September 13th, 2011
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) greets New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) following the game at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Saints 42-34. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
The first week of the NFL season is supposed to be a gift for gamblers across the U.S. The idea is that it takes Vegas two weeks to adjust their lines to what keen analysts already see. In 2010, these bettors took advantage of a weak schedule for the Chiefs, foresaw that the Steelers were a very good team, even without Ben Roethlisberger, and realized that Brett Favre was, in fact, old. They gambled accordingly and reaped the rewards.
Essentially, they saw in preseason what everyone else realized after Week 1 – who was destined for the playoffs ad who would flop. Week 1 mattered. Over the last decade, only five teams have reached the Super Bowl after losing their first game (admittedly, four of those five won the Super Bowl). That statistic is unsurprising. In a 16-game season, it’s important to get off on the right foot.
Yet I can’t help but think this season’s Week 1 is a worse indicator of a team’s potential than it has been in years past. Blame it on the lockout and lack of preparation. Blame it on particularly bad luck. Blame it on the boogie. I’m a bit skeptical about insights from Week 1 holding true.
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