Monday Night – Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
This is a game that could go either way, but looking at their defenses last year, it could be a high scoring affair. The Bears were somewhat respectable, giving up 5527 total yards, good for 14th in the league, but the Eagles 6426 yards against was only better than the Saints and Giants.
The Bears did give up the 22nd most rushing yards per game (120.9) but the Eagles gave up a league worst 134.6 RYPG. Will the Bears be hoping they didn’t let Matt Forte walk at halftime?
These two played every year between 2007 and 2011, but have only played once since then, a Sunday nighter on December 22, 2013 in the City of Brotherly Love. Their fans were sure loving it that night, when gang green scored 21 in both the 1st and 4th quarters en route to a 54-11 win.
LeSean McCoy (133) and Bryce Brown (115) both rushed for over 100 yards with Nick Foles throwing for 230 yards and 2 TD’s. Philadelphia held the Bears to 61 rushing yards that night. The Bears needed the win to help secure an NFC North title, setting up a Week 17 showdown with Green Bay. GB won and went to the postseason, losing to the 9ers in the Wild Card round.
The OVER has paid in each of the last 3 between these two, and four of the last 5. The Bears are 6-4 ATS but 4-6 SU in the last 10. See how Week 1 goes and I might get a little bullish after a few on Monday night.
Sunday Night – Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
It was a tale of two cities last year between the Packers and Vikings with the road team victorious in the two they played. Green Bay killed Minnesota in game one in Week 11 with the Vikings taking the win in Wisconsin and earning a postseason berth Week 17.
Week 11 saw both James Jones and Kyle Rudolph score a touchdown, catch six balls for over 100 yards. Even though the game stats where very close when looking at first downs, plays, yards, drives, passing, rushing yards and turnovers; the big stat that jumps out are penalties. Green Bay was penalized 4 times for 19 yards while the Vikings had 8 penalties for 110 yards.
The score was the other big difference, the Packers won 30-13.
The Week 17 match-up saw Minnesota come into Lambeau and snatch a 20-13 victory although Teddy Bridgewater threw for under 100 yards. It was a field goal game in the first half, with Blair Walsh making good from 39 and 32 yards and Mason Crosby hitting from 28.
The third quarter saw two Viking TD’s, a 3-yard run by Adrian Peterson and a 55-yard fumble return for Captain Munnerlyn. The Pack answered finding paydirt through the air, a 16-yard catch from one Rodgers to another, Aaron to Richard. GB managed three more off the foot of Crosby, but that’s as close as they would come.
The 20-13 Viking win gave them their first NFC North title since 2009 and first playoff appearance since 2012. Unfortunately the Vikings postseason lives were cut short after Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the waning seconds of their Wild Card game against the Seahawks, one they lost 10-9.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
The history of why there hasn’t been football in Los Angeles since the 1994 season is too much for today, but between earthquakes, the Raiders and no true place to call home, the Week 2 divisional match-up between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks will be the first game in LA since 1994 NFL season.
After opening the season as part of the ESPN Monday night double-header in San Francisco, the Rams host the Seahawks at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, their home until construction of City of Champions Stadium is complete, scheduled to open in 2019.
On top of the hubbub of the relocation, the Rams stunned the Seahawks to open the season last year with a 34-31 overtime win and followed it up with a 23-17 win in Seattle Week 16. The Seahawks won’t be looking for revenge as much as the Bengals/Steelers game, but it’ll be close.
The Rams have won 3 of the last four games between these two, both SU and ATS, but the Seahawks are still 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in the last 10 while the UNDER is 7-3.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
The divisional rival game I’m most looking forward to Week 2 will be at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh as the Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals. These two flat out hate each other.
On December 13th last year, these two met in Cincinnati, a game when QB Andy Dalton injured his right thumb making a tackle after throwing an interception. The two bitter rivals met again in the Wild Card round, again in Cincy.
With Andy Dalton still out, A.J. McCarron is behind center to start a game that would get ugly. Big Ben is at his usual post, after getting the shit knocked out of him all year. The Steelers would take a 6-0 lead into halftime, getting it to 15-0 at the end of 3.
The Bengals would stage a comeback in the 4th, scoring unanswered three times to take a one-point 16-15 lead. And all hell breaks loose…
Pittsburgh ball on their own 9…five Roethlisberger completions, couple incompletions, and a 4-yard run and we’re 4th and 3 on the Steelers 41. Complete to Antonio Brown for 12 yards…first down! Timeout Pittsburgh (0:22 left.)
The next play Ben goes deep to Brown when linebacker Vontaze Burfict tries to separate his head from his shoulders; resulting in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
Next play, tempers flare, emotions running high, and Pacman proceeds to tell the ref exactly what he thinks (and he has a way with words if you’ve ever heard Pacman)…resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the second 15-yard penalty on back-to-back plays.
So we all know what happens, Boswell makes a 35-yard field goal, Steelers win 18-16 and lose to the Broncos a week later. Bottom line, this is one to circle on your calendar!
The Steelers are 6-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 against the Bengals (1 push), and those same 10 have resulted in the UNDER seven times, including 2 of three last year.