NFL Week 1 Review
The first week of the NFL season
is in the books and what stood out was line movement.
In short, the line movement went in the right
direction, meaning the public and the sharpies
were correct most of the time. This didn’t
appear to be the case with the first game of the
season, as the Steelers went from a 6 point favorite
down to minus 1 because of the injury to Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers won by 11, and the line movement
was even incorrect on the total, which was bet
down to 36 but sailed over the total.
However, the first Sunday was a very different
story. Eleven of the first 13 NFL games were bet
under the total with the line movement going steadily
downward. And nine went under the total. What
bettors were going by was past history: Defenses
are ahead of the offenses this time of year, and
games are more common going under the total. 3
weeks ago I wrote an article about how in Week
1 of the NFL preseason the unders went 11-4-1.
That was the case in Week 1 of the regular season,
as well. In fact, nine of the first 10 games Sunday
went under the total.
The largest line movement on a total was the
Saints/Browns game, which was bet down from 40
to 36. Everyone collected as the Saints won 19-14.
This wasn’t a surprise as the Saints had
a terrible showing offensively during preseason
as they tried to get acclimated to a new playbook
of head coach Sean Payton. And Cleveland had all
kinds of injuries to its offensive line plus they
were working in a very young quarterback in Charlie
Frye. The Browns ended up with 186 total yards
in the opener against what is expected to be a
bad Saints defense.
There was considerable line movement for the
under in the Falcons/Panthers game, going from
42 to 38.5. Both teams run conservative, run-oriented
offenses that eat up the clock. Atlanta won the
game 20-6 as Carolina could muster only 215 total
yards (65 rushing).
Not having game-breaking WR Steve Smith was
a major blow to the Carolina offense, as well.
This is nothing new as teams are generally slow
to come together on offense throughout September.
In addition, the underdog covered 11 games this
week. Dogs often bark loud the first two weeks
of the NFL season as so many changes have taken
place. Ten teams have new NFL head coaches. That’s
a lot of new personnel and playbooks to learn.
Speaking of playbooks, how about the Lions and
new offensive coordinator Mike Martz? Neither
team topped 265 yards as the ball-control Seahawks
won (yawn) 9-6. Most remarkable about that game
was Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck, who completed
The Ravens' defense, as usual, looked incredibly
sharp, shutting out Tampa Bay and allowing just
142 total yards while forcing 3 turnovers! Getting
Steve McNair makes this an interesting team to
watch. McNair completed 17 of 27 passes for 181
yards and no interceptions against the league's
No. 1 defense from last season. RB Jamal Lewis
looked strong, and the Ravens sacked Chris Simms
twice and held Carnell "Cadillac" Williams
to 22 yards rushing on eight carries.
One other thing to keep in mind is the Denver
Broncos. Denver’s great running game was
fine against the Rams, rushing for 161 yards,
a strong 6.4 yards per carry. Yet, they lost 18-10
as Ram RB Stephen Jackson had 121 yards, 5.5 ypc.
The goat was (who else?) Bronco QB Jake Plummer,
who threw three picks and no TDs, reminiscent
of the egg he laid in his last game that meant
something – the AFC Championship home loss
to Pittsburgh. When will Mike Shanahan turn to
rookie QB Jay Cutler? I wouldn’t be surprised
to see sooner than later, meaning before the end
of the season.
Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.
Bryan Leonard is a documented member of The Professional
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