There’s something almost poetic about the NFL season coming around during the international break. It reminds us that, for four months, the gridiron is relentless and meticulously scheduled – never allowing for a frustration-filled gap or a semi-arsed week of half-paced action.
My friends, it’s been a long off-season, but I’m happy to present the return of the greatest sport on this here planet.
And what better way to celebrate than some spreads. Yep – they’re back, folks!
Get that hype train, reverse it and fire it back the way it came from.
We’re all forgetting a couple of really important things, and the most important of those is that Freddie Kitchens is the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, whatever way you want to dress it up.
There’s a reason NASA hire scientists and not 14-year-old hormonal teenagers to play with their rockets, folks.
New era nerves and Kevin Byard leave me thinking that 5.5 points are more than enough in anyone’s back pocket this early on. Cleveland will win this in typically dramatic fashion, allowing the use of a narrative around their sense of character rather than the failing of their analytics.
Home advantage is important and it’s not overstated in general. But that blanket assessment doesn’t allow for these individual cases. Opening up on the road is far less of a big deal than it would be mid-season.
The Chiefs have built towards the Jags for some time. They’ll leave early for Florida – so early that it won’t feel like a road trip, especially given the hardly-raucous home crowd who won’t be tormenting them.
Jacksonville are a tough read, and while Foles is a welcome addition, their massive overhaul is significant. None of their pick-ups should enthuse, while the drafting of Josh Allen seems to be a long way away from impacting this early in the season.
People are forgetting this unit went 5-11 last year, despite some still whispering about them in playoff circles. Bizarre.
Chiefs by a touchdown.
The Colts are being shooed away from any positive talk because they lost their leader. While this may be the case, their defence has every major component it needs. They have a true free safety in Malik Hooker, a foil for tight ends in Darius Leonard and genuine pass rush from Justin Houston.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are receiving praise for a few reasons, but nobody is talking about a 37-year-old immobile man with eight kids trying to navigate an offensive line that could be the worst in football.
Russell Okung is out for some time with serious pulmonary problems and their bright light Forrest Lamp has yet to tie down a starting job.
That can’t be a good thing.
To combat this, expect a lot of slants and outside runs to try and keep the Colts defence on their toes early doors. But the Chargers won’t sustain drives that don’t have early run success, so there’ll be a lot of field goals attempts from them this year – a lot more than they’d like.
It slows the game down, and when that slows down, there’s fewer points to be scored. When it’s a low-scoring game, always back the dogs.
Indy have more than enough to get within the six-point spread here, even if Nate Peterman was in at quarterback.
*All odds correct at time of posting