NFL predictions: Dallas over Eli & Patriots over Steelers
The NFL season arrives Thursday night, with Green Bay-Chicago at Soldier Field, and there are a few hot-button issues to keep an eye on.
1. How often will coaches the challenge flag on pass interference penalties. Seems like a rabbit hole, giving the coaches the chance to challenge calls and no-calls, but we’ll see.
2. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck retired two weeks before the season opener. Will that inspire some to retire during the season?
3. The Miami Dolphins seem to be embarking on an NBA-level tank job. NBA culture has largely allowed such nonsense. Will the NFL?
4. Will the Cleveland Browns remain a national sensation or fall back into obscurity?
5. Will the venerable Patriots keep riding high under the Brady/Belichick flag?
6. Both Texas teams are all-in on 2019. Who goes furthest, Dallas or Houston?
7. Both Los Angeles teams are Super Bowl contenders. Who goes furthest, Rams or Chargers?
8. Antonio Brown has gone cuckoo with the Raiders. Does he stay with Oakland?
9. Does Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes continue his meteoric path to NFL superstardom?
10. Aaron Rodgers is 35 years old. Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger are 37. Eli Manning is 38. Drew Brees is 40. Tom Brady is 41. Manning seems sure to drop out of the race first. But who’s next?
Let’s get to the predictions:
Packers at Bears: Chicago 19-17. This week, the Bears unveiled statues of George Halas and Walter Payton outside Soldier Field. Wait. There was no statue of Papa Bear Halas until now?
Titans at Browns: Cleveland 27-21. Some think Ryan Tannehill could beat out Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota. No one thinks Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield will be beaten out.
Ravens at Dolphins: Baltimore 20-6. Strange league. The Ravens are starting can’t-pass Lamar Jackson at quarterback, yet Miami is considered the team not trying.
Falcons at Vikings: Minnesota 31-23. Great opener. Atlanta has the better quarterback in Matt Ryan. But Vikes have the better overall talent.
Bills at Jetropolitans: Buffalo 17-16. Game 2 of what figures to be a long rivalry between quarterbacks Josh Allen of the Bills and Sam Darnold of the Jets. Both missed the first Jet-Bill game last season.
Redskins at Eagles: Philadelphia 27-17. Case Keenum starts at quarterback for Washington, which has got to be some kind of record – sixth straight year Keenum will start at quarterback for a different city. Houston two games in 2014, St. Louis (Rams) five in 2015, Los Angeles (Rams) nine in 2016, Minneapolis 14 in 2017, Denver 16 in 2018 and now Washington in 2019.
Rams at Panthers: Los Angeles 30-24. Did New England solve the Sean McVay riddle with that Super Bowl beatdown? We start finding out.
Chiefs at Jaguars: Kansas City 31-20. Nick Foles finally gives Jacksonville a quarterback. Two years too late.
Colts at Chargers:; Los Angeles 23-13. Jacoby Brissett is highly-touted, but this is a tough assignment, jumping in Andrew Luck’s cockpit in mid-flight.
Bengals at Seahawks: Seattle 38-10. Rough opener for Zac Taylor, the Norman kid turned Cincinnati head coach. Rough season for Zac Taylor.
Giants at Cowboys: Dallas 34-14. This will be Eli Manning’s 30th start against Dallas. He’s 13-16 overall.
Lions at Cardinals: Detroit 27-20. Kyler Murray’s best chance for an NFL victory comes in his first game. The Lions are a 2-1/2 point favorite.
49ers at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay 24-23. Great to have Bruce Arians back in the league. Will the Bucs reward him with a victory?
Steelers at Patriots: New England 28-26. Rather decent Sunday night opener, I’d say. In the Big Ben/Brady era, the Patriots are 9-4 vs. Pittsburgh.
Texans at Saints: New Orleans 34-27. After an off-season of lawsuits and complaints, the Saints fan base figures to be juiced.
Broncos at Raiders: Denver 21-19. Always love the opening Monday night doubleheader. Wish we had one every week.