Writer: Marcus Carr
Over the next nineteen weeks we will encounter the six months out of the year we wait for. Some call it the best time of their life, others like to call it the NFL football season. For the next nineteen weeks, I will be providing you with picks to every matchup of the year. If you want to win your survival pool this year, you will take this advice every week. If you want to lose first round, you might also take this advice.
Thursday, September 7th
Kansas City Chiefs Vs. New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
The Patriots will take the first matchup of the 2017-2018 season against Andy Reid and company. The Patriots have a solid chance of going undefeated this season, and they could rest their starters the last four games for the season. Andy Reid and company will be looking to gain revenge from the 2016 AFC Divisional Round oss with a newly remodeled team. Pats by a landslide.
Sunday, September 10th
New York Jets Vs. Buffalo Bills
New Era Field, Buffalo
With the Bills recently going separate ways with potential star wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, the Bills will have to heavily depend on LeSean McCoy on offense. The Jets are not very good on either side of the ball this year, Brandon Marshall is in New York but with the Giants, even though he thinks Ryan Fitzpatrick is better than Eli Manning. LeSean McCoy and the Bills will run all over the Jets.
Atlanta Falcons Vs. Chicago Bears
Soldier Field, Chicago
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will be looking to bounce back from the 28-3 comeback loss in Super Bowl 51. Julio Jones will again be one of the best receivers in the NFL this season, but it will be interesting with new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian calling the plays. The Bears are in the midst of a rebuild after parting ways with Jay Cutler this offseason. Falcons win by 14+.
Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
With Jeremy Hill having a subpar 2016 campaign and going down with an injury, the Red Rifle, Andy Dalton, will look to bounce back by feeding former OU running back Joe Mixon and dropping bombs to AJ Green. The Ravens will be in for a shootout with the Bengals. The Ref Rifle and the Bengals pull one off at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Cleveland Browns
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
Le’Veon Bell’s holdout didn’t last very long. He will be re-joining an already loaded offense which just got Martavis Bryant back from suspension. The Cleveland Browns don’t have much working for them outside of Myles Garrett and Isaiah Crowell; the Pittsburgh Steelers could make this one ugly. Look for Big Ben, Bell and Brown to all have big days for the Steelers.
Arizona Cardinals Vs. Detroit Lions
Ford Field, Detroit
Matthew Stafford is making more money than any player in the NFL. Yes you read that right. 5 years, $135M. For the Detroit Lions, there hasn’t been much outside of Stafford since Megatron retired other than false hope for Ameer Abdullah. Arizona brings back an above-average defense and one of the best running backs in the NFL, David Johnson. Look for their defense turn to easy offense. David Johnson and the Cardinals cake walk against the Lions.
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Houston Texans
NRG Stadium, Houston
With Blake Bortles still conducting the Jags offense, things aren’t expected to be very successful this season. Their defense could be stellar being so young and developing. The added workhorse running back, Leonard Fournette, through the draft this year, but that alone won’t be enough against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. The Houston Texans have their own quarterback problems this year but are hopeful Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins can help develop former National Champion, DeShaun Watson. Houston’s defense doesn’t let the Jags breathe this week and win easily.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs. Miami Dolphins
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami
Jay Cutler is now running things in Miami, and with his new environment, the Dolphins’ offense could be reinvented. Devante Parker and Jarvis Landry could have huge years due to the new quarterback situation, but that doesn’t take away that the Bucs are bringing back a young quarterback-receiver duo in Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. This is one matchup to be monitoring over the weekend; it could be a fun one. The Bucs win after it comes down to the wire, and Mike Evans has a big reason they win this one.
Oakland Raiders Vs. Tennessee Titans
Nissan Stadium, Nashville
The dual between two young quarterbacks, both bouncing back from season-ending injuries. The Oakland Raiders were promising last year until Derek Carr went down, with a stellar offensive line and Armani Cooper as the lead receiver. The Titans look to develop Mariota even more while he has shown flashes of eliteness. Oakland Raiders offense will be too potent for the Titans’ defense in this one.
Philadelphia Eagles Vs. Washington Redskins
FedEx Field, Landover
An NFC East divisional matchup, Carson Wentz now has Alshon Jeffery to throw to while Kirk Cousins has the jack of all trades, Terrelle Pryor, to throw to. This could end in a shootout with both teams having subpar defenses. Carson Wentz is set for a big year this season, and Kirk Cousins still has something to prove after his regression last season. Eagles take one on the road and win by 3.
Indianapolis Colts Vs. Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
With Andrew Luck sitting in week one, the Colts will be in trouble this year with no timetable of return for Luck. The Los Angeles Rams recently added wide receiver, Sammy Watkins. They will have time to get in free reps against the lack lustered Colts defense. The Colts’ defense could have Jared Goff looking like an MVP candidate after this one. Todd Gurley will break loose in this one. But the Rams are the Rams and could blow this. Rams win by 7 at their first home game.
Seattle Seahawks Vs. Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field, Green Bay
This could be the matchup of the week: Aaron Rodgers vs the stingy Seahawks defense. We know what both are capable of doing. Rodgers torched the Seattle defense last time they met, throwing 3 touchdowns on 246 yards, winning 38-10. We could see something very similar to that this week, where Jordy Nelson will be joining the Packers after missing all of the 2016 season. Packers win big at home.
Carolina Panthers Vs. San Francisco 49ers
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
The 49ers are a wreck top to bottom, and their only hope this season is Carlos Hyde having a season like last year. The Panthers have had their own problems since letting Josh Norman walk- they went 6-10 last season. Cam Newton and company could have a nice day against a subpar 49ers defense. Panthers should be a safe pick this week.
New York Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
This could very much be the NFC East Championship game come playoff time. Ezekiel Elliot will be good to play on Sunday but will be suspended from weeks 2-7. Odell Beckham Jr. is questionable for the game with an ankle injury but he will likely start. The Cowboys will seek revenge after their 2016 week 1 loss to the Giants where Terrance Williams blew it for them. Cowboys win this one in a shootout.
Monday, September 11th
New Orleans Saints Vs. Minnesota Vikings
U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Drew Brees lost Brandin Cooks this year but always produces. The Vikings will look to unlock Dalvin Cook this year to turn around their past seasons. This could be a boring Monday night game to start where The Saints take this one on the road.
Los Angeles Chargers Vs. Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
The Chargers added another receiver, Mike Williams, this year to join Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams, with Hunter Henry to take over the tight end position. It looks like the Chargers could be legit contenders this year if their defense can figure it out. On the other hand, the Broncos’ offense hasn’t been the same since 2015. The Chargers will take this one easily in their first game being the “Los Angeles Chargers.” Never forget, San Diego. Never forget.