Tom Brady and the Patriots will take the national stage as favorites against the New York Jets on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. The scenario rings familiar, with NFL royalty again expected to cruise against a mainstream media punching bag, but this season's result from their first showdown should be different.
National television plays a significant role in this week's picks. Week 1 is cause for heightened overreaction with a football-starved public set to amplify wins and losses in prime time.
One week into the NFL season, Peyton Manning, along with his 9-11 playoff record and his Broncos, are Super Bowl locks in the eyes of many while Chip Kelly has spawned an offensive revolution in Philadelphia.
But while a lack of perspective leads to overstimulated betting lines to open Week 2 action, the sharps ready their fangs to cash in on heavy favorites.
New York Jets (+14) over New England (5dimes h/t Yahoo! Sports)
The Patriots are coming off a sloppy win over the Buffalo Bills, who outplayed them as a home underdog. New England turned the ball over three times versus Buffalo's two turnovers, yet still managed to escape with a victory.
New England's rhythm offense was clearly out of sync. The perennial postseason contenders opened the season with a handful of rookies, role players and an injury-prone Danny Amendola, all of whom were expected to make up production for lost Pro Bowl talent.
Preseason sensation Kenbrell Thompkins only hauled in four balls on 14 targets and was visibly lost during some plays. Even the studly Stevan Ridley added to the Patriots' erratic play with his fumble that sent him to the bench.
New England should clean up its mistakes in due time, but not overnight. The Jets will have added value, as they seek revenge for two losses to their division rivals last season, including the infamous Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble Game.
Bill Belichick will have a short week to prepare for Geno Smith, the Jets' tricky and mobile rookie quarterback, along with limited film of him. The perception of the Jets as being a circus in conjunction with too much early hype for the Patriots will result in an easy Jets' cover.
Prediction: New York Jets, 23-20
One of the top stories from Week 1 revolved around Manning's exceptional seven-touchdown performance in a high-profile revenge game against the Ravens.
Naturally, the Broncos will be prone to come down following their Thursday night rout that made the public forget about Manning's glaring imperfections.
While it's too early to harp on those imperfections, it's high time to take advantage of a line influenced by an inflated performance, even by Peyton's standards.
The Giants have more weapons on offense, especially at wide receiver, than the Baltimore Ravens and should be able to keep pace with Denver's collegian hurry-up offense.
The New York Giants will have value as a home underdog, as Denver's high-scoring showcase from Week 1 leads to a letdown.
Prediction: New York Giants, 31-28
San Diego (+6) over Philadelphia (Vegasinsider.com)
The Chargers are coming off yet another embarrassing Monday Night Football meltdown after allowing the Houston Texans to erase a 28-7 deficit in a 31-28 loss. This will be a cause for more motivated San Diego practices all week.
As impressive as the Eagles' offensive explosion looked, the Redskins entered 2013 significantly overvalued. Washington's year-to-year turnover improvement of plus-31 from 2011 to 2012 is simply unsustainable and figures to be a major factor in the team's eventual undoing.
Now, following an emotional victory over a divisional opponent on Monday Night Football, Philadelphia will host a non-conference opponent as a favorite.
The Chargers get an uptick in value following their loss despite Rivers amassing the highest adjusted yards per average of Week 1.
The inevitable growing pains for the Eagles and a new offense should surface at home.
Prediction: San Diego, 26-21
Week 1 ATS: 0-2-1