The Heat is on for AFC East Rivals in Miami.
NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers Enters the Season with a Point to Prove & Brady Heads to Big D a Perfect 6-0 v Cowboys!
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins (Total points -46.5)
Divisional rivals kick off the new season in South Florida at Miami’s Hard Rock stadium. Expectations in both camps high. New England, on the back of having a quarterback entering a second season, having already experienced playoff football. Miami, with a new, young, exciting head coach at the helm. Following an off season of high profile moves – non greater than acquiring Chiefs wide receiver, Tyreek Hill.
These two teams have built recent success around defense though and I see no reason why that shouldn’t prevail on Sunday. The Dolphins were involved in consistently low scoring games last season. While New England relied on their defense, while helping Mac Jones find his feet in the NFL.
The Patriots offense featured a strong run game, led by Damien Harris. Tua Tagovailoa was efficient at quarterback for the Dolphins without often producing the explosive play.
Often teams start the season, finding their feet, and therefor in hot humid conditions, expect this to be a defenses to be dominant in this contest.
Pick: under 45 total points
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (Packers -1.5)
Devante Adams no longer resides in Green Bay. However back to back NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers does – and that should be enough to instil fear in Green Bay’s NFC North rivals. Rookie 4th round pick, Romeo Doubs has been turning heads in pre-season and it won’t come as a surprise to anyone if Rodgers helps turn a relative unknown into the latest receiving star for the Packers.
It’s been an off season of change as well in Minnesota. Head coach, Mike Zimmer is gone, Kevin O’Connell replaces him, and rumour has it, a new offensive approach is on its way as well.
The Vikings have weapons. Dalvin Cook is a star at running back – his problem is staying fir for 17 games. While Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson are one of the best receiving combos in the league! Their problem is a Green Bay defense which only seems to be getting stronger. Watch out for Rashan Gary to give Cousins fits while Jaire Alexander helps lock down the back end. Combine that with an MVP quarterback who enters this season, incredibly, feeling he still has a point to prove and that spells trouble for the Vikings.
Under Matt Le Fleur the Packers record is nothing short of remarkable and they lay down an early season marker here.
Pick: Green Bay Packers (-1.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys +1.5)
When Tom Brady announced his retirement in February, it was the end of an era, but it turns out he wasn’t really serious! 6 weeks later, he changed his mind and that’s enough, in many eyes, to make the Buccaneers Super Bowl contenders once again.
When these two met in the opening game of last season, it was a shoot out in Tampa with the Buccs edging it but a lot’s changed since then – for both teams!
Both now have offensive line concerns. The Buccaneers will start a rookie at left guard, their second choice player at centre and have acquired Shaq Mason at right guard. The Cowboys will start rookie 1st round pic Tyler Smith at left tackle after losing Tyler Smith to injury, Connor McGovern comes in at left guard and with La’el Collins now in Cincinnati, it’s Terrance Steele who starts at right tackle. Protection concerns must weigh on the minds of both quarterbacks, so expect the ball to come out quickly.
The onus then, lies with the respective defenses and that’s where I give Dallas the edge. Star linebacker Micah Parsons has one of the most impressive rookie seasons in NFL history under his belt and Dallas have added to him. Verterna linebacker Anthony Barr arrives from Minnesota, rookie pass rusher Sam Williams also adds to a beefed up defensive line. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn turned the worst defense in Cowboys history into one of the best in the league last season and the expectation is, his unit will be the backbone of the Cowboys this season. The Dallas defense is the best unit on the field in this game and if they take advantage of a much changed offensive front, the Cowboys will pull off the upset win on Sunday Night Football
Pick: Dallas Cowboys +1.5