After a thrilling slate of college football games, the big boys get in on the action with the start of the NFL regular season this week. The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots kick things off on Thursday Night Football followed by a full slate of 15 other games on Sunday and Monday.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Odds: Patriots -9
The defending Super Bowl champions open up the season at home. It’ll be an interesting matchup as both teams lost key offensive starters in the preseason. The Patriots will move on without Julian Edelman for the season while the Chiefs lost running back Spencer Ware.
Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears
Odds: Falcons -7
The Falcons will be making their first regular season appearance since blowing the Super Bowl and they’ll try to get off to a good start and avoid a hangover that comes with such an awful loss. The Bears might be a good opponent for them to do that. The Bears seem to have upgraded at the quarterback position with Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky, but their offense is still short a lot of weapons. The Falcons want to turn this into a shootout while the Bears will look to turn this game into a grind.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Odds: Steelers -9
The Steelers appear to be the clear-cut best team in the AFC North and they’ll start their season against the team that’s expected to be the worst. The Browns will employ rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who is the franchise’s 27th starting quarterback since 1999. Pittsburgh has dominated this series, winning 38 of the last 46 meetings and 16 of the last 22 in Cleveland. If the Browns are trying to prove that they’re a changed team, this is a good spot to do so.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Odds: Texans -6
The Texans will play at home after the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey, so they’ll have a lot of support behind them. This game will be won by the team whose quarterback makes the fewest mistakes. Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles and Houston’s Tom Savage are both being tasked as caretakers. The Texans have the better defense and are at home, so the edge goes to them.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Odds: Eagles -1
One half of the NFC East will clash on Sunday as both the Eagles and Redskins are looking to prove that they’re playoff caliber squads. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz has to avoid a sophomore slump but the good news is he has an excellent (new) cast of weapons around him. Kirk Cousins has a host of new receivers too. The team that finds the best balance by running the ball will likely win here.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Odds: Packers -3
This game could be the best matchup of the week because these two have been known to have some exciting meetings. They’re also the two favorites to win the NFC. It’s a strength-on-strength matchup as the Seahawks’ stellar defense will try to keep Aaron Rodgers in check. The Seahawks’ running game has been having issues. They’ll have to run the ball either with Thomas Rawls or former Packer Eddie Lacy to some success if they hope to win on the road.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Odds: Cowboys -3.5
The other half of the NFC East meet in Dallas but there is plenty of question marks about key players participating. Will the Cowboys have star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has appealed his suspension? For the Giants, keep an eye on the status of Odell Beckham, who hurt his ankle in the preseason and is considered questionable as of Monday.
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Odds: Broncos -3.5
The Chargers play their first game as the Los Angeles Chargers in Denver where the Broncos will be hoping that their defense can hold the fort again. The Broncos’ elite pass rush has taken some hits with DeMarcus Ware retiring and Shane Ray out. If Philip Rivers has time to find his wide assortment of weapons, the Chargers could make an early AFC West statement.