I am about to utter the three words better than “I love you” – Football. Is. Back.
Finally, after 214 days of waiting, we have competitive football to watch. Everyone starts at 0-0, and everyone has a chance at playing in February – except the Browns and Jets of course. All “jokes” aside, let’s get into some week one takeaways and season predictions.
First things first: Don’t worry about the Pats. And if you absolutely hate them, don’t get your hopes up. Sure, it was hard for me to watch Kareem Hunt have a record breaking debut, and for Tom Brady, aka the greatest quarterback of all time, to actually look his age. It was almost as hard as it was to watch Julian Edelman go down in the preseason.
But consider this, the last three times the Patriots lost in week one, they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. And the last time they suffered a rout like this was in 2014 when they lost 41-14 to the Jamaal Charles-led Chiefs. They then won seven straight, with Brady having 2,200 yards and 22 touchdown passes over that stretch. Oh, and they won the Super Bowl. Handling adversity is what they do best.
As much as I – and any other fan, even their most diehard followers – find it easy to pick on the Browns, they will actually win games this year. Take this as my bold prediction of the year: The Browns will win four to six games this season. I didn’t want to jump on the Deshone Kizer bandwagon, given the Browns’ recent quarterback history. And maybe now I’m not exactly jumping on, but I at least have a foot on it. Minus Antonio Brown’s 11 catches and 182 yards, Kizer would’ve outdueled Roethlisberger in their 21-18 loss to the Steelers. They will at least play spoiler this season, and won’t be a complete pushover.
This looks like the perfect place for some postseason predictions. On the AFC side, it’s just too hard not to go with the Patriots. If Father Time has caught up to Brady, I’m not ready to admit it yet. But for argument’s sake, let’s pick the Raiders to represent the AFC. In their 25-16 opening win versus the Titans, their offense ran smoothly, with Marshawn Lynch, Derek Carr, Amari Cooper leading the way. Defense looked sharp as well, with the only touchdown allowed being a Marcus Mariota rushing one.
On the NFC side, I’m going to go with the Packers. They didn’t allow a touchdown in their 17-9 victory over the Seahawks – another NFC contender. Offensively, they are led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Aaron Rodgers. And he will be the difference maker in the championship game, as I’m going Packers over Raiders.