NFL: Week 1 Predictions for the Unique 2020 Season
With the 2020 NFL regular season set to begin tonight, it’s time to make Week 1 predictions for every game in the league. Enjoy the brand new football season folks.
Thursday, September 10th
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs at 8:20 PM ET on NBC
Defending Super Bowl champions traditionally start well as in most cases they are in familiar surroundings save for the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 when they were in Denver. I do think the Chiefs will have another great year, but with all the pregame festivities and celebration, the Texans will be motivated not just to settle a score from mid-January, but the Houston defense will be inspired to establish themselves as a team looking for a deep run in the playoffs. The Texans surprise the home team, 34-24.
Sunday, September 13th
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team at 1:00 PM ET on FOX
Two NFC East teams pitted against one another to start the season adds to the importance of a good start. I like Ron Rivera to help change the environment in Landover, Maryland, but this project will take time to get done. The defending division-winning Eagles are going to be challenged again by the Dallas Cowboys once again this year. Philadelphia pulls away in the second half 38-17.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots at 1:00 PM ET on CBS
The Cam Newton era begins in Foxborough. The NFL storyline that intrigues me is Brian Flores, who ran the defense for the Patriots. The teams split last season, which included Miami’s shocking 27-24 triumph in Week 17. It was a year where the Dolphins finished strong after an abysmal start. I expect Newton to play well. He will have a slow start but will get in a rhythm. The New England defense will make enough plays regardless of who is under center for Miami. I do not think it will be a blowout, so will go with a final score of 27-20 to New England.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings at 1:00 PM ET on FOX
Two NFL playoff teams renew their fierce NFC North rivalry in Minneapolis. Green Bay swept the season series last year. I expect the Vikings defense to make a lot of plays and make life tough on Aaron Rodgers. Minnesota will get ahead, control the clock by running the ball, and finish long drives ending in sevens. The final score will be the Vikings 38 and the Packers 28.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars at 1:00 PM ET on CBS
The Colts and Jaguars have their work cut out for them in the AFC South as Jacksonville no longer has Leonard Fournette in the backfield while Indianapolis has another veteran signal-caller behind center in Philip Rivers. I do not expect either team to be in the playoffs, but with the new fourteen-team format, it certainly offers hope for all participants. I think there will be a lot of great defense. Indianapolis squeezes by with the victory, 17-10.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions at 1:00 PM ET on FOX
Another one of six in-division matchups in the early Sunday window, eight in total for the day. It is a great opportunity to establish a share of the lead in a tough NFC North. I will go with the Lions offensive line to protect Matthew Stafford against a tough Bears defense. Detroit finishes the game 1-0 after a 27-13 decision.
Las Vegas Raiders at Carolina Panthers at 1:00 PM ET on CBS
I think the Raiders gets their first win in the Las Vegas era. The Panthers will have a lot of difficulty post-Cam Newton. Christian McCaffery is still there, and he will get his touches and big gains, but I think their offense will bog down in the red zone. Derek Carr will be up and down but will do enough. I will go 27-17 in favor of the silver and black.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills at 1:00 PM ET on CBS
Buffalo reached the tournament for the second time in three years. The Bills should feel good knowing that the AFC East is there for the taking after the departure of Tom Brady from New England. I think the Jets struggle again this year with Sam Darnold. Bills defeat the Jets 20-3 with a dazzling display of defense.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons at 1:00 PM ET on FOX
This might be one of the best NFL games of the lot. Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan have met many times this past decade. Atlanta played better towards the end of last year but dig themselves too big of a hole to get out of. The Seahawks seem to find a way most of the time when the game calls for it. I see no reason to feel any different. In overtime, Seattle answers an Atlanta field goal with a walk-off touchdown, 37-34.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens at 1:00 PM ET on CBS
The Browns have held their own in Baltimore in recent meetings. To me, if Cleveland takes care of the ball, they will get the win. Still, Mayfield has to make a lot of key plays if they want to do that. Lamar Jackson was excellent last year when he and his team were leading. The Browns cannot afford to spot Baltimore and early two or three-touchdown deficit. I like the Cleveland offense enough that they score a late one-yard go-ahead touchdown in the final minute from Nick Chubb. 27-24 to the visitors.
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals at 4:05 PM ET on CBS
The eagerly anticipated first career start by Joe Burrow is near. I think he and his NFL team will play well. They will dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Special teams contribute to ten Bengals points. Multiple Chargers turnovers occur under the new offense and Cincinnati will prevail 34-17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints at 4:25 PM ET on FOX
Certainly, this is a game to cherish with two future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Drew Brees. I think both quarterbacks will have their ups and downs this season. I like the weapons that Tom Brady has. He now has Fournette to take some pressure off of him and plenty of receivers he can quickly fire the ball to. Buccaneers get a road divisional win 31-27.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers at 4:25 PM ET on FOX
I expect San Francisco to have a bit of a Super Bowl hangover. Arizona played two tight NFL games last fall. I think Kyler Murray will perform well once again versus this stout 49er defensive unit. It will not be enough as George Kittle finds the end zone twice. San Francisco 35 Arizona 31 in Santa Clara, California.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams at 8:20 PM ET on NBC
Dallas should put up a lot of points this year. CeeDee Lamb will have an excellent first season to win Rookie of the Year honors. Dak Prescott puts up a virtuoso performance in head coach Mike McCarthy’s debut. A slow start by the Rams makes it difficult to catch up. The Cowboys out-score the opposition in the new stadium in southern California 42-28.
Monday, September 14th
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants at 7:10 PM ET on ESPN
Pittsburgh gets Ben Roethlisberger back after missing almost all of last year. He is in his 17th season. The defense was aggressive and the unit kept the Steelers in a lot of games, but it could only take them so far as they missed out on the postseason for the second straight year. Saquon Barkley will have some good moments, but I think he will be contained. I think Daniel Jones makes a mistake or two and Pittsburgh gets a road win 30-20.
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos at 10:20 PM ET on ESPN
A lot of people think that Denver is going to bridge the gap with Kansas City in the AFC West. Jerry Jeudy, the sixteenth pick of this past spring’s NFL draft should be fun to watch at wide receiver, part of a good crop of players the Broncos brought in. They get a chance to find out how they stand versus the AFC finalists of 2019. Derrick Henry will be hard to contain, but I think the home side eventually gets more than a one-possession lead to force Tennessee to play catch up. Denver at home especially on Monday night is tough. Week 1 concludes with the result finishing Broncos 28 Titans 17.