Jazz: Week 1 in the 2016 season was like a walk down memory lane. Unfortunately it was a memory of 2015 when my ability to predict NFL games was roughly on par with my knowledge of rap music. I managed to get a rocking two games right for a season starting balance of 2-5. The Jets lost a heartbreaker to the Bengals thanks to a bunch of points given away by our formerly almost flawless kicker. I won’t need to pick them this week, fortunately, since they came back strong with a beatdown of the Bills on Thursday night. But I’m ready for a comeback this weekend.
Ed: I didn’t get off to a great start last week, but at least I did manage to keep my head above water with a 4-3 record. Last week had lots of close games, but fortunately the Steelers-Redskins game wasn’t one of them. I didn’t watch much else, though, as I have no desire to participate in the NFL’s Stupid Anthem Tricks fad. As I noted earlier in the week, I was hardly alone in turning the TV to other entertainment.
Jazz: As I said, the Jets game is already in the books so let’s move on to the known unknowns. The Steelers welcome their rivals the Bengals (1:00 pm, CBS) and I’d like to see Pittsburgh win if only for some Jets revenge. Their defense against the run is well rated, but New York got more than 150 ground yards against them. Their offensive line is susceptible as well. (The Jets sacked Dalton seven times but still managed to lose.) I’ll take the Steelers 21-16. The Vikings host the Packers in the SFL game (8:30 pm, NBC) and they’re both coming in off a win. The Packers looked more impressive, but then again they were playing the Jaguars. Their running game didn’t seem that impressive and the Vikings are opening up in their new stadium which should bring in the crowds. The Pack is the favorite by a field goal but I’ll take the upset and pick the Vikings 28-23.
Ed: The Steelers have a tough home opener against the Bengals. They’re favored, and their offense looked very healthy indeed against Washington, but their bend-but-don’t-break defense gave up 384 yards — a good chunk of which came after Pittsburgh seemingly went into prevent defense in the 3rd quarter. Cincy’s defense did better, but not by enough. Pittsburgh 24-20 over the Bengals. The Vikings beat Tennessee but technically got beat in both offense and defense. Green Bay came in just below Minnesota in both phases of the game last week, so they seem pretty evenly matched. Still, Aaron Rodgers is on the field, and Teddy Bridgewater isn’t, and that’ll be the difference in a 27-21 win that will spoil Minnesota’s home opener in their new stadium.
Jazz: Let’s pick five more games to get a full card.
- Chiefs at Texans (1:00 pm, CBS) – Two good teams which should make for a fun match. They’re both carrying over a lot of their 2015 starters and have a string of regular season wins when you count last season. The Chiefs staged a huge comeback last week, but the Texans’ victory over the Bears gives me a lot of confidence, so I’ll take Houston at home in a high scoring match 34-31.
- Cowboys at Redskins (1:00 pm, FOX) – How do you not pick the Cowboys and Redskins? Sadly, Dak Prescott didn’t seem to do much better than Romo would have with a broken back. I’ll take the Redskins in a largely defensive struggle, 17-12.
- Saints at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Saints defense stank on ice last week, while Eli and the Giants looked pretty solid. This is always a tough game to call, but I’ll go with the home field advantage and take the Giants, 31-27.
- Seahawks at Rams (4:05 pm, FOX) – Russell Wilson has a sketchy ankle which makes me wonder about Seattle, but the Rams looked awful in their season opener on Monday night. Los Angeles (got to get used to typing that) should have the home field advantage, but I don’t know what sort of 12th man the Hollywood crowd will turn out to be. I’ll take the Seahawks 24-14.
- Eagles at Bears (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – Why on Earth would anyone pick Carson Wentz to start the season 2-0? Because the Bears defense didn’t do very well keeping the Texans’ offense on the bench last week. The Eagles probably have enough in the tank for a road win so I’ll take Philadelphia in a minor upset 24-20.
- Chiefs at Texans (1:00 pm, CBS) – Houston’s defense did the job last week, and they’ll need to do it again this week to contain the Chiefs. I’m not as sanguine about the Texans’ defense outside of Chicago, though, so I’ll take the Chiefs by the same score as Jazz, 34-31 the other way.
- Cowboys at Redskins (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Cowboys barely lost at home to the Giants, but the Redskins got thumped at home and looked less than competitive. I’ll pick the Cowboys for an upset on the road in a low-scoring game, 17-13.
- Saints at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Saints’ D gave up 35 points last week against the Raiders, squandering a 34-point performance by their offense. The Giants’ D will be stingier, and their offense will take advantage of Nawlins’ weak defense. New York 30, Saints 17.
- Seahawks at Rams (4:05 pm, FOX) – The new version of the Los Angeles Rams picked up where the old version left off last week, looking terrible in a shutout defeat. They’re dead last in offense after Week 1, and their defense isn’t even listed by ESPN (an error, but an amusing one nonetheless). Seattle’s third in defense, and their 16th rated offense will be enough to outclass the Rams at the Colisseum, 35-14.
- Eagles at Bears (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – Da Bears are favored in this matchup, but after getting manhandled by Texas, it’s not clear why. They’re at home today, and Philly has only beaten Cleveland so far, so … that’s probably why. The Eagles got fat on the Browns last week, but Chicago’s defense looked pretty good in a loss last week, so I’ll pick the Middlers on the Midway by the spread, 24-21.