As the NFL season kicks off, Fan Interference will give you what games to watch for each week. I decided to pick a game from each time range on Sundays.
1:00 Games: Bengals @ Jets
For the first round of games on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the New York Jets is the one that seems most appetizing to me. The Bengals are coming off of one of their best years with their current core players, and with many not returning on the offensive side of the ball there could be some struggling for Cincinnati. The Jets; however, only lost running back Chris Ivory, and replaced him with an upgrade in Forte (yes, I think Forte currently is an upgrade over Ivory.) Still, this doesn’t quite capture the matchup entirely. There’s storylines here. Last season redemption in a matchup between AJ Green and Darelle Revis, who both underperformed last year. Or, the pressure as Marvin Lewis gets closer to reaching his inevitable firing point if he can’t produce an elite season. Further, Ryan Fitzpatrick proving right out of the gate that he was, in fact, worth resigning. Both of these teams will be good this year, but only one team in this matchup can start 1-0.
Prediction: Jets win 23 – 20
4:00 Games: NY Giants @ Cowboys
Yes, I went with a classic NFC East standoff as a game of the week. Why? Because this game will actually be interesting. Although Tony Romo is likely out on Sunday (although Coach Garrett refuses to rule it out), backup quarterback Dak Prescott made a name for himself in the preseason by playing multiple perfect games in terms of QBR (Quarterback Rating). Splitting the backfield with him is another rookie hype-machine Ezekiel Elliot, who has yet to see any playing time at the NFL level but is already declared by many as one of the best running backs in the league. Time will tell for Elliot, but with an offensive line that made Demarco Murray look like Walter Peyton, there’s really no telling. On the flipside of the field is the Giants, who spent a lot of dough this offseason to improve the roster. With a defense that is starting to look notable and the same explosive offense as last year, it’s possible the Giants look elite once again. And you can’t spell Elite without Eli.
Prediction: Giants win 35 – 17
Primetime Game: Patriots @ Cardinals
This is the game of Week 1 that everyone has been anticipating since the schedules were announced. The dramatic side took a dip when Brady was announced to miss the game, but Carson Palmer spent the week deciding he would spice up the fire with some sideline commentary about Tom Brady. Personally, I don’t think comments matter too much here. This game will be interesting without Brady, as folks finally see what Jimmy Garapallo is made of. Will he be able to play at a starting quarterback level? With the Cardinals rough defense hounding him mixed with a banged up line, it’ll be tough to tell. As for the Cardinals, they should have a win under their belt with Week 1. Although Palmer may be getting older, he is starting the season with arguably his best set of offensive weapons (since everyone is healthy), and on the flip side of the ball the defense got a whole lot tougher with Chandler Jones on the opposite side of Calais Campbell.
Prediction: Arizona wins 24 – 10
Chargers @ Chief – a healthy Chargers offense and the same tenacious Chiefs team will certainly buck heads on Sunday. Prediction: Chiefs over Chargers.
Bears @ Texans – The hype to see what the Texans can do this year is real. If you get a chance to see them in action, make sure you do. Prediction: Texans over Bears.
Packers @ Jaguars – This could be the matchup of the week that I totally missed. A healthy Packers team (unlike all of last year) and a young core on the Jaguars that just loaded up like they’re sniffing a playoff run will go at it on Sunday. Prediction: Packers over Jaguars.
That’s all for me this week. Feel free to comment on my predictions or if you think there’s a game I missed that’s worth mentioning. Enjoy week 1 and look for Brian to break down Week 1 on Monday.