The Teaser: Pair New England and Arizona
Game 1: New England vs. New Orleans
The Initial Line:
New England -7 away vs. New Orleans
Add 7 points to New England’s line
The Final Line:
New England even (pk)
New England had their Super Bowl banner night spoiled, falling at home to Kansas City 42-27. New Orleans couldn’t get the season started off with a win either, as they were picked apart on the road by Minnesota 29-19. New England didn’t really show up on either side of the ball but especially on defense, where they gave up the most points and yards in Belichick’s tenure as head coach. New Orleans struggled to cover the Minnesota receivers all night, and the game only ended up being close with a late TD drive by Drew Brees.
If we know one thing about New England from past years with Brady and Belichick, it’s that they respond fiercely when faced with adversity. Three times when the lose they opener they’ve gone on to win the Super Bowl. They also haven’t lost 2 straight games since the 2015 season. The pressure was mounting with expectations of a perfect season, and with that out of the way they can just focus on the task at hand. After watching the New Orleans defense get gashed by Sam Bradford, there’s no reason to think that with 10 days to regroup Brady won’t be able to do the same. Also New England has too much talent on the defensive side of the ball to continue to give up that many points and yards, and New Orleans has some concerns on offense as well like who’s gonna block for Brees. They lost Tackle Zach Streif during Week 1 and will have to attempt to adjust which may be tough on a short week. With respect to a matchup that features two of the best QBs to ever play this game, this could still be a back and forth affair so I don’t see a blowout happening. However, expect Brady to hit Cooks often on his return to NOLA and the Pats will find a way to pull out a victory and avoid a 0-2 start.
Game 2: Arizona vs. Indianapolis
The Initial Line:
Arizona -7.5 away vs. Indianapolis
Add 7 points to Arizona’s line
The Final Line:
Arizona piled up their mistakes and let go of their lead, and as a result lost their opening game on the road to Detroit 35-23. Arizona had held an early 10-0 and 17-9 lead, but after a few INTs by Carson Palmer they let Matt Stafford and Detroit climb back into the game for the home victory. Indianapolis had arguably the worst performance of opening weekend, getting pummeled on the road by the Los Angeles Rams 46-9. Scott Tolzien was clearly not the answer at QB, as he threw 2 INTs for TDs in a game that was 27-3 at the half and continued downward from there.
David Johnson’s wrist injury will surely have an impact on Arizona’s offense as he was arguably the best RB in the league in 2016. However, with a move the grab Chris Johnson once again and with other offensive weapons like Larry Fitzgerald, there’s still upside to Arizona’s team on both sides of the ball. I’m struggling to find the upside on Indianapolis’ team however. Andrew Luck was the glue that held the team together, and without him it’s almost looking like a lost cause with either Tolzien or new pickup Jacoby Brissett in there. If they can get beat by almost 40 point by a mediocre LA squad, why shouldn’t Arizona be able to handle them easily? They are having their home opener this week and Arizona’s struggles from week 1 can’t be ignored, but I just can’t see them winning this game. Grab Arizona with some points to feel confident in the victory rather than worry about the points.