Ravens @ Broncos—Baltimore hit 70-yard TD pass in last minute to force OT and stun Broncos here in LY’s playoffs, but Lewis/Reed/Boldin/Pitta are all gone, and Denver (12-1 in last 13 home openers, 9-4 vs spread) has revenge motive for season opener. Broncos will miss suspended LB Miller; they were 6-1 vs spread as HFs LY, after being 5-24-2 from ‘06-’11; addition of Welker at WR should make their offense even better. Ravens covered five of last seven road openers, are 11-6 as regular season road dogs under Harbaugh, which doesn’t include three road covers in LY’s playoffs. First time in decade Super Bowl champs open on road; ’03 Bucs won 17-0 at Philly in similar scenario decade ago. Last ten SB champs are 6-2-2 vs spread in season opener the next year.
Patriots @ Bills—New England is 23-2 in last 25 series games, 8-1 in last nine visits here, with seven of eight wins by 13+ points, but 36-year old Brady is without his top five receivers from LY, so hard to say how their passing attack will fare. Since ’04, NE is 33-20-1 as AF; they’re 17-6-2 in last 25 games as a divisional AF, 5-2 in last seven road openers, 6-3 as favorite in road openers. New coach, new QB for Buffalo, looks like rookie QB Manuel will get nod over undrafted FA Tuel. Bills are 3-9-1 in last 13 games as an AFC East home dog, 5-9-1 overall as home dog since 2008. Bills covered four of last five home openers, with four of those five games going over total. Average total in last four series games is 70.8. Over last three seasons, Patriots are +70 in turnovers, Buffalo -31.
Titans @ Steelers—Pittsburgh won its last ten home openers, going 8-2 vs spread, 7-2 as favorites; their last four home openers stayed under total, as have 13 of Titans’ last 16 road openers. Pitt won three of last four games vs Titans, winning by 3-8-21 points. Tennessee lost four of last five visits here, with three of last four losses by 21+ points- they’re 6-6 as road dogs under Munchak, 5-4 in non-divisional games. Since ’06, Titans are 28-19-1 as single digit dogs. Steelers are -23 in turnovers last two years, after being +31 from ’04-’10; they’re going to try and run ball more, to take heat off defense/Big Ben, but OL hasn’t looked good in exhibitions. Over last three years, Pitt is 9-6 vs spread in non-divisional home games; they’re 22-22-1 as HFs under Tomlin. Titans lost 16-14/ 38-10 in road openers under Munchak.
Falcons @ Saints—Payton returns to Superdome sidelines after year suspension. Saints are 11-3 in last 14 renewals of this 46-year old rivalry; Falcons lost eight of last nine visits here, with four of eight losses by 8+ points. Saints covered five of last six NFC South home games; they’re 8-4 in last dozen games with spread of 3 or less points, but under Smith, Atlanta is 23-10-2 vs spread in low spread games. Falcons are 8-5 vs spread in last 13 tries as road dog, but just 2-5 in last seven as a divisional road dog- they’ve lost five of last six road openers, with seven of their last nine going under total; Payton is 3-0-1 in last four tries as favorite in HO. 11 of Saints’ last 16 Superdome openers also stayed under, but nine of last 11 series totals were 48+.
Buccaneers @ Jets— Revis returns to old home with former Rutgers coach Schiano; Tampa Bay is 26-47 SU on road since ’04, 6-11-1 vs spread in last 18 games as road favorite. Bucs lost five of last seven road openers, with four of last five going over total. Rex is 3-1 in home openers here; they were 4-13 in last 17 HOs before he became coach. Jets won nine of ten games vs Bucs, winning all six played here, with four of six wins by 15+ points. Jets are 3-2 as home dogs under Ryan, but 8-16 vs spread in last 24 games vs NFC foes. Gang Green is 15-10 under Ryan in games with spread of 3 or less points, 10-7 at home. Not sure how much home field edge Gang Green has if they get off to rough start; two new coordinators, HC with reduced influence, major QB dilemma– beginning to look like it’ll be Geno Smith at QB, backed up by Matt Simms. .
Chiefs @ Jaguars—Two teams breaking in new coaches; Reid is only one of eight new NFL HCs this year who has been HC previously- he’s a good one, winning his last four road openers, but Chiefs are 3-6 in this series, losing four of five visits here, with only win in ’01. This is teams’ first meeting in three years. Since 2007, KC is 1-10-1 vs spread as favorite of 3 or less points- they were 0-5 LY in games with spread of 3 or less, part of reason why coaching change was made- they’re 3-8 in. Bradley was DC in Seattle; since ’07, Jags are 8-18 vs spread as dogs of 3 or less points- they’re 8-16 vs spread in last 24 games as home dog, 3-8 as non-divisional home dog. Over last five years, Chiefs are just 12-28 SU on road- they are 1-2 as road favorites since ’07, favored in only three of last 48 road tilts.
Bengals @ Bears—Edge to Cincy for having same HC/QB/coordinators as LY, while Chicago brought QB guru Trestman in from CFL to mentor star signal caller Cutler. Smith was just 4th coach since 1990 to get canned after winning 10+ games that season- new systems usually take some getting used to. Cincy won four of last five series games; they won four of five visits here, are 13-4-1 vs spread in last 18 games vs NFC opponents. Bengals are 4-10 in last 14 road openers (4-5 as road dog in road openers) with five of last six going over total. Bears won seven of last eight home openers, with over 7-4 in their last 11. Cincy is 10-6-1 vs spread in last 17 games as an underdog. Since ’07, Bears are 12-19-1 as home favorites, 7-13-1 in non-divisional games, but they’re 6-4-2 vs spread in last dozen games vs NFC foes.
Dolphins @ Browns— Not sure what to expect from Browns’ new head coach Chudzinski, but OC Turner is superior coordinator and will improve play of 2nd-year QB Weeden, who is older than most 2nd-year guys, having played six years of minor league baseball. This is 15th season for “new” Browns; they’ve been 1-0 once in previous 14 years, going 1-13 vs spread in home openers, with seven of last ten home openers staying under total. Miami lost eight of last nine road openers, with 14 of last 19 (and last four in row) staying under total- they’ve lost last four games vs Browns, last two by total of four points. Fish lost last three visits here, by 10-1-22 points. Unusually strong stat for Dolphins: since 2003, under a few coaches, they’re 32-16-2 vs spread in non-divisional road games.
Seattle @ Carolina—Seahawk defense will be weakened early in year by 4-game suspensions, but they’re fashionable pick to win NFC and have quality depth; Hawks are 14-5-1 vs spread in non-divisional games last two years, but they’ve also lost last six road openers and failed to cover last eight. Seattle is 14-34 SU on road last six years; they’re 1-4 as road favorites under Carroll, 5-12-1 in last 18 games on grass, 5-12 in last 17 games as a favorite of 3 or less points. Cam Newton gets new OC (Chudzinski left to be Browns’ HC) in former Bama coach Shula, not an upgrade. Panthers are 9-13 as home dog since 2006, 7-13 in last 20 non-divisional home games, 2-7 in last nine home openers (3-10 vs spread in last 13) and 7-6 in last 13 games where spread is 3 or less points. Home team won five of six series games; Seahawks’ 16-12 win here LY was their first in three visits here, in state where Russell Wilson played three of his four college years.
Minnesota @ Detroit—Vikings traded up to get WR Patterson in effort to balance offense by upgrading passing game to take pressure off star RB Peterson. Minnesota is 22-5 in last 27 series games (won 20-13/34-24 LY); home teams won five of last seven in series, as Vikes lost two of last three here after winning seven of eight here before that. Minnesota’s last five series wins are by 7+ points, their last seven series losses are by 7 or less points. Since 2008, Vikings are 3-8 as divisional road underdog; they’ve lost seven of last nine road openers, dropping last three by 5-7-3 points. Detroit is 11-5-1 vs spread in last 17 home openers, with four of last five going over total; Lions are 3-5-2 in last 10 tries as a divisional home favorite- they’re 8-3-4 in last 15 games where spread was 3 or less points, 8-8 as home favorite overall in Schwartz era. Seven of Vikings’ last nine road openers stayed under the total.
Oakland @ Indianapolis—Odd stat on Raiders; they’re 11-23 vs spread in last 35 games as a non-divisional road underdog, 18-2 in last 20 games as a divisional road dog- overall since ’08, they’re 22-17 as road dogs, but covered just four of last 19 games on artificial turf. Colts lost OC Arians to Arizona, brought in Luck’s old OC from Stanford; they’re 11-17 as home favorites since ’08, 3-7 in non-divisional games. Indy won eight of last ten home openers, covering six, but most of that was with Manning under center. Oakland covered four of last five as an underdog in road openers; QB Pryor is making his first road start. Raiders are 8-6 in series, losing last three, with road team winning four of last five meetings; this is Oakland’s first visit to Indy since 2004- they won two of three prior visits. Over is 10-3-1 in last 14 Raider road openers.
Arizona @ St Louis—Cardinals hired Arians as HC, Palmer as QB to upgrade offense that finished last in rushing three of last five years, and gave up 162 sacks last three years (-49); they’re 4-20 SU in last 24 road games, but have won seven of last eight visits here, their former home. Rams upgraded OL and have new WRs, expectations are higher for QB Bradford in Fisher’s second year as HC. St Louis swept Redbirds 17-3/31-17 LY, after losing 10 of previous 11 games in this divisional rivalry. St Louis has no recent successful trends; they’re 9-19 in last 28 games as a home favorite, 2-10 in divisional games; they’ve lost five of last six home openers (1-6-1 as favorite in HO’s), while Arizona won four of last five road openers, covering all five games under previous HC Whisenhunt (now OC in San Diego). Cardinals are 8-6-1 as road dog last two years, but covered just two of last seven as a road dog vs NFC West opponents. Four of last six series totals were 32 or less.
Green Bay @ San Francisco—Last year was first time in decade Super Bowl loser covered its opener the next year. 49ers beat Pack twice LY, 30-22 in opener at Lambeau, then 45-31 in home playoff game, ending 1-13 series skid (five of 13 losses were playoff games) vs Green Bay, which is 6-2 in last eight visits here, with last win back in ’06. Niners are +37 in turnovers in two seasons under Harbaugh; they were -21 the four years before that; they’ve got injury issues (Crabtree/Willis) early this year, and are shaky at #2 QB behind Kaepernick, with Smith off to KC. SF is 11-3-1 as HF under Harbaugh, 8-1 in non-divisional games- since ’09, they’re 23-7-1 SU at home. Packers won six of last seven road openers; they’re 17-7-1 as road dog under McCarthy, but they’re 4-6 in last ten non-divisional road games. Niners won six of last eight home openers; they’re 8-1-1 vs spread in last ten. Last five series totals were all 49+.
Giants @ Dallas—Cowboys are hideous 3-17 as home favorite under Garrett; they’ve covered only five of last 21 divisional home games, are 5-12-1 in last 18 games where spread was 3 or less points. Enter 73-year old (new DC) Monte Kiffin, whose mission is to upgrade Dallas defense that allowed 34 ppg in losing its last four home games to Giants, who are 8-3 in last 11 games vs Cowboys, with road team winning five of last six meetings. Big Blue covered seven of last ten tries as road underdog, 14 of last 21 divisional road games- they’re 14-7-1 vs spread in last 22 games where spread was 3 or less. Cowboys are 5-2 in last seven home openers, but failed to cover last five, all as favorites. Giants are 7-5 as dogs in road openers, 4-3 in last seven SU; 11 of their last 13 road openers went over total. Giants have some injury issues on OL, potential problem for less-than-mobile QB Manning. Seven of last eight series totals were 45+.
Philadelphia @ Washington—Condition of RGIII’s rehabbed knee main issue here, especially with backup Cousins (foot) also hurt; Redskins swept Philly 31-6/27-20 LY, after losing five of previous six series games. Iggles won five of last seven visits here, but were -38 in turnovers in Reid’s last two years, which is why he is in KC now. Will Vick protect ball better in Kelly’s offense, especially with WR Maclin out for year? Since ’06, Philly is 17-7 as road dog, 14-7 vs spread in last 21 divisional road games- they won last four road openers, covering eight of last 12. Washington is 9-2 in last 11 home openers (1-4-1 vs spread as favorite); since ’06, they’re just 8-17-1 as home favorites. Odd stat; over last five years, Skins were favored in only two of 15 divisional home games. Seven of Redskins’ last ten home openers stayed under total; over is 3-1-1 in Philly’s last five road openers. RGIII is expected to play and be close to 100%.
Houston @ San Diego—Before he got fired, Norv Turner made point of saying talent level of his team wasn’t very good; Chargers were 3-5 at home LY, after being 37-11 from ’06-’11- they won last three home openers, by 25-7-28 points. Last five years, San Diego is 1-3 as home dog; favorites are 9-4 vs spread in Chargers’ last 13 non-divisional home games.. Bolts are 4-0 vs Houston, winning by average score of 29-14; Texans lost 24-3/35-10 in visits here, but last one was ’07, before they were good. Last two years, Houston is 7-0-1 in games with spread of 3 or less points; they’re 11-8-1 in last 20 non-divisional road games, 11-5 SU on foreign soil last two years. Texans won five of last six road openers (2-0-1 as favorites). Health of Texans’ star RB Foster is in doubt; Tate would get his carries if he’s unable to play. Over is 7-3 in Houston’s last 10 road openers, 8-2 in Chargers’ last ten home openers.