Alright, kids. Let's get this party started.Week 12019 and 100th Season Kickoff Game, 9/5
Green Bay Packers at Chicago BearsSunday, 9/8
Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins
Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers
Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Detroit Lions at Arizona CardinalsSunday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England PatriotsMonday Night Football, 9/9
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints
Denver Broncos at "Oakland" Raiders
Picks are just me playing myself. While it would be a perfectTM
upset opportunity for the Pack, I think the Bears get to set their own tone for their 2019 campaign. I also like Philly and NO opening at home, and I would even take the Seahawks in Cincinnati. Oh? You like the Chiefs over the Jags? That's bait
. Florida games always
upset your expectations this early in the season, so I won't be ruling out a "surprise" from Saint Nick. Same goes for Fitzmagick in Miami and Bruce Arians in Tampa.
If you want some games to watch, start with Dan Quinn vs. Mike Zimmer in Minnesota. These coaches are likely entering "Miami or Bust" seasons with hungry fan bases. Plus, Matt Ryan vs. Kirk Cousins should be fun. You might also get a close cross-country matchup in Carolina, and an early start to a Wild Card battle with Bills vs. Jets. While I expect the Chargers to win, it might also be beneficial to watch their matchup against the Colts. Honestly, a loss here is actually good for Indy. Expectations are low, and I like their long-term chances if they play as underdogs. Plus, the only
way this team makes a legitimate playoff run is if they discover and fix their weaknesses early.
Speaking of the Colts, let's talk season-long storylines. I still think the Colts are better than some have them pegged. It takes more than a QB to make a roster, and the Ballard/Reich team proved itself in 2018. I do think they end up over .500 with a plausible playoff spot, but getting there will be a challenge.
I also think the crowd favorite Browns make the playoffs. They might not win the division, but I think they make it into Wild Card round...where they lose. This team seems stacked with talent, but they need a little more playoff experience before I consider them real Super Bowl contenders. Also, they need to maintain the same QB1, HC, and GM for more than 18 months before they earn any championship consideration.
I'll also be (among many) watching Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. This is a fun duo, and they deserve greatness. The big questions: Can they keep up the dazzling offense? Can they muster a semi-competent defense? If they manage both, they're easily on the shortlist for Super Bowl LIV. The Chargers will be chomping at the bit to steal the division, but I doubt that happens. The Raiders also have an interesting question to answer: can they be more interesting on the field than off? They probably finish under .500 regardless.
Now in the NFC...is Carson Wentz the guy? We seem to forget that he did secure the #1 seed in 2017, but the injuries hobbled his 2018 season, and now they've lost their QB2 safety net. Also in the NFC East, are the Giants ready to move on from Eli?...of course they are. I expect a Jones start fairly early. I also expect Jones to suffer terribly because that team doesn't have any QB protection.
In da North we have da Bears ready to follow-up a remarkable 2018. I think Trubinsky holds them back a bit, but they're still favorites in the division and a shoe-in for a playoff spot. Still, 2019 won't be as easy. A revamped Pack offense will
be exciting to watch, and I already mentioned Zimmer's predicament, so things should be tighter in the North.
There are many other storylines to watch, but the last one I'll write up is for Drew Brees. Can he win a second ring?
And sticking with the Saints, is Bridgewater their answer to Brees' inevitable retirement? This is another QB I'm hoping does well, but 2019 won't be easy. If Brees gets that ring, he, Payton, and all of New Orleans will have earned it.
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.