The 2020 regular season kicked off last Thursday and the opening week played out without incident. No positive COVID-19 tests were reported and for the most part what we saw on the field resembled the brand of football we’ve yearned for since Kansas City’s Super Bowl win last February.
From a betting perspective it looked as though the points would not matter in any of the 16 games. That was true through the first 15 games, leaving only the Monday night finale between Tennessee and Denver to complete a week in which if you picked the straight up winner of the game you also cashed your pointspread ticket.
After missing three field goals and an extra point earlier in the game, current Denver and former Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed a short 25- yard field goal to give the Titans a 16-14 come-from-behind win. However Tennessee was favored by 2.5 or 3 points for most of the past week, making Broncos backers winners at the betting windows.
Overall, six underdogs won outright including three getting more than five points. Washington and Jacksonville pulled home upsets over Philadelphia and Indianapolis respectively while Arizona won on the road over last season’s Super Bowl loser, San Francisco.
Totals results were fairly balanced with nine games going Over and seven staying Under with an average of 47.4 total points scored per game. The average margin of victory was 9.1 points per game with six games decided by four points or less.
As we approach Week 2 it is important to not overreact to what we saw in Week 1. At the same time, we don’t want to fail to react. Each result means something although we don’t know what quite yet.
Dwayne Haskins Jr. After a slow start he played well vs @Eagles He showed a quick release, and made quick decisions. His leadership ability showed up when he gave the half time talk to the team @WashingtonNFL @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/mxzyzJ1vFF— Charley Casserly (@CharleyCasserly) September 15, 2020
We should begin to get some answers this week. In Week 1, we don’t know which, if any, team played what will turn out to be their best game of the season, their worst game of the season or their typical or average game.
You’ll likely hear the adage of how teams that start 0-2 have a very low chance of making the playoffs. That may be true, but also keep in mind that the playoffs expand this season by adding an additional Wild Card in each Conference.
Rams -1.5 at Eagles: “Inexplicable” is the word that comes to mind when assessing Philadelphia’s loss at Washington, blowing a 17-0 lead and not scoring in the second half. There were plenty of offensive line woes that need addressing.
It gets no easier against the Rams, who played will in beating Dallas Sunday night. It’s easy for the public to be enthralled with the Rams and despondent about the Eagles. Yet the pointspread is telling us to not overreact to Week 1. EAGLES
Panthers +9 at Buccaneers: Carolina played a better overall game against Las Vegas than did Tampa play against New Orleans. Both teams broke in new but experienced quarterbacks. Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater fared better against the Raiders than did Tom Brady against the Saints.
The expectations are much lower for Carolina while the pressure is on Tampa. That makes taking the points attractive in this Divisional rivalry in a game between teams with many new faces still needing time to find rhythm. PANTHERS
Bills at Dolphins, Total 41: Buffalo had a whopping 41-19 minutes edge in possession in its 10-point win over the Jets. Miami was on the short end of a 35-25 time of possession gap in its 10-point loss at New England.
Buffalo’s defense excelled against the Jets running game and allowed just 4.8 yards per play overall. Miami allowed 217 rushing yards to the Pats which could allow the Bills to again control the clock.
The combination of Buffalo’s strong overall defense and Miami’s porous rush defense might suggest a Buffalo rout but it may best a suggest a low scoring game. UNDER
Giants at Bears, Total 42: The Giants step down in class after a reasonably decent defensive effort against Pittsburgh. The offense was bad, especially the running game with Saquon Barkley totally held in check.
Chicago was lethargic for most of its game in Detroit but tallied 21 fourth- quarter points to win. The Bears allowed Detroit 138 rushing yards (4.8 per carry) which gives hope for Barkley to rebound nicely.
Daniel Jones rates the edge over Mitchell Trubisky. Last season, the Bears won 19-14 on this field and the matchups suggest a similarly played game in the rematch. UNDER
Chiefs -8.5 at Chargers: The Chiefs looked every bit the champions they are in defeating Houston to kick off the 2020 season. The Chargers got more of a test than they expected at Cincinnati, needing a late missed Bengals FG to preserve a 16-13 win.
These teams met last season with KC winning each time but pushed once and covered by one point in the other. But that was with Philip Rivers at QB and there’s a considerable dropoff to Tyrod Taylor. Both teams are nursing defensive injuries but that’s more likely to adversely impact the Chargers. CHIEFS
Patriots +4 at Seahawks: Normally getting more than a FG with New England would make for an automatic take. Yes, QB Tom Brady is gone but coach Bill Belichick remains. Yet there will be a period of adjustment when replacing a starting QB of nearly 20 years.
While not as accomplished as his coaching counterpart, Seattle’s Pete Carroll is clearly in that second tier of outstanding current coaches. Seattle’s been to the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. Oh, and Russell Wilson’s his QB. SEAHAWKS
Last week: 3-3