Real football is finally here.
Those meaningless preseason games are in the rearview mirror, and today marks the full first slate of games of the 2015 season. If you’re a betting man, get to the local casinos early because the games begin at 10 a.m.
Let’s take a look at this week’s openers.
Green Bay (-4) at Chicago: Green Bay
Kansas City (plus 1.5) at Houston: Kansas City
Cleveland (plus-1) at New York: Jets, and only because it’s a home game.
Indianapolis (-3) at Buffalo: Colts
Miami (-2.5) at Washington: Dolphins
Carolina (-4) at Jacksonville: Panthers
Seattle (-3) at St. Louis: Seahawks
New Orleans (plus 2.5) at Arizona: Saints
Detroit (plus 2) at San Diego: Chargers
Tennessee (plus 3) at Tampa Bay: Titans
Cincinnati (-3) at Oakland: Bengals
Baltimore (plus 4) at Denver: Broncos
Giants (plus 5.5) at Dallas: Cowboys
Philadelphia (-1.5) at Atlanta: Eagles
Minnesota (plus-3.5) at 49ers: Vikings
Let’s take a look at the division races:
NFC West: Seattle, Arizona, 49ers, Rams. This is Seattle’s division until somebody proves to me they can win a game in Seattle. I thought coach Jim Harbaugh reined in Colin Kaepernick. We’ll see if that continues under Jim Tomasula.
NFC East: Dallas, Philadelphia, New York, Washington: This isn’t a super strong division. I’m anxious to see Dallas without DeMarco Murray at running back. The Cowboys may regret that move.
NFC North: Green Bay, Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best ever. The biggest question is can Davonte Adams fill the shoes of Jordy Nelson at wide receiver.
NFC South: Carolina, New Orleans, Atlanta, Tampa Bay. Tough to bet against the Panthers and their defense.
AFC West: Denver, San Diego, Kansas City, Oakland. If this is Manning’s last year, I’d like to see him go out with a title.
AFC South: Indianapolis, Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville: Andrew Luck should shred this division, which has a rookie QB starting, Marcus Mariota.
AFC East: New England, Miami, New York, Buffalo. The Patriots thrive on controversy, and they’ve had plenty of it. The Jets and Buffalo are weak at QB and won’t finish .500.
AFC North: Baltimore, Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Cleveland: I like Joe Flacco and I think John Harbaugh is a great coach. Steelers and Bengals will battle for second playoff spot in the division.
Playoff teams: NFC will have Seattle, Dallas, Green Bay, Carolina and Philadelphia as its top five. In the AFC it will be Denver, Baltimore, New England, San Diego and Pittsburgh as its top five.