NFL Predictions Week 1: Head Coaches Who Will Pick Up First Win with New Teams

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 16:  Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs checks his play chart against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half on August 16, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  The 49ers won 15-13. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

As a head coach, it's never good to start your time with a new team by picking up a loss.

The NFL is perhaps the most win-now league in all of sports. Parity is rife, and the perceptions of a coach's ability generally never last long. In about a year you can go from genius savior, to hapless idiot who needs to be fired now.

There were an astounding eight head coaching changes during the 2013 offseason. That's a quarter of the league making major personnel swaps for this year.

Of those eight new coaches, these three will be able to start the regular season with a bang.


Andy Reid—Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars

Andy Reid couldn't have hoped for better opponents in his first game as head coach of the Chiefs. Kansas City got the benevolence of the scheduling gods in the form of the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1.

It shouldn't be a difficult game for the Chiefs, even on the road.

With Reid, the organization has an experienced coach who's experienced building a football team from the ground up and getting results on the field. Sometimes, a coach stays in one place for too long, and the team stagnates as a result. That's what you saw with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reid isn't all of a sudden a bad coach.

With the additions of Alex Smith, Eric Fisher and Dunta Robinson, the Chiefs were able to upgrade in key areas. They have a lot of good pieces with Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

There's a lot to like about Kansas City.


Chip Kelly—Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

With the success of Jim Harbaugh, it's easy to forget just how many college football coaches were flops when they hit the NFL. For every Harbaugh and Jimmy Johnson, there's a Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Butch Davis and Dennis Erickson.

With the success of the read-option last year, there's reason to believe that whatever wrinkles Chip Kelly will carry over from Oregon will catch on with the Philadelphia Eagles.

He could have had an easier NFL debut as he and the Eagles have to take on Washington Redskins. While Philadelphia should finish below Washington in the NFC East, the health of Robert Griffin III could level the playing field.

RG3 has been announced as the starter for Week 1 (h/t Jeff Darlington of

This is a quarterback who's had no snaps in the preseason and is coming off a major knee injury. There's no telling how he'll play once he's back on the field. Griffin had an astonishingly quick rehab process, but that's an entirely different beast from actually playing.

The Eagles have gotten better with the selection of Lane Johnson in the first round of the draft and the signing of Connor Barwin.

With Griffin still a question mark, Philadelphia should be able to give Kelly a great start to his NFL coaching career.


Rob Chudzinski—Cleveland Browns vs. Miami Dolphins

People forget how good the Cleveland Browns were last year. They weren't a playoff team by any stretch of the imagination, but they were much better than their 5-11 record would have you think. The Browns lost a lot of close games, and if two or three of those go the other way, you're looking at a 7-9 or 8-8 team.

Cleveland also did well in the offseason with their hiring of Rob Chudzinski, Ray Horton and Norv Turner. Paul Kruger, Desmond Bryant and Barkevious Mingo should also help the defense take a big leap in 2013.

Although the Browns will be without Josh Gordon, they shouldn't have any problems getting past Miami in Week 1. The Dolphins did a lot themselves to improve this offseason. Mike Wallace is the deep threat Ryan Tannehill needs in the passing game, while Dion Jordan should become the best pass-rusher to come out of the 2013 draft.

However, Cleveland will be a lot better than people think, and it will make a major statement with a win over Miami.