What a wild week one that was!
Alex Smith playing like an All Pro quarterback; the Patriots possible perfect season spoiled; the LA Rams demolishing the Colts; the Ravens shutting out the Bengals; Sam Bradford playing a near perfect opening game; and the Packers defense wreaking havoc on a shoddy Seahawks offensive line.
It was an impressive week, especially for defenses, with six teams being held under 10 points, and only four teams scoring 30 or more.
My personal record for game predictions last week was 8-7, and I was correct on two of my statistical predictions:
- Cooper Kupp led the game with 76 receiving yards, more than any other player in the game
- Aaron Rodgers had 21 rushing yards, far more than Eddie Lacy’s measly 3 yards.
Not great, I’ll admit, so here’s to getting back on track. Let’s get into the picks for this week:
Thursday Night Football, Sept. 14
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals
Two teams that struggled mightily offensively in the first week. Houston will likely be starting Deshaun Watson this game, so he’ll haves short week to prepare for a defense that was outscored 20-0 on Sunday. Not that the Houston defense did much better; but when the offense is turning the ball over 2-5 times in a game, it’s harder to not give up some points. I’m growing cold on Dalton and Lewis, so I’ll give this one to Houston.
Statistical Prediction: Neither team will have 100 team rushing yards at the end of the game.
Score Prediction: Houston wins, 17-13
Sunday Sept. 17, 1 pm slot:
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers
A intraconference match of two teams that will likely be playing in January. Sam Bradford shocked… well, everyone, when he made the Minnesota offense a really fun offense to watch, while racking up three passing touchdowns and looking as comfortable as any quarterback in the league. They’ll need good offensive play when they match up against a much tougher (and more put together) offense than they met playing New Orleans. I expect a shootout despite Minnesota having the superior defense.
Statistical Prediction: LeVeon Bell and Dalvin Cook combine for at least 300 scrimmage yards.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh wins, 35-30
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Statistical Prediction: Mike Evans alone will have more receiving yards than all of the Bears wide receivers combined.
Score Prediction: Tampa Bay wins, 27-17
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs
Statistical Prediction: Kareem Hunt will have more scrimmage yards than Carson Wentz will have passing yards.
Score Prediction: Kansas City wins, 30-20
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints
Statistical Prediction: There will be four 100 yard receivers (could be wide outs, tight ends or running backs) in this game.
Score Prediction: New England wins, 45-38
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers
Statistical Prediction: LeSean McCoy will have more scrimmage yards than Johnathan Stewart & Christian McCaffrey combined.
Score Prediction: Carolina wins, 27-13
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Statistical Prediction: There will be over 250 rushing yards in this game.
Score Prediction: Tennessee wins, 28-27
Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts
Statistical Prediction: Larry Fitzgerald will pass Marvin Harrison for 8th most receiving yards in NFL history (117+ receiving yards).
Score Prediction: Arizona wins, 33-13
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Statistical Prediction: Baltimore’s defense will have more sacks than Corey Coleman will have catches.
Score Prediction: Baltimore wins, 21-10
Sunday Sept. 17, 4 pm slot:
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos
Another intraconference match up with playoff implications. With Ezekiel Elliott not serving his suspension (at least this season), this will be a much more exciting match up than if he were sitting at home watching this game. I still think Denver takes the win, if only for their superior defensive play. But look for Jamaal Charles to come back as the dual threat back during his Kansas City glory days!
Statistical Prediction: Jamaal Charles will have more scrimmage yards than Ezekiel Elliott. (Going super bold.)
Score Prediction: Denver wins, 28-24
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders
Statistical Prediction: Josh McCown will throw more interceptions than Derek Carr will throw touchdown passes.
Score Prediction: Oakland wins, 35-10
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams
Statistical Prediction: Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp will combine for more scrimmage yards and touchdowns than the entire Washington offense.
Score Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 30-14
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Statistical Prediction: Doug Baldwin catches more touchdowns than Brian Hoyer throws in this game.
Score Prediction: Seattle wins, 21-10
Sunday Night Football, Sept. 17
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
A rematch of last year’s NFC Championship is prime pickings for a Sunday Night Football match up. I suspect this will be a much closer game than the aforementioned Championship game, as the Falcons dominated the Packers in all phases of the game throughout that match up. The Packers will be looking for revenge, and with a defense coming off of a solid start against a shoddy Seahawks offensive line, and the Falcons appearing visibly different offensively with Offensive Genius Kyle Shanahan shipped off the San Fran, I forsee the King of the North reigning in Mercedez-Benz Stadium.
Statistical Prediction: The Packers have more total yards, more passing yards, and more rushing yards than the Falcons.
Score Prediction: Packers win, 32-27
Monday Night Football, Sept. 18
Detroit Lions at New York Giants
The Giants start off the season with two Prime Time games, never easy even for a team as talented as the Giants are (or appear to be, on paper.) The hole that Odell Beckham Jr. left by missing last Sunday Night’s game was palpable, as nearly every football analyst has pointed out. So I say Odell gets back out there this week, and the offense clicks again as it did for most of last year.
Statistical Prediction: Both teams will each be held under 50 yards of team rushing.
Score Prediction: New York wins, 31-28