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NFL Week 1 Picks: Predicting the Winner and Final Scores for All Season Openers

Jake RillAnalyst IISeptember 3, 2019

FILE - In this Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Tampa, Fla. Given the many variables that go into developing an elite quarterback, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly can't even imagine assessing what to make of last year's group of five first-round draft picks as they enter their sophomore seasons. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio, File)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

An NFC North rivalry matchup kicks off the 2019 NFL season on Thursday night, and that will be just the start of what should be a thrilling weekend.

After months of offseason moves and speculation, it's finally time to see how the NFL's 32 teams will look with their starters on the field for a whole game, unlike the preseason. In addition to Thursday's opener, there's 13 Sunday games followed by two on Monday night.

With several divisional games and numerous other exciting matchups, this weekend should provide a great start to the NFL season.

Here's a look at the full Week 1 schedule with picks for each game, followed by three predictions for the opening weekend.

      

Week 1 Picks

Thursday, Sept. 5

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears: Packers 21-17

        

Sunday, Sept. 8

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars: Chiefs 35-20

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings: Falcons 31-28

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns: Browns 24-13

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets: Bills 27-26

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: Ravens 27-17

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: Eagles 28-13

Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers: Rams 21-17

Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers: Chargers 31-13

Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks 27-10

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys 31-17

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Buccaneers 24-21

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals 19-17

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots: Patriots 28-24

       

Monday, Sept. 9

Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints: Saints 41-38

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders: Broncos 23-16

      

Predictions

Packers open the NFL season with a big road win

Mike Roemer/Associated Press

After a 6-9-1 season and back-to-back years missing the playoffs, the Packers can make a statement with a road win over the Bears in Chicago. And that's exactly what they're going to do Thursday night.

Veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers is poised to have another strong season, and with him having more control of the offense, that should help Green Bay have more success on that side of the ball.

"We've given him all the freedom," Packers first-year head coach Matt LaFleur said, according to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky. "So if he sees something, he's got the green light to do whatever he needs to do to get us into a good play. We're not going to take that from him."

Expect Rodgers to throw for a pair of touchdowns to guide the Packers to a close win over their division rival.

          

Browns live up to offseason hype with Week 1 victory

Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Not long ago, the Browns were annually one of the worst teams in the NFL. From 2015-17, they went 4-44. Before their Week 3 win over the New York Jets last season, they had gone 19 games without a victory.

But expectations have changed in Cleveland. After going 7-8-1 last year, the Browns made several big offseason additions, including wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, defensive end Olivier Vernon and rookie cornerback Greedy Williams.

The Browns have an opportunity to start their first season under head coach Freddie Kitchens with a home victory against the Tennessee Titans. While the Titans are a quality opponent, the Browns should be better than them, and that will show during Sunday's opener.

Expect Cleveland to handily notch a Week 1 victory, then use that as momentum to get off to a 2-0 start against the New York Jets next week.

      

Saints win Monday night shootout against Texans

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Saints and Texans each won their respective divisions last season, and both have exciting offenses capable of putting up a lot of points. So, this game could turn into an offensive shootout Monday night at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

New Orleans' offense is led by quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas, while Houston is powered by quarterback Deshaun Watson and a talented group of receivers.

Although this could be a back-and-forth game, the Saints are going to end up on top as Brees will lead several late-scoring drives to secure the victory. Both offenses are talented, but New Orleans' is a bit better.

Plus, the Saints will be motivated this year to have another dominant regular season and get back to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Los Angeles Rams last season. So, that will start with a Week 1 statement win over the Texans.

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