The 2018 NFL season saw teams average 23.3 points per game — the third-highest mark in league history, making it one of only two seasons since 1970 to eclipse 23.0. Last season also saw the most passing touchdowns in league history (847), beating the record set in 2015 (842).
As teams continue to push the pace and put the ball in the air more often, we could continue to see scoring climb to new heights. That makes Week 1 of the 2019 season especially exciting, as we get our first taste of what could be another record setting season.
Even in that context, these three games stand out as the biggest potential shootouts on the slate.
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3. Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs (52.5 O/U)
It's not often you'll find "shootout" and "Jacksonville Jaguars" in the same sentence, but that's the effect the Kansas City Chiefs can have. In 2018 KC led the NFL with 35.3 points per game (PPG), but also surrendered 26.3 PPG to opponents (ninth most). That means their games saw an average of 61.6 combined points scored — 4.7 more than any other team. With this game taking place in Jacksonville, the Jags are only 3.5-point underdogs, which is a bit of a surprise considering the teams' 2018 records. The Jags' defense is good, but if they're going to keep this game close it's going to have to come with a ton of scoring out of their offense, giving this the potential to be one of the highest-scoring games of the week.
2. New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers (50.5 O/U)
The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, in PPG last season. The Steelers were also the most pass-heavy team in the NFL in 2018. The Pats leaned much more heavily on the run, but they may be forced to throw more in to keep up with the Pittsburgh offense in Week 1, especially because the Steelers finished eighth in Football Outsiders' run defense DVOA rankings last year. Last year's matchup between these two was a serious letdown, with only 27 total points scored, but this one could give us a lot more scoring.
1. New Orleans Saints vs Houston Texans (53.5 O/U)
The New Orleans Saints participated in three of the eight games that saw at least 80 points scored last year. They combined with their opponents for the fourth-most PPG in 2018, and their average jumped from 53.6 overall to 59.8 in games played at home in the Superdome. The Houston Texans finished 11th in points for despite QB Deshaun Watson playing through injuries for much of the year. With Watson healthy and Laremy Tunsil protecting his blindside, their offense could be in for an even bigger season. We have to wait for Monday night for this one, but it has a real shot of being Week 1's highest-scoring game.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.