The NFL is back and so is our resident gridiron expert NFLGirlUK who has delivered us this fantastic preview of the opening weekend with a view to taking on the £100,000 Point Margin – Pick 7 pool. If you agree with her selections then you can join her Syndicate.
NFlGirlUK: “It’s felt like a long off-season so I’m beyond excited for week one of NFL action to kick off. As I’ve done in previous years, I’ve joined with Colossus to captain all things NFL. Here are my picks for week one and, if you’re new to Colossus, sign up with the referral code ‘NFLGIRLUK’ for a FreePlay token!”
Titans @ Browns
It’s the media darlings against an under the radar team that people love to ignore.
The Titans play good, fundamental football under Mike Vrabel and got some good results last year, narrowly missing out on the playoffs despite the continued frustration of QB Mariota not making that next step as a passer.
The momentum of the hyped up Browns at home with their super-talented roster should be too much for Tennessee in week one but it might be closer than people think.
Verdict: Browns 1-6, 7-12
Ravens @ Dolphins
The Miami ‘Tanking for Tua’ Dolphins take on last season’s curiosity Ravens and Lamar Jackson. Jackson will be passing more, we’re led to believe, and Baltimore have future Hall of Fame safety Earl Thomas now patrolling centerfield on defence.
The AFC North looks like it could be one of the most competitive divisions this year so the Ravens need a fast start against the team everyone is saying is the worst in the league.
However there is one wildcard here, Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s shown over the years that he can get hot in any game, especially in September, and pull off a surprise. Therefore it’s worth going each way here even though most aren’t giving Miami a prayer.
Verdict: Ravens 7-12, Dolphins 1-6
Falcons @ Vikings
The fixture otherwise known as Gary Anderson Bowl! One of the disappointments of last season was Minnesota who will hope to rebound in 2019.
They have Dalvin Cook fit and ready and their offense should be much better if Cousins can show more consistency. Matt Ryan had a quietly brilliant season last term and always gives his team a chance, no matter how poorly the defense performs.
This one could go either way. It’s likely to be high scoring which will give the edge to the noisy crowd of the home team.
Verdict: Falcons 7-12 – Vikings 1-6, 7-12
Giants @ Cowboys
In a match that seems to be scheduled on week 1 every year, some people are expecting calls for Daniel Jones to replace Eli as soon as the second quarter.
Dallas should be too strong for the G-men here who are still in rebuild mode, while the Cowboys are a ‘win now’ team before having to decide what to do about paying Dak and Amari Cooper. Home team win here.
Verdict: Cowboys 13-18
49ers @ Buccaneers
It’ll be fascinating to see how Bruce Arians can develop Jamies Winston over this season. Todd Bowles should improve the defense greatly too as the Bucs try to make some noise in a very competitive division.
The 49ers will be hoping their dreadfully underwhelming 2018 is behind them and can start the Jimmy G era properly this time around. The Bucs might have too much in this first game for the 49ers, who are weak on the back end of the defense which Arians will likely hope to exploit.
Verdict: Bucs 7-12, 13-18
Steelers @ Patriots
A preview of the AFC Championship game in five months time? The Chiefs may have something to say about that but the two perennial AFC powerhouses of the 21st century go at it again on Sunday night with a match up that feels a bit more like 2004 now that both defences could claim to be the strength of their teams.
It’s hard to back against the Pats at home, although Belichick does treat September as the real preseason and the Patriots often start 2-2 before kicking on. This one is likely to come down to the last possession, as it so often does in the Rothlisberger/Brady era. I’ll give the slight edge to the Pats.
Verdict: Steelers 1-6 – Patriots 1-6, 7-12
Texans @ Saints
New Orleans go into the season as one of the favourites and are usually formidable at home.
The Texans let Clowney go cheaply and they bet the farm when trading for Tunsil to protect often sacked QB Watson’s blindside.
The Saints should have their way with the Texans weakening defense here and Watson will probably be playing catch up for most of the afternoon in a noisy Superdome.
Verdict: Saints 7-12, 13-18