Here we go folks, it’s super last minute, but here are my picks for each game, week one, for the 2019 NFL season. Was it a little under the wire? Yes. Are most of these going to be wrong? Yes. Do I care?
Yes. Deeply, deeply yes.
Ryan’s NFL Picks (2019): Week One
Green Pay Packers @ Chicago Bears: Chicago Bears
I wanted to pick #PABAR and the Green Bay Packers tonight because I need the Bears to struggle, but I just don’t believe it’ll happen. Chicago’s defense is as good as it’s ever been and supposedly, Mitch Trubisky is set to have a breakout year. A great offense is nice, but a decent offense with a great defense will win every time.
Still… GO PACK GO.
Los Angeles Rams @ Carolina Panthers: Los Angeles Rams
This one should be easy. Barring some kind of Super Bowl hangover, I think the Los Angeles Rams can overcome the time change, the star inside linebacker, and the explosive Christian McCaffrey to get their first win of the year. Especially if Todd Gurley is as healthy as the Rams claim he is.
Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns: Cleveland Browns
This game is going to be a lot of fun to watch, because I bet the Browns win this game by a lot. I bet they come out and hang up like 30 points on them and Baker Mayfield looks like a bonafide MVP candidate. The problem with this team was never talent, it’s coaching and youth. I fully expect them to get off to a hot start, especially against such a mediocre team.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Kansas City Chiefs
I wanted to pick the Jacksonville Jaguars so bad, but that’s the Raider homer in me. The Chiefs should be just as red hot in 2019 as they were in 2018, sadly enough. Also, there isn’t a coach in football that knows Nick Foles better than Andy Reid, which may be his undoing this Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins: Baltimore Ravens (LOCK OF THE WEEK)
Yeah, so here’s the deal. I’m going to do a LOCK OF THE WEEK pick every single week, and if I get it wrong, I have to do whatever the guys in the Ryan Smith Debacle Chat for Elite Boys and Girls tell me to do. Expect me to lock against the Dolphins a lot, but hey, only two teams have gone 0-16.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are the worst team in the NFL and I think the Ravens are, at the very least, decent enough to win this.
Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota Vikings
This is a tough pick for me, because I’m high on both of these teams. I think the Atlanta Falcons are more dangerous than people realize, and the Vikings are the most complete team in a very competitive NFC North. Ultimately I picked the Vikings because they have a more complete defense and the game is in Minnesota. This should be a fun watch though.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets: New York Jets
I have this thing, where I’ll go with the hyped teams for week one, regardless of whether I actually think they’re the better team. The Jets have Le’Veon Bell and blah, blah, blah, so I’ll pick them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, barring truly horrendous play from Josh Allen, the Bills end the season with more wins.
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles: Philadelphia Eagles
I think the Eagles are really great, a fantastic team with a ton of depth on defense with a chip on their shoulder and oh boy, the Redskins are a mess. Their left tackle still won’t be present on Sunday, and Case Keenum will be under center. That’s really all you have to say.
Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Chargers: Los Angeles Chargers
Man, this game was almost a great showdown between two great quarterbacks. Now, barring a Charger-esque underwhelming performance, they should be able to win pretty easily, in front of all 17 of their fans, who still aren’t sure if they’re at a Rams game or not.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks: Seattle Seahawks
The Bengals are bad, the 12th man is loud (Hi Mom), next.
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals: Detroit Lions
I was tempted to pick the Arizona Cardinals, because maybe they have something up their sleeves and they’ll unleash a new kind of offense that nobody in the world is ready for. But I’m inclined to think picking the reigning first overall pick is a mistake, so I took the Lions instead.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys: Dallas Cowboys
Unless Saquon Barkley can play linebacker, defensive end, corner, safety, and frankly, quarterback, it doesn’t really matter what they do. Dallas wins big.
San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: San Francisco 49ers
Supposedly the San Francisco 49ers are going to be good this year, and if that’s really the case, this is the place to start. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should actually be a lot of fun to watch this year. They have a lot of talent on offense, I like Bruce Arians as a coach, and Devin White is my pick for defensive rookie of the year.
But I’ve been told the 49ers are a potential playoff team, and playoff teams beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with their questionable defense. If Jimmy Garoppolo is ever going to become the quarterback the 49ers think he is, now is a pretty good time to start.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots: New England Patriots
I like to think of the Pittsburgh Steelers like the Fantastic Four movies. On paper, it makes sense. Look at the history of the Fantastic Four! It goes back forever. It’s hard to find a more iconic superhero family. But every single time they go to the big screen, it’s just cringy and reminiscent of a different time. That would make the Patriots the Marvel/Disney alliance, who just seem to come along and destroy everything in an unethical, objectively entertaining way.
Maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers can make this close, but I feel like New England is going to key in on JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner and it’ll get ugly.
To kick off the 100th season, the NFL chose the Packers and Bears over two teams with a combined 12 Lombardi trophies. There have been 52 Super Bowls and nearly a quarter of them are being represented in a game that’s not the kickoff because even though the Bears and Packers have rarely been decent at the same time, they’ve been doing it forever. Hope Chiefs/Raiders gets the same treatment but somehow I doubt it.
Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints: Houston Texans
This is a bit of a risky pick, but I went with the Texans for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the New Orleans Saints always seem to start slow, and while I’m not superstitious, I am a little-stitious. They haven’t won a season opener since 2013, and while something’s gotta give, they’re playing a dangerous team. The Houston Texans are absolutely loaded on offense, and I bet they’re tired of being mocked for poor personnel decisions. They are in win-now mode, and they make a splash on Monday night.
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders:
Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders Denver Broncos
Two hours ago, I probably would’ve picked the Oakland Raiders, but now there’s a very real possibility that the Raiders will be without All Pro jackass Antonio Brown, and without him, the Raiders have a gross receiving corps. With AB, Tyrell Williams can benefit from single coverage and stretch the field, leaving plenty of opportunities for Hunter Renfrow and Josh Jacobs underneath. Without him, Tyrell becomes number one and someone like Ryan Grant or J.J. Nelson, who were cut candidates a week ago, become starters.
Not to mention, the banged up, mediocre, poorly coached Raiders offensive line has to go up against one of the most talented pass rushes in football, being coached by Vic Fangio. Burned feet, expired helmets, and Instagram fines, being a Raiders fan is being allergic to grapes at a winery.
Antonio Brown is playing after all, and now the entire offense is decent again so I’m changing my pick?
Just pretend I didn’t say that.