The NFL season officially kicks off tomorrow!!!!!!! Every game from here on out means something. Whether it’s a playoff spot, home field advantage, or draft position, every game will have real meaning. No more watching starters play for two series and then getting stuck with bench players the rest of the game. The regular season is here!
Every week of the NFL season, I’ll be giving my predictions for every game. Below you’ll find my predictions for week one, along with a short description of why I think each outcome will take place. Scroll through my predictions to see how I think your favorite team will fare in Week 1. I hope you enjoy the NFL season as much as I know I will!
Chiefs vs Patriots (Thursday)
I think this is going to be a great match up. Both teams have loads of talent. The Patriots offense has, well we know who they have. Their only loss is not having Julian Edelman, but I don’t think that will hurt them too much, if at all. The Chiefs have some good weapons on offense also. Travis Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the league, and Tyreek Hill is a big play waiting to happen at any moment. Both defensive units are great as well. The Patriots defense allowed just 15.6 points per game (fewest in the league) last season. It will be hard to repeat that, but I think this defensive unit got better during the offseason. The Chiefs have a defense with their fair share of playmakers also. If there’s one area that stands above the rest as an advantage for the Patriots, it’s the quarterback position. Tom Brady is far better than Alex Smith, which is why I have to go with the Patriots in this game.
Jets vs Bills
I honestly can’t see myself picking the Jets to win many games this year. They’ve got a lot of problems, but their biggest problem is at the quarterback position. They don’t have a solid quarterback for now or the future. I don’t see the Bills being a great team this year, but at least they have somewhat of a solid starter at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor isn’t elite, but he’s good. Having LeSean McCoy is always a nice plus for the Bills. While McCoy is fun to watch, I don’t think this will be a very exciting game. I see the Bills coming out on top, giving their new head coach, Sean McDermott a victory in his first game.
Falcons vs Bears
The Bears have chosen to go with veteran Mike Glennon over rookie Mitch Trubisky as their starting quarterback to start the season. I personally think Trubisky should be the starter, but that’s not for me to decide. Regardless of who the starting quarterback is, this team doesn’t have a lot of weapons on offense. Jordan Howard is coming off a great rookie season. I think he’ll repeat his success this year, but his success won’t be enough to carry the Bears to victories. The Falcons on the other hand are loaded on offense. Reigning MVP Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman will be too much for the Bears. I expect the Falcons to start off the season right after ending last season on a bad note.
Ravens vs Bengals
The Bengals are coming off a poor season, but they’ve tried to make some improvements to their team. Joe Mixon will be a good weapon for them among several others. Other than last season, the Bengals have been consistently good over the last few years. I expect them to have a better season than they did last year. For the Ravens, the most important thing is that Joe Flacco is back. It always helps to have a Super Bowl winning quarterback back on the field. The big advantage I give to the Ravens, is their defense. This defensive unit went unnoticed by many last year because the Ravens weren’t a great team, but the defense kept the Ravens in a lot of games. It was the offense that struggled for this team. Although the Bengals have improved their offense, I think the Ravens defense will do enough to slow them down.
Steelers vs Browns
This game is being played in Cleveland, and Big Ben doesn’t seem to like playing their too much. He doesn’t seem to be his usual self when he’s playing in the Browns stadium. Regardless of that, the Steelers will be at full strength with Brown, Bell, and now Martavis Bryant back. The Browns like to show up when playing the Steelers. They haven’t made it easy for them in the past. This team made some nice moves in the offseason. I had them as one of my draft winners. They’ve named rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer as their starter. He had a good preseason, and I think he’ll be good for them going forward, but not good enough just yet to beat the Steelers. The Steelers offense will get them the win this time around.
Cardinals vs Lions
The Cardinals had a surprisingly not good season last year. They had problems in multiple areas. Carson Palmer didn’t play as well as expected, and neither did the defense. I expect both Palmer and the defense to be better this season. David Johnson is an absolute stud. He can pretty much do anything the Cardinals want him to do. He’ll be their best player again this year, but now the Cardinals need to figure out how to translate his dominance into wins. I’m expecting a big season from the Lions. They better have a big season after what they just paid Matthew Stafford. The Lions rely on Stafford, maybe a little too much sometimes. They need to find a better running game. I don’t think any team sees their run game as a threat. Matthew Stafford will put up big numbers, but will it turn into wins? Not this time. I think the Cardinals start off the season with a victory.
Jaguars vs Texans
The Jaguars have made improvements to their team. One big improvement should be in their running game. Leonard Fournette should be a stud rookie running back, which will give the Jaguars offense a weapon they need. The biggest downfall for the Jaguars, is that Blake Bortles is still their starting quarterback. I think they’ll be an improved team, but not by much. The Texans don’t have a great starting quarterback either, but what they do have is one of the best defensive units in the NFL. A great defense against Blake Bortles is going to cause problems for the Jaguars. Oh, and the Texans will be playing for their hearts out to represent their city.
Buccaneers vs Dolphins (Postponed to Week 11)
Raiders vs Titans
The Titans were almost in the playoffs last season. If Mariota wouldn’t have gone down, there’s a good chance they would have been in. The Raiders could have had a chance to be in the Super Bowl last year. If Derek Carr wouldn’t have gone down, they could have been in. I think the Titans will be a boarder line playoff team again this year. We’ll see if they make it. Mariota is good, and their running game with DeMarco Murray is great, but on the other side of the ball the Raiders have Carr, Cooper, Crabtree, and now Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode is back and ready to run through the Titans defense.
Eagles vs Redskins
This is one of the more difficult games for me to decide on. It could go either way. It’s always tough to choose a winner in NFC East rivalry games. The Redskins lost some weapons on offense, but they also gained some new ones. The Eagles also have some new offensive weapons. I think this game comes down to which quarterback has the most chemistry with his new offensive weapons. While Kirk Cousins is the more experienced passer, Carson Wentz is in his second season and ready to shine. I personally like what Wentz has on offense more than what Cousins has.
Colts vs Rams
While the previous game was difficult to decide, this one is pretty easy. I would probably take the Colts if they had a healthy Andrew Luck, but since they’ll have Scott Tolzien as their starter in this game, I don’t like their chances. Second year quarterback Jared Goff didn’t look great in his first year, but he did show some potential. He had a good preseason, so we’ll see if he can keep that going. The Rams did a nice job of getting some more weapons for Goff to throw to. Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp should help Goff out a lot. I’m not confident either of these teams will be great throughout the year, but I’m giving a good start to the Rams because of the Colts quarterback situation.
Seahawks vs Packers
Here’s another difficult game for me to decide on. The Seahawks have one of the best defensive units in the NFL, but they’re going against one of the best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was on a roll at the end of last season. He’s almost always on a roll. The Seahawks defense can slow just about anyone down, but can the offense outscore Aaron Rodgers? I can see this game going either way, but I’m going to have to go with the Packers simply because they’re playing this one at home. Rodgers is always good, but he seems to be on a another level when he’s on his home field.
Panthers vs 49ers
The 49ers offense has looked pretty good in the preseason. New head coach Kyle Shanahan seems to know what he’s doing. This team will be improved with Shanahan running things, but can they get back to being competitive? I’m not sure that happens this year. The Panthers are coming off a down year. Cam Newton hasn’t being throwing much this offseason, and he hasn’t had much time with his new weapons. Despite the lack of chemistry they may have, I think Cam will quickly learn how to use the new weapons he has. Christian McCaffrey is going to do it all for this team. I’m not 100% sold on this pick, but I think the Panthers come out on top.
Giants vs Cowboys (Sunday Night)
The game I’ve been waiting for all offseason long. Yes, I’m a Cowboys fan. I never want to say that the Giants are going to beat the Cowboys. That’s just wrong for a Cowboys fan to say, but the reality is that there’s a good chance it could happen. Everyone says the Giants have the Cowboys number, but I disagree. They may have beaten the Cowboys twice last year, but they won those two games by a combined total of 4 points. That’s far from having their number. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliot for the first game of the season, which helps their offense a lot, but both Dak and Zeke had poor performances against the Giants last year. The Giants have a great defense, and I think they got better on offense too. The Cowboys defense is always a question mark, so it will be on the Cowboys offense to win the game. I think Dak is going to have a big year. I think he will with or without Zeke. Some say the Giants are Dak’s weakness, but I think Dak overcomes his struggles against this team last year and leads the Cowboys to a win. I’m hoping for another close game, but this time with the Cowboys coming out on top. Feed Zeke, Throw Up the X, Go Cowboys!
Saints vs Vikings (Monday Night)
The story of this game will be Adrian Peterson playing his former team. You know he wants to destroy them, but that may not be so easy for the former Viking. The Vikings have one of the best defensive units in the NFL. I don’t think they’re going to let Adrian Peterson and the Saints walk into their building and run all over them. The Vikings offense isn’t great, but neither is the Saints defense. This really comes down to the Vikings defense vs the Saints offense. Drew Brees can throw the ball all day, but I think there’s a good chance the Vikings defense will come away with a turnover or two.
Chargers vs Broncos (Monday Night)
I’m really hoping the Chargers don’t give leads away so much at the end of games this year. I feel like time after time last season they had the lead, but then gave it away late in the game because of stupid mistakes. The Chargers offense will be good, but they’re going against a great Broncos defense. Flipping the script, the Chargers defense isn’t great, but neither is the Broncos offense. When it’s difficult to decide games, most of the time I’m going to go with the team that has the better defense. In this case, that team is the Broncos.
More Week 1 Predictions: