We inaugurate the 100th NFL season, give props to old quarterbacks still at or near the top of their games, and bid a surprise farewell to the unLucky Andrew and a very promising career cut short by frustration and injury. Let’s hope the officiating, player health and league office decision-making all improve this season, so we can continue to fully enjoy this amazing game we love so much. Happy 100th! Here are this week’s picks.
Packers at Bears – The ghosts of George Halas and Vince Lombardi arm wrestle once more in this legendary rivalry between two of the bluest-collar football cities ever. Green Bay is coming off a team retool, and I give the edge to the Midway Monsters in their own lair for the opener. Bears roar. [Editor: This game was played Thursday night; Packers won, 10-3]
Rams at Panthers – Black cats are bad luck, but they didn’t get a sniff of the playoffs last year. LA rams home their first road win.
Redskins at Eagles – Nothing about Washington’s offense tells me they can put up enough points to ground the Eagles at home. Keenum has been…mediocre. Philly is mature, well-coached and motivated to start better than last season. Eagles skin Washington.
Bills at Jets – The Bills are talented and have a rising coach in McDermott, but they haven’t had a serious QB since Jim Kelly. The Jets aren’t much better, but they are better, especially with Bell hauling the rock. Gang Green gives Gace game ball.
Falcons at Vikings – Nobody will be kissing Cousins if he doesn’t deliver a home win in the opener, with or without Diggs. Both teams underachieved last season, but I think the Vikes have the higher ceiling. Atlanta gets drenched by Purple Reign.
Ravens at Dolphins – Nature lesson: Ravens are carrion eaters, and the Dolphins are dead meat.
Chiefs at Jaguars – This road win by KC will show us one thing we don’t know yet; whether Jacksonville’s offense makes us laugh or pay attention.
Titans at Browns – This is the fun game of the week. In my opinion, this is Mariota’s ‘prove it or move it’ season, and I don’t like to think of Tannehill as more than his backup, but he could be…. I think the Browns are poised to contend for dominance in the AFC North. Baker & Beckham put the fable to Vrabel.
Colts at Chargers – Jacoby Brissett may find out what shape the sky is, when he’s staring up at it from beneath a pile of Charger sackers this week. You swapped a clipboard for a pigskin, kid. Make the most of it. Bolts jolt the Colts.
Bengals at Seahawks – Is Marvin Lewis finally gone? But Andy Dalton isn’t…I don’t see Cincy going anywhere this year, and Nowhere starts with a loss in Seattle.
Niners at Bucs – Pick’em. History tells me that Bruce Arians will get more out of his roster than Kyle Shanahan will his. Jameis Win-some picks one up here. Pass the crab legs….
Giants at Cowboys – Not sure how viable this storied rivalry is anymore. Dallas got better this season by paying Elliott and others, although they will pay down the road for all that layout now. The Gints are getting more interesting on defense, but not under center. Stars shine over Texas.
Lions at Cardinals – Cinderella is going to get bruised at the ball. Newbie coach Kingsbury, newbie QB Murray, new staff, new offense and defense…Cats eat birds, and Matt Patricia’s Lions will be licking the red feathers off their faces after this mauling.
Steelers at Patriots – Pittsburgh has a lousy record in Foxboro, and it ain’t getting better Sunday night. With AB and LB gone, and Big Ben’s odometer spun, I don’t see where Tomlin finds a way to score on an improved Super Bowl defense that sucked all the air out of Chiefs stadium and then held the Rams to 3.
Texans at Saints – Time for Houston to show or go, in my opinion. They have talent, coaching, and experience. Wanna be taken seriously? Go into New Orleans and take one from the real NFC champs on a Monday night. I see bourbon flowing on Bourbon Street, though. Saints prevail.
Broncos at Raiders – This used to be a real matchup back in the day, now it is relegated to a yawner. Chucky’s Faders rein in the Denver Flacco’s.
Enjoy the games!