NFL Week 1 Sunday Recap: What We Learned…
With just two games remaining in the opening weekend of the 2009 National Football League season, we’re going to look back at an action-packed Sunday and some of the things that caught our collective eye. What NFL betting lessons can be gleaned from the performances put forth?
Drew Brees is a monster.
The New Orleans signal-caller set a franchise record with six passing touchdowns in a 45-27 win over Detroit, and if you ask him about it, there could’ve been even more scores. After the contest, Brees lamented his “missed opportunities,” an absolutely crazy thought when you consider he capitalized on so many of them. Brees got Jeremy Shockey his first two touchdowns in a Saints uniform after being acquired from New York in 2007; he also hit three WR targets – Devery Henderson, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem – for scores; he also connected with backup running back/fullback Heath Evans for the record-tying TD. Yet Brees thought he could’ve done more. Unreal.
Betting breakdown: The Saints easily covered the 13 points they were laying at home. This also put bettors who like to play the over on notice – the New Orleans offense is as dynamic as ever.
Jay Cutler is 0-1. Kyle Orton is 1-0.
The two QBs flipped positions this offseason after the mega-trade between Chicago and Denver; many expected Cutler to soar in his Bears debut and for Orton to struggle in his first game as Broncos QB. Those prognoses were dead wrong. Orton wasn’t great (17-of-28 passing, 243 yards, one TD) but good enough to win; Cutler was awful (four interceptions, 43.2 QB rating) and it cost the Bears the game.
Betting breakdown: This was supposed to be a train wreck season for Denver, but if this game is any indication, the defense will keep them in a lot of close, low-scoring contests. Safety Brian Dawkins was everywhere.
The Jets looked good. Really good.
Starting a rookie quarterback (Mark Sanchez) and head coach (Rex Ryan) is always a dicey proposition, but the New York Jets handled it with aplomb on Sunday in a 24-7 road victory over the Houston Texans. Sanchez threw for 272 yards and limited his mistakes while Ryan, the defensive whiz that he is, had the Jets playing a relentless, ball-hawking style that totally stifled the Texans offense. Matt Schaub was held to just a 55.5 QB rating, the second worst of his 23 starts for Houston. To think the Jets were this good without the services of Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis is a scary, scary thought.
Betting breakdown: The Jets were four-point road dogs against an average Houston team. New York won’t see too many lines like that this year.
The Rams looked bad. Really bad.
Victims of opening weekend’s lone shutout, St. Louis looks like one of the most anemic offensive teams in the league. Marc Bulger completed just 17-of-36 passes for 191 yards, looking shellshocked and tentative all the while; his timid performance set the tone for the rest of his mates as Steven Jackson was a non-factor on the ground and Donnie Avery did nothing in the receiving game. The lone bright spot for the Rams was the play of rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis – he led the team with 14 total tackles and recovered a fumble.
Betting breakdown: Ugh. Even the most avid sports betting enthusiast will have a hard time stomaching St. Louis this season. The Rams could be the heir to Detroit’s 0-16 crown.
Surprising Player of the Week
How many fantasy owners had Saints backup running back Mike Bell in their lineup this weekend? The journeyman had a day to remember, galloping for 143 yards on 28 carries, filling in for the injured Pierre Thomas. Even though it’s only Week 1, Bell is second in the league in rushing yards, behind Minnesota’s all-world runner Adrian Peterson.