NFL Week 1 Predictions

Movie Quote of the Day:

“If you’re referring to me as butt buddy, then yes, I do have a name: It’s Brennan Huff.”

– Brennan Huff, Step Brothers (2008)

The NFL season begins tonight. Here’s the list of all 16 NFL games for week one and my predictions:

2015 Record: N/A

Thursday:

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (left) and New England quarterback Tom Brady.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (left) and New England quarterback Tom Brady.

Pittsburgh vs. New England
Gillette Stadium
Foxboro, Mass.
Line: NE -6.5

New England has some question marks on their defense with the losses of some key players. The Patriots should be fine on offense now that Tom Brady got his suspension lifted. The Steelers should have one of the best offenses in the NFL with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown. However, running back Le’Veon Bell is suspended for this game. The Steelers have question marks on their defense too after several players retired during the offseason. I think Brady plays angry at home, and gets the win.

Prediction: Patriots 34, Steelers 24

Sunday:

Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler (left) and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler (left) and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay vs. Chicago
Soldier Field
Chicago, Ill.
Line: GB -4

The greatest rivalry in the NFL will meet again in week one. Green Bay will continue to have a great offense as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy. Question marks surround the Packers’ run defense, but they should have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Chicago hired a new head coach, John Fox, in the offseason. The Bears still have question marks on offense with quarterback Jay Cutler. Their receiving corps is banged up too. The Bears didn’t make near enough moves in the offseason to fix their porous defense either. Going into Chicago is always tough, but Green Bay wins by two scores.

Prediction: Packers 35, Bears 21

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt.

Kansas City vs. Houston
NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas
Line: HOU -1.5

This game will be a battle of great defenses. I expect both teams to be improved on offense, particularly Kansas City. I like the Kansas City’s quarterback situation a lot more than Houston’s. Both teams have great head coaches that will find a way to get their offenses to score points. However, I expect a low-scoring game in Houston. I like Houston’s defense to keep them in a lot of games this season. I’m taking the home team.

Prediction: Texans 17, Chiefs 16

Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Cleveland quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Cleveland vs. New York Jets
MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, N.J.
Line: NYJ -1

Both of these teams are built similarly. They have pretty good defenses, very bad offenses, and poor choices at quarterback. I think the Browns have better options at quarterback than the Jets, but they lack wide receivers and other offensive weapons. The Jets at least have wide receivers like Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and rookie Devin Smith. I think New York’s defense keeps them in the game and they win late.

Prediction: Jets 21, Browns 17

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck (left) and Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manuel.
Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck (left) and Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manuel.

Indianapolis vs. Buffalo
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Buffalo, N.Y.
Line: IND -3

I think this is one of the most fascinating games of week one. Buffalo has a really good roster outside of the quarterback position. The Bills should be able to score points against the Colts’ defense. I expect running back LeSean McCoy to have a big day. I’m interested to what the Colts’ offense can do against Buffalo’s defense on the road. At the end of the day, I trust Andrew Luck to score more points than the Bills. Colts win in a dogfight.

Prediction: Colts 23, Bills 20

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Miami vs. Washington
FedEx Field
Landover, Md.
Line: MIA -2.5

I really like Miami’s roster. I believe in Ryan Tannehill and I love the weapons he has on offense. They should have one of the best defensive lines in all of football. Washington is an absolute mess. I think Miami’s defensive line will make it absolute hell for Kirk Cousins and the Redskins’ offensive line. I’ve never believed Jay Gruden is much of a coach. I think Miami should win comfortably.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Redskins 13

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.

CAR vs. JAC
EverBank Field
Jacksonville, Fla.
Line: CAR -4

Carolina has to find someone to throw to now that wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season. Newton still has tight end Greg Olsen, and watch out for rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess to make plays. Carolina’s offensive line is the weakest link of their offense. However, I don’t expect Jacksonville to get much pressure on Cam Newton with rookie Dante Fowler Jr. out for the season. Jacksonville spent some money in the offseason to help quarterback Blake Bortles. I’m curious if Bortles can avoid the pressure from Carolina’s stellar front seven, because the Carolina secondary is weak. I still like the Panthers to get the road win.

Prediction: Panthers 23, Jaguars 17

St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn (94) sacks Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn (94) sacks Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.

Seattle vs. St. Louis
Edward Jones Dome
St. Louis, Mo.
Line: SEA -3.5

Everyone knows that Seattle has the best defense in the NFL, and their offense should be much improved with tight end Jimmy Graham and rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett. However, this Seattle team is nowhere near the same team that plays on their home field. I expect St. Louis to competent on offense with Nick Foles at quarterback, and their defense is going to be solid as usual. I’m curious to see how Seattle’s offensive line can deal with St. Louis’ defensive line. It has potential to get ugly for Seattle, but I think Russell Wilson is the best in the business at avoiding pressure. At the end of the day, I can’t see Foles making enough plays to score points against Seattle.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Rams 20

Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson.

New Orleans vs. Arizona
U of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Ariz.
Line: ARI -2.5

The Saints got rid of a lot of talent on their team during the offseason. As long as you have Drew Brees at quarterback, it shouldn’t get too bad for the Saints. Their defense held them back a lot last year after high expectations. As for Arizona, this season will depend on how healthy Caron Palmer is at quarterback. Bruce Arians is a great coach and will find a way to score points. Arizona’s defense is pretty good too. I like the Cardinals to win at home.

Prediction: Cardinals 34, Saints 23

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers.

Detroit vs. San Diego
Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego, Calif.
Line: SD -2

The Lions ought to have a pretty good offense with quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. The question marks on the Lions are at running back and offensive line. Their defense should be pretty decent, but they lost Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency. The Chargers will continue to have a decent offense as long as Philip Rivers is at quarterback and Keenan Allen at wide receiver. They drafted running back Melvin Gordon in the first round and their offense line should be better. The Chargers defense probably won’t be great, but their secondary should be pretty good. I like the home team.

Prediction: Chargers 27, Lions 24

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston.
Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston.

Tennessee vs. Tampa Bay
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Fla.
Line: TB -3

It’s the battle of the top two quarterbacks taken in the draft. Both of these teams still have a lot of holes to fill on their team. Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota has looked better in the preseason than Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston has, in my opinion. I think Tennessee’s defense is underrated, I think it’ll be decent. Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith is all about defense and has never had decent offenses on any team he’s coached. I think Tennessee gets a road win.

Prediction: Titans 20, Buccaneers 17

Oakland wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Oakland wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Cincinnati vs. Oakland
O.co Coliseum
Oakland, Calif.
Line: CIN -3

You never know what to expect from this Cincinnati team. Quarterback Andy Dalton is either going to be good, or really bad. They have great weapons on offense with running backs Jeremy Hill, Gio Bernard, and wide receiver A.J. Green. Cincinnati’s defense is pretty good and that should help them win some games. Oakland’s big move in the offseason was drafting wide receiver Amari Cooper, he’s going to be a star. Their defense probably won’t be great, but Khalil Mack is a great player. It’s hard to win on the road in the NFL, I think the Raiders get the upset.

Prediction: Raiders 21, Bengals 20

Giants vs. Cowboys
Giants vs. Cowboys.

New York Giants vs. Dallas
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, Texas
Line: DAL -5.5

The Giants had an underrated offseason in my opinion. They signed running back Shane Vereen and linebacker J.T. Thomas in the offseason. They had a great draft. They still have quarterback Eli Manning, wide receivers Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. The Cowboys had a successful offseason too. They have a great offense, and I think their defense will be better. The Giants always play the Cowboys very tough in Dallas. I like the Cowboys to win, but it’ll be closer than what the spread says.

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Giants 23

Monday:

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

Philadelphia vs. Atlanta
Georgia Dome
Atlanta, Ga.
Line: PHI -1.5

The Eagles made a lot of noise this offseason and were very aggressive in free agency. Their offense will continue to be great as long as Chip Kelly is head coach. Their defense should be improved after the moves that they made in the offseason. The Falcons are another team that should be improved. I really like the draft picks that this team has made the last two years. Head coach Dan Quinn should help improve Atlanta’s defense. This game could turn into a shootout if both defenses aren’t improved from last year. I like the Eagles to get the win.

Prediction: Eagles 34, Falcons 31

Minnesota vs. San Francisco.
Minnesota vs. San Francisco.

Minnesota vs. San Francisco
Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara, Calif.
Line: SF -3.5

The Vikings are a dark horse to be a playoff team this year. They should be improved on both sides of the ball. I think Mike Zimmer is a great coach. San Francisco was in the news a lot in the offseason, and not in a good way. The team had departures from linebackers Chris Borland, Patrick Willis, and Aldon Smith. Not to mention running back Frank Gore, offensive tackle Anthony Davis, defensive end Justin Smith, offensive guard Mike Iupati, and cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox. Also, San Francisco lost Jim Harbaugh as head coach. I really think Minnesota could make this ugly for San Francisco. I can’t believe the spread is so much in San Francisco’s favor. I like the Vikings to win comfortably.

Prediction: Vikings 31, 49ers 20

Game of the Week:

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco.

Baltimore vs. Denver
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium
Denver, Colo.
Line: DEN -4

The Ravens kept their major stars except for wide receiver Torrey Smith, but drafted Breshad Perriman to replace him. They still have a great defense in Baltimore. The Broncos went through some turmoil in the offseason. They brought in Gary Kubiak as new head coach. They lost tight end Julius Thomas, offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, nose tackle Terrance Knighton, and safety Rahim Moore in free agency. They improved their defense by drafting pass rusher Shane Ray. The Ravens are a great road team, I like them to get the win.

Prediction: Ravens 31, Broncos 24

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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