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September 10, 2017

Two NFL picks have been released for Sunday!

#1: Take Seattle Seahawks +3 spread against Green Bay Packers for 3% of the bankroll.

This is the matchup of the week as two NFC powers clash on opening weekend. Both will want to make a statement and set the tone for the rest of the season but the visitors are more likely to do so, in our opinion. Seattle's defense is arguably the best in the NFL and got even stronger after the acquisition of Sheldon Richardson this off-season! They are incredibly fast and athletic at the linebacker position and will have a better game plan for Aaron Rodgers, having been torched by him in recent meetings. Rodgers is the best quarterback in NFL by our estimates but even he'll find it tough this afternoon. He's also a guy that often needs a few full games under his belt to find his optimal rhythm. Historically, he's often performed better after Week 4 than in the first few weeks of the season when he's a bit more rusty.

If there is a time for Seattle to travel to Green Bay and get a win, it is in early September. Everyone knows how cold Winter can be in Wisconsin and for West coast teams like the Seahawks, those trips are extra difficult when weather conditions are so out of their comfort zone. For Aaron Rodgers and company, those frigid temperatures and the snow to go with it is very much 'another day in the office' but for teams like Seattle, it's not. Luckily for them, that is not the case today and so the home field advantage that the Packers enjoy at Lambeau Field in a few months won't be as prevalent as it is this afternoon. Russell Wilson and his teammates know this is an 'opportunity', early in the season to make a statement and get a result in a stadium that would normally prove more challenging and we expect them to take advantage of it.

Pete Carroll and his squad will no doubt be motivated for this one. They must be itching to get the season underway and to be able to do so against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last year will further add fuel to fire! This is a proud and determined roster that doesn't believe it is inferior to any. For them to have been picked apart by Rodgers last year, means they've been hard at work and aiming for revenge. It should be noted that they have a track record of succeeding in such situations. Pete Carroll's side is 14-1 in its last 15 games as an underdog when looking to avenge a loss in the last meeting! Look for them to come out fired up and ready to perform on the national stage.

Eddie Lacey is just one of four capable running-backs on this Seahawks roster and faces great competition for playing time but with him facing his former team this afternoon, we expect him to play a more prominent role than he perhaps will the rest of the season. Whether used as a decoy in the red zone by lining him up in the backfield, or by actually handing him the ball, look for the intelligent Seattle coaching staff to get the most of him. Lacey is no doubt motivated to show up his former team, after much criticism about weigt gain among other things. He'll be ready to go and with Rawls and Carson likely featuring as well, the Seattle offense will give Mike McCarthy's side many different looks. Russell Wilson himself of course is extremely elusive and can be unpredictable. We believe he'll find a way to exploit the matchup between reliable receiver Doug Baldwin and the Packers' secondary and walk out as underdog winners. Even if tat's not the case however, this is a closely contested matchup that could be decided by a late field goal, and for that reason, the 3 extra points are a big bonus and worth siding with.

#2: Take New York Jets +8 spread against Buffalo Bills for 3% of the bankroll.

No one is giving the Jets a chance. They have completely written them off not only in this matchup but for the season as a whole, and while we tend to agree with the latter notion, we don't with the former. New York is undoubtedly going through a rebuilding process but the same can be said more or less about Buffalo. The Bills aren't in as much of an advantageous spot as this inflated line suggests and that means covering the spread could prove difficult.

Yes, the Jets got rid of some established NFL names in the offseason and are now left with a bunch of players who are either very young, or have primarily been backup players throughout their careers. They are still NFL-calibre players however (not stars) and made it to this level for a reason. The average fan underestimates the ability of such players and overestimates the capabilities of a 'household' name. On paper, the Jets have one of the weakest if not the weakest squad going into the season but the game is not played on the field, not on paper. These players have a lot to prove and will be hungry to make a name for themselves! Some are young players looking to make a mark on the big stage while others are older players that feel they never got the chance they deserved with former team(s). That motivation to do well and prove all the doubters wrong could be the difference in this contest.

The Bills have a new coach in Sean McDermott and as a rookie NFL head coach, we believe he might need a bit time to get used to everyone that the top bosses have to deal with. This first game is more difficult than it looks at first glance because his team have been installed as big favorites and everyone is expecting them to roll against the Jets. For a coach that is simply trying to get his first 'W', he's unlikely to take unnecessary risks or try to blowout the opposition. Look for him to run the ball a lot and limit the number of possessions each side has. We can see Buffalo hang onto a narrow lead and ride it into victory, without covering the spread. On the flipside, you have Todd Bowles going into his 3rd season as Gang Green's leader on the sideline and there's no doubt the players respect him. He has the quiet confidence of an effective leader and will have his team pumped up and ready to cause an upset. We don't believe they'll necessarily achieve that but we do think they will put up a fight, thanks in part, to the coaching edge they have in this opening matchup.

Look for the Bills to ride LeSean McCoy as much as they can in this one, which might make them a bit predictable. Tyrod Taylor took longer than any other QB in the league to release the ball last season which led to him being sacked more times (42) than any other quarterback! In preseason, he hasn't shown any real improvements but did pick up a concussion. He's coming back from a concussion in this contest and might not even be as sharp as usual. The Jets have a limited offense but the Bills don't have much to offer other than 'Shady' either, especially after the depature of Sammy Watkins who was on of the few capable playmakers on last year's roster.  

All the pressure is on Buffalo this afternoon to record a win and that can sometimes stifle certain players. Some players prefer the underdog role, a role they are quite familiar with for the most part in a Bills uniform. To hear the media and fans speak so lowly about their opponents creates unnecessary stress for the hosts as failure to beat the Jets at home would see them as the laughing stock of the league! In reality, it's just one game and doesn't define your season. We think the Bills are the better team this year but not by as much as people think and in this particular matchup, on opening weekend, the edge is not by more than a touchdown. We'll gladly take the 8 points knowing they might well prove precious and come into play.

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