Written by Carter Weissenfluh
Jacksonville Jaguars v. Houston Texans: a division matchup between two teams with somewhat low expectations, but two young promising QBs in Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson. Fans across the league are excited to see the number one pick from the 2021 Draft, Lawrence, take the field in his first regular-season game. Since Watson is dealing with off-the-field issues, I am going to roll with the Jaguars 24-14.
San Diego Chargers v. Washington Football Team: a non-conference game with two teams looking to improve off of their seasons last year. Washington, with one of the best defenses in the NFL, will be more than skilled to beat the Chargers, who are traveling cross country for a 1 PM game. I see Washington winning 27-17.
San Francisco 49ers v. Detroit Lions: the 49ers, who were devastated with injuries last season, are looking to bounce back and compete in a very competitive NFC. With the addition of Trey Lance, they look to get off to a strong start against the Lions. The Lions are clearly in the rebuilding phase, as new head coach Dan Campbell will be looking to change the culture of the franchise. 49ers by a score of 31-13.
Seattle Seahawks v. Indianapolis Colts: both these teams made the playoffs a season ago and look to do so again. With this matchup, it will be a good test for both teams to see where they stand. The Seahawks are traveling to Indianapolis and have been one of the better road teams over the last few seasons. Seahawks 31-24.
Philadelphia Eagles v. Atlanta Falcons: both teams are led by two new head coaches, so this will be exciting to see how prepared these two teams are. The Falcons are capable of scoring with the best of them, but their 4th quarter struggles are what killed them last year. Jalen Hurts for the Eagles is one of the few QBs that can hurt you with his legs and arm. I still expect the more complete team to win. Falcons 28-20.
Pittsburgh Steelers v. Buffalo Bills: both teams won their respective divisions last year and both have aspirations for making a playoff run again this season. This will be a good and very physical game. Josh Allen will have his fingerprints all over this game which is why the Bills will win. The Steelers will put up a fight because Mike Tomlin always has his team prepared. Bills 31-21.
Minnesota Vikings v. Cincinnati Bengals: the Vikings look to bounce back after missing the playoffs and they can do just that with a healthy Dalvin Cook, who is one of the best running backs in the league. The Bengals look to get Joe Burrow back with his favorite former college teammate, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals hope they can be as lethal now as they were in college. It will not be enough, though, as the Vikings look to pursue the playoffs with incredible depth all the way through their roster. Vikings 27-21.
Carolina Panthers v New York Jets: the Panthers and quarterback Sam Darnold look to face off against his former team and show why he believes that he is a franchise quarterback. Both teams have a number of young stars and both teams are excited to see some players breakout. The Panthers are the more complete team and have a healthy Christian McCaffery coming back. Panthers 27-17.
Arizona Cardinals v. Tennessee Titans: both teams have the capability to make the playoffs. Last year the Cardinals started off hot then cooled off and missed the playoffs, while the Titans started off slow then heated up to make the playoffs. The Cardinals have an explosive offense led by Kyler Murray, while the Titans are led by previous rushing leader Derrick Henry. Cardinals 34-27.
Cleveland Browns v. Kansas City Chiefs: these two teams faced off against each other in the playoffs for a berth to go to the AFC championship game. It came down to the wire and these two teams are still loaded from top to bottom. I expect these two to be in the top four of the AFC. Though both teams have a solid roster, the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes. Chiefs 35-27.
Miami Dolphins v. New England Patriots: a divisional matchup with two former Alabama QBs facing off in Foxborough. The Patriots have a lot of returning starters back from sitting out from COVID-19. The Dolphins are a solid team, but the Patriots and Bill Belichick at home week one will most definitely win. Patriots 24-20.
New York Giants v. Denver Broncos: both of these teams are looking to have bounce-back seasons as both teams lost key players to significant injuries. The return of Saquon Barkley and the addition of many weapons for Daniel Jones should provide everything Jones needs to be successful. The Broncos have a solid roster but are still looking for their franchise quarterback. The Giants at home will hold on and win 27-21.
Green Bay Packers v. New Orleans Saints: the former MVP Aaron Rodgers looks to repeat as he and the Packers take on the Saints without their legendary former quarterback Drew Brees. The Packers are the favorites to win this one, 31-28.
Chicago Bears v. St. Louis Rams: both these teams look to improve from last season and both teams made interesting moves in the off-season. The Bears traded up and drafted an excellent prospect in Justin Fields. The Rams traded for Matthew Stafford but had to give up two first-round picks to get him. The Rams have one of the better defenses led by Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald along with a creative offense led by Sean McVay. Rams 28-24.
Baltimore Ravens v. Las Vegas Raiders: two very interesting teams face off in the first Monday night game. Human highlight reel Lamar Jackson looks to continue to dominate the league and will do just that against a limited Raiders defense. The Raiders look to revolve the offense around Darren Waller who is one of the best tight ends in the league. With that being said, the Ravens are one of the better teams in the league and will show that on Monday night. Ravens 31-20.