How This Is Done: Each week I break down each and every game from that NFL Week, discussing gameplay, betting lines, and individual performances. No holds barred commentary, if your team stunk, you’ll hear about it.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans
Chiefs 34 – Texans 20, KC -9.5, O53.5
As most people expected the half billion dollar man Pat Mahomes came out torched the Texans defense, putting up 24/32, 211 yards, and three touchdowns to start the season. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was given control of the running section of the offense and he pounced on the opportunity, rushing for 138 yards and finding paydirt once in his first game. Deshaun Watson tried to put the team on his back in the fourth quarter to give his team a chance late, but the Chiefs were able to hold off the Texans. As most people expected the Chiefs covered the -9.5 spread, but the O/U was hotly contested as many books had the number differentiating from 53.5-54.5, causing gamblers everywhere to want to further kill their bookmaker.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars 27 – Colts 20, JAX +7.5, O45
One term can perfectly sum up this wild game: 2 words, 12 letters, and one fun as hell quarterback… MINSHEW MANIA BABY! After making the world fall in love with his mustache last year, Gardner Minshew came out hot in his Week One appearance. Minshew threw for 19 completions and only one missed pass, and also led the Jags down the field late to take a lead with 6:04 left in the fourth. Another common theme from past seasons that came back up in this game was the classic Phillip Rivers failed last minute drive. In classic fashion, Rivers was able to get his new team Colts in scoring position with 1:32 left in the game, but three straight incompletions killed the comeback attempt and lifted the Jaguars to week one victory. Indianapolis was unable to cover the -7.5 spread (68% of bets were placed on IND), and the arm of Minshew was able to get this game to just hit the over set at 45.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers
Raiders 34 – Panthers 30, LV -3, O48
Teddy “Two Gloves” Bridgewater made his return as an NFL starter for the Panthers on Sunday, but was denied his first victory by the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders were led by Josh Jacobs who owned the field, rushing for 93 yards and scoring three touchdowns on the day. Bridgewater and the Panthers didn’t go down without a fight though, with Teddy throwing for 270 yards through the air and CMC running for 96 yards and two scores. This game cruised past the over of 48 thanks to both teams beating expectations offensively, and the Panthers couldn’t pull off any late game heroics to force a push on the spread.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Ravens 38 – Browns 6, BAL -7.5, U48
This Baltimore win was greatly expected, but the most surprising thing from this game was the complete ineptitude of the Browns offense. With plenty of weapons returning to the squad offensively, plus the addition of players like Austin Hooper who the Browns targeted in free agency, this stinker of a performance was not expected. The Ravens did as they have done for two years now with Lamar Jackson, with the mobility of last year’s MVP and the complexity of the Ravens offense proving to be too much for the Browns. Jackson threw for three touchdowns through the air, and rookie JK Dobbins added two on the ground himself. The Ravens easily covered the spread, and the first under of the week was hit. Seems like Odell isn’t the only one smelling like shit in Cleveland.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons
Seahawks 38 – Falcons 25, SEA -1.5, O49
This game was the first meeting between two high powered offenses on Sunday, and the game did not disappoint. The Falcons were underdogs going in, but due to their number of first round picks on the offensive side of the ball (10 out of 11 starters were first round picks if you hadn’t heard) a lot of gamblers were looking at this as a good value game to bet on. Those ill-advised hopes were quickly shut down by Russell Wilson and Co., as the QB seems to be on a mission to achieve his first NFL MVP trophy. Wilson put up a 143.1 Passer Rating thanks to his 322 passing yards and four touchdowns, and DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett seemed to pick up right where they left off last season. Matt Ryan did all he could to try and keep the Falcons in the game, but his late game push wasn’t enough to overcome the strong day by Wilson. Seahawks cover with ease, the over hit, and the Falcons are the same old Falcons. Expect a solid 9-7 finish out of them this year.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Bills 27 – Jets 17, BUF -6.5, O39.5
The Jets still suck. It’s funny every year watching their fans try to convince themselves they’ll turn it around but with Adam Gase at head coach that will never happen. The Bills came out hot putting two quick scores on the board in the first quarter, and the Jets were never able to get anything going offensively to counter. Bills cover, and Vegas loses after setting the O/U at 39.5.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Packers 43 – Vikings 34, GB +2.5, O44.5
In the highest scoring game of Week One, the newly led Packers went to Minnesota and took down the Vikings. Rodgers came out hot (maybe a little extra motivation?) and scorched the Vikings early and often, totalling 364 yards and four touchdowns through the air. This game was mostly Packers the whole time, but Kirk Cousins did his best to bring his team back in the fourth. The Vikings were able to put up 24 fourth-quarter points, but it wasn’t enough to take down that Bad Man Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay were +2.5 underdogs going in, and the over of 44.5 was absolutely demolished.
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
Patriots 21 – Dolphins 11, NE -7, U41.5
I won’t officially declare that Belichick has been able to get the Patriots ready for another Super Bowl run just yet, but damn it sure looked like it on Sunday. In Cam Newton’s first start in New England, Belichick and McDaniels showed only a glimpse of what life without Tom Brady will be like for Pats fans, and the thought of what they will construct for the offense as the season goes on should be terrifying for all the other teams in the league. Newton had a quiet but efficient day with his arm, completing 79% of his passes. What made his day special was the fact that he ran in two touchdowns for the Patriots, something Pats fans haven’t seen since the days of Steve Grogan. Fitzpatrick struggled against the ferocious Patriots secondary, and calls for Tua are already ringing in Miami. Pats cover the spread, and their defense secured the under of 41.5.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team
Football Team 27 – Eagles 17, WAS +6, O42
In what may have been the biggest upset in Week One, the Washington R-Words were able to take down Carson Wentz and the Eagles 27-17. After an offseason full of controversy, it seemed nothing was going right for Washington, that was until everyone remembered they got Chase Young with the second overall pick in the draft. The rookie made Wentz’s life a living hell all day as he totaled for four total tackles and 1.5 sacks, including a crucial strip sack on the Eagles QB. After going up 17-7 in the first half the Eagles were shut down by Ron Rivera’s halftime adjustments, not scoring a single point in the whole second half. Eagles fans around the country are once again regretting keeping Wentz over Big Dick Nick Foles, and Washington fans got to see a rare win for their nameless club. Washington was 6 point dogs going into the game but were able to win outright, and the over of 42 hit thanks to a late Washington field goal.
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Bears 27 – Lions 23, CHI +2.5, O42.5
Who’s back? DA BEARS ARE BACK! After trailing by 17 points going into the fourth, Mitch Trubisky took charge and drove the Bears to three straight scores to steal this game away from the Lions. The scoring was spread out by the Bears, with the biggest surprise being that all of their three touchdowns came from Mitch putting the ball in the air. The Lions were a comedy of errors on Sunday, starting with the strange Jamie Collins ejection early on and finishing with the fourth quarter meltdown that cost the team the game. If Matt Patricia doesn’t start winning games in Detroit, he may be looking for a new home come January. The underdog Bears won outright, and the over of 42.5 hit after the fourth quarter explosion from the Bears.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Chargers 16 – Bengals 13, PUSH CIN +3, U41
After #1 pick Joe Burrow’s first game in the league, I feel conflicted. None of his numbers jump off the page at you, but it is hard to say the guy had a poor outing in his debut. Against a tough Chargers defense, Burrow was able to keep his team in it and even put together a late game drive to give the Bengals the chance at the win. He would have had the win too, if it wasn’t for an offensive pass interference call on a potential game winning touchdown pass. The Bengals had another chance to extend the game immediately after this penalty, but Randy Bullock “injured” his leg as he kicked the potential game tying field goal, ending Burrow’s chance at a debut win in the NFL. I’m interested to see how Burrow responds to a loss like this, as painful losses have been the status quo for Cincinnati for years now. The spread pushed, and the over never had a chance of hitting.
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Cardinals 24 – 49ers 20, ARI +7, U48.5
In what I could consider the second biggest upset of the week, the re-weaponized Arizona Cardinals took down the San Francisco 49ers in dramatic fashion. Murray came out swinging, totaling 40 pass attempts on the day. Almost half of these throws were in the direction of newly acquired Deandre Hopkins, who put up career numbers with 14 catches and 151 receiving yards. This tandem alone sold me on the Cardinals this season, but when you consider the veteran leadership on this team such as Larry Fitzgerald and Chandler Jones, this team seems like a playoff team in the making. The underdog Cardinals said “oh yeah?” to the +7 spread and win outright, the under of 48.5 held strong, and Bill O’Brien once again looks like an ass.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
Saints 34 – Buccaneers 23, NOR -3.5, O49.5
Tom Brady fell off the cliff. The King is dead. The reign of TB12 is no more. Those are things you’ll hear this week, just don’t buy into them. The Saints and Buccaneers squared off week one, and the team that has had the same core for years now won. Shocker? Although Brady did not look *uhm* perfect out there, I am not going to blame this loss on him. Yes, Brady did make the wrong reads on his two interceptions according to Bruce Arians, but those two plays certainly were not the only reason for the loss. The Bucs as a whole did not look ready for Week One, as there were multiple miscues on both sides of the ball. Tom may have had an “uh-oh” moment as he realized not every team has the same discipline for the little things like the Patriots. Don’t count the Bucs out, as I would put money on Brady turning the problems around in Tampa over him not, but don’t start putting them as Super Bowl contenders just yet. The Saints covered the spread without any real concern, and two loaded offenses were able to hit the over of 49.5.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams
Rams 20 – Cowboys 17, LAR +2.5, U51.5
To be considerate to their fans, the Cowboys were nice enough to let them know Week One that, once again, they should not be getting their hopes up over their team. The Rams walked away from the first Sunday Night Football game of the season with a win, thanks to their well balanced offensive approach. Although no touchdowns were scored through the air for the Rams, the passing game still proved to be multidimensional as eight different receivers caught passes from Jared Goff on the night. That, along with the surprise good play from Malcolm Brown, is what lifted the Rams offense past the stout Cowboys defense. The Cowboys box score looks almost similar to the Rams, with both team’s RBs running for a 4.4 yard average per carry and with seven different Cowboys receivers seeing targets, but the Rams proved to be more gritty as they clawed for their first win. The Rams were the sixth and final underdog team to win this week, and despite all the hype surrounding both of these offenses the under of 51.5 was achieved.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants
Steelers 26 – Giants 16, PIT -5.5, U45
In what wasn’t surprising on Monday, the Steelers were able to secure their first win of the season over the New York Football Giants. The Giants started out hot, holding a seven-point lead with 13:45 left in the second, but after that it was all Pittsburgh. The Steelers defense was phenomenal for most of the game, limiting Saquan Barkely to SIX yards on the ground and forcing two interceptions by second year starter Daniel Jones. TJ Watt was an issue for the Giants’ passing game having both a tipped pass and an interception, while SS Tre Edmonds led the Steel Curtain with nine total tackles. This game was full of free easy money, as both the Steelers covered the -5.5 spread and the under hit.
Tennessee Titans vs. Denver Broncos
Titans 16 – Broncos 14, DEN +3, U41
Despite a heroic effort by the Broncos defense to limit Derrick Henry all night, the Titans were able to pull off a late game win in their opening game. Ryan Tannehill, the man who received a four year $118 million contract extension this offseason, was let loose for 29 completions on 43 attempts and two touchdowns. The Titans made a deep playoff run last year, but it was through a ground and pound style offense where Tannehill wasn’t anything more than a game manager, making his play in this game all the more impressive. The Broncos’ defense was able to limit Henry to 116 yards on 31 carries thanks to a wonderful game plan/preparation from their coaching staff. Their pursuit down the line as Henry was forced to bounce multiple runs outside was picture perfect, and was like crack to any true football fan watching. The Broncos put on a clinique on how to limit Henry, but sadly Tannehill put his money where his mouth is and got the Titans out of Mile High with a win. Stephen Gostkowski had what some would consider a tough day, but despite his ugly start Stevie G was able to put the game winning FG through the uprights securing the win late in the fourth for the Titans. The under was seen as free money as 63% of bets were placed on it, and it rang true with the score only tallying 30 total points, and thanks to the leg of Stephen Gostkowski the Titans were not able to cover the -3 spread.