The first full Sunday of games is upon us! We opened off with a sweet but nail biting cover with the Packers, lets continue that momentum in probably the hardest weeks to bet on NFL football.
Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Vikings -3.5, O/U: 47)
Devonta Freeman is not as strong of a feature back as he once was years ago. Hampered by injuries, the Falcons had to go out and get him some insurance/backup to help with the load, in Ito Smith. They are stocked full at receiver power though with Jones, Ridley and Sanu. It’ll be tough to cover all 3 guys effectively. For the Vikings, Thielen had the NFL’s 4th most receptions last year with 113 while Diggs had a career high 102 catches. With Cook back 100%, the offense is at full capacity with weapons at Cousin’s disposal to match their strong defense. Take the Vikings to cover in the under, Vikings 24-20.
Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Dolphins +7, O/U: 40)
The Ravens are all in on revamping their offense and signed Ingram to lead their backfield as they’ve been searching to rediscover a talented back. With Jackson and Ingram’s running abilities, look for many RPO’s and read options to counter Jackson arm but don’t expect to see 300+ through the air as they lack heavily at receiver and don’t really have a true #1 guy there. The Dolphins saw how their Florida counterparts (Buccs) had successes with Fitzmagic however, they too are without a decent receiving corps and lack a true #1 guy on the outside. Having Drake carry the ball mixed with Balage helps but this one will probably be a snoozer. Take the Ravens to win but the Dolphins to cover in the under, Ravens 20-14.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Jets -2.5, O/U: 41)
Allen showed flashes of his potential all season last year and it was shocking given his supporting cast being below average. Don’t believe me? Don’t watch many Bills games? Watchin his game against the Viking last year. After offloading Shady McCoy, they’re looking to the impressive in camp and preseason rookie, Singletary, to take most of the workload along with Gore mentoring him up. Allen still doesn’t have anything to write home about in the receiving corps but he’ll make it work. The Jets went out and snatched up Bell after his drama with the Steelers last year where he sat out the whole year seeking a new contract. He will take some pressure off of young Darnold as there wasn’t much of a running game for him to rely on last year in his rookie season. They have some ok receivers but are thin on talent there. Take the Bills to cover in the over, Bills 27-18.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars, TIAA Bank Field, 1:00 PM, CBS (Jags +3.5, O/U: 50.5)
Losing Hunt didn’t seem to slow this offense as other guys stepped up and filled the roll nicely. Don’t get me wrong, he’s dynamic and offered you a lot of options when using him, but Williams is capable to doing similar things. Mahomes stunned in his first year starting (2nd year in the league) with 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. The Chiefs led the NFL in scoring with 35.3 points per game (7 touchdowns) which is unbelievable! Reid had Shady McCoy signed to give another weapon to use in the backfield as he can be very shifty and elusive. Adding the Honey Badger for their secondary was a nice upgrade to their air defense. The Jags moved on from Bortles and signed Foles who had been great for the Eagles and even led them to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots a few seasons ago. The last time he left the Eagles, he didn’t fair to well so we’ll see if he can keep his play up still having a decent supporting cast around him. They also added Conley from the Chiefs to help the receiving corps with the loss of Robinson to the Bears. Fournette still hasa bunch to prove since he hasn’t played to his potential and is reported to have worked hard this off season to improve his game and personal life. I can’t believe this game is only at 3.5 points. Take the Chiefs to win in the over, Chiefs 35-20.
Los Angeles Rams @ Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Panthers +1.5, O/U: 49.5)
Goff resigned quietly to match the output he’s had the last few seasons under McVay (last year: 4,688 yards with 32 TD’s). Gurley, Woods, Cooks and Kupp are all healthy and they are all explosive. The offense especially suffered without Kupp. They added some veteran defensive pieces in Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle. Cam had shoulder surgery in the offseason, then had a scare with an ankle injury in the pre season but his supporting cast stays the same (CMC, Moore, Samuel, Olsen). Defense moves to a 3-4 so there could be a learning curve yet with that going into the season. Take the Rams to cover in the under, Rams 24-20.
Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Browns -5.5, O/U: 45)
Mariotta still hasn’t started 16 games in a season which is problematic when talking about your franchise guy. After a strong 2016, he’s had a rough go with a TD/INT ratio of 1/1 and barely cracks 3,000 when he does play most of the season. The Titans defense proved tough under new head coach Vrabel and will continue that trend this year. The Browns added OBJ to the opposite side of the offense alongside former LSU teammate Landry. They also will be led by Nick Chubb in the backfield with newly signed Hunt sitting 8 weeks on suspension from his time with the Chiefs. Baker had a solid rookie season with a 2/1 TD/INT ratio, led the Browns to a handful of unforeseen wins given their 1-31 record the previous 2 seasons and even had the pull to get his OC and coach fired early in the season. Take the Browns to cover in the under, Browns 27-13.
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Eagles -10, O/U: 44.5)
The Redskins will have Guice back after being lost all of last year with a knee injury. AP was figured to be shuffled in with Guice and Thompson but as of Sunday morning, AP may be deactivated and the Skins will only suit 2 backs. They are very young at receiver and have a very average quarterback in Keenam. The Eagles will have Wentz back 100% and doubled down on his health by allowing Foles to fly the coup to the Jags to start there. Desean Jackson is back in town and looking to continue what he does best in a high powered offense, take the tops off defenses. Eagles also added depth in their backfield by signing Howard from the Bears and drafting Sanders from PSU with Sproles coming back for what seems to be his last season. We have our first HUGE line on the young season. Take the Eagles to cover in the under, Eagles 28-10.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field, 4:05 PM, CBS (Seahawks -9.5, O/U: 44.5)
The Bengals are without star receiver Green for at least this week and maybe the next 2 which leaves them shorthanded in their air attack. Mixon looked great in his rookie season with 1,100 yards and 8 TD’s even with injuries to their top offensive guys like Dalton and Eifert who were out for large chunks of the season. Dalton and Eifert are back at 100% however. The Seahawks were in desperate need of a turnaround seeing their defense slip from Legion of Boom to middle of the road. They went out and traded for Clowney to add to the front/pass rush as Wagner still leads them. Wilson has been consistent over his career and is finding himself with a running game that he can rely on again. Take the Seahawks to cover in the under, Seahawks 24-14.
Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Chargers, StubHub Center, 4:05 PM, CBS (Chargers -6.5, O/U: 44.5)
Luck’s retirement caught everyone off guard. Luckily they had traded for Brissett a few years ago when Luck had nagging, reoccurring injuries that made him miss a bunch of games. When Brissett played, he played fairly well. In 2017, he played most of the year in Luck’s absence and piled up over 3,000 yards and had a 2/1 TD/INT ratio. With Mack in his second season in the backfield, the addition of Funchess to the receiving corps and Ebron building on a career year last year (750 yards and 13 TD’s), look for the Colts to not miss much of a beat over Luck’s departure. The Chargers however are missing key players in key roles. No Gordon due to a holdout, no Williams who singed with the Raiders and no James on the defensive side of the ball with an injury. Mix that with no Gates for the first time in 15 years and Rivers has an uphill climb to start the season. Take the Colts to win in the over, Colts 24-21.
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Cards +3, O/U: 46.5)
The Lions had a rough first year under Patricia during his rookie campaign as head coach. New additions will help the Lions get back on track with Flowers on the defensive side and Amendola on the offensive side. Johnson will once again lead the backfield as he was one of the few bright spots on this offense last year during his rookie season as he averaged a massive 5.4 yards per carry. Stafford will still have Golladay and Jones after Kearse went down with a potential career ending leg injury in the pre season. The Cardinals drafted quarterbacks in back to back years in the first round. As they selected the 5’10” Murray, they eventually then traded Rosen to the Dolphins. Murray didn’t look fantastic in the pre season but with a great offensive mind like rookie head coach Kingsbury, he could flourish. Johnson needs to get back to his 2016 self soon as he’s been ineffective the last few seasons though not all his fault as the offensive line hasn’t done it’s job either. Adding Terrell Suggs on the defensive side of the ball is a great pass rushing pairing with Chandler Jones. Take the Lions to win in the under, Lions 24-17.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Cowboys -7, O/U: 45.5)
The Giants are trying to fool everyone here. Trading away start receiver OBJ to solely put the offense on Barkley given his 2,000+ yards from scrimmage in his spectacular rookie season. The Giants are thin at receiver and now are relying on Sheppard as their #1 guy with Engram continuing to build on his successes at TE. Question is, how long does Manning last before the impressive rookie Jones comes in? The Cowboys spent the entire offseason talking about money. With Zeke holding out and feuding with Owner Jerry Jones up until late last week, Zeke hasn’t been with the team all pre season. Cowboys are assuring us that he is game ready. Dak stayed quiet and poised that they will have a great year and it is promising with Cooper having a tremendous impact on the offense last year and Gallop looking great his rookie year along with the surprising emergence of Vander Esche in the middle of their defense, 2019 is looking up for the Boys. Take the Cowboys to win in the over, Cowboys 31-20.
San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Buccs -1, O/U: 51)
Jimmy G is back 100% from his season ending knee injury and really nothing much has changed on his offense to improve the squad he left. He looked good for the 9ers in 2017 ending the season going 5-0 after being traded but only lasted 3 games last year. Receiving corps is still thin, there’s not really a #1 feature back behind Jimmy G and the defense struggled at times. The Buccs ring Arians out of retirement as this could be Winston’s last chance to prove himself before his out as starter. He loses Desean Jackson on the outside but still has Evans, Godwin and OJ Howard to throw to. Barber and Jones will split the backfield but neither have looked like the feature back the team needs. Take the Buccs to win in the under, Buccs 24-20.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, 8:20 PM, NBC (Patriots -5.5, O/U: 49.5)
Brown and Bell both gone, 2 explosive players. Enter in Conner (973yards and 12 TD’s rushing) who proved he could give the Steelers just as good a chance to win games as Bell with less gruff and the emergence of JuJu (111 catches and 7 TD’s in 2018) and James Washington on the outside and it’s as if the Steelers really won’t seem to miss a beat and just offloaded a bunch of drama. Steelers also have been rebuilding their defense through the draft with TJ Watt a few years ago and now Devin Bush Jr just this season. Brady loses Gronk and will be without rookie standout Harry to kickoff the season against the Steelers in which he is a perfect 8-0 at Gillette against them. Brady will always be a quarterback that makes hero’s out of guys you’ve never heard of but this year will be different with Josh Gordon being back, Edelman, Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas and now Antonio Brown in the receiving corps. A major bright spot last year was Michel becoming the feature back as a rookie and looks to have that locked up for as long as he plays well. The only thing against the Patriots at home is that they’re known to start seasons a little slow, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Take the Steelers to cover in the loss, in the over, Patriots 31-27.
Colin Cowherd’s Blazin 5:
- LA Rams at Carolina – LA Rams (-1.5)
- Atlanta at Minnesota – Atlanta (+4)
- Indianapolis at LA Chargers – Indianapolis (+6.5)
- Pittsburgh at New England – Pittsburgh (+6)
- Houston at New Orleans – Houston (+7)