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The NFL is back! Well, officially it was back during the Thursday game between Tampa and Dallas, but either way, the first full Sunday is here. I’m going to have three plays for you each week – one on a total, one on a side, and one player prop. Sometimes these may be parlays or teasers as well. We, of course, will have some sprinkle plays in there too.
Jets vs. Panthers
This isn’t a glamorous game by any means. The Jets are restarting their most recent rebuild with Zack Wilson under center and the Panthers are on their third starting quarterback in three years. This time that quarterback just so happens to be Sam Darnold who started last season for… you guessed it, the Jets. I think this game has a little bit of extra meaning for Darnold, who I think is more talented than the Jets got out of him. Maybe that was due to coaching, maybe it was scheme, no matter the reason, Darnold should have a nice season with some solid weapons and none of the New York J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets stink on him.
The best of the skill players are almost all on the Panthers’ side as well. It is possible that Wilson comes out for the Jets and is effective and efficient, but it is unlikely for the rookie quarterback. The Jets defense is very young and will be a couple of years away from being a consistently dominant force. I expect Robby Anderson to likely get a touchdown as he seems to already have a rapport with Darnold (+160 for Anderson to get a TD anytime). My official play on this game though, is Panthers -3.5 I think this game should be more of a touchdown favorite for the Panthers.
Eagles vs. Falcons
The battle of the birds brings us to Philadelphia and Atlanta. Both of these teams are looking to return to the Super Bowl after being there just a few short years ago each. Jalen Hurts for the Eagles now has Heisman trophy winner Devonta Smith as an option, and officially gets the keys to the offense after the team moved on from Carson Wentz. I like the Eagles as a team and expect them to move the ball against a Falcons defense that struggled to stop people for a full game. Remember last year (and a lot can change from year to year) the Falcons lost multiple games after double-digit leads. I don’t expect the same issues to surface, but I also don’t expect their defense to be top of the line.
For the Falcons, Matty Ice is on his last legs as a starter. He still is a usable quarterback and there is nothing wrong with him, but he is not as effective as he used to be. Gone is Julio Jones, but like Hurts, an Alabama receiver is here for him to turn his attention to in Calvin Ridley. I expect Ridley to have a great season along with the highest Tight End ever drafted, Kyle Pitts. Both should have great years as Atlanta throws the ball a lot to keep up with other offenses and their defensive struggles. This game should coast to over 48.5 at -104.
For Adams and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, there is the surrounding drama that hopefully can be set aside so they have a productive year. The two of them alluded to this being their last dance in Green Bay. Rodgers has made receivers look amazing in his time with the Packers and Adams might be the best he’s had so far. Last year Adams scored 18 touchdowns in just fourteen games. I’m playing Adams to be the first touchdown scorer of the game tomorrow in the Packers vs. Saints – it is +550. Last season, obviously Rodgers looked his way a lot (thus the 18 TDs) but he scored the first touchdown in six of the 14 games he played in last year. I could see Kamara scoring first for the Saints so +500 is worth a bit on him too.