The Chip Kelly experiment continues as new starting quarterback Sam Bradford takes over one of the NFL’s best offenses. Kelly, of course, is well known for his offensive innovations and has helped the Philadelphia Eagles to back-to-back 10-plus win seasons. The Eagles get a chance to continue and get back to the postseason when they open Monday Night Football with a trip to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons. Bradford, who has missed the better part of the past two seasons with knee injuries, is finally healthy enough and is in command of the up-tempo Eagles offense. He is surrounded by a wealth of talent including last year’s NFL rushing leader RB DeMarco Murray. Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor give Bradford youth but ample talent at the wide receiver positions. Eagles vs Falcons odds favor Philadelphia on the road by a field goal (-3) while NFL picks for week 1 on the over/under total are set at 55½.
The former Rams QB, Bradford was the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year after starting all 16 games. He then played in roughly half of the team’s next 64 games suffering knee injuries in consecutive seasons. The Eagles opponent, Atlanta, welcomes new head coach Dan Quinn, former defensive coordinator in Seattle. Quinn’s first task will be improving a defense that finished dead last in the league in total yards allowed per game (398.3). Quinn and the Falcons selected undersized hybrid LB/DE Vic Beasley of Clemson in the first round and acquired Adrian Clayborn in the offseason to help. Along with LB Justin Durant, the defense should improve at least enough to take some of the pressure off of the offense. If Atlanta is going to have any chance of covering the spread as home underdogs in Eagles vs Falcons odds, the defense must be able to slow down the potent Philly offense.
Quarterback Matt Ryan enjoyed his fourth straight 4,000-yard season last year, but he and the rest of the Falcons offense must work under new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan this season. There have been some struggles with the new zone-running based offense and problems with the offensive line have not helped. Atlanta has actually beaten Philadelphia the past two times that the two teams have met. Ryan threw for seven touchdowns in those two meetings. It is doubtful he will have that kind of success Monday night. Look for Philadelphia to have a lot of offensive success against a struggling Atlanta defense. The week 1 season opener (Monday, September 14th) between the Eagles and Falcons can be seen live on ESPN at 6:55pm EST from the Georgia Dome.
The New York Giants would love nothing more than to start the 2015 season with a win over their NFC East division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys will be looking to win back-to-back division titles for the first time in over a decade. No team in the division has repeated in 11 years. The Giants winners of two Super Bowls in the 2000s, have not tasted much success lately and last season was dreadful. After starting the season 3-2, the Giants running game and defense disappeared on the way to seven straight losses. The club did finish the season 3-1 but must address their running game and a defense that allowed 395.3 yards per game in 2014. Giants vs Cowboys odds in Vegas favor Dallas by nearly a touchdown (-6) while NFL predictions for the week 1 total have been set at 52.
New York will be without the services of Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who injured a hand over the summer in a fireworks accident. Pierre-Paul finally met with Giants representatives after missing all summer team activities and preseason training camp. His status is still uncertain. New York will also be without the services of star wide receiver Victor Cruz, who is still not fully recovered from a patellar tendon injury suffered last October. What the Giants do have is QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr., the NFL’s breakout star of 2014. In just 12 games, OBJ had 1,305 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. Manning, despite the Giants inability to run the ball, still enjoyed a decent 2014 season tossing 30 touchdowns compared to just 14 interceptions. Manning will need to control his turnovers in week 1 if New York is to cover the spread as underdogs in Giants vs Cowboys odds.
Dallas, which has beaten New York four straight times, will rely on the arm of quarterback Tony Romo who led the NFL last year with a passer rating of 113.2. The ground game may suffer some as last year’s leading rusher, also the league’s leading ground gainer, DeMarco Murray is now in Philadelphia. Murray will be replaced by Darren McFadden, Christine Michael, Lance Dunbar, and Joseph Randle. Romo will still have WR Dez Bryant as his top receiving target. Bryant, who just signed a five-year, $70 million deal in the offseason, led the league in receiving touchdowns last year with 16. The Cowboys defense will be without DE Greg Hardy until late October and LB Rolando McLain will miss the season’s first four games due to suspension. Still, the Cowboys should have enough to win its fifth straight over the Giants.
The Detroit Lions went 11-5 last season thanks to a defense that ranked near the top of almost every statistical category. Detroit was No. 1 against the run yielding just 69.3 rushing yards per game. A big part of that defense is gone now that Ndamukong Suh is now in Miami. The Lions defense is a question mark as they head into Week 1 of the 2015 season when they travel to face the San Diego Chargers. Detroit will have Ziggy Ansah, who had 7.5 sacks, and Jason Jones on the outside and they did sign veteran Haloti Ngata from Baltimore in the offseason to play inside. The linebacking corps remains the same led by DeAndre Levy and the secondary is solid. Despite having a potent offense, the questionable defense is the main reason why Detroit Lions vs San Diego Chargers odds have Jim Caldwell's squad posted as 3-point road underdogs while NFL predictions for week 1 over/under total are listed at 46.
The Lions defense will face one of the league’s better quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and a formidable group of receivers. Rivers threw for over 4,200 yards and 31 touchdowns last year. His top target is still veteran tight end Antonio Gates (69 receptions, 821 yards, 12 TDs). That being said, Rivers will be without the services of Gates for the first four games of the season serving a suspension from testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. A key factor to the home favorites covering the spread Detroit Lions vs San Diego Chargers odds will be the emergence of rookie running back Melvin Gordon. The first round pick out of Wisconsin is big, fast, shifty, and durable. He will help open up the passing game with his running ability. Gordon is also a capable receiver.
The Chargers will have to control one of the most powerful offenses in the NFL. Quarterback Matt Stafford enters his seventh season running the Lions offense that features the league’s top receiver in Calvin Johnson, a very good No. 2 WR in Golden Tate, and capable tight ends in Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew. Detroit went to the draft to get a replacement for Reggie Bush. They picked up former Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, who should pair well with Joique Bell. If the Lions defense is up to the task, Detroit should be off and running in its quest for an NFC North title. The week 1 season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers can be seen live on FOX at 4:05pm EST from Qualcomm Stadium.
Another new era begins in Buffalo as head coach Rex Ryan takes over and LeSean McCoy lines up as the feature back in an offense that needs a catalyst. The new-look Buffalo Bills welcome the AFC South Division champion Indianapolis Colts to Ralph Wilson Stadium in the season opener. Ryan announced that sixth-year pro Tyrod Taylor would start at quarterback for the Bills. Buffalo had picked up Matt Cassel in the offseason and former first-round draft choice E.J. Manuel was also expected to contend for the job. Taylor beat both of them out and begins the season as the Buffalo Bills starter. With Taylor behind center, Colts vs Bills odds in Vegas have Buffalo listed as three point home underdogs (+3) while NFL picks for week 1 have the over/under total listed at 46.
McCoy will take some of the pressure off of Taylor but he is going to have to make some throws. He will have two pretty good young receivers in Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins with which to do so. Beyond that, the weapons are slim. Percy Harvin is not what he used to be, but the Bills are playing a Colts defense that was somewhat mediocre for a playoff caliber team. The Colts did add Trent Cole to pair with OLB Robert Mathis to create a pretty good pass rush tandem. Still, the defense must improve for the Colts to shut down an elite back like McCoy. Indianapolis also drafted defense choosing four players on that side of the ball within the first five picks of the 2015 draft. For Rex Ryan's squad to pull of the week 1 upset in Indianapolis Colts vs Buffalo Bills odds, Taylor will need to utilize Woods and Watkins often while the defense must find a way to contain Indianapolis' potent air attack.
It is no secret though that the strength of the Colts is with their offense. Andrew Luck is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. The former No. 1 pick threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns in his third season in the league. The Colts added RB Frank Gore and WR Andre Johnson to an already explosive offense. The Bills defense, which was fourth in the league in scoring and total defense, will have its hands full with Luck and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts offense. Early action has 68% of the gambling public taking the Colts in NFL picks for week 1 laying the points on the road while 62% are backing the under (46). The season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills can be seen live on CBS at 1:00pm EST from Ralph Wilson Stadium.
When the New York Jets signed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the offseason, everyone figured the Harvard grad and 10-year NFL veteran would serve as a capable backup and mentor to starter Geno Smith. Then, the locker room incident occurred. With Smith out with a broken jaw, Fitzpatrick will lead the Jets to start the 2015 season in their opener against the Cleveland Browns. Even with Smith out for their opening match-up, Browns vs Jets odds still favor New York at home by a field goal (-3) while NFL predictions for week 1 on the over/under total expect a low scoring affair set at 39½. The New York Jets will be playing their first game under new head coach Todd Bowles, the former Arizona defensive coordinator. The defense got better the minute Bowles was hired.
It got even better when cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie were signed in the offseason. The Jets also have a budding star in DT Sheldon Richardson, though he is suspended for the Week 1 game against the Browns. First round draft pick Leonard Williams (6-4, 302) is another monster on the defensive line on a defense that was sixth in the league last year in total defense. Offensively, Fitzpatrick will have the luxury of throwing to accomplished receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the team’s leading receiver a year ago. There is nowhere to go but up for the Jets passing game which finished last in the NFL last year. The running game should be solid with leading rusher Chris Ivory (821 yards) returning and the addition of former Patriot Stevan Ridley. That being said, Bowles' squad should have that experience needed on both sides of the ball to cover the 3-point spread as home favorites in Cleveland Browns vs New York Jets odds for week 1.
Expectations are even higher in Cleveland this season in year two of the Mike Pettine regime. The Browns were 7-4 and poised for a playoff berth in 2014 until reality set in and they dropped their five games in a row. Quarterback Brian Hoyer is gone and Josh McCown is in. He will be backed up by Johnny Manziel who is still learning how to be an NFL quarterback. The Cleveland Browns offense does not feature many big names and one of its best players, TE Jordan Cameron, is gone having signed with Miami in the offseason. The offense will have to improve on third down and its overall completion percentage (the Browns were worst in the NFL at 54.6 percent). NFL predictions for the week 1 match-up have Cleveland posted as 3-point road underdogs since their last meeting at New York (2013), was a 12-9 loss. The season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets can be seen live on CBS at 1:00pm EST from MetLife Stadium.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, the big names were the quarterbacks – Andrew Luck and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Luck went first to the Indianapolis Colts and Griffin second to the Washington Redskins in that year’s draft and while Luck has made a name for himself, Griffin has struggled. In that same draft, the Miami Dolphins found their quarterback of the future when they selected Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick. Fast forward to week 1 of the 2015 NFL season and Tannehill will face not Griffin, but yet another quarterback drafted in 2012 – Kirk Cousins. The former Michigan State product won the Washington Redskins starting quarterback job over RGIII and Colt McCoy. Tannehill and Cousins will face off in the season opener but despite Washington playing at home, Dolphins vs Redskins odds favor Miami on the road by four points (-4) with NFL picks on the over/under total for week 1 set at 43.
Besides Luck, it has been Tannehill who has enjoyed the most success leading the Dolphins to an 8-8 record last year. He and the Dolphins are poised to do even greater things this season now that the team added TE Jordan Cameron and wide receivers Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills, and first round draft pick DeVante Parker from Louisville. The big news in Miami during the offseason was the addition of former Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who signed the richest defensive contract in league history in becoming a Dolphin. Will he make a difference? Absolutely, and certainly against an offensive line in Washington that may have two rookie starters. For head coach Joe Philbin's squad to cover the 4-point spread as road favorites in Miami Dolphins vs Washington Redskins odds, Suh along with DE Cameron Wake will need to dominate the Redskins offensive line.
Washington's head coach Jay Gruden named Cousins the starter for Week 1 bringing about speculation that RGIII’s days in Maryland are numbered. Griffin suffered a concussion in a preseason game and fell behind Cousins on the depth chart. Cousins will have DeSean Jackson (56 receptions, 1,169 yards in 2014) as his No. 1 receiver. Jackson, who averaged over 20 yards per catch last year, is one of the NFL’s premier deep threats. If the Redskins pick up where they left off in 2014 losing seven of their last eight games to close the season, they will get blown out by an improving Miami Dolphins squad. As NFL picks for week 1 suggest, this could be the beginning of a long year in Washington. The season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins can be seen live on CBS at 1:00pm EST from FedEx Field.
If there are two teams in the NFL that are on the cusp of breaking through, it is the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. Both teams finished 9-7 last season but on the outside looking in as neither made the postseason. Both franchise’s worked very hard in the offseason to make sure that 2015 is different. So much so, that NFL predictions for the week 1 match-up favor Houston at home by just one point (-1) while Chiefs vs Texans odds on the over/under total have been set at 40½. The Kansas City Chiefs had one of the league’s most anemic pass offenses last season. In fact, Kansas City became the first team since the merger of the old AFL and NFL to not have a touchdown pass thrown to a wide receiver. Tight end Travis Kelce, the team’s leading receiver with 67 receptions for 862 yards, had five touchdown receptions. Running back Jamaal Charles, the team’s leading rusher (1,033 yards), also had five TD catches.
To pump some life into the receiving corps, Kansas City went out and acquired former Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin who had 85 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. The former Missouri star gives the Chiefs a legitimate All-Pro caliber wide receiver to compliment both Kelce and Charles. If head coach Andy Reid's squad is to cover the point spread as road underdogs in Kansas City Chiefs vs Houston Texans odds, the offense will need to be running on all cylinders. As NFL predictions for week 1 suggest, the Texans may have a tough time defending the Chiefs offense, but they will give it a shot with the league’s best defensive player, DE J.J. Watt and the return of former first round draft pick DE Jadeveon Clowney. Add in a healthy Brian Cushing at inside linebacker and Whitney Mercilus at outside linebacker and the Texans have the makings of a great defense.
The key for the Houston Texans to cover as favorites (-1) in NFL predictions for week 1 against Kansas City will be the play of quarterback Brian Hoyer, signed in the offseason from Cleveland. Hoyer led the Browns to six wins last year and can excel in head coach Bill O’Brien’s offense. Houston will be missing RB Arian Foster, who will most likely miss the season with a groin injury. The Texans will still have RB Alfred Blue and WR DeAndre Hopkins to work with against a Chiefs defense that was very good against the pass but terrible against the run. The season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Kansas City Chiefs vs Houston Texans can be seen live on CBS at 1:00pm EST from NRG Stadium.
The Green Bay Packers begin their quest for another NFC North title but will do so without one of the key pieces of their offense, wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The seven-year NFL veteran tore an ACL in a preseason game at the Pittsburgh Steelers and will miss the entire 2015 season. Despite having Nelson on the sideline, Packers vs Bears odds still favor Green Bay to defeat Chicago by at least a touchdown (-7) while NFL picks for week 1 have the over/under total posted at a high scoring 50. And why not? The Green Bay Packers still have last year’s NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, Randall Cobb at wide receiver, and a strong running game with Eddie Lacy and James Starks in the backfield. Rodgers has also been almost unstoppable when playing at Soldier Field.
In his last four games against the Chicago Bears, Rodgers has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 1,208 yards and 12 touchdowns. More importantly, in each of those four games, Rodgers led the Packers to victory. The Bears on the other hand, who will open the season at home for the sixth consecutive year, will bring a whole new look to Soldier Field. John Fox, fresh off four AFC West Division titles with the Denver Broncos, is the new head coach in Chicago. Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase will attempt to revive the career of starting quarterback Jay Cutler who will be a key factor if "DaBears" are to cover the 7-point spread as underdogs in Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears odds. Cutler will have the weapons to be very good on offense this season.
Matt Forte is one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL. He is productive both on the ground and as a pass receiver. Alshon Jeffery becomes the No. 1 target in the passing game with Brandon Marshall now playing for the New York Jets. He will pair with rookie Kevin White to give the Chicago Bears as a good a one-two receiving tandem as there is in the NFC. Fox will look to improve the Bears defense. He’ll have pass-rushing threat Jared Allen at one outside linebacker and two veteran safeties in Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy. It is unlikely that Chicago will be able to slow down the Packers offense but Green Bay will need to get some production from Davante Adams and Jeff Janis, Nelson’s replacements if the Packers are to win as favorites (-7) in NFL picks for week 1. The season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears can be seen live on FOX at 1:00pm EST from Soldier Field.
After an exhausting day of week 1 action in the National Football League, fans must quickly recuperate and get ready for a double-header on Monday night football. In the first game, Eli Manning and the New York Giants will begin the 2014-15 season with a road trip to face Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. The season opener for MNF is scheduled to kick-off at 7:10pm EST from Ford Field and can be seen live on ESPN. NFL betting odds in Vegas currently have the Lions favored at home by nearly a touchdown (-6) with the over/under total listed at 47. Gamblers looking to take a straight up win by Detroit would need to lay -280 on a $100 wager while New York would return +240 as the underdog.
The Giants will look to have a better start to this season after going a dreadful 0-6 SU for the previous year. New York was able to recover and finish the season with a mediocre 7-9 record but fans in New York are expecting much more from their team this year. Coach Tom Coughlin had a busy off-season rebuilding the running game with the signing of free-agent Rashad Jennings and 4th round draft pick Andre Williams but much of the Giant's success will be dependent on the passing game. Manning will once again have a healthy Victor Cruz looking to salsa in the end-zone while 3rd-year pro Rueben Randle will need to play up to expectations. Although 6-points is an intriguing line, gamblers should note that the Giants have gone an embarrassing 0-5 against the spread in week 1 openers on the road.
Detroit enters Monday night's game as favorites in NFL betting odds with one of the most potent offenses in the league. Matthew Stafford will be back behind center after throwing more than 4,500-passing yards for the third straight season. Calvin Johnson will once again pose the biggest threat to opposing defenses while Reggie Bush has proven to be one of the best check-down receivers in the league. The Lions offensive line will also be a nightmare for Manning and company on Monday night football as Ndamukong Suh, Ziggu Ansah and Nick Fairley are hungry to start the season with a win. Detroit has been a profitable team in season openers having gone 8-3 ATS in their last eleven week 1 match-up but are also 1-5 against the spread in their last six games as home favorites.
Life can't get much better than to end of full day of NFL action with an exciting AFC conference battle for Sunday night football. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High to take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The first SNF game of the 2014-15 season is scheduled to kick-off at 8:30pm EST and can be seen live on NBC. NFL week 1 odds currently have the Broncos 8-point betting favorites at home against the Colts with an over/under total posted at 55.5. Gamblers looking to play the moneyline would need to lay -370 on Denver while Indianapolis would return a payout of +285 on a $100 bet for the straight up win.
Since suffering a neck injury that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season with Indianapolis, Peyton Manning has thrived at Mile High leading Denver to consecutive 13-win seasons, and NFL record 55-touchdown passes and an AFC championship. But that was then and this is now. Although Wes Welker will not be in the line-up serving a suspension and the loss of Eric Decker to free agency; Manning will still have plenty of options at his disposal with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas looking for the end-zone. The Broncos enter Sunday night's game as NFL betting favorites having gone a profitable 5-1 against the spread in their last six week 1 openers and 16-2 SU in their last eighteen games as home favorites.
On the other side of the ball, Andrew Luck has been as equally impressive leading the Colts to consecutive 11-win seasons. Luck threw for 3,822-yards with 23-touchdowns last season despite miss Reggie Wayne for most the year due to injury. Wayne will be a welcomed target for Luck on Sunday night who will also have added depth with a healthy T.Y. Hilton and ex-Giant Hakeem Nicks breaking down field. Although there is much excitement among gamblers with the potent Indianapolis offense, it would be wise to note that the Colts have gone a dismal 0-6 ATS in their last six week 1 openers and an embarrassing 4-19 SU when listed as underdogs on the road.