Excitement Reaches Fever-pitch as NFL Returns10 min read
A lot has changed in the NFL since February 4 2018. One thing that will never change though is the result of Superbowl LII.
However all of the fanfare is over as the return of the NFL is upon us. Philadelphia opened the season as Superbowl Champions with a nervy victory over Atlanta. However, in the NFL all that counts is getting the win.
Having got the curtain raiser out of the way attention now turns to the first Sunday football of the season. The first week is now here and we look to preview this weekends action.
Texans @ Patriots
We had to wait until week three last season for this match up, but it was worth the wait. It was a barrage of offensive play that was a joy to watch. On that occasion it was Brady and the Patriots who walked away victorious, but then rookie DeShaun Watson more than held his own against his prestigious opponent. It was only his third ever match in the NFL and he almost lead the Texans to famous win last season before going down to a 36-33 loss.
It was a mightily impressive display from the Texans and an offense that was firing on all cylinders before Watson’s injury last year. With all of their star players now back, including JJ Watt, I fancy them to go one step further tan last year and pick up the win to kick start the season.
Tom Brady and the Patriots are fancied to go all the way to the Superbowl once again this year but I have questions regarding this team following a surprisingly tumultuous off season. A raft of players left and whilst the likes of Malcolm butler, Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks have stolen the headlines I think that the loss of Nate Solder has left a hole at the Patriots. With a ferious and most importantly fresh Watt charging at him I see Brady struggling to find top gear in week one.
Texans to score in every quarter
Texans to win (moneyline)
Jaguars @ Giants
These two had a very contrasting season last year. Whilst one narrowly missed out on the biggest game of them all, the other delivered the second worst record in the league. Whilst they may have suffered last season as they struggled to a 3-13 season but there is renewed optimism in New York. With an already impressive roster they benefitted from the second pick in the draft and selected Running Back Saquon Barkley, who many considered the best player in the draft. I expect them to look to use their new weapon early in the game in order to draw coverage from star Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
It is for this reason that I see Beckham Jr scoring the first touchdown as he looks to make up for missing most of last season through injury. Plus he has that new mega deal that he needs to prove he is worth. The master of the one handed catch will be looking to make up for lost time and this time round he will have increased support with the addition of Barkley. Additionally the emergence of Evan Engram and Stirling Shepard he may be on for his best season in his short but impressive career.
Jacksonville almost went the distance last year and this was built on their stout defense, which earned the nickname ‘Sacksonville’. This impressive record enables them to recover the ball in more favourable scoring positions, thus enabling Blake Bortles to be able to exceed his talents. A lot of the Jaguars offense ran through Fournette last season and I can see the powerful RB getting off to a flying start and as they chase the game I can see him crossing for a touchdown, I see him rounding off proceedings in what will probably be a close game.
Odell Beckham Jr to score the first touchdown
New York Giants to win
Leonard Fournette to score a touchdown at any time
Bears @ Packers
What a difference a week makes, now the Midwest has a new monster. In possibly the deal of the year Chicago added Khalil Mack from Oakland. Mack, a former Defensive Player of the Year winner, signed the biggest defensive contract of all time after he joined the Bears and they will be hoping he will be a key cog in their quest to overturn their division. Having finished bottom of NFC North they will have a tough road ahead of them but their ambitious move may prove to be inspired in the long run.
I see Mack having an immediate impact and this move may just make things interesting heading into the latter half of the season and the playoff picture. However, there are a number of reason why I can’t see the Bears making the leap this season. One of them is the return of Aaron Rodgers. He signed the biggest deal in NFL history which will see him earn $33.5 million a year. Without him the Packers are an average team, with him they are among the title favourites.
They may have got rid of his favourite target in Jordy Nelson but Rodgers will have a new RedZone threat in the form of Jimmy graham. I expect these two to link up numerous times this season and I can see him targeting him a lot in this game to try and cement their new partnership. In doing so he may just clear some room for his other targets in Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison.
This game may just come too soon for the Bears but they are beginning to close the gap on the packers and I can see Khalil Mack relishing playing Rodgers twice a year from now on.
Jimmy Graham to score the last touchdown
Jimmy graham to score a touchdown at anytime
Buccaneers @ Saints
I think that the Saints might just win it all this season. They have quietly gone about compiling a youthful and extremely talented roster. so much so I don’t see it being an issue being without star player Mark Ingram. The Buccaneers on the other hand are a team struggling to find former glory. I can’t seem them causing many issues for an impressive Saints team, especially as the Bucs will be without Jameis Winston who will miss the first three games of the season through suspension.
Saints to win by 13-18 points
Saints to score in every quarter