The rematch, slated for the second week of the season, will be a tone-setter for the Jags. Deshaun Watson is better than those three combined. DeAndre Hopkins has come into his own after another stellar season got him the deserved recognition of the All-Pro team. And the worst scoring defense in the NFL gets the best pass rusher in the game back while also adding Tyrann Mathieu, on a one-year bet-on-himself deal, to the secondary.
These teams split the series last year, but the one game in which Watson played really tells the story. The Texans won and Watson led the franchise to its highest scoring output ever. The way I see it below , the Titans will very much be in the hunt in Week 12, so this division contest is a crucial one for Houston. Derrick Henry has control of the running game. The offensive line is solid. Tennessee had great offseason pickups with Malcolm Butler in free agency and Rashaan Evans in the draft.
But I like Jacksonville and Houston more in the division and Marcus Mariota throwing 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions in his third season is concerning. A slight step back for Tennessee feels like the call here. These teams also meet in Week 3, so really you can take your pick.
Tennessee impressively topped the Jags twice last season on its way to a division record. As noted above, I think the AFC South will come down to the wire, so a win here for the Titans will very likely prove this prediction wrong. This prediction, which mirrors the results for Indianapolis, is solely rooted in the uncertainty around Andrew Luck. This should be the first time since Jan. If Luck is not ready by Week 1 as he should be, further doubt should be cast on this season.
No team—not the Packers or the Patriots or the Saints—has a better quarterback situation than Philadelphia. The Eagles will be coming off their Week 9 bye, so a strong performance against a rival is needed to kick off the second half of the season. Yes, Dak Prescott took a small step back in his sophomore campaign, but he still put together four game-winning drives last season.
Ezekiel Elliott should play the whole slate rather than sitting out six games when the Cowboys went without him. And Leighton Vander Esch will fit perfectly with the Cowboys.
Dallas will be coming off that huge Week 10 tilt with the Eagles and heading to Atlanta to face a Falcons team that crushed them by 20 points last year while Elliott was out. The winner of this head-to-head will greatly improve its odds of getting a wild card. Like the Cowboys, the Giants have one glaring hole. The only way to beat Drew Brees is to hit him consistently. Obviously that should be a challenge for this Giants defense. This also kicks off a four-game stretch for the Giants against playoff teams.
And finally, we get treated to Beckham vs. Kirk Cousins pulled off a miracle last year that is rarely discussed. His banged-up offensive line got him sacked 41 times. His best pass-catcher missed most of the season with a hamstring injury.
The defense was 27th in scoring was the worst in the league against the run. And somehow Cousins led Washington to a record. Washington needs more than that. The Vikings are about as well-built as any team in the league. Their top-ranked defense from a year ago got even better in the offseason with the addition of Sheldon Richardson and rookie corner Mike Hughes.
Following a career year from Case Keenum, the offense got a quarterback in Kirk Cousins who could get them over the hump, and Minnesota returns running back Dalvin Cook from an early-season ACL tear after he dazzled in his debut. The interior of the offensive line may be the only question in Minnesota, which is looking for its third NFC North crown in four years. This is the sort of early game that eventually decides a division.
As long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, the Packers will reach the playoffs. The Packers finally have a legitimate No. Adding Mo Wilkerson to the defensive line and strengthening the defensive backfield in the draft gets the Pack back in postseason play. Brady and Rodgers have met on the field just once before, and a week for the quarterbacks and their head coaches to scheme against one another could be a multipart docuseries on HBO. This could be the best game of the regular season.
Matt Stafford has played a high level the past two seasons, the receiving group has gotten better and the 27th-ranked defense from a year ago should improve immediately under the former Pats defensive coordinator. But the Lions are clearly the third-best team in this tough division.
The schedule makers pitted the Lions against the Vikings in Weeks 7 and 9, so Detroit has to show mental toughness against a Seahawks team that may be down this year. The outcome of this game will show how focused the Lions are. The Bears got better at crucial positions they had to get better at this offseason.
The offensive line took a big hit losing guard Josh Sitton and the defense, while improved with Roquan Smith at linebacker, still needs to find a pass rush. It may take one more year for this group to gel. After a difficult home game against the Pats, the Bears have a soft middle-season schedule during which they host the Jets, travel to Buffalo and host the Lions in consecutive weeks.
The rich got richer this offseason, and the Rams look to be completely unfair. Ndamukong Suh is now on a defensive line beside Aaron Donald. Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are in the same secondary. Brandin Cooks adds speed to the offense. The Rams are building a monster, and their youthful wild-card exit last year will only fuel this campaign.
No game on paper is as exciting as this one. Both squads have surrounded their third-year quarterbacks with veterans acquired through various trades and deft free-agency moves. No team that missed the playoffs last year should feel as good about its odds in as the 49ers. The Cardinals will be a tad better, but the Rams and 49ers will need to tread water near the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Some see Seattle as having a closing championship window because of defensive age and injury, but others can see its bigger offensive upside. Complete NFC West predictions. Detroit Lions 2. Green Bay Packers 3. Minnesota Vikings 4. Is the world ready for Matthew Stafford to jump ahead of Aaron Rodgers? But the NFC North title is within reach, and the Packers have to prove they're up to defending it … even with one of the best quarterbacks of his generation.
Complete NFC North predictions. Atlanta Falcons 2. Carolina Panthers 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4. New Orleans Saints Good idea, because every team in the division has the goods to challenge them just to get out of the NFC South. The Buccaneers are poised to break through, or at least poised to face the expectations about breaking through. Complete NFC South predictions. Raiders over Ravens; Broncos over Titans — Divisional playoffs: There's NFL parity, and then there are the Patriots.
In , it would be a major upset if New England, which has been to an unprecedented six straight AFC championship games, does not make it a lucky seven. Complete AFC playoff predictions. Giants over Falcons; Packers over Lions — Divisional playoffs: Complete NFC playoff predictions. To pick against them to repeat would make us certifiably insane. Start Slideshow Use left or right buttons to navigate. Patriots , AFC East champions 2.
Steelers , AFC North champions 3. Cam Newton might think he's Superman, but playing without Greg Olsen foot and a new right side of the offensive line with Trai Turner concussion likely out and Daryl Williams knee definitely out might be too much even for him to overcome. The defense will keep this one close, and cornerback James Bradberry will contain Julio Jones.
But in the end Falcons 20, Panthers Jones had a career-best yard game vs. Falcons 24, Panthers It might be early, but no game has a higher potential playoff impact than this one. Carolina would jump to 57 percent with a win and drop to 33 percent with a loss. The Falcons would climb to 50 percent with a win and drop to 25 percent with a loss. The combined leverage for this matchup is 48 percent.
Olsen's absence boosts Devin Funchess ' fantasy outlook. In nine games Funchess has played with Olsen sidelined, he has averaged For true respect, Newton, Ryan need to put a ring on it Rookie Thomas on fast track to replace Olsen.
PIT -4 Matchup quality: The Chiefs haven't matched up well against the Steelers in recent years. Pittsburgh has dominated up front -- the Steelers have rushing yards in the past three matchups to for the Chiefs -- and controlled Kansas City's high-scoring offense the Chiefs have 43 points in the three games.
That won't change this season. Steelers 27, Chiefs The Steelers have won six of their past seven against the Chiefs. Tyreek Hill has averaged 4.
Ben Roethlisberger will be eager to find his rhythm at home, and the Chiefs' inexperienced secondary should help. Steelers 30, Chiefs The Chiefs had the best special-teams week of any team last week -- Hill had a punt return for a touchdown -- which is great in the moment, but less predictable than offense or defense. Going forward, FPI still isn't quite sold on K. But here's why he should be started on the road in Pittsburgh.
A better test for Chiefs comes against Steelers. Still no Carson Wentz , but the Eagles' offense should get going in Tampa. Mike Wallace noted this week that the Bucs play a lot of "quarters" defense, which he views as the ideal coverage to get deep balls. Nick Foles might air a few out against a banged-up Tampa secondary after playing conservatively in Week 1.
The Eagles' defensive front, meanwhile, will make it tough for Ryan Fitzpatrick to get his "magic" going. Eagles 27, Bucs Can the Bucs replicate last week's offensive firepower and Fitzpatrick's "Fitz-Magic" against the Eagles' vaunted defense? More importantly, can the defense that gave up 40 points and struggled against the Saints anticipate Doug Pederson's gadget plays? They did enough last week to earn a vote of confidence here.
Bucs 28, Eagles It looks like there is still some magic left in Fitzpatrick's arm, as he posted his highest single-game Total QBR since The Eagles' defense will provide a tougher challenge as it has allowed the second-lowest Total QBR against since the start of last season. Tampa Bay allowed the most fantasy points to slot receivers in Week 1.
This bodes well for Nelson Agholor , who aligned inside on 54 percent of his Week 1 routes. Ajayi to be 'workhorse' for Eagles Monken's watchful eye benefiting Bucs offense How Foles nearly joined Bucs.
The Browns' defense gave up touchdown drives of 88, 74 and 39 yards to Pittsburgh and now on the road has to face a Saints team angered by an embarrassing home loss in its opener.
That's not a good formula for a team whose quarterback went of passing in the opener. Saints 31, Browns I'm surprised the Saints are nearly double-digit favorites for the second straight week.
Their defense had trouble containing Ryan Fitzpatrick in the pocket in Week 1, and now it has to deal with Tyrod Taylor -- not to mention dangerous receiving threats such as Jarvis Landry , Josh Gordon and Duke Johnson Jr. Saints 30, Browns Though the Saints lost in Week 1, the Brees-Thomas connection was nearly perfect. Gordon managed just one catch on three targets while playing on 78 percent of Cleveland's offensive snaps in Week 1. Should he be started in Week 2?
How the highly touted Saints secondary came back to earth Brees heaps praise on Mayfield Browns seek to maintain post perfection in New Orleans. WSH -6 Matchup quality: The Colts have started the season for four consecutive years.
They're about to extend that streak to five. Field conditions could play a factor in the game because of possible heavy rain due to Hurricane Florence. Colts coach Frank Reich believes poor field conditions favor the offense, and that's where the Redskins will have the edge because of their running game. Washington rushed for yards in Week 1 against Arizona.
Redskins 21, Colts The Redskins have a chance to be for the first time since , with upcoming games vs. Green Bay and New Orleans. They need the momentum. Washington's running game looked as creative and diverse as it ever has been under coach Jay Gruden, and that will give the Colts trouble.
Redskins 24, Colts Washington was one of FPI's biggest movers of the week, jumping 11 spots to 11th overall in large part because of the second-highest offensive efficiency of Week 1. In his first start back from injury, Andrew Luck posted a Despite the addition of Eric Ebron , Jack Doyle is still the Colts tight end you want to play every week in daily fantasy.
Tough early schedule means Colts must find footing fast Smith carries out transformation of Redskins' run game. Deshaun Watson lit up the Titans for five touchdowns in their last matchup.
The secondary will be tested by Watson and DeAndre Hopkins , especially when Watson is able to break the pocket and buy extra time. The pass rush had trouble getting to the quarterback last week, getting only one sack in the season opener.
They'll need a better effort this week, but the Texans will end up with the close win. Texans 24, Titans The Texans' pass rush had a hard time getting to Tom Brady early in the season opener, but it improved in the second half.
The Texans will look more like that team against Marcus Mariota , who could be playing behind an offensive line that is not at full strength.
This won't be a blowout like the last time Watson faced the Titans, but he will lead the Texans to a victory to avoid starting the season Texans 21, Titans