All season long, the Power Couple will predict each week of the NFL season. Picks will be made against the spread, using the same lines posted over at ESPN’s Pigskin Pick’em game.
Thursday Night Football
Carolina Panthers vs. DENVER BRONCOS (Broncos +2.5)
Max – Panthers: Give me the Panthers. The Broncos weakened defense and no-name quarterback makes it virtually impossible to think they’ll win this game. Even sitting at home on my couch I’m terrified of Von Miller, but he won’t be enough to win this game.
Kelly – Panthers: Oh absolutely. Sorry Trevor, I don’t trust you yet. I think that the Carolina offense and defense are both quite talented, and despite Denver’s defensive talent, I just don’t think they have enough to win this one. Or even make it super close. I’m with Cam.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. ET Games
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons (Falcons -3.5)
Max – Bucs : I’m pulling hard for my first round fantasy pick Julio Jones, but I don’t think the Falcons win this game by four points. I think Jameis Winston has a huge sophomore season and either he finds a garbage time touchdown or enough to win this game late.
Kelly – Falcons: I’m not buying the Bucs just yet. I don’t fully trust Mike Evans and I think people are being way, way too hard on Matt Ryan. Julio Jones is a top-3 receiver in the game and I think he helps Atlanta take it by more than four with one of his touchdowns.
Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens (Ravens -3.5)
Max – Bills: I know last season was a disastrous one for them, but the Ravens looked really bad last season and I can’t put my finger on any improvements they made. The Bills are undermanned thanks to various injuries so this game will probably be sloppy, but I see a late Tyrod Taylor-Sammy Watkins touchdown.
Kelly – Bills: I guess the Ravens are favored because this game is in Baltimore because the Bills, even with their injuries, are way more talented than the Ravens. I don’t think Baltimore has done much of anything to improve themselves from last year and Joe Flacco is now another year older, with little to no help from his running backs. I think the Bills win outright here. Rex 1, Baltimore 0.
Chicago Bears vs. Houston Texans (Texans -4.5)
Max – Texans: DeAndre Hopkins+ a competent QB is going to nbe
Kelly – Texans: The Bears are going to be bad this year. Like probably bottom of the division bad. I’m very high on Houston and their offseason moves – I see you Lamar and Brock. Give me the Texans at home.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets (Jets +1.5)
Max – Jets: The Jets have an incredibly tough first six games. They desperately need to win this opener at home. I think their front seven does enough to bother Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall continue to build on the fantastic chemistry they displayed last season.
Kelly – Jets: I can totally see this being one of those 21-21 games that comes down to a field goal to win it and I’m praying that it’s Nick Folk who’s kicking it. I think the Jets can start this season off on the right foot, especially since the Bengals are weaker in the secondary than they were last year, and Tyler Eifert won’t play. The Jets can’t cover the tight end, so that’s a bigger break than it seems.
Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Eagles -6.5)
Max – Eagles: The seven point line worries, but might be an accurate measurement of Cleveland. They’re going to be very, very bad. I’ll show my FCS pride and root for Carson Wentz to win his first career start.
Kelly – Browns: I feel really bad for anyone who has to sit through this game. It’s going to get ugly. I think the Eagles win it, but by 7 is asking a lot for Carson Wentz. I think that they sneak by the Browns, but not by much.
Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Jaguars +4.5)
Max – Packers: Blake Bortles vs. Aaron Rodgers. Enough said.
Kelly – Packers: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Aaron Rodgers is an “other worldy” player and I don’t expect any less from him this year. Give me Green Bay all day.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans (Titans +2.5)
Max – Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater going down was tough, but I thought the Vikings would be able to finish a strong second in the NFC North. Then they traded for Sam Bradford. Now I’ve no idea what to believe. Their defense is enough to get them by the weak Titans this week, however.
Kelly – Vikings: It pains me to pick the Vikings in anything with Sam Bradford as their QB, but I just don’t trust Tennessee yet. I like Marcus Mariota a lot, but I don’t know if he has the talent around him to thrive just yet and the Vikings defense will be quite good.
San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Chiefs -7.5)
Max – Chiefs: I’m taking the Chiefs and will enjoy the inevitable failed Philip Rivers 4th quarter comeback.
Kelly – Chiefs: I really really really really really wanted to pick the Chargers here. I’m a such a Phi Rivers supporter, but I just think Kansas City is the better team. 7.5 scares me a bit, but I think that they’ll be able to go up by two scores and the Chiefs defense can hang on just enough.
Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints (Saints -1.5)
Max – Raiders: This could very well turn out to be a shootout. If they want any hope of winning, the Saints should do everything in their power to make that happen. But I think the Raiders’ offense will be enough to hang in the game and their defense will get enough stops to win.
Kelly – Saints: I think Drew Brees and his new shiny contract have at least one good year left in the tank and it happens to be this one. I think Brees will outshoot Derek Carr and the Saints open their season on a bright spot.
4:00 p.m. ET Games
Miami Dolphins vs. Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks -9.5)
Max – Seahawks: I doubt even Ryan Tannehill’s mom thinks the Dolphins can win this game.
Kelly – Seahawks: Miami isn’t that good. Seattle is quite good. Do the math here.
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys -3.5)
Max – Cowboys: Mark me down as a believer in Dak Prescott, baby. Well, really, I’m a believer in Ezekiel Elliott and that destroyer-of-worlds- offensive line, but still. Gimme the Cowboys.
Kelly – Giants: Giants fans started celebrating their division title as soon as Tony Romo went down. And I think they take this one from Dallas – I’m stunned Dallas is still favored by 3.5. Their offensive line might be talented but the Giants’ improved their D-Line and when you stack 8 guys in the box cause the QB is inexperienced, anyone would have difficulty running.
Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts (Colts -5.5)
Max – Colts: Hot take alert: the Lions are going to be largely mediocre. Andrew Luck takes too many hits in this game, but still manages to throw enough TD passes to win.
Kelly – Colts: I think Detroit is going to be way worse than mediocre. Andrew Luck is talented, and healthy for now. That should make all the difference.
Sunday Night Football
New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals (Cardinals -5.5)
Max – Cardinals: Picking the Cardinals to win by almost a touchdown feels risky, but I don’t think Jimmy Garoppolo can win his first game on the road against one of the league’s best teams. Carson Palmer, in the comfort of the dome, leads the Cardinals to an Week 1 win.
Kelly – Cardinals (gulp): This pick makes me the most nervous. I mean, from my own personal fantasy perspective, I need as many Carson Palmer-Michael Floyd touchdowns as physically possible, but I also think that Arizona is one of the most talented teams in the league. The Patriots just aren’t the same without Brady at the helm and I think that should be enough of a difference maker in this one.
Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins (Redskins +3.5)
Max – Steelers: Even if Kirk Cousins does enough to keep Washington in this game, his defense won’t be able to stop Big Ben and all of his offensive weapons.
Kelly – Steelers: Here’s my hot take – I don’t like the Redskins at all this year. Second hot take – the Steelers are good. Ben and Antonio Brown will be the keys here.
Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers (49ers +2.5)
Max – Rams: Jeff Fisher starts his latest journey to an 8-8 season with a win over the lowly 49ers.
Kelly – Rams: This is another eh game on the Eagles, Browns level. I say the Rams just because well, they have Todd Gurley and the 49ers don’t.