I want to disclose that this time of year is most difficult for me to pick games, as we don’t have conclusive data on each team. One game is too small of a sample size. Of course, I have lots of fun picking games and compiling statistics, so I will still do every game.
Minnesota at Green Bay | Winner: Minnesota +2
It seems almost too good to be true that we get to pick Minnesota and points. The Vikings have one of the strongest rosters in the league, and the Packers won by 1 in miraculous fashion against the Bears. I have said the Bears are a good team, but they’re not the Vikings.
Cleveland at New Orleans | Winner: Cleveland +10
Many may feel I’m falling for the hype of the Browns, but the Saints are 4-4 against the AFC the past two years, and 1-3 against the AFC at home; however, in those 4 wins against the AFC, they won by an average of 17.5 points. This game is really dependent on confidence in the Browns roster to stay with the Saints.
Miami at NY Jets | Winner: NY Jets -2.5
This definitely seems like it will be a close game, but if Darnold continues to show the poise that we saw Monday, they can come out with a definitive win. We ranked the Jets with the worst roster in the league and the Dolphins with the 2nd worst roster in the league, which is why this wasn’t a definitive pick. Interesting stat: Every September game between the Jets and Dolphins since 2005 has been a Jets win by more than 3.
LA Chargers at Buffalo | Winner: LA Chargers -7.5
Since 2005, the Chargers and Bills have played 6 times. In those games, the Chargers are 5-1, winning each game by an average of 22 points per game. Also, last season the Bills got blown out by 30 by the Chargers. The Bills are unquestionably worse this year with an unexperienced rookie QB leading them. The Ravens gave up 5 yards per play and 6.6 yards per pass to the Ravens. This game screams blow out; if the Ravens can do it, I think the Chargers can do it.
Carolina at Atlanta | Winner: Atlanta -6
In the last 3 years, Atlanta is 16-10 in their dome, and we’ve seen that Matt Ryan is a completely different player in the comfort of his home arena. In their last 4 matchups at home, the Falcons are 3-1, winning each game by around 11 points per game. Similar scenario alert: In September of 2016, the Panthers lost to the Vikings, and in the next week they went to play the Falcons in Atlanta. The Panthers lost by 15.
Kansas City at Pittsburgh | Winner: Kansas City +5.5
This game was admittedly difficult to pick. In TeamRanking’s similar game analysis, the team similar to the Chiefs wins by an average of 10 points per game. Yes, this is not necessarily an extremely accurate application to this game. Pittsburgh’s reputation over the years has been that they play up or down to their competition, and that they pick and choose when to give maximum effort. Last year in non-division games (division game means more likely to play into the rivalry) at 1pm (1pm means less hype or anticipation for the game), the Pittsburgh Steelers went 2-3. They are also going up against fierce competition in the Chiefs, who are currently ranked 6th in FO’s team efficiency rating. All of these stats can be deservingly identified as inconclusive; I just had to enter the rabbit-hole to see if I could find any interesting statistics regarding this matchup.
Indianapolis at Washington | Winner: Washington -5.5
This matchup was definitely difficult to choose. My choice is a direct result of the Redskins having a 6th ranked pass-rush according to PFF, and the Colts having the 17th worst O-line also according to PFF (Yes, I am addicted to PFF). The Redskins also won 5 games out of their 7 at home last year, winning each by an average of 10 points per game.
Houston at Tennessee | Winner: Tennessee +3
I was originally leaning towards the Texans to win, but I had to switch my initial position after delving deeper into the stats. It definitely pains me to go against the Texans on this; they are just the easier pick to make; taking Tennessee conjures sentiments and inquiries of: you picked Tennessee to win? For if you pick the Texans you at least have some foundation to stand on if your tower is burned. However, I feel I have some foundation to this pick. The Texans are the 32nd ranked O-line by PFF, and this O-line is going against PFF’s 12th-ranked pass-rush. The Texans also looked like they gave Watson no help against the Patriots.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay | Winner: Philadelphia -3
The fact that Philadelphia is only favored by 3 may suggest that Vegas knows something. By the other shoe’s string, the Eagles seem like a great bet here. What Fitzpatrick did was most likely an outlier, and now that teams are gameplanning, especially the Eagles with their incredible pass-rush. The Eagles are also ranked 1st on our ARQ roster rankings, and the Bucs are ranked surprisingly 10th.
Detroit at San Francisco | Winner: San Francisco -6
This one is mainly off gut with a little bit of explanation. Jimmy G went 5-0 last year, and won each by 6 points per game. The 49ers would just unfortunate to be forced to play the Vikings on opening week. Detroit also displayed an incredibly poor performance in last week’s game, and there are rumors around the league that the locker room is dissatisfied with the coaching staff.
Arizona at LA Rams | Winner: LA Rams -13.5
This game has the definite makings of a blowout. For one, the Cardinals failed to even put up 7 points against the Redskins. Last year, the Rams won 33-0 at home against the Cardinals. Key matchup: 4th ranked Rams pass rush vs 27th ranked Redskins O-line.
Oakland at Denver | Winner: Denver -6.5
Since 2012, the Raiders are 1-5 in Denver, losing by an average of 21 points per game. This stat may rightfully seem astounding. That is why I’m picking in the favor of tradition.
New England at Jacksonville | Winner: New England -1.5
In the history of the two franchises, New England has never lost to the Jaguars in the regular season. The Pats are 7-0. Since 2003, the Pats and the Jags have played 8 times (including postseason). The Pats are 8-0 in those games and averaged around a 15 point victory in each. Jalen Ramsey also made news discussing his expert knowledge on how to defeat the Patriots, and we know Tom Brady is even better with motivation.
NY Giants at Dallas | Winner: Dallas -3
Our main reason for picking Dallas in this game is extreme confidence in our roster rankings. We have the Cowboys ranked as the 13th best roster in the league, while the Giants are ranked as the 3rd worst roster in the league.
Seattle at Chicago | Winner: Chicago -3.5
I feel this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Seahawks still having the image of an elite team. The Seahawks have the 30th ranked O-line according to PFF, and of course Khalil Mack is going to take advantage of that. The Seahawks just seem to be a depleted team tirelessly carried by Russell Wilson, but they won’t be able to be carried if he isn’t given any time.
Bonus: u43.5 for NY Jets at Miami game. They are both ranked in the bottom 5 of our offensive rankings.