Year two of Pete’s Picks is upon us! Faith Hill is back on the Sunday Night Football theme. I think that’s all the introduction needed to let us know this will be a very fun season.
Rams @ Panthers – Rams
Right off the bat, this game is incredibly challenging to predict. My gut tells me that opening weekend the Panthers should win at home with Cam and Christian’s powerhouse duo highlighting the offense. Samuel and D.J. Moore are some great weapons for Cam, but my gut also reminds me the last time the Rams played a football game, they lost a Super Bowl they know they could have easily won. Rams defense looks to stay elite with the addition of Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle, two veterans to add to their already star-studded veteran D. Todd Gurley, Darrell Henderson, doesn’t matter, the Rams are great and here to stay, look for them to come out playing with some inspiration on Sunday. The linebackers in Carolina are still scary. The D-Line doesn’t mess around either, the addition of the McCoy is big. I expect the Panthers to be a contender this year as well this season, as Christian McCaffrey is the textbook definition of a defensive nightmare. Rams in a nail biter?
Redskins @ Eagles – Eagles
Oh well, poor Redskins. Case Keenum is not a starting NFL QB anymore. I think the Redskins will quickly figure out Haskins is their man, but it will come the hard way. Whether they realize it right away or it takes some pondering, the Eagles should help them learn their lesson at the Linc this Sunday. – START HASKINS
Bills @ Jets – Jets
Josh Allen vs Sam Darnold should be fun, but I think the Jets take this game through homefield advantage and the positive buzz around them with the addition of Lev Bell. The Bills defense looks sound and has positive buzz as well, but the Jets looked nice on many different occasions last year. President Mal is the real deal. Le’Veon should come out fresh and better than ever after the preparation he claims to have been putting in for this season. We should also see both Allen and Darnold playing at their best as they came from the same draft class and that competitive nature should be on display from the young guns. A battle of New York that should be a fun, defensive game to watch.
Falcons @ Vikings – Vikings
This one might be my toughest decision. Although the Vikings defense should be incredibly strong, especially at home, the Falcons could just as easily come into Minnesota and create a shootout. I think with a healthy Dalvin and Kirk playing well, the Vikings could win their home opener on Sunday. Thielen and Diggs are an absolute crisis for secondaries, and one of the best tandems in the game. On the other hand, Julio and Ridley could do the same thing. I also expect Devonta Freeman to have somewhat of a bounceback year without Tevin Coleman in Atlanta. I believe the Vikes sneak by with home-field advantage but expect a shootout.
Ravens @ Dolphins – Ravens
Josh Rosen could end of being a big steal for the Dolphins if he pans out, but the Ravens seem to be in more of a “win-right-now” situation. Lamar looks hot n ready, Mark Ingram is a MASSIVE offseason acquisition, literally; the dude is a human tank and everybody still sleeps on the raw physical anomaly that is Mark Ingram II. I trust the Harbaugh system. Neither of these teams are legitimate contenders yet, but I’m excited to see these young teams develop under their new quarterbacks. I like the Ravens defense much more as of now, but a few years can change anything in this league.
Chiefs @ Jaguars – Chiefs
Nick Foles is a franchise quarterback and I’m personally so happy he’s down in Jacksonville. Nick’s got a great defense and he can bring them right back to contention, especially if Fournette can stay healthy. They just paid Miles Jack, and that’s a perfect man to lead the D. With my hype of the Jaguars stated, the Chiefs are a Super Bowl-caliber team this year just like last year. The Chiefs will be a dominating force this season and years to come barring injury to Mahomes. Tyreek Hill-Jalen Ramsey rivalry will continue, and I’m all here for it; two of the most explosive players and smack talkers, this game will be a blast.
Titans @ Browns – Browns
The Browns can and will win a Super Bowl with Baker Mayfield, mark my words. This organization has waited far too long, and they’ve landed the jackpot on both sides of the ball. All the first-round picks have finally paid off for the Browns, and I’m so high on them. The superstar LSU best friends reunite, giving Easy Bakes some of the best hands to target in the world. Njoku on the check-down is nothing to scoff your head at either. Chubb, plus Kareem later on… the DEFENSE good lord. This team has full potential to win it all right now, it’s all about chemistry and piecing their puzzle together, but the pieces are all there. As for the Titans, the defense should be good this year, but I truly see them continuing to stay stagnant, especially against an excited and energized Browns at the Dawg Pound.
Bengals @ Seahawks – Seahawks
Yes, the Seahawks lost their legion of boom, but make no mistake; the Seahawks defense is still very good and very hard to beat at home. A depleted Bengals offense should have big troubles in front of the 12th man. Mixon will be the workhorse all year if he stays healthy, but no A.J. Green is going to be a massive void in Cincinnati’s offense. The Bengals O-Line is a problem that needs fixing now, and the Seahawks should have no problem taking this game at home.
Colts @ Chargers – Chargers
Andrew Luck’s retirement shocked us all, and I will deeply miss watching him play. I too believe he had more game left in him, and maybe a Super Bowl, but that’s not what’s truly important here; what’s truly important here is Andrew’s mental, physical health and what he feels in his soul what’s necessary. Football is one of the toughest careers the human body and brain can endure, and this could set a great example for mental football standards and the fact that the human body does, in fact, have a limit. Andrew Luck is a great football player and an even better person and the fans who booed him will regret it forever.
With more and more research surfacing about football-related head trauma, it’s important for the world of football, in general, to realize that although they’re top tier athletes, they’re still just people, and every person has their physical and mental limits. Remembering that is very important, especially for NFL players who put their mental and emotional health on the line every week, and remember, we only get one brain for the rest of our lives. I respect the Hell out of Andrew Luck for his decision and I think it could influence some very healthy decisions for other players.
Jacoby Brisset has starting talent, and I assume he can fit right in with the offense; maybe even bring some more out-of-pocket passing. The weapons are still there for the Colts to be successful, the O-Line is great, but the Chargers on the road should pose too big of a challenge for Indy. The Chargers should be a legitimate contender again this year, with or without Gordon. It’s unfortunate they won’t pay him, as he’s easily a top 5 back in pure talent. That man can do it all. The Chargers D will be missing their 2nd year all-star Derwin James, but they should have enough talent throughout the defense to make up for it. The Chargers receiving core is dominant, and Phil’s still chasing that ring. Justin Jackson and Ekeler should both fill the Melvin gap nicely, LA wins.
49ers @ Buccaneers – Buccaneers
A matchup of two of my favorite tight ends, George Kittle and O.J. Howard, hopefully, they have big days for the sake of most of our fantasy teams. Jimmy G and the 9ers have an inspired young team behind Shannahan and they should have the ability to go into Tampa and win, but week 1 there are always some kinks to work out, and I have a clear vision in my mind of Jameis and Mike Evans having a big day. Sherman and Evans will be fun, Tampa’s running backs have had a few years in the offense to blend, I think the Bucs comes to play and surprise the Niners at Raymond James. This game should be very well matched and may turn into a shootout, excited to see Tevin Coleman in the 9ers offense as well.
Giants @ Cowboys – Cowboys
Jerryworld will be ecstatic on Sunday now that Zeke’s paid and ready to go, and Zeke is about to GO. Should be a close game because this rivalry always is, but Dak and Zeke are back in the saddle and they’re home, Dallas defense has the edge here too. Saquon will go off because he’s Saquon Barkley, but the boys will play inspired football once they see their MVP rush the way Zeke can when he gets his bag. Cowboys win their home opener behind an absolute monster day from Zeke. Michael Gallup will showcase his talents this year, us Coloradans got to witness the Marvel that is Gallup all his years in FoCo. That man can ball and was a massive draft steal. We got the pleasure of watching Chido Awuzie in Boulder too, Cowboys are looking out for our Colorado Allstars now. Dallas defense has star power and is a threat this season if they can make everything click.
Lions @ Cardinals – Cardinals
Teams like to win games when they have a new coach. Teams really like to win games when they have a new starting quarterback. Teams LOVE to win games when their new starting quarterback is the first overall pick in the NFL draft. Look for Kyler Murray to have an RG3 caliber debut against a confused Lions. Christian Kirk could have a massive year, and it starts against the Lions in a high scoring shootout against Stafford’s canon and his very talented offense. These teams seem very evenly matched when it comes to pure talent, but Kyler Murray is out of this world and seems more than ready to run an NFL team. Cardinals gave Rosen the boot quick and really believe in this man Kyler Murray. Expect Kyler to back that up.
Steelers @ Patriots – Steelers
Everything in me tells me the Patriots should and will win this game, except with the new AB drama, I think the Steelers will play twice as pissed, with or without AB in the lineup against them. The Patriots could and probably will walk to the Super Bowl this year, Sony and James white plus the receivers I don’t even want to name, but wouldn’t it be great to see JuJu shake them off their track a little? Heavy bias has me pulling for Pittsburgh, and I think the coaches and players know what a statement this win would be, especially on NBC. (Faith Hill everyone be excited).
Texans @ Saints – Saints
Everything in my soul still tells me the NFL refs robbed Drew Brees of his second ring last season, and the whole Saints organization and community (as well as anyone with common knowledge of football) agrees with me. This is such a great MNF game, high powered offenses and very solid defenses, with two of the most exciting QB’s to watch. Saints will be ANGRY and will be taking no prisoners at the Superdome. Brees, Mike Thomas, Kamara… JARED COOK… I feel bad for anybody going against the Saints this season. Saints are my Super Bowl pick, as they were last year. Texans can be great this year too, they have the best hands in football in Hopkins, and Fuller, and now Stills to compliment that. Coutee will be great when healthy as well, and Carlos Hyde is and has always been slept on, he can play outstanding football. Credit where it’s due, but this won’t be enough in NOLA week one. Saints take in on Monday night.
Broncos @ Raiders – Broncos
Broncos by a thousand. Our already stellar defense got a whole lot better. Bronco Joe is about to show the world he’s still got the juice. The Raiders are that weird kid that the bully hangs out with just to get some dirt on them and then goes back to the cool kids to laugh about it. My respect for what was my favorite NFL receiver to watch has plummeted, and thus so has everything about the Raiders. One of the meanest defenses in the NFL will capitalize on a broken locker room Monday night, as the Raiders lose their last ever chance to beat their bitter arch-rivals in their precious black hole; shame :’(