Can you smell it? The turf, the sweat, the tears, the beer, the body odour. The National Football League 2016 Season is at our door and there is so much to get to.
What an outrageous off-season. 7 teams will be starting new quarterbacks thanks to either retirement, the draft, injury or free agency. 6 new coaches taking the reigns to try and steer their teams towards the Super Bowl. There are no clear cut favourites in either conference. Parity has never been stronger.
So let’s get to it. Let’s pick some games and talk some football!
Carolina Panthers 21 Denver Broncos 14
Welcome to the NFL Trevor Siemian. It will a baptism by fire against a very stout and relatively healthy Panthers defence. Whilst the Broncos defence was historic last season, reigning MVP Cam Newton will be fired up to avenge his lacklustre performance in last years Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 Atlanta Falcons 14
Jameis Winston is a stud. His will drag this team kicking and screaming to many wins this year but it won’t be needed this week against a very porous Falcons defence. Julio Jones will still produce however because he is the best wide receiver in the game.
Tennessee Titans 17 Minnesota Vikings 13
Man, up until last week, many people the Vikings as a sneaky NFC title contender. But then in one of the most gruesome knee injuries ever witnessed, their season completely changed. Poor Vikings. Titans Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau will throw everything to rattle whoever starts as quarterback for the Vikings.
Philladelphia Eagles 28 Cleveland Browns 7
Carson Wentz may be the starter for the Eagles, but he isn’t the biggest factor here. That Eagles defence will be sneaky brutal under new DC Jim Schwartz. Plus, as exciting as the Browns have the potential to be, their offensive line is… well… offensive. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we see two quarterbacks during this game for the Browns.
New York Jets 23 Cincinnati Bengals 20
This is a tough one. Two great defences. Two slightly above average QBs. Where the difference is that the Jets have two great WRs and the Bengals have one. Would it be a surprise if the Bengals won? No, but they have the harder road to do it on.
Oakland Raiders 31 New Orleans Saints 28
As a Saints fan, there is a temptation every week to pick them to win. But we live in reality here and the Saints defence is down right atrocious. It would not be even a slight surprise if the Raiders hung a 50 burger on them. The Derek Carr/Amari Cooper connection will only get better in year two. Plus, Khalil Mack is a bad, bad, bad man.
San Diego Chargers 24 Kansas City Chiefs 17
Arrowhead Stadium is a rough place to travel to, but Phillip Rivers has a healthy o-line in front of him, a healthy running back, and a health Keenan Allen. The Chargers will get out to an early lead and unfortunately the Chiefs death by a thousand paper-cuts offence is not designed to come from behind.
Baltimore Ravens 27 Buffalo Bills 20
The Bills have just taken hit after hit on their defence this off-season. As much of crazed genius Head Coach Rex Ryan is, he has his back against the wall in a big spot here. Joe Flacco is returning from a rough knee injury last season, however he is still a top-tier QB and knows how to win.
Houstan Texans 17 Chicago Bears 14
There is huge buzz around the Texans this year. But they are only returning three starters from 2015. It will be hard for a new team click straight away. Luckily, the Bears have a less than stellar defence to warm up against.
Jacksonville Jaguars 34 Green Bay 31
Welcome to the first shoot out of the season. Both teams have fantastic aerial attacks and rough and rumble running games. However, this is a make or break year for HC Gus Bradley’s defence. It is time they show what they are made of and knocking off a potential Super Bowl contender is the way to do it.
Seattle Seahawks 27 Miami Dolphins 17
This one is simple: The Seahawks are a complete team, the Dolphins are not. The only question you have with the Seahawks is will their running game be as good as people hope it to be in this post Marshawn Lynch era.
New York Giants 31 Dallas Cowboys 10
The Dak Prescott hype train comes crashing back to reality. As much as he has potential to be a stud and has good surrounding talent, the Giants have a good defence. Even if they haven’t shown it much this off-season. Plus, Eli Manning is going to throw for 40+ touchdowns thanks to Odell Beckham.
Indianapolis Colts 24 Detroit Lions 14
Andrew Luck is healthy. Andrew luck is good. Andrew Luck will win many games. Hopefully he gets just a little bit of support this year. As for the Lions, what is there to get excited about? The defence is meh, the offence is meh, and the head coach screams meh. Is it too early to start looking to 2017?
Arizona Cardinals 37 New England Patriots 21
The Cardinals D is going to be the reason they get to 37 points. Jimmy Garoppolo has not shown much to suggest he is going to lead the Pats to a 4-0 start while Tom Brady is suspended. Plus, Rob Gronkowski is questionable to play which is one less weapon for Jimmy G to hit.
Pittsburgh Steelers 30 Washington Redskins 17
So, the Steelers are minus Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, but is that going to stop this attack? Nope. Mainly due to the fact that the Redskins secondary is not that good even with the inclusion of Josh Norman.
Los Angeles Rams 14 San Francisco 49ers 7
Urgh, this match is depressing. Number 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff is a healthy scratch because he just couldn’t pick up the game quick enough. The 49ers have no one that jumps off the page as a difference maker. The only person that could make this game entertaining is Todd Gurley and he to try something out of nothing with this Rams offence. Good luck son.