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NFL Week 1 Picks: Dolphins Stun Ravens; Showdown at Gillette

NFL Week 1 is here. GET INTO IT.

NFL Field by Erin Costa is licensed under CC BY 2.0

NFL Week 1 Picks: Dolphins Stun Ravens; Showdown at Gillette

Estimated Reading Time: 8 Minutes

I was looking forward to writing my first set of NFL Sunday and Monday picks today, and then I heard the news of Antonio Brown going to the Patriots and I thought…should I even bother?

Yeah, it’s a real thing alright. And now the Patriots have a real shot at nabbing their 7th Super Bowl win in franchise history – which would put them ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowls in the history of the league.

I thought to myself, “well, the season is already over before it has started.” But then I realized the Patriots probably had the best NFL roster ever assembled in 2007, and Eli Manning and the 10-6 Giants found a way to take down the beast in the Super Bowl. So basically, I know nothing, and I am about to give you my picks for Week 1; which by the way is the hardest time of the year to get this shit right. So cut me some freaking slack if you read this and end up calling your sports betting bookie named Sal, who’s probably sitting in a bathtub somewhere in Reno, puffing on a Cuban and eating a top sirloin.

I remembered today this is my favorite time of the year and I love giving you guys my picks and making a fool of myself by the end of the season. So cheers fellas, here is to a fun and exhilarating football season!

To the picks!

Season Picks Record: 1-0

Sunday Games

Titans at Browns

Up until just recently, the Titans didn’t even know who their quarterback was going to be. That’s not a great sign when your first game of the season is on the road against a Browns team with a loaded offense and a legitimate defensive line. If you’re struggling to decide between Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota, you may have a serious problem there. It was decided Marcus Mariota will start under center, and that doesn’t really make me any more confident in Tennessee’s chances on Sunday.

Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan is also suspended which caused the Titans to completely shift their offensive line. So there is just too much uncertainty for me on the offensive line and at quarterback for me to go with the Titans. I think Cleveland’s defense comes to play and Browns start 1-0. Browns win 27-17.

Ravens at Dolphins

The Dolphins are a dumpster fire, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is a Week 1 Warrior. In six Week 1 starts throughout his career, Fitzpatrick owns a 4-2 record, with 1,394 yards passing, 16 TDs and 5 INTs. So basically if every game was treated like the first game of the season, I’m pretty sure Ryan Fitzpatrick would be a future Hall of Famer.

The Ravens are young, and that can be tough for such a team as early as Week 1. The FitzMagic comes through this time, but don’t expect it to stick around long. Dolphins win 20-17.

Falcons at Vikings

Jeez, if you’re looking for a lot of scoring, look no further. This game could be a major shootout as both offenses are loaded. I give the edge to the Vikings though, as I like their defense more and they’re at home. Vikings win 36-33.

Bills at Jets

Usually, I’d rather watch Walker Texas Ranger reruns than a Bills vs. Jets game. But at least the Jets have Le’Veon Bell now, and I can assure you all eyes will be on him. However, I am taking the Bills to nab one on the road. Bills win 24-21.

Redskins at Eagles

Speaking of dumpster fires, the Redskins open their season on the road against Philly. Yikes. I think the Eagles defensive line will be way too much for the Redskins offensive line and there’s a legitimate chance Case Keenum doesn’t leave Lincoln Financial alive. Eagles win 36-17.

Rams at Panthers

Cam Newton is healthy…allegedly. Newton should be good to go, but he did suffer a left foot sprain in the third preseason game against New England when he was avoiding pressure in the pocket. Now he’s got to go up against the Rams defensive line, of all defensive lines. Talk about a tough break. Let’s hope that’s the only “break” he endures. Rams win 24-17.

Chiefs at Jaguars

The Jaguars have a new quarterback now in Nick Foles. Right off the bat, that will probably improve the Jaguars from last season. But they draw a huge test here facing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

The Jaguars defense will take a step forward this season, and with Foles at QB, their offense might too. However, Jacksonville still seems thin on offense. The Chiefs are anything but that. Kansas City’s offense will be too much. Chiefs win 30-16.

Colts at Chargers

I think the Colts will still be a decent team with Jacoby Brissett taking over at QB. But they have quite the test starting off on the road against Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

Los Angeles will be without Melvin Gordon as he is still in his holdout, but Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson are good enough to provide a quality rushing attack. I think it will be close, but I like the Chargers. Chargers win 27-24.

Bengals at Seahawks

The last time these two teams played each other was October 11, 2015. And the last time the Seahawks beat the Bengals was all the way back on September 23, 2007.

The Bengals have actually won the last two meetings with Seattle, and lead the series 11-9. But on Sunday, I think the Bengals will struggle to score against Seattle on the road and Cincinnati is still without their top target A.J. Green. Seahawks win 30-17.

Giants at Cowboys

I think this game is closer than we think. I am sure by now Eli Manning has got to be sick and tired of all of the talk about how he should retire and that Daniel Jones is going to take over and be the next Matt Ryan after flourishing… in preseason.

By the way, this blind resume will blow your mind:

Player A: 4,299 yards passing, 21 TDs, 11 INTs, and a 66% completion rate.

Player B: 3,223 yards passing, 24 TDs, 12 INTs, and a 66.6% completion rate.

Player A is Eli Manning and Player B is Mitch Trubisky from last season. Bet you weren’t expecting that. Manning threw for 1,000+ yards more than Tubisky and Manning had a way worse offensive line.

Zeke is Back

If Ezekiel Elliott was still holding out and going to miss this game, I would have picked the upset. But Zeke will be back…the Dallas fans will go bonkers…and the Cowboys will pull off a close win against their divisional rival. Cowboys win 24-20.

Lions at Cardinals

Believe it or not, I am actually looking forward to watching this game. You have what I think is a much improved Lions offense against a completely new Cardinals offense led by the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Kyler Murray. The coaching matchup of Matt Patricia vs. Kliff Kingsbury is very intriguing. Both are young coaches but one is very defensive-minded and the other is offensive-minded. It will be exciting to watch Kyler in his debut, but I think he struggles a bit and the Lions take it on the road. Lions win 20-13.

49ers at Buccaneers

Jimmy Garoppolo will be back from his ACL injury and I think he will get off to a sluggish start. The Bucs defense is terrible, but I think their offense is capable of putting up a lot of points; especially with Bruce Arians running the show on the sidelines for them now. I think the Niners offense will be sluggish while the Bucs will be firing on all cylinders. A nice opening statement win for Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay. Buccaneers win 27-16.

Steelers at Patriots

The Steelers haven’t won at Gillette since 2008. Playing the Patriots at their place is always tough and visiting teams usually don’t leave there with a win. But I actually like Pittsburgh’s chances here. Beating the Patriots Week 1 on the road isn’t impossible. It’s been done before.

Remember the Week 1 game between the Patriots and the Chiefs in 2017? The Patriots raised their Super Bowl banner at Gillette before the game. Pats fans were awfully jolly, until the Chiefs started making it a game and managed to pull away scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to win 42-27 that night.

Steelers Will Play Angry

Between the Super Bowl shenanigans, including raising the banner, and the fact that the Patriots practically stole their former superstar wide receiver, the Steelers will play angry and take it to New England’s chin.

Antonio Brown will not be playing in the game, unfortunately, because he cannot be activated until Week 2. But the Steelers will want to remind Brown what could have been and what he’s missing out on. Who knows, maybe the Patriots will go undefeated for the rest of the season, but give me the Steelers to pull off the major upset and statement win on Sunday Night. Steelers win 26-23.

Monday Night Games

Texans at Saints

This will be the Monday Night game you will care about the most this week. This will be a fun shootout between two very good offenses, but I like New Orleans’ ability to run the ball more effectively, and I think that will be key. Saints will keep Watson off the field and do a better job of controlling possession down the stretch. Give me the Saints at home in a high-flying battle. Saints win 33-28.

Broncos at Raiders

I think the release of Antonio Brown will be lingering with the Raiders and that won’t help them in this matchup with Denver who has a sneaky good defense. The jury is still out on Oakland’s offensive line, and Bradley Chubb and Von Miller could really rattle Derek Carr. I like Denver in this one. Broncos win 23-14.

Enjoy the games!

Matt lives in Newnan, Georgia but was born and raised in Upstate New York. He is a fan of the New York Yankees, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Boston Celtics. At the collegiate level, he is a Notre Dame and Syracuse fan (yeah he can root for both, and what?!) He must, however, find a soccer team to root for. So him out there. All suggestions are welcome. You can catch Matt on the Turf mostly covering NFL, NBA, MLB, College Football and Basketball, and Horse Racing (that is not a typo, he practically grew up on a racetrack). It's nothing's strictly sports.

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