This NFL season will be different than any other with no fans in the stands. We don’t know what effect that will have on the quality of play but we can still make a few educated guesses. We’ll take a quick spin around the NFL landscape to make a few predictions for Week 1 of NFL action.
Chiefs & 49ers Still Cream of NFL Crop
It’s impossible to predict a Super Bowl rematch considering it’s only happened once in NFL history (Cowboys vs Bills in 1992 and 1993) but we can predict the two best teams in each respective conference. The San Francisco 49ers are still the best team in the NFC while the Kansas City Chiefs are still the best team in the AFC and probably the entire league. It’s no surprise then that when the lines were released for Week 1 of NFL action, both teams were 9 point favorites.
All of the best betting sites will be covering the NFL all season but it is important that you look for the best option if you’re considering making a wager. At the moment, there has been enough action on the underdog that the 49ers are currently available at -7. That has more to do with the moves that Arizona made in the offseason than a lack of belief in what the 49ers are doing. It’s easy for casual fans to overlook the 49ers but they have a real chance to be even better this season than they were last year.
As for the Chiefs, as long as they have Patrick Mahomes, they will always be considered among the favorites to lift the Lombardi Trophy. Last year they were able to overcome injuries to key players on their way to the first Super Bowl for the city of Kansas City since 1970. In terms of Week 1 predictions, expect both of these teams to come out firing out the gate to open their seasons with convincing wins.
Brady and Brees Have an Old Fashioned Shootout
Both Tom Brady and Drew Brees are two of the greatest QB’s to ever play the game. To think that there was a time when people doubted these two (Chargers got rid of Brees for Philip Rivers and Brady was the 199th pick in the 2000 draft). Fast forward two decades later and both men have helped rewrite the history books. Predicting what both will do this season is a little more complicated because of their age. In terms of Week 1, we can predict that they will get locked in an old fashioned shootout for different reasons.
For Tom Brady, this is the most talent he has been surrounded by in terms of skill position players. The offensive line’s ability to protect Brady is a bit of a question mark but in terms of what he has to work with, if they can protect him, the sky’s the limit for the Tampa Bay offense. As for their defense, on paper, this should be a much-improved group. That said, they might have a hard time keeping up with Drew Brees and Sean Payton’s offense. Payton is to Brees what Belichik was to Brady so it’s hard to mention one without the other. Bruce Arians is no slouch, especially when it comes to working with quarterbacks so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with for Tom in Tampa.
As for this game, while the winner is hard to predict, however, the over 49 isn’t. There is a possibility that the Bucs lack a bit of chemistry and we don’t know how Brady’s offensive line will do against the Saints front seven. What we do know is the Saints and Bucs do have a history of shootouts and it’s not inconceivable that the defenses have a harder time stopping the offenses considering the QB’s on display and the fact that the rules favor the offense.
Browns Have Talent But Still Overrated
Instead of saying the Browns can’t make a leap and improve from last year, but it will take quite a few things going right. First of all attitude wise, this team has a ton of divas which is not uncommon in the NFL. The thing is, when you haven’t won anything, the diva act gets old fast. Baker Mayfield did a lot of talking last year, which came back to bite him as he underperformed last year. Mayfield has the ability and the confidence to bounce back. If he does, this team can reach the heights that they believed they could last year.
Their wide receivers are led by Odell Beckham Jr who needs no introduction. Jarvis Landry could be the best slot receiver in the league so this group has some serious weapons. The Browns also have one of the best groups of running backs in the league which is also a strength of this team. The weakness on this team is the defense that can’t seem to get stops when they need it and really let this team down more often than not last year. Similar to the offense, the defense has talent but we know that isn’t enough. The Browns are still the Browns and we predict that they will continue to disappoint until there is a serious culture change in Cleveland.