Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
Let’s be frank here; The Bears do not look good. They were bad last year and look, on paper, to be even worse this year. This is especially true at the WR position with Brandon Marshall gone to the Jets, 1st round pick Kevin White out for the year and Alshon Jeffery injured most of the summer. Throw in the erratic play from QB Jay Cutler and it certainly isn’t a recipe for success.
New Head Coach John Fox is sure to make Chicago’s defence less of a sieve than it was last year (they gave up over 27 points a game), but they are still weak in that area and have the pleasure of going up against the league’s best QB in Aaron Rodgers in week 1 as he brings his Packers to town.
The Packers have been dominant in this matchup of late, winning 9 of the last 10 games against the Bears, and even without their #1 WR Jordy Nelson they look clearly better in every position. I just can’t see any way the Bears keep this close.
It’s worth noting that in those last 9/10 wins against Chicago, Green Bay also covered the 6.5 handicap in each of them.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Green Bay Packers -6.5 at 1.95
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
I had actually been debating this matchup for some time and was unsure as to which way it was going to go, but one incident settled me on taking the Chiefs here: Houston RB Arian Foster will miss the game due to having groin surgery during the off-season.
DE JJ Watt rightly gets a lot of attention and praise, but Foster is the key player for the Texans in my mind. With him on the field they look so much more dynamic on offense and let’s not forget that even though Watt was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, the Texans still finished with a 2-14 record. This is due, I think, to Foster being out most of the year.
Without Foster, I’m just not sure that the Houston offense will be able to match the Chiefs one: WR Jeremy Maclin has been added from the Eagles to go along with TE Travis Kelce and RB Jamaal Charles, giving QB Alex Smith a number of weapons to target when going up against an admittedly strong Texans defence led by Watt.
Don’t sleep on the Chiefs defence though. It’s a very strong unit and I believe that they can make the Chiefs a legitimate force in the AFC. LBs Justin Houston (who led the league in sacks last year) and Tamba Hali give them a strong pass rush and they’ll be causing havoc along the Texans Offensive Line all game.
It should be a close game, but I have Kansas City being the slightly stronger team – especially on offense – so I’ll be backing them in this one.
Betting Recommendation: Kansas City Cheifs to Win at 2.06
Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins
I spoke of the Bears being a mess earlier, but the Redskins manage to make the situation in Chicago look positively serene.
They don’t seem to have much faith in their Head Coach and the state of their QB position is not good, with Kirk Cousins finally getting the nod over former 1st round pick Robert Griffin, but it’s their Offensive Line that concerns me the most (a few series against the Lions in preseason was just horrible).
Their OL’s struggles should become apparent when they go against the Dolphins this week, who have what figures to be one of the best Defensive Lines in the league with new signing Ndamukong Suh adding to Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.
On the other side of the ball, Miami’s newly minted QB Ryan Tannehill has shown steady growth each year and many believe this is the season he will break out. The Dolphins have certainly tried to assemble a decent supporting cast around him adding TE Jordan Cameron and rookie WR DeVante Parker to 2nd-year WR Jarvis Landry and RB Lamar Miller.
Although I don’t figure Washington’s defence to be as bad as some think it may be, even with the loss of Junior Galette, I can just see them being on the field too much to slow down the Dolphins enough in this one.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Miami Dolphins -3.5 at 2.04
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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