The 2016 NFL season began with Carolina missing what would have been a game winning field goal at the end of their 21-20 loss at Denver last Thursday and Sunday’s action ended with Arizona missing a similar game winning field goal at the end of their game against New England, falling by a very similar score, 23-21.
In between were a host of games with wild finishes, including Oakland coach’s Jack del Rio deciding to go for a two point conversion after a touchdown pulled the Raiders to within 1 point of tying New Orleans with 47 seconds left.
Of the 14 games played through Sunday, 4 were decided by a single point and 10 of the 14 were decided by 7 points or less. Only one game was decided by double digits – Philadelphia’s 29-10 win over Cleveland.
It’s a small sample size, to be sure, and we will see some blowouts in coming weeks.
But often what we observe first stays with us the longest and thus the perception of close games in week one may translate to lower pointspreads on favorites in the near term until we start to see those blowouts.
Yet, along those same lines, there are a few things we should bear in mind as we prepare for week two.
We should not overreact to the results of Week 1 while at the same time we do not want to fail to react. The old saying goes that we remember what we witnesses last and that is true. The problem occurs when we put too much emphasis on what we last saw. At the same time, those results do mean something and the challenge is to put that “something” into proper perspective.
The NFL regular season – short as it is with only 16 games per team – is much like a jigsaw puzzle and we continually try to put the pieces together on a weekly basis.
Here’s a preview of this week’s full schedule of 16 games.
Jets +1.5 at Bills (41): The Jets should have extra motivation for this game after losing at Buffalo in the final game of last season when a win would have earned the Jets a Wild Card. JETS.
Titans +5.5 at Lions (47): If the line goes up the Titans will be attractive but we should see their offense have more success this week while the Lions’ offense should excel against all but elite defenses. OVER.
Chiefs +2 at Texans (43.5): Houston overcame a sluggish start to defeat Chicago 23-14. Playing a second straight home game benefits the Texans now with starting OB Brock Osweiler. TEXANS.
Dolphins +6.5 at Patriots (41.5): Miami’s offense will develop slowly under new coach Adam Gase and barring a spate of mistakes this should be a defensive contest. Both games last season and 6 of the last 8 have stayed below the total. UNDER.
Ravens -6 at Browns (43.5): It’s dangerous to lay nearly a TD in Divisional road games early in the season so the better way to support the Ravens will be through the Total. OVER.
Bengals NL at Steelers: Cincinnati will need time to adjust to the departure of several key component of last season’s offense. Expect the Steelers to be favored by slightly more than a FG. STEELERS.
Cowboys NL at Redskins: Dallas has won its last three games in Washington, both with and without Tony Romo, and the added day of rest plus seeking to avoid a second straight Divisional loss makes for an attractive situation. COWBOYS.
Saints +5 at NY Giants (51.5): Recent history suggests a shootout between Saints’ QB Drew Brees and Giants’ Eli Manning. In addition to last season’s 52-49 contest, the three prior meetings produced 79, 73, 75 total points, all since 2009. OVER.
49ers NL at Panthers: Carolina takes a huge step down in class this week and will face one of the league’s weakest offenses. As such, the Carolina offense can be aggressive and take some chances with its own defense one of the league’s best. PANTHERS.
Bucs +6.5 at Cardinals (50): The situation favors the hosts who are playing a second straight home game, have the much better defense and face a young though improving foe making a second straight road trip. CARDINALS.
Seahawks NL at Rams: The Rams will rely more on its running game behind RB Todd Gurley than the passing game which suggests they handicap as being involved in low scoring games. UNDER.
Colts +6 at Broncos (45): Denver benefits from a second straight home game and with a pair of tough road games on deck cannot afford to lose focus here against a team that played poor defensively last week at home. BRONCOS.
Falcons +4.5 at Raiders (48): Rather than being tempted into laying a seemingly short price with the hosts, look to back both team’s offenses with a play on the Total. Both teams have solid receivers capable of big plays. OVER.
Jaguars +3 at Chargers (48): Jacksonville is not one of the fan bases that travels well so the Chargers should enjoy most of the fan support, sparse thought the attendance may be. CHARGERS.
Packers -2.5 at Vikings (44.5): Minnesota opens its new stadium against its Division rival, which suggests a side play is warranted. Especially if the line move up to a FG. VIKINGS.
Eagles +3 at Bears (42.5): The Bears defense played well at Houston while the offense remains a work in progress. Philly’s strength this season should be its defense while Wentz develops with the offense. UNDER.
Last week: 10-3-1 (2 pending)