The opening Sunday of the first week of the National Football League’s 2013 season is in the books and while I wasn’t perfect by any means in my four picks I was respectable. As has been the case in recent years, the NFL is offering a double-header of pro football action on the first Monday night of the season.
Both games should be entertaining but I think you’ll find the opener a little more competitive. Either way, let’s look both games.
Philadelphia (+3.5) at Washington – Perhaps this stat out of the gate right away might throw some caution your way but maybe not. The Eagles are 2-9 in their last 11 games against the spread. The Redskins are 2-4 ATS in their last six games at home against Philly. There’s a lot to consider in this game however that really doesn’t have a bearing on those past numbers.
Robert Griffin III will be taking the field for the first time this season following offseason ACL surgery. He was cleared to play in the preseason but Head Coach Mike Shanahan decided against playing him. That begs the question; how rusty will he be as he sees real action for the first time since the playoffs last season?
From the Eagles’ perspective, they have undergone a serious change too. New Head Coach Chip Kelly comes in ready to unveil his high-speed no-huddle offense that we just know has to be coming. Very little if any was seen during the preseason but I have to believe its coming tonight. Is Michael Vick the guy to run this offense? I believe he is but he must take better care of the ball than he did last season and that doesn’t matter regardless of what offense you’re running.
To me, this game falls on the shoulders of Alfred Morris and the Washington defense. Look for Shanahan to give Morris lots of carries while the improved Redskins’ pass rush must fluster Vick and create turnovers. I will take Washington and give the points.
Houston (-4.5) at San Diego – Something will need to give in the nightcap of the MNF doubleheader. Houston is 1-4 ATS in their five road games while the Chargers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games at home.
Expectations are not high in Southern California despite new Head Coach Mike McCoy taking over for Norv Turner. The offensive line is one of the weaker in the NFL and QB Philip Rivers has already lost his big-play threat in Danario Alexander who is out for the year with a knee injury. Running back Ryan Mathews has shown promise but has been stifled by injury.
The Texans enter the opener with hopes of reaching the Super Bowl after falling in the divisional playoffs last year. You sure could argue everything is in place for such a run. The defense one of the top units in the league and there are plenty of weapons offensively. So where’s the doubt in this team? It’s at quarterback where Matt Schaub’s play will dictate just how far this team goes.
Schuab has big-play guys at both tight end and wide receiver but he must come up big when the team needs him and that isn’t something he has been able to do in recent years. If Arian Foster is able to go, he also provides major help to Schaub in the running and pass catching departments.
I think you’ll see a close game in the first half in San Diego but I like the Texans to pull away in the second half and cover.