After an incredible opening weekend of college football, we now have the beginning of the NFL season. Like always, my goal is to finish with over a 70% winning percentage. Of course, the biggest news coming into this year has to be can New England and Tom Brady repeat as champions. After an impossible comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, Brady won his 5th ring which is the most of all-time. Julian Edelman went down during the preseason for the year with a torn ACL. The Atlanta Falcons are the favorites in the NFC to reach the Super Bowl once again as they still possess an unstoppable offense lead by reigning MVP Matt Ryan. Who will challenge the Falcons & Patriots in their respective conferences? There are several teams that could make their way to the Super Bowl this year. The opening week I’ll be predicting a total of 9 games.
We kick things off with a Thursday night game as Kansas City visit the New England Patriots. With talks during the offseason of the Patriots going undefeated, this will be one of their toughest tests this year. With Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell out with injury, newly acquired Philip Dorsett could see significant action. Tom Brady will have his main target in Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup, will they continue their dominance? Kansas City is one of the teams in the AFC that could dethrone the Patriots this year. The Chiefs have a really good defense and their offense is efficient with Tyreek Hill being a difference maker. At the end, New England is damn near unbeatable at home and I think they’ll be victorious.
New England Wins 31-21
We have division rivals facing each other as Baltimore visits the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore has struggled on offense throughout the preseason as Joe Flacco been absent because of injury. The lack of reps by Flacco with the offense will affect this team, especially with new WR Jeremy Maclin. As always, the Baltimore defense should be one of the best in the league and could cause problems with the Bengals offense. The Cincinnati Bengals had a very disappointing a year ago. Cincinnati dealt with several major injuries last year, which included A.J. Green. If healthy, Cincinnati could be a sleeper team this year and I think they will prevail against Baltimore.
Cincinnati Wins 26-17
This game features a pair of teams that’s hoping to make the playoffs in the NFC. The Arizona Cardinals will visit the Detroit Lions as they travel cross country for their opener. Arizona is hoping to have a better 2017 season as last year was a nightmare. David Johnson is one of the best running backs in the league and hopefully they can stay healthy this year. Can Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald help Johnson lead this offense back to the playoffs? Detroit would like a repeat performance from last year from Matthew Stafford before hurting his finger. Stafford comes into this year fresh off a new contract and hoping to lead this Lions team back to the playoffs. Can they overcome a hungry Cardinals team? I’m picking Arizona to pick up the huge road win in Detroit.
Arizona Wins 27-24
Two of the better young teams in the AFC meet during the opening week. The Oakland Raiders travel to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans. Some think that Oakland had a chance last year to be the team to go to the Super Bowl. Derek Carr went out with an injury, but he returns this year and he’ll have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield this year. Can Oakland stay healthy and challenge the Patriots this year? Tennessee was pretty much like Oakland last year as Marcus Mariota went out with an injury. Can Tennessee pick up where they left off before the Mariota injury? They will, but I think Oakland will pull off the road win over the Titans.
Oakland Wins 34-31
We head to the NFC East for this match-up as the Philadelphia Eagles visits the Washington Redskins. The Eagles have revamped their offense with Carson Wentz having weapons at the WR position. Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith and LeGarrett Blount could turn Carson Wentz into the QB many expect him to be. The defense will struggle on the back-end with their secondary really the only question mark. Washington lost a lot on both sides of the ball, but Kirk Cousins is out to prove he’s a franchise QB. Can the defense stop the new and improved offense? This could end up being a shootout with the Eagles pulling off the upset on the road.
Philadelphia Wins 36-31
We stay in the NFC as the Seattle Seahawks make the cross-country trip to battle the Green Bay Packers. Honestly, these are two of the favorites from the NFC to make the Super Bowl. The Seahawks will get back All-Pro Safety Earl Thomas, who contemplated retirement after breaking his leg last year. Russell Wilson is one of my favorites to possibly be the league MVP this year. Can the defense continue their dominance? Speaking of MVP candidates, Aaron Rodgers should be in the running as he’ll have a new target in Martellus Bennett to throw to. Once again, the defense will have some problems throughout the year, but Rodgers can score with the best of them. This is a tough one for me, but I think the Packers will escape with the win.
Green Bay Wins 27-17
The first Sunday night game of the year will see the New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys. Last year, the Giants beat the Cowboys twice and Dallas will want revenge as these teams don’t like each other. The big question for New York is, will Odell Beckham Jr. play in this game? Earlier in the preseason, he went down with an ankle injury on a questionable hit against the Browns. Dallas has had their fair share of drama throughout the offseason. Ezekiel Elliott had his 6-game suspension upheld, but he may play in this game. This should be a close, hard-hitting game with the Cowboys pulling out the win in the end.
Dallas Wins 20-17
This is the first Monday night game of the evening as the New Orleans Saints visit the Minnesota Vikings. Adrian Peterson makes his return to Minnesota after a Hall-of-Fame career and it will be interesting to see how the fans react to him. New Orleans is still lead by another future Hall-of-Famer in Drew Brees who will have a great 1-2 punch in the backfield. It seems like the Saints defense has improved from previous seasons also. Minnesota had a great start to the season last year and they’re hoping to do the same this year. Once again, this should be a team that challenges the Packers and Lions for the division. I’m picking the Vikings to pull off a tough one over the Saints.
Minnesota Wins 30-28
The second Monday Night game will be out of the AFC West. The Los Angeles Chargers will travel to Denver to face the Broncos and I have to get used to say Los Angeles. This year, the Chargers could be the sleeper team in this division. Everyone will be talking about the Raiders, Broncos and Chiefs, but Los Angeles will surprise some people. With the improvement of Los Angeles, the AFC West could challenge the NFC South for the toughest division in football. Denver’s defense will face a tough test out the gate as this will be their first game without All-Pro Safety T.J. Ward. Will that affect the No-Fly Zone of the Broncos? I’m picking the Chargers to pull off the upset.
Los Angeles Wins 31-30
Are you ready for some football? What game are you looking forward the most? What’s your favorite team? What do you think about my picks? Leave a comment below.