The photo above is of Mike Zimmer riding the team bus out of Lambeau Field after beating the Packers to win the NFC North in 2015. He probably has the same look on his face knowing the last two NFL games played featured a total of 29 points.
In last season’s Super Bowl, the Patriots won 13-3 while smothering the Rams more so than the Rams smothered them. And in Thursday night’s 100th season kickoff, the Packers were quite un-Packer-like defensively with five sacks and an interception in a 10-3 win at Chicago.
Fantasy Footballers groaned, but Reality Football Watchers are smiling because if last night’s game is any indication, the NFC North could be a very fun fistfight to watch.
There are 15 more games Sunday and Monday. Five road teams are favored, which are scary picks in Week 1 of a league that does little in the preseason to prepare its starters to play at a regular-season level.
I’m predicting seven upsets this week. I’m sure someone will let me know in a few days if that was unwise.
Here are this week’s picks:
Falcons plus-4 at Vikings: Vikings by 7
As scary as Atlanta’s offense can be, take the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Redskins plus-10 at Eagles: Eagles by 14
Washington can’t protect Case Keenum, especially at Philly.
Chiefs minus-3 at Jacksonville: Chiefs by 7
Time to see what new Chiefs D-coordinator Steve Spagnuolo can do.
Colts plus-6 1/2 at Chargers: Chargers by 7
Not entirely sold on this pick because Chargers have issues and Colts have nothing to lose after Andrew Luck bombshell.
Bengals plus-9 at Seahawks: Seahawks by 14
If there were such a thing as a lock in NFL picks, this would be mine for this week.
Giants plus-7 1/2 at Cowboys: Cowboys by 10
Dallas should roll at home.
Steelers plus-5 1/2 at Patriots: Patriots by 3
This pick is worrisome because it has the feel of being that annual game that sends the media into its “ARE-THE-PATRIOTS-DONE!” hysteria.
Texans plus-6 1/2 at Saints: Saints by 7
Texans are good. Saints are much better and at home.
Rams minus-1 1/2 at Panthers: Panthers by 3
My upset special. Crossing the country to play a road game you’re presumed to win and facing a stout, fresh defense and a determined former NFL MVP QB with weapons around him.
Titans plus-5 1/2 at Browns: Titans by 3
Every bit of my Northeast Ohio-born-and-raised being shouts “DO NOT PICK THE BROWNS! … THERE’S TOO MUCH HYPE … AND YOU KNOW ESPN WILL BE SPENDING ALL OF NEXT WEEK ASKING ‘ARE THE BROWNS OVERRATED!’ AND ‘WILL THEY EVEN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?’!” Tennessee, like a lot of people outside of Cleveland, is sick n tired of hearing about OBJ and the CLB.
Bills plus-2 1/2 at Jets: Bills by 3
For some reason, the Bills feel, to me, like a surprise team.
Ravens plus-6 1/2 at Dolphins: Dolphins by 7
It gets hot in South Beach in Week 1 of NFL seasons. Dang hot. The Tank for Tua campaign gets off to a rough start for the Dolphins.
Lions minus-2 1/2 at Cardinals: Cardinals by 3
I like the unpredictability of Kyler Murray as a home underdog in Week 1. And I’d have a hard time taking the Lions as a road favorite.
49ers plus-1 1/2 at Buccaneers: Buccaneers by 3
There’s a lot of pressure on the 49ers to finally prove they’re what everyone says they can be when healthy.
Broncos minus-2 1/2 at Raiders: Raiders by 3
With all the chaos surrounding the Raiders, something tells me the proverbial wagons will be circled for a season opener at home on Monday Night Football.