a division that includes New Orleans and Carolina.
Eagles -2 @ 10/11
Over 51 @ 25/28
Browns @ Jets
The Browns and the Jets will have to wait longer than they would like to put their respective week one horror shows behind them. Browns players adorned the front cover of many magazines hailing the rebirth of the franchise. Sadly, it was the same old story in their opener at home to Tennessee as they lost 43-13.
Seeing left tackle Greg Robinson ejected from last week’s opener for kicking a Titans player in the head and WR Jarvis Landry wearing a $200,000 watch on his wrist suggests head coach Freddie Kitchener has a lot of work to do to get this team playing as a team. The Jets received plenty of abuse following their fourth quarter capitulation against Buffalo and rightly so.
Le’veon Bell made 60 yards on the ground on his Jets debut and he will expect to do better against a Browns defense that allowed 123 rushing yards against Tennessee. This might not be a thriller, but after losing their openers, both sides will happily take a scrappy win to get up and running.
Browns -2.5 @ 25/28
Under 46.5 @ 10/11