After another 1-2 week, I’m now 2-4 over the last two weeks and on the season. The good news is I don’t feel I did anything particularly wrong over the last two weeks. The New England Patriots had a disappointing season, at least for Patriots standards, but will a much different team this time around. The Pats had a league-high eight players opt out last season but will return key players like Dont’a Hightower and Marcus Cannon to the roster.
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The Rams’ receivers will find opportunities against a thin Bears secondary, but don’t be stunned if it takes L.A.’s stars a few quarters to warm up after sitting all preseason. The entire league is desperate for the spell to be broken in New England after a tough 7-9 season in 2020, but they also had so many issues to deal with. Losing Tom Brady was always going to be tough, while the cap was stretched after selling out for Super Bowls and Cam Newton didn’t seem like a great fit. I really don’t have many thoughts other than this game kinda blows for SNF, considering the other games on the slate. Geno Smith looked alright when he came in for Russell Wilson last week during Thursday Night Football, but the Steelers looked even better last week against the Broncos.
It should be a fascinating battle of contrasting styles in Week 1. They get the Jets twice, Texans, Jaguars, and Falcons in Week 17 in Buffalo. Plus, people are so down on the Steelers, perhaps they prove all the doubters wrong in Week 1. I really like how Denver played their starters throughout the preseason.
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Rookie Odafe Oweh came up with arguably the play of Accumulator Calculator the game with a forced fumble and recovery on the Chiefs’ final drive. Jackson overcame the absence of Ronnie Stanley, the team’s lockdown left tackle, which I expected to be more of an issue for him. Marquise Brown registered his second excellent game of the season and now has 12 catches for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns this season. He’ll look to keep the good times rolling against a Detroit secondary now without would-be second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah.
On defense, the Colts still have virtually no outside pass-rush other than rookie first-round pick Kwity Paye. I wouldn’t expect him to rattle Russell Wilson too much in his first career game. This is more a fade of the Colts than anything else, as oddsmakers are giving Reich too much credit. For what it’s worth, the Colts have lost seven straight times in Week 1 dating back to 2013. The Seahawks would also make a great six-point teaser leg here up through the key numbers of three and seven to 8.5. The Ravens aren’t about to get embarrassed by two inferior teams in a row, so take them to cover the spread.
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Reportedly firmly on the way back to full health this offseason, Burrow will have the opportunity to reunite with former college battery mate and 2021 first-round pick Ja’Marr Chase. Chase, along with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, give the second-year gunslinger a highly potent trio. Running back Joe Mixon is reportedly fully over the foot injury that cost him the last 10 games in 2020 as well. The Colts will have new QB Carson Wentz “on the field” despite Wentz having had foot surgery in early August.
The Seahawks are 9.5-point home favorite of the Bengals and the eagles are 9.5-point home favorite against the Redskins. In that same 10-year span, Week 1 games involving the Big Game runner-up have gone 1-9 over/under. Losing in the Super Bowl is a huge shot to a team’s ego – and it looks like it takes more than a summer to recover. Over the past 10 seasons the Super Bowl runner-up is 0-10 against the spread in the following season opener. Last year, the Arizona Cardinals, who lost in crushing fashion to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, fell to the San Francisco 49ers as 5-point Week 1 favorites.
Miami Dolphins + @ New England Patriots
Now is the time to start hammering the same-game parlays if you haven’t already. FOX Bet is the new home of football betting, offering a wide range of wagers throughout the NFL season. Ultimately, taking the Rams down from -7.5 to -1.5 provides a lot more margin for error, given that we haven’t seen this first-team offense together in a game. The Rams have a very solid, veteran offensive line, another luxury that Stafford hasn’t really had. Once the Rams hit midseason form, laying some numbers with them will be more palatable.