Week One NFL preview

So, here's the Week One NFL preview I wrote for Balls.co.uk. It's currently being reviewed by the good people of Balls, but here's a sneak peek at it in its entirety for my super-duper readers, family and friends. Enjoy!

Balls NFL preview
Welcome to the Balls weekly NFL preview. Each week we will be looking at the key games, outstanding plays and players from the previous week, telling you what’s on UK and Irish TV, and of course pointing you in the direction of a few bets we like. Week one can’t come soon enough, so without further ado, let’s get stuck in.
  • The Balls weekly NFL snapshot – Week One
Every week we will be bringing you this weekly snapshot, cheat sheet type thing, which will give you the low-down on all the games at a glance. Check the key below the snapshot if you are unfamiliar with the columns.
week one snapshot
Key - the meaning behind the columns in the above snapshot
We’re hoping day, time and game are all relatively self-explanatory however here’s the meaning behind the other columns. We will be updating the content of the below weekly, bringing you our GTH score and other fresh items as the weeks develop.
  • Line – The favourite with the bookies for the game. We publish our preview nice and early to take in the Thursday game so the lines might change by the time, for example, the Sunday games roll around.
  • Our GTH pick – Our Gun To The Head pick. Obviously some games are more appealing to NFL punters than others, however if we absolutely had to pick a team in each game, this is which one it would be. Our GTH score so far? A perfectly symmetrical 0-0.
  • Watchability – Some games are more watchable than others. Divisional games, rivalry games, anything with Cam Newton in it (we unashamedly love Cam Newton) all get higher scores. Jacksonville and the Jets are both going to struggle to break into the A column this season. Two A games this week, both potential crackers.
  • TWD – Three Word Description. A bit of fun, if we had to describe the game in 3 words only, this is what we would say. More thought goes into some TWD entries than others.
  • Tiredness Factor – watching the NFL from as far away as the UK presents some interesting challenges, namely staying awake in work the next day. If you are clever and take our snapshot and look at the Watchability column and the Tiredness Factor column, you will know to avoid any D/High games.
  • What’s on TV this week?
Here’s a look at the live games on British and Irish TV over this coming opening weekend in the NFL. The opener could be a terrific game, and we will see how serious a challenge the Packers will mount this season. They appear to be plenty of pundit’s Dark Horse for the Superbowl. We shall see! Obviously it will be interesting to see if Seattle are going to be defending their title with any gusto also.
Sunday brings a trifecta of great games, starting with the Patriots travelling to Miami in a fixture that has given them heartache for years. The 49ers and Dallas is another potential cracker, Dallas have frankly a lot of convincing to do in terms of their potential playoff credentials. This would be a good spot for them to make a statement. Sunday wraps up with the Broncos taking on Peyton Manning’s old team, the Colts, in Denver.  Double our pleasure on Monday, with the Lions hosting the Giants and the Cardinals taking on San Diego in Arizona. Will the real Detroit please stand up? We’ll get a glimpse as to whether the Lions will be roaring this season or not.
Late, late, late Thursday night GMT
    Sky Sports 1 – Century Link Field – Friday 5th of September 1:30am
    Sky Sports 1 – Sun Life Stadium – Sunday 7th of September 6.00pm
    Sky Sports 1 – AT&T Stadium – Sunday 7th of September 9.00pm
    Channel 4 – Sports Authority Filed at Mile High – Monday 8th of September 1:30am
Monday late!
    Eurosport HD – Ford Field – Tuesday 8th of September 00.10am
    Eurosport HD – University of Phoenix Stadium – Tuesday 8th of September 3:20am
  •  Power Balls! The Balls NFL Power Ranking Top 5
  1. The Seattle Seahawks. Obviously Seattle owns the number one spot, until someone knocks them off. And, to do that, someone is going to have to do something impressive. It’s been a while since we have had a Superbowl Champion that looks this solid. Current Superbowl odds – 11/2
  2. The Denver Broncos. It will be interesting to see how Denver bounces back from its horrific Superbowl. The addition of DeMarcus Ware. Now if only Wes Welker could stay out of trouble, the little scamp! Current Superbowl odds – 11/2
  3. The San Francisco 49ers. They will as always be playing with a chip on their shoulder, and that makes them dangerous. Some people might be overlooking the 49ers coming into this season. That’s not wise. People may take more notice once they blow Dallas away in week one. Current Superbowl odds – 9/1
  4. The Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers had a little break last season, which means he comes into this season a little under the radar. It won’t be long before people remember just how good he is. Hard to believe he used to be considered a long-term backup. Current Superbowl odds – 12/1
  5. The New England Patriots. Tom Brady has some pretty decent cavalry arriving after a season in which he was expected to carry a disproportionate weight of the Patriots load. We all know Gronk is back, but perhaps even more importantly, the Patriots D is starting to look ridiculously good. Sure, they have to prove it on game-day, but all the pieces are there for a dominant D for the season. Current Superbowl odds – 8-1
  • The Fab Four - Our favourite four bets of the NFL weekend
  1. NY Jets -5.5 20/23 – Yes, the Jets have a lot to prove. Sure, we get that. But bringing in Chris Johnson was smart, he’s got a huge chip on his shoulder and will run hard for a year at least. Gino Smith played well down the stretch and the Jets will be fired up in front of their home fans. Meanwhile, Oakland are starting a rookie QB! We repeat, Oakland, who are absolutely brutal anyway, are starting a rookie QB!  The Jets secondary is their weakest spot going into week one, a rookie QB isn’t going to take advantage of that. Jets -5.5 with confidence is the Balls NFL Lock Of The Week.
  2. Minnesota +4 4/5 – There are a couple of rules to picking a road-dog, as with the Vikings here. Can you see the team actually winning? Yes. Does the home team have issues? Well, the home team just lost its starting QB for the season, so, yes. Also, is Adrian Peterson involved?! A huge yes. Can’t you just see Peterson running riot in the second half, leading the Vikings to a road win? Be clever and take the 4 points on offer just in case.
  3. Colts at Broncos over 55 pts 10/11 – The last time these two met there were 72 points total. With both teams raring to go, we can reasonably expect a tasty scoreline.
  4. Chargers at Cardinals over 45 pts 10/11 - Two superb offences both full of weapons for two good QBs. The Cardinals and Chargers are both underrated teams and should both grab themselves a few TDs on opening their opening night. We could be in for a potential cracker in the last game of the week.
Fab Four score so far – 0-0 (obviously!)
The Balls Lock Of The Week – 0-0 (clearly!)
  • Here’s a million dollars, who’s going to win the Superbowl?
It’s a great question, isn’t it? Each week we’re going to consider who we would choose should someone give us a million dollars to back a team to win the Superbowl. Obviously certain weeks will be harder than others, until we get some data to work off of. Opening up the season, we’re taking the Seattle Seahakws. Now, remember, some mysterious benefactor has just handed you one million dollars, so it’s up to you to place it on the team you really think will bring home the proverbial bacon. We’re taking Seattle, until someone shows they are ready to punch Seattle in the face and take the top spot. Or of course until Seattle falls to pieces when Pete Carroll remembers he’s an awful coach.
We’d love to hear your million dollar pick, let us know in the comment section below.