The NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday, which means grown men once again have an excuse to sit on the couch, skip church, drink beer and yell at the television.
In the spirit of the excitement of the 2019 season, it’s time for my ‘way too early to know’ week 1 NFL picks. I pick’em, I tell you why I picked’em, and then you pretend I didn’t write this if my expert analysis is terribly wrong.
Green Bay at Chicago
Chicago has a great defense, but Aaron Rodgers has something to prove without Mike McCarthy, and I don’t trust Mitch Trubisky in big situations. I like the Packers.
Los Angeles (Rams) at Carolina
Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp are the healthiest they’ve been in months. I don’t trust Cam Newton yet, after shoulder surgery and a preseason injury. Christian McCaffrey is a beast, but ultimately, I don’t think the Panthers offense will be able to keep up. Give me the Rams.
Tennessee at Cleveland
The Cleveland hype machine has left the station and they’re in for a rude awakening, but not this week. Tennessee’s defense is formidable, but their offense struggles with consistency. I’ll take the Browns.
Kansas City at Jacksonville
The Chiefs once again look like a top two favorite to win the AFC Championship. The Jaguars added Nick Foles and have a good defense, but it won’t be enough. Chiefs win.
Baltimore at Miami
The Ravens have a top notch defense, and Miami is completely in rebuild mode. It’s going to be a long season for the Dolphins. Ravens run away with it.
Atlanta at Minnesota
This has the potential to be a great game. I think the Falcons are a little better than your average person realizes this season, and Minnesota always has a good defense, although Kirk Cousins is a big game liability. Fortunately for Cousins, this is in Minnesota and it’s not a big game. Either team can win, but I like the Vikings to edge the Falcons out.
Buffalo at New York (Jets)
This one’s a toss-up between two teams playing for second place in the AFC East. I’ll take the Jets only because they’re at home – that Le’Veon Bell guy is pretty good too, I suppose.
Washington at Philadelphia
This game doesn’t require a complex analysis. The Eagles are a superior team and will blow the Redskins out.
Indianapolis at Los Angeles (Chargers)
This would’ve been a good game with Andrew, but the Colts Luck ran out. Chargers win.
Cincinnati at Seattle
AJ Green isn’t healthy, Andy Dalton is suspect, and the game is in Seattle. It may be a bit ugly, but Seattle wins.
Detroit at Arizona
Arizona has a wild card in Kyler Murray, and Detroit has a head coach in Matt Patricia who will look to expose his inexperience. This could be a close game, but I’ll take the Lions on the road to spoil the rookie’s debut.
New York (Giants) at Dallas
The Giants are going to be a complete disaster this season, outside of Saquon Barkley. Dallas just re-signed Ezekiel Elliot and he’s motivated to show the NFL he’s the best running back in the game. I like Dallas.
San Francisco at Tampa Bay
The Jimmy G party is back. Tampa Bay has a few solid pieces, but Jameis Winston is a turnover machine. I’ll take the 49’ers to win on the road.
Pittsburgh at New England
The Steelers and Patriots always make for an exciting game. No team has more Super Bowl wins than these two. Big Ben and JuJu Smith-Schuster have something to prove, and you can never bet against Brady and Belichick, especially in Foxboro. The Pats have some new pieces to work out, but with an improved defense and the return of Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, you just can’t bet against them. I’ll take the Pats in a great game.
Houston at New Orleans
Houston is all in before Deshaun Watson’s contract expires. The Saints felt like they maybe took a step back in the offseason, although they’re always tough to beat at home. This has the potential to be a great game, but I’ll take the Texans in an upset.
Denver at Oakland
This should be the year that Courtland Sutton breaks out, with Flacco at the helm. I have absolutely no confidence in the Gruden/Brown clown show. Give me the Broncos in an upset.