Bengals @ Browns: The last time the Bengals won in Cleveland was 2017. I know both teams are a little different these days, but I think the Browns can advance to six straight wins at home vs. the Bengals. Cleveland has the best running back in the game, an abundance of weapons on the outside, and from what I have heard, Deshaun Watson looks better than he did last time we saw him play.
I’m not sure how ready Joe Burrow actually is, and I have had questions about the defense since the departure of Jessie Bates and Von Bell. Another thing that’s fun going into this rivalry is seeing how Myles Garrett always owns Cincy. He has recorded 11 sacks in nine games since 2017 and the Browns are 7-2 in those games.
My Pick: Cleveland Browns
49ers @ Steelers: San Francisco has been a Super Bowl contender for the last couple of years, but the Steelers have been sneaky in week one. I think the quarterback situation in San Francisco has taken so much attention off of other areas where they struggle, one being the offensive line. Trent Williams is the only bright spot but Pittsburgh has a rough, rugged defense at every level that might make Brock Purdy’s life hell, especially on the road. Give me Pittsburgh.
My Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
Titans @ Saints: I moved Aaron Rodgers out of my starting lineup in fantasy for Derek Carr so I hope this works. If Michael Thomas can even be a sliver of what he was in 2019 this team could be dangerous. Carr won’t have Alvin Kamara for the first three games this season but Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller aren’t bad replacements. The Titans have had a middle of the pack defense and aside from Derrick Henry, they had a pretty lackluster offense last season. DeAndre Hopkins could make a difference for them, but I’m not sure it’ll be in this game.
My Pick: New Orleans Saints
Eagles @ Patriots: Jalen Hurts is coming off of an incredible season and I expect his name to be in the Most Valuable Player discussion again this year. While the Patriots don’t have the most exciting offense in the league, you can always count on Bill Belichick’s defense to be solid. At the end of the day Philly’s defense is just too tough and the offense has a ton of ways to hurt you. I’ll take Philly.
My Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
Dolphins @ Chargers: I’m sure at this point Miami is just hoping Tua can stay healthy. That will make all of the difference. After all, I did have Miami winning the AFC East and it starts with a game like this. Expectations feel slightly higher for the Chargers for two reasons: 1.) blowing a 27-0 lead in the Wild Card round to the Jacksonville Jaguars 2.) Kellen Moore is calling plays on offense, which should lead to Justin Herbert’s best season yet. Overall I like Miami more on both sides even if Jalen Ramsey isn’t available. This one could go either way, but I’ll take Miami.
My Pick: Miami Dolphins
Rams @ Seahawks: I know many of you think I should have the Jets vs. Bills here.. You’re probably right. But I’m excited to watch the Seahawks this season for a couple of reasons. Last year we saw Geno Smith put this team on his back and get them to the playoffs and I think he will build on that. This group of wide receivers could arguably be the best in the league or at least make a case. The Seahawks also have four straight season opening wins which is tied for the second-longest active streak in the NFL. This game against the Rams feels like a warmup game for what I think will be an incredible season in Seattle.
My Pick: Seattle Seahawks
Overall record: 0-0