The first week of classes often means something far greater than the academic concerns of SFU students. That’s because it’s week one of the National Football League! This week and every week during the season, I will be predicting the outcome of each NFL game and giving you some insights on all the games to catch you up in between your study sessions and party plans.
Carolina at Denver, Thursday 5:30 p.m.
In a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl, the Panthers will still have no answer for the fearsome Denver pass rush featuring Demarcus Ware and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. Carolina will play better but Trevor Siemian does just enough to get the Broncos the win.
Prediction: Denver 24 Carolina 17
Minnesota at Tennessee, Sunday 10 a.m.
Who will start at quarterback for Minnesota — newly acquired Sam Bradford or journeyman backup Shaun Hill? Doesn’t matter when you have a great defence and Adrian Peterson.
Prediction: Minnesota 20 Tennessee 16
Chicago at Houston, Sunday 10 a.m.
Brock Osweiler is not good. The Houston defence is though. Houston wins in a close one.
Prediction: Houston 17 Chicago 14
Cleveland at Philadelphia, Sunday 10 a.m.
You heard it here first: the Eagles will be really bad this year. Losing to Cleveland at home bad.
Prediction: Cleveland 31 Philadelphia 3
Buffalo at Baltimore, Sunday 10 a.m.
The Bills have not made the playoffs since 1999. Joe Flacco has a Super Bowl Ring but little elite talent around him. It is Buffalo’s time to shine.
Prediction: Buffalo 38 Baltimore 14
San Diego at Kansas City, Sunday 10 a.m.
Kansas City is a really solid team with or without Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs will win convincingly.
Prediction: Kansas City 24 San Diego 16
Oakland at New Orleans, Sunday 10 a.m.
Oakland is a trendy playoff pick this season. Winning on the road in the Superdome against Sean Payton and Drew Brees; not yet silver and black faithful.
Prediction: New Orleans 31 Oakland 30
Tampa Bay at Atlanta, Sunday 10 a.m.
Tampa Bay made big strides in Jameis Winston’s rookie year and Doug Martin has the best nickname in sports: the muscle hamster.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 28 Atlanta 20
Cincinnati at New York Jets, Sunday 10 a.m.
Is this the year Cincinnati finally implodes? Oh wait, that happened last year in the playoffs against Pittsburgh.
Prediction: Jets 24 Cincinnati 20
Green Bay at Jacksonville, Sunday 10 a.m.
I know Jacksonville is trending upward but I cannot in good conscience pick a team quarterbacked by Blake Bortles to beat one led by Aaron Rodgers.
Prediction: Green Bay 27 Jacksonville 24
Miami at Seattle, Sunday 1:05 p.m.
Upset special! Sorry, Seahawks fans. Seattle has a remade offensive line and is facing a dominant Miami defensive front. Dolphins’ coach Adam Gase is a quarterback guru who will get the most out of Ryan Tannehill.
Prediction: Miami 20 Seattle 17
Detroit at Indianapolis, Sunday 1:25 p.m.
Boring. Two bad teams from a year ago face off with the most talented player on both teams sitting on the couch retired. Why Calvin Johnson, why?
Prediction: Detroit 19 Indianapolis 17
New England at Arizona, Sunday 5:30 p.m.
This would be the game of the week if Tom Brady was not suspended for the “deflategate” nonsense. Jimmy Garoppolo will demonstrate why Bill Belichick should only coach as long as Brady is his pivot.
Prediction: Arizona 24 New England 10
Pittsburgh at Washington, Monday 4:10 p.m.
Washington made the playoffs last year because they played in the worst division in football. The Steelers made it because that is what the Steelers do. This year Pittsburgh is better and once again a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 42 Washington 23
Los Angeles at San Francisco, Monday 7:20 p.m.
The last game of the week features two teams with very little hope of making the postseason in 2016. This game is worth watching to see how many players join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem and what the crowd’s reaction will be if the backup quarterback is pressed into action.
Prediction: Los Angeles 17 San Francisco 9
Game of the Week:
New York Giants at Dallas, Sunday 1:25 p.m.
Oh baby! The Cowboys drafted a hotshot running back fourth overall and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has sizzled in the preseason. Meanwhile, the Giants drafted another stud receiver in Sterling Shepard to play alongside standout Odell Beckham Jr. Prescott will show he is the real deal, but Eli Manning will lead another dramatic fourth quarter comeback hitting oft-injured receiver Victor Cruz for the winning score.
Prediction: Giants 34 Cowboys 31