The NFL is back! And boy, are we excited about it. It’s been a dry spell on the sports scene, particularly in the world of football, but that all changed when the 2019 season started this month. Teams are looking to make a name for themselves and prove that last season wasn’t a fluke. On one hand, you’ve got the Seattle Seahawks, winners of Super Bowl XLVIII, hosting their rivals, the Green Bay Packers, in what will be the first of three meetings between the two sides this year. On the other, you’ve got the San Francisco 49ers, another perennial Super Bowl contender, taking on the New York Jets in a game that could have major postseason implications. And don’t forget about the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were one game away from going to the Super Bowl prior to blowing a 28-point lead in the final minutes of the season finale. There’s a lot on the line this weekend.
If you’re feeling energetic, you could take to the betting markets and place a wager on the game. But where and how? You’ll want to check out the wagering opportunities at online sportsbooks, as they often offer fantastic betting odds on NFL games. But which games are the best bets this season? Here’s a breakdown of the top NFL betting options for October 14th.
Seattle Vikes vs. Green Bay Packers
You might be wondering how two teams that finished last season on a low note can be among the top games of the season. Well, it just so happens that the Seattle Vikes and the Green Bay Packers had a bizarre beginning to the 2019 season. The Vikes opened the year with a 16-point lead over the Packers in the fourth quarter of their Week 1 matchup, but were unable to hold onto the lead and lost the game by a 29-26 margin. The teams then split their next two games before the Packers won their final five games of the year, finishing with a 7-9 record and narrowly avoiding having to participate in a post-season playoff. It was the first time the Vikes had lost after holding a lead at the end of a game since 2016, but it didn’t take long for the Vikes to bounce back. They’ve won their last two games by a combined 105-31 margin, including a 42-14 blowout win over the Detroit Lions last week. This year’s matchup will pit the 2017 AFL championship teams against each other. But even though their records and head-to-head results are similar, it’s important to note that these are entirely different teams. The Vikes are physically dominant on the defensive side of the ball, while the Packers have a reputation for being among the best offenses in the league. Since both teams have changed their offensive schemes and players, this year’s edition of the Seahawks vs. Packers rivalry might be the closest they’ve been in years.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. New Orleans Saints
Last season, the Los Angeles Chargers were one of the best teams in the NFL, going 9-3 and finishing second in the AFC. They did that in large part thanks to their high-powered offense, which featured several high-profile players, such as Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler. And although Gordon and Henry didn’t play this season due to injuries, Ekeler is still one of the top running backs in the NFL. Unfortunately, the Chargers struggled mightily without their top players, going 4-12 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2014. They’ll have an opportunity to prove to their fans that last season wasn’t a fluke when they host the New Orleans Saints this coming Sunday. New Orleans is coming off a disappointing 2018 campaign, during which they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs. But they did have one of the most electric offenses in the league last season, primarily led by RB Alvin Booker and WR Michael Thomas. Both players topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage, and Thomas also scored 14 touchdowns. The matchup with the Chargers should be quite the spectacle, as these are two of the best teams in football and their fans are passionately loyal to their respective teams. It will be interesting to see how the players cope with the large crowds anticipated for this game, which is expected to be one of the biggest rivalries of the year.
Cleveland Browns vs. Chicago Bears
While the Rams were busy trying to figure out how to end the drought and make it to the Super Bowl, another NFL team was quietly building a foundation for the future. The Cleveland Browns, for the first time since 2008, qualified for the playoffs last season and eventually ended up losing in the first round to the New England Patriots, but still managed to put together an impressive campaign. Much like the Rams, the Browns also have a young core of talented players, led by QB Tyrod Taylor and WR Odell Beckham Jr., who had a combined 18 receiving TDs last season. The Browns also bring back most of their defensive unit from a year ago, which bodes well for a run at another playoff berth. They host the Chicago Bears this coming Sunday, and since the Browns have yet to play this year, there’s no telling what kind of performance we’ll see from the veterans as well as the promising young players on both sides of the ball. This could be an upset special if everything breaks right for the Browns. They’ll want to prove to their fans that the playoffs are within reach, and perhaps even earn a spot in the postseason, particularly against the hated Bears, who will be looking to spoil the Browns’ inaugural post-season appearance. It’s also important to note that Taylor is one of the most popular players in the NFL and has a huge following. His popularity even goes into the sports betting world, as evidenced by the large number of people wagering on his team during live NFL football games last season. The demand for his services is clear, and he’s one of the top QB’s in the league, if not the best. Expectations are high for the first-year Browns and they’ll be looking to justify their lofty status this coming season.
Detroit Lions vs. New York Giants
Speaking of high expectations, the Detroit Lions, winners of the most recent NFL championship, have a lot to live up to this coming season. They returned most of their key players from a season ago, including QB Matthew Stafford and WR Golden Tate, who caught 101 passes for 1,310 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. The defense, which ranked eighth in the league, should be even better, as the Lions drafted several promising defenders, such as DL Javon Hargrave and CB Zack Carroll, to step up and lead the way. The New York Giants, on the other hand, will be looking to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke and that they’re back as a force to be reckoned with. They qualified for the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014, but were promptly eliminated in the first round by the eventual champion Rams. This coming Sunday will be the Giants’ first game since their disappointing performance last year, as they’ll host the Detroit Lions. One interesting thing to keep an eye on is that the Giants have a new head coach in Frank Reich, who took over for the fired Pat Shurmur. Reich’s offense is based on the West Coast system, and much like new Viking head coach Mike Zimmer, who came from the rival Chicago Bears, he’ll have his work cut out for him, particularly since the Lions dominated the Giants on both sides of the ball last season. It’ll be interesting to see how Reich handles his first head coaching challenge and the pressure that comes with it. The pressure is certainly there, but so is the talent. It’ll be up to Reich to figure out how to harness that talent and get the most out of it for his troops. The pressure is on for Reich and the Lions, but they’ll be looking to make a name for themselves in this year’s NFL playoffs, particularly after going 11-5 in 2018 and making a run all the way to the NFC title game. It’s up to Reich to bring the best out of his troops and get them ready to make a deep playoff run. Expectations are high in Detroit, and that’s exactly what the team wants, but it remains to be seen if they can live up to them.