NFL Week 1: Monday Night Football

Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 7:10 PM, ESPN (Saints -6.5, O/U: 52.5)

The Texans made some moves this offseason to help Lamar Miller and the rushing game and it proved necessary as Miller is lost this season before the preseason ended to a knee injury. They traded for Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, who are a good enough tandum to be effective enough. They also valued Watson’s blindside (Tunsil) more than a second elite pass rusher (Clowney). The Saints had back to back disappointing losses in the playoffs to end their season, last year on a brutal non call PI. Not a bunch changed on their roster but with Murray replacing Ingram and Cook coming in for a hole at TE coming off of a great year with Oakland should keep their offense on track. Saints end a 5 year opening week winless drought by winning but take the Texans to cover in the over, Saints 31-27.

Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 10:20 PM, ESPN (Raiders +3, O/U: 42.5)

The Broncos have been waiting for years and finally, they have someone to lead their offense in Flacco. Philip Lindsay is back 100% from his broken wrist in the last game of last year, building off an amazing performance as an undrafted rookie. Flacco will have two great young receivers in Sutton and Hamilton to throw to as well as veteran Sanders. The defense pretty much stayed the same, should continue to dominate. The Raiders were mired by the AB drama between the frostbitten feet, helmet issues and GM/fines/contract issues, they still showed on HBO’S “Hard Knocks” that they had still worked hard despite all of that and played fairly well fitting their pre season games. Impressive undrafted rookie Kellan Doss comes back from his week on the Jaguars practice squad to sign a decent deal to be on the 52 man roster to fill in for AB’s spot. He will see plenty of targets after his impressive pre season. Josh Jacobs was drafted to be the feature back for the offense and from what he showed in his limited carries in the pre season, we’re in for a treat. I may be a bit high on them but take the Raiders to cover in the upset win in the under, Raiders 21-20.

Week 2: Thursday Night Football

Welcome to week 2 in the NFL.  Piggybacking off of my 60%+ winners against the spread AND with the over/under, we’re starting week 2 with a toughie.  Lets get to it!

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals, 8:25p (Bengals -6, O/U: 38):

Yeah you better believe these two teams will keep this puppy in the under.  The way the offenses looked in the openers last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a battle of the kickers.  Houston’s offensive line was atrocious last week but we’re not pointing any fingers or nothing (*ahem* Right Tackle Kendall Lamm *ahem*).  Lamm allowed 3 sacks alone, Xavier Su’aFilo allowed 2 at Left Guard and Left Tackle Chris Clark allowed one.  Savage and Watson were sacked a combined 10 times last week…….10!  That line was worse than a leaking faucet, it was a gushing dam breaking wide open.

Wild card for this week, Watson is starting.  Savage couldn’t get rid of the ball fast enough and he looked like he was stuck in cement.  Watson brings a more mobile ability to the position to get out of the pocket but he’s still a rookie, still developing his pro chops.

The Bengals showed their worst side of their game.  Having an average franchise quarterback.  Dalton has been in this system for years now and still shows nasty inconsistency, even with the weapons he has.  The running game was average.  Bernard averaged over 5 yards per carry but had a 23 yard run mixed in there.  The other 6 carries yielded him less than a 3 yard average.  Hill averaged almost 4.5 yards per carry but had a 12 yard run in there, meaning the other 5 averaged less than 3 yards.  The only thing the Bengals had going for them was their defense didn’t give up a ton.  The only reason the Ravens put up 20 was because of all of the Bengals turnovers.  I mean, neither team cracked 275 net yards!  BORING!

Expect this one to be boring as well, maybe even just as sloppy, which makes this prediction that much harder!  I like Watson getting the start but their defense will suffer with the loss of Brian Cushing to a concussion and 10 game PED suspension, among many other injuries to the squad.  Look for the Bengals to pull it together, somewhat, as a do-over for their fans tonight.  Bengals 20-13.