It’s finally here!! I feel like a kid on Christmas eve just waiting for that special day. Thursday is NFL kickoff, and every single team will be playing their first games over this weekend (LFG). We’ll finally get to see how these organizations handle the lack of fans in the stadiums and hopefully COVID doesn’t disrupt the season. But let’s get into my predictions for Week One!
Thursday – 9/10
Chiefs vs Texans – Winner: Chiefs
Kansas City won the Super Bowl last year and they’re the early favorites to win it again. To open the new season, the Chiefs are playing against a Texans team with a questionable depth chart after trading away DeAndre Hopkins. Houston’s starting CB Gaeron Conley was placed on the IR to start the year, which doesn’t bode well for the Texan’s chances to win this game. I’m expecting the Chiefs to run away with it by the 3rd quarter.
Sunday – 9/13
Bills vs Jets – Winner: Bills
The Bills get to start the year off against a division rival, and considering how open the AFC East division is right now, I’m fully expecting Buffalo to come away with a victory in week one. Josh Allen is poised for a great year after the front office acquired Stefon Diggs in the offseason, and the Bills defense will likely be a top unit in the league. The Jets are only a few key pieces away from being a good team, but the loss of Jamal Adams and CJ Mosely could prevent NY from taking that step forward fans were hoping for… Also their HC is Adam Gase… So there’s that too.
Vikings vs Packers – Winner: Vikings
This game could be a nail biter, but I have Minnesota pulling out with the victory. That defense is loaded after acquiring Yannick Ngakoue. The front seven is nasty and will terrorize opposing offenses throughout the year. Not to mention, it’s likely the Vikings will be a run heavy offense and let Dalvin Cook work his magic in the kitchen. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, and he’ll always give them a chance, but the lack of added help this offseason may prevent the Pack-Attack from reaching their full potential. Should be a close game, but Minnesota has the edge.
Football Team vs Eagles – Winner: Eagles
The Washington Football Team is very young and has an entirely new coaching staff heading into a COVID filled year. If Washington does start winning games, it probably won’t happen until later in the season, so for now, I’m expecting the Eagles to fly into Washington and make that stadium their new nest in week one. The lack of WR depth in Philly is the only thing that may give Washington a chance. The Eagles should be able to come away with an easy win.
Ravens vs Browns – Winner: Ravens
It’s really easy for people to choose the Ravens over the Browns due to recency bias (and the Browns long history of losing), but this game will be closer than Baltimore fans would like. Both franchises are loaded with talent, the only difference is, is that the Ravens found out how to play together a lot sooner than Cleveland did. If the Browns can build that chemistry, watch out, but for now, the AFC North belongs to the Ravens.
Jaguars vs Colts – Winner: Colts
I mean do I really need to break this game down? The Jags are throwing this season away and riding a tank all the way to the 1st pick of the 2021 draft. On the other hand, the Colts are a strong competitor and could make some noise this year. With a stout defense, and arguably the best O-line group in the NFL, Indy will be a tough team to beat. I’m not too sure about their WR core or Rivers’ ability to still play at a high level, but luckily for the Colts, they get a nice practice game to start the year.
Panthers vs Raiders – Winner: Raiders
Carolina is just too young of a team to be a major threat this year. I really like their talent and prospects though, which means they have a shot at being at the top of the pecking order in a couple of years. The Las Vegas Raiders have a rather balanced team right now who is led by Hall of Fame Coach Jon Gruden. Their defense is a little questionable, but this offense should be fun to watch. I don’t know if they have what it takes to make a playoff push or not, but week one should be a nice win for Vegas.
Lions vs Bears – Winner: Bears
This is one of the more interesting matchups and could actually be a bit closer than people think. Detroit has an incredibly dangerous offense that’s loaded with weapons like Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, D’Andre Swift, Marvin Jones Jr., and Adrian Peterson. They don’t have a great O-line though, and that defense is going to be awful. Chicago on the other hand has one of the better defenses in the league this year and their offense is actually pretty loaded. The only question mark is the QB position, which will either help the Bears thrive or die. Either way, the Bears should be walking away with a 1 in the Win column after this game.
Falcons vs Seahawks – Winner: Seahawks
I really like this matchup and it should be a fun one to watch. I have Seattle pegged as one of the top teams in the NFC, while Atlanta has a chance to be competitive. Both offenses are loaded and the first half could be a shootout. The difference will be defense, which is where Seattle has the real advantage. I’m expecting the Seahawks to walk away with a win this week.
Patriots vs Dolphins – Winner: Patriots
I have no idea what to expect with New England this year. Their defense was depleted as multiple players opted out, and they have one of the worst WR/TE groups in the league. However, with the AFC East wide open, a solid O-line and a healthy Cam Newton… Anything is possible. The Patriots will likely be competing with the Jets for 2nd place in the AFC East. The Dolphins are so young they’re basically a college team, which means the Pats should be finishing this game with more points than Miami.
Bengals vs Chargers – Winner: Chargers
Both of these squads are weird, as they each have potential to play much better than people are expecting. However, LA is much closer to being successful than Cincy. The Chargers offense is still loaded with talent, the O-line was addressed in the offseason, and even without Derwin James is out for the year, their defense is still good enough to create some chaos. The Bengals have a great opportunity with Joe Burrow leading the way, but I’m not expecting this team to hit their stride until later in the year. I have the Chargers pulling away in the 2nd half.
49ers vs Cardinals – Winner: Cardinals
This is my upset of pick of the week. Sure, San Fran made it to the Super Bowl and the Cardinals didn’t even make it to the playoffs… But this is a new year, and the Arizona front office loaded this team up with weapons for their QB Kyler Murray. The 49er defense is no joke though, but I don’t know if their offense is capable of putting up the points like they did a year ago. With Arizona likely to air it out with their incredible WR group (Hopkins, Fitz, and Kirk), I think the Cardinals catch the 49ers off guard and steal a win.
Saints vs Buccaneers – Winner: Saints
This is either going to be the game of the week, or it’s going to be a total blow out. Both teams are poised for a playoff run, but I give the edge to New Orleans. There’s just a ton of hype around this Bucs team and it’s giving me serious 2019 Browns vibes. With New Orleans stacked and looking like the best team in the NFC, Drew Brees and his crew should be able to end the night with a victory.
Rams vs Cowboys – Winner: Cowboys
Dallas has the roster to be one of the best teams in the league this year, but can they finally do it? I like their chances as the NFC East is quite possibly one of the worst divisions in the NFL, which means they should be able to make the playoffs this year. The Rams have an amazing group of athletes on the offensive side of the ball along with a solid defense to go with it. The only think I’m concerned about is their O-line and running game. Goff just might throw for 8,000 yards this year (exaggerating, but not really) just to make up for the questionable RB group. Dallas is much more balanced and should win this week.
Monday – 9/14
Giants vs Steelers – Winner: Steelers
Pittsburgh may have the best defensive unit in the NFL this year and it will give them a huge advantage throughout the season. I actually really like the Giants talent, but they’re just so young and they’re in the middle of finding their identity with new HC Joe Judge. NY has a bright future, but for right now, the Steelers are looking to make some noise in the AFC. Pittsburgh should have a nice little lead in the 4th quarter.
Broncos vs Titans – Winner: Titans
This game has a chance to be the game of the week as both of these teams are looking strong entering the year. The Titans have the edge though as a large majority of the offense returns from a year ago along with a boosted defense after signing Jadeveon Clowney. Denver’s defense is no joke either, however, their offense is so young and new, it may take them a few weeks to get adjusted to the season. It’s too bad that Von Miller is out for the year, which decreases their chances of making a playoff push. Luckily for the Broncos, the game is being played in Denver, which gives them an advantage due to the altitude of Mile High Stadium. This game could come down to the final drive, but I see Tennessee flying back home with a W.