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The 2016 NFL campaign gets underway on Thursday and the theme entering Week 1 is the list of notable quarterbacks who won’t be playing. For the first time in 19 seasons, we won’t see Peyton Manning (retired) under center while Tom Brady (suspension), Tony Romo (injury) and Teddy Bridgewater (injury) will also be out. Even so, there are some great games on the board, so let’s take a closer look at what to expect from Week 1.


Game of the Week

Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets

Odds: Bengals -3

Two teams that registered double-digit wins last season will square off in Week 1 as the Bengals visit the Jets in the game of the week.

The Bengals will have to make some adjustments on offense as they’ll be without Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert (injury). The Jets offense will look very different this season, as they lost two quality receivers (Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu) and their leading rusher (Chris Ivory) to free agency. To make up for Ivory’s absence, the team signed accomplished running back Matt Forte to carry to load.

Both teams field defenses that finished in the top 10 in points allowed per game last season, so this figures to be an uphill battle for both offenses.


Game with the Biggest Spread

Miami Dolphins @ Seattle Seahawks

Odds: Seahawks -10.5

It’s hard to win on the road without a strong defense or running game, but that’s the position the Miami Dolphins find themselves in as they visit Seattle this week. The Seahawks have had one of the NFL’s best home records in recent years. They’ll host a Dolphins team that ran the ball less than any other team in the NFL last season and fielded a defense that ranked No. 25. The Dolphins have implemented a different offense under new head coach Adam Gase, but Seattle is a tough place to go to when a team is going through a learning curve. Combined with the fact that the Seahawks are one of the favourites (+900) to win the Super Bowl, it’s easy to understand why the Dolphins are the biggest dog of the week.


Game with the Smallest Spread

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

Odds: Giants -1 

The Cowboys’ 2015 season was ravaged by injuries and their 2016 season has started the same. Star quarterback Tony Romo will be out for roughly half the season after suffering a back injury in the preseason, and that has again put the Cowboys’ playoff hopes in peril. As for the Giants, they revamped their roster this offseason, promoting offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach and bolstering their defense by defensive lineman Damon Harrison, end Olivier Vernon and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, while also drafting Eli Apple in the first round.

The Giants have covered the spread in five of the last seven meetings with the Cowboys.


Important Injuries

Teddy Bridgewater (MIN): Bridgewater blew out his knee and is out for the season. While the Vikings acquired Sam Bradford this week, they are planning to start veteran backup Shaun Hill since he knows the Vikings’ offensive system better than the newcomer.
Le’Veon Bell (PIT): One of the NFL’s most dynamic running backs is out for the first three weeks of the season due to suspension.


*Odds as of September 8, 2016