The 2019/20 NFL season gets underway this weekend, with all 32 teams in action as they look to get their season off to a winning start, and take their first step towards reaching the Superbowl – which will be played at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida on February 2nd, 2020.
The New England Patriots start the season as defending Champions and many peoples favourites to once again lift the Lombardi trophy – although they have a very tough opening game, hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are not the force of a few seasons ago, having lost stud players such as Antonio Brown (to the Oakland Raiders) and Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets), but will still present Tom Brady and Co with a stiff challenge on Sunday evening (UK time).
But, of the 16 matches, here we present three teams we feel confident that will get their season off to the best possible start, and pick up wins in Week 1.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS ( vs Indianapolis Colts)
The Chargers look primed for a super season, and whilst the Colts are no pushovers, they will still be reeling from the dramatic announcement by franchise Quarterback Andrew Luck of his immediate retirement two weeks before the season start. Luck has been central to the recent success in Indianapolis, and his replacement, Jacoby Brissett, simply is not of the same calibre and will take time to find his NFL feet. But this selection is more about the quality of the Bolts than the loss of Luck (literally) for the Colts. The Chargers have one of the most talented and loaded rosters in the NFL on both sides of the ball – although the current holdout by stud RB Melvin Gordon is not ideal. But veteran QB Philip Rivers (above), arguably the best QB in the NFL not to have a Superbowl ring to his name, has a huge array of weapons to unleash his arm on, and in Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, a good enough backfield to cover Gordon should his holdout eat into the regular season. The Chargers defense could be about the best unit around, even without injured safety Derwin James….and we feel they will have more than enough, on home soil, to beat the Colts first up.
Score Prediction : L A Chargers 31 – 20 Indianapolis Colts
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (vs Washington Redskins)
The Superbowl champions of two seasons ago, Philadelphia will be confident of a winning start over NFC East divisional rival Washington, who whilst capable, still look a team in transition following the loss of starting QB Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy. Washington brought in journeyman QB Case Keenum who will start for the Redskins ahead of 1st round draft pick Dwayne Haskins, but Keenum will have a tough time evading the ball hungry Eagles D whilst finding what looks a weak WR corps. Running backs Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson may well have to shoulder the work load, but this will only play into the Eagles hands who will just load the box to suffocate the Redskins running game. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles have had the measure of the Redskins defence, scoring an average of 29 points per game in their last four meetings and winning them all. QB Carson Wentz should have a productive day on his home turf, with favoured target TE Zach Ertz (above) also very likely to have fun against the Washington D. Could be a very long day for the Skins.
Score Prediction : Philadelphia Eagles 34 – 10 Washington Redskins
CLEVELAND BROWNS (vs Tennessee Titans)
Many eyes will be fixed on the Browns – traditionally the whipping boys of the NFL, the Browns have drafted and traded their way into becoming a team now holding the whip, as opposed to being on the end of it. Exciting QB Baker Mayfield (above) will lead his loaded offense into the 2019/20 season at home to the Titans, who will be looking to cause something of an upset – although they are certainly no gimme for Cleveland. But we are buying into the Browns this season, and take them to get off to a winning start in front of their long suffering but passionate fans, who will be vociferous in their support of Mayfield, Beckham Jnr, Landry, Chubb and Co – a line up that is the envy of many an NFL franchise. The Titans may keep the game close and honest – but we see the Browns chalking up an opening week win and whetting the appetite ever more of a Browns winning season….and maybe, just maybe, their first play off appearance in 16 long, long years.
Score Prediction : Cleveland Browns 24 – 17 Tennessee Titans
NFL WEEK 1 – FULL FIXTURES (times listed BST)
- Friday 01:20 : Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
- Sunday 18:00 : Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns
- Sunday 18:00 : Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins
- Sunday 18:00 : Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings
- Sunday 18:00 : Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
- Sunday 18:00 : Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles
- Sunday 18:00 : Los Angeles Rams @ Carolina Panthers
- Sunday 18:00 : Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars
- Sunday 21:05 : Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Chargers
- Sunday 21:05 : Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks
- Sunday 21:25 : New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
- Sunday 21:25 : Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
- Sunday 21:25 : San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Monday 01:20 : Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots
- Tuesday 00:10 : Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints
- Tuesday 03:20 : Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders