Preston’s Picks: Week 1

Football is finally back on Sundays, and a total of 15 games will be played in the next two days. The Chiefs and Texans played an entertaining game on Thursday, and despite having less fans than usual, the game felt somewhat like a normal game. Only one game this weekend will also have fans, one of many factors that will lead to unpredictability this season. Nonetheless, I will take on the task of predicting every regular season game (excluding Thursday night games) and seeing how my predictions stack up with you guys. Be sure to vote in the polls every Friday on our Instagram, @thesportswaveofficial. The team who I think will win for each matchup is denoted in bold.

Thursday’s Chiefs vs. Texans game was underwhelming to some, but we should all be grateful that football is back

Sunday Early Games: 1 PM EST

Jets vs. Bills

Week 1 opens with an AFC East rivalry game between two historically mediocre teams. The new look Bills are set for success and if quarterback Josh Allen plays well, they could be a serious contender in the AFC. The Jets looked good at times, but were as inconsistent as Sammy Watkins on my fantasy team last year. Sam Darnold will be a bright spot this year, but the Jets aren’t a complete team.

Prediction: Bills 24, Jets 10

TSW Fan Vote: Bills 91%

Packers vs. Vikings

After sweeping the NFC North in 2019, the Packers look to continue their run of dominance. I doubt they can replicate a 13-3 record, but they should get out to a good start against a well-rounded Vikings team. The game will be back and forth; possibly the best of the morning games. In the end, I give the Packers the edge, but it will be interesting to see how Vikings first round picks Justin Jefferson (WR, pick #22) and Jeff Gladney (CB, pick #31) play.

Prediction: Packers 27, Vikings 21

TSW Fan Vote: Packers 58%

The winner of this matchup could likely be the NFC North winner this year
Eagles vs. Washington

After a tough offseason filled with scandals and bad publicity, the Redsk- I mean Washington Football Team, sorry- start off the year with a loss to the Eagles in nearly as brutal fashion. Their track record and roster simply doesn’t compare to that of the Eagles. DE Chase Young might be Washington’s only bright spot this year, unless Dwayne Haskins Jr. drastically turns things around. Assuming Carson Wentz doesn’t go down with yet another injury, the Eagles should win comfortably. 

Prediction: Eagles 31, Football Team 13

TSW Fan Vote: Eagles 86%

Browns vs. Ravens

The Browns dealt the Ravens one of just two regular season losses in 2019, but their victory seems like a fluke in hindsight. They had a down year last year, including some sh*tty performances by OBJ, but made some improvements during the offseason.. Two new starting tackles, a new tight end, and a new coach will help the Browns, but the Ravens have just as much talent, if not more, and have shown they can put it all together. I envision the Ravens with a comfortable lead the whole time, but the Browns add some garbage time points at the end to make the score seem close.

Prediction: Ravens 34, Browns 27

TSW Fan Vote: Ravens 86%

Lamar Jackson always puts on a show, but he might be using his legs less this year
Colts vs. Jaguars

The Colts look to return to the top of a relatively weak division against the worst team in the NFL. Project tank is in full effect for the Jaguars, who have gotten rid of nearly all quality players on their roster. The Colts did the opposite, beefing up their roster with free agent signings, trades, and draft picks, most notably Philip Rivers, Deforest Buckner, and Johnathan Taylor, respectively. Expect a rout by the Colts.

Prediction: Colts 41, Jaguars 6

TSW Fan Vote: Colts 88%

Raiders vs. Panthers

A new era begins in Charlotte for both teams in week 1. For the Panthers, it will be the first time since 2010 without Cam Newton and Ron Rivera, with Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Rhule taking over. For the Raiders, they kick off their first season away from Oakland since 1994, but unlike the Panthers, they expect success this year. Ultimately, Las Vegas is the better team, and I see them taking advantage of the Panthers inexperienced defense.

Prediction: Raiders 23, Panthers 14

TSW Fan Vote: Panthers 60%

The Raiders WR core may be key against a weak Panthers secondary
Bears vs. Lions

The Bears open 2020 with many people counting them out and others hoping for the best. They are seemingly a competent quarterback away from winning the NFC North, but with Mitchell Trubisky under center, that will be difficult. The Lions look to rebound after an injury-filled 2019, but they will be without Kenny Golladay for the opener. I predict a close game, like both of last years’ matchups, but I give the Bears the slight advantage.

Prediction: Bears 20, Lions 17

TSW Fan Vote: Lions 58%

Seahawks vs. Falcons

The rough 2019 schedule for the Falcons begins against one of the best teams in the NFC. While they do have an above average offense, Atlanta’s defense will struggle to contain Russell Wilson and his underrated cast of talent. Neither team has an obviously bad roster, but it is clear that the Seahawks are the better team. I give this matchup to the Seahawks, but a Falcons victory wouldn’t be too shocking.

Prediction: Seahawks 26, Falcons 20

TSW Fan Vote: Seahawks 84%

Dolphins vs. Patriots

The post-Brady era commences in New England with the team partly responsible for the Patriots late season failures last year. It’s unclear what to expect from Cam Newton, but he won’t have to do much to defeat a young Dolphins team with many new pieces. The Dolphins have potential thanks to several key additions, including CB Byron Jones, RB Jordan Howard, LB Kyle Van Noy, and most notably, QB Tua Tagovailoa. Nonetheless, they are still rebuilding, and I expect a comfortable Patriots W.

Prediction: Patriots 23, Dolphins 13

TSW Fan Vote: Patriots 70%

The Patriots look to avenge an unfortunate Week 17 loss to the Dolphins that led to them missing out on a first round bye last year

Sunday Late Games: 4:05 PM/4:25 PM EST

Chargers vs. Bengals

Two bottom-feeder teams in 2019 with much improved rosters open the late Sunday afternoon matchups. Only one rookie QB is expected to play in this game, with Justin Herbert of the Chargers sitting behind Tyrod Taylor. Joe Burrow will see his first NFL action, but despite his historic success last year, he will have to prove himself against the best competition in the world. Overall, I give the Chargers the edge, as they have the clear better roster, but this may be the closest game of the weekend.

Prediction: Chargers 28, Bengals 27

TSW Fan Vote: Chargers 72%

Cardinals vs. 49ers

My sleeper upset pick of the week is that the Cards will knock off the 49ers in Levi’s Stadium. The new look Cardinals played well on both sides of the ball to finish 2019, and nearly knocked off the Niners on Halloween. WR Deandre Hopkins is arguably the best in the league at his position and special weapon (Listed as LB) Isaiah Simmons will give George Kittle a matchup nightmare. The 49ers are favored for a reason, but I think the Cardinals have what it takes to open the season with a division win.

Prediction: Cardinals 30, 49ers 27

TSW Fan Vote: 49ers 77%

A win against the 49ers would be a huge step forward if Murray wants to win the MVP in 2020
Buccaneers vs. Saints

This NFC South matchup features a clash of titans, if “titans” means old quarterbacks still at the top of their game. Football fans are relishing over seeing Drew Brees and Tom Brady square off twice this year. After a “down” year in 2019, Brady looks to rebound with much better weapons around him. The Saints look to start the year off right, in hopes of their 4th straight division title. With one of the best rosters in the league, the Saints have the clear advantage, but the Bucs will show the league that they can be a serious threat, on both sides of the ball.

Prediction: Saints 31, Buccaneers 24

TSW Fan Vote: Saints 66%

Sunday Night Football: 8:20 PM EST

Cowboys vs. Rams

Two teams that underachieved and missed the playoffs in 2019 take on each other in the shiny new jewel that is Sofi Stadium. The Cowboys made slight improvements to their roster, but the Rams got worse; they’re my pick for biggest loss of wins from 2019 to 2020. Dak Prescott will go off, and don’t count out a combination Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, or Ceedee Lamb to form a 100 yard duo. The talent on the Cowboys is too much, and I expect a comfortable win for Dallas to kick off Mike McCarthy’s tenure.

Prediction: Cowboys 33, Rams 20

TSW Fan Vote: Cowboys 62%

The Cowboys seek to spoil the Rams’ grand opening of Sofi Stadium

Monday Night Football: 7:10 PM EST/10:20 PM EST

Steelers vs. Giants

Week 1 comes to a close with a Monday night doubleheader. The Steelers and their top 5 defense get things started against a Giants team very few people can envision getting more than 7 wins. Ben Roethlisberger returns for the Black and Gold, and some consistency at the QB position will help fantasy owners of Juju Smith-Schuster. Daniel Jones will have a chance to prove his worth, and if he can lead the Giants to an upset, he will have a lot fewer critics barking up his tree.

Prediction: Steelers 20, Giants 10

TSW Fan Vote: Steelers 80%

Titans vs. Broncos

Monday night ends with a very well balanced matchup of two teams in the upper middle of the pack. The Titans are looking to show that last year’s AFC Championship run wasn’t a fluke, while the Broncos and QB Drew Lock want to prove they’re worth the offseason hype they’ve been getting. I think both teams have a legitimate shot, but with a dangerous offense and underrated defense, I predict the Broncos to come out on top in a game with shootout potential.

Prediction: Broncos 28, Titans 26

If Drew Lock can continue to play well, the Broncos offense will be a real threat in 2020

TSW Fan Vote: Titans 67%

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