As another season kicks off with tons of different uncertainties one thing we can say for certain is that I’m awesome. How does that translate to football predictions? Well, if you’ve paid enough attention to me over the years you really don’t need to ask that question.
Kansas City at New England. Yet another opportunity for the NFL to spotlight their golden child, the New England Patriots. Will it suck that Julian Edelman isn’t there? Sure. But Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, and Chris Hogan should be enough. My sleeper pick Mike Gillislee is in danger of being inactive (yikes!) but whoever lines up in the backfield should have a good game. After losing Jeremy Maclin to salary cap issues, the Chiefs will open with Tyreek Hill as their top option next Travis Kelce. Kareem Hunt will attempt to be the lead back. But this should be sorta close until it’s not. Patriots 31, Chiefs 21.
Atlanta at Chicago. Well, at least the Bears get to start at home. Unfortunately, they’re starting against a team with an ax to grind after choking away a seemingly insurmountable lead in the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan will be back to MVP-quality levels and Julio Jones will continue to run up and down the field. If the bears can slow down Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman while getting their own running game with Jordan Howard going, then there may be a slight chance this game remains competitive past halftime. Fat chance. Falcons 38, Bears 24.
NYJ at Buffalo. In a seemingly boring matchup, two teams with uncertainty on both sides of ball really makes this game a bit of a tossup. The Bills still have LeSean McCoy and some pieces on defense. While the Jets are hoping to purge the negativity and build on a younger core. This one should be methodical if not predictable. Bills 24, Jets 17.
Baltimore at Cincinnati. Joe Flacco comes back with some more talent and so does Cincy. While the Ravens have been great historically at Cincinnati with Flacco under center, this week is a true toss up. Can the dynamic offense of Dalton-Green-Ross-Mixon-Eifert (along with Bernard and Hill) overcome a somehow strengthened Baltimore defense? And can the Ravens put points on the board to keep up with a high-powered offense (at least on paper)? Bengals 27, Ravens 23.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland. Another year, another bad omen for the Cleveland Browns. Top pick Myles Garrett is out for the first month or so with an injury. What did they have going for them in the first place? They have draft picks! Maybe DeShone Kizer and Corey Coleman will have a nice connection. They better if they want to keep up with Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. Steelers 31, Browns 20.
Arizona at Detroit. Carson Palmer is another year older and yet the Cards are still expected to have a nice season. David Johnson is a big reason for that. On the flip side, Matthew Stafford is the highest paid QB in the game, can he back it up? Golden Tate and company will really have to help the guy out. Cardinals 30, Lions 17.
Oakland at Tennessee. In what should be one of the most exciting games, the Titans and Raiders get together in a matchup of younger teams will marquee quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota now has some new options to throw to, while the defense appears to be upgraded. Meanwhile, the Raiders kept the important pieces they needed and should be primed for another run in the postseason (this time with Derek Carr healthy, hopefully). Titans 30, Raiders 28.
Philadelphia at Washington. The Skins need to keep their QB but they can’t keep anyone else? Not sure that made much sense. But Kirk (not Kirt) Cousins is a top QB. He makes plays and he will keep this shaky roster in the game. Mainly because the Eagles are a questionable team as well. Carson Wentz should have a solid sophomore season, but will Alshon Jeffery be the big-time target he needs? Redskins 23, Eagles 19.
Jacksonville at Houston. Can Leonard Fournette make the NFL look easy? Not against this defense. JJ Watt is back and in full effect. Chad Henne is solid, but Allen Robinson needs to be relevant again and this Jaguars defense needs the time to be now. They’ve got tons of talent and highly regarded guys who need to make it happen. Texans 31, Jaguars 24.
Indianapolis at LAR. Jared Goff has more weapons this year with Sammy Watkins on board, but will he finally come around? I know the kid was thrown to the wolves, but he looked horrible. Andrew Luck is back and Frank Gore hasn’t gotten old yet. If T.Y. HIlton can get loose for some big gains then who knows. The Rams always surprise me and start pretty well. Rams 20, Colts 17.
Seattle at Green Bay. Seattle just keeps getting stronger on defense (on paper anyways) and Sheldon Richardson certainly has helped out. Outside of all the drama and bullshit, the Seahawks should be ready to go and Doug Baldwin will have a big one. Conversely, look for Jordy Nelson (and/or one of several guys) to have a big day at Lambeau. Packers 33, Seahawks 21.
Carolina at San Francisco. Well, the 49ers aren’t getting worse, right? Not sure who they have on offense besides Carlos Hyde, but he should have a decent game. The Panthers defense isn’t that great, but it will look better than reality against this San Francisco squad. Christian McCaffrey will either be special or a huge flop. Panthers 24, 49ers 10.
NYG at Dallas. New York looks a little better on offense and can’t be much worse on defense while the Cowboys should have Ezekiel Elliott for at least this weekend. Can the Giants run the football? If not, they might score some points but they can not win this game without the ability to control the clock. Dak Prescott will do enough but he won’t be getting flashy stats just yet. Cowboys 27, Giants 24.
New Orleans at Minnesota. In any intriguing Monday Night Football game, the Saints and new running back Adrian Peterson head to his old stadium to play a team with a spark plug of a runner in Dalvin Cook. The Vikings were all about defense until the back end of the season last year when injuries bit them hard. Look for this one to go down to the wire with a few turnovers on both sides. Vikings 24, Saints 20.
LAC at Denver. Philip Rivers historically struggles in Denver. Will that play a huge role in this particular outcome? Probably not. This time around he will have a healthy Melvin Gordon along with a few healthy receivers (most notably Keenan Allen). Will Trevor Siemian keep this offense afloat? We’ll see. Broncos 28, Chargers 20.