PFT’s Week One picks

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It’s not a rematch.

Hey, if it works for the Panthers in advance of the Thursday night non-rematch rematch against the Broncos, it works for me in the latest installment of the picks competition with MDS, both in the regular season and postseason.

This year is a new year, and I intend to win both — unlike last year. And both MDS and I are the only two who care.

If you care about what we think about this week’s games, keep scrolling.

Panthers at Broncos

MDS’s take: In the Super Bowl, the Broncos’ great defense reined in Cam Newton and allowed Peyton Manning to retire with another ring. But this time around I think Newton will make some big plays, and Trevor Siemian will make some big mistakes in his first career start.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 17, Broncos 10.

Florio’s take: Denver’s defense may still be able to slow down Carolina’s offense, but Carolina’s defense should be able to shut down a Denver offense led by a second-year seventh-round pick who will be wet behind the ears at kickoff and quite possibly wet elsewhere during the game.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 20, Broncos 13.

Packers at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Some see this as a turnaround year for the Jaguars, but I’m not sold. Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson will have a big game against Jacksonville’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take: Picking the upset here is tempting, but the up-and-coming Jaguars have a long way to go until they’ll be ready to come up with this kind of a signature win over a Super Bowl contender.

Florio’s pick: Packers 38, Jaguars 27.

Bills at Ravens

MDS’s take: Rex Ryan needs to get the Bills’ defense turned around or else he’s going to be looking for work in four months. I’m not convinced he has the personnel to make it happen.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Bills 20.

Florio’s take: The Ravens will win a lot of games this year. The Bills will lose a lot of games this year. Ipso facto, I like the Ravens to set the right tone for what could be a big year.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Bills 13.

Bears at Texans

MDS’s take: The Bears were not impressive in the preseason and look like a team that needs another year to turn things around. They’re going to have an ugly season.

MDS’s pick: Texans 16, Bears 10.

Florio’s take: The quarterback drafted four years ago by John Fox gets a chance to give Fox the first loss of his second season in Chicago. The decisions to give a bunch of money to Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller soon will be looking pretty good, and the decision not to give DeAndre Hopkins a raise soon won’t be.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Bears 19.

Browns at Eagles

MDS’s take: Robert Griffin III vs. Carson Wentz is an oddly fascinating quarterback matchup. I see Griffin making a few big plays and Wentz making a few big mistakes.

MDS’s pick: Browns 23, Eagles 13.

Florio’s take: The Browns didn’t see Carson Wentz as being a good fit for their offense. He’ll definitely be a good fit for their defense this weekend.

Florio’s pick: Browns 16, Eagles 7.

Buccaneers at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Bucs fired Lovie Smith, but will they be any better under Dirk Koetter? I’m not so sure. Look for the Falcons to hand the Bucs a Week One loss.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 17, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take: If Jameis Winston is the real deal, this is the kind of game the Buccaneers need to start winning. And, yes, Winston is the real deal.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Falcons 17.

Vikings at Titans

MDS’s take: Does the loss of Teddy Bridgewater make this game a loss for Minnesota? I don’t think so. I still believe the Vikings’ defense will make life tough for the Titans’ offense, and the Vikings’ offense will manage a couple of long scoring drives.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 14, Titans 10.

Florio’s take: The Titans are 2-0 in Week One over the past two years, 3-27 after it. The “after” tends to make the “before” less of a trend and more of a fluke. The Vikings are the better team across the board. It won’t be pretty, but Minnesota will score enough points to emerge with a win.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 13, Titans 9.

Bengals at Jets

MDS’s take: I’m not convinced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will have the same kind of season in 2016 that he had in 2015, while I think a healthy Andy Dalton is due for a big year in Cincinnati. The Bengals will set the tone for a strong season with an impressive win in New York.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Jets 14.

Florio’s take: It’s a good, early-season test for a Jets team that would love to be able to say that it has lost playoff games in each of the last five years. The Bengals hope to continue what they’ve done the past five years, and to get a win when January rolls around. Home field makes it tighter, but overall talent wins out.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Jets 17.

Raiders at Saints

MDS’s take: The Raiders are getting better and have good young talent, but I think their secondary may struggle against Drew Brees. I like the Saints in a shootout.

MDS’s pick: Saints 35, Raiders 34.

Florio’s take: Expectations are high for the Raiders, a team that has depth and talent and an opportunity to make a playoff push for the first time in a long time. They’ll have to do it from an 0-1 hole, thanks to an off-the-radar Saints team that is good enough to hold serve at home with a potent offense and a defense that has to be better, because it couldn’t be any worse than it was a year ago.

Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Raiders 27.

Chargers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Jamaal Charles isn’t back to health yet, but I still like the Chiefs’ running game with a three-headed attack of Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and Knile Davis. The Chiefs should control this game from start to finish.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Chargers 16.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have started slowly the past two seasons, before finishing strong. It’s premature to comment on how they’ll finish; for now, it’s pedal-to-the-metal against an overmatched division rival playing in a tough place to win.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Chargers 17.

Dolphins at Seahawks

MDS’s take: Despite the high-profile departure of Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks still have one of the best rosters in the NFL from top to bottom. The Dolphins have something far short of that.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 30, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take: As potential upsets go, this would be the biggest of the weekend. I have a weird feeling about this one, but it’s way too early in the year to do anything but pick the home team in an intimidatingly loud stadium that every AFC visits only once every eight years.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Dolphins 17.

Lions at Colts

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are coming off disappointing seasons, and I’m not convinced that either team has done enough to turn things around in 2016. But in this game I’ll take the Colts, with a big game from Andrew Luck likely.

MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Lions 21.

Florio’s take: On the Manning scale, Andrew Luck started his career closer to Peyton. Now, Andrew is moving closer to Archie, thanks to a front office that has been unable to surround the quarterback with enough competent talent. Upset alert, sort of. Revenge of Jim Caldwell, absolutely.

Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Colts 17.

Giants at Cowboys

MDS’s take: In their last 36 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-13 without him. I think it’s about to be 1-14 without Romo.

MDS’s pick: Giants 23, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take: Dak Prescott may not become the next Roger Staubach, but for the first game of the season they’ll have him ready to be Clint Longley. The fact that the Giants haven’t improved nearly as much as they hope will be a factor, too.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 20.

Patriots at Cardinals

MDS’s take: With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo starting, the Patriots have a tall order. But I think the Cardinals are going to have another strong season, and I actually wouldn’t pick the Patriots to win at Arizona even with Brady.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Patriots 17.

Florio’s take: Plenty of good teams have been made to look plenty bad in Arizona lately. It’s not clear how good the Patriots will be without Tom Brady, but they won’t be good enough to overcome the challenges of competing with the Cardinals on their home turf.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 28, Patriots 20.

Steelers at Washington

MDS’s take: I see Antonio Brown running wild through Washington’s secondary, and Washington’s offense unable to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 31, Washington 21.

Florio’s take: Most aren’t buying Washington, a year after an unlikely playoff berth. I am. Besides, the Steelers tend to overachieve when expectations are low, and to underachieve when expectations are high.

Florio’s pick: Washington 24, Steelers 21.

Rams at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Rams have plenty of holes on the roster, but the 49ers look like they might just be the worst team in the league. Los Angeles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Rams 24, 49ers 14.

Florio’s take: Even if the Rams are once again going to be mired in “7-9 bullsh-t,” they need seven wins. Here’s one. Which is one game closer to the return of Colin Kaepernick.

Florio’s pick: Rams 17, 49ers 10.

76 responses to “PFT’s Week One picks

  1. The Steelers tend to overachieve when expectations are low, and to underachieve when expectations are high.
    ______________________________

    As a Steelers fan this stings because it is oh so true.

    We still got this!

  2. logicalvoicesays says:
    Sep 8, 2016 11:32 AM
    The Steelers are Roethelisberger and 52 other nobodys. The Redskins win this one comfortably walking away as we show the league what Football at a high level looks like.

    0 6
    LOL. Compare rosters. The skins maybe have 2-3 guys who would start for the Steelers.

  3. I like Florio’s take on the Ravens. They will win a lot of games this year.Most pundits are picking the Ravens 3rd in the AFC North. That’s ok. In B’more we love flying below the radar. After a season of unprecedented injuries, the Ravens are ready to reclaim their rightful position in the division.

  4. Dude, Roethelisberger isn’t even the best player on that team. Enjoy winning the division again by default.

  5. Cam Cheating feasted off of lesser teams last year and padded his jock and his win/loss record as a result.

    He will not be granted the hype this year as he will go back to his average status and miss the playoffs because he is not much of a player and even less of a man. His player rating should take a hit for not falling on a fumble in the biggest game of his profession. No one will remember he won lots of regular season games but they will remember when he had a chance to save the game, he was a selfish coward.

    I’m not sure why anyone expects the Great Gimmick with the Cleveland Dog Piles to suddenly become all that he has never been. He did not have a shortage of offensive weapons in Washington – he just could never find them open because he waited until they were open to throw. The jerk still has a four second release time and will still be the most sacked QB on his team and he is still fragile. You cannot take preseason results into the regular season – and I can guarantee you that the Philthydelphia football team is not scared of the Great Gimmick – they will dare him to pass and he will be sacked, he’ll fumble, and he’ll be injured.

    As to the other games, this is why we play them. The Pittsburgh Rusty Nails will get a grand surprise and to dismiss Washington is to do so at your own peril. The defense is upgraded and the offense is primed to surprise. Even with a worse offensive line this team was highly effective with the passing game. And the NFL has had three years of Cousins’ tape – it did not help them in the second half of last year. He knows the offense better than anyone else on the team and knows his check offs and reads the field. He will surprise many. Big Ben won’t surprise in a good way.

  6. The cowterds are going to be blown out in the first game. Prescott throws 4 picks, and is replaced by hot dog sanchez. The niners pull one out against the most mediocre coach in nfl history. The bills will surprise the ravens. No way on earth the browns beat anyone.

  7. “This year is a new year, and I intend to win both.” That’s how you do it. I’m glad you’re not intending to lose either contest.

  8. Broncos 14 Panthers 0 Cam gets sacked and fumbles in the end zone. The other 7 points will also come from the defense. No teams has won the NFC South two years in a row in a long time. They are cursed.

  9. Not these picks mean anything but I love how much Florio shows his hatred for the Giants.

    — Rookie QB.

    — Basically whole defensive line suspended.

    — Eli & Odell.

    Enough Said.

  10. logicalvoicesays says:
    Sep 8, 2016 11:32 AM
    The Steelers are Roethelisberger and 52 other nobodys. The Redskins win this one comfortably walking away as we show the league what Football at a high level looks like.

    ———–

    Teach me your ways, Troll-king.

  11. “The Bills will beat the Ravens on their way to a Super Bowl crown!”
    “That’s it grandpa, I’m putting you in a home!”
    “Finally!”

  12. Surprised they are picking the Saints over the Raiders, and the Browns over the Eagles. I personally think the Raiders roll the Saints bad, and dont see RG3 putting up many points on the Eagles.

  13. logicalvoicesays says:
    Sep 8, 2016 11:32 AM
    The Steelers are Roethelisberger and 52 other nobodys. The Redskins win this one comfortably walking away as we show the league what Football at a high level looks like.

    ————-
    Antonio Brown is a “nobody”? He is the best WR in the NFL…. Not that you had much credibility before but what little you had is not gone as well…

  14. I’m unclear why everyone thinks the Bills will regress so much this year and be one of the worst teams in the league (8-8 overall in 2015, 4-2 in their division, 14th place overall, now down to 29th in the PFT rankings) and the Ravens are suddenly an instant playoff contender.

    And before you say something about the Ravens’ injuries, the Bills got bit just as badly last year. I expect a close game between two middle-of-the-pack teams.

  15. @Laserw- You have some strong opinions that contradict each other. I’ve never been a fan of Cam Newton as a player nor as a person; however, that doesn’t mean he is mediocre. He has developed as one of the top QBs in the league whether you like it or not (I personally don’t like admitting it). The running game of the panthers and his ability to play QB will make enough plays to win the game because Carolina’s Defense is going to shut down the Broncos and any chance they might have on offense.

    -Signed A Seahawks fan

  16. filthymcnasty3 says:
    Sep 8, 2016 11:48 AM

    The words “Superbowl contender” have such a nice ring to them – even after all these years.
    ________

    It’s nice that you’re satisfied with just being a “contender” year after year after year. Best QB in the NFL and his career is being wasted.

  17. xenova1 says:
    Sep 8, 2016 11:57 AM
    Broncos 14 Panthers 0 Cam gets sacked and fumbles in the end zone. The other 7 points will also come from the defense. No teams has won the NFC South two years in a row in a long time. They are cursed.
    ================================

    Panthers won South last 3 years Mr. Guru.

  18. I’m unclear why everyone thinks the Bills will regress so much this year and be one of the worst teams in the league (8-8 overall in 2015, 4-2 in their division, 14th place overall, now down to 29th in the PFT rankings) and the Ravens are suddenly an instant playoff contender.

    And before you say something about the Ravens’ injuries, the Bills got bit just as badly last year. I expect a close game between two middle-of-the-pack teams.

    ________________________________________

    Exactly. The major problem with the Bills last season was defense. Rex Ryan, at the behest of ownership, tried to adapt the successful Jim Schwartz 4-3 defense into the Ryan 3-4…it failed miserably. The Bills defense will be run as a traditional Ryan defense this year and I expect similar results (top half of the league). Injuries and suspensions will slow the Bills early, but by mid season I expect the Bills to look really solid

  19. The Steelers are Roethelisberger and 52 other nobodys. The Redskins win this one comfortably walking away as we show the league what Football at a high level looks like.
    ——————————————————

    I guess a nobody (Brown) is going to torch that Redskin secondary. What does that say about Washington then?

  20. xenova1 says:
    Sep 8, 2016 11:57 AM

    Broncos 14 Panthers 0 Cam gets sacked and fumbles in the end zone. The other 7 points will also come from the defense. No teams has won the NFC South two years in a row in a long time. They are cursed.

    ————————————-
    xenova1 – The Panthers have now won the NFC South three years in a row and will win it again this year. Before you troll the Panthers please try to have your facts straight.

  21. Funny how Pats homers think Jimmy G will win them 4-0 and yet when they lose they will use the excuse “well if we had Tom Brady we would win” Such delusional thinking.

  22. steelers should have no problems with the Washington Huskies. College teams have no business playing pro teams, especially on monday night football.

  23. Carolina @ Denver – Carolina
    Green Bay @ Jacksonville – Green Bay
    Buffalo @ Baltimore – Baltimore
    Chicago @ Houston – Chicago
    Cleveland @ Philadelphia – Cleveland
    Tampa Bay @ Atlanta – Atlanta
    Minnesota @ Tennessee – Minnesota
    Cincinnati @ NY Jets – Cincinnati
    Oakland @ New Orleans – Oakland
    San Diego @ Kansas City – Kansas City
    Miami @ Seattle – Seattle
    Detroit @ Indianapolis – Indianapolis
    NY Giants @ Dallas – NY Giants
    New England @ Arizona – Arizona
    Pittsburgh @ Washington – Pittsburgh
    Los Angeles @ San Francisco – San Francisco

  24. I remember last year how everyone in the media AKA ANALysts disrespected the Broncos all year long. Picking against them week after week. How did that turn out?

  25. Ah, yes, Week 1 Predictions. 16 teams are going 16-0, and 16 teams are going 15-1. Time to stop the obligatory always pick the Cowboys. Also, three teams that will surprise hugely as winners all season are JAX, HOU, and TB. Bortles has it really going on in Jax, and Osweiler and that D in Houston is tough. TB has addressed all it’s needs with no changes to offense (Why would they, with Jameis passing for 4K yards last year, 2 1000 yard receivers, and 2nd leading NFL rusher?). DE and CB have gone from weaknesses to strengths. Who will stink this year? NE, SF, LA, SD.

  26. The layout for this piece is horrible, its always been horrible. I really hope you improve it.

  27. Them Washington fans keep crying about that pathetic name! The Curse continues for using it though. The Gods give you hope every few years to tear your hope back down the next!

  28. Am I delusional? Maybe… You ranked my G-Men 27 this year wtf!? Giants are gonna twist one up and SMOKE the cowboys this Sunday. Eli will be the best in the league statistically. Giants Pats Super Bowl “The Trilogy” come at me bro!!!!

    Also us Millennials, we love what Kaepernick is doing. To all you “Olds” I want you know before you die we’re gonna make this country such a socialist paradise in the next 20 years
    #GoBigBlue #bELIeve

  29. You just made half of the millennials here run to their fantasy sites to see if they could grab clint Longley off waivers.

  30. Jets D is not giving up over 20 points to a team with only 1 WR ,they may or may not win but I smell a 14-10,12-9 game

  31. The Saints D “can’t be worse than it was last year” does not equal “is good enough to slow down the Raiders in 2017.”

  32. You both are picking the Browns over the Eagles? You have to be kidding me. I cannot believe the disrespect this team is getting. Oh well, should be fun shoving it in your faces all year.

  33. I think the Bills-Ravens game will be a good one. But I do wonder how the Ravens fans think they will move the ball on offense and stop the Bills receivers on defense? And I am not saying this to be a jerk, I really want to know.

    On paper, the Ravens have no proven offensive weapons outside of Flacco (on occasion) and an aging Steve Smith going against perhaps a top five cornerback group with Gilmore, Darby and Robey-Coleman. And on the offensive side, the Bills have Watkins, Clay, and McCoy to deal with. My guess is they spread the offense a bunch and mix in a lot of short throwing to get receivers in space.

  34. Henceforth, anyone that makes a comment soley for the interjection of the bigoted nickname of the Washington franchise, shall have that word changed to the phrase “I’m a bigoted tool”. Anyone else who casually mentions the nickname won’t be assessed any such penalty.

  35. I know Wentz is a rookie but the Eagles have Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, they brought in Brooks and another guard. Right now, it is a very good offensive line against a Browns team with little pass rush. The Eagles have had a bunch of changes, but so have the Browns. No Josh Gordon for RGIII. Jim Schwartz coaches an Eagles defense that has given up almost nothing in preseason. Remember, Chip Kelly kept this group on the field way too long. For all these reasons, I’d take the Eagles over the Browns.

  36. “The fact that the Giants haven’t improved nearly as much as they hope will be a factor, too.” –Florio

    How did the Giants not improve over last year when on paper they went from having one of the worst D-lines in football to having one of the best now that JPP lost the club and they signed Snacks and Vernon?

    The Giants were a top ten offense last year with a #2 receiver who didn’t even make final cuts on the Eagles this summer. Now, they have Sterling Sheppard and a healthy (for now) Cruz as a possession guy. Sure, the O-line sucks but it sucked last year, too and, again, they were a top ten offense with the same bad o-line.

    And how did the Cowboys improve over their 4-12 record last year? By adding Zeke Eliot? Why don’t you go look at the records of those Barry Sanders Detroit teams, Florio. Zeke can’t do it alone. Also, why don’t you do a little research on how preseason performance means nothing for rookie QBs as a predictor for regular season success.

  37. Picking the Browns to start 1-0? Sigh…

    Even if Wentz has a shaky start, that Eagles defense is going to devour RGKnee. I see the Eagles grinding it out with Mathews and Sproles and winning with defense.

    #FlyEaglesFly

  38. There always seem to be at least one or two mind-blowing upsets in week 1, that are never indicative of what happens the rest of the year.

  39. I sure can’t see the Cardinals scoring 28 or 30 against the Patriots defense, so I assume you guys have the Cards’ defense scoring multiple TDs. Not likely. If the Cardinals win, and I expect they will, it will be by scoring in the teens.

  40. I see a lot of comments picking up on the lack of the name Redskins.

    PFT sticking to their guns on the mascot name even as the controversy has died down.

    That’s cute.

    Go REDSKINS!

  41. Redskins – comment make to casually mention the bigoted name of the team from Washington – no penalty – right?

  42. Redskins – comment make to casually mention the bigoted name of the team from Washington – no penalty – right?

  43. Redskins – comment make to casually mention the bigoted name of the team from Washington – no penalty – right?

  44. Rex Ryan has gone 6-1 as a head coach on opening day. However…5 of those 6 games were at home with only one, 2009, on the road and that was at the Giants so technically it was another home game.

    The only team to defeat Ryan on opening day? Yes…you guessed it…The Baltimore Ravens..

  45. I pray your confidence in the Packers this weekend has merit. We all hope so up here in Wisconsin.

    But …… even better than a victory ….. what Packer fans are hopeful about is that Jordy will have a big game. I sure hope that he can notch some impressive catches and take at least one in for a touchdown. It shall be so heartwarming to see the celebration on the Packer’s bench when that happens.

    It will be a wonderful blessing from the Lord if the healing process Jordy worked so hard on is rewarded in his first game back.
    .
    .

  46. mclennon99 says:
    Sep 8, 2016 6:59 PM
    Rex Ryan has gone 6-1 as a head coach on opening day. However…5 of those 6 games were at home with only one, 2009, on the road and that was at the Giants so technically it was another home game.

    The only team to defeat Ryan on opening day? Yes…you guessed it…Frank Stallone.

  47. When comparing games based on last season’s records:

    8 games won by team with better record
    5 games won by team with worse record
    Other game, teams had same record

    Can’t wait to see what tonight brings:

    10 facing 9, 7 facing 5, lesser wins are home teams.

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