NFL season is back, and so is Big Al with his weekly NFL Picks!
Here we go! The NFL is back and so is Big Al with my weekly picks. After an average year last season – 63%, I am looking to step my game up even more.
First week picks are not the easiest because there’s not a lot of data to study. Still, let get it in!
(Home Team in CAPS)
NEW ENGLAND over Kansas City
Pats have to be coming in feeling good. They won another Super Bowl. They have Brady at the beginning of the season. They have Brandin Cooks as another weapon for Brady. What is not to be happy about? Oh yeah, Edelman is out for the season. That hurts, but not enough to lose their first game. Plus, they copped Dorsett from Indy, who is a good young WR, so they will be good. I do expect a close game, because I think KC will be better this year – but I am rolling with Brady on this one.
NY Jets over BUFFALO
I know the Jets are not supposed to win any games, according to the experts. But if there is any week I can take a homer pick – it is it. Week 1 against a rebuilding Bill squad. Plus, I am a believer that the Jets are not going to be as bad as people are thinking, so why not? The Jets defense is good enough to match up and stop some offenses in this league. The Bills have some young talent on offense and defense, but I think the young secondary might offer enough mistakes for the Jets offense to score enough points to win.
Pittsburgh over CLEVELAND
Will the Browns finally be better? I think so. I like the young QB, Kizer. I expect them to be an improved team all the way around. But Pittsburgh is too good. One of the best in the AFC this year. Even with a star RB, Bell, who missed the entire preseason, they have enough firepower to phase him in and allow this game to be an extended preseason game – truth be told. I expect Haden to make his old team pay for getting rid of him.
Atlanta over CHICAGO
Ok – here we go Falcons fans. Time to get back on the horse after getting kicked in the teeth during the Super Bowl. The only thing worse than losing the Super Bowl by giving up a 28-3 lead, is losing the first game of the year to an average Bears team after losing the Super Bowl where you gave up a 28-3 lead. I don’t see that happen. The Bears have a decent defense, but their offense is still young. The Falcons, look better to me on paper and I expect them to make a long run in the playoffs again the year. I am going with ATL on this one.
HOUSTON over Jacksonville
This one will be interesting. I figure Houston will be amped up as they rep for their hurricane-ravaged city. That extra motivation and their stifling defense should do the trick in this one. Last year, I was a big believer in the Jags coming into the season, well not this year. I jumped off the Bortles train after the first month of last season and it is going to take a lot to get be back on as a passenger. I will be watching to see how Leonard Fournette fares against the Texan defense.
TAMPA BAY over MIAMI – Postponed Until Week 11
Carolina over SAN FRANCISCO
The Panthers have to be one of the biggest question marks this season. Two seasons from being in the Super Bowl and then last season they crashed and burned. They added some talent on offense and defense, so they are poised to be better this season. The 49ers… point blank, I don’t think they are a good team. A young team, with a new coach, and without a quarterback. Should be a long season.
CINCINNATI over Baltimore
This should be a good game. A division game, with good QBs. The problem is, Baltimore has a banged up Flacco. With the Bengals coming off a wack year, I expect them, led by AJ Green, to have all the engines revving on Sunday.
Arizona over DETROIT
This is one of the games that could go both ways. I am not sure what to make of Arizona. Will they win even win their division? It’s hard to see how they got better in the offseason. When I look at Detroit, Matt Stafford is still a beast, but will they have running game? At the end of the day, I like David Johnson as the best player on the field and he should be the difference.
Oakland over TENNESSEE
I hear a lot of people riding the Titans like I was riding the Jags last season. I do like the Raiders and think they can make some noise this year. Their offense is still kind of young, so I don’t think they will be better until December. Tennessee might be ready to take that leap, but they are going to have to show me.
DALLAS over NY Giants
With Ezekiel Elliott playing the Cowboys are a special team. Dak Prescott is ready. Odell might play, but he has not practiced in weeks. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in the league, but the Giants defensive line is their nemesis. Dallas’ defense is suspect, but so is the Giants’ offensive line. Bottom-line, the NFC East champion will be one of these teams. The Giants defense is their strength, but without a running game they will have to rely on Eli. As long as he is on and Odell is right, the Giants will be fine, but that is a lot of pressure. I am going with the Cowboys.
GREEN BAY over Seattle
I must admit I am still mad about that great throw Aaron Rodgers made against the Cowboys to win that playoff game. Alright I just had to get that out. Let’s see, the Seahawks are going to be better this year. The will be trying to reestablish their dominance in the NFC, so they will be coming into Green Bay trying to get a W. It will not be easy. Last year, Green Bay struggled to establish running game, well this game will be a great test for them to see if they are any better.
MINNESOTA over New Orleans
I am looking forward to seeing Peterson and Brees in the backfield together. Two future first-ballots hall of famers, I am hoping for the best. I liked Minny’s defense last year, so I am anxious to see how they can match up against New Orleans. From my vantage point, New Orleans’ offensive line is weak. So Drew Brees might be rushed all day. Their best hope is that Peterson and Mark Ingram can have a great day. I will rock with Minny on this one.
Philadelphia over WASHINGTON
A great rivalry game. Philly has improved on offense, so they will be better than last year. I like Cousins over Wentz in this one. Not that Wentz is a scrub, but Cousins should exploit Philly’s defense. I am rolling with the home team in this one.
LA RAMS over Indianapolis
Not much to say, but I am going with the Rams.
DENVER over LA Chargers
This will be a defensive low-scoring game. Can the Charger offense make enough plays is the real question. I like Melvin Gordon and Philip Rivers. Rivers is one of the best, so he will make enough plays to score points. The Chargers will keep this close, but I like Denver because of the Broncos defense.