It’s never too early to talk about NFL predictions, and now that we are on the proper side of the 4th of July, our anticipation for the looming season grows with each passing day.
The top online betting site, Heritage, along with others already have Week 1 odds listed for us to ponder. And we’ve looked them over and found a couple of games during that first week of football that we really want to see because they could set a season-long precedent for the teams involved.
Green Bay Packers at the Chicago Bears -3.5
The Packers are coming off a couple of disappointing seasons, for different reasons. Are the issues in the Packers’ locker room worked? They haven’t really brought in anything new, other than Matt LaFleur; They lost Michael Cobb. That said, Aaron Rodgers should be back to 100 percent and after two poor seasons, is going to be coming into 2019 with a massive chip on his shoulder.
Despite the fact that the Bears are the clear powerhouse in the NFC North, the Packers are favorites on the early lines in 10 of their games and a pick ‘em in another. Basically, they have an easy schedule –if any NFL schedule can be considered easy. The Packers lost to Chicago in their opener last season, so they are going to be chomping at the bit for a little bit of revenge against their resurgent division rivals. Will they be able to get the win? I believe that the Bears are too dialed in at the moment for that, but this is the NFL, and 3.5 points in a serious rivalry game is a lot. Especially when you consider that facts that they are opening the season instead of the Super Bowl teams because it’s the 100th anniversary of the NFL, and it will be the 199th meeting of the Packers and Bears.
I like the Packers to keep it within a field goal and get the back door cover against the New Look Bears. This game will set the precedence for Green Bay. It’s arguably their toughest game of the season, so if they play well against an extremely tough Bears squad, they’ll carry that chip on their shoulders with pride into the rest of their schedule. If they get blown out, they could be defeated emotionally and mentally before the season truly begins.
The Buffalo Bills at the New York Jets -3
This is another game where I believe the outcome will have lasting effects on how the rest of the season plays out.
The Bills had a tremendous offseason, adding Frank Gore, John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Cody Ford on the offensive side of the ball and Ed Oliver to the defensive side. They were pretty stout on defense last year; they just couldn’t convert any 3rd downs to move the ball down the field. With Frank Gore’s A-gap ability, that is going to change. They finally have some options. And with the addition of a pair of real play-making targets in Beasley and Brown, if Josh Allen can get his herky-jerky play under control, they have a real shot of scoring some points this season.
But the Jets have solved their ball movement problem as well with their pickup of Le’Veon Bell. We may see a rejuvenated Bell after taking the season off. Then again, he may have a bit off rust to shake off, though, I doubt it. He will come in from the get-go and pound the rock. That said, the Jets’ Oline is rated 28th overall, and they’ll have to be better than what is projected if they want any solid production out of Sam Darnold –who at this point is more advanced than Allen.
The Bills addition of Cody Ford at Right Tackle instantly puts them into the middle of the NFL as far as Olines go, and probably a good ten rankings higher than that of the Jets. Ford is a rookie, so there are going to be some growing pains, but the ceiling is high.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills came into MetLife and won this game. That said, I think that the more polished Sam Darnold and the addition of Bell, along with home-field advantage, have the Jets opening their season with a win and a cover.