The Infallible NFL ’16 Week 1 Straight Picks

Keeping it short and sweet is the name of the game, especially with so many games to take a look at. Last year was a pretty good one, but admittedly, picking the Panthers to win last night may have put my first week off to a bad start. Typically, picking the Thursday night game right or wrong has been an omen of some kind each week. Let’s take a look at the rest of the Week 1 slate:

Buffalo at Baltimore. The Ravens will open up this season without as many injuries as last season finished with. But due to those injuries there is much uncertainty as to how guys like Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Jr., Breshad Perriman, Justin Forsett, Terrell Suggs, and others will perform. Buffalo rolls into town with Baltimore’s former backup QB and a pivotal year to get results under Rex Ryan. Ravens 27, Bills 17

Green Bay at Jacksonville. A surprise team this year around the league could very well be the Jacksonville Jaguars. With an upgraded defense (along with rookies Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Dante Fowler), the already high-powered offense looks to build off of a promising season. The Pack come in with the same high hopes of every year and a renewed faith in RB Eddie Lacy. A healthy Jordy Nelson and a new weapon at TE in Jared Cook makes for an interesting matchup. Jaguars 31, Packers 30

Chicago at Houston. On the outside looking in, these two teams have similar offensive units with young stud #1 WRs and a slew of shifty backs at the disposal of pretty boy QBs who haven’t really won anything but continue to receive praise. Unfortunately for the Bears, JJ Watt is the leader of a Houston defense with something to prove. And now the the AFC South is better, it will be that much tougher to ease into the playoffs. Texans 23, Bears 17

Cleveland at Philadelphia. Robert Griffin is no longer the RG3 that captivated us in his rookie season, but apparently he has done enough to win over his teammates in a short amount of time, evidenced by his elected captaincy. Neither team has a star player (even though Joe Haden is no secretly really really good). This is either going to be low-scoring or really high-scoring. Eagles 16, Browns 13

Tampa Bay at Atlanta. The Bucs were a curious team last year. No one really knew what to expect from them, mainly because their offense was inconsistent and their defense just blew. Jameis Winston seems to be coming into his own and the rest of the cast didn’t get any worse. Is Matt Ryan going to be able to cut down on the turnovers? Because the Falcons won’t have much of a chance otherwise. Buccaneers 38, Falcons 28

Minnesota at Tennessee. I’m oddly high on Marcus Mariota even though he has no one to really throw the ball to. But the running game appears dynamic. DeMarco Murray looks to have his legs back and Derrick Henry is an absolute beast. Adrian Peterson is still a monster and Sam Bradford can’t be trusted to throw the ball much in this offense. Looks like a fun game filled with smash-mouth football. Titans 24, Vikings 20

Cincinnati at NYJ. Both of these teams are going to be good. Unfortunately they have to play each other in the first week of the season. For as solid a regular season the Bengals may eventually have, if Marvin Lewis doesn’t win a playoff game then he needs to talk a walk. New York’s defense is stout once again and the offense has Matt Forte to lean on for at least one year. Jets 30, Bengals 26

Oakland at New Orleans. Will a happy, richer Drew Brees play better? Will it matter with a defense like that? The Saints’ offense is really good, but so is the Raiders’ defense. Time for Khalil Mack to get right back on track. And time for Derek Carr is step it up another level. Oakland is just too talented to suck it up this year. Stay tuned. Raiders 28, Saints 21

San Diego at Kansas City. As long as Philip Rivers is in the huddle, the Chargers will have a chance to score points. Winning games will fall squarely on the defense. KC has a plethora of backs with talent and will be fine as Jamaal Charles works his way back to health. This might be a tight one. Chiefs 20, Chargers 17

Miami at Seattle. Even if the Dolphins had a good team this would be a tough trip from the opposite of the country. Arian Foster may very well have a solid year, as will Jarvis Landry, but this is a tough matchup to begin the year. Whoever touches the ball the most in the Seahawks backfield should have a nice shower whether it’s Christine Michael or Thomas Rawls. The intrigue will be with all the young receivers Seattle has. Seahawks 31, Dolphins 21

Detroit at Indianapolis. Andrew Luck and the Colts are finally healthy. Neither team is particularly superior but both has a heavy passing attack and marginal running games. This may very well come down to who has the ball last (and most certainly who turns it over the fewest times). Colts 34, Lions 31

NYG at Dallas. New York has consistently had up and down years to the point that they were falling flat one year and then winning the whole thing the next. Don’t expect them to raise the Lombardi trophy when all is said and done, but they could be very explosive with Sterling Shepherd as the #2 guy to Odell Beckham Jr. Can Dak Prescott keep things going? Will he need to with Ezekiel Elliott and company running the ball? Giants 27, Cowboys 23

New England at Arizona. There has to be a loser. Unfortunately it will be a very good team. If Tom Brady was in charge of this one it would be much closer. But he won’t be present and I’m not convinced this group of guys is as talented as other top teams without their signal-caller. Carson Palmer should have another great year (without so many blunders at the end of the season). David Johnson is ready to blossom. Cardinals 35, Patriots 24

Pittsburgh at Washington. Kirk Cousins was one of the best and most productive QBs last year no matter what way you look at it. Do his celebrations need some work? Definitely. But the Skins haven’t gotten worse and should have an open division to work with. The Steelers will have a good shot of putting up points even no matter who is in the backfield. How many passing yards will go up in this one? Steelers 41, Redskins 28

Los Angeles at San Francisco. In perhaps the least exciting game of the opening week, Los Angeles has a football team again and Colin Kaepernick silently protests from the sideline. On the field, Todd Gurley and Carlos Hyde provide one of the better matchups of young running backs without much help outside of them. Will #1 pick Jared Goff give the Rams steady rushing attack and frontline defense a credible passing attack or will former top pick Blaine Gabbert steal the show? Or will you fall asleep first? Rams 24, 49ers 18

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