I don’t know what message anyone else took from Week 1 of the NFL campaign, but for me, it is crystal clear: the way the league has changed the rules to protect quarterbacks and wide receivers, this could be the year of the pass.
Through Sunday’s games, 11 quarterbacks had a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts) — tying for second-most in any week since 1970.
Even more impressive was how several new names emerged for their receiving exploits, as four rookies recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts on Sunday.
Tennessee’s A.J. Brown (100 receiving yards), Baltimore’s Marquise Brown (147), Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson (131) and Washington’s Terry McLaurin (125) combined to pave their way into the NFL’s history book.
If you love high-octane offenses and high-scoring games, you’re going to love the 2019 campaign.
Patriots -18.5 at Dolphins: If you thought the circus was crazy in Napa the past month, wait until Antonio Brown throws on some New England gear, and takes his talents to South Beach for his Patriots debut.
New England drubbed the Steelers 33-3 without Brown, and now quarterback Tom Brady will have the All-Pro in the lineup against a team that seems to have mailed it in weeks before the season started. PATRIOTS
Colts +3 at Titans: I thought Indianapolis would struggle against the Chargers last week. But a season-opening overtime loss that could have been averted had placekicker Adam Vinatieri done his job has me thinking the Colts might be okay without the Luck of the Andrew.
In a key AFC South matchup this early in the season, and the Titans perhaps a bit overconfident after their dismantling of Cleveland, I like Indy and Vinatieri to bounce back. COLTS
Vikings +2.5 at Packers: Co-hosting a local sports talk show on Monday, I was asked which team impressed me the most in Week 1. It was easy for me, as Minnesota opened my eyes with its defensive stand against one of the most lethal offenses in football.
The Vikings grounded the high-flying Falcons in a 28-12 victory and will arrive in Green Bay with plenty of motivation for their division rival. I know the Packers have had a few more days off, but it won’t matter. They beat Chicago, but the Bears mauled Aaron Rodgers. This year’s Purple People Eaters will do the same. VIKINGS
Chiefs -9.5 at Raiders: Alright, enough already. Oakland looked good in its destruction of the Broncos on Monday night, but for me, that was merely a huge exhale after its soap opera in August. I won’t detail the drama — everyone should be familiar with it by now — but it was an emotional night for the Raiders, and they flexed their muscles. Now they’ll face arguably the best offense in football and will be brought back to reality. CHIEFS
Eagles Pick’em at Falcons: This may be the only trap I’m getting caught up in, as a prisoner of the go-against-Atlanta moment, but I like the Green Birds over the Dirty Birds.
I liked how Philly kept its composure and rallied from a 17-0 deficit to beat Washington, 32-27. DeSean Jackson was splendid in his return to Philadelphia with eight catches for 154 yards and two touchdown receptions of 50-plus yards.
As long as the defense can carry momentum over from the second half of its win against the Redskins, it will pose problems for a Falcons offense that struggled last week. EAGLES
Browns -3 at Jets: Here is a trap I refuse to buy into, as I like Cleveland to bounce back in the Meadowlands.
There is a reason the Browns are laying the number in this one, as the oddsmakers know they’re much better than what we saw on Sunday. The team we saw in the first five minutes against Tennessee will come to play this Sunday, for all four quarters. and send the Jets to 0-2. BROWNS
Last week: 2-3-1