Week 1: Broncos at New York Giants (2:25 p.m. Sunday, FOX)
The Giants' offense should be a season-opening gift for the Broncos defense. Remember the struggles of 2020 Drew Lock and Denver's ‘O’? The Giants were worse: 31st in yards, 31st in points, 29th in passing yards and 31st in sacks allowed per game. This one’s for Pat (Shurmur).
Only three teams invested more money in their secondaries than the Broncos (Patriots, Dolphins, Washington), and Denver’s secondary has a terrific matchup in Week 1. New York has Kenny Golladay and not much else in terms of receivers. Plus, tight end Evan Engram is out.
How many kickers get invited to an MLB All-Star Game celebrity softball game? Brandon McManus is in rare company. “B-Mac” can pass Matt Prater as the team's accuracy leader as well. Strange, but McManus has never made a game-tying or winning kick vs. an NFC team.
While the Broncos empowered Vic Fangio in Year 3, the Giants are going the other way with Joe Judge. Giants owner John Mara proclaimed “everyone is on the hot seat” this season. But Broncos coaching won’t earn the nod in this space until it wins a game in September (0-7).
Tell you what’s scary about this one for the Broncos: the Vegas line. Why did the Broncos open as meager one-point favorites when the offseason was so much kinder to Denver than New York? Here’s a hunch the emotions of a 9/11 anniversary crowd will play a major role Sunday.
Klee’s prediction: Broncos (minus-2.5) 16, Giants 15 (Straight up in 2020: 13-3, ATS: 7-9)