NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 1

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Detroit @ Kansas City (-7)

The Super Bowl champion Chiefs begin defense of their title against the up-and-coming Lions. K.C.'s championship team is pretty much intact, and title in 2023 would make them the first team to repeat since the Patriots in 2005.

"Anytime you can compare yourselves to the Patriots," Patrick Mahomes said, "you know you've been successful, or you've been caught cheating. And we're not cheaters. Well, let me rephrase that. The only time we've been caught cheating is Andy Reid, on a diet."

The Lions ended the 2022 season by winning eight of their final ten games, but just missed the playoffs. Dan Campbell knows what happened in 2022 offers no guarantee of success in 2023, but anything less than a playoff appearance will be a huge disappointment.

"Our first order of business is to win the NFC North," Campbell said. "And why can't we? Aaron Rodgers is out of the division, and Kirk Cousins is still in it.

"It's all about motivation. And how can you be motivated every single day of the year? One way is to purchase the 'Dan Campbell Motivational Quotes Calendar,' which features a daily, clever inspirational quote actually uttered by yours truly, an aging jock in a t-shirt so tight his nipples appear to be the same size as Ronnie Lott's left pinky finger."

Chiefs win, 31-22.

Carolina @ Atlanta (-3)

The Panthers selected Alabama's Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick in April's draft, and optimism is high in Charlotte. Frank Reich takes over as head coach, and with a totally revamped offense, Carolina looks to contend in the wide open NFC South.

"There's excitement all around us," Reich said. "I mean, people stop me on the streets of Charlotte every single day, and ask me for directions.

"Matt Rhule was my predecessor as Carolina's head coach. But I've eliminated all traces of Rhule in the head coach's office. The first thing to go was his refrigerator full of chocolate pudding and Red Bull energy drink. Matt's now at the University of Nebraska, who he somehow bamboozled into paying him about $10 million a year to go 4-8."

The Falcons 7-10 record in 2022 left them only a game behind the division-winning 8-9 record of the Buccaneers.

"The NFC South is sure to be the most competitive division in the NFL this year," Arthur Smith said. "'Most competitive' is just another way to say 'worst,' just as 'Arthur Smith' is another way to say 'soon-to-be offensive coordinator for a mediocre college team in 2024.'

"But we've got a rookie running back named Bijan Robinson who has the talent and athleticism to be a superstar. Unfortunately, he's got a coach with the conservatism and lack of vision to prevent him from being a superstar."

Falcons win, 22-16.

Houston @ Baltimore (-9)

The Texans selected quarterback C.J. Stroud and pass rush specialist Will Anderson in April's draft, and head coach DeMeco Ryans expects the rookie to be the cornerstones of a Texans rebuild from a 3-13 campaign in 2022.

"Call me crazy," Ryans said, "but our goal this year is to win the Super Bowl. If that happens, some may call it a miracle. But miracles do happen. Hell, this racist organization has hired three black coaches in a row. Now that is a miracle."

The Ravens made the playoffs last season despite the absence of Lamar Jackson for five regular season games. Jackson is healthy now, with a fat contract extension, and a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken.

"As offensive coordinator at Georgia," John Harbaugh said, "Todd led the Bulldogs to two straight national championships. That looks pretty good on a resume. You know what doesn't look good on a resume? A recommendation from my dumb younger brother Jim. He's an idiot. Michigan is slapping him with a self-imposed three game ban to start the season. It's gotta be the most untimely 'time out' at Michigan since Chris Webber in 1993.

"We've added some significant weapons to our offense. One of those is Odell Beckham, Jr. Does Odell still have it, even at the age of 30? I guess we'll find out. Odell got famous by making catches with one hand. Now, the only thing he can do with one hand is count the number of years he has left in the NFL."

Ravens win, 27-15.

Cincinnati @ Cleveland (+2½)

The Bengals lost to the Chiefs in the AFC title game last season, so expectations are high in Cincinnati. But Joe Burrow's calf injury, suffered in late July, has somewhat dampened the high hopes for last year's AFC North champions.

"An injury is not gonna stop Joe from achieving great things," Zac Taylor said. "There's a long history of great quarterbacks overcoming injuries: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Johnny Utah, just to name a few.

"Joe rehabbed his calf injury with what is known as the 'Deshaun Watson treatment,' which is a regimen of vigorous massage from people that really don't want to do it."

The Browns 2023 hopes rest on the perverted shoulders of Deshaun Watson, now in his second season as Cleveland's quarterback. Watson was erratic last year, completing only 58% of his passes, but still has the talent to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

"That's a season Deshaun would certainly like to forget," Kevin Stefanski said. "If he had a chance to rub one out, it would be that season. Deshaun was a little rusty last season. But as he well knows, good lubrication is the secret to beating rust, and beating other things as well.

"And speaking of 'unwanted touching,' the fiery Jim Schwartz is our new defensive coordinator. Whatever you do, don't pat this man on the back, or grab his crotch, for that matter."

Browns win, 24-22.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (+4)

After a loss in the divisional round last season to the Chiefs, the Jaguars are looking for more in 2023. Trevor Lawrence is a rising superstar in his third year, and Jacksonville added wide receiver Calvin Ridley via a trade with the Falcons.

"You can best bet Calvin's going to make an impact," Doug Pederson said. "He's certainly got juice, and we're going to parlay that into success.

"We feel we're capable of winning it all. I know I do. So, I'm perfectly comfortable betting on my own team."

The Colts hired Shane Steichen as head coach in February and tasked him with turning around a team that finished 4-12-1 in 2022.

"You're only as good as the people around you," Steichen said. "So I've surrounded myself with the best and brightest minds in the NFL. You may be surprised, but my offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is one of those people. Now, his parents, who named him that, are idiots.

"Of course, as a new head coach, the last thing you want to see is your best player unhappy. Jonathan Taylor isn't exactly happy with his contract situation. And Jim Irsay doesn't know how to keep his mouth shut, but that does allow him to more easily stuff it with painkillers.

"I mean, why can't we pay Jonathan? Jim's a billionaire. It's not like he's got thousands of dollars just laying around somewhere, like in a briefcase, or a laundry bag, or in the console of his SUV."

Jaguars win, 30-17.

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota (-6½)

Tom Brady retired after the 2022 season, and the Bucs signed Baker Mayfield in March to replace the soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

"There's no way I can fill Tom's shoes,'" Mayfield said. "But take it from me, I know what it's like to put something very small in a very large space. Suffice it to say I only use the term 'loaded box' in a football sense.

"But I think I proved in the preseason that I'm the man to lead this team. How else could you describe someone who barely beat out a guy named Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback job? It's pretty sad. I went from being the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft to barely beating out Kyle Trask. So, I may have the keys to the Buccaneers offense, my keys to the Heisman House have been revoked."

Minnesota's 2022 season ended with a crushing home playoff loss to the Giants. But the experience left Kevin O'Connell's squad wanting more.

"I think we all were in a hurry to start a new season," Kirk Cousins said. "Some more than others, like rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison, who was clocked doing 140 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. That's fast. Heck, here in Minnesota, they're already calling him the second coming of the 'Whizzinator.' I think that bodes well for his career as a Viking, because he's already doing things that Randy Moss never did."

Vikings win, 24-21.

Tennessee @ New Orleans (-3½)

Injuries derailed the Titans 2022 season, but Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are healthy, and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins should give the Tennessee offense a boost.

"I think DeAndre is thrilled to be in Tennessee," Mike Vrabel said. "But just slightly less than he is to be out of Arizona. I think DeAndre's happy to be away from Kyler Murray. And the distance from Glendale to Nashville is generally the same distance between Kyler and a playbook.

"As usual, our success lies on the broad shoulders of Derrick Henry. It remains to be seen how Derrick will perform behind our offensive line. I think the answer to that question is Derrick will be tackled behind our offensive line."

The Saints signed former Raider Derek Carr in March to be their quarterback, and Dennis Allen hopes Carr's ability and leadership can help the Saints turn the corner.

"Having Derek as our quarterback automatically makes us Super Bowl favorites," Allen said, "but only according to Derek's brother David.

"David's going to have to carry this team while Alvin Kamara serves his three-game suspension for punching a man in Las Vegas back in 2022. I'm surprised by Alvin's actions. Not because he punched a man in Las Vegas, but because he didn't punch Mark Davis, because he definitely has the most punchable face in Las Vegas."

Titans win, 23-20.

San Francisco @ Pittsburgh (+3)

After a 9-8 season in 2022, the Steelers look to make more of an impact in the AFC North, which some consider the most competitive division in the NFL.

"As I like to say," Mike Tomlin said, "'The standard is the standard.' And we are unbelievably standard.'

"Our playoff hopes rest on the play of Kenny Pickett. We need Kenny to progress as quickly as Ben Roethlisberger did. By Ben's second year, he had already won a Super Bowl, and wrecked a motorcycle. By his sixth year, he had considerably expanded his resume, his rap sheet, and his presence in bathrooms."

The 49ers playoff run last year ended in Philadelphia, where Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury early in an eventual 31-7 loss to the Eagles in the NFC championship game.

"Brock's arm is healed," Kyle Shanahan said. "I'm ready to turn him loose, and when Kyle Shanahan says 'turn him loose,' it means he'll allow Brock to throw a pass four yards behind the line of scrimmage that Deebo Samuel or Christian McCaffrey can hopefully turn into a 60-yard touchdown.

"In case Brock gets injured this season, we're confident of Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen as competent backups. Another way of saying that is if Brock gets injured, our offense will surely back up."

Steelers win, 23-20.

Arizona @ Washington (-3)

The Cards finished 4-13 last year, dead last in the NFC West, leading to the ouster of Kliff Kingsbury and the hiring of Eagles offensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon as head coach.

"Kyler Murray is still recovering from an ACL injury," Gannon said. "He suffered that injury in December of 2022, when he was running to escape film study.

"But once he's healthy, I'm here to make Kyler a superstar. I want his career to be defined by his play on the field, not by his laissez faire attitude towards game study, or his penchant for wearing lime green ladies' pant suits, or his habit of openly arguing with a head coach, or his ability to pass and run ... a franchise into the ground.

"I need Kyler to be our leader, so I need him to be a general, not a general dick."

The Commanders are free from the grasp of the evil empire of Dan Snyder, who was forced to sell the team earlier this year. Washington finished 8-8-1 last year, which placed them last in the NFC East.

"Dan may be one of the worst human beings in the history of the NFL," Ron Rivera said. "If there's a worse human being than Dan, that person is probably also an NFL owner.

"Dealing with a scumbag for so long is certainly not fun; just ask Kliff Kingbury. But not only is this organization No. 1 in worst workplace culture, financial improprieties, and sexual misconduct, it's also No. 1 at looking the other way, ignoring obvious problems, and moral bankruptcies."

Sam Howell passes for 3 touchdowns, and Washington cruises, 28-14.

Green Bay @ Chicago (-2½)

The Aaron Rodgers' era is over in Green Bay, and Jordan Love is set to take the reins of the Packers offense.

"I learned a lot by just observing Aaron," Love said. "I had to, because he wouldn't allow me to talk to him.

"I just hope I can live up to the standard previous Packers quarterbacks have set over the years. If I can, then I could be a Hall of Fame quarterback with a taste for hallucinogenic drugs and a morally bankrupt ethical code that spurs me to commit welfare fraud to have a gym built at a shitty college."

Chicago is coming off a 3-14 2022 season, and Matt Eberflus, in his second season, looks to make the Bears contenders in the competitive NFC North.

"I'm pretty confident fans will see a different Bears team come September," Eberflus said. "And probably a different coach come mid-October.

"With Aaron Rodgers out of the NFC North, Justin has a chance to establish him as the premiere quarterback in the division. But only if you don't count passing accuracy as one of the criteria. Justin couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, but he could run through it."

Bears win, 21-20.

Las Vegas @ Denver (-3½)

After releasing Derek Carr in February, the Raiders tabbed Jimmy Garoppolo as their next quarterback by signing the former 49er in March.

"I don't know if we necessarily got better at the quarterback position," Josh McDaniels said, "but we definitely got better looking at the QB position. There's nothing at all average-looking about Jimmy G, except for his passing statistics.

"Josh Jacobs finally signed a contract, and we expect him to earn every penny of it. Josh led all running backs in touches last season, so suffice it to say he's gonna 'get the rock' this year. It's always good to have someone who gets the rock. Back in the Raiders heydays in the 1970s and '80s, they had a full-time employee whose sole job was to 'get the rock.'"

Sean Payton takes over in Denver and hopes to get Russell Wilson back into form.

"I'm not a big fan of the guy who was the previous head coach here in Denver," Payton said. "And everybody knows I'm not afraid to tell it like it is, but only if I'm under oath.

"Most Broncos fans are telling me, 'You need to get Russell back to where he was.' I think by that, they mean 'Seattle.'"

Broncos win, 24-21.

Miami @ Los Angeles Chargers (-1)

The Dolphins are looking to make the leap from wild card to division winner in the loaded AFC East. To do so, Miami will need Tua Tagovailoa to remain healthy for a full season.

"As much as we need Tyreek Hill to stay away from marinas," Mike McDaniel said, "we need Tua to stay on the field. Last year, our training staff was pretty damn good at doing that. They couldn't diagnose a concussion if it hit them over the head with a sledgehammer.

"This game is a battle of two of the brightest minds in coaching. Me? I'm totally geeked to match wits with Brandon Staley. This may look like it'll be a shootout, but I think defense will decide the outcome. Vic Fangio has the perfect game plan: force the Dolphins into fourth down situations, and let Staley do the rest."

The Chargers blew a 27-point lead in the wild card playoff in a disastrous 31-30 loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville. The team hired Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator in January, and Brandon Staley hopes the change jumpstarts his offense.

"I'm entrusting Kellen with all offensive play-calling duties," Staley said. "That way, I can focus 100% of my attention on analytics, and blame 100% of our problems on him.

"We're expecting a big year from Justin Herbert. He's the face of this franchise. Me? I'm the butt of jokes."

Miami wins, 27-24.

Philadelphia @ New England (+4½)

The Eagles saw a Super Bowl championship slip away in the second half of their 38-34 loss to the Chiefs in the big game. But with Jalen Hurts leading a potent offense, coupled with a solid defense, Philly has a strong chance at another shot at the title.

"Jalen is a superior athlete," Nick Sirianni said, "but don't underestimate his knowledge of the game. He's a son of a coach. Me? I'm a son of a bitch.

"I know Bill Belichick's reputation was built on defense. But they'll be no match for our offense. We're gonna pour it on. It's been a while since the Pats were saddled with a 'gate' controversy. We're gonna give them one. It'll be called 'Flood Gate."

The Patriots enter an uncertain season in which they'll be the odds on favorite to finish last in the tough AFC East.

"I've been told the current Patriots are less relevant than Limp Bizkit," Bill Belichick said. "I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds very bad.

"But as most people know, you should never underestimate a team coached by me. Also, you should never underestimate a quarterback like Tom Brady. People say I can't win a Super Bowl championship without Tom Brady. Well, show me a head coach who can win one with Mac Jones."

Eagles win, 28-21.

Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle (-4)

The Rams 2021 Super Bowl-winning season seems like a distant memory in the wake of 2022's disastrous 5-12 campaign.

"I'm considered an offensive genius," Sean McVay said. "So, anything is possible. Now, it doesn't take a genius to see that this team sucks balls. Even if we go 0-17, it could actually be worse — the Chargers could beat us in attendance.

"Let me be clear: we are not going to tank in an attempt to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Probably because we won't need to."

The Seahawks made the playoffs as a wild card team behind the resurgent play of Geno Smith, who threw for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2022. Smith was rewarded with a $105 million contract extension in the offseason.

"Geno really had a great year," Pete Carroll said. "Honestly, I would have to give him a grade of 'A.' Russell Wilson, on the other hand, didn't fare nearly as well. Even though he was playing in the altitude of Denver, his play was at a 'C' level.

"We plan on challenging the 49ers for the division title. I see a lot of similarities in the Seahawks and 49ers. The biggest one is that both teams are expecting four easy wins over the Rams and Cardinals this season."

Seattle wins, 28-21.

Dallas @ New York Giants (+3)

Dallas fell in the divisional round to the 49ers last season, and there's no reason to believe the Cowboys can't reach or surpass that in 2023. Zeke Elliott is gone, but Dallas added Brandin Cooks on offense, and Stephon Gilmore joins an already stacked Cowboys defense.

"I can't think of anything that can stop this team," Dak Prescott said. "That's because I don't need to think it; I can see it, in the form of Mike McCarthy and Jerry Jones. Mike is mediocre, at best, and even at his best, he's mediocre. The line of zeros in Jerry's net worth is only exceeded by the number of zeros representing Super Bowl wins since 1996.

"I'm not sure why we traded to acquire Trey Lance. I know that pervert Jerry Jones likes big busts, but this is ridiculous."

The Giants advanced to the divisional round in the playoffs last season, but were sent packing by the Eagles, who smashed the Giants 38-7. But after a brief impasse, Saquon Barkley signed his franchise tag, and Daniel Jones is expected to build on the vast improvements he made last year.

"Daniel's only 26-years-old," Brian Daboll said, "so he's still got a lot to learn. But that doesn't even compare to what he has to unlearn, because he played two years with Joe Judge as his head coach."

Giants win, 23-21.

Buffalo @ New York Jets (+1½)

The Jets traded for Aaron Rodgers in April, and the acquisition instantly skyrocketed the Jets to the list of Super Bowl favorites.

"Aaron brings a ton of experience with him," Robert Saleh said. "He's 39-years-old. That may sound old for an NFL quarterback, but not for an NFL backup quarterback's girlfriend who is a friend of said backup quarterback's mother.

"We're counting on Aaron to lead this team to its first Super Bowl win since 1969. Now, Aaron's not one to make guarantees, except to guarantee that can't guarantee he'll be in the league next year."

The Bills have won three straight AFC East titles, but the franchise's ultimate goal of a Super Bowl title has remained out of reach. But Buffalo is still the AFC East favorite, although winning the division may be a little tougher this season.

"Times have changed," Josh Allen said. "In the 1990s, the Bill were the team that couldn't win the Super Bowl. Now, we're the team that can't get to the Super Bowl.

"After three straight East titles, I think we're ready to take that next step. Really, is there anything wrong with making your season motto 'the fourth time is the charm' here in Buffalo? I don't think so."

Jets win, 23-20.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site