Week one is here and here is one thing to watch in each game in week one.
Falcons-Eagles: How does Nick Foles play? Foles had an excellent run last year in the playoffs but in the preseason he has fallen back down to earth. It makes you wonder how Doug Pederson will approach this game offensively. Perhaps he will try to run the ball more with Jay Ajayi especially with receiving targets like Alshon Jeffery questionable with an injury. The Falcons defense will lock this team down though. Falcons 27 Eagles 10
Titans-Dolphins: How does Ryan Tannehill hold up and how does the Dolphins O line play? Last year Miami struggled with their offensive line play. They hope to change that this year to protect Ryan Tannehill and hopefully give their veteran QB a chance to prove his 2015 season was not an anomaly. On the other side the Titans install a new offense with Matt Lafluer as there offensive coordinator. Can the Titans young receivers, Taywan Taylor and Corey Davis victimize a group of middling corners in Miami? I believe they will but the Titans offense will rely more heavily on the run game against a weak Dolphins linebacking core. Titans 27 Dolphins 13
Niners Vikings: How does the Niners offensive line protect Jimmy G? There is no secret, the Vikings have the best defensive group in the NFL. How do the Niners react to an elite defensive line? This group got pushed around last year and brought in Mike McGlinchey at tackle through the draft, how will the rookie hold up against a great Vikings pass rush is yet to be seen. On the other side will Richard Sherman be healthy enough to make an impact and improve a Niners defense that is now facing Kirk Cousins and an explosive looking Vikings offense? The Viking roll. Vikings 37 Niners 20
Texans Patriots: Can the Texans defense bully Tom Brady? The answer is yes. The Patriots O line has major holes at guard and tackle. Pair that with the fact Chris Hogan will be the number one wideout and the Patriots have some major problems. I think the Texans dominate this game and really shock the NFL world. It shouldn’t though as the Patriots usually start September slow. Texans 35 Patriots 17
Buccaneers-Saints: Is this Saints team really ready to be full go week one? Alvin Kamara is going to have the whole workload most likely, that’s different, the Saints line didn’t look particularly good in the preseason and more importantly the Bucs defense is very good. This game may be tighter than most expect. I would imagine the Saints start slow and then run away with the game in the second half but still. Fitzpatrick, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and a healthy O line might have something to say about the nation believing the Bucs will get blown out of the water. Saints 26 Bucs 17
Jaguars Giants: Which QB plays worse? This game really comes down to the following, as will most every Jags game, if Bortles can throw two touchdowns and get the Jags an early lead and not turnover the ball the Jags will win the game. Doing that for Bortles though is a bit more of a challenge than some blogger saying it. I think the Giants lose this game simply because I don’t think the O line is geld yet and that’s a big-time problem against the best defensive line in the league. Jaguars 20 Giants 17.
Bengals Colts: Andrew Luck? Here it is people, the moment you have begged for. Andrew Luck is back. I honestly forgot how good he was until I went back and watched some old highlights. I then remembered, dang Andrew Luck is pretty darn good isn’t he? The problem is that the team around him might be the weakest in the league. You have to be scared to death if you are a Colts fan, we saw what this Bengals defense did to a bad O line in Buffalo. If Indies line isn’t what we think it is Luck could be in big trouble. On the other side of the ball don’t overreact if Andy Dalton drops 400 yards and four touchdowns literally every starting QB should be able to do that against this Colts defense. If Dalton has a bad day, that’s when you need to get very concerned about this Bengals season. Will Joe Mixon actually break out in this game, it’s one of the most sneaky intriguing matchups of the week. Bengals 38 Colts 24
Steelers-Browns: Will the Browns win there first game since 2016? Yes it has been that long. Here is why the answer should be yes. The Steelers won’t have Lev Bell so the Browns should be able to shut down the run. The Browns should be able to possess the ball with Carlos Hyde against a weak Pittsburgh linebacking core, and Tyrod Taylor will not turn over the ball. That’s right I am taking these Cleveland Browns. Browns 24 Steelers 20
Ravens-Bills: How does LeSean McCoy play? This has been an offseason of turmoil for Shady. We saw last year that drawn-out legal proceedings had a negative effect on Zeke early in the season. Will the effects be the same for an aging Shady McCoy? Shady’s 30 now, the fact people assume he can still be a huge difference maker is a bit confusing to me. Especially this week against a very talented Ravens rushing defense. Ravens 20 Bills 10
Chiefs-Chargers: Will Patrick Mahomes be a turnover machine? Mahomes lives and dies by high-risk reward throws, how does that turn out against a great Chargers secondary lead by Casey Heyward, Desmond King, and Derwin James? Chargers 31 Chiefs 24
Cardinals-Redskins: Adrian Peterson, over under touches. I will set it at about 23.5 and I would hammer the over on that. The Cardinals have a real weakness at linebacker and if Washington can pound them with the run it really opens up the passing game for Alex Smith and a bevy of talented wide receivers. On the other side the identity of the Washington defense is the line and if Arizona is as suspect with the O line as they looked in the preseason that means real trouble for Sam Bradford. Redskins 23 Cardinals 13
Seahawks-Broncos: How does the Broncos O line hold up? The Seahawks may have lost some pass rushers but they still have some decent talent on their line. Frank Clark and Dion Jordan can still wreak havoc on a good offensive line. We don’t even know if the Broncos line is good. That said I believe Keenum can avoid turnovers and that the Seahawks O line is worse. Therefore this is a slug it out, low scoring type game that the Broncos end up winning. Broncos 17 Seahawks 10
Cowboys-Panthers: Which rebounding QB plays better? Does Cam look better after installing a new offense and new weapons like DJ Moore around him? Or does Dak look better because he now gets Zeke back? My vote is always for the healthy, fresh, running back who I believe could challenge for MVP. Cowboys 27 Panthers 20
Bears-Packers: Such a great prime time game. Mack, Rodgers, Trubisky, Nagey, Miller, Howard, Robinson, Adams, Graham, the list of intrigue in this game goes on and on and on. Too many questions to ask but the biggest one is this? If Mack comes through and smacks Aaron Rodgers does the fragile QB’s clavicle survive that? I believe it will and I believe the Packers win in a tight low scoring game. Packers 20 Bears 16.
Quick pick of the week: Lions 37 Jets 17
Rams-Raiders: What exactly does this Raiders offense look like? I have been pounding the table for the Raiders offense the last two weeks and this will be there biggest test against an elite Rams defense. I believe if they run the ball and keep Derek Carr from turning the ball over this can be a tight game. I actually have the upset here, Raiders 20 Rams 17.