Live NFL Sunday Tips: Don't bet against Rodgers or Peyton this week

CJ Anderson can help Peyton Manning lead Denver to an opening weekend victory
CJ Anderson can help Peyton Manning lead Denver to an opening weekend victory

New England and Tom Brady showed us on Thursday night that no matter how much things seem to change, the more they stay the same and Neil Monnery thinks that Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning will continue this trend on Sunday night.

"Jay Cutler is 0-8 in his last eight starts against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. You don't get rich by backing Cutler in this particular matchup."

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Sunday, 18:00
Live on Sky Sports 3 & Pick TV

An intense rivalry to kick-off the live Sunday slate is something most NFL fans would gladly sign up for. The Packers travel to Soldier Field on the back of a season where they know they should have contested the Super Bowl. The stunning collapse in Seattle in January is still fresh in the memory and they'll be wanting to go one step further this time around.

They'll do so though without Jordy Nelson, who had become one of the very best receivers in the game. He'll spend the season on the sidelines following a torn ACL and his loss is one most teams would find difficult to overcome. The Packers though will find a way, they have always found a way since Aaron Rodgers took over the helm of that offense. Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and James Jones will give the Super Bowl-winning QB enough targets.

Also Green Bay have the use of one of the best every-down running backs in the league in Eddie Lacy. With back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing campaigns to start his career, many pundits expect the former Alabama star to have a good season and with the Bears having a very new-look defense making its regular season debut on Sunday, it could be a fine day for Lacy.

It was all change in Chicago in the off-season. John Fox came in as the new Head Coach with Adam Gase following him from Denver to run the offense. On defense we saw the departures of long-time stalwarts Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, and we'll also see a change to the 3-4 defense.

Adam Gase was widely praised for his work with Peyton Manning in Denver but now he doesn't have one of the greatest to have ever played the position as his quarterback. Jay Cutler may have one of the best arms in the game but what is between his ears is nothing compared to what Gase had in Denver. Throw in the fact that Alshon Jeffery is doubtful and Kevin White is out, all logic points to this being a losing start for Chicago under John Fox.

I'll throw in one more stat. Jay Cutler is 0-8 in his last eight starts against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. You don't get rich by backing Cutler in this particular match-up.

I do think 1.351/3 is too short for Green Bay to win straight up so I'd shy away from that but Green Bay to win despite a six-point handicap is 1.784/5 on the exchange and that looks a decent bet to me. Over on the Sportsbook in the first TD market why not roll the dice on James Jones at 16/1? With no Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb having a banged up shoulder (but expected to start), 16/1 looks like a good punt.

Recommended Bets

Back Green Bay -6 points to win @ 1.784/5 on the exchange
Back James Jones to score the first TD @ 16/1 on the Sportsbook


Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos
Sunday, 21:25
Live on Sky Sports 3

Our second game on Sunday comes from the Mile High City as my dark horses to win it all travel to face the team I desperately want to win it all, to ensure the better Manning has at least the same amount of rings as his younger brother. Talk about conflicted.

All the talk in Denver is whether last season's drop-off in output down the stretch and into the playoffs from Peyton Manning was because of injury or whether the undefeated Father Time is about to notch up another victory. I know I am firmly in the camp of the former. Peyton was still great up until the injury and showed no signs of slowing down. So I'm not concerned about him.

What I am very concerned about though is that offensive line. Peyton is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) of all time when you give him 3+ seconds in the pocket. What Jay Cutler isn't when it comes to reading defenses, Peyton very much is. Yet if he isn't given time to read and check down to his second, third and fourth options then he is nowhere near as effective. Denver's season (let alone this game) will come down to whether that line can be league average, if it can be then Denver will be in every game they play.

This is because the defense is going to be one of the best in the league, and it might even be the best in the AFC. Wade Phillips is running the show now on that side of the ball and while he is a terrible head coach, he can scheme up a good D and when you have the talent available in the line-backing corps of the likes of Brandon Marshall, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware then you have every chance.

Baltimore too have a tough D and when they have the ball, Joe Flacco is one of those QBs who is feast or famine. On his day then he is right up their with the 'elite' signal callers in the NFL, however when things aren't going well for him that he is league average, at best.

Losing Torrey Smith was a blow to that offense, although he didn't light it up on the receiving yards last year with only 767, he caused the zebras to raise their arms to signal Touchdown on 11 occasions. Steve Smith cleared 1,000 receiving yards last time around and plenty is expected from first round draft pick Breshad Perriman but he won't see the field on Sunday due to injury.

Last time these two faced each other was the opening game of the 2013 season and Peyton threw for seven TDs. He isn't doing that on Sunday but I think they win a relatively low scoring affair. At 1.865/6 I'm taking Denver with a four point handicap on the exchange and over on the Sportsbook I love CJ Anderson at 6/1 to score the first touchdown. The Cal Bears product has elevated himself to the forefront of all purpose running back options who can run it and catch it for a score.

Recommended Bets

Back Denver -4 points to win @ 1.865/6 on the exchange
Back CJ Anderson to score the first TD @ 6/1 on the Sportsbook

Neil Harvey will be here to preview the early Monday morning game as well as both of the Monday Night doubleheader.

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