At long last football season is here. Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season has some pretty intriguing matchups to keep an eye on. From two great teams set to duke it out in Green Bay, or the Giants heading to Texas to prove who owns the division.
All in all we should have a great start to the season. Here are some predictions and overall analysis of the games slated for week one.
New England 28, Kansas City 24
The Patriots are ready to raise their banner and kickoff the new season against the Chiefs. The Pats are heavy favorites heading into Thursday nights opener, with many believing Tom Brady and the offense will dictate the game and blow the Chiefs out. However, the game will be closer than people think, and don’t be surprised to see Brady look uncomfortable to start off. It’s going to take some time to adjust to not having Edelman. Picking against the Pats to lose at home on a banner night would be delusional but the Chiefs should be able to keep it interesting.
Buffalo 17, New York Jets 10
Not sure many people outside of New York have this game circled as must watch football. Two of the worst teams in football are set to duke it out in a divisional battle, and both of them are likely going to have major trouble scoring.
The Jets offense looked putrid during the preseason and opening on the road in a tough stadium isn’t going to help things out. The Bills didn’t look much better, and overall there is a major lack of talent throughout the offense. However, home field advantage should give the Bills an edge and lead them to a sluggish win.
Atlanta 35, Chicago 14
The Falcons will look to prove they’re over that soul crushing defeat they suffered in the Super Bowl. Luckily for them they have a perfect opportunity to turn the page in week one.
The Falcons offense will come out firing and if they get out to a two touchdown lead early on then the game is likely over. Along with the fact that Chicago is going to have a really tough time moving the ball on offense. Jordan Howard is their only offensive threat without Cameron Meredith, and if the Bears are down by 14 he’s not going to be a real big factor.
Houston 27, Jacksonville 7
Speaking of blowouts, it seems like week one has another one in store. The Jags have one of the worst opening games possible for them, with the pass rush that Houston has Bortles is going to be seeing ghost by the end of the game.
There is really no way that the Jags have a shot in this game, unless Bortles and Leonard Fournette are able to pull of a miracle and carry the team. Otherwise J.J Watt and Jadeveon Clowney should be able to rack up some early season sacks.
Philadelphia 21, Washington 24
Nothing is more entertaining than seeing a teams’ best receiver match up against the other teams’ best corner. Thankfully that’s exactly what we have this week, with WR Alshon Jeffery primed to go against cornerback Josh Norman. Personally I think Norman should be able to handle Jeffery and limit his production forcing Wentz to go somewhere else.
The team with the best quarterback usually wins in close matchups, and that trend should continue this week. While Wentz could be in line for a breakout sophomore season, Cousins is the better and more polished quarterback right now and should be able to put up enough points against Philly to grab the win.
Arizona 28, Detroit 17
Last year David Johnson showed us that he is a top two running back in the game. He has the potential to accumulate over 2,000 yards this season running and catching the ball. Right out of the gate he should have a perfect opportunity to showcase his talents against a Lions defense that’s shaky at best.
It’s not like the Lions can just put 8 guys in the box and clog the running game up. If they do then Palmer and Fitzgerald will go off and torch them down field. It’s really a pick your poison scenario for the Lions.
Arizona should have a pretty easy going offensive day to help get them in gear.
Tennessee 42, Oakland 35
Now this is a must see football game if you like high flying offenses. Two of the NFL’s best offenses are set to battle it out in Tennessee.
This will be the highest scoring game of the week, with two promising young quarterbacks in Mariota and Carr leading their respective teams in what could potentially be a playoff preview.
While the passing attack of these teams is pretty dead even (slight advantage to Oakland because Amari Cooper is a force), Tennessee should be able to pull out the win because of their advantage in the run game. Murray and Henry should help the Titans to dictate the pace of the game and the clock which will allow their defense to be a little fresher than Oakland’s and could be a key factor late in the game.
Tampa Bay 28, Miami 21
*Note: this game has since been rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma
We’ll get our first look at Winston and the explosive Bucs offense on Sunday, and Miami is going to have a lot of difficulty slowing them down. Mike Evans will be the star on Sunday with his huge 6’5″, 225-pound frame he’ll be able to get open at will all game long. It will be interesting to see how the Bucs work Jackson into the offense and distribute the targets amongst them.
For Miami, with Cutler starting at quarterback only one thing is a gurantee, Jay Ajayi is going to have quite the workload. As it will most likely be all season with the questions at quarterback lingering.
Cincinnati 16, Baltimore 14
As is usually the case in a AFC North matchup, expect to see a real doozy on Sunday with touchdowns at a premium. The Bengals have a slight edge mainly because they have a proven weapon in A.J. Green while the Ravens are grasping at straws.
Let’s see if he is the A.J. Green that everyone is used to seeing after missing the end of last year with hamstring issues.
Pittsburgh 35, Cleveland 21
While the Browns may (and may is pushing it) be a respectable football team this year, they are not in the same atmosphere as the Steelers.
After cutting Osweiler, it’s DeShone Kizer’s job to lead the Browns offense. While he has his flaws, he should at least give a spark to the offense, one that is so desperately needed.
Overall the Steelers offense is just too much for the Browns to keep up with for the entirety of the game, which will allow the Steelers to pull away late.
L.A. Rams 28, Indianapolis 9
It’s hard to believe that the Rams are a heavy favorite in any game. But with Luck sitting out week one with a shoulder injury, the Rams have an edge and it’s really not close.
The Colts have relied on Luck to fix all of their issues the past few years, and it’s the reason they still have all these issues. A Colts offense without Andrew Luck isn’t going to be pretty and a solid Rams defense should be able to smother them.
Todd Gurley has a good opportunity to kick his new season off with a bang going up against a bad Colts defense.
Seattle 31, Green Bay 28
Easily the best game of week one, two of the NFC’s best teams head-to-head at Green Bay.
The edge goes to Seattle in the passing game on both sides of the ball. Green Bay is going to have a really hard time slowing down Wilson and the Seahawks passing attack. While the Seahawks secondary should be able to keep Rodgers from stealing the game.
The Packers have one shot at slowing up Wilson, and that’s by getting people in his face all day. The front seven of the Packers is going to have to be great in this game. And even if they are, Wilson still has a fabulous ability to make plays out of thin air. So not only does the front seven have to get to Wilson quickly, they also have to stay conservative and contain him.
It’s just too much to ask from them and ultimately the Seahawks will be able to steal a key win in Lambo to start the year.
Carolina 38, San Francisco 20
The Panthers are poised to for a bounce back year in a big way. What better way to kick that off then against a team that is practically tanking.
Newton and the offense should get through this game with ease. It will be interesting to see how much Newton runs or if he stays more in the pocket. Olson and Benjamin should easily have 100 yard games, other than that it’s kind of a dud of a game.
New York Giants 24, Dallas 10
With the news that Elliot’s suspension was upheld, it’s hard to see the Cowboys moving the ball against one of the best defenses in the game.
All of the pressure is going to fall onto Prescott’s shoulders and it’s going to take some time to adjust. The Giants on the other hand are ready to go and should be able to dominate this game on both sides of the ball.
It will be interesting to see how their offense looks against a good (not great) Dallas defense.
Minnesota 24, New Orleans 20
The Vikings came flying out of the gate last season going 5-0, before fading off and finishing 8-8. This year the Vikings look to change that and find a much more consistent pace to their season to secure a playoff berth.
The addition of Dalvin Cook should help them do that (it seems like there are stud young running backs all over the league this year) right out of the gate against the Saints.
For New Orleans there isn’t much promise for their season, although if they’re going to pull out a close one it helps that they’re in the Super Dome.
L.A. Chargers 17, Denver 21
While many experts are high on the Chargers this year, I’m down on them. This years team is weaker than last year’s team while the Broncos defense is still a very formidable one.
Although the Broncos offense is in for a rough night against a solid Chargers defense, they will be able to get enough to pull out the win.
The biggest factor is home field. If this game wasn’t at Mile High than the Chargers would have the edge, but Denvers home field could be the deciding factor.