NFL’S back and its time to start getting some real answers. Can the Patriots cope for a month without Tom Brady? Is Dak Prescott truly as good as he has looked in preseason? How many bacon-wrapped baked potatoes could you eat during a single Packers game and can the big lights of Los Angeles help the Rams… Football we missed you.
GAMES IN FOCUS
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (Sunday 4.25pm ET/9.25pm BST)
This will be the fourth time in five seasons that the Giants and Cowboys have met on the opening weekend. Will it also be the fourth time that Dallas emerge victorious? The excitement around Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott is certainly understandable after both rookies starred in preseason, but are they truly ready to carry their team in a game that matters? More specifically, are they ready to outgun Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr – a partnership that should put up big numbers against a Dallas defense missing both of its starting defensive ends? Giants to win $1.91
Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints (Sunday 1pm ET/6pm BST)
The Raiders believe they are ready to end a 14-year playoff drought. Who can blame them? Their offense is loaded with developing talent – Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Latavius Murray – at the skill positions and boasts exceptional blocking up front. On defense, Khalil Mack now has a pass rushing partner in Bruce Irvin, while the secondary has been upgraded with Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson. And yet, we should not forget that the Raiders went 0-4 in non-conference games last season. Have they yet acquired the maturity to go into an unfamiliar environment like the Superdome and win? The bookies make them a one-point underdog, but I think they match up well. Raiders to win $2.20
BEST FANTASY PLAY
Matthew Stafford ($7,400) @ IND
Vontae Davis (ankle), Patrick Robinson (groin) and Clayton Geathers (foot) will all miss Sunday’s game against the Lions. That’s 3/4 of the Colts starting secondary. The group that will take the field has yet to play a snap together, even in the preseason. Now they’re being tasked with slowing down a pass-heavy offense led by Stafford, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. That would be hard enough in ideal circumstances, let alone down three starters. The game total sits at 51, and while there’s evidence that supports targeting games that go over their total rather than ones with high totals, this figures to be one of the highest-scoring games of the weekend. Stafford’s price makes him the best bang-for-your-buck pick on the board, and he has the potential to be a top-three scorer at the position this week.