The Spotlight NFL Picks Against The Spread-Week 1 Thursday Night Football

Dum Dum Dum Dum! Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum….
No? Alright sorry I was trying to do the football theme. I apologize as I can’t help but feel a little excited as tonight the NFL is back! For those of you who have not heard the big announcement over on the youtube channel earlier this morning, thedailyspotlight.com is going to really become your one stop source for all things NFL. Every week, we are going to bring you The Football Drive, a football car vlog, twice a week every week throughout the NFL season. The Football Drive will be presented every Thursday and Friday right here on thedailysptolight.com and on the official youtube page of the daily spotlight, which you can subscribe to right here. Thursday’s episode will focus on your best advice for an NFL survivor pool. Many people participate in these pools and they are a lot of fun. Then on Friday’s I’ll be back with the Football Drive looking at the top NFL Picks Against The Spread choosing 7 games every single week given to you absolutely free of charge. If you followed along last season you know that I take these very serious and had a pretty good winning percentage agaisnt the spread last year. That’s not all though, every week I’ll also be dropping columns right here on thedailyspotlight.com looking at each one pf the NFL primetime games against the spread, which is probably why you’re all hereright now. Lastly, in honor of NFL kickoff, I’ll be dropping NFL preview columns every day of the weekend predicting every one of the divisions. From who’s going to finish dead last, to your divsiion winners all the way up to the next Superbowl Champions. This is going to be a lot of fun and I want it to be as interactive as possible so if you have any questions related to all things NFL, feel free to drop them in the comments section below or over at Twitter @TommyOnTheSpot. Without any further ado, let’s get right into tonight’s game.
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Denver Broncos
Not everyday you see a team heading to Mile High and walking in as the favorite but that is the case of the reigning NFL MVP, Cam Newton and company tonight. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about Denver’s plan this offseason, to sign Mark Sanchez, I was mildly impressed. Look, these are the defending champs, they have the best defense in the league, they’re coached very well and have great veteran wide receivers to boot. All the Denver really needed was a veteran presence at quarterback and they’d like be right back there competing for a title next year. Then they inexplicably cut Sanchez and decided to go with a guy in Trevor Semian, who only has one NFL kneel to his credit. Now, rather than a game manager at quarterback, the Broncos have an inexperienced quarterback who will likely cost them games.  
On the other side of the ball we have Cam Newton coming off a career year and the Carolina Panthers who are out for revenge. The Panthers, admittedly are goign to struggle in their secondary without Josh Norman but their front seven is going to be coming for Semian all night long and will knock him off his game, especially early. The Panthers also get back their number one wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin who they were able to go 15-1 without him last year and his return should take a little bit of the pressure off Cam Newton to feel like he has to do it all.  
The Panthers won’t go 15-1 again this year, but they’ll get off to a good start tonight, take the Panthers and swallow the points.  
THE PICK: The Panthers (-3) 

The Spotlight NFL Week 1 Picks Against The Spread

Last night my girlfriend and I went on a double date with two of our closest friends right here in New York City.  We went to a place called The Loopy Doopy Bar on top of the Conrad Hotel.  This place was fine, it was your typical New York City bar where you agree to pay $20 a drink, moreso for the view, the ambiance and some sort of gimmick (at Loopy Doopy it was the the ice pops they put in the drinks) then the actual drinks themselves.  In any event, there was a couple sitting next to us that I couldn’t help but people watch as they were both pretty loud and obnoxious.  It was obvious that this couple was on one of their first dates as the gentleman seemed to continue putting on a full court press on his female counterpart to get himself a little hibbity dibbity (Chris Jericho, how are ya?).  This guy was doing everything from hugging the girl mid laugh, after a joke, to going for a smooch several times throughout the night and it was clear that he was growing frustrated by the minute.  Eventually, the young lady caved and gave him a little lip service, which he immediately tried to take to the next level, only to fail…  This is when we left so I can’t tell you what happened next, maybe the two took things to the next level, but I have my doubts, it honestly isn’t important, the main point here is that my man came on way too strong.  If things didn’t go well he only had himself to blame for playing things way too hard and if he ended up scoring, where can he really go from here?  He took this lady to one of the nicest places in town on top of one of the nicest hotels in New York City all while the two were still in the feeling out process of their relationship.

The feeling out process is what I consider this week to be for football bettors around the world.  All week long I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how Sam Bradford will be the NFL’s comeback player of the year or how Tyrod Taylor will lead the Bills to the playoffs.  Both of these may be very true but they also both remind me of a team that everyone fell in love with this time last year…the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Even the most respected football guys on the planet, including SI’s Peter King, picked the Bucs to make the playoffs last year and they ended up choosing Jameis Winston with the 1st overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.  All I’m saying is that week one in the NFL, there are no sure bets because you don’t really know the teams yet.  There is a reason why every betting site on the planet is offering unreal bonuses to sign up this week and that’s because they know that people will likely lose money week one.  Thus, don’t blow your wad entirely this week and proceed with caution.  It’s fine to make the games a little bit more fun (I mean that is why we’re here) but don’t go for the home run too early or you may be left with nothing to play with for the rest of the season. With that being said, let’s get into this week’s top five best bets of the week.  (Caps denotes pick)

GREEN BAY PACKERS (-7) over Chicago Bears

I hate picking touchdown or more favorites on the road and in a rivalry game, no less, also makes me a bit nervous but I think the Packers just have too much for the Bears to keep up with.  The Bears defense ranked towards the bottom in the whole NFL last season whereas the Green Bay Packers were the NFL’s best overall offense last year.  I expect that John Fox is going to have a positive impact on the Bears but it isn’t going to happen this week.  Say what you will about Brandon Marshall, but he’s always been Jay Cutler’s favorite target and they did little in the way of replacing him, sorry Eddie Royal.  Packers should win this one running away, they’re a veteran group who’s mostly been together for some time and while the loss of Jordy Nelson will be tough, DaVante Adams looks ready to fill in admirably.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-3) over Tennessee Titans

Battle of the rookie quarterbacks tomorrow is one of the cooler matchups of the day but the main difference is that Jameis Winston has many of the weapons on his team that gave everyone reason to pick this team last year.  From all reports Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson are healthy and Mike Evans will be back and is as big of a rising stud at the wide receiver position as anyone.  Marcus Mariota on the other hand has,,,,well, Bishop Sanky. Also in a game of two rookie quarterbacks starting in their first ever career games, how do you not take the one starting at home?  Only a field goal as well.

MIAMI DOLPHINS (-4) over Washington Redskins

Like I mentioned in my preview on the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins have one of the easiest schedules to start the year and it starts with a trip to Washington.  I’m not a huge believer in the Dolphins but the Redskins make my New York Jets look like a functional organization.  The Kirk Cousins era officially begins for the skins tomorrow and while he has the weapons around him (Jordan Reed, Desean Jackson, Alfred Morris) he has not shown much consistency at the quarterback position.  It almost feels like he’s been named the starter as a way for new head coach Jay Gruden to make a goat out of RG3.  If I’m siding with Ryan Tannehill, you know i have no faith whatsoever in Kirk Cousins. (sorry SCJ)

CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3) over Oakland Raiders

In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably point out that one of these three road favorite picks are almost guaranteed to blow up in my face but it’s too tempting not to take the veteran Bengals over the young upstart Raiders by only a field goal.  I know that the trio of Derek Carr, Latavis Murray and Amari Cooper look pretty sexy but they are all still pretty young and inexperienced.  The Bengals may be boring but they are just better at every phase of the game and this is when they are at their best.  In the beginning of every season the Bengals always fool you into thinking that this may be the year their playoff run extends past the first round and this week (opening day) should be no different.  You can have faith in Andy Dalton…for now.

LOCK OF THE WEEK- THE NEW YORK JETS (-3) over The Cleveland Browns

This line really has to be a reflection of the oddsmakers lack of respect for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ability to play quarterback.  This reads like a sucker bet but it almost seems too easy.  While the defenses of both teams may be comparable, the Jets playmakers (Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Chris Ivory) are way better than the players for the Browns (Isaiah Crowell, Dwayne Bowe, Andrew Hawkins).  I also really think that that short run by Josh McCown with the Bears in 2013 was more of an aberration and a team playing as hard as possible for anyone not named Cutler then it was a reflection of McCown’s talent.  The Jets also play well during their home openers and tomorrow should be no exception.  Again, it’s only a field goal and this time it’s for the home team so I’m confident in gang green here.

That’s going to do it for me this week.  Be sure to check out my pick for tomorrow night’s Sunday Night Football game tomorrow as well as Monday Night Football Doubleheader on Monday.  Until then, what are your best bets for the week?  Be sure to let me know it the comment section below, via email at dailyspotlight2@gmail.com or on twitter @TommyOnTheSpot .