The 2016 season is on the horizon! After an exciting opening weekend of college football, NFL football is finally back. Week 1 is full of enticing matchups. Let’s take it game by game.
7:30 PM Thursday, September 8th
Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos
With the Broncos’ QB situation still in a flux, I expect the Carolina Panther’s dominant defense to have a field day, and the Panthers outlast Denver.
Panthers 27 Broncos 9
12:00 Sunday, September 11th
Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars
An up and coming Jacksonville offense takes on an established powerhouse franchise. An early shootout quickly turns to a comfortable Packers victory after two Blake Bortles interceptions in the second half.
Packers 38 Jaguars 23
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
This game is going to be a slugfest, and I think that Tyrod Taylor could take a major leap this year. That said, I’ll take the Ravens by an overtime field goal.
Ravens 23 Bills 20 (OT)
Chicago Bears at Houston Texans
This is a tossup for me. A Houston Texans team with exciting new offensive weapons take on a Bears team with multiple question marks on both sides of the ball. With a healthy JJ Watt, I foresee the Brock Osweiler era in Houston start with a slim W.
Texans 24 Bears 17
Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles
With the Eagles trading away Sam Bradford, it looks like rookie Carson Wentz will get the start in the team’s opener. Luckily for Philly, they face a Cleveland team that are also still figuring things out on offense.
Eagles 23 Browns 16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Expect an offensive shootout at the Georgia Dome. I feel like these are two teams that have a lot of potential, but may be harbored my subpar defensive units. In this game, though, I see Matt Ryan protecting his home court with a win.
Falcons 31 Bucaneers 24
Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans
The Vikings have an enigma to solve on offense with Teddy Bridgewater down. Can they score enough without an above average passing attack? In this game, they can skid by with the legs of AP and behind their dominant defense.
Vikings 17 Titans 10
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets
I believe Fitzpatrick has always been an underrated signal caller, and he is truly perfect for the Jets system. The Bengals offense has looked great this preseason, and their revamped secondary is something to watch out for. Look for the Bengals to eke out a victory on the road behind Dalton’s arm.
Bengals 34 Jets 31
Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints
Derek Carr and the Black and Silver head to the Superdome to try and outduel Drew Brees and the Saints. With offensive fireworks galore, I’ll take the veteran thrower at home.
Saints 27 Raiders 23
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
I expect a bounce back season for the Chargers this season, but the Chiefs are dominant at Arrowhead Stadium and Alex Smith has that team geared up for a division title run.
Chiefs 24 Charger 17
3:05 Sunday September 11th
Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks
This could be an early test for the offensive genius Adam Gase in his first game as head coach vs the excellent Seahawks defense. Seahawks and their 12th man take game 1 at home.
Seahawks 30 Dolphins 13
3:25 Sunday September 11th
Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts
I expect a major rebound season for the Colts offense, and they will start with an explosive output at home vs Detroit.
Colts 34 Lions 24
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
In what would have been a marquee opening round divisional matchup, seems like a likely easy New York victory without Tony Romo guiding Dallas on offense. We will see if Dak Prescott will be able to perform at a high level when the games actually count.
Giants 20 Cowboys 14
7:30 Sunday September 11th
New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
In what will likely be the most highly anticipated game of the week, the Patriots head to the Desert to take on Carson Palmer’s Red Birds. With Brady suspended, we will get to see Garoppolo take on one of the NFL’s very best defense.
Cardinals 27 Patriots 16
6:10 Monday September 12th
Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins
Great start to the first Monday night football of the season, the game will be close until Roethlisberger takes over with two touchdown dimes in the second half.
Steelers 24 Redskins 17
9:20 Monday September 12th
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
A late California showdown between division rivals closes up Week 1, and will be a low scoring slugfest. If you stay up for this one, don’t expect offensive fireworks.
Rams 16 49ers 13
Everyone will be excited for Week 1, and with 16 games being played, there are no shortages of marquee games to watch. Enjoy, NFL fans!
-Z-Man, Resident Sports Columnist at Elite Team