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Week 1 Predictions: NFL is back!

Hello everyone and welcome to the very first addition of my Weekly NFL picks. I will try to provide some insight into each game every week for you all to consume. Can’t wait for tomorrow night. I am a huge Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks fan and really look forward to how they both fair this year.

Let’s get this started:

Detroit Lions vs Kansas City Chiefs

What an interesting match up of two potential powers in the NFL this year. The Chiefs are well established and the reigning Super Bowl Champions. The Lions are a dysfunctional franchise who may have finally found the right formula for success.

This game will be high scoring. The absence of Chris Jones will allow the Lions to run the ball and essentially march down the field at will. What I’m curious about is how will the Lions’ newly formed secondary fare vs Patrick Mahomes.

In the end, I find it hard to fathom the Lions pulling the upset in this one. It’ll be a close, high scoring affair. However, I trust Mahomes over Goff in making late game heroics.

Score: Chiefs 37 Lions 34

Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons

Very important matchup out of the gates in the NFC South. This’ll be our first glimpse of the top overall NFL draft pick, Bryce Young. Are offensive line issues we saw in the preseason real? How will Bryce adjust to the pro game?

Personally, I like this matchup for Bryce. It’s his first game, but it’s against a defense that is still in a rebuilding mode. They gutted the secondary in free agency and are pretty long in the tooth on the defensive line. Additionally, I don’t see the EDGE rusher that is going to make Bryce’s day difficult.

Atlanta’s season comes down to the development of Desmond Ridder. They should have the best running attack in the league this year with Bijan Robinson. And at WR, they have another year under the belt with Drake London and Kyle Pitts. We’ll see how they develop with Ridder and he’ll be tested early.

For this game, I will pick Carolina to eek out a victory in Bryce’s debut. Much like the first game I took Mahomes over Goff, I’m taking Young over Ridder when the game matters most.

Score: Carolina 27 Atlanta 24

Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns

There are a few factors in this game that lead me to believe this is a victory for the Browns. First, the Bengals started slow last year with Burrow being out of camp. Again, he’s been out with a strained calf and may not even play. Secondly, the Browns have had the Bengals number over the past few years.

Additionally, the Browns are under the first full season with Deshaun Watson at QB. His chemistry with Amari Cooper and the other receivers will be tested early. Plus, this is a make or break year for Kevin Stefanski as he’s missed the playoffs the past two years. And if he fails with Watson this year, they aren’t getting rid of him.

As a result, I am choosing the Browns to win this game. Even if Burrow plays, I think the Bengals struggle offensively and Cleveland clicks

Score: Cincinnati 13 Cleveland 23

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts

Very tempting to pick an upset here. But I think this is too soon for Anthony Richardson to win a game like this. The Colts will be more of a threat later in the year when Richardson develops with the offense. Jacksonville is well coached and will have a game plan that forces him into some awkward situations. Jacksonville’s offense should be great this year with the addition of Calvin Ridley and being under year 2 of this offense.

Score: Jacksonville 30 Indianapolis 18

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Minnesota Vikings

Another game where I can see the upset this year. The Vikings are taking a huge step back this year. They lost Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith in the NFL offseason and didn’t really replace them. Tampa is one of those teams that may be able to stop this offense with their secondary. Additionally, I don’t think the Vikings are going to stop the Buccaneers offense – even though they shouldn’t be that good this year.

I don’t like Tampa in the long run this season. If the defensive line can’t stay healthy, this team won’t stop the run and will be susceptible on defense. Plus with Baker as your QB, there are limitations in what you can be on offense. Although with Evans and Godwin at WR, they have the weapons in the passing game to be dangerous.

Score: Tampa Bay 30 Minnesota 28

Tennessee Titans vs New Orleans Saints

I don’t like this match up for Tennessee. The Saints offense will be more dynamic than most people think. Derek Carr with their new, young receiving corps, should be solid. The Titans haven’t had a good secondary. Plus, the Titans struggle on the offensive line and at the WR position. I don’t love the Saints defense, but I think they’ll handle a mediocre, at best, Titans offensive attack.

Score: Tennessee 22 New Orleans 27

San Francisco 49ers vs Pittsburgh Steelers

A great inter-conference match up of two prestigious NFL franchises. Both teams have high aspirations this year and this game won’t disappoint. The Steelers are in year 2 of the Kenny Pickett experiment. Last year was sort of a mixed bag, but he did look better later in the year.

Brock Purdy is also in year 2 with San Francisco. The 49ers don’t lose with him at the helm, but they may be without Nick Bosa as he fights for a new contract. The defense is still strong and I suspect they’ll be ready to give Pickett and this young offense some major trouble.

Pickett also has had 2 concussions in his very early career. I worry about his health and safety playing a team like this.

Score: San Francisco 24 Pittsburgh 20

Arizona Cardinals at Washington Commanders

I like Washington for a lot of reasons here. First and foremost, the defense is going to dominate the Arizona offense. The Commanders defensive line is strong once again – even as Chase Young still deals with injury concerns. (my understanding is his knee is still a major concern with the team).

Additionally, Washington has given every indication that they are confident in Sam Howell. I am very interested in seeing how he performs throughout the year. But he should have no issues in Week 1.

Score: Arizona 10 Washington 34

Houston Texans vs Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens got a good draw in Week 1. The Texans are in the midst of a rebuild (and have been for a few years) and have a rookie QB going up against a veteran defense. Stroud has a bright future in this league, but not this week. Lamar Jackson should do well against this defense and has a new plethora of weapons to throw to. O’Dell is the headline acquisition this off-season but it may be Zay Flowers that steps up for this team in 2023.

Score: Houston 17 Baltimore 34

Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears

Could this finally be a turning of the tide for the Bears this year? Getting over that hump and start winning games vs the Aaron Rodgers’ less Packers? Don’t count on it. I don’t like this match up for the Bears. Their defense is going to be susceptible against the run and the Packers are going to be a run heavy offense. Jordan Love will be capable enough to make plays when it matters most and this defense will show up to minimize the Bears’ attack.

As much as I want to pick the Bears in this game, I’m not ready to anoint them anything at this point.

Score: Green Bay 27 Chicago 22

Las Vegas Raiders vs Denver Broncos

This is a matchup I went back and forth on. On paper, I like Denver because that defense should still be tough. Patrick Surtain can shut down Adams, limiting Garappolo to his second and third options in this game. However, can the defense stop the Raiders rushing attack?

Flipping to the other side of the ball, what is Denver’s offense going to look like? Is Russ the old Russ or is he just “old Russ”? The biggest get for Denver might be that they are getting Javonte Williams back from injury. The Raiders defense isn’t strong and should give up some yardage to the Broncos.

This is such a toss up for me, so I’m just going to go with the better coach and the home field advantage.

Score: Las Vegas 33 Denver 34

Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots

This game is a lot closer than people think. The Patriots are better this year and the Eagles aren’t as great. Mac Jones has a new offensive coordinator that he is familiar with, Bill O’Brien, who is also familiar with the Patriots. Welcome back to the NFL. I like the additions of Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki to this team. And the defense is always one of the best in the NFL.

The Eagles are a juggernaut on offense and another year with the same players. However the front seven lost a few key members of the team and replaced them with younger players who may or may not be ready to play.

With all that said, the Patriots offensive line still has a lot of question marks. Because of that, I’m giving the edge to the Eagles.

Score: Philadelphia 22 New England 20

Miami Dolphins vs Los Angeles Chargers

Last year the Chargers dominated this team and had a great game plan vs Tua. I suspect more of the same in this game. Tua is a limited passer and is great between the hashes. However, you get him outside his game and he struggles. Combine that with his concussion issues and the Dolphins become a very risky pick.

Herbert got his new contract and has to break at some point. With new offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, there is a lot of potential with this team.

Score: Miami 17 LA Chargers 24

Los Angeles Rams vs Seattle Seahawks

It’s not much of a secret, to me at least, how bad I think this Rams team is going to be in the NFL. Geno should have his way with this defense and nobody, except for Donald, is relevant. The Seahawks had an amazing draft last year and should be much better this year, just with the development of those players.

This one could get ugly fast.

Score: LA Rams 17 Seattle 45

Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants

Great game to start NFL Sunday Night Football, and a very important game. Both of these teams, in my opinion, are flying under the radar. Probably because the hype train is stalled in Philly. (remember the last time that happened, Vince Young?) I like the Giants offensive line to get better with the development of 2nd year player Evan Neal. Plus the additions of Darren Waller should spice up the passing game.

Dallas added two key players to their team – Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore. Both of which are going to be significant. If Dallas can stop the run, it’ll be very hard for the Giants to move the ball.

Either way, I think Dallas makes enough plays to win this game.

Score: Dallas 24 NY Giants 20

Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets

Monday Night Football! Another great NFL game to start. The Jets played the Bills tough last year and I don’t see that changing at all. The Bills offensive line will struggle and will for Josh Allen to wear his Superman cape. On the other side of the ball, the addition of Rodgers makes this unit so much more difficult to handle. If Von Miller were playing, I’d worry about the Jets’ tackles holding up. Without him, I think the Jets will win this game.

Score: Buffalo 13 NY Jets 23

Stuart Otto is a writer for

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