Saturday, September 12, 2015

Week 1 - Sunday Early Games

We got our football appetites wet on Thursday. One game in and we already have our first controversy. Looking forward to see what the rest of this weekend's games bring.

Let's get right to the games:

IND @ BUF (+2.5)

The Rex Ryan era starts in Buffalo. I am always skeptical when the biggest off-season acquisition is your coach. Granted, the Bills also went out and acquired RB LeSean McCoy, who by many accounts, is a shell of what he used to be in Philadelphia. Regardless, if we have learned anything about Rex Ryan's teams is that they will be very good on defense and at best, inconsistent on offense. Expect much of the same this year, with both the QB & RB positions in-flux. Poor play by either of these positions severely limits second year WR Sammy Watkins potential to accrue big numbers, as he likely will face double coverage much of the year.

On Sunday lining up against the Bills defense will be RB Frank Gore and WR Andre Johnson. Is this a throwback Pro Bowl Team circa 2010? Nope - it's just the Colts going out and getting some very serviceable talent until all their young players are fully ready.  Both Johnson and Gore are coming off of years playing for really bad offensive teams, however, with a talent like QB Andrew Luck, they no longer have to be THE GUY and can settle into complimentary roles in a well-balanced offense.

I think this game will be close enough, but with Gore & Luck able to manage the clock in the 4th quarter, I like the Colts to keep the Bills at bay.  Colts by a FG.

Spread: IND
Straight Up: IND
Score: 20-17

GB @ CHI (+6.5)

Simply put, the Bears are not very good and the Packers are. Not much to the analysis here. Unfortunately, the Packers lost WR Jordy Nelson for the season, but have more than enough talent to put points on the board. Speaking of talent, anyone see QB Aaron Rogers on Celebrity Jeopardy? The man is versatile, that's all I'm saying.

The Bears meanwhile seem to be going through a slew of injuries, particularly to their WR core. If their starters, particularly WR Alshon Jeffrey are unable to play, this will put even more pressure on RB Matt Forte and QB Jay Cutler. Forte seems to handle pressure well, but Cutler is another story. Regardless, the Bears look like they are in for a very difficult game and and even more difficult season.

I think the Packers score early and often and will cover handily.

Spread: GB
Straight Up: GB
Score: 35-17

KC @ HOU (-1)

This is one of those games where I'd rather watch the defenses be on the field. The Chiefs have some talent on offense with RB Jamaal Charles and newly acquired WR Jeremy Maclin. The Texans have some decent weapons on their end, however are without RB Arian Foster for the first few games of the season. Even when he returns, their offense experience some growing pains and likely won't see any consistency until at least Week 7.

We can't talk about the Houston defense without mentioning DE J.J. Watt. I don't know him personally, but there does not seem to be a more talented and humble person playing the game of football today. I hope that Houston gets smart and starts using him full-time in iron man football this season. The bromance is real. Houston improves it's defense with ultimate run stopper Vince "the human forklift" Wilfork and the hopeful healthy return of herald LB Jadeveon Clowney. Kansas City, to their own credit, has some real speed on the defensive front, particularly from DE Tamba Hali.

Defense will be key here and whoever has more takeaways should win the game. Chiefs QB Alex Smith is known for control and I think he'll keep the turnovers to a minimum. I like the Chiefs to sneak away with a close win on the road in Houston.

Spread: KC
Straight Up: KC
Score: 17-14

CAR @ JAC (+3)

This game is very important for both teams, because after about Week 8, both teams are likely going to be out of the running for a playoff spot. The biggest question for the Jaguars this year is how will second year QB Blake Bortles fair. He'll be better if they ever get TE Julius Thomas back from injury. Until then, they'll rely heavily on rookie RB T.J. Yeldon, hope Bortles can keep the interceptions to a minimum (doubtful) and hope the defense is able to keep things competitive.

Did all of the Panthers hopes at being competitive go down with WR and freakish athlete Kelvin Benjamin's season ending injury? Probably not. They were doomed from the start. QB Cam Newton has come back down to reality a bit and is now just an above-average talent, without much help by way of offensive weapons. On defense, Carolina just resigned LB Luke Kuechly, a great talent. Too bad he can't play three positions at once.

I don't see either team playing overly inspired, nor scoring much. I like the Jags at home getting points, but the Panthers getting the road victory.

Spread: JAGS
Straight Up: CAR
Score: 17-16

CLE @ NYJ (-3)

We all know about the Jets starting the season after QB Geno Smith broke his jaw earlier in training camp. So they'll start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. I think this is an improvement at the position, if only in cutting down the turnovers. Add in WR's Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and the Jets have themselves some potential to put a few points on the board.

The Browns, unfortunately, look to be the same as they have been in years past - pretty terrible. Their defense may keep them in games, but I wouldn't expect much from them by way of their offense. Browns fans may want to start paying better attention to those Saturday College Football games, because they are likely to be in the running for that #1 draft pick by the end of this season.

I think the Jets take this game easily covering the spread.

Spread: NYJ
Straight Up: NYJScore: 21-10

SEA @ STL (+4)

The Rams start the year with several young RB's, most of whom are currently hurt (Tre Mason & Todd Gurley) and a brand new QB in Nick Foles. When healthy, they have the potential to put up a lot of points. Until they get up to that point, they will have to rely heavily on a defense that should be decent.

Even the casual football fan knows that the Seahawks have been one of the most successful franchises of the last few years. They are nearly unstoppable at home and still pretty good on the road. I don't see them having too much trouble with the Rams.

I like Seattle to get the road victory, but the Rams will keep it close. I'll take the points.

Spread: STL
Straight Up: SEA
Score: 23-20

MIA @ WAS (+3.5)

The RGIII-less Redskins may be almost as bad as the Browns. QB Kirk Cousins isn't bad, but he is going to need a lot of help this year. I just don't see anyone on the team stepping up.

Miami enters the season putting their winning hopes on the shoulders of QB Ryan Tannehill. Unlike Cousins in Washington, Tannehill should finally have a good supporting cast on offense. Adding Ndamukong Suh on defense should only help bolster that side of the field, assuming he can keep the stupid penalties and subsequent suspensions to a minimum. Doubtful though.

It is never good to be getting points at home, but Washington isn't favored for a reason. I like Miami to cover, winning by a touchdown.

Spread: MIA
Straight Up: MIA
Score: 31-24

No comments:

Post a Comment