We are back at it again for the sixth year of predictions on this blog! I am excited for the start of the 2017 season and there are some pretty good games right out of the gate. Below I will pick who is going to win them all and mark one lock of the week (not an obvious game, we like to keep things fun here) and one upset of the week. Let’s get to it!
Thursday, September 7th, 8:30 e.t.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
The first game of the regular season is a doozy, as it usually is. The Patriots seem to be primed to win their opening night game at the favorable confines of Gillette Stadium. Look for Tom Brady to take to the air as the Pats cut through the pretty good Chiefs’ “D”. New England gets off on the right foot, but not without a bit of a fight from their opponents.
New England 31, Kansas City 23
Sunday, September 10th, 1:00 e.t.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
Looking back to years past, it isn’t every day that Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown are all healthy together but that is the case here in Week 1 of 2017. That could mean bad news for a lot of Pittsburgh’s opponents throughout the season, and especially so for the Browns this week. The Steelers tend to dominate them anyways, so expect nothing different here.
Pittsburgh 37, Cleveland 16
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
The Jags are going to be starting Blake Bortles while the Texans throw out Tom Savage. Things could get ugly early on, but I like the Houston defense to swarm at home and take advantage of some offensive mistakes from Jacksonville.
Houston 24, Jacksonville 10 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
This is a tough game to pick because of the way the Redskins have dominated the Eagles over the past few seasons, but I do like Philly’s chances on the road here. Washington will not have as potent of an attack this year and the Eagle “D” has looked strong during the preseason. Look for those two pieces to be key factors in deciding the outcome of this low-scoring affair.
Philadelphia 19, Washington 13
Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears
Chicago opens their season up at home against the defending NFC Champions. The Bears will have to trade scores with the Falcons if they want any chance of winning, but that is hard to say for them and even harder to do. I do think they can keep this one surprisingly interesting for a while, however, but they will ultimately be run out of the gym in the Windy City.
Atlanta 32, Chicago 21
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
In what looks like it will be a battle of the bottom of the AFC East in Week 1, the Jets and Bills hook horns at New Era Field. While I do think the Jets are going to be a bad team this year, I am actually going to pick them in an upset since there is usually one weird game during opening week. My money’s on this one. Ultimately turnovers will end up doing the Billikens in.
New York 20, Buffalo 16 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***
Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions
This game is another tougher one to pick because I can see the Lions having a down season versus last year while I can also see the Cardinals rebounding. The safe pick would be rolling with Detroit playing at home but I think that Arizona is going to get their offense off the ground quickly and take advantage of the aging Lion secondary.
Arizona 33, Detroit 27
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
If you read my write-up of my season predictions then you will already know that I am not high on the Baltimore offense while I think the Bengals will be an exciting team to watch in ‘17. At home I think Cincy can steal one late with a go-ahead field goal in the final minutes aided by, perhaps, a Raven penalty or two.
Cincinnati 26, Baltimore 24
Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans
For the third straight year we are treated to Raiders @ Titans, and the previous two ended up producing very good games. This should be no different as I think it will be a bit of a throwback with some smashmouth football leading to some play action passing. I like the Oakland offense a little more than I do the Titans’ and that is why I will pick them to win in Tennessee for the third time in as many years.
Oakland 29, Tennessee 21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins
This game is unfortunately going to be rescheduled for a later date, but I did want to go on record by saying that I was going to pick the Dolphins to win at home, if Hurricane Irma did not become a thing. Best of luck to the folks down south.
Sunday, September 10th, 4:05 e.t.
Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Rams
I was thinking about picking the Rams in an upset even before learning that Andrew Luck was going to be out in this game, and now that that is a definite I think that the L.A. defense is going to make life tough on Scott Tolzien and company here. I am interested to see if Jared Goff can form a connection with Sammy Watkins against a below average secondary as well.
Los Angeles 21, Indianapolis 13
Sunday, September 10th, 4:25 e.t.
Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers
The Panthers have a good opportunity to start their season off on the right foot against a pretty poor San Francisco defense here in Week 1. They should take advantage of it and run the ball repeatedly at the Niner front and keep Cam Newton from making big mistakes with the ball and they should be just fine.
Carolina 35, San Francisco 21
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
This is, in my books, the best game of the week and it is going to feature two NFC powerhouses on the late afternoon stage. Ahh yes, football is back. Picking this one could be hard but I like the Packers to get it done at home against the ‘Hawks. I don’t think Russell Wilson will throw a bunch of picks like he has in the past against the Pack, but I do think he will be under pressure a lot and cause him to make some rushed decisions.
Green Bay 34, Seattle 27
Sunday, September 10th, 8:30 e.t.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
It is official, Ezekiel Elliot will serve a six game suspension. That will not take place until Week 2, however, and I think the Cowboys will be desperate to prove something at home to the Giants after losing twice to them last year. Their defense scares me a bit, but I say their offense makes up for it this time around with a big game.
Dallas 37, New York 31
Monday, September 11th, 7:10 e.t.
New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings
This contest should be known as the Adrian Peterson Bowl since he will be returning to Minnesota for the first time in Week 1 playing in black and gold. The Viking defense should prove to be superior at home but this could be one of the better games of the opening week.
Minnesota 23, New Orleans 20
Monday, September 11th, 10:20 e.t.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos
I feel like a lot of people are going to pick the Chargers to win here, which is understandable, but given the fact that Denver has dominated this match-up over the last few years, it is hard to pick against them. I think their defense will come out flying and get the Broncos a win after their first game in the year. Trevor Siemian will do just fine as the starting quarterback.
Denver 20, Los Angeles 10