Week 1 of the 2014 NFL regular season is finally here. The return of football has fans across the United States ready for the intense action, and everyone is looking for the latest predictions, odds and projections for the first 16 games.
With the season kicking off Thursday night with the Green Bay Packers vs. the Seattle Seahawks, football fans will be given a marquee appetizer for Sunday’s main course of 13 matchups.
Monday Night Football will also feature two games this week, providing the masses with the dessert to complement the opening week of the season.
Here is a full list of Week 1 games and all the vital betting information you need.
|Green Bay||Seattle (-5)||8:30 p.m. (Thur.)||46||30-27 SEA|
|New Orleans (-2.5)||Atlanta||1 p.m.||51.5||31-21 NO|
|Cincinnati||Baltimore (Even)||1 p.m.||43||28-17 CIN|
|Buffalo||Chicago (-7)||1 p.m.||48.5||34-20 CHI|
|Washington||Houston (-2.5)||1 p.m.||45||27-23 HOU|
|Tennessee||Kansas City (-4)||1 p.m||43.5||30-17 KC|
|New England (-4.5)||Miami||1 p.m.||47||37-21 NE|
|Oakland||NY Jets (-5)||1 p.m.||40||20-10 NYJ|
|Jacksonville||Philadelphia (-11.5)||1 p.m.||53||33-16 PHI|
|Cleveland||Pittsburgh (-7)||1 p.m.||41||30-13 PIT|
|Minnesota||St. Louis (-4)||1 p.m.||43.5||27-20 MIN|
|San Francisco (-4.5)||Dallas||4:25 p.m.||51||31-24 DAL|
|Carolina||Tampa Bay (Even)||4:25 p.m.||39||24-17 CAR|
|Indianapolis||Denver (-9)||8:30 p.m.||55||38-20 DEN|
|NY Giants||Detroit (-5)||7:10 p.m. (Mon.)||47||27-21 DET|
|San Diego||Arizona (-3)||10:20 p.m. (Mon.)||45||34-21 SD|
Source: NFL.com and OddsShark.com.
Lock of the Week: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
There are a few games that could be considered locks this week, but gamblers want to play it safe to start the season until they can fully assess each team in game action. Those looking to make a wager should be going all-in on the Philadelphia Eagles over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Philadelphia was one of the top offensive teams in the NFL last season (ninth in passing yards and first in rushing yards per game) and returns many of the same players. The only major difference is the loss of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, but the team got Jeremy Maclin back from injury and looks to be picking up where it left off.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles struggled. With the league’s worst secondary in terms of yards allowed per game (289.8), the organization went out and added safety Malcolm Jenkins. Philadelphia is entering the second season under the 3-4 defensive alignment, and it should be time for breakout performances from Trent Cole and Connor Barwin in rushing the passer, and from the entire defensive line in stuffing the run.
According to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles have given their players plenty of time to rest and recover before they get back into game-preparation mode for the season:
A rested and focused Philadelphia team is bad news for Jacksonville.
The Jaguars were terrible in almost every facet of the game last year. The team finished 2013 31st in the league in rushing the ball and 22nd in passing yards per game. The defense was just as bad, finishing 29th against the rush and 26th against the pass. Add in the loss of Maurice Jones-Drew this offseason and the suspension of Justin Blackmon, and there are many questions left to be answered.
With former Minnesota Vikings backup Toby Gerhart getting the nod as the starting running back and Jacksonville doing its best to rebuild the wide receiver group with rookies Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, the team has tried to get better.
The Jaguars likely won’t have tight end Clay Harbor as he continues to recover from a calf injury, though. He was drafted by the Eagles in 2010, but was released last season, was picked up by Jacksonville and played in every game in 2013.
Harbor told Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union about his injury and wanting to suit up against Philadelphia:
It doesn’t look good unless something unforeseen happens. I probably won’t be a go this week, but I’ll keep pushing to get back on the field. At five weeks, I’m still a week away from what the prognosis is and that’s probably where it feels like I am. But there haven’t been any setbacks.
I really wanted to play this one, but it’s a long season.
With or without Harbor in the lineup, the Jaguars are in trouble against the Eagles.
Led by Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia’s high-paced offense will put up big points on a rebuilding Jacksonville defense. Even if the Jaguars stop Chip Kelly’s offense early, the speed with which the Eagles play will wear down their opponent’s defense and create openings.
Who ya got?
Even with the spread set at 11.5 points in favor of the Eagles, Philadelphia should be a lock to cover and utterly dominate the Jaguars in Week 1 of the regular season.
The rest of the NFC and the entire NFL will be put on notice.
Prediction: Philadelphia 33, Jacksonville 16
*Stats via NFL.com.