We still have two games to go on Monday night, but what a fantastic opening weekend of the NFL season. The week started with reigning Super Bowl champion Denver winning at home against Carolina on a missed Panthers field goal at the end, and Sunday concluded with New England winning at Arizona (in a potential Super Bowl preview) without Tom Brady on a missed Cardinals field goal at the end. There were four games that were decided by one point, the first time in NFL history that four games have been decided by exactly one point on kickoff weekend.
The Patriots are clear big winners of Week 1 and showed why they should never be doubted under Bill Belichick. Now the Patriots could be favored in every game the rest of the way as their next three are at home -- they are -6.5 this week vs. Miami -- and then Brady's back. New England beat the Cardinals without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is being called week-to-week due to a hamstring injury. More good news for the Pats: the rest of the AFC East lost in Week 1.
You'd have to say the AFC West looked like the best division in the first week. The Broncos had that big come-from-behind win. Oakland rallied to win in New Orleans when Coach Jack Del Rio decided to go for the winning 2-point conversion in the final minute when probably every other coach in the NFL takes the nearly sure 1-point PAT and sends it to OT. The Raiders became only the fourth team to score the game-winning points on a 2-point conversion in the final minute of the fourth quarter and the first to do so in a season opener.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs were down 27-10 in the fourth quarter at home to San Diego but won 33-27 in overtime. It was K.C.'s 11th straight regular-season win and it became the first team in league history to extend a winning streak of at least 10 games with at least a 21-point comeback victory. The Chargers obviously are the only AFC West team to lose.
Here are some Week 2 games and opening lines that caught my eye. I won't touch on the Thursday game (Jets-Bills), marquee Sunday game (Bengals-Steelers) or Monday night game (Eagles-Bears) as I will be previewing those.
Jaguars at Chargers (-3, 48): San Diego's Mike McCoy was one of the betting favorites at sportsbooks to be the first coach fired this year, and his seat just got way hotter after that choke job in Kansas City. Ditto for Jacksonville's Gus Bradley, who was a third-favorite on that prop, although the Jags did play well in a close home loss to Green Bay. More bad news for McCoy: it hasn't been confirmed as of this writing, but it sounds like the Bolts might have lost top receiver Keenan Allen to a season-ending torn ACL. What a shame as that San Diego offense looked quite potent with everyone healthy. Allen had six catches for 63 yards vs. Kansas City before going down. He was on pace for a monster season in 2015 but was lost after eight games. Philip Rivers just can't catch a break. San Diego won in Jacksonville 31-25 in Week 12 last year behind 300 yards passing and four TDs from Rivers. The losing coach here is in massive trouble. This also could be the final home opener in San Diego for the Chargers if a vote on a tax hike for a new stadium doesn't go their way on Nov. 8. The pick: Jaguars and over.
Saints at Giants (-4.5, 51.5): New year, same problem for the Saints as they are simply atrocious on defense. Drew Brees was spectacular in Week 1 in throwing for 423 yards and four touchdowns vs. Oakland. It was Brees' 14th career 400-yard passing game, tying Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history, and Brees could easily break that mark this week going against Peyton's brother Eli. New Orleans allowed 486 yards to Oakland in the loss and 22 fourth-quarter points. In addition, the Saints' best cornerback, Delvin Breaux, broke his leg and obviously is going to be out a long while. The other three cornerbacks active for the Saints on Sunday all made their NFL debuts, so things could get ugly. I previewed the Giants-Cowboys game in Week 1 here at Doc's and took the Giants at pick'em. They won 20-19 on an Eli Manning TD pass to Victor Cruz with about six minutes left. Dallas might have had a chance for a late long field-goal try at the end of regulation, but receiver Terrance Williams had one of the stupidest plays you will ever see, failing to get out of bounds on the final play when Dallas was out of timeouts. He easily could have. New York lost in New Orleans last year 52-49, the third-highest scoring game in NFL history. Brees threw for 505 yards and seven scores and Manning 350 and six. The pick: Giants and over.
Packers at Vikings (+2.5, 45): This is the Sunday night game and Minnesota's first one that counts in the team's gleaming new U.S. Bank Stadium. I have a feeling we might see a Bovada special prop this week asking if any other team this year will win a game without scoring an offensive touchdown. That's what Minnesota did in Week 1, 25-16 at Tennessee. Shaun Hill got the start at quarterback and wasn't very good, going 18-for-33 for 236 yards. Adrian Peterson was held in check in gaining 31 yards on 19 carries. Minnesota scored two defensive touchdowns, an Eric Kendricks 77-yard INT return and Danielle Hunter 24-yard fumble return. I'm fairly confident the Vikings will turn it over to Sam Bradford under center in this one. The Pack were pushed to the limit in Jacksonville, winning 27-23. Jordy Nelson caught six passes for 32 yards and a TD in his first game since the 2015 preseason. Aaron Rodgers threw for two scores and ran for another. Green Bay top cornerback Sam Shields might have suffered a concussion in the game, so keep an eye on his status here. Of course, these teams met in Week 17 last year at Lambeau in an NFC North winner-take-all game and the Vikings won a 20-13 upset. The pick: Vikings (if it's Bradford) and under. I'm hoping this gets to 3 or higher as the spread already has risen a half-point.
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