The long wait is over and week one of the NFL regular season is finally here, with a full 15-game slate scheduled for this weekend. The NFL schedule offers some excellent value with a trio of road teams that are being a bit undervalued, so it makes sense to make the plays on visiting teams that would be much bigger favorites if they were playing at home.
2013 NFL Week One Odds
Notable Play #1: Patriots (-9.5) @ Bills
The Patriots dealt with as much or more adversity than any other NFL team this past offseason, but the one constant that matters is that Tom Brady is the quarterback and Bill Belichick is the head coach, which means New England has a chance to go to the Super Bowl. The Patriots lost a ton of weapons on offense, but no quarterback has done a better job adjusting to new weapons from year to year over the last decade than Brady, who has put up Pro Bowl-caliber numbers with Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell as his top two receivers before. Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins are an underrated trio of receivers and rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld has really emerged as a legitimate threat as the No. 2 behind Rob Gronkowski. The defensive front-seven is very talented as well, and New England matches up well against a Bills’ team that is missing the top two quarterbacks on its depth chart in Kevin Kolb and rookie EJ Manuel. That leaves undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel and journeyman veteran Matt Leinart to compete for the No. 1 job week one, and neither will have much of a chance to trade scores with Brady and an underrated offense that will be looking to make a statement.
Notable Play #2: Buccaneers (-3) @ Jets
Speaking of injuries, the Jets signed Brady Quinn after he was cut from the Seattle Seahawks earlier in the week and could end up needing him if Mark Sanchez can’t play and rookie Geno Smith struggles. Smith is clearly not ready to be an NFL starter, but has been thrust in to the spotlight thanks to a shoulder injury that could keep Sanchez out in week one. New York was already an underdog heading in to week one against the Buccaneers even with Sanchez, and as bad as he was a year ago this game could be even worse for the home fans if Sanchez doesn’t start. Tampa Bay did an excellent job addressing its deficiencies on defense by trading with New York to acquire cornerback Darrelle Revis and signing Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson, and they should have no problem opening with a statement road win against a Jets’ team that has far too many holes.
Notable Play #3: Seahawks (-3) @ Panthers
Seattle is listed as the No. 1 team according to some NFL power rankings, so opening on the road against a Carolina team that didn’t do much to upgrade a roster that failed to make the playoffs a year ago shouldn’t be an issue. The Seahawks have Super Bowl aspirations and that will likely require a first-round bye and home field advantage for the playoffs, so look for them to come out close to perfect in week one, led by a stifling defense that will be all over Cam Newton from the outset. Russell Wilson is poised to be even better in year two as an NFL starter, and the Panthers’ defense is not good enough to contain what the Seattle offense brings to the table.
Click here to get a full list of odds for week one of the NFL regular season.