Take New England -9.5 home vs. Kansas City
The defending champs in New England get to open up the 2017 NFL season at home with their banner night on Thursday Night Football vs Kansas City. Both teams achieved great success in 2016, with New England sporting the best NFL regular season record at 14-2 and Kansas City finishing at 12-4 and an AFC West crown before falling to Pittsburgh in the Divisional round. It’s scary to think that New England improved in the offseason but that seems to be the case, with key additions of Brandin Cooks in the passing game and Stephon Gilmore in the secondary. As of now they are projected to have a 32% chance of WINNING the Super Bowl this season, and some have even thrown out the idea of a perfect season.
Kansas City may have regressed slightly, with their biggest questions once again coming on the offensive side of the ball. Their biggest rusher Spencer Ware went down with a PCL and LCL tear on his right knee, and the next best rusher only had 293 yards (Charcandrick West). Their veteran presence at WR in Jeremy Maclin was traded away, which will put a lot of pressure on the younger receivers to try and step up. And then there’s Alex Smith, who’s been consistently average throughout his career. Both teams are expected to have an elite defense this season, but the offensive matchup seems a bit skewed. If Tom Brady was able to play 16 games last season he surely would have won MVP, and has a home record of 101-17 in his career with a 220/59 TD/INT ratio. Expect New England to come out fired up on their big night in this one, and although Kansas City may keep it close to start Brady and Co will slowly pull away in the 2nd half to end with a solid cushion. They should be able to eclipse a 10-point lead easily at home on banner night against a depleted KC squad.