It’s a brand new season for the National Football League, and with COVID-19 affecting in-game attendance, it may or may not be possible that this could effect whether or not a home team would have a chance of winning with their home-field advantage.
Here are my picks for the first week of the 2020 NFL Season:
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs (TNF @ 8:20pm)
At first, the Houston Texans saw brilliant success in the first quarter with a 24-0 lead over the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round until Patrick Mahomes whipped up some magic with four TD’s in the second quarter, giving them the lead for good and a 51-31 victory. After the postseason, both teams experienced changes, including long-time Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins traded to Arizona and Damien Williams opting out of the season due to COVID-19. With both QB’s ready to throw down to begin the season, one thing’s for sure: this rivalry will continue to develop into a rivalry for years to come. At Kansas City, no matter what happens, Mahomes will continue to whip up magic, which will including rookie RB Clyde-Edwards Hilaire.
Prediction: Chiefs wins 31-24
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (1pm)
Both NFC North teams found themselves in a down year, as Chicago could not return to the playoffs and Detroit had to play half their season without Matthew Stafford. But for both teams, they see new additions that could help, such as QB Nick Foles for the Bears, despite him backing up Mitchell Trubisky, and for Detroit, two running backs come to Detroit, including longtime veteran Adrian Peterson and rookie RB De’Andre Swift. Both teams could rebound, but they’ll have to face each other first, and it’s possible that Detroit, who has not defeated Chicago since 2017, will use their new weapons to overcome a trick Bears defense.
Prediction: Lions win 20-17
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (1pm)
Buffalo was able to return to the playoffs for the 2nd time in 3 years after an 18-year playoff drought ended for the Bills in 2017. Josh Allen has started to feel at home with Buffalo, and with the addition of former Vikings WR Stefan Diggs, the offense can get better as the defense already looks tough, led by Tre’Davious White. The Jets have also looked to improve, but it’s been wild in the team, including C.J. Mosley opting out due to COVID-19, and some injuries during training camp could plague the Jets. Here’s a fun fact, Allen did not win at home against the Jets yet. This is where he’ll finally get the home win over New York.
Prediction: Bills win 27-17
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team (1pm)
Not too much is seen right now with changes in Philly and D.C., other than new additions such as rookie QB Jalen Hurts for the Eagles and DE Chase Young and the Redskins. Oh, and Alex Smith is finally back for Washington despite Dwayne Haskins getting the starting job to start the season. The truth is, Washington can scare the Eagles since Washington did take an early lead to start the season at Philadelphia. However, with weapons like Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson back from injury, them staying healthy can help the Eagles and Carson Went, who needs to stay healthy too for the Eagles to be a playoff contender.
Prediction: Eagles win 31-17
Las Vegas Raiders @ Carolina Panthers (1pm)
Carolina is experiencing new changes than the Raiders are, other than moving to Las Vegas. With Cam Newton in Foxborough, the Panthers pick up former Vikings and Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater and will start for a young team that features potential No. 1 fantasy football pick Christian McCaffrey and weapons such as DJ Moore and newly-acquired Robby Anderson. For the Raiders, Carr once again has RB Josh Jacobs and WR’s look different for him, such as rookie WR Henry Ruggs III, Nelson Agholor, and Hunter Renfrow. Both teams want a new season, and the Panthers can be more better to start the season than the Raiders.
Prediction: Panthers win 24-20
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (1pm)
There’s one new change in Foxborough, and it’s significant: Tom Brady is gone. Now in Tampa Bay with Rob Gronkowski. With that, the Patriots sign former Panthers QB Cam Newton, one of the few QB’s that Tom Brady has yet to defeat in his career. Now, Newton’s actions can give the Patriots a win, and with weapons like Julian Edelman N’Keal Harry, the Patriots may have no problem taking down the Dolphins in Week 1, who have decided to stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the season over rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Prediction: Patriots win 30-17
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (1pm)
It’s another NFC North rivalry to start the season, and both teams are ready for action. After making it as far as the NFC Championship Game, the Packers look to rebound after playing a 13-3 season in which many believe they looked weaker than their record indicated. For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers apparently has Aaron Jones and Davante Adams as his only best weapons to utilize. For the Vikings, they may be a favorite to win the NFC North this season after their last division title was in 2017. After being swept by the Packers lasts season, Kirk Cousins will look to use Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and rookie WR Justin Jefferson to play a good offense along with one of the league’s toughest defenses.
Prediction: Vikings win 28-17
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons (1pm)
The Seahawks and Falcons are replenished after their season last year was full of injuries. Russell Wilson is once again ready to chase an elusive MVP vote he has never gotten in his career, while Matt Ryan once again has a potential lethal offense, including the addition of veteran RB Todd Gurley. The Falcons defense will be a question, but so is the Seahawks’ defense, as Jamal Adams is new and Shaquem Griffin is gone. With the Falcons at home, they have a chance to surprise Seattle by a short margin if the offense is very effective at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Prediction: Falcons win 31-27
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (1pm)
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are ready to be Super Bowl Contenders again, and Jackson is still looking for his first playoff win ever. The Cleveland Browns are in an attempt to improve on their 6-10 season last year with Baker Mayfield once again in the company of Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Odell Beckham, Jr. With David Njoku gone, Austin Hooper will fill the tight end role as an additional new weapon on the Browns’ offense. However, Baltimore is still looking strong, even with the loss of Earl Thomas on the defense after an altercation in training camp led to his release, and Jackson will once again be elusive against a weak Browns defense.
Prediction: Ravens win 34-14
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1pm)
The Indianapolis Colts have turned a new corner for the upcoming season, but the Jaguars may not have done enough to renew themselves, including the final losses of a 2017 championship defense and Leonard Fournette. The Colts find themselves with veteran QB Phillip Rivers and rookie RB Johnathan Taylor. The big question will be if the Colts can be a better team than Jacoby Brissett could’ve been for Indy after they went 2-7 last year after going 5-2. The Jaguars use to look good at home against the Colts, but Gardner Minshew’s weapons at wide receiver may not be enough this time after it didn’t help in last year’s regular-season finale at TIAA Bank Field.
Prediction: Colts win 28-17
Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals (4:05pm)
Both the Chargers and Bengals have experienced significant QB changes over the offseason. They both drafted QB’s in the top-5 of the first round, as they were former Oregon QB Justin Herbert and LSU QB and 2019 Heisman winner Joe Burrow. On the Chargers side, even with the departure of Melvin Gordon, the Chargers still has RB Austin Ekeler, WR’s Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and TE Hunter Henry. QB Tyrod Taylor sees a big opportunity as he got starting job over Herbert for the Chargers, as Joe Burrow got the starting role with Andy Dalton leaving for Dallas. Burrow gets RB Joe Mixon, WR’s A.J. Green (back from injury), Tyler Boyd, and rookie Tee Higgins. With the Bengals at home, Burrow can surprise L.A. for his first NFL win.
Prediction: Bengals win 27-24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints (4:25pm)
This is guaranteed to be one of the most premier rivalries in the NFL season, with two hall-of-fame QB’s going toe-to-toe with each other twice this season, and Week 1 is where they start. Tom Brady and Drew Brees have seen each other throughout the years, where Brady has won most of the games against the Saints. Tampa Bay has even found more additions than they could’ve hoped for, such as the return of veteran TE Rob Gronkowski, RB’s LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette, their 1st-round pick OT Tristan Wirfs, and DE Ndamukong Suh. There’s no telling whether or not this will immediately make the Bucs look as lethal as the Patriots were when they had Brady, but Brees may teach them a lesson to start the season.
Prediction: Saints win 34-28
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (4:25pm)
The 49ers made a surprise to everyone in the league last season by reaching the Super Bowl with not too much expectations, but with Jimmy Garoppolo healthy and the addition of the No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa, the 49ers won the NFC West for the first time since 2012 and went back to the Super Bowl since then as well. The 49ers are still a legit playoff contender to start the season, while the Cardinals look to continue to rise up with 2nd-year QB Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins a new part of the team. The offense, consisting of Kenyan Drake, Hopkins, Captain Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald, can look tough as long as the defense is hot too. But, the 49ers defense may get the better of the Cardinals’ to start the season.
Prediction: 49ers win 27-20
Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams (SNF @ 8:20pm)
The Rams are ready to play in their new SoFi Stadium on Sunday Night Football, and their first test is against the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams are looking to go back to the playoffs after they both failed to reach it last season. For the Rams, it will be a different look on offense with Brandin Cooks at Houston and Todd Gurley at Atlanta, while Jason Witten leaves Dallas for Las Vegas and Randall Cobb joins Houston. Many believe Dallas could once again be a huge playoff contender, but it’s like that every season, and can Mike McCarthy make noise in his first season with them after spending many seasons with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers? The SNF game is anyone’s guess, but the Rams could barely get their first victory at their new home with some problems on the Cowboys’ defense.
Prediction: Rams win 30-23
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants (MNF @ 7:10pm)
Both teams experience change in their own ways from last season. For the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger returns after he missed most of last season due to an injury he suffered in Week 2 against the Seahawks. After two seasons, Pat Shurmur was let go by the Giants’ organization and replaced by Joe Judge, the former Patriots special teams coordinator. Daniel Jones is ready to lead the the Giants in his 2nd year in the NFL with 3rd-year RB Saquon Barkley and a trio of wide receivers in Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton. However, the Steelers’ defense, which was tough last season, could give the Giants a hard time with Cameron Hayward, T.J. Watt, and Minkah Fitzpatrick pressuring Jones.
Prediction: Steelers win 28-20
Tennessee Titans @ Denver Broncos (MNF @ 10:10pm)
Both teams can look big, but something just happened: Von Miller for the Broncos is out the rest of the season with an injury he sustained 6 days before the Broncos’ first game of the season. Drew Lock is looking promising as the new franchise QB in Denver with a slew of WR’s such as Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler. The RB situation looks new, as Phillip Lindsay will be splitting carries with newly-acquired and former Chargers RB Melvin Gordon. The Broncos’ defense is now questionable, and may not be able to overcome the Tennessee Titans with veteran RB Derrick Henry, reigning Comeback Player of the Year Ryan Tannehill, and WR’s such as A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Adam Humphries. Their defense now has Jadeveon Clowney after losing Logan Ryan to free agency, and can be better than ever.
Prediction: Titans win 30-20