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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 12:26 PM


No doubt about it:

The National Football League loves what it's come to call "competitive balance" and gotta admit that this here-and-now NFL Week 1 card is chock full of games that figure to go right down to the proverbial wire.

Consider that 10 of the 15 games remaining on this NFL Week 1 card - that's Sunday and Monday action combined - sport Las Vegas betting lines of three points or less and the only underdogs of more than 3 points right now are San Diego, Chicago, San Diego, Jacksonville and ... drum roll ... New England (yes, minus Mr. Tom Brady, of course).

Jim Hurley's Network will bang out plenty of NFL Week 1 winners and - hint, hint - don't be at all surprised if we've got some underdog winners among the handful of teams that are snatching up 5-or-more points plus we'll really zoom in on the prime-time Sunday and Monday games: That's New England at Arizona (Sunday Nite), Pittsburgh at Washington and Los Angeles at San Francisco (on Monday Nite).

Just give us a call at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online here and get all the NFL Week 1 Sides/Totals winners plus there's always NCAA Football and Major-League Baseball winners all month long!


Here's our Sunday Night showdown preview ...


Last year's conference runners-up battle it out in the desert with the aforementioned Mr. Brady out-of-sight (but hardly out-of-mind) here and everyone's wondering if Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo can be a prime-time star for the 7-point road dogs ... or will the Cardinals who finished last year 13-3 SU (straight-up) with 6,533 offensive yards gained bring the power here with QB Carson Palmer trying very hard to forget his lousy showing in last year's NFC Championship Game loss in Carolina.

It's official that New England TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) is out for this season-opening tilt and so Garoppolo might well be playing this one with one hand tied behind his back but expect the Pats' game plan to include lots of tosses thrown in the direction of new TE Martellus Bennett who might wind up being a real fantasy league star here.

On the flip side, the Cards last year were the league's second-ranked passing attack (averaged a whopping 288.5 aerial yards per outing) and rumor has it Palmer would like to make sure a handful of pass-catchers stay busy but we're paying particular attention to WR Michael Floyd who last year nabbed 16 receptions of 20-plus yards while he scored just 6 TDs. Floyd will likely have to contend with New England's once-upon-a-time Super Bowl hero CB Malcolm Butler - the winner of this hand-check battle could be the winner of this uber-important Week 1 game ... you heard it here first!

In other NFL Week 1 News/Notes ...

Lots of talk that the New York Jets face the toughest schedule the first six weeks of the season with the Week 1 home opener versus Cincinnati followed by a Thursday Nite game in Buffalo, a road game in Kansas City, a home tilt against Seattle and then road games at Pittsburgh and at Arizona with the latter a Monday Night Football affair. Hey, if the Jets want to show they are for real following last year's 10-6 SU season then beating a banged-up Bengals team is a must. We'll be watching closely to see if CB Darrelle Revis has "lost a step" here against wide-out A.J. Green (knee) who is reportedly far from 100 percent ...

Finally, so what rookie NFL head coach has the toughest Week 1 game?

Tampa Bay's Dirk Koetter is in Atlanta with the Falcons a 2.5-point fav; there's Cleveland Hue Jackson going head-to-head with fellow first-timer Doug Pederson with the host Eagles a mere 3-point favorite at press time; New York Giants' boss Ben McAdoo goes into Dallas for the opener in what's a pick 'em affair right now; San Francisco's Chip Kelly hosts the 2.5-point favored Los Angeles Rams come Monday night but the booby prize goes to Miami Dolphins' head coach Adam Gase - how about a Week 1 trip into noisy Seattle where "knockout pool" folks the land over are calling for the Fish to lose. Now that would qualify as a Week 1 shocker, eh?

NOTE: Plenty of NFL 1 re-caps plus our MNF previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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