A quick note before the preview tonight. It's been a weird off-season, it's going to be a weird season. Be sensible with stakes at least in the first few weeks. Homefield advantage might be worse, it might be better. Players are likely to get muscle injuries early on as there's been no camp, travel is weird for them. Just be sensible and don't go too heavy in the early weeks. There will be edges there as the bookies won't follow every beat writer like some of us do, finding them won't be easy, but they will be there.
Check out my NFL 2020 Season ante-post preview if you missed it, still a little time left!
Texans (8.5-9.5) @ Chiefs: Total- 53.5
The season has arrived and kicks off at 120am UK time with a battle between two of the richest young men in sports as Patrick Mahomes who signed a $500,000,000 1o year deal in the summer takes on the newly minted DeShaun Watson who signed a 4 year $160,000,000 deal of his own just a couple of weeks ago.
The Superbowl champs will raise their banner for the first time since the 1970 season after adding a second Lombardi to the trophy cabinet when defeating the San Francisco 49ers in February this year.
They are of course the favourites in the game tonight after coming back from 24-0 down to win 51-31 against the very same opposition on their way to winning the Superbowl last year, and I think they'll probably cover the spread. Head coach Andy Reid has proved time after time that he's a wizard when given extra time to game-plan, constantly winning games coming off bye weeks and his early season record with the Chiefs has been remarkable winning every game in the first 3 weeks of the season for the last 3 years.
Obviously having the best QB in the game, and one who has the potential to play 15 years at the very top of the sport helps rather a lot. Patrick Mahomes does things on the field that no other player can do and is immensely fun to watch every week. They've built to his strengths and loaded up on speed all over the field. Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson form arguably the quickest WR group in the league and Mahomes has the arm to find any of them anywhere on the field on any play.
Mahomes practically hand-picked their 1st round pick in this year's draft too with them bringing in Clyde Edwards-Helaire a running back from the record-setting LSU team who went unbeaten in college last year. He's a multi-dimensional back who had 1,400+ yards on the ground and nearly 500 through the air for them last season. That's the ideal player for Reid to plan for and many think he's going to be an instant star in the league. Think Kareem Hunt in the opener in 2017 where he destroyed the Patriots. It wouldn't shock me to see similar tonight from Clyde. Although I do have reservations about his height, so Darrel Williams might get a few touches tonight as well.
It's safe to say the Texans didn't have quite as smooth an off-season highlighted by their head coach/GM trading away Deandre Hopkins for a bag of beans and some chewing gum. A move which was largely derided around the league. Admittedly I thought it was a stupid move as well but now the dust has settled you can see the logic in the move. Hopkins wanted a new contract and the Texans either didn't want to pay it, or couldn't and it seems they used that money to help pay their elite QB. Interestingly Hopkins received a gigantic 27m per year contract extension at the Cardinals, that's ridiculous frankly.
Part of the Hopkins move had them acquire David Johnson from the Cardinals. He put up a nearly 1,000 and 1,000 season a few years back and while he's not been the same since a wrist injury in 2018 I think he's got the ability to do a job still and he'll likely be the main man for at least the first month of the season so should get a fair few carries in this one. He's also one of the better pass-catching backs in the league, maybe the only one better than his team-mate Duke Johnson.
The Hopkins move allowed them to add more depth at wide receiver as well bringing in Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb to give Watson some more targets. While neither is Nuk, Watson did have a habit of locking in on his one receiver and it was to the detriment of his team sometimes, so it will be very interesting to see how they go tonight. Brandin Cooks has 1,000 yard seasons wherever he goes but he's “questionable” for tonight which could mean he misses out. I'd imagine it will be Kenny Stills taking his spot should he miss. They've got a ton of pace now with Will Fuller fit for the few games he plays each year. He's electric and the stats when he's on the field compared to not are significant so he should have a big game tonight.
Bit of a muddled preview, but I'm trying to keep things a little more succinct!
The Chiefs should win and win comfortably (covering the spread), they should win most games this season in fairness, but the Texans and Watson are more than capable of putting up points so I have to lean over the total on this one as well.
Skybet have a good looking boost on this one – Mahomes and Watson to throw 2 TDs apiece – 3/1
I like Clyde Edwards-Helaire receiving yards, I got a VERY good line, he's around 24.5 in most places now and I think you'd be good on the overs up to 30 to be honest, I can see him getting 4 or 5 receptions at least and in this Chiefs system that should be enough. I'm very much looking forward to seeing him play!
Good Luck with whatever you're on tonight and for the whole season.