Preston’s Picks: Week 1 (Part 2)

8 down, 8 to go. Be sure to check out the previous article containing the previous picks. Let’s jump right in.

Jets vs Panthers

After three disappointing years in New York with a carousel of coaches and players, Sam Darnold has another chance with the Panthers. His supporting cast is immensely better in Carolina, most notably with Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore, the former of which is coming off an injury-riddled campaign. Darnold opens the year against his former team, who look to change course under new head coach Robert Saleh and quarterback Zach Wilson. Expect a comfortable home win for Carolina. 

Prediction: Panthers 24, Jets 13

Cardinals vs Titans

The Titans open the season on the heels of a disappointing Wildcard loss to the Ravens. With the best pure running back in the league and an impressive offensive line, the Titans look to make the next step in the passing game with the addition of Julio Jones. The Cardinals also added an injury prone and aging vet, with JJ Watt set to form a letha; duo alongside Chandler Jones. This game could end in just about any way, but it will surely be fun.

Prediction: Titans 38, Cardinals 27

Browns vs Chiefs

The last game played by the Cleveland Browns was also in Kansas City against the Chiefs, a thrilling AFC Divisional matchup that ended 22-17. There aren’t many teams in the league, let alone the AFC who can hang with the Chiefs, but the Browns are certainly one of them, as they showed in January. Mahomes vs Mayfield is cut out to be the game of the week, and I don’t think it will disappoint. 

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Browns 28

Patrick Mahomes: I've known Baker Mayfield a long time, playing on this  stage will be special
Mahomes and Mayfield always put on a show when playing each other

Dolphins vs Patriots

The Patriots appear to be in a downward spiral after losing several key pieces from their dynastic core, and the rise of the Bills and Dolphins doesn’t help either. Mac Jones leads the new era in New England, who also return several key defensive pieces that missed the 2020 season. However the Dolphins aren’t the team of old, led by an equally ferocious defense with former New England DC Brian Flores at the helm, they might just be ready to fight back against big brother.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Patriots 19

Broncos vs Giants

If this game isn’t in your local area and you choose to watch it over any of the other 3 late games, please see a sports psychologist (Even if you’re a Giants or Broncos fan, it’s been tough lately either way). It’s not necessarily an awful matchup, but Teddy Bridgewater vs Daniel Jones just doesn’t have that “wow” factor, to put it nicely.

Prediction: Giants 16, Broncos 10

Packers vs Saints

Arguably the most intriguing late matchup, due to the fact that next to nobody knows how this season will shape out for the Saints, as they enter the first year of the post-Brees era. The Packers are turning a corner too, as they prepare for life without Aaron Rodgers, with 2021 shaping up to be his last season in Green Bay. Overall, the Packers have a better and more reliable roster, plus with the reigning MVP, they’ll start the season off right.

Prediction: Packers 34, Saints 20

Bears vs Rams

Could the NFL have picked a more boring Sunday Night Football game? Every time these teams have played in recent memory, one team wins a low-scoring defensive battle with little to no offensive highlight plays. This year could very well be different, with Matt Stafford leading the way in LA, but expect a boring one-sided affair.

Prediction: Rams 23, Bears 13

Jalen Ramsey loves to start beef with Bears receivers

Ravens vs Raiders

The first Raiders game in Vegas with fans in attendance closes out Week 1 on Monday Night. Jon Gruden is entering the 4th year of his second spell as Raiders head coach and needs to turn things around quickly. John Harbaugh was in a similar situation on the hotseat with the Ravens three years ago, when some guy named Lamar Jackson came in and saved his job. Despite their lengthy stretch of recent injuries, I still back the Ravens to win comfortably.

Prediction: Ravens 25, Raiders 17

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