WELL, well, well, that opening night show by the Kansas City Chiefs left not just Tom Brady and Co but most experts red-faced as the NFL showed us yet again you can't take anything for granted – but that won't stop us trying to predict what will happen in Week One.

Things didn't go the Patriots' way and injuries didn't help on defence  but let's not take anything away from Kansas City, who only lst two regular season games last year and did not concede a touchdown in their play-off loss to Pittsburgh.

An instant reaction has seen the Patriots eased to 9-2 with Unibet to retain their Super Bowl title with the impressive Chiefs now 16-1 – and you wouldn't rule out a rematch in the AFC title game come January.

So we move on with caution into the opening Sunday night of the season. As Thursday showed us you never quite know how teams will show up after the summer of drafts, trades, contracts and cuts. The schedule has thrown up a couple of mouth-watering offerings so let's look at the pick of the big games on offer first.

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

If opening night could be an AFC Championship preview, Sunday night at Lambeau could well be the NFC dress rehearsal as the well-fancied Seahawks visit the equally well-fancied Packers who are both 9-2 shots for the Conference title.

Although it's the first game of the season this one could well decide home field advantage in any playoff meeting – something which is crucial in this fixture with the home team winning the last five.

Seattle hasn't won in Green Bay this century and their last two defeats at the hands of Aaron Rodgers have been their worst defeats (28 and 10 points) in the last five years.

The Seahawks may be a more rounded team, and especially superior in defence but this match-up and this venue weighs heavily in the Packers' favour, warranting favourtism at 4-6 with Unibet. The Packers are also tied for the most opening day wins on 54.

Although it is the first game of the season  the possible significance of victory will not be lost on either side so expect the Seahawks to be fired up in pursuit of Rodgers early on.

The Green Bay quarterback is being backed for a huge season and his brilliance is summed up by the fact he's just three touchdown passes short of joining the 300 club – but with just 72 interceptions he's miles ahead in that statistic with Brady next best with 115 when making his 300th throw.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

Another game with wider implications than just putting an early ‘W' in the win column is the NFC East clash at AT&T Stadium. In what has now become a tradition these two old foes meet on the opening weekend for the fourth time in five seasons and third straight in Texas – the last two being decided by just a point.

It should be another tight affair with Dallas 1-2 favourites to avenge last season's two defeats to the Giants (2.80) – although those losses meant little as the Cowboys made the play-offs ahead of New York. Just one of the last eight meetings in Dallas have been decided by more than a touchdown so the 1-6 point winning margin seems the bet with the home side favoured at 4-1 with Unibet.

Dallas will have star running back Ezekiel Elliott available before he will serve a six-game ban and although the Giants bottled him up twice last year he'll be desperate to make an impact. New York's own star Odell Beckham Jnr is likely to play but will be slowed by injury so it could be the Cowboys' X-factor that makes the difference.

Steelers @ Browns

DeShone Kizer starts at QB for Cleveland but could hardly have a harder match-up to kick off his NFL career. Pittsburgh own the Browns in recent times – Ben Roethlisberger is 20-2 against them including 10 wins in Cleveland. The Browns' other rookie star Myles Garrett is out injured and their previous defensive star Joe Hayden now plays for Pittsburgh – oh and the Steelers are loaded with offensive weapons meaning they'll cover the -8.5 point spread at evens.

Raiders @ Titans

An early check on which AFC breakout candidate could go all the way. Oakland's defensive question marks mean Tennessee could put down an early marker with the win (7-20), but with big playmakers on both sides and big plays given away by both defences in pre-season the high spread of 50.5 total points looks in danger of being covered at just under evens.

Higham's Highlights

  • Packers (4-6, Unibet)
  • Cowboys to win by 1-6pts (4-1, Unibet)
  • Steelers -8.5pts (evens, Unibet)
  • Titans v Raiders over 50.5 points (evens, Unibet)
1 Comment
  1. Jordan 5 years ago


    Don’t disagree with any of these. Particularly like the overs in Tennessee. Good luck, Paul.

    As some of you know I’ve already posted the Packers -2.5 for tonight, and I’m adding a prop from the same game. Last season the Packers acquired an athletic tight end to help the Packers down the middle of the field. That helped in Jared Cook, but it wasn’t the man they really wanted. One year on and Martellus Bennett gives Rodgers the almost exact replica of his old tight end Jermichael Finlay. Bennett is a mismatch for most defences, and Seattle’s cover 3 defense leaves a lot of space in the middle of the field. Cue Cobb and Bennett to find the gaps in the zones. This total could be achieved from one reception with a bit of RAC (run after catch).

    Martellus Bennett (Green Bay Packers) Over 33.5 Receiving Yards @ 5/6 @ PP – 3 points

    Early Double

    Bills -2
    Steelers -3

    43/50 @ William Hill – 5 points

    Add Texans ML for an 8/5 Treble – 1 point

    Bonkers Bet

    Bills -2
    Bengals +3
    Texans ML
    Steelers -3
    Packers +3
    Falcons -1.5
    Giants +10
    Raiders/Titans Over 44.5 Total Points
    Eagles/Redskins Over 41.5 Total Points
    Panthers/49ers Over 41.5 Total Points
    Chargers +9 (Monday Night)

    11 fold @ 42/1 @ William Hill – 1 point

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