The much anticipated 2017 NFL season has officially kicked off, which brings us to our Week 1 bold predictions. New faces in new places should create some drama. Will this year’s class of rookie quarterbacks and running backs live up to the hype? There promises to be plenty of surprises on both of these fronts in Week 1.
Plus, who doesn’t enjoy watching a train wreck shutout? We predict one NFL team will go scoreless in Week 1. Hint ‒ it is not the New York Jets.
We also envision a quarterback being benched and some upset victories, which are all covered in our NFL Week 1 bold predictions.
Cam Newton rushes for two touchdowns
Newton just loves to make those sneaky plays to steal the goal line touchdowns. A leaner and more agile Newton might just surprise on ground in San Francisco. The defense will be expecting either Jonathan Stewart or Christian McCaffrey to do more damage on the ground. But Newton might just take advantage of a poor defense that yielded 25 rushing touchdowns last season. We predict the Super Cam of 2015 to make a comeback in Week 1.
Falcons shutout Bears
Good team versus poor team. What could possibly go wrong here? The Falcons feature reigning MVP Matt Ryan, star receiver Julio Jones and a dynamic Devonta Freeman on offense. This all led to the highest-scoring offense in the NFL and a Super Bowl appearance. But don’t discount a Falcons defense that boasts a player in Vic Beasley who led the NFL in sacks last season.
What is going for the Bears? Is Mike Glennon going to pull rabbits out of his helmet and lead his offense to outscore the Falcons? Who will even be catching the ball? At the end of the day Sunday, the Falcons might just have prevented the Bears from scoring one single point.
Alshon Jeffery shreds Josh Norman
Jeffery will see his fair share of Washington’s top corner in his Eagles debut on Sunday. Jeffery has not produced like an elite receiver since he set a career-high with 1,421 yards in 2013. But the 27-year-old wideout is healthy and looked sharp in the preseason. It is not an easy task to get open around Norman, but we predict Jeffery makes him look silly en route to making an early statement in the NFC East.
Jets’ Robby Anderson makes people take notice
Who? Somebody has to step up and at least attempt to put points on the board when the Jets head to Buffalo to take on the Bills. Quarterback Josh McCown has to target a warm body and it might as well be the receiver that actually has seniority with the team. Anderson should rack up a ton of targets as the Jets attempt to sustain drives. It is also worth noting that Anderson put up an average of 14 yards per catch during his rookie season. He might be the only viable receiving option for the Jets in 2017.
Blake Bortles doesn’t turn the ball over
This will make for some must-see TV. The Jacksonville Jaguars take on a Houston Texans defense that yielded the fewest yards in the NFL last season. It is going to be tough for Bortles to avoid the dreaded pick-six or fumble. But, his job rides on him not turning the ball over into enemy hands. Expect him to hand the ball off to rookie running back Leonard Fournette plenty here. Plus, head coach Doug Marrone said Bortles’ late preseason work was the “best” he has seen, per the team’s website.
Jeremy Maclin delivers surprise performance
Maclin is the new guy in town after being suddenly released by the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason. He will face a Cincinnati Bengals defense that will likely focus on shutting speedster Mike Wallace down. There is also Breshad Perriman and Michael Campanaro in the picture. But, this underwhelming duo has all of 45 combined catches in their careers. Maclin might just make the Chiefs eat some crow after he shines bright for Baltimore in Week 1.
Paul Richardson torches Green Bay’s secondary
Richardson is not exactly a household name for the Seahawks, but he stands to be after this contest. While Doug Baldwin is facing double coverage, Richardson will look to torch a very suspect Green Bay secondary. The fourth-year wideout will put up a strong performance against a pass defense that ranked dead last in 2016. Richardson earned a starting role on offense and it would not be surprising if he finds the end zone once or even twice in Week 1.
Ezekiel Elliott plays mad, delivers game-winning score
Elliott’s 2017 season is very much up in the air. What we do know is last year’s No. 1 rusher will suit up and play against the New York Giants in Week 1. He will surely be fired up to deliver a show-stopping performance. Furthermore, Elliott and the Cowboys will be extra motivated to win after falling twice to the Giants in 2016. The second-year running back performs great in clutch situations. It would be appropriate that he scores the game-winning touchdown to close up shop Sunday night.
David Johnson won’t score a rushing touchdown
This is not what fantasy football owners want to hear. The Detroit Lions gave up only four rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs last season. Meanwhile, Detroit’s horrific passing defense let 33 passing touchdowns fly by. Quarterback Carson Palmer should find tremendous success through the air. If lucky, Johnson might catch for a score.
Eric Decker takes it to the house twice
Decker fizzled out early last season with injuries on the New York Jets and did not play in the preseason. So, expecting him to score twice in Week 1 might make no sense. Fortunately, he faces an Oakland Raiders passing defense that gave up 27 passing touchdowns and 7.9 yards on average per catch last season. Decker has wheels, great hands and will be catching from quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is currently the most-efficient red zone passer in the NFL.
DeShone Kizer looks legit against Pittsburgh
The rookie has given Cleveland fans some much-needed hope. On paper, this matchup against a mighty Steelers offense and challenging defense could spell doom for Kizer. This is where Kizer will keep his cool and rely on running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson to barrel their way through Pittsburgh’s defense. Crowell, in particular, has averaged 4.98 yards per carry against Pittsburgh. All this helps Kizer perform like a seasoned quarterback. Predicting that the Browns actually produce a win, however, is a bit too bold for us.
Seahawks hold Aaron Rodgers to only one score
Rodgers and the Packers host Seattle’s Legion of Boom. Cornerback Richard Sherman and Co. are surely gearing towards stopping one of the NFL’s most elite quarterbacks from tossing multiple touchdowns. Over the course of Rodgers career against the Seahawks, he has passed for just nine touchdowns in seven games. These aren’t the stats to suggest Rodgers will do a whole bunch in the end zone come Sunday.
Scott Tolzien gets benched for Jacoby Brissett
Tolzien is about the last NFL quarterback expected to bring his team to a win in Week 1. And the Colts are apparently fine with Tolzien simply being a mediocre quarterback. This is a disturbing thought. We are boldly predicting that the Colts swallow their pride, and at some point, replace Tolzien with Brissett once the Los Angeles Rams defense has its way with the washed-up backup. After all, the Colts did not trade for Brissett for no reason. A switch at quarterback is a distinct possibility this Sunday.
Brandon Marshall outperforms Odell Beckham Jr.
The Giants are jokingly wondering which Dallas Cowboys defenders will be covering Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday Night Football. We can be sure the Cowboys are concocting their best plans to be sure OBJ doesn’t gain much mileage in Week 1. Plus, he is still healing from an ankle injury. It could be a stretch, but Marshall, who is nine years Beckham’s senior, may just have a bigger night. Marshall still has gas left in his tank and is just two seasons removed from scoring a league-high 14 touchdowns.
Philip Rivers throws for 400 yards
In Week 1, Rivers is going to be fighting an uphill battle on the road against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. In order to stay competitive, expect Rivers to air it out a lot to his talented crew of receivers and tight ends. We are not necessarily suggesting Rivers scores a lot, but of his efforts should amount to loads of yards. The veteran quarterback has averaged 38.7 passing attempts per contest the past two seasons.
Dalvin Cook bests Adrian Peterson
Week 1 Monday Night Football should garner quite the ratings. This tilt brings Peterson back to Minnesota with the Vikings debuting rookie Dalvin Cook. We can be sure the Vikings’ defense will do what it can to stop AD in his tracks. The team knows his capabilities. Meanwhile, Cook could dazzle against a Saints run defense that gave up 19 rushing touchdowns in 2016. Cook will also be the Vikings featured back while Peterson splits carries with Mark Ingram. Though, on the down low, it would be a joy to watch AD shred his former team.