The Ezekiel Elliott situation could potentially hang over Dallas for this entire season.
By: Elias McMillan
First, here’s a look at how I’ve done picking regular season games in recent years:
2009 Regular Season Record: 169-87
2010 Regular Season Record: 157-99
2011 Regular Season Record: 162-94
2012 Regular Season Record: 163-92-1
2013 Regular Season Record: 158-97-1
2014 Regular Season Record: 158-97-1
2015 Regular Season Record: 163-93
2016 Regular Season Record: 163-91-2
Now, here’s my forecast for Week 1 of the 2017 Season.
Big Five Games of the Week
Kansas City @ New England – We will start the 2017 season with the top two seeds in the AFC playoffs a season ago. This matchup doesn’t have a lot of sizzle especially considering that New England has a home game scheduled later this season against the team they beat in the Super Bowl last February. That’s the matchup we need to see on opening night. Don’t get me wrong about Kansas City. They have won a lot of games in the last 3 years. But that team has no buzz going into this season. They are in the beginning phases of what could be a massive roster turnover. The Chiefs have a solid defense but not many offensive stars. The Patriots are reloaded for 2017 and they’ll be eager to give NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a good show. Prediction: Patriots 38 – Chiefs 20
Baltimore @ Cincinnati – Here’s an underrated AFC rivalry to start the season. These matchups between the Bengals and Ravens are usually 4-quarter slug fests. Both teams offer solid defenses for the most part and plenty of question marks on offense. I think Baltimore if healthy should be able to prove to be the better team but Cincinnati has the best player on the field Sunday in WR A.J. Green. Green seems to always find a way to show out against the Ravens. He will be the difference. Prediction: Bengals 23 – Ravens 17
Oakland @ Tennessee – This matchup features two up and coming teams in the AFC and two QB’s looking to bounce back from late season injuries from last year. I will be interesting to see how both offenses play with Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota. Will they play it safe and protect those QB’s with the run game or will they have the chance to rip it down the field often? Both of these teams are strong up front on offense and they should prove to be affective in the run game. I think Oakland has move playmakers on defense and that could be the difference. Tennessee has some weapons that may not be known on the national level on offense and they will be looking to let them loose on Sunday. This one should be very entertaining. I’m going to go with the home team. Prediction: Titans 29 – Raiders 28
Seattle @ Green Bay – The Seahawks made a monster acquisition just before the start of the regular season with the trade for DE Sheldon Richardson. I’m not sure how Richardson will fit in right away but eventually, he will make the Seattle defense even stronger than it already is. I don’t think much of the Packers outside of Aaron Rodgers. I don’t think they’ll be able to run the ball against Seattle on offense. The strength vs. strength matchup between the Packers receivers and the Legion of Boom should be a good one. The Packers will have a young defense this year especially in the secondary. I can see TE Jimmy Graham and WR Doug Baldwin taking some of those young guys to school on Sunday. I like Seattle on the road. Prediction: Seahawks 30 – Packers 22
New York Giants @ Dallas – RB Ezekiel Elliott will play on Sunday. That’s the good news, right? The Elliott situation is a bad one for everyone involved and there will be no winners. I think one of the biggest losers in this is the team Elliott plays for. His lawyers will want to fight the NFL to the bitter end meaning; this will potentially hang over the Cowboys all season. Elliott’s status for the rest of this season is still unknown so many Cowboys fans are thinking the Elliott will have a big game against the rival New York Giants. Well, the Giants did a decent job at defending the Cowboys running game last season and they return in 2017 with the same defensive front four. The Giants defense performed well against the Cowboys in both matchups last year but Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense will have that in mind on Sunday night and will be in attack mode. The Giants should know about the advantage that have when they are on offense. Eli Manning and his gang of offensive weapons will be going up against a defense that cant create pressure in the back field and a young secondary. That’s bad news for the home team. These matchups between the Cowboys and Giants are always heart wrenching. But I see the Giants having the advantage in Round 1. Prediction: Giants 34 – Cowboys 24
The Rest from Week 1
Bills over Jets – The competition for who can be worst this season should be a tight one between these two teams. This is an early season Toilet Bowl.
Falcons over Bears – Chicago will have their hands full at home on Sunday.
Steelers over Browns – Between the trades that were made earlier this week and the new that first overall pick Myles Garrett is hurt, I come to the conclusion that there is no hope in Cleveland.
Cardinals over Lions – This will be close. I’m going with David Johnson to keep fantasy owners happy in this one.
Eagles over Washington – I think Washington will end up as the better team this season but for Week 1, I could see them finding a way to lose this one.
Texans over Jaguars – Emotions will be on full tilt in Houston for this one. Jacksonville is pretty much guaranteed to use multiple QB’s in this game.
Colts over Rams – I feel bad if you brought a ticket to this one. Aaron Donald and Andrew Luck are two of the league’s biggest stars and neither will play. Snooze fest.
Panthers over 49ers – I’m interested in seeing how well this young San Fran defense can play. But the 49ers lack the players on offense to score points.
Vikings over Saints – The Adrian Peterson revenge angle is overplayed. Minnesota has a great defense and a great home field advantage.
Broncos over Chargers – This one will be closer than you think. It might come down to which defense can make the big play in the 4th quarter. I’ll bet on Von Miller but don’t sleep on Joey Bosa.
Week 1 Fantasy Football Picks
QB: Matt Ryan (Falcons) – Chicago’s secondary is a weak spot that Ryan and the Falcons passing attack will expose.
RB: LeSean McCoy (Bills) – Shady will shine against a toothless Jets defense.
WR: A.J. Green (Bengals) – Green usually has big game at home against Baltimore.
TE: Evan Engram (Giants) – I’ll show the rookie some love. The Giants will attack the Cowboys’ safeties with the young TE.
DEF: Houston – Jacksonville might be forced to sign Kaepernick after this game. J.J. Watt. Jadeveon Clowney. Whitney Mercilus. Thats too much for even a good offense to deal with.