Here are my predictions for the first week of NFL games.
Carolina at Denver
The perennial Super Bowl rematch. These two teams are basically the same as when they met in the Championship game, aside from a couple of pieces. The biggest question mark is Denver’s quarterback position. Can Trevor Siemian fill the shoes of the legend–wait for it–ary Peyton? Carolina 22, Denver 17.
Green Bay at Jacksonville
Does the return of Jordy Nelson promise a Super Bowl ring for Green Bay? On paper this matchup might seem lopisided, but Jacksonville has a well-rounded team this year. Don’t count them out. Ultimately though, Green Bay’s weapons take the edge. Green Bay 34, Jacksonville, 24.
Buffalo at Baltimore
This is a fairly even matchup. The Ravens get Joe Flacco back, plus a few wide receiver additions. The Bills should be an above .500 team. Home field advantage will be key in this one, though. Baltimore 23, Buffalo 17.
Chicago at Houston
It’s never easy playing Houston at home. I don’t see this getting out of hand, though. I think Chicago will keep it closer than you think. Brock Osweiler suits up for his first game with his new team, with a much improved offense. Houston 27, Chicago 20.
Cleveland at Philadelphia
This one could be a high-scoring affair, as both teams have questionable defenses. Carson Wentz will get the nod for his first career game. He’s going up against RGIII, who I suspect might be underestimated this year. Cleveland 20, Philadelphia 10.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
Expect to see a pretty even playing field in this NFC South matchup. The Matt Ryan-Julio Jones combo never goes out of style. But Tampa Bay looks to build upon last year’s strong effort. I’m giving the edge to Atlanta in the dome. Atlanta 24, Tampa Bay 21.
Minnesota at Tennessee
Minnesota took a blow when Teddy Bridgewater went down. They quickly added Sam Bradford as a confidence booster. Will that be enough for a Week 1 win? Tennessee is prepared to ground-and-pound with their monstrous running back duo, and air it out as necessary. Edge to Tennessee in this one in hopes of a turnaround season. Tennessee 27, Minnesota 16.
Cincinnati at New York Jets
AJ Green and company are ready to put the past behind them and push for a lengthy postseason. Week 1 promises a tough game against a strong Jet’s defense. The Jets have an impressive offense if they can stay healthy. Cincinnati 18, Jets 14.
Oakland at New Orleans
This game seems to be a shoot-out. Look for both teams to utilize the passing game. I gotta go with Drew Brees if this game goes according to plan. New Orleans 34, Oakland 27.
San Diego at Kansas City
Each of these teams expect to contend for the AFC West title. The Chargers get Keenan Allen back, while the Chiefs get Jamaal Charles. Kansas City defense will take over the game in this matchup. Kansas City 21, San Diego 13.
Miami at Seattle
Seattle will be a playoff team for the next few years. But this Miami team is on the rise. For the Fins, it’s a tough test to start off the season. In the end, Seattle will come away with the victory. Seattle 27, Miami 17.
Detroit at Indianapolis
I presume this to be a fun, back and forth game. I think it will be one of the higher scoring games this week with a bunch of yards for each team. The Colts will walk away with the win though. Indianapolis 33, Detroit 27.
New York Giants at Dallas
Always an exciting rivalry in the NFC East. With Tony Romo out, the Cowboys are not the same. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott could fix that. If the Dallas defense shows up, they have a good shot at winning. But I can’t turn down the Giants in this one. New York 28, Dallas 17.
New England at Arizona
Both are solid teams, even though the Patriots will miss Tom Brady. This has a loss for New England written all over it though. The Cardinals have an excellent team on both sides of the ball, and they’re ready for the playoffs. Cardinals 32, New England 20.
Pittsburgh at Washington
Kirk Cousins sure has a way of winning games. Can they stand up to an exciting Steelers team? Pittsburgh wins on the road in this Monday night game. Pittsburgh 24, Washington 20.
Los Angeles at San Francisco
In the last game of Week 1, the Rams battle the 49ers in a NFC West showdown. Both teams have a long season ahead of them. The Rams will look to make L.A. proud in their first game. Los Angeles 20, San Francisco 16.