Well this opening weekend of the NFL has definitely been a doozy so far. Let’s preview tonight’s primetime matchup between the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals. Following will be the primer for the two Monday Night games between the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.
|Sun 5:30 PM PT||NBC||ARI -9.5|
How New England Wins: This is very difficult task without a healthy Rob Gronkowski and a suspended Tom Brady. It also doesn’t help that former Patriot linebacker Chandler Jones is displeased that his former team traded him. I think what it comes down to for New England is playing mistake free football, and playing great defense. This is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start, and asking for too much from him early is a recipe for disaster.
How Arizona Wins: Find your playmakers. There’s a reason why you got this far last year. Quarterback Carson Palmer needs to find receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, as well as running back David Johnson. This could be a magical offensive year for Arizona with all this talent.
The Bottom Line: New England won’t be able to keep pace. Going without two of your biggest offensive weapons into the lions den of a potential Super Bowl contender isn’t going to cut it. Cardinals win by at least 17.
|Mon 4:10 PM PT||ESPN||PIT -2.5|
How Pittsburgh Wins: Get the ball to Antonio Brown. There is a reason he was drafted #1 in most fantasy leagues. Let him make his plays and the rest should fall into place (now if only Le’Veon Bell would stop hitting the Mary Jane).
How Washington Wins: The Kirk Cousins to Jordan Reed combo paid major dividends last year. Expect for Captain Kirk to have another big year, but it may be tough going against what traditionally is a very good defense. He should be fine, but their defense needs to step up against a very potent offense.
The Bottom Line: Pittsburgh is the more complete team. Washington just now got a taste of success. Expect the Steelers to win by at least 7.
|Mon 7:20 PM PT||ESPN||LA -2.5|
How Los Angeles Wins: Give the ball to Todd Gurley. He may be the most complete running back not named Adrian Peterson. Expect for the Rams to give it to him early and often to take pressure off their quarterback.
How San Francisco Wins: Colin Kaepernick needs to find his 2012/2013 self again. He is going against a tough Rams defense, while a Niners defense that is suspect at best may not be able to stop Todd Gurley and company. Get the ball to running back Carlos Hyde and find a way to get your swagger back.
The Bottom Line: Los Angeles wins by a field goal. They may be in kind of a chippy battle, but Gurley will make all the difference. Ground and pound will prove to be an effective strategy here.
My Record: 8-5
I will make sure to preview next week and get my college football picks out too. There wasn’t a lot of good football in week 2. Stay classy everyone, and on this anniversary of 9/11 be grateful you are alive and free.