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Christopher Spinks Roar Pro

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    Bet on Brady to lead the Patriots back to the Super Bowl. (Jeffrey Beall / CC BY-SA 3.0)

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    After 208 days, 30 Mondays (Australian time) and copious amounts of off-field indiscretions, we can finally say it’s football season again.

    Just let that sink in for a while.

    The longest offseason in professional sport is almost over, and this season we open with a cracker. Current Super Bowl Champions the New England Patriots, probably the greatest team of their generation, are at home against the Kansas City Chiefs lead by veteran QB Alex Smith.

    Let’s delve into the big matches in this opening round for 2017. Which games are shown on Australian TV, a prediction or two, Aussies to keep an eye on and who else to watch over the weekend.

    All times are AEST.

    Chiefs @ Patriots – Friday eighth live at 10.30am on 7mate and ESPN
    Is there anything the Patriots cannot do? Probably not. For everyone else in the comp, we need to hope the wheels fall off this incredibly well-oiled wagon.

    The question for most is, who can stop the Patriots from walking to another Super Bowl? They have improved their offensive line with the acquisition of TE Dwayne Allen and WR Brandin Cooks.

    Losing veteran Julius Edelman to a season-ending ACL during preseason won’t help, but they have multiple options to fill the void.

    Kansas City will start the season with veteran Alex Smith at quarterback. Smith will need to be brilliant to hold off Patrick Mahomes. The rookie out of Texas Tech is an incredible talent and will surely be the future of this franchise.

    The loss of offensive talent in WR Jeremy Maclin, RB Jamaal Charles and veteran QB Nick Foles, will hurt this young side. If they gel, they are a team who can threaten for a wildcard. But it’s a tough opener for any side.

    Patriots to win this in a canter 41-7.

    Odds- Pats $1.26 – Chiefs $4.05 – odds courtesy of Sportsbet

    Giants @ Cowboys – Monday 11th live at 10.30am on 7mate and ESPN
    These two division rivals will open their seasons in Arlington, Texas.

    The Cowboys, 13-3 in 2016, lost twice to the Giants in that run. Can Eli Manning and co. find the recipe to beat the Cowboys on the road to kick start their season? Or will the Cowboy train continue where they left off in 2016?

    The boys from Texas have acquired a few players to sure up their defence for 2017. CB Chidobe Awuzie (rookie), CB Jourdan Lewis (rookie), S Xavier Woods (rookie).

    With the Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott escaping suspension for domestic violence, maybe, he should be available for this one.

    The Giants have a solid defence who are capable of holding out the best. The problem lies in the offence. There are multiple options to throw to, but no protection for Manning to ply his trade.

    Expect him to spend a lot of time on his back this season.

    It’s worth noting, no team in the NFC East has won back-to-back titles since 2005. Will this be Dallas’ year?

    Cowboys to win a close one 21-17.

    Odds – Cowboys $1.57 – Giants $2.49 – odds courtesy of Sportsbet

    Look for our live blog on Monday for an up-to-date coverage of this one.

    Chargers @ Broncos – Tuesday 12th live at 12.15pm on ESPN
    In the final fixture of the opening round, we head to Denver for an AFC West clashes between the Denver Broncos and the born again, again, Los Angeles Chargers.

    The Broncos have one of the best defences in the game, including their very own Aussie in Defensive End, number 99 – Adam Gotsis, but they need to score points to win games.

    With regular QB Paxton Lynch injured, Trevor Siemian will take the reins for game one in 2017.

    The Chargers are good on offence lead by Quarterback Philip Rivers. There are multiple options to pass or throw to in RB Melvin Gordon, TE Antonio Gates and WR Keenan Allen. They have added some good young kids in the draft and will push the Broncos D all the way in this clash.

    I am Predicting a low scoring game, won by the Chargers in a close one. The first big upset of the season.

    Chargers to win 17-16

    Odds – Chargers $2.47 – Broncos $1.57. odds courtesy of Sportsbet

    Other games on Australian TV
    ESPN Redzone from 3 am until 10.15am Monday on ESPN – Every touchdown.
    • 9 x games @ 3am
    • 3 x games @ 6.25am
    Eagles @ Redskins Monday 3 am on 7mate
    Seahawks @ Packers Monday 6.30am on 7mate
    Saints @ Vikings Tuesday 9 am on ESPN

    You can read more by Chris at NFL Blog Australia.