It was a very interesting week one in the NFL. Some teams were ready, and others clearly missed out on not having a pre-season. The main thing that stood out for me was that solid coaching was what ultimately made the difference.
Personally, I had the best week of gambling I have ever had. The only game that really got me was the ATL/SEA game.
Break down of last week’s picks
I nailed this one! Played out exactly as I predicted. Kansas City was dominant and Houston seemed like they were not even trying. It did not help that their #1 WR Brandin Cooks was hobbled by injury. David Johnson did his part to keep it close and looks to be halfway decent. It will be a tough year for Houston. The only part of this game I was not correct about was that Kansas City would reach the OVER on their own. Otherwise, if you took KC and the OVER, you cashed in like I did!
I had ATL as my upset of the week. In fact, hearing most of the betting podcasts this week…that was the general consensus from the sharps in Vegas. Then Russell Wilson happened. He had an outstanding game. Ironically, the Atlanta WRs had pretty good days too. But this one came down to coaching. Pete Carroll outcoached Dan Quinn. The Seahawks spread the ball around in the air and ended up completing passes to 9 different receivers. For a “run-first” team, they sure fooled Atlanta this past weekend. Don’t sleep on Atlanta though. Ultimately, they were getting up and down the field…they outgained Seattle in yards 506 to 383. In the end, Atlanta was just not able to turn their possessions into TDs and Seattle was.
I think I was drinking the juice on this one…seemed like all the money was flowing towards Tom Brady and the Bucs. I was correct in saying that turnovers was going to be the difference in the game. Bucs had 2 turnovers (Brady pics) that led to 14 points. New Orleans had none. Neither team looked like they will as the season moves forward, so by no means am I not going to keep looking at Tampa Bay as a threat. New Orleans just had more rhythm and was able to execute.
On to week 2…
LOCK PICK OF THE WEEK
Seattle Seahawks (-4) vs New England Patriots
When the early lines came out, there were quite a few options to choose from. This one was glaring for me though. Very similarly to what happened in the TB/NO game last week, I expect that New England will have a hard time finding rhythm against a solid Seattle team that has been a contender in the NFC year in and year out.
New England seems to really have one weapon – Cam Newton and his running ability. I think this will open up the passing game a bit as the defense will constantly have to keep their eyes on the QB, but who is Cam going to throw to? Julian Edelman will be double teamed. James White may have a little success, but if they are already keeping their eyes on Cam, should be able to see a swing pass from a mile away. New England’s defense is decent, however I do not think it is as good as it was last year. I see this as a let down for a “currently confident” Cam Newton. I am always hesitant to go against Bill Belichick, as he is definitely the best coach in the NFL, I just do not see enough weapons on New England’s offense to compete with Seattle.
Seattle is coming off a great week one win at Atlanta. Now they get a rebuilding team at home. Home field advantage does not mean much anymore other than the travel involved as there are no fans in the stands yet. Russell Wilson was amazing in week 1. He is easily the best QB in the league so far. I expect a healthy mix of the running game and the passing game against the Patriots. Wilson was the leading rusher for the Seahawks in week one. Expect that to change as I see him throwing the ball all over the field again while his running backs grind out the 1st downs on their way to victory.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
New York Giants (+5.5) at Chicago Bears
The lines this week definitely favor the favorites. I have 8 other games in which I am taking the favorite before I get to this game where I think the Giants will stay within the 5.5 points.
The Giants played a good Pittsburgh defense on Monday night. And surprisingly, they were able to throw the ball fairly effectively. Had it not been for a turnover on the goal line from Daniel Jones, this game was going to be a lot closer than it was. The Giants seemed as if they gave up after that long, effective drive fizzled out with that turnover. They were up on the Steelers in the 2nd quarter and looked to be pretty dominant on defense. The one thing that was scary was that the offensive line was not able to give any help to Barkley. He was able to get some passes and be effective in the pass game, but they just consistently bottled him up in the backfield. The one thing I did notice on Monday night was that the Giants are physical on defense. They come in hard and just wipe players out when they tackle them. I expect their defense to keep them in the game most of the season.
The Bears (and Mitchell Trubisky) did exactly what they did all of last season. They were horrible for 3 quarters, then somehow they showed up in the 4th quarter and ended up with a lucky win. I see Trubisky having some issues with this defense. I think the Bears will shut down the running game again for New York, but I think their passing game will ultimately be the thing that keeps the Bears defense on their toes. I could see Chicago winning the game, however I do not see this as a high scoring game and I think that the Giants will keep it within 3 points either way.
I am likely going to bet the money line on the Giants as I see them winning this one outright.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Atlanta Falcons (+5) @ Dallas Cowboys
Here we are again…two weeks in a row picking the Falcons as an underdog. This one is similar to the NYG/Chi game. I see either of these teams winning, but I do not see this as a blowout, so getting 5 points makes sense to me on this one.
Atlanta was able to move the ball last week. Gurley looked to be improved and that will only help to open up the offense. I expected the tight end to be more involved in the offense, but I think that will come with time. Defensively, they played the best QB of the week. I do not expect Dak to have as much success against the Falcons. I also think they will keep Zeke in check, as they were able to shut down Seattle’s running game in week one. I still think Zeke gets his 100 yards and a TD, but he will not be the main threat.
Dallas has a decent week one. Only thing they could not do was finish the game. Penalties hurt them, just as they do every year. Just like Atlanta, they are looking to have a rebound game. The difference between the two is that I think Dallas thinks they should have won the game. I see them throwing the ball all over the field just as Russell Wilson did. They are missing their starting TE who went down with an injury in week one, but they still have plenty of weapons on offense to be effective.
Atlanta is similar on offense to the LA Rams who beat Dallas in week one. Gurley is a better RB than anyone on the Rams. Ultimately, I think we are in for a shootout in this one and expect this game to be within a field goal either way.