NFL: Season Predictions and Week 1 Picks

It’s that time of the year again, where I make my picks for another NFL season!
We’re coming off another Patriots Superbowl win after the Falcons blew a historic 25-point lead! So what is going to happen in the 2017-18 season? Glad you asked!

 

NFC Playoff Teams

  • Cardinals… Packers… Seahawks… Giants… Saints… Falcons

AFC Playoff Teams

  • Patriots… Raiders… Chiefs… Bengals… Steelers… Texans

Championship games

  • Cardinals over Seahawks
  • Raiders over Patriots

Superbowl 52

  • Cardinals over Raiders

Now that that’s out of the way, here are my week 1 picks.

Thursday Night Football
  • Chiefs @ Patriots: Two AFC powerhouses open things up on Thursday  Night.  The reigning Superbowl Champions look to start their march for 3 straight with a home win over Kansas City. Tom Brady showed no signs of slowing down last year, and despite losing Julian Edelman for the season, they return enough of their championship team to stand a chance. Kansas City’s ability to win the close games in recent years has kept them in the playoff race and it should keep them there again this year. Their offense needs to reestablish the run game as a weapon, and rookie Kareem Hunt should help there, as the Jaamal Charles era has come to an end. So two teams with pretty good defenses get things going in week 1, but give me the ever diverse and tough Patriots offense to start the season off with a victory at home. NEW ENGLAND WINS
Sunday 1PM Games
  • Jets @ Bills: The bottom two AFC East teams from last season look to start their seasons off on a good note in Buffalo. This all New York battle will pit a Jets team that most think could be one of, if not the worst team inte league this season, versus a Bills squad that has the defense, and offensive weapons to be successful, but has played down to expectations the past couple seasons.  New York got rid of some of their best players in the off-season, and with a less than appealing quarterback battle in the pre-season, Josh McCown leads a lack-luster offense into the season. Not to mention trading away one of their best defensive players just a couple weeks before the season started in Sheldon Richardson. Give me LeSean McCoy and his 1,200-plus rushing yards from last season to control the clock and get off to a 1-0 start. BUFFALO WINS
  • Jaguars @ Texans: Jacksonville finished last season as the worst team in both the AFC South and the league. That had little to do with their defense however, and so if they want to move up this year, they’ll need Blake Bortles to take a big leap under center. An improved running game with rookie Leonard Fournette and the addition of Chris Ivory along with T.J. Yeldon should help ease the burden on Bortles. Houston enters as the division champs as well as carrying the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Tom Savage is the Texans starting QB… for now. Deshaun Watson is coming off a National Championship and can do a lot, so he’s probably not far off from taking the spot.  But with Texans defense that can turn mistakes into points with the best of the them, they could have a field day against the Jags in week 1. HOUSTON WINS
  • Steelers @ Browns: This AFC North match-up tends to be one of experience versus youth, and that’s no different this season.  The Steelers lost in the AFC Championship game last season, and unlike last season, have Le’Veon Bell from week 1.  Cleveland had the number 1 pick in the draft again this season, and they used to sure up their defense. But Myles Garrett is already hurt, and the Browns are going with yet another new starting Quarterback. And no, it’s not Brock Osweiler despite the large contract he got. It’s rookie DeShone Kizer, who had a very impressive preseason showing. Division games are always tough, and while I think Cleveland can get more than 1 win this season, I’m going with the consistency of Pittsburgh to start the season. PITTSBURGH WINS
  • Cardinals @ Lions: Two teams with the ability to score do battle in Detroit in week 1.  Arizona boasts one of the best young backs in the league in David Johnson Jr, while the Lions have the newly paid Matt Stafford slinging for another year. The biggest difference in this match up is the ability of the two teams defenses.  The Lions used to have one of the best defense in the league, but have seen a drop-off recently, while the Cardinals have slowly moved up the ranks in that department. Both teams have been pretty good for a while now, but neither have broken through the way you want. I think Arizona is primed for a Superbowl run, and it starts with a road win here in week 1. ARIZONA WINS
  • Falcons @ Bears: Atlanta enters week 1 with the sting of a Superbowl collapse and a win-less preseason. The Falcons are going to be hungry and return a lot of their NFC Championship squad, particularity one of the most potent offenses in football. Chicago enters with a new quarterback after parting ways with Jay Cutler. Mike Glennon looks to take hold of the team and get them back out of the NFC North cellar. The Bears upgraded their defense, but didn’t do much to fix their offense, losing good receivers in Alshon Jeffrey and Eddie Royal. While Chicago can’t get much worse than they were last season, I think the Falcons are going to be just fine this season, and will start out with a road victory. ATLANTA WINS
  • Raiders @ Titans: Oakland experienced a resurgence last season, but enter the regular season as the other team to go win-less in the preseason. But like Atlanta, I don’t think that will affect them this week or going forward. Derek Carr was huge for them at quarterback last season, and after an injury dashed their playoff hopes, he’s healthy and has a very good defense to help climb through the AFC again this season.  Tennessee’s offense can score with anyone.  Marcus Mariota doesn’t make mistakes in the red zone, something that even veteran QBs struggle with. A very good running game and a number of  offensive weapons can only help the Titans this season. This could be a shootout, but as I’ve done a lot already, I’m taking the road team here. OAKLAND WINS
  • Ravens @ Bengals: This is one of the more intriguing match-ups to me. Both these teams are in the playoff hunt every season, and both rely heavily on their defenses.  Neither team got what they needed from their run game last season. The Bengals haven’t been able to break through in the playoffs however, and it’s never for the same reason.  I don’t see either of these teams struggling too much this season, and I do believe this will be a close game, but I am going with the Bengals at home in their first of two meetings. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Eagles @ Redskins: After winning the NFC East, Washington took a step back, finishing 3rd in the division, while the Eagles finished 7-9 for the second straight season. Both teams have young quarterbacks and pretty good options on offense. In an always competitive East, the defense for both teams are key. This game will be close, but I like Carson Wentz over Kurt Cousins to lead his team to victory in week 1. PHILADELPHIA WINS
Sunday 4PM Games
  • Colts @ Rams: The Colts are without their starting quarterback at least for their first game, as Andrew Luck continues to have injury problems.  St. Louis will look to take advantage and figure out how to win games outside their division, something they’ve had issues with the past few seasons. If Luck gets healthy after week 1, I can see Indianapolis having a better season than the Rams in a more up for grabs division, but look for a bounce back third season from Todd Gurley to help balance out St. Louis’ offense, and get them to 1-0. ST. LOUIS WINS
  • Panthers @ 49ers: San Francisco had an awful 2016, and didn’t do much to help their cause in the off-season. They struggled in every phase of the game last year, and after parting ways with Collin Kaepernick, they haven’t Carolina also struggled big time, finishing 6-10 after going 15-1 in 2015 and losing in the Superbowl. The Panthers had been one of the best defensive teams in the league, but ended up bottom 5 in total yards allowed last year. Their offense was top 5, but it wasn’t enough to save them from the cellar of the NFC South division. It was a slow start that hurt the Panthers most, so if they can avoid that this year, they could make it back to the playoffs. I don’t see the 49ers putting up much of a fight in week 1. CAROLINA WINS
  • Seahawks @ Packers: Two of the league’s best square off in Lambeau. The Seahawks defense got even better in the off-season, so the Pckers will have their work cut out for them. But I don’t like to bet against Aaron Rodgers at home, who has his favorite target in Jordy Nelson healthy along with another good option in Randal Cobb. I don’t know how I feel about Seattle’s offense, so if it’s close late, I trust Green Bay’s offense to get into scoring position more than I do the Seahawks. GREEN BAY WINS
Sunday Night Football
  • Giants @ Cowboys: The top two teams in the NFC East play each other in Dallas to open the season for the 3rd straight season. They’re 1-1, so this is the “rubber match.” Ezekiel Elliot will be on the field despite facing a 6-game suspension. He played well against the Giants in his rookie year, but New York’s defense looks like it’ll be just as/if not better than last year, so they aren’t worried about who is on the field for Dallas. The Cowboys entire offense can explode at any time, so they will have their work cut out for them. If the Giants can get any kind of consistent run game this season, they could take the division crown form Dallas, and I think they start that with a win on Sunday night. NEW YORK WINS
Monday Night Football
  • Saints @ Vikings: Minnesota’s defense made their 2016, while the Saints inability to consistently win close games and lack of defense hurt them. The Vikings still don’t have their number 1 option at quarterback, as Teddy Bridgewater starts on the PUP list, so they’ll look to Sam Bradford to manage the offense. Drew Brees continues to be one of the prolific quarterbacks in the league, and that shouldn’t change this season with a number of good options to work with on offense.  They’ll need their defense to show up, and if what they did in the preseason continues, it’ll help get them back in the postseason. Adrian Peterson gets to make his debut in a new uniform against his former team, looking to show he is still a more than viable option at running back in this league. NEW ORLEANS WINS
  • Chargers @ Broncos: The Los Angeles Chargers era starts in Denver, looking to shake off a 2016 that ended with 5 straight losses, and an inability to win close games. The Broncos missed out on the playoffs in their second season without Peyton Manning, but there is hope for Trevor Siemian moving forward. I don’t know if they have enough to get back into the playoffs this year, but I like Denver in week 1. DENVER WINS
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