Culture of Hoops

The NFL Season Starts with the Classical Rivalries and Rookie QB Face-Off

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

The long wait is over – the new NFL season starts this weekend. It opened with the New England Patriots victory Thursday night, but the main action as usual awaits on Sunday. There will be blood, sweat, and tears – we can promise you that.

The Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots gave start to the 2015 NFL regular season. The reigning champions defended their home field and won the game 28-21. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw all 4 touchdown passes to his tight ends Rob Gronkowski (3) and Scott Chandler (1). The Steelers’ offense was moving the ball pretty efficiently, but the struggles in the red zone and two missed field goals in the 1st quarter kept them from challenging the Patriots.

The first NFL week continues on Sunday afternoon with 13 games. Here are the previews to some of the most attractive matchups:

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
One of the most intriguing matchups will take place in Chitown where the Chicago Bears will host their eternal NFC North division rival Green Bay Packers. The Packers are considered the favorites to not only win the division, but also the entire NFC, while the Bears are highly unlikely to make the playoffs. Still, this iconic rivalry between these two teams is always a guarantee for an intriguing and high-scoring match.

Both teams lost their primary receivers during the preseason. Packers star wideout Jordy Nelson is out for the season with a hamstring injury, but the team re-signed veteran James Jones. The Bears will also have to play without the talented rookie Kevin White. How the teams will adapt after those losses may have a big impact in this game.

The TonyBet NFL experts expect the Packers to win by 6-7 points and given all the available information, we agree that the Wisconsin team should crush Illinois’ opposition.

Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams
A few years ago, the NFC West was widely considered as the toughest division in the entire NFL. However, mostly because of the San Francisco 49ers downswing, times have changed. Still, the Seattle Seahawks made it to the last two Super Bowls and won one of them.

While the St. Louis Rams finished last in their division for the last two seasons, they were able to challenge the Seahawks at home. Last October, the Seahawks left St. Louis beaten and it was one of only four of their regular season loses. Now the Seahawks are starting the season with a number of dilemmas at the offensive line while many NFL experts affirm that the Rams improved their offense. Therefore, the duel in St. Louis should be intriguing.

TonyBet expects Seahawks to win by 3-4 points, but we think the point difference can be even bigger – especially if this offseason’s new addition, star tight end Jimmy Graham finds a common bond with the Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Another divisional matchup with a taste of an old rivalry. Last season the Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East and went to the NFC Championship game. The New York Giants can’t share the same success as of late, but in the second part of last season, rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. exploded and now is considered as one of the best, if not the most talented wideout in the NFL.

The Giants also improved in the backfield by adding the Super Bowl champion running back Shane Vereen. On the other hand, the Cowboys lost their former star running back DeMarco Murray. Is the Cowboys’ offensive line strong enough to keep the run game at the same level with the yet unproven Joseph Randle, as well as newcomers Darren McFadden and Christine Michael?

TonyBet is predicting a Cowboys victory by 5-6 points. We are believers too. Cowboys victory even with a -5.5 disadvantage is an attractive bet.

Tennessee Titans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Get ready for the battle of the two first picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. NFL experts are almost equally divided into camps for Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose quarterback Jameis Winston with their first overall pick and is considered mature enough for an NFL starting QB job. While those on the Mariota bandwagon state he is more talented and will become one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

The Titans used their second overall draft pick on the Oregon product. Who will shine and who will become a disappointment? Symbolic week 1 matchup between the two talented rookie QBs should help answer this question.

TonyBet predicts the Buccaneers win by 3-4 points, but it’s really hard to predict the final result because of the many changes on both teams. If you decide to bet, we would suggest choosing Titans with a +3.5 advantage as the performance of the Buccaneers’ offensive line was quite disappointing this preseason.

Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will start his fourth year in the NFL with high expectations. The Colts offense has explosive power, which is envied by almost any NFL team. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is coming back after an impressive sophomore season, while the team also added a veteran wideout in Andre Johnson whose experience should help this young team improve. One more offseason addition is veteran running back Frank Gore. He is 32 already, but many believe that Gore still has fuel for at least a year or two left in his tank.

On the other hand, Buffalo Bills changed their face significantly in comparison with last season – new head coach Rex Ryan, new quarterback Tyrod Taylor, new running back LeSean McCoy, the list continues. This Week 1 duel against the powerful Colts will be a perfect test for a revamped Bills team.

TonyBet expects a Colts’ win by 3 points and we believe that it’s worth supporting them as there are many questions on the Bills squad and the Colts must find the answers.

Other Sunday Games:
Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets
Miami Dolphins @ Washington Redskins
Carolina Panthers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints @ Arizona Cardinals
Detroit Lions @ San Diego Chargers
Cincinnati Bengals @ Oakland Raiders
Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos

The first NFL week concludes with two Monday Night games. In the battle of the birds, the Atlanta Falcons will host the Philadelpha Eagles. Meanwhile, young and talented Minnesota Vikings will visit the Bay Area to challenge the San Francisco 49ers who are considered to be the team who lost the most during this offseason. Eagles and Vikings would be our favorites here.

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