NFL season kicks off tonight

The 2012 football season is finally here. College football kicked off last weekend, with Alabama humiliating Michigan in one of the most high-profile games of week one. Now the NFL gets into the act tonight with the Dallas Cowboys traveling to New York to face the Super Bowl Champion Giants.

Our NFL lines page is now more robust, as it’s powered by SBRodds and features lines from a number of sportsbooks.

We’ll be posting free picks throughout the year from some top handicappers. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you probably won’t do very well just following the herd. For example, last year everyone was convinced that the Cincinnati Bengals would have trouble winning one game with their rookie quarterback. They made the playoffs. This year you’re hearing some of the same stuff about the Cleveland Browns. But if Trent Richardson turns out to be healthy and Brandon Weeden pans out, this team could surprise some people. Meanwhile, the Bengals have lost two starters on the offensive line and Andy Dalton might be facing a sophomore slump. The NFL can be very unpredictable, so be careful about listening to the loudest voices.

Another hyped player this year is Russell Wilson. Yes, he’s looked good in preseason, but let’s wait to see him play one in one real game before electing him to the Hall of Fame and handing the division to the Seahawks.

You don’t have to bet of course to enjoy picking against the spread, as the are plenty of free football pools out there. Still, there are few things like spending a fall weekend in Las Vegas where you can spend the entire day at the sportsbook. Enjoy!


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Will Eli Manning surpass Peyton in Indy

It’s been a tough year for Peyton Manning, and while he’s naturally rooting for his little brother, he might find himself watch Eli surpass him in Super Bowl wins in his home Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Eli Manning is rightfully getting plenty of attention this week after he and the New York Giants upset Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last weekend. Some columnists are already suggesting that he’s the “better Manning.” As usual, sportswriters live in the moment and often get ahead of the story. Let’s see what Eli does in the next couple of games before we start making bold historical judgments.

We might end up with a Super Bowl rematch if Eli takes care of business in San Francisco and Tom Brady is able to lead the Patriots over the Ravens. That classic Giants/Patriots Super Bowl is remembered as one of the best, and you know that Brady and Bill Belichick would love to get another shot at the G-Men.

Outside of San Francisco and Baltimore, most NFL fans are probably rooting for that rematch. Of course, Jim Harbaugh and Ray Lewis will have their say on Sunday. Either way the NFL has had a great season coming out of a brutal offseason with the lockout. Let’s see if they can cap it off with a great final four and a great Super Bowl. Come Monday every NFL fan will be scouring the Super Bowl betting odds, from the game line to who will score the first touchdown.


Bumps on the road to the Super Bowl

If you look at the 2012 Super Bowl lines, the NFC has been a heavy favorite with the dominance of the Green Bay Packers this season. With Aaron Rodgers having an amazing season, the Packers had all the momentum as they were plowing towards a potential undefeated season.

This weekend they hit a pretty big speed bump in the form of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have had a miserable season, starting the year with high expectations following a successful 2010 campaign. Ravaged by injuries and squabbles between the head coach and the GM, the Chiefs have been a mess all season.

But they have talent on defense, and now they have a solid quarterback in Kyle Orton to ride out the season, and Green Bay found out how difficult it is to go undefeated in the NFL.

But was this just a speed bump, or did the Chiefs expose some problems with the Packers? Aaron Rodgers is a stud and all the pundits were crowning him the king of quarterbacks even while others like Tom Brady and Drew Brees were also carving up defenses with the new rules. But Green Bay now has a problem on the offensive line with backup tackle Derek Sherrod breaking his leg and starter Bryan Bulaga getting an MRI today for a sprained knee. Aaron Rodgers may be great, but he’ll come back down to Earth if other teams can get pressure on him with four lineman like the Chiefs did yesterday. Just ask Tom Brady about his last Super Bowl appearance.

Speaking of Brady, he gave a lesson to young Tim Tebow yesterday as the Patriots spanked the upstart Broncos. The Patriots and Steelers look like the class of the AFC after the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Colts failed to show up yesterday, but the Steelers have a tough road game tonight in San Francisco with Ben Roethlisberger trying to play on a gimpy ankle.

Back to the NFC, Drew Brees put on a show yesterday. For all the talk about Aaron Rodgers this season, Brees is poised to break Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a season. We also have two rookies this season with over 3,000 yards, so anyone trying to tell you Aaron Rodgers is having the best season for a QB in NFL history needs to put this in context. By holding back hits on receivers and quarterbacks, the NFL has turned this into something resembling arena football. Stats are inflated.

That said, it’s still shaping up to be a Green Bay/New Orleans shootout on the NFC side. Should be fun to watch.


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