Like an onion the deeper you peel the layers of deception and villainy of the Patriots, the more it stinks. Tom Brady got off scot free, and last weekend at a Labor Day party on the Hamptons who was there but the Judge that ruled in Brady’s favor and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft. From top to bottom this team is corrupt and needs to get their comeuppance. Sadly it’s hard to see that happening in the opener, as the Steelers defense has taken apart by retirements especially to the secondary. In the end the Patriots will win a shoot-out using deflated footballs without fear of repercussion.
For the first time in years, hope as returned to Buffalo as Coach Rex Ryan have long suffering Bills fans of a return to the playoffs for the first time since people were worrying over Y2K. However, fans need to take a breath and realize they are relying on Tyrod Taylor to beat Andrew Luck. That is just not going to happen. The Bills may have a solid defense, but in this league you need a reliable quarterback. The Bills may be able to keep the Colts offense in check for a half, but at the end Luck will get his three scores and that will be enough to start 1-0.
In a year the Bears celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their Super Bowl Champion team and its record breaking defense, things could not be bleaker for the Monsters of the Midway. With their third coach in four years, the Bears are a mess a defense that might be the worst in team history and a high priced quarterback that everyone hates. The Packers meanwhile have Super Bowl dreams and a quarterback who seems to get better every year. Expect big things all season in Green Bay and it starts with them showing no sympathy for their historic rivals.
Two teams that have playoff expectations as the year meet hoping to build off 9-7 seasons. The Texans are rolling into the year with a new quarterback as Brian Hoyer won the starting job in the Pre-Season. The Chiefs are hoping to get more from their wide outs after a season in which they had no touchdown receptions. Turnovers should be key and nobody is better at creating them than J.J. Watt the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. The Texans should also get a boost as Jaedevon Clowney returns to the lineup after fighting a knee injury in his rookie season.
Two decades after the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars entered the league together, the two teams could not be any different. It’s been nothing but struggles lately for the Jaguars who need to show the Red Zone on the scoreboard to attract fans, as ownership has an eye toward moving to London. The Panthers have had their ups and downs and appear to be heading in the right direction with two straight division titles. The Panthers have a strong quarterback in Cam Newton and one of the top defensive players in the NFL in Luke Kuechly. The Jaguars just have regret over bad draft decisions and another season opening loss.
When most teams lose their starting quarterbacks fans groan and worry that the season is lost. When Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw the fans of Gang Geen grew more optimistic. The Browns meanwhile are now on their 23rd QB since 1999, with Johnny Manziel well on his way to being one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Josh McCown the brother of Luck McCown one of the most forgettable of the 23 Browns passes was the starter in Tampa last year when the season began. The Buccaneers went 2-14. Any questions? Jets win a snooze fest with the Jets defense nearly pitching a shutout.
Last year the Rams used trickeration to beat the Seahawks at home, and a year earlier they nearly won sacking Russell Wilson seven times. The Rams have been known to give the Seahawks all they could handle and with a Week 1 matchup they have a chance to make an early statement in the NFC West. The Rams have an improved offense, led by Quarterback Nick Foles and one of the hardest hitting aggressive defenses in the league. This game is big for St. Louis and they will go all out, as the Seahawks offense continues to struggle under the heavy pressure of the Rams attack.
Optimism is high in South Beach as the Dolphins after years of mediocrity appear to have the pieces in place to have a special season. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets better every year and the Dolphins defense with the addition of Ndamukong Suh could be one of the best in the NFL. The Redskins meanwhile are a mess divided loyalty over RGIII and Kirk Cousins keep a cloud over the team. While Cousins gets the start, he can’t feel too comfortable with Owner Daniel Snyder being so close to Robert Griffin III. I like Miami on the road in this one on the fact they have a plan as the Redskins are a big mess.
It’s a site for sore eyes in the desert as Carson Palmer is back under center for the Cardinals. Last year Arizona was 9-1 before their season unraveled with injuries to Palmer as well as backup Drew Stanton. The Cardinals still have a top notch secondary and should be able to start the season on a positive note as the Saints typically struggle on the road. I like Patrick Peterson to get at least one pick, as Drew Brees needs to show at the age of 36 he is still a top level quarterback. The Saints defense itself also has much to prove. While the Cardinals always underestimated are still a solid playoff contender.
The Lions start the season on the road, with a meeting with the Chargers. As the season begins the big story in San Diego is the future of the Chargers, as new stadium talks have stalled and signs point to a move to Los Angeles. The Chargers will need to get off to a good start to quiet those talks. With Philip Rivers leading the way and the Lions losing two key pass rushers the Chargers offense could have a big day. The Chargers defense however, must step up and prevent this game from turning into a shootout as Megatron could spoil the day in Southern California.
Two years ago the Broncos on the way to Super Bowl XLVIII opened the season with a win over the Ravens, with Peyton Manning throwing seven touchdown passes. Now at 39 questions surround, Manning as he struggled at the end of last year. The Ravens meanwhile are hoping they can build off a strong finish last year that saw them nearly beat the Patriots in the divisional round. This one has the potential to be one of the best games of the opening weekend. In the end I see the Broncos winning by a Field Goal in overtime.
The Raiders have not had a winning season since 2002 and have become a laughing stock. New coaches, quarterback changes and bad decisions on draft day all while playing in a crumbling stadium that is the last to be shared with a baseball team. The Bengals meanwhile themselves need to prove themselves after four straight losses on Wild Card weekend. The Raiders should be slightly improved, while the Bengals could be in store for a letdown. However, with A.J. Green and Mohammad Sanu leading the way the Bengals should put up enough points to start the year with a win.
It’s a battle of rookie quarterbacks as the last two Heisman Winners and top two draft picks both make their NFL debut. I think eventually Marcus Mariota will have the better career, with a stronger arm and better head. However, Jameis Winston may have the better rookie year as there is a little more talent around him in Tampa. The cupboard is bare in Tennessee and with the ability to find receivers like Vincent Jackson will be of great assistance as the Tampa starts the year with a home win. It will also be a measure of revenge for Winston, whose only college loss at Florida State came against Mariota in the Rose Bowl.
It what seems to be a Week 1 tradition the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants meet on Sunday Night. It marks the third time in four years the two NFC East rivals meet in the opener, dating back to 2012. The Cowboys won both primetime openers. This one has all the makings of an old fashioned shoot out. The Cowboys offensive line can move mountains and the Giants defense is questionable to begin with. The Cowboys defense is hit or miss and the Giants offense has the potential to be quite explosive. In the end the Cowboys will control the offensive line and will get a close win.
Monday Night is for the birds, as the two teams named in honor of large predatory fowl kickoff the season in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons begin the year with a new coach looking to rebound off a December collapse, while the Eagles with a new look are hoping to make Chip Kelly look like a genius. Things have a potential to go wrong in Philadelphia if they don’t get off to a good start. Fortunately the Falcons soft defense should provide little resistance as the starting the season healthy should be a boost for the quick moving Eagles.
Just a year ago the 49ers were talked about as serious Super Bowl contenders. Now they look like a giant mess coming off a disastrous off-season of epic proportions. The biggest loss may be that of Coach Jim Harbaugh as Jim Tomsula looks like the next Richie Kotite. Nobody will be hurt more by the changes than QB Colin Kaepernick who has regressed every year. The Vikings meanwhile with the return of Adrian Peterson are set up for a good year, as Teddy Bridgewater has pressure taken away from him allowing him to develop as he starts the season with a Monday Night road win.