Thursday's six-game slate produced some solid results against the NFL odds. But we also saw some dubious early returns from one of the league's least-loved teams.
It's always nice to start a new season off with a bang. Our football picks for Thursday's six-game slate turned out pretty well: We went 3-2-1 against the spread and 3-1-2 against the total, and almost all we had to do was look at the preseason records of the coaches involved. Easy-peasy.
But our work isn't done. Now it's time for the post-mortem, where we look at the events from these games and see if we can learn anything about what may happen in the future. Our first stop is in Chicago, where the Bears are coming off a 27-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins (–2 away).
While the Bears did us a solid with our NFL picks, Chicago fans will be focusing on the first quarter, where Miami's starters dominated at both ends of the field to take a 7-0 lead. On offense, Ryan Tannehill shredded the Bears for 56 yards on 6-of-7 passing, connecting with Jarvis Landry for a touchdown. On defense, the Dolphins held Jay Cutler to 42 yards on 4-of-7 passing. But don't bury Cutler: He didn't have receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf) and Kevin White (shin) to throw at.
Abdullah the Butcher
The Detroit Lions will no doubt be more satisfied with their 23-3 win over the New York Jets (+4 away), who had to do without QB Geno Smith and spent most of Thursday's game with third-stringer Bryce Petty under center. The big takeaway for Detroit was the work of rookie RB Ameer Abdullah, who rumbled for 67 yards on seven carries, including a 45-yard burst in the opening quarter. Abdullah could be an important player for the Lions this year behind Joique Bell, who's still recovering from knee and ankle injuries.
I Am a D.J.
It's par for the course to see the Dallas Cowboys give less than 100 percent in the preseason, but the San Diego Chargers are still pleased with Thursday's 17-7 victory as 4-point home faves. Seeing RB Danny Woodhead rush eight yards to paydirt in the first quarter was like manna from heaven after Woodhead missed most of 2014 with a broken fibula. However, we're looking at the offensive line, where D.J. Fluker has been moved from right tackle to right guard. Fluker played well on Thursday, and he'll need to keep it up if the Chargers are going to have any hope in 2015.
Jimmy Eat Turf
Alas, we whiffed on the New England Patriots, who lost 22-11 to the Green Bay Packers (+1 away) in Week 1. Jimmy Garoppolo played most of the game after Tom Brady got in a couple of drives; Garoppolo wasn't happy with his performance, going 20-of-30 for 159 yards, one pick and seven sacks. But he played better as the game went on, and given that New England chose not to dress 23 of its players, Garoppolo shouldn't be too hard on himself. Watch out for that left shoulder, though. Those sacks add up.