NFL Thursday Night Football
NFL Thursday Night Picks Week 1
New England fans will witness their fifth Super Bowl banner lifted to the rafters, supercharging the faithful for an early season game with playoff implications. Make no mistake – the Patriots will make the playoffs as AFC East divisions champs, leaving the Dolphins, Bills and Jets in the dust.
Coach Belichick seeks to accomplish another AFC championship in 2017, securing home field advantage during the run-up to the Super Bowl. Kansas City needs a good start to outpace the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, tough divisional rivals who will challenge the Chiefs.
New England became a better team in the offseason, which gives them the ability to absorb serious personnel losses like Edelman. Even if they lose another solid receiver, a next-man-up mentality ensures that coach Belichick’s plans remain well executed. The over/under should be a breeze, as long as the Patriots don’t shut out the Chiefs. NE should be able to win by a TD and a field goal, so don’t hesitate to take a spread of 9.5 points. The moneyline (-550) provides less value as a safe bet.
KC Chiefs at New England Patriots Preview
Once again, the New England Patriots are overwhelming favorites to dominate the NFL in 2017. Last year, the regular season was a cakewalk for Belichick’s boys. The defense allowed a league-low 250 points, while the offense enjoyed another superb year, scoring 441 points despite Brady missing four games because of the deflategate scandal. Overall, the Patriots earned a differential of 12 points per game. Their closest competitors were the Atlanta Falcons, who finished the 2016 regular season with an 8.4 point per game differential.
Kansas City was no slouch last year, powering their way to the top of an extremely competitive AFC West. The Chiefs finished fourth in point per game differential with a 4.9 rating, mostly under the power of a stingy defense. Offense wasn’t a problem – Kansas finished above the middle of the pack for points. Their defense was close to elite, allowing only 311 points. If the Steelers didn’t lay down a 43-point beatdown in week four last season, the Chiefs defense would have ranked better than the Broncos and Seahawks.
Quarterback Alex Smith will lead the offense again this year, and he’ll perform within expectations, continuing his trend of maintaining a passer rating of 90+. Coach Andy Reed declared that rookie Kareem Hunt will be the starting running back on week one. He has little choice in the matter due to injury. Spencer Ware damaged the LCL and PCL in his knee during the preseason, forcing Reid’s hand. If healthy, Ware would’ve breached the 1,000-yard mark for rushing this season.
Similar to last year, Washington will lean on their defense to maintain an elite edge all season. All-pro contributors like Eric Berry and Marcus Peters will help lock down the opposition on most nights. As a unit, the Chiefs defense is deceptively deep, allowing coach Reid to throw a variety of looks at QBs. Only elite offenses – like the Patriots – will seriously challenge the Chiefs defense.
Incredibly, the New England Patriots improved their lineup after winning the Super Bowl. Losing Edelman removes a favorite Brady target, but Brandin Cooks will probably step up to fill Julian’s cleats. There’s a good chance that Cooks will enjoy a career year in 2017, becoming a lite version of Randy Moss in the process.
NFL Thursday Night Football Schedule
|Sep. 7||Chiefs||at||Patriots||Patriots (-9.5, -550, Over 48.5)|
|Sep. 14||Texans||at||Bengals||- -|
|Sep. 21||Rams||at||49ers||- -|
|Sep. 28||Bears||at||Packers||- -|
|Oct. 5||Patriots||at||Buccaneers||- -|
|Oct. 12||Eagles||at||Panthers||- -|
|Oct. 19||Chiefs||at||Raiders||- -|
|Oct. 26||Dolphins||at||Ravens||- -|
|Oct. 29||Vikings||at||Browns||- -|
|Nov. 2||Bills||at||Jets||- -|
|Nov. 9||Seahawks||at||Cardinals||- -|
|Nov. 16||Titans||at||Steelers||- -|
|Nov. 30||Redskins||at||Cowboys||- -|
|Dec. 7||Saints||at||Falcons||- -|
|Dec. 14||Broncos||at||Colts||- -|
|Dec. 16||Bears||at||Lions||- -|
|Dec. 16||Chargers||at||Chiefs||- -|
|Dec. 23||Colts||at||Ravens||- -|
|Dec. 25||Steelers||at||Texans||- -|
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