Football Insiders Week 1 NFL Picks


Real football is finally back and it’s time to test our prognostication skills.  Week 1 is by far the toughest week to pick games, so we’re just going to let the chips fall where they may.

Green Bay vs. Jacksonville

This is one of the more intriguing matchups of Week 1 as the Packers will play their first game without All-Pro guard Josh Sitton on the roster and they travel to Jacksonville to take on everyone’s offseason darlings, the Jaguars.  Normally teams from up north wilt and struggle in the Florida heat and humidity in September and there are plenty of other reasons to pick the Jaguars here- Jordy Nelson’s possible rust, energized crowd, desperation- but I just can’t do it.  Packers 31, Jaguars 27. 

Buffalo vs. Baltimore

This is a game that both teams feel they should win.  Buffalo has a better roster and Tyrod Taylor will have his “homecoming” as he plays his first game against the team that he spent his first four years in the league with.  Minor upset special- Bills 20, Ravens 17. 

Chicago vs. Houston

This is really close to a must-win game for the Texans as they need to build off their strong offseason and last year’s AFC South title by beating up the hapless Chicago Bears.  Everything here points Houston’s way, but it will be closer than you maybe think.  Texans 23, Bears 20. 

Cleveland vs. Philadelphia

The story of the game is rookie Carson Wentz getting his first NFL start and it’s coming against the team that traded back which allowed Philadelphia to take him.  The Browns have advantages at coaching, quarterback and wide receiver and that will make up for the crowd at the Linc.  Browns 27, Eagles 13. 

Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta

It’s tough for both of these teams to open up with a division opponent, but that’s the hand they’ve been dealt.  The Bucs have the better quarterback and roster as a whole, and the apathetic crowd in Atlanta shouldn’t keep Tampa from having a happy 40 minute flight home.  Bucs 38, Falcons 17. 

Minnesota vs. Tennessee

Nobody is going to argue that the defending NFC North champion Vikings have a better roster.  With that said, both teams appear to be pretty one-dimensional and the Titans single dimension (Marcus Mariota) will prevail at home.  Titans 23, Vikings 17. 

Cincinnati vs. New York Jets

I don’t know how much I trust Andy Dalton, but I trust him more than I do Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Bengals 24, Jets 17. 

Oakland vs. New Orleans

The Raiders likely have a better roster than the Saints, and they had a great offseason.  With that said, I try to stay away from the trendy teams, and Oakland is just that.  Give me the Hall of Fame quarterback and the better head coach.  Saints 27, Raiders 17. 

San Diego vs. Kansas City

Neither team is thrilled about opening with a division opponent, but that’s the situation.  Kansas City is the superior team, but the Chargers will keep it very close and this game should come down to the final four minutes.  Chiefs 19, Chargers 17. 

Miami vs. Seattle

Everything on the surface screams blowout, right?  Whenever everything seems one way, it almost certainly goes the other way.  The Dolphins can’t win this one, but they will hang around.  Seahawks 24, Dolphins 20. 

Detroit vs. Indianapolis

The Lions were a trendy pick by some this year even though they’ll be playing their first game without Megatron in years.  The Colts have a miserable roster around Andrew Luck and TY Hilton, but that will be enough to get the job done.  Colts 34, Lions 30. 

New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys

This is a game that the Giants simply need to win.  New coach, they spent a ton in the offseason and Dallas is starting a fourth-round rookie quarterback.  G-Men 37, Cowboys 24. 

New England vs. Arizona

This was going to be a bad matchup for the Patriots if they were at full strength with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.  They have neither, they’re on the road and it could get ugly.  Cardinals 28, Patriots 17. 

Pittsburgh vs. Washington

The Steelers seem to be everyone’s Super Bowl pick for the AFC.  That might come to fruition, but they’ll have to play this game without Le’Veon Bell and LaDarius Green.  Give me the NFC East champs as a home underdog.  Redskins 31, Steelers 27. 

Los Angeles vs. San Francisco

If this game had to be on national television at least the NFL gave those of us on the east coast the decency of putting it on at 10:20.  Neither team should be a playoff contender, but the Rams are less bad so they’re the pick.  Rams 24, 49ers 13. 

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.