PFT’s Week One picks

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Football is back. Which means that the dart-throwing process of picking games is back, too.

This year, the target is smaller. The lighting is poor. And the tips of the targets are dull.

No offseason program. No joint practices in camp. No preseason. It all adds up to having no idea what will happen, especially in Week One.

So now that our excuse is out of the way, here we go with our picks for the first sixteen of (hopefully) 256 regular-season games.

Texans (+9) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The defending champions have every reason to be confident heading into the 2020 season, with the same core group of players back as they attempt to repeat. I expect a strong start to the season from Kansas City.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Texans 21.

Florio’s take: Offenses may be ahead of defenses entering the 2020 season, which means that there will be plenty of points scored in Week One. With two of the better offenses starting things off, let’s get the scoreboard properly loosened up.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 41, Texans 38.

Eagles (-6) at Washington Football Team

MDS’s take: I expect the Football Team to take a step in the right direction under Ron Rivera this season, but we may not see the results until late in Rivera’s first year. The Eagles should cruise on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 20, Washington 10.

Florio’s take: The Eagles struggled with Washington last year in Week One until Carson Wentz got acquainted with DeSean Jackson. They can finally get reacquainted on Sunday.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Washington 17.

Dolphins (+6.5) at Patriots

MDS’s take: The AFC East is wider open than at any point in recent memory, but I still think Year One of the post-Tom Brady era should get off to a good start in New England.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 21.

Florio’s take: Cam Newton is everything the Patriots expected him to be and more. This year, the Patriots could end up being everything they’ve been. And more.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 16.

Packers (+2.5) at Vikings

MDS’s take: These look like the top two teams in the NFC North, and the Vikings look to me like they should have a slight edge as the division favorites this season.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Packers 17.

Florio’s take: Danielle Hunter isn’t playing, but the Vikings have the firepower on both sides of the ball to hold serve at home* against a team that chose to take a step back in the offseason in the hopes of eventually taking a couple of steps forward.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 20.

Colts (-7.5) at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Jaguars look like the worst team in the league, and I have a hunch the Colts are going to be better with Philip Rivers than most people think. This should be an easy win for Indianapolis.

MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take: The Jaguars aren’t trying to lose. They don’t have to.

Florio’s pick: Colts 24, Jaguars 13.

Bears (+3) at Lions

MDS’s take: Mitch Trubisky owns Matt Patricia’s defense. In the three games Trubisky has started against the Lions since Patricia became Detroit’s coach, the Bears are 3-0 and Trubisky has completed 68 of 91 passes for 866 yards, with nine touchdowns and one interception. Trubisky should keep it going on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Bears 34, Lions 20.

Florio’s pick: The Bears believe in Mitchell Trubisky today. But will they believe in him come Monday? Believe it or not, the Lions will ride a healthy Matthew Stafford to a 1-0 start.

Florio’s pick: Lions 23, Bears 20.

Raiders (-3) at Panthers

MDS’s take: Matt Rhule has a big rebuilding effort ahead of him in Carolina, and there will be plenty of growing pains. The Panthers are going to struggle this season.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Panthers 16.

Florio’s take: It’s always better to start the year with a soft spot on the schedule than with a tough opponent. Jon Gruden and company get to the right side of .500, at least for now.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Panthers 20.

Jets (+6.5) at Bills

MDS’s take: This is a big season for the Jets to find out what they have in Sam Darnold and the Bills to find out what they have in Josh Allen. In the long term I think Darnold will have the better career, but on Sunday I like Allen’s team to win.

MDS’s pick: Bills 17, Jets 10.

Florio’s take: Last year, the Jets had the Bills on the ropes in Week One. This year, maybe the Jets can punch them through. New York finished the year 6-2 and the roster is better now than it was last year.

Florio’s pick: Jets 24, Bills 21.

Browns (+8) at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Browns should be better this year, but the Ravens’ offense will prove too much for Cleveland’s defense on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 35, Browns 24.

Florio’s take: Last year’s Browns somehow beat the Ravens at Baltimore. Although this year’s Browns will be better, they’re not going to catch the team that used to be the Browns napping.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Browns 17.

Seahawks (-2) at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Falcons look to me like a team poised to take a big step backward, and at the end of this season they may decide they have a big rebuilding effort ahead of them. I like the Seahawks to start the season with a road win.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Falcons 14.

Florio’s take: The Falcons, like the Jets, finished last season 6-2. If Todd Gurley is healthy (he currently is), Atlanta could have a surprise in store for one of the best teams in the conference.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 23, Seahawks 20.

Chargers (-3.5) at Bengals

MDS’s take: Joe Burrow is going to surprise people with how ready he is to play from Day One. I like the Bengals to start the season with an upset win.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 23, Chargers 20.

Florio’s take: Joe Burrow? Meet Joey Bosa.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Bengals 16.

Cardinals (+7) at 49ers

MDS’s take: I’m looking forward to seeing what the Cardinals’ offense looks like in Year Two of Kyler Murray and with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, but I expect the 49ers’ defense to play well against them and San Francisco to win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 16, Cardinals 13.

Florio’s take: The 49ers have fallen from brink of a Super Bowl win back to the valley of 0-0. That could become the valley of 0-1, if the new-look Cardinals with DeAndre Hopkins and an improved Kyler Murray can bedevil the San Fran defense. While it could still be a long season for the defending NFC champions, they’ll dodge a bullet right out of the games.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Cardinals 20.

Buccaneers (+3.5) at Saints

MDS’s take: Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees will be a treat we get twice this season. The home team wins the first one.

MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Buccaneers 21.

Florio’s take: The Saints tend to start the season slowly, especially at home. But Tom Brady and company will have the full attention of the home team, and the Saints will find a way to hold off a quarterback who may not have Mike Evans available to him.

Florio’s pick: Saints 34, Buccaneers 27.

Cowboys (-3) at Rams

MDS’s take: Dak Prescott will be on a mission to show this year that he deserves to be paid like an elite quarterback, and he’ll add a few million to his eventual long-term contract with a big showing on Sunday night.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 31, Rams 23.

Florio’s take: Four years after the Cowboys and Rams kicked of L.A. 2.0 with a packed house at the Coliseum, they’ll christen SoFi Stadium before a crowd of crickets. That actually could help the home team, because the place could have been overrun by Cowboys fans. It won’t help enough.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 30, Rams 21.

Steelers (-5.5) at Giants

MDS’s take: With a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, I like the Steelers to start this season strong. The Giants still have a lot of work to do to get back on track.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 27, Giants 10.

Florio’s take: The Steelers will be serious contenders for as long as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy. He’ll stay healthy at least for a week.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Giants 14.

Titans (-1.5) at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos are reeling from the loss of Von Miller, and Ryan Tannehill will have a big outing in his second year quarterbacking the Titans.

MDS’s pick: Titans 34, Broncos 20.

Florio’s take: The Titans are the best team no one is paying attention to. After Monday night, maybe more will be.

Florio’s pick: Titans 27, Broncos 17.

60 responses to “PFT’s Week One picks

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing the Pats beat the Dolphins without temper tantrum Brady there to screw things up.
    Things are looking up in New England!

  2. I do like my Bears, but don’t really understand how they can be predicted to be one of highest scoring teams this weekend. 34 points? That should be the over/under for a likely error-filled snoozer.

  3. The winners:

    Chiefs, Eagles, Fins, Pack, Colts, Lions, Raiders, Jets, Ravens, ‘Hawks, Bengals, Niners, Saints, Cowboys, Giants and Titans.

  4. lot of faith in my vikes, considering we lost five starters on defense, and a sixth is out for three weeks, and did hardly anything to improve our o-line, which the Packers obliterated twice last year. And we lost 1000 yard receiver with only unproven guys behind a guy that gets injured if you look at him funny.

    Unfortunately, I’d have to pick Packers 31, Vikings 14.

  5. I was at the game in MN last year that GB dominated, particularly their D line against the MN O line. Main changes are no crowd now, MN has Dalvin Cook, MN has all new corners including 2 rookies who will get playing time. MN O line still looks weak, and GB pass rush should be improved with Gary in his 2nd year. No Hunter for MN, guy from Jax not quite as good. GB not near as good at right tackle. The infatuation with GB not taking a WR at 30, where rookies drafted their generally have little impact, astounds me. I see this game as a tossup or slight GB lean, not MN by a touchdown.

  6. “Cam Newton is everything the Patriots expected him to be and more.”

    That’s a ton of confidence in a year where there haven’t even been preseason games. Not just Cam but I anticipate a number of guys looking off to start the year and taking a few games to get acclimated.

  7. Football is back! I hope they can stay healthy and this season works out. I’ll be watching as much as I can.

  8. I love my Eagles but saying we’ll “cruise” by Washington isn’t something I agree with. We still have many holes to fill and Washington is ready to begin a fresh season with a fresh perspective. This could go either way.

  9. Go Kansas City Football team!!! It will be hilarious to watch the sparse mask covered crowd cheer on Football Team on a warm summer evening.

  10. These picks are truly the equivalent of the blind money tossing darts at the board. No pre-season games, not even open practices. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada to base these picks on.

    So it would not suppose me if each of you ended up with half your picks right and half wrong. So … tied after week one.

  11. The last time the Patriots and the Dolphins met we know the outcome. Now you expect the Patriots to win without Brady, No linebackers, and a history of starting the season slowly. Add to that the Dolphins have the stability of Fitz being under center for his second year.

  12. Football is back! Unfortunately so are PFT’s picks.

    The Jets? Better roster? Talking about last year at the beginning of the season to back up your claim that the Jets will beat the Bills opening day this year?


  13. Wish the D.C. team instead of called Washington Football Team was Washington Team Football because their fans have been saying “WTF” for many years now.

  14. Chiefs
















    Biggest blowout win: Chiefs. This game won’t be close.

    Most boring game: Jets vs Bills. Snooooooze

    Most exciting game: Panthers vs Raiders. I have a gut feeling about this. I think both offenses will be on fire and the winner will be whoever has the ball last.

    Upset alert: Cardinals vs SF. Don’t underestimate the Cardinals, who can potentially score on every posession

    Happy week 1 everybody!!!

  15. I have no idea how this is going to turn out. I’m sure there will be big surprises though because there always is with the NFL.

  16. Chiefs
















    Biggest blowout win: Chiefs. This game won’t be close.

    Most boring game: Jets vs Bills. Snooooooze

    Most exciting game: Panthers vs Raiders. I have a gut feeling about this. I think both offenses will be on fire and the winner will be whoever has the ball last.

    Upset alert: Cardinals vs SF. Don’t underestimate the Cardinals, who can potentially score on every posession

    Happy week 1 everybody!!!


    Vikings get 2 wins in week 1! How cool is that?

  17. I will watch only one game this week (I can not give up watching my team play). The NFL is way out of line by encouraging all different forms of protesting. Just play the games. The NFL for the most part is already an overhyped clown show.

  18. The hatred of the 49ers continues from Florio. Even when he picks them to win he has to throw a dig in. “While it could still be a long season for the defending NFC champions…” Really? Why is it going to be a long season? Because of another playoff run and Superbowl appearance? LOL Lame.

  19. Scores are way to high for week 1. Throw in the fact that they had a fraction of practice and live reps the offenses will sputter. Bet the under across the board.

  20. It’s been 678 days since the Vikings last beat the Packers and I seriously don’t expect that streak to end anytime soon. 😉

  21. I am just happy the games are being played. All the reasons Mike and MD gave for picking the way they did are good. But — in the NFL — things seldom happen the way they are supposed to. This first week could see wild games. I think teams returning the most players from last season will have an advantage this week and early in the season. So — here’s my take, for what it’s worth (and that’s not much):
    Winners: Chiefs, Eagles, Dolphins, Packers, Colts, Bears, Raiduhs, Bills, Ravens, Seahawks, Bengals, 49’ers, Saints, Cowboys, Steelers, and Titans.

  22. Predictions: Chiefs, Bills, Packers, Eagles, Ravens, Colts, (upset alert) Panthers, Lions, Seahawks, Patriots, Chargers, 49ers, Saints, (upset) Rams, Steelers, Broncos

  23. I do feel like there are going to be a ton of injuries week one. the conditioning has to have taken a hit with the shortened off season.

  24. wow, 2 positive Jets comments in the same post. I’m gonna quit for the day while I’m ahead! Thanks

  25. Florio must really hate The Bills. The Jets wrs are garbage and have been hurt all offseason. They lost their 2 best players in Adams and Mosley and their team is better?? Hardly. Plus they played in NY opening wknd last yr and The Bills still won. Bills by at least 13

  26. I think the most exciting game of the week is going to be Seattle vs Atlanta. Defenses are going to struggle out of the gate and Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson both have a ton of receiving options and above average ground attack. I think this game is going to be a shootout. 37-30 Seahawks. Russell finds a wide open Tyler Lockett after scrambling around for a big bomb with a minute left.

  27. Raiders over Panthers – Panthers made many changes and it will take several games to work out the bugs..

    Falcons over Seahawks – Falcons home field advantage and the struggles of traveling with all these extra covid precautions has an effect..

    Buccaneers over Saints – if for no other reason, the Saints history shows they usually start the season slow…

  28. Cards win. Jimmy G is the weak link and the 9ers will be lucky to finish with a winning record this year.

  29. With no fans in the stands, home – away — what does it matter? The field is 100 yards long.

  30. “It will be hilarious to watch the sparse mask covered crowd cheer on Football Team on a warm summer evening.”

    I don’t see KC as a place where a lot of people will comply with wearing a mask. They’re more of a screw you I don’t care if I get anyone sick kind of crowd

  31. CheeseIsFattening making an insightful post….now I’ve seen it all in 2020. But he’s right. Packers are the same personnel as 2019 with a year more of experience. I too pick the Packers to win handily, 31-10.

  32. No preseason favors teams that run with veteran RB and o-lines overall, however veterans in their same team regardless of position will play pretty much at speed – teams without a lot of roster change (KC for example) should come out pretty strong. Teams with a lot of player changes / rebuilding – not likely to fare well at all early. For as much as we dismiss preseason football, it does matter for the teams – look for some ugly times early this season.

  33. 2ruefan says: September 10, 2020 at 2:30 pm cheeseisfattening You don’t SOUND like a Vikes fan. Lose at home by 17? ____ Its a Packer fan, waffle, who changes names a few times every post. I have him so annoyed he is using my name as one of his dopey posts.

  34. Surprised that Florio is so high on the Pats and so low on the Bills, but of course the Pats and Cam have both earned it separately and the Bills and Josh are just starting to show that they deserve some respect. Hopefully, by the end of the season, they will have earned a bit more.

  35. Can’t wait to watch Stafford run for his life from Mack, Quinn, Roquan and Trevathan.

    Mitch will be shredding that bottom three defense in Detroit, as he usually does.

  36. Being a fan of a certain team means ALWAYS picking them to win. It’s a fan’s human condition-lol

  37. The Eggles will win, but they will not score 27 points against this the WFT Defense. If the WFT can get its run game rolling, they have a shot at a W.

  38. “Offenses may be ahead of defenses entering the 2020 season”

    What exactly is fueling this theory? It’s typically the opposite with defenses coming together quicker and with no preseason there’s little reason to think this year would be different. I mean, anything is possible, but to just throw out a contrary theory and not give any reason at all for it is odd.

  39. The Cardinals will lose Week 1. But they will finish with more wins than the Seahawks and will compete for a Wild Card berth. Should be fun to watch Kyler in his first playoff game, even if the playoffs are postponed until April or whatnot. Russell Wilson missing a playoff appearance for the second time should force Seattle to update its offense to the 21st century.

  40. After the Rams win, they’ll still move the Cowboys up in the rankings and move the Rams down, with some allegedly great rationale attached to it.

  41. Maybe I’m too much of a pessimist, but I don’t get the Viking optimism. The Pack creamed the Vikes twice last year and I’m not sure at this point if the season the Vikes roster is better than last year. The Pack’s isn’t either, but that roster sure had the answers last year.

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