Skip to main content

NFL Picks: Every Game, Week 1


A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 1, along with the consensus pick of Athlon Sports editors Mitchell Light, Rob Doster, Nathan Rush, Patrick Snow and Steven Lassan:

Saints (0-0) at Packers (0-0)
The Thursday night opener pits the last two Super Bowl champions against each other in prime time. Two of the top passing offenses — the Saints ranked third (277.6 ypg) and the Packers ranked fifth (257.8 ypg) last year — take on two of the top passing defenses around — the Saints ranked fourth (193.9 ypg) and the Packers ranked fifth (194.2 ypg) in ’10. Packers by 4

Falcons (0-0) at Bears (0-0)
Atlanta has become a trendy Super Bowl pick this preseason, while Chicago ended last year’s playoffs as the team taking all the cheap shots. Maybe everyone is right on both fronts; or this could be a classic Week 1 spoiler special. Falcons by 1

Colts (0-0) at Texans (0-0)
Indy fans think the sky is falling now that four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning is missing the first start of his career. But backup Kerry Collins — the off-and-on starter for the division rival Titans since 2006 — has had recent success against the Texans. Collins threw for 237 yards, two TDs and one INT for a 102.3 passer rating in a 31–17 win last year, and for 216 yards, two TDs and one INT for a 90.0 passer rating in a 34–31 loss in 2009. Texans by 8

Bills (0-0) at Chiefs (0-0)
Even if last season was a fluke, Kansas City should be able to take down staggering Buffalo at Arrowhead Stadium in the opener. Chiefs by 4

Titans (0-0) at Jaguars (0-0)
Two rookie quarterbacks — Tennessee’s Jake Locker (No. 8 overall pick) and Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert (No. 10) — will watch patiently from the sideline as two Pro Bowl-caliber running backs carry the load on the field. Titans by 1

Bengals (0-0) at Browns (0-0)
The Buckeye State Bowl will feature two of the worst teams in football. Of the two, the Browns have homefield and hope; the Bengals have… well, they’re undefeated headed into the year. Browns by 5

Eagles (0-0) at Rams (0-0)
Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Co. could turn the tables on St. Louis and provide a “Greatest Show on Turf” of their own. But don’t count out the young Rams, as second-year signal-caller Sam Bradford will have Tom Brady’s old play-caller, Josh McDaniels, calling the shots this season. Eagles by 7

Steelers (0-0) at Ravens (0-0)
Easily the most physical and arguably the best rivalry in the NFL. Both of last year’s meetings in this bruising black-and-purple battle were three-point defensive showdowns — a 17–14 Ravens win at Pittsburgh in Week 4 and a 13–10 Steelers victory in Baltimore in Week 14. Steelers by 1

Lions (0-0) at Buccaneers (0-0)
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman bring two of the strongest arms and lead two of the youngest, most energetic teams — including the coaches, Jim Schwartz (45) and Raheem Morris (35) — to the gridiron. Buccaneers by 1

Vikings (0-0) at Chargers (0-0)
The Bolts look to end their early-season trouble against an aging Vikings club whose ship may sink in Coronado Bay before this one is over. Chargers by 8

Giants (0-0) at Redskins (0-0)
What little hope the Hogs have will likely be crushed by the Big Blue Wrecking Crew. This could get ugly — even for fat guys in dresses. Giants by 7

Panthers (0-0) at Cardinals (0-0)
The Cam Newton and Kevin Kolb eras begin on the same day. Last year’s Heisman and BCS title winner returns to the site of Auburn’s title game victory to face the man who started last season ahead of Michael Vick in Philadelphia. Cardinals by 7

Seahawks (0-0) at 49ers (0-0)
Is this a USC-Stanford game? College football’s top two converts — Seattle’s Pete Carroll, who left USC in 2010, and San Fran’s Jim Harbaugh, who bailed on Stanford for the NFL this season — will meet again. Surprisingly, Harbaugh’s Cardinal were 2–1 against Carroll’s Trojans. 49ers by 2

Cowboys (0-0) at Jets (0-0)
The Ryan Brothers go toe-to-toe, as Jets coach Rex Ryan hosts twin brother Rob, who enters his first game as the Big D coordinator. There will be no love lost between the sons of Buddy — who was recently diagnosed with cancer — during this Sunday night showdown. Jets by 4

Patriots (0-0) at Dolphins (0-0)
There was a time when Tom Brady struggled in South Florida. And while Jason Taylor is back in Miami, these are not Taylor’s vintage Phins. Don’t expect an upset on Monday night. Patriots by 10

Raiders (0-0) at Broncos (0-0)
Many thought Tim Tebow would make his MNF debut here. Instead, Kyle Orton hosts the nightcap of a double feature vs. the rival Raiders. Raiders by 2