The NFL is back, and the competition off the field is nearly as heated as the competition on game day.
The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.
Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:
Pittsburgh at New England
The last time these teams met, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger both threw for 400 yards. When Brady was still suspended, I picked Pittsburgh. Now that he’s playing, though …
Gworek’s Pick: New England, 38-30.
Miami at Washington
The Redskins turn to Kirk Cousins at quarterback, and odds are he will see a lot of Miami’s free agent prize, DT Ndamukong Suh, among other Dolphins.
Gworek’s Pick: Miami, 27-13.
Carolina at Jacksonville
Two already offensively challenged clubs were hit my injuries to their biggest weapons (Kelvin Benjamin for Carolina, Julius Thomas for Jacksonville). Don’t expect many fireworks.
Gworek’s Pick: Carolina, 16-10.
Seattle at St. Louis
The Rams beat Seattle at home last season, but the running game will be without top draft pick Todd Gurley and perhaps backup Tre Mason. Stick with the Seahawks.
Gworek’s Pick: Seattle, 23-20.
Kansas City at Houston
Brian Hoyer takes over at quarterback for the Texans, but top back Arian Foster is injured again. Kansas City hopes Jeremy Maclin can add some explosiveness to its passing game.
Gworek’s Pick: Kansas City, 26-21.
Indianapolis at Buffalo
Andrew Luck will test Rex Ryan’s defense in his debut as Bills’ head coach, but the Indianapolis defense is a good matchup for Buffalo’s ground-and-pound running game.
Gworek’s Pick: Buffalo, 24-23.
Cleveland at N.Y. Jets
Josh McCown vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t exactly make for must-see TV. The Browns offensive line is a strength, but the Jets defensive line can be dominant.
Gworek’s Pick: N.Y. Jets, 17-13.
Green Bay at Chicago
The Packers will miss Jordy Nelson, but Randall Cobb may return from injury in time for this one. Either way, Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy should be enough to win in Chicago.
Gworek’s Pick: Green Bay, 30-17.
New Orleans at Arizona
The Cardinals are 13-2 in Carson Palmer’s last 15 starts, so keeping him healthy is all-important. The Saints made all kinds of changes around Drew Brees, who could miss departed Jimmy Graham.
Gworek’s Pick: Arizona, 27-20.
Detroit at San Diego
After losing big pieces on defense, the Lions need Calvin Johnson to stay healthy more than ever. San Diego hopes rookie Melvin Gordon can upgrade the running game.
Gworek’s Pick: San Diego, 24-20.
Baltimore at Denver
Will this season be Peyton Manning’s last stand? Look for Denver to try to keep him healthy by running the ball more. The Ravens drew a tough road trip to start and must go back out to Oakland for Week 2.
Gworek’s Pick: Broncos, 27-23.
Tennessee at Tampa Bay
Either top pick Jameis Winston and No. 2 selection Marcus Mariota will begin his career 1-0. Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin looked like his old self in preseason but needs to prove he can stay healthy.
Gworek’s Pick: Tampa Bay, 20-17.
Cincinnati at Oakland
This may look like the easiest game on the Bengals’ schedule, but traveling to the West Coast for an opener is dangerous. This will be closer than many think.
Gworek’s Pick: Cincinnati, 23-21.
N.Y. Giants at Dallas
DeMarco Murray is gone, but the Dallas offense should be just fine. Likewise, the Giants expect to be able to score with Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. together again. Can either team stop anyone?
Gworek’s Pick: Dallas, 31-27.
Philadelphia at Atlanta
Despite many new faces, Chip Kelly’s Eagles offense was rolling again in preseason. That’s bad news for a Falcons defense that has nowhere to go but up after last season.
Gworek’s Pick: Philadelphia, 30-24.
Minnesota at San Francisco
Adrian Peterson returns, joining Teddy Bridgewater on a Minnesota offense that could be sneaky good. San Francisco needs Colin Kaepernick to bounce back in a big way after the defense was gutted.
Gworek’s Pick: Minnesota, 24-16.