The NFL is back and anyone who thought the games would be boring has been proven wrong. Yesterday’s action was non-stop from start to finish and there’s more to come – this is just Week 1.
From amazing touchdowns, a few miscues and a handful of bad calls, the season is shaping up to be everything football fans have grown accustomed to – even if some people expected duds in the wake of no preseason games and a lack of fans in the stands. Tonight’s games will certainly see more of the same excitement from yesterday.
Giants Face Off Against The Steelers
The first game tonight will be disputed between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants. The Steelers will intend to rebound from a .500 record a year ago and challenge for the AFC North crown as they start the season. The Steelers went 8-8 in 2019, while the Giants were in third place in the NFC East at 4-12.
The Steelers averaged only 18.1 points per game in 2019, while the Giants got an average of 21.3. The Steelers go in as six-point favorites, while the over-under is 46. They can cover because the team has Ben Roethlisberger under center after being reduced to only two games a year ago due to an elbow injury. He ranks eighth all-time in career passing yards (56,545) and ninth in career touchdown passes (363). With Roethlisberger back in action, Pittsburgh should be a dominating team this year.
However, the Giants can’t be discounted, either. They can cover because quarterback Daniel Jones is about to take another step after a slick rookie campaign that put him to lead all rookie QBs with 24 touchdowns in 2019, which was also the best by a rookie in franchise history. If Jones can connect enough, wide receiver Sterling Shepard might boost his numbers from last year. He led the team with 57 receptions in 2019, his fourth straight 50-plus catch season.
Not having any preseason action or full-pad practices to analyze, calling the game becomes a little more challenging, but not impossible. The Steelers are getting -245 against +205 for the Giants, and the spread is 6 to Pittsburgh. The Over/Under for the game stands at 46 points, and this game could come in right under the cutoff.
The Broncos Meet The Titans
The second game tonight is between the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans. The Titans (9-7 in 2019) finished one game behind the Houston Texans in the AFC South, while the Broncos (7-9) won their final two games of the season to draw for second with the Raiders in the AFC West. The Broncos will play without standout linebacker Von Miller (ankle), who won two of the previous three meetings.
The Titans can cover because Tennessee will look for its fifth consecutive victory record and third playoff berth in five seasons. QB Ryan Tannehill seeks to build on a season in which he passed for 2,742 yards and 22 touchdowns, while hurling a career-low six interceptions in ten starts back in 2019.
On the other hand, the Broncos can cover because the team has shown success in season-openers, going 39-20-1 all-time. Quarterback Drew Lock will be the starter and, last season, he passed for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns, while throwing three interceptions for an 89.7 passer rating.
The game will be held at Empower Field at Mile High, and Tennessee is a three-point favorite in the while the Over/Under is 41. The Broncos are ready to bounce back from their poor performance last season, but probably won’t be able to handle the Titans. The moneyline favors Tennessee, currently at -160, but there won’t be a shortage of bettors taking a chance on the Broncos at +140. This game could break the Over/Under mark, which has already happened in about 63% of Week 1 games.
Prop Bets Drawing Interest
Prop bets have become hugely popular over the past several years and there are a couple tonight that are worth mentioning. Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is going to be tested to pick up over 47.5 receiving yards and the Over/Under sits at 112. Johnson is a rising star in the league and, last year, picked up at least 54 receiving yards in each of his final four games as a rookie.
This week, he’ll be getting passes from Ben Roethlisberger against a thin and weak Giants secondary possessing two effective corners and not much else. If Pittsburgh treats Johnson as a No. 3 wideout like it did last year, he could be in for an extraordinary game.
Roethlisberger is expected to turn up the heat tonight, as well. Odds have him getting 112 on the Over/Under to complete 280.5 passing yards, and he’s going to have to shake off the issues from last year to make it happen. On the other hand, Jones is getting odds of 123 to make it to 244.5 yards in the air. Both predictions are substantial, which means the Steelers-Giants matchup could be a very interesting game.