Chiefs @ Patriots
Peter’s Pick: Patriots
Peter’s Analysis: The NFL always tries to give us a rematch of a playoff game from the previous year to help kick off the new season. This one seems even more lopsided then most since the Patriots ended the season in such a dramatic fashion and seem almost untouchable. The Chiefs are a very tough team but I don’t see anyone beating the Patriots in New England on opening night.
Will’s Pick: Patriots
Will’s Analysis: One has to wonder if we’ll start to see the effects of Brady now being 40 in the opener, but it may not matter. This is a Chiefs team that cut their best receiver in Maclin, and then lost their #1 RB Ware for the season. Travis Kelce is essentially their only proven offensive weapon right now. The only way the Chiefs are going to stay in this game at all is if they get after it on defense.
Jets @ Bills
Peter’s Pick: Bills
Peter’s Analysis: Both of these teams have had major changes in the offseason and appear to be retooling if not in a complete rebuild. Both teams still have great running games and good defenses but the Bills seem to have a solid edge in the passing game.
Will’s Pick: Bills
Will’s Analysis: Ohhh boy. This is gonna be an ugly one. This is a matchup between two teams that don’t seem to actually want to win. Both are going the classic 76ers route right now. I’ll give this one to the Bills, in part because of home field advantage and because they have Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy… whereas the Jets basically have nothing except Jermaine Kearse.
Jaguars @ Texans
Peter’s Pick: Texans
Peter’s Analysis: The Texans are by far the better team judging from last season’s results. The Jaguars have loaded up during the offseason but we have watched the struggle in the preseason and I don’t anticipate it changing anytime soon. I predict the best defense in the league being that again and handing Blake Bortles a very rocky start to the season.
Will’s Pick: Texans
Will’s Analysis: I’m not particularly a believer in Tom Savage. He looks to be a game manager at best in my opinion. Luckily for him, that’s good enough when playing against a team like the Jaguars. That team looks awful right now. The offensive line is garbage, and it’s affecting all the other aspects of their offense as well. They added a few pieces on defense, but the Texans are getting JJ Watt back as well, which I imagine will help them seal the deal.
Steelers @ Browns
Peter’s Pick: Steelers
Peter’s Analysis: The Browns have placed their faith and future in the hands of rookie DeShone Kizer and I’m excited to see what he does with it. However, I’m expecting the real show in this one to come from the “Killer B’s” who have everyone in the fold for the first time in three years.
Will’s Pick: Steelers
Will’s Analysis: Let’s face it. Le’Veon Bell could’ve held out another week and the Steelers would’ve still walked all over the Browns right now. Though it remains to be seen whether Deshone Kizer will turn out any good or not, I still would never expect a rookie to do well in his very first game against one of last year’s four NFL finalists.
Cardinals @ Lions
Peter’s Pick: Lions
Peter’s Analysis: Usually I shy away from teams with a quarterback who just got a huge payday but Stafford’s case is different since nobody thinks he deserved it. I expect him to come out with a nasty chip on his shoulder and make the Cardinals pay for the abuse he’s taken over the last month.
Will’s Pick: Lions
Will’s Analysis: Matthew Stafford got a huge payday very recently which some questioned. He’s apparently already proved to the team he deserves it, but now he has to continue his campaign to win everyone else over. A season opening win over the Cards wouldn’t be a bad way to start out. I expect a bounce back season from the Cardinals, but I’m giving the advantage to the home team here in what I believe will be a fun offensive shootout.
Falcons @ Bears
Peter’s Pick: Falcons
Peter’s Analysis: The Falcons have been gifted with what would appear to be an easy game to bounce back from the disappointment they experienced in last year’s Super Bowl. The Bears are still trying to find and identity on either side of the ball.
Will’s Pick: Falcons
Will’s Analysis: Will the Falcons be able to make the playoffs again after their embarrassing Super Bowl loss? Well, they should have an easy win in Week 1 to begin that route against the Bears, who lost their best WR in Cameron Meredith for the season and don’t have much of a defense to counter the Falcons’ deadly offense. Mike Glennon’s gonna have his work cut out for him.
Raiders @ Titans
Peter’s Pick: Raiders
Peter’s Analysis: The Titans have an abundance of young talent on their team but have appeared to be struggling to develop chemistry in the offseason. The Raiders are a very complete team and even though I see this being a hard fought battle, I see them pulling it out in the end.
Will’s Pick: Titans
Will’s Analysis: These teams are two of the most fun teams on offense to watch right now. The Titans narrowly missed the playoffs last year after losing Mariota late in the season, but then they went out and got some new weapons in Eric Decker and rookie Corey Davis. And that dual RB threat of Murray and Henry is terrifying. The Raiders offense is just as terrifying right now, but I’m going to give this one to the home team in what I guess could be an upset victory.
Ravens @ Bengals
Peter’s Pick: Bengals
Peter’s Analysis: This a matchup between two teams that were decent a few years back and then seemed to suddenly get old. It appears to me that the Bengals are the deeper and all around more solid team. I see them pulling this one out and taking an early lead on there division rival.
Will’s Pick: Bengals
Will’s Analysis: Can either of these teams return to the playoffs? That remains to be seen, but I think the Bengals will be the ones who get a leg up in Week 1. They have a nice RB committee to work with right now and the return of AJ Green should help as well. Home field advantage helps too. I guess I also just don’t have as much confidence in Joe Flacco to lead a playoff campaign right now after the last couple of years.
Eagles @ Redskins
Peter’s Pick: Redskins
Peter’s Analysis: There are a lot of new faces on this Eagles team but I’m not sure that they made any major improvements. The Redskins on the other hand seemed to have remained fairly solid and appear to have the upper hand in this one.
Will’s Pick: Redskins
Will’s Analysis: This should be a pretty fun game. The Eagles went out and got some new weapons for Carson Wentz, so they should be better this year. However, the Redskins also have Kirk Cousins, who is going to be looking to prove once again that he’s worthy of a proper long-term deal—whether that ends up being with the Skins next year or not. Watch out for the new Cousins-to-Pryor connection.
Colts @ Rams
Peter’s Pick: Rams
Peter’s Analysis: I really like what the Rams did to their offense over the offseason. It appears that their passing game is much improved and that could spark their running game as well. The Colts better hope Andrew Luck can make a quick recovery or this could be a very long season in Indy.
Will’s Pick: Rams
Will’s Analysis: Considering that the Colts are going to be without Andrew Luck, that makes this pick pretty easy. But this game will also give us a little insight as to whether the Rams have improved—they have some new weapons on offense and have Wade Phillips as the d-coordinator. They looked pretty good in the preseason and we’ll get a bit of a glimpse if they’re for real or not. They should still win this particular game regardless.
Panthers @ 49ers
Peter’s Pick: Panthers
Peter’s Analysis: After a rough start to the season, the Panthers started showing some life at the end of the year and I picture them being decent in 2017. The 49ers still have a ways to go and I’m not completely sold on where they are going with this young squad.
Will’s Pick: Panthers
Will’s Analysis: Will Cam Newton return to form this season? Maybe. Maybe not. It may not matter against the 49ers. They look to have improved a little this offseason, but this is just an organization right now that is difficult to bet on until they actually do start winning games again. There is potential for a 49ers upset here, but I’m still going with the Panthers.
Seahawks @ Packers
Peter’s Pick: Packers
Peter’s Analysis: To me this game comes down to whoever runs the ball more affectively. Ty Montgomery is on the rise and it’s hard to guess where Eddie Lacy is at the moment. I have to push the needle in the favor of Aaron Rodgers now that he has a stable full of weapons.
Will’s Pick: Packers
Will’s Analysis: As much as I want to believe in Russell Wilson, the Seahawks just feel like a team that are just a couple steps away from falling apart. Meanwhile, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers and a pass offense that was almost impossible to defend in the later half of the season last year. I don’t expect that to change. As long as the defense can keep the Hawks from keeping up, the Packers should win this opener.
Giants @ Cowboys
Peter’s Pick: Giants
Peter’s Analysis: I believe the Cowboys are in for a major surprise this season. Their defense is a lot different than it was a year ago and their rookies on offense have lost the element of surprise. The Giants have added a bunch of talent and appear to have improved defensively. It’s a divisional matchup so probably not going to be a walk in the park but I see the Giants coming through when it matters the most.
Will’s Pick: Giants
Will’s Analysis: The Giants had the Cowboys’ number last year. I don’t expect that to change, even with Elliott unexpectedly playing despite his suspension being upheld for now. The Giants defense should still be as good (if not possibly better) than it was last year, and the offense will definitely be improving with the addition of Brandon Marshall and with Paul Perkins looking to break out. Look for the Giants to make it three in a row against Dak Prescott.
Saints @ Vikings
Peter’s Pick: Saints
Peter’s Analysis: There is nothing sweeter than a good old revenge game and Adrian Peterson will be headed to Minnesota for his first game in a different uniform. The Vikings still have a lot to figure out and I see the Saints cruising in this one.
Will’s Pick: Vikings
Will’s Analysis: While the Vikings may be on the rise due in part to their defense and due in part to Sam Bradford maybe finally having found the right place for him, it still remains to be seen whether the offensive line can protect Bradford or create a running game. May not matter much against the Saints, who are pretty much wasting the final years of Brees’ career at this point. I’ll take the home team on this one.
Chargers @ Broncos
Peter’s Pick: Chargers
Peter’s Analysis: The Chargers are one of the most complete teams on paper this season and the Broncos seem to be on a rapid decline. I believe we are going to see a massive shift in power in the AFC West this season.
Will’s Pick: Chargers
Will’s Analysis: Both of these teams have a high ceiling, but also a lot of question marks—particularly in just how good their new head coaches are going to be. The Chargers’ squad is pretty solid right now as long as they don’t blow things in the final few minutes. If their offense stays healthy, it’ll be terrifying. Denver still has a great defense, but you have to wonder if they’ll have fixed up that offensive line that caused them to blow their strong start last year in the first place. If they haven’t, they’ll be eaten alive.