The NFL is almost 24 hours away, unbelievable. In the back of my head, I can hear NFL Analyst and Redzone host Scott Hanson saying “7 hours of commercial-free football starts now!” If that’s not some of the most beautiful words you’ve ever heard, then I don’t think this is for you. Let’s dive into the picks.
Buffalo Bills [-6, -108] VS New York Jets [+6, -108] O/U 39.5
“I’m seeing ghosts.” That quote is from Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. Scary right? It came from a week six game in the 2019 season vs the New England Patriots. The Patriots harassed Darnold in that game with arguably a worse defense then what these Bills have. What do you think the Bills are going to do? They are going to OBLITERATE Darnold on Sunday.
Both teams had some major acquisitions in the offseason. The Jets finally got Darnold some help at wide receiver and got him another offensive lineman in the draft to protect him. Adding players like Denzel Mims, Breshard Perriman, and Mehki Becton are huge for a team that struggled to play offense at points in the season. Although two of these guys are rookies it is impactful for a team that really couldn’t protect Darnold or get open for him. Only problem is throwing out two rookies vs an elite top-three defense like Buffalo is never a good thing. They should be able to expose any flaws in Becton early.
Let’s get to the addition for the Bills. In the offseason, they traded for former Vikings star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. This man is a true game-wrecker in the sense. He is an elite route runner with great hands, burst, and speed. He should open up the field for endless possibilities with young quarterback Josh Allen who took major strides last season.
The secondary for the Jets is mediocre, Josh Allen should be able to take advantage of this with new wideout Stefon Diggs. I don’t expect a lot of offense in this game though. It is only Diggs and Allen’s first game of the season together and they had no real game action to build chemistry. I expect the Bills to score in this game but not a lot. Last season, the Bills and Jets played to the tune of two under’s and neither of which were really close. The games were 16-17 in week 1 and 6-13 in week 17. Both not close to the opening total of 39.5 for this game. In his past six games against Sean McDermott-coached defenses, Adam Gase’s offenses haven’t scored more than 21 points — and the average per game is just 16.5. I can’t see a way this game goes over. The Bills have an elite defense and the Jets have nothing scary on the offensive side, especially with no chemistry.
The Jets should rollover by the 3rd quarter in this game, look for a 24-10 game. I’m taking the under in this game especially as it continues to rise and could get over 40 here soon.
Tennessee Titans [-2, -108] VS Denver Broncos [+2, -108] O/U 41
Week 1 of the NFL season is just hard to handicap, especially this season with having no sense to teams with no preseason. All the data and analytics we have comes from last season. With that said, I still believe we have an edge in this game with the Titans -2. The Titans are a super appealing team, after taking the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to the wire in the AFC championship game. They will be looking to take out some anger on the Broncos.
The offseason was a good one for the Titans. They loaded up and added two defenders, one who is a pro bowl caliber defensive lineman. Adding Jadeveon Clowney last week was massive for a pass rush which really struggled at times last season. They ranked 20th in pass rush win rate at 41 percent of the time, now with adding Clowney that number should take a rise. The scary thing for the Broncos is with that number getting better, they could be in for some trouble protecting their young quarterback, Drew Lock. Last season, the Broncos rated as a bottom-six offensive line in the entire NFL. Their pass rush success rate was 55 percent of the time. These metrics are super telling and paint a clear picture that the Titans will need star pass rushers Harold Landry and Jadeveon Clowney to really wreak havoc.
Now that we touched on the pass rush for the Titans, let’s do the same for the Broncos. Earlier this week, it was found out the pro bowl pass rusher Von Miller will likely be lost for the season with an ankle injury. That’s a major blow, especially with the status of their other elite young rusher Bradley Chubb being in doubt for week 1. If both of these guys can’t go, there is no way they will be able to get any pressure on Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry. The scary part is the pass rush for the Broncos wasn’t good last year, winning at a rate of 33 percent, and now with both of these guys probably out for the game you can’t see a way they handle the ground game or disrupt anything in the passing game.
There’s a ton of reasons to love the Titans in this game. They are clearly a better team not only on paper, but on the field. The pass-rushing factor is just so huge to me. I can’t find a way for the Broncos hanging around in this game with a second-year quarterback in his 6th NFL start with a horrible offensive and defensive line. I’m betting the Titans in this game at -2.
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