This is the year. I can feel it. For several years now I have picked every game of the NFL season straight up to help you with your NFL office pools. Some years have been better than others, but I have not yet had one of those years that you dream of - one in which you have basically all but clinched your pool by Thanksgiving. We're due, and it's going to happen. Buckle in and enjoy the ride:
Carolina at Denver: I am highly skeptical of the Denver quarterback situation and how it will stand up under live fire. I also question whether Denver's defense is going to be quite as good as it was last year - or quite as good as it needs to be. I'm a believer in Carolina - both overall and in this spot. Take the Panthers.
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Green Bay at Jacksonville: I like Jacksonville quite a bit. Blake Bortles and this offense should take a step forward, and they have invested in the defense. Good team. Tempted to pick them, but I can't quite do it. Green Bay will wind up with the best record in football if Aaron Rodgers stays healthy. Take the Packers.
Buffalo at Baltimore: The list of things I like about Buffalo right now is really, really short. As in I can't think of a thing. Baltimore will be significantly better than last year if Joe Flacco can stay healthy. Take the Ravens.
Chicago at Houston: I do not have a ton of faith in the QB situation in Houston. Fortunately, though, it just doesn't matter here. The Bears are a mess, and it's going to be a long season for them. Take the Texans.
Cleveland at Philadelphia: The Eagles are not a great team, and after trading Sam Bradford I really don't like their QB scenario in the short term. That doesn't matter now, though. Until they prove otherwise - which they likely won't - the Browns are an auto-pick-against team. Take the Eagles.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta: Atlanta should be better than they have been. They should have been better than they have been for the last five years, though. There is something in the mindset of this team that is just frustrating. I'm going to go out on a limb slightly here and pick the upset. Take the Bucs.
Minnesota at Tennessee: I like the Bradford trade - more than a lot of people seem to. He'll have some catching up to do, but this is a good spot for him. I'm going to give him a win in his debut in purple. Take the Vikings.
Cincinnati at New York Jets: I don't have any respect at all for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. This is the regular season, though, and they do better when the games matter less. The Jets don't have a QB to trust, and that's the end of their issues by any means. Take the Bengals.
Oakland at New Orleans: It makes me nervous because they have been so bad for so long, but I kind of think the Raiders could be decent this year. Maybe even playoff decent. I sure can't say the same about New Orleans. It is going to be a long football season in Louisiana. Take the Raiders.
San Diego at Kansas City: Easiest game of the week. I really like Kansas City this year. I really don't like San Diego. Take the Chiefs.
Miami at Seattle: I'm not as down on Miami as some seem to be - the coaching change was much needed and positive. I'm not nearly as optimistic as many about Seattle, either - they feel like they are due for a bit of a step back this year. I can't pick an upset, though. Take the Seahawks.
Detroit at Indianapolis: I have been bullish on the Lions each of the last two years and they have done nothing for me. I've finally learned from that. Indianapolis should be better than the mess of last year, and potentially much better. Take the Colts.
New York Giants at Dallas: Dak Prescott has been a great story so far, and I like him as a quarterback. The regular season is a whole different thing, though. It really doesn't matter who he is playing against - I just can't pick a rookie QB in his first start. Take the Giants.
New England at Arizona: I think the Patriots will win at least two and maybe three games without Tom Brady. This will not be one of them. Not on the road against one of the best teams in the NFC. Take the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh at Washington: I have some concerns about the Redskins - from the Cousins contract situation on down. I picked Pittsburgh to win the Super Bowl - which pretty much guarantees that they won't. Take the Steelers.
Los Angeles at San Francisco: I wonder if the fans of L.A. would have been so excited about the return of their team if they knew that the first regular-season game was going to be this bad. Neither team is any good at all. Flip a coin. Take the Rams.
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