NFL is back! As a Bears fan I'm still bitter about how last season ended, but possibly not as badly as our head coach. I've learned more about kicking tryouts this offseason than I ever thought I'd care to, and I'm looking forward to the new season. I figured I'd give Week 1 picks a shot, and if they're terrible I won't embarrass myself again (or maybe I will if it's sufficiently entertaining). In addition to picks, any SB predictions? Or a general prediction about the team you follow (for example - I expect all Packers fans to assume their team will go 0-16).
Bears over Packers - This year Chicago gets to open the season at home, returning most of their dominant defense from last year. The Packers are a bit of a wild card with the new coaching staff and roster turnover on D. I may be a homer but I like the Bears chances to avenge last season's opener.
Rams over Panthers - The defending NFC champs get a tough matchup to open the season on the road against Carolina. It's hard for me to pick the Panthers here with Cam's health still in question.
Eagles over Redskins - Philadelphia is shaping up to be a trendy pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year - and for good reason. They have talent up and down the roster and the promise of a fully healthy Carson Wentz. Divisional matchups are always tough but I see them picking up where they left off last season.
Jets over Bills - I thought Buffalo had an underrated defense last year that was overshadowed by their terrible offense. The Jets have had a lot of roster turnover (and spent a bunch signing LeVeon Bell). This is a tough one to call - I'll go with the home team here.
Vikings over Falcons - This should be a good game between two strong teams. Both had SB aspirations in 2018, and both disappointed last year with mediocre runs and missed the playoffs entirely. I think they'll both bounce back, and I'll take the home team again.
Ravens over Dolphins - Baltimore's first year in a long time without Flacco at the helm should be interesting, Lamar Jackson showed flashes of brilliance down the stretch last year. Miami looks to be in a rebuilding phase, so I'll take Baltimore.
Chiefs over Jaguars - Can Foles work his magic in Jacksonville? Is their D still as good as their 2017 version which led them to the AFC Championship game? Lots of potential there, but I like the Chiefs to continue their dominance in this one.
Browns over Titans - Tons of young talent, dynamic new QB, some great offseason signings have led the Browns bandwagon to be fuller than it has in years (decades?). A trendy pick to take the AFC North, they have a tough opener in the visiting Titans. I'll hop on the bandwagon for Week 1.
Chargers over Colts - This was supposed to be a fantastic Week 1 matchup, but with the surprise retirement of Andrew Luck the Colts are in a bit of disarray. The Chargers have their own roster issues with Melvin Gordon's holdout, but I expect them to win regardless.
Seahawks over Bengals - New coaching staff for Cincinnati to hopefully shake up this muddling franchise. This is shaping up to be a rebuilding year for them, so this looks like an easy win for the Seahawks.
49ers over Buccaneers - San Francisco was a trendy dark horse pick last year before Garropolo's injury. Meanwhile Tampa Bay is giving Winston yet another chance to disappoint, and I expect he will. Two evenly matched teams, I'll SF.
Cowboys over Giants - The Giants appear to be in full rebuild mode with the trade of Beckham. There's some good young talent there, but who knows what they'll do with Eli this year. The Cowboys have holdout issues with Zeke, but they're clearly the stronger team.
Lions over Cardinals - The Cardinals traded away their 2018 No. 1 pick (which they traded up for) to allow them to select another QB with the top pick this year. New coach, new QB, same depleted roster. The Lions are looking to bounce back from a disappionting 2018 - not many good years left in Stafford. Beating a weak Arizona team is essential in putting 2018 behind them.
Patriots over Steelers - I'm not sure what to make of a Pittsburgh team that's basically gone all in on Rothlisberger. Sure QB is the most important position, but man giving up Bell and Brown has got to hurt. No way I'm picking against the defending champs at home.
Texans over Saints - The Saints were dominant for most of 2018 and return most of their roster from last season. I'm picking the Texans in an upset here - I don't have a strong/defendable reason to say this but I think this is the year we see Brees slow down.
Broncos over Raiders - Denver
Super Bowl Pick
I'll pick Chicago over Kansas City in the Super Bowl - no reason other than I'm a huge homer.
NFL GAF, are you excited for this season? Who do you think will win it all this year? How far do you think your team will go?