Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 12:46 PM
JIM SEZ: THE NFL WEEK 1 MENU GETS US WALL-TO-WALL ACTION AND WE EXAMINE SUNDAY'S GAMES INCLUDING A GIANTS-COWBOYS PRIME-TIME PREVIEW
By Jim Hurley:
Hey, if nothing else, let's give the NFL credit for some great Week 1 schedule-making: Check out this 13-game card on Sunday and you'll discover that all but two of the games - that's Green Bay at Chicago and the New York Giants at Dallas - right now offer up pointspreads of 5-or-fewer points and so common sense dictates we're gonna have some real barnburners to start off this 2015 season.
And there's some really great storylines too on this NFL Week 1 card ...
The #2 versus #1 draft picks colliding when 2014 Heisman Trophy winner QB Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans square off with 2013 Heisman Trophy winner QB Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Bucs;
New Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan getting a shot to topple all-world QB Andrew Luck and the high-octane Indianapolis Colts - think Orchard Park's gonna be a madhouse?;
And what about Denver QB Peyton Manning - is this indeed his "last rodeo"? -- as his Broncos battle the always-fierce Baltimore Ravens in the Mile High City.
Heck, we didn't even get into those new head coaches like Chicago's John Fox, the New York Jets' Todd Bowles, Oakland's Jack Del Rio, Denver's Gary Kubiak or the aforementioned Ryan (to say nothing of the first-year head coaches getting ready for battle come Monday Night as Atlanta's Dan Quinn and San Francisco's Jim Tomsula christen their respective careers) as Week 1 is gonna be a real nerve-wracking time for many gentlemen of the gridiron.
Just remember that Jim Hurley is ready and rarin' to go with this 2015 NFL Season! Note the NFL '15 campaign rolls on with a monstrous Week 1 card come Sunday/Monday - so make sure you're with America's #1 Handicapper for all the NFL Week 1, NCAA Football and Major-League Baseball winners. Remember that Sunday's NFL Week 1 afternoon card features Green Bay at Chicago, New Orleans at Arizona and Baltimore at Denver (among other great games) and the Sunday Night game is the New York Giants at the Dallas Cowboys plus there's the now-annual season-opening Week 1 Monday Night Football doubleheader too ... this week it's Philadelphia at Atlanta at 6:55 p.m. ET followed by Minnesota at San Francisco at 10:15 p.m. ET.
lus the College kids have their own slew of really big games this weekend including #7 Oregon at #5 Michigan State, #19 Oklahoma at #23 Tennessee, #14 LSU at #25 Miss State ... and much more! And this is all you have to do: Check in right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. ET for the weeknight selections, after 11 a.m. ET for all the weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for weekend Winners.
Okay, so let's break down a batch of NFL Week 1 games here from different perspectives:
There's only a pair of Sunday matinee divisional duels on tap - that's Green Bay (- 7) at Chicago and Seattle (- 4) at St. Louis - and here's some pertinent pointspread facts on these games:
Green Bay at Chicago - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
The Packers have covered five of their last seven games when placed in the role of road betting favorite and one of them was last year's 38-17 win at 1-point home pup Chicago when Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns. Note that Green Bay's 13-7-1 spreadwise in their last 21 head-to-head showdowns against Chicago and that does include the Packers' 21-14 win/cover as 3.5-point road favorites in the 2010 NFC Championship Game. Everyone wants to know whether Chicago QB Jay Cutler can "co-exist" with new offensive coordinator Adam Gase who - in case you were wondering - comes from Denver highly recommended by the above-mentioned Mr. Manning but the biggest problem here is Cutler's lack of ammo as rookie WR Kevin White (leg) is out and star WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) is a huge question mark for this game and our Jim Sez sources report the game plan is for Chicago RB Matt Forte to get 30-plus carries while attempting to "shorten" this game against Rodgers and Company.
Seattle at St. Louis - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Meanwhile, the two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks - still very much haunted by last year's bitter 28-24 Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots - swing into divisional play right away after Pete Carroll's club rang up a tidy 4-1-1 ATS mark against fellow NFC West teams a year ago (and make that 9-3-1 ATS overall against the NFC West since the start of the 2013 campaign).
Still, that one pointspread loss last year in divisional play came in a 28-26 setback at 7-point underdog St. Louis - yes, that's the game when Seattle QB Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 yards (313) and rush for 100 yards (106) in a single game and yet the Seahawks still lost thanks to some magical special teams work that included a Johnny Hekker fake punt and a 90-yard punt bring-back for a TD by Stedman Bailey where the Rams had the Seattle coverage unit "sold" the ball was on the other side of the field ... remember? One final spread-related note here: The Rams are 3-9 versus the vig in all divisional games the past two years and that includes a 2-4 ATS home mark (with both covers coming against the Seahawks).
There are three NFL Week 1 games where domed stadia teams are playing outdoors - that's Indianapolis at Buffalo, New Orleans at Arizona and Detroit at San Diego - and so let's see how these clubs fared outdoors the past couple of seasons:
Indianapolis - The Colts are modest 2.5-point betting favorites this weekend in Buffalo and note Indy's met with moderate spread success when going outdoors the past two years with a 9-8 ATS log in outdoor games. Break it down a bit further and you'll find the Colts are a solid 5-2 vig-wise as road getting favorites outdoors and that includes the covers last year at Jacksonville, the New York Giants and Tennessee. The aforementioned Mr. Luck has only met up with Ryan once in his brief-but-glorious career - and that was a painful 35-9 loss at the New York Jets back in Luck's rookie season in 2012.
New Orleans - Strange as it may seem, last year's Saints fared better outdoors than indoors as N'Orleans finished up a dreary 2014 campaign by going 3-3 against the odds in the great outdoors and just 3-7 ATS in domed buildings (including a 2-6 ATS home mark inside the Louisiana Superdome). Now, the Saints (+ 2.5) march into toasty hot Arizona where they have not played since 2010 and word is they'll determine whether the retractable roof's open or not on game-day morning. Our Jim Sez insiders are telling us that they prefer to play these early-season games with roof open to make visiting teams "sweat it out". Better believe the Saints will be wearing their all-black tops for this one, folks.
Detroit - When the Lions trek into San Diego (-3) this Sunday, it'll mark the first time since 2011 that the NFC North crew will be opening on the road. Overall, the Lions have not fared well lately when venturing outside with a shoddy 3-8 ATS mark the past year-plus. Hey, whether you're playing indoors or outdoors, the Lions have to better protect QB Matthew Stafford who last year was sacked a career-worst 45 times. On the flip side, the Chargers claim they'll go "running back by committee" here but if rookie RB Melvin Gordon gets heated up it could be a 20-carry guy for the former Wisconsin Badgers' megastar.
On Sunday Night, it's ...
NEW YORK GIANTS at DALLAS - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
In reality, this marks the fourth time since 2007 that the Giants-Cowboys game opened up their respective seasons (even though it does seem that these NFC East rivals play Week 1 games against one another every year!) and the pendulum's swung lately with "America's Team" sporting spread covers in three of the last four overall matchups dating back to the start of 2013.
The Cowboys' game plan here is to have QB Tony Romo (34 TDs last year) stretch out a Giants' secondary that figures to be a major weak link on the team but no doubt this star-studded offensive line wants to do its share of ground-and-pound and word is RB Joseph Randle will get plenty of carries after the free agent defection to Philadelphia by star RB DeMarco Murray.
If the 6-point underdog Giants are gonna win - or cover - here than the game plan must include major air raid accuracy by QB Eli Manning (30 TDs and 14 INTs last year) against a Cowboys' defensive backfield that has its own woes.
The Jim Hurley Network has been champing at the bit to get you all the NFL Week 1 Side/Totals winners and this showdown at "The House That Jerry Built" will be on our list of key games, so make sure you're all aboard at 1-800-323-4453 or get all the winners right here online
Spread Notes - The Cowboys are a dismal 15-32-1 ATS as betting favorites since the start of the 2010 season while the Giants are an ugly 6-12 versus the vig as underdog sides the past two seasons.
NOTE: Catch all the weekend NCAA Football and NFL Week 1 roundups plus the Monday Night Football Previews too in the next edition of Jim Sez.