Meaningful Early NFC Inter-Divisional Confrontations

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 5:38 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 5:38 PM UTC

You are seeing extensive information about all 32 teams for win totals, odds to win the division, conference and Super Bowl. We thought here we would address early game action around the NFL.

Specifically from the above introduction, those involving teams in the NFC that will be facing off in inter-divisional play. In 2017 we will have the East vs. the West and North vs. the South. This involves contests that will be meaningful in the month of September. We also take a stab at the NFL odds on these games to the best of our abilities. So let's get started.

Sept. 17: Green Bay at Atlanta

This will be a rematch of last year's NFC title game and Atlanta's home opener in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. We are expecting the Falcons to be a 2.5 to 3-point favorite and what everyone will be watching for is if the Green Bay secondary has improved after being 31st against the pass last year and abused in both games vs. Atlanta. We will also look for changes in the Dirty Birds' offense, with a new offensive coordinator. Discounting the Super Bowl, this will be third meeting in 13 overall games for these clubs, all at the same location. The Pack at +3 could be inviting for NFL picks.

Sept. 17: Washington at L.A. Rams

With home games against Philadelphia and Oakland on either side of this road opener, this is one Washington has to have to stay in the NFC East chase. The Redskins are likely 2-point favorites, and quarterback Kirk Cousins will have to exploit the Rams' secondary. With a new coaching staff for Los Angeles,  Washington will have a great deal to prepare for in tricky matchup.

Sept. 24: Tampa Bay at Minnesota

Both these teams have high expectations for themselves and this will be a swing game for both heading into October. Tampa Bay's offensive line will have to protect Jameis Winston and generate a running game to cover the anticipated 3 points -- or win outright. Conversely, Minnesota cannot have less-than-mobile Sam Bradford be a sitting duck in the pocket. Let's give slight nod to the Vikings at this time.

Sept. 24: Atlanta at Detroit

This will be the third consecutive NFC North foe for Atlanta to start the season. Coming off the big Packers battle, maintaining an edge could be a conundrum for the Falcons. However, Detroit is on a short week after facing the New York Giants on the road on Monday. Atlanta should be a 1 or 2-point favorite, but the Lions often play well at home against better competition. Watch for the official line when the time comes.

Sept. 25: Dallas at Arizona

The Cowboys should be listed at -2 for this ESPN encounter and the past three seasons they are 7-3 ATS as road favorites. Dallas is capable of stopping the Arizona run game and really needs a pass rush to bury the immovable object known as Carson Palmer. The Cardinals reconstructed defense faces a tall task versus Dallas.

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