Pittsburgh at New England
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Patriots -6
While Brady has Big Ben’s number in Foxborough, the Steelers are coming in injury free and motivated to show that last year’s disappointing finish is not a reflection on what the Steelers will be in 2019. Pittsburgh’s defense — that includes the offseason additions of cornerback Steven Nelson and rookie first round pick Devin Bush — will also be coming in with confidence after holding the Patriots to just 10 points when the two teams faced off in Week 15 of the 2018 season.
New England’s question marks at the tight end and receiver positions may force the Patriots to rely on their defense and running game to keep the Steelers at bay.
Prediction: Steelers 23, Patriots 20
What to watch for: Tom Brady faces the Steelers’ pass rush, which tied for an NFL-high 52 sacks last season, with backup center Ted Karras stepping in for David Andrews (IR, blood clots in lungs) and 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn(IR as a rookie/torn Achilles) making his first career start at left tackle. How the Patriots’ offensive line protects him might be the difference. — Mike Reiss
Bold prediction: The Steelers’ improved defense will intercept Brady inside Gillette Stadium for the first time ever. Pittsburgh feels it finally has the playmakers in the back seven to match wits with Brady, who has never lost to Pittsburgh at home. — Jeremy Fowler
Stat to know: Brady has a 86.1 Total QBR against the Steelers since the metric was first tracked in 2006, his second-best QBR against a single opponent in that span (91.8 vs. the Bears).
Fowler’s pick: Steelers 27, Patriots 20
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 27, Steelers 24
FPI prediction: NE, 65.1% (by an average of 5.6 points)
Buffalo at New York Jets
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Jets – 3.5
While Buffalo’s defense will challenge the the Jets, quarterback Sam Darnold and new teammate Le’Veon Bell — playing in his first game in 602 days — will do enough to get the Jets a Week 1 win in front of their home crowd.
Prediction: Jets 24, Bills 16
What to watch for: Jets running back Le’Veon Bell makes his much-anticipated return to the NFL after sitting out the 2018 season because of a contract dispute with the Steelers. And second-year QBs Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, who are close friends, meet for the second time in what figures to be a long personal rivalry within the AFC East. Darnold leads Allen 1-0. — Rich Cimini
Bold prediction: Devin Singletary will score two touchdowns. The rookie running back has a role on the ground and in the passing game, and will find his way into the end zone in both capacities Sunday. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Stat to know: Allen averaged 10.5 air yards per attempt last season for Buffalo, the second-highest rate in the NFL — but he completed just 37% of his throws more than 10 yards downfield, which was the worst mark in the league.
What to know for fantasy: Bell was RB2 the last time we saw him (2017), averaging 22.8 points per game. And there were four running backs last season who scored over 25 points in a game against the Bills (Marlon Mack, Melvin Gordon, Leonard Fournette and James White). See Week 1 rankings.
Dan Orlovsky and Rob Ninkovich agree that with the Jets playing at home and having Le’Veon Bell will be too much for the Bills.
Betting nugget: The underdog has won five of the past six — and nine of the past 11 — meetings between these two teams outright. Read more.
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 24, Jets 16
Cimini’s pick: Jets 21, Bills 20
FPI prediction: NYJ, 59.3% (by an average of 3.4 points)
Baltimore at Miami
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Ravens -6.5
Prediction: Dolphins 17, Ravens 16
What to watch for: Dolphins coaches’ eyes widened when Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson was mentioned this week, and they highlighted his passing game improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. “This is not a one-trick pony,” coach Brian Flores said. — Cameron Wolfe
Bold prediction: Jackson gains over 100 yards rushing. He’s opening the season against a Dolphins defense that allowed Bills QB Josh Allen to rush for 135 and 95 yards in two meetings last December. — Jamison Hensley
Stat to know: The Ravens have scored 54 unanswered points versus the Dolphins, including a 40-0 win in Week 8 of 2017. And the Ravens went 6-1 after naming Jackson the starting quarterback in Week 10 of 2018.
What to know for fantasy:Jackson ranked sixth in rush attempts and seventh in rushing yards over the final seven weeks of 2018 … among all positions. Over that stretch, Jackson had more rushing yards (556) and rushing touchdowns (4) than Christian McCaffrey. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: Baltimore has covered each of the past eight meetings. But Miami has covered six straight season openers, the longest active streak in the league. Read more.
Hensley’s pick: Ravens 26, Dolphins 10
Wolfe’s pick: Ravens 24, Dolphins 13
FPI prediction: BAL, 63.1% (by an average of 4.9 points)
My Weekly Predictions!
YTD Record = 0-0
I will do this weekly and keep you updated on my record, feel free to make fun of me! Its all good!!! But make sure you are picking better weekly!!!! At least show us, write about it!
I know the “tanking is on, but I will tell you this, so is the heat in South Florida! Ravens will be stunned, and the Dolphins win one of their 3 games for the year!!!! Dolphins 16-13
This is a battle of two teams heading in right direction, and two very close friends at QB. Bills will be up for it, but Jets home game, no chance, Jets will be fired up! Jets win! 27-20
Pats are notorious slow starters, but Steelers are no longer that good. No chance home made chowder loses to a bunch of cancer stricken steel factory workers. Patriots win! 27-23