The NFL season officially kicks off on Thursday, which means fans can become hermits on the weekends until February. Many teams have playoff aspirations, while others are looking to build towards the future (cough, Miami Dolphins, cough).
With 16 games on the docket this week, starting as soon as Thursday (!!!), we're proud to present you with predictions of how each game will turn out.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
The 100th year of NFL football will be kicked off with the oldest rivalry in the game: Packers vs. Bears.
Green Bay has an entirely new feel, thanks to the addition of head coach Matt LaFleur and a bevy of defensive free agent imports. With plenty on his mind, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has to do battle against the most dominant defense in the league. With vengeance on their mind from last year's season opener, expect the Bears to emerge victorious.
Bears 27, Packers 14
Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers
The Rams begin their "Super Bowl" return tour after being outsmarted by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, the Panthers begin yet another season where their success hinges on the health of quarterback Cam Newton. Unfortunately for him, he's been dealt a hard hand in the form of Los Angeles' defense, and the Sean McVay-created offense picks the bones.
Rams 38, Panthers 14
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
We're going to be blunt here. This isn't going to be close. The Redskins' biggest issue entering Week 1 is the status of stud left tackle Trent Williams, who has an ongoing beef with the team's medical staff. Now, Washington is replacing him with Donald Penn and proverbial turnstile Ereck Flowers on the left side of the line. The Eagles' defense will flourish in this game, and Carson Wentz will have himself a day with the myriad of offensive weapons he has at his disposal.
Eagles 42, Redskins 17
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
This isn't the Bills-Jets game of old. Both teams bolstered their rosters via free agency and the draft. The Jets added the likes of Le'Veon Bell, CJ Mosley, and Jamison Crowder, while the Bills signed Mitch Morse, Cole Beasley, and John Brown. With both teams essentially equal, the Jets find a way to eke out a victory.
Jets 27, Bills 24
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
Atlanta vs. Minnesota has all the makings of an offensive duel, featuring Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs vs. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. To make things more entertaining, both defenses are relatively stacked. This will all come down to quarterback play, and we like Matt Ryan's chances better than Kirk Cousins'...though the game isn't in primetime, so it'll be close.
Falcons 38, Vikings 34
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins
It's not going to be a good day for Dolphins season ticket holders. The team is in a literal teardown, as they look to draft their next franchise quarterback in 2020. Their first test comes against a run-heavy Baltimore offense and usual stout defense, who will torture Ryan Fitzpatrick behind that porous offensive line.
Ravens 49, Dolphins 7
Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars
The NFL matchmakers definitely had this one in mind for Week 1, featuring the Chiefs' explosive offense against Jacksonville's stalwart defensive unit (not to mention the Jaguars will trot out former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to take their offense to new heights). While defense usually wins games, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Sammy Watkins will be too much to handle for Jacksonville.
Chiefs 31, Jaguars 20
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are the new darlings of the NFL. Baker Mayfield set records last season, and this year, Cleveland adds Odell Beckham Jr. to the fold. While the Super Bowl talk is a bit premature, the Browns are heavy favorites against a Titans squad that, offensively, hasn't advanced behind quarterback Marcus Mariota. It doesn't help that he plays a Cleveland defense that improved this offseason.
Browns 31, Titans 10
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers
Colts fans will get their first look at "Life After Andrew Luck" on Sunday against a strong Chargers team, with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Indianapolis has all the faith in the world in Brissett, but has to face a Chargers defense manned by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Oh, and the Chargers likely won't have Melvin Gordon on the field, leaving them to resort to a running back committee. It's an even matchup, but the Chargers get the "W."
Chargers 27, Colts 24
Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks
The Bengals....don't have the greatest outlook for 2019. The offensive line is completely banged up, leaving quarterback Andy Dalton like a sitting duck in a collapsing pocket. It doesn't help that the Bengals face the Seahawks, who recently added Jadeveon Clowney to their defense. Seattle wins this one easily.
Seahawks 24, Bengals 6
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game is a complete tossup. The Bucs added Bruce Arians to take them to the next level. However, that all hinges on Jameis Winston, who has struggled to be an effective quarterback. On the other side, the 49ers will look to see how investment Jimmy Garoppolo performs after recovering from a torn ACL. In this game, the 49ers have the stronger defense, so they get the edge in Week 1.
49ers 28, Bucs 24
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
It's never Week 1 without Giants vs. Cowboys. With Ezekiel Elliott locked up, the Cowboys remain a heavy favorite against a Giants team that's adamant to throw Eli Manning on the field. Despite an improved o-line and Saquon Barkley's magnificence, New York just doesn't have enough to hand the Cowboys a loss.
Cowboys 21, Giants 13
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
It's a battle between two last place teams in the NFC last year. The Lions installed the "Patriot Way" with head coach Matt Patricia, complete with their own version of Rob Gronkowski in TJ Hockenson. As for the Cardinals, they will bring out first overall pick Kyler Murray, who was explosive with his arm and feet at the previous level. Now, though, he has a challenge in the form of a lowly offensive line. Still, the Cardinals should win in their home opener.
Cardinals 28, Lions 21
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
The Patriots open their Super Bowl defense against a familiar foe in the Steelers. Pittsburgh saw stars Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown leave in dramatic fashion, while New England built a stronger squad than they had last year, especially on offense. Expect the Patriots to follow tradition, and defeat the Steelers. You don't even really need to watch this one if you're not a NE homer.
Patriots 34, Steelers 21
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints
Houston's been in the news a lot recently, huh? While they gained Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills, they lost Jadeveon Clowney and multiple top draft picks. Even with the added protection for Deshaun Watson, the Saints are heavy favorites in this game (and the NFC, for that matter). New Orleans wins at the expense of Houston.
Saints 37, Texans 28
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Denver and Oakland will battle to emerge from the bottom of the AFC West standings. The Broncos have a defensive-minded coach in Vic Fangio, as he looks to outsmart Jon Gruden. We give the edge to the Raiders offense, which gained Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams this offseason, as opposed to the Joe Flacco-led Broncos.
Raiders 27, Broncos 14