The first edition of Sunday Night Football wraps up the first Sunday of the NFL season. If I can say anything in review of today, it’s to not overreact to results in Week 1. Judging future bets by what happened the previous week can be a recipe for disaster. Especially for Week 1 of the season, as it’s the only game of the year people have to judge a team by. It takes a five or six weeks to sift through the data and start to determine who is for real and the pretenders. But for the Patriots, they won’t even get their starting quarterback until Week 5 of the schedule. The Patriots, who are facing the Arizona Cardinals tonight, will be playing without Tom Brady for the first four weeks of the 2016 season. After months and several appearances in court to fight the NFL, Brady accepted his fate and will serve the suspension for deflating footballs.
Brady won’t be the only marquee player missing from the Patriots’ roster in this game. Tight end Rob Gronkowski didn’t travel with the team due to a bad hamstring. Has the Madden Curse struck Gronkowski before the season has even began? Gronk said he doesn’t believe in it, but it’ll certainly be interesting if he fails to stay on the field this year. The Pats made a key acquisition in the offseason, a player who is going to compliment Gronkowski in the offense. Martellus Bennett comes over from Chicago, where he had some pretty good success in the Bears’ offense.
The Patriots haven’t had this kind of combination since Gronk and Aaron Hernandez. All along the plan was for the Patriots to utilize a two tight end set with Gronkowski and Hernandez for years to come. But, well, Hernandez decided to murder somebody so that plan went out the window. The two would have combined to be the most lethal tight end combo in NFL history.
Bennett hopes to help out in that regard. When everybody is on the field for the Patriots, they will have a potent offensive attack. It’s all about surviving the weeks without Brady. If they were to lose all four games that would be a significant blow to their cause. Jimmy Garoppolo will get the call for the Patriots, who hasn’t started a game of this magnitude since he played at Eastern Illinois. That isn’t saying much, of course. The Patriots got through with Matt Cassel as the starter for a full-season, after Brady tore his knee. So, Garoppolo is hoping that the Patriots’ system is kind to him as well. He does not get any favors from the NFL with the scheduling, as the Patriots open the season on the road on SNF against the Arizona Cardinals.
New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Cardinals -7(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Patriots vs. Cardinals Pick:
This was setting up to be the most intriguing matchup of the day. Tom Brady in the offense and this would have been a much anticipated game. The game is still getting hyped up, but Jimmy Garropolo does not garner the same kind of excitement as Brady would. Nevertheless, it’s the Patriots vs the Cardinals on Sunday Night Football, it’s going to be one that everybody is watching. Is Garropolo going to be the new Brady? Like what Brady did stepping in for Drew Bledsoe. I’m sort of tired of hearing about that, so let me preface to say that the Brady incident doesn’t happen every few days or every decade. The safe bet is that no Garropolo will not evolve into a four-time Super Bowl Champion. All Garropolo needs to do is worry about the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards finished with the 8th best defense in the NFL, 6th against the run and 8th against the pass.
The Patriots are going to need to find a running game here. The problem I have with the Pats is that they don’t have a quality ground game. Garropolo should be fine, but a guy like this needs a host of solid running backs to lean on. The New England media has been worried about this area, rightfully so. James White, a former Wisconsin product who put up big numbers in their offense, will join LeGarrette Blount as the 1-2 punch. Just on principle alone, it doesn’t sound that bad at all. Blount is the bruiser, and White is the small, shifty back who can make plays with his hands out of the backfield. However, how much does Blount have in the tank? Especially due to his style of play. And White doesn’t have the most experience.
There is a lot of inexperience at key positions for the Patriots in this game. This game looks like value city with the Patriots catching 7 points on a primetime game to open the season. Carson Palmer has been waiting for this night since he had one of the worst games of his career against the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship. Palmer threw four interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice. I think the Cardinals are going to take advantage of the Patriots tonight, who find themselves in a rare vulnerable position.
PICK: CARDINALS -7 (-110)