Week One Preview and Picks

kirk cousins
Kirk Cousins will be making his Vikings debut (Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn/AP)

Early Games

Buccaneers vs Saints, FOX

The Bucs will be going into this game without Jameis Winston as he begins serving his 3-game suspension. I think the Superdome will be rocking and the Saints will be able to generate a good amount of offense even without Mark Ingram as he will begin serving his 4-game suspension. I also think Ryan Fitzpatrick and company will struggle against that Saints secondary.

Pick: Saints

Bills vs Ravens, CBS

I’ll pretty much watch any NFL game that’s on, but I’m not sure I’ll watch a second of this one. I think Buffalo has the worst quarterback situation in the league and they will struggle mightily against what should be a pretty good Ravens defense. Buffalo should however have a solid defense that should be able to keep this game manageable. I think this will be a really low-scoring game, but the Ravens will win because I can’t trust anything the Bills will be throwing out there at quarterback.

Pick: Ravens

Jaguars vs Giants, FOX

This game definitely intrigues me. First off, it’ll be the regular season debut of Saquon Barkley, second off, Odell Beckham will be back and he will be matched up against that elite Jaguars secondary. Being at home helps the Giants, but they don’t have a great offensive line to say the least, and the Jaguars are really good at getting to the quarterback. If the Giants’ line can find a way to hold up they could win this game I think and this game should be tight.

Pick: Jaguars

Texans vs Patriots, CBS

The Patriots have actually gotten off to slow starts the last two years despite going on and winning the AFC title each year. This is the return of Deshaun Watson and he will be going against a Patriots team that he almost beat last season. I am very excited about this game. Another big thing to watch will be how the addition of Tyrann Mathieu to the Houston defense works out, just how he fits into their defense. I think this game will be exciting and I think it could be a shootout.

Pick: Texans

49ers vs Vikings, FOX

This game also intrigues me. Mostly because it’s the Vikings debut of Kirk Cousins and because of the way Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers ended the season last season. I think San Francisco will end up having a good season, but this is a tough ask to start the season by going into Minnesota, where it’ll probably be a wild crowd and the Vikings have one of the better rosters in the league. It’s also a tough blow for the 49ers that they will be having to play without their free agent signing, running back Jerick McKinnon.

Pick: Vikings

Titans vs Dolphins, FOX

I’m not super high on the Dolphins this season, although they did make some nice offseason signings. DeVante Parker is also expected to miss the game for Miami. I’m also not sure what to make of the Titans this season. They made the playoffs last season but that was mostly because six teams from each conference have to make it. Mike Vrabel could end up being a very good head coach and that wouldn’t surprise me, but the most important thing for Tennessee this season is how the offense performs and making sure they are more creative, and the responsibility of that will fall to new offensive coordinator Matt LeFleur, and that’s something I’m interested to watch.

Pick: Titans

Bengals vs Colts, CBS

The Colts are favored to win this game and I’m kind of surprised about that. Andrew Luck will be back, which is a very welcome sight for Colts fans and really for football fans such as myself, but he won’t be at his peak and the Colts roster still isn’t all that good. I think the Bengals defense and pass rush will be too much for the Colts and they’ll find a way to win.

Pick: Bengals

Steelers vs Browns, CBS

Le’Veon Bell will of course not be in uniform and it will be really interesting to see how that impacts the Steelers’ offense against an improved Browns team. The Steelers will still of course have Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, but James Conner is no Le’Veon Bell. Tyrod Taylor will also be making his Cleveland debut. This game should be pretty interesting and I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see the Browns win, especially with the game being in Cleveland.

Pick: Steelers

Late Games

Chiefs vs Chargers, CBS

This is probably the game I’m most excited about on Sunday. It’s unfortunate that Joey Bosa will be missing the game, but I can’t wait to watch Patrick Mahomes go against what is a pretty good defense on paper, while being coached by Andy Reid, who I view as a good offensive mind. What the Chiefs need to avoid doing though is fall in love with throwing the ball with Mahomes and not giving the ball to Kareem Hunt enough. It’ll also be really interesting to watch the Chargers with Phillip Rivers and those receivers going against what should be an improved Kansas City secondary, although it sounds like Eric Berry won’t play. This is a huge early season game in the AFC West between who I believe will be the top two teams in the division.

Pick: Chargers

Seahawks vs Broncos, FOX

Not too much offense should be expected in this game. The Seahawks might be better up front, but I still think the Denver defensive front will eat the Seattle offensive line alive. The saving grace for Seattle is that Russell Wilson is good at avoiding sacks. Case Keenum will also be making his Denver debut in this game so we’ll get to see if that offense will be improved.

Pick: Seahawks

Cowboys vs Panthers, FOX

Will Cam Newton be a more improved passer with Norv Turner being his offensive coordinator? This might not be the best test however as I’m not expecting the Cowboys defense to be that great. Ezekiel Elliott will I’m sure be welcomed back this season as he’s not facing a six-game suspension. I really don’t have a good feel for how this game will play out.

Pick: Panthers

Redskins vs Cardinals, FOX

This is another game I’m having a tough time gauging. Alex Smith and Sam Bradford will be making their debuts for their respective teams, but other than that this game doesn’t have too many story lines in it. I’m expecting both teams to be pretty average this season.

Pick: Cardinals

Sunday Night Football

Bears vs Packers, NBC

I think Chicago will be a better team than a lot of other people probably think this season, but they might be in for a tough opening game with Aaron Rodgers making his return after breaking his collarbone last season against the Vikings (even though he did play in one late game season last season). Lambeau Field should be rocking and the Packers should have an improved defense, but Rodgers will be breaking in some new receivers and most notable he has no Jordy Nelson. Regardless, he’s Aaron Rodgers and he makes receivers around him better and I’m expecting him to do that again this season.

Pick: Packers

 

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