As I finish writing this week one is literally hours from kick-off. We’ve already felt the gravity of Antonio Brown’s behaviour today, it should serve as a stark reminder that the NFL is beyond unpredictable.
I felt it would be a good idea to predict the opening fixtures and give you all some genuine opinion on how I see things shaping up heading into week two.
|Away Team||Home team||Prediction|
|Chiefs||Jaguars||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Bills||Jets||New York Jets|
|Steelers||Patriots||New England Patriots|
|Texans||Saints||New Orleans Saints|
|49ers||Bucs||Tampa Bay Bucs|
|Giants||Cowboys||New York Giants|
Titans @ Browns: I can’t see past Cleveland here, they’ve got so much star power all over the field that I expect at least one of them to step up. Marcus Mariota is heading into a do or die year without any real help (once again). If the Titans can get the ball moving with Henry then perhaps they stand a chance, but that side I feel as if they’re almost helpless.
Ravens @ Dolphins: I guess you could consider this the first shock of the week. I don’t for a second believe in the Dolphins to do anything this season but I feel as if Lamar Jackson isn’t hard to gameplan for thanks to the Chargers last season. A couple of magic moments from Fitzpatrick and the home team earn what I think will be a rare W this season.
Chiefs @ Jaguars: I’m of the belief the Chiefs will find themselves in far tougher situations this year, everyone has a years worth of footage on Mahomes whilst the Chiefs roster is all together weaker than it was 12 months ago. I think the Jags can win this game, especially in the secondary. I just think Reid and Mahomes will have a solid start to the season.
Bills @ Jets: I cannot wait for how scrappy this game is going to be. I’m a huge Josh Allen fan but I still see him as being a year from being a franchise guy. Sam Darnold is a lot of fun to watch but my god does he love an interception. I see this game coming down to one man, Le’Veon Bell. We’ve all forgotten how good this chap is and I think we’ll all get a little reminder this weekend.
Colts @ Chargers: pre-Luck retirement I would have called this in favour of the Colts and whilst I am a big fan of Jacoby Brissett (and King Kelly) the Chargers defence is top 3 in the NFL currently. I’m rooting for a Brissett W, it’s just a hopeless wish rather than a possibility in my mind.
Steelers @ Patriots: I’m making a bold call that this will be the worst game this week, it’ll be a battle of two giants that don’t know if they want to win. Opportunities will come and go, interceptions will be thrown and turnovers will be had, neither team will want to lose and that will come first. I expect the Patriots home advantage to edge the game out in a low scoring affair. The Steelers will look to Connor to be the difference-maker here.
Broncos @ Raiders: AB is out, and even in I had this going in Denvers favour. The broncos have silently improved their roster and staff ten-fold since January and they’re the literal (dark) horse to make a deep playoff run this year. Gruden, Cable and Mayock are all poor at what they do and that message will resonate with what I suspect is the worst team in the NFL.
Bengals @ Seahawks: Seattle is rebuilding the Legion of Boom to compete with the resurrection of the No-Fly Zone, I have all sorts of Pokemon battle imagery flying around in my head right now. The Bengals are on their way up from the basement but we’re talking about an inexperienced Zac Taylor against a wily defensive veteran. This is a no-contest in my opinion.
Texans @ Saints: Unlike many, I expect the Texans to really struggle in 2019, the loss of Clowney will only hurt them more whilst they’ve given up their immediate future to barely improve their offensive line. Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara – I expect two of the three to be ready to go and that’s all the Saints need.
Packers @ Bears: The kick-off game for week one. The Bears are without the defence that made them so dangerous with Fangio now in Denver, Whilst there have been reports of Rodgers falling out with his new boss already. I’m backing the Packers here because a moment of magic from Rodgers is all you need and who knows? Maybe they’re back.
Redskins @ Eagles: Derrius Guice has me convinced, him aside the rest of the franchise is a complete mess and whether they’re going with the soon to be bust in Dwayne Haskins or the veteran underperformer in Case Keenum it doesn’t matter, they lost this one in the front office months ago.
Rams @ Panthers: Like the Chiefs, I believe the Rams will have somewhat of a crashing down to earth in 2019, they blew the world away last year but it’s 12 months down the line and plenty of teams will have had a chance to scheme for them. That crashing down, however, will not begin today as I see them sweeping the Panthers without any real problem whatsoever.
Falcons @ Vikings: Is it just me or is Matt Ryan the most under-rated rock slinger in the NFL? The Falcons have always been a solid outfit despite being riddled with injuries last season. Kirk Cousins is the staple underachiever that the media falls in love with and although the rest of the Vikings roster is plenty good enough to challenge when it matters, the guy that matters isn’t.
49ers @ Bucs: I’ll be writing an assessment of Jimmy G at some point soon, spoiler alert – I don’t rate him. For a QB at the NFL level, his technique is atrocious, whilst I admire Shanahan and what he’s trying to build in San Francisco I don’t think it will work. The Bucs have a literal legend at the helm and that alone will guide them to victories, expect a playoff run out of nowhere for the Bucs this season.
Lions @ Cardinals: I had a hard time calling this game. I’m of the opinion that Kyler Murray will either be a complete bust or the greatest quarterback of all time, he has no middle ground. However, I’m a fan of Matt Patricia and Matthew Stafford also. I think Kyler might take a while to settle, this may have come a little too early for him and for that reason I see the Lions standing victorious.
Giants @ Cowboys: way back in April I told the world how good Daniel Jones is and how good of a select the Giants will have proven to have made in time, I’ve gone into detail on that all here. The cowboys are stacked will talent and rich offensive linemen, what the lack is a competent coach. For me, this is a Giants win, even with Eli at the helm.
All in all, I’ve thrown a few shocks in there and there’s definitely the odd prediction that nobody else will agree with but I’m confident in my opinions. I don’t plan on making this a weekly series but I’ll consider, maybe.