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We are still early enough in the season that every game holds plenty questions as we don’t truly have a handle on how all the teams compare.

Early Games:

The games that leap out of the early slate first are the ones that see two 0-1 teams facing each other as one team will get over the early loss and another is going to be looking at a very tough if not impossible task to get to the play-offs.

The Cowboys host the Falcons is one such game and having talked about the use of analytics and indeed gone for it on a fourth down, this year’s Cowboys under Mike McCarthy don’t look that different to last season’s only the defence appears to be thinner and already weakened by injuries. The Flacons looked like their defence was still a problem and their offence generated plenty of stats but could not keep up with the Seahawks last week. I like the Cowboys to win this game, but I am not sure they are going to do it by six points, although I think this could be a very entertaining game with plenty of scoring..

The Vikings will be looking to get over last week’s heavy loss to the Packers, but they face a Colts team who moved the ball well enough and I am still concerned about the number of new players on the Vikings’ defence. I am making a numbers based play in this game, but this is definitely one to watch for me as I’m still trying to figure out these teams.

Finally, the Eagles lost to a surprisingly tough Washington Football Team in week one, with their offence struggling thanks to the injuries on the offensive line and never quite getting things together. People are already asking questions about Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson and this week they host a Rams team who started with a win against the Cowboys and who look to have some of their offensive mojo back. There are plenty of questions around both teams, but I have that bit more faith in the Rams right now and so I am going against the numbers in my spreadsheet and I am just hoping that I am not wrong.

Other things of interest:

  • Josh Allen threw the ball for three hundred yards last week, but this is a test of whether they can beat the teams that they should, whilst the Dolphins will be looking to bounce back in a second divisional game as Brian Flores tries to build on last season. It will not take many losses for the clamor for Tua to start in Miami.
  • The Giants are not a good football team, but the Bears had to rely on fourth quarter heroics from Mitchell Trubisky to get their win last week so which version of the Bears offence is the true one and can the Giants show signs of improvement?
  • The Broncos were more competitive than I was expecting last week, but they have to face a Steelers team who look like they have the capacity to make the Ravens work for the AFC North title.
  • The Lions looked back to their familiar losing ways last week, so can they truly compete on the road against the Packers, or will Aaron Rodgers continue to look sharp as the Packers try to establish themselves as the best team in the NFC North and I am already wondering if I was wrong about them and they may not regress as much as I thought.
  • The Titans won a close game on Monday, but the offence did not look as strong as it did late last season so given that the Jaguars won in week one with Gardner Minshew looking like he has build on his debut season, I  wonder why the Jaguars are getting this many points
  • I’m not sure what the Jets are meant to be building on going forward, there are plenty of questions surrounding Sam Darnold’s development and Le’Veon Bell is injured and doing little to justify his contract. The 49ers have a cluster of injuries at receiver and lost to the Cardinals last week – I wonder how the 49ers will pull things together but I still would be surprised if the Jets can compete in this one
  • The Buccaneers have plenty of work to do on offence but receiver Chris Godwin being out of the game with a concussion won’t help Tom Brady look better than he did last week. I think the Bucs can bounce back against the Panthers, but I don’t think it is a sure thing given how close the Panthers pushed the Raiders last week so the points looks wonky to me.

Falcons @ Cowboys (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Falcons
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Bills @ Dolphins (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Bills

Giants @ Bears (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Giants
Dan’s Pick:      Giants

Broncos @ Steelers (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

Lions @ Packers (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Jaguars @ Titans (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Jaguars

Vikings @ Colts (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Rams @ Eagles (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

49ers @ Jets (+6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       49ers
Dan’s Pick:      49ers

Panthers @ Buccaneers (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Panthers

Late Games:

Despite all the turmoil of the off-season, Ron Rivera got off to a winning start with Washington, but I don’t know how good they truly are given the problems the Eagles have. That said, I would expect Washington to be a tougher team to face under their new head coach. The Cardinals got off to a winning start with DeAndre Hopkins giving their offence a boost as quarterback Kyler Murray builds on his promising rookie season. I would not be surprised if the Cardinals win, but this line looks rich to me.

The other games look somewhat lopsided as they feature the two AFC teams who looked ominously good last week. The line might be too big for the Chiefs to cover but I couldn’t bring myself to pick the Chargers, particularly as they lost their starting center as they once again they are struggling with injuries whilst I don’t trust the Texans’ defense to be able to contain the Ravens potent offence.

Washington @ Cardinals (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Washington
Dan’s Pick:      Washington

Chiefs @ Chargers (+8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Ravens @ Texans (+6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Sunday Night Football:

Patriots @ Seahawks (-4.5)

The re-run of Super Bowl XLIX features very different rosters but looks a hugely enticing game. The Patriots ran Cam Newton a lot last week, but some of them were read-option plays according to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and with the Pat’s chameleon approach to game plans you don’t know if the Pats offence will change this week or if Newton will be heavily running again. However, the Seahawks looked like an offensive team last week with their defense only ranking twenty-first in the league by DVOA while Russell Wilson completed a preposterous thirty-one of thirty-five passes for three hundred and twenty-two yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. I an really not sure who will run out winners in this one, but it promises to be a fascinating game featuring as it does half of the top four teams in DVOA after week one.

Gee’s Pick:       Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Monday Night Football

Saints @ Raiders (+5.5)

The Saints got the win in week one, but have ruled out Michael Thomas for several weeks with a high-ankle injury and he didn’t look right in week one. However, if the offence wasn’t exactly their high flying best, the defence looked good against the Bucs and the Saints look set for another strong season. The Raiders play their first game in their new home after their week one win on the road against the Panthers. The big question for me is whether the Raiders defense can improve on the last two seasons and this will be a stiffer test than the Panthers new offence last week. The Raiders are one of the teams I am not sure about so I am very interested to see how the Raiders shape up against one of the best teams in the NFC in recent seasons.

Gee’s Pick:       Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Raiders

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.