PHOENIX, September 6, 2017 — On the eighth day, God created the National Football League. Buckle up, leatherheads. After six months with nothing to do but wait for the offseason to end, NFL football is back. The road to Super Bowl LII is now a reality.
With that grandiose introduction, here is CDN’s NFL 2017 Week 1 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 7, 2017, 8:30 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-9) — Tom Brady is now like Michael Jordan. He has to invent enemies to motivate himself. He has only five rings to six for MJ, but his real fake motivation this time comes from the last time these two teams played back in 2014. The Chiefs blasted the Patriots, the media said Brady was washed up, and New England then ran the table to their fourth of five Super Bowl wins in the Brady era. The Chiefs are a good team and the spread is high, but Brady gets his revenge. Patriots cover.
Sunday, September 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at Miami Dolphins — This was supposed to be a Dolphins home game, but it has been delayed in advance until Week 11 due to the imminent arrival in Florida of Hurricane Irma. POSTPONED
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-9.5) — The Jets have the talent to go 0-16, while the Bills will try to end the NFL’s longest current playoff drought. Buffalo has questions at quarterback, but the Jets have questions everywhere. This could be a season so ugly that Gang Green longs for the glory days of the Mark Sanchez butt-fumble. Buffalo’s defense will score. Bills cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (-1) and Washington Redskins — These teams are fighting to stay out of the cellar in the NFC Least. Carson Wentz will try to avoid the sophomore jinx while Kirk Cousins will try and get traded anywhere else after the season. For some odd reason the Eagles are favored. Upset special, Redskins win outright.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (-2) — When Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota are healthy, these offenses are scary good. When they both went down in their respective regular season finales last year, their offenses were coyote ugly. Oakland has Super Bowl potential, but Tennessee has a much better defense. Although anything is possible with Carr in the fourth quarter, give the Titans the nod at home.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-5) — The NFL’s worst division will not be getting better any time soon. The entire Houston community is still reeling from Hurricane Harvey. Meanwhile, the Texans have quarterback issues. That is, they need one. Jacksonville has Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin, who will not hesitate to yank Blake Bortles if he keeps throwing completions to opposing defenses. Houston has J.J. Watt and Jadavean Clowney. Texans win but fail to cover.
Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) at Detroit Lions — Matthew Stafford is now the NFL’s highest-paid player. The Lions have talent and Jim Caldwell quietly instills confidence. But the Cardinals know this is their last shot to win it all with this group of players. Bruce Arians will unleash the offense. Cardinals cover.
Atlanta Falcons (-7) at Chicago Bears — Despite a miserable Super Bowl loss, the Falcons have more than enough talent to overwhelm the Bears. Mitch Trubisky starts his first NFL game against a defense still angry about the Super Bowl. Good luck, Mitch. You will need it. Falcons cover.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) — Both of these teams are a shell of what they were a couple of years ago. Joe Flacco is injured, but either way these teams are just average at best. Go with the home field despite Vontaze Burfect being suspended yet again. Bengals cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-8.5) at Cleveland Browns — After coming so close last year, the Steelers are desperate to send Ben Roethlisberger out with a championship in what could be his final season. The Brows will improve, but asking a rookie quarterback in his very first game to handle the Pittsburgh defense is way too much to ask. Steelers cover.
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) — Andrew Luck is injured, and even without Aaron Donald, the Rams have a ferocious defense. Jared Goff has to show he can be a leader, but this is one game where he can manage the game and let the defense feast on the unlucky Colts backup signal caller. Rams cover.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (-3) — This could be another NFC Title Game preview. The Seahawks again appear to have the league’s best defense with the addition of Sheldon Richardson. However, Aaron Rodgers is as good as ever at home. Trust Rodgers. Packers cover.
Carolina Panthers (-5.5) at San Francisco 49ers — The only individual taking a knee in this contest will be Cam Newton at the end of the game. He is out to prove that last season’s drop-off was a fluke. Playing against a 49ers team that is bad in every phase of the game helps. Panthers cover.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) — Big Blue swept Dallas last year, and the Cowboys start the first six games without Ezekiel Elliott. Despite going 13-3 last year, Dak Prescott took a beating in both games against the Giants. The emotion of being at home against a Giants team that is good but not great should be just enough to keep Jerry Jones from blowing up his own stadium and firing everyone for a week. Cowboys win but fail to cover.
Monday, September 11
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) — Adrian Peterson desperately wants revenge against the Vikings for giving up on him. Drew Brees is as great as ever, but Minnesota’s defense is not what it was two years ago. Minnesota is in rebuilding mode, while Sean Payton knows this may be his last chance to get Brees back to postseason glory. Upset special, Saints win outright.
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos (-3.5) — Denver is a question mark at quarterback. Even their vaunted defense led by Von Miller will miss Michelin Man Wade Phillips, who departed for the Rams. Speaking of Los Angeles, that sprawling Left Bank megalopolis now has a second team, the former San Diego Chargers. Think of them as the Los Angeles Chargers of San Diego, or Orange County, or Anaheim, or nobody cares anyway. Broncos cover.
Check your local listings for channels and times.