Joey P’s Week 1 NFL Picks


Each week I’ll pick the winners of all the NFL games (or try to, anyway) without point spreads and without bias, either. 

Out of 256 regular-season contests, I’ve averaged about 165 wins a year since 2009. Off we go!

(all games on Sunday afternoon unless otherwise noted)

New England 27, Kansas City 17 (Thursday night): The Patriots hang another championship banner and begin their march towards another by outlasting an underrated Kansas City bunch.

Cincinnati 20, Baltimore 17: The Bengals won’t have linebacker Vontaze Burfict, corner Adam “Pac-Man” Jones, or rookie speedster John Ross. But at least they have a healthy quarterback in Andy Dalton, who always beats the Ravens at home (won in this spot the last five years).

Buffalo 31, New York Jets 10: The Jets are going to try to “Suck For Sam” and draft USC’s Sam Darnold next year. That’s the only reason I would take Buffalo to win here.

Atlanta 19, Chicago 13: The Falcons have loaded up on defense to prevent another Super Bowl choke job. But they have to get there first. A soft opponent like the Bears is a good way to start.

Pittsburgh 23, Cleveland 13: Despite what Ravens’ fans think, it’s the Browns that have been the Steelers’ longtime archrival. Cleveland’s strides towards improvement will show in this game, but it’s not there…yet.

Arizona 26, Detroit 10: Every once in a while, the Lions will surprise a good team at home, even though Ford Field is not the most intimidating home venue. But, this time, the Cards are simply better…period.

Houston 16, Jacksonville 9: Both teams are not exactly well-stocked at QB, but the Texans had the league’s best defense last year–even without JJ Watt, whose back is healthy again.

Tampa Bay 29, Miami 20: Let’s face it, Florida-based fans get more fired up over Miami-Florida State. But the Buccaneers–my NFC sleeper this year–should provide even more reasons to cheer.

Tennessee 24, Oakland 23: This game is one of the week’s better matchups. It features my AFC sleeper pick, the Titans. I’ll take TN by a whisker over the reborn Raiders.

Philadelphia 30, Washington 17: Redskins’ fans will get a rude awakening in their home opener. The retooled Eagles should show offensive power as Kirk Cousins begins a fall back to earth.

Los Angeles Rams 13, Indianapolis 9: The Rams are not a very exciting team, but the Colts have a poor offensive line. They’re fading fast in other areas, too.

Green Bay 30, Seattle 27: This is the marquee matchup of the weekend! Despite a tough Seahawk defense, I usually never pick against the Packers at Lambeau Field. And I’m not going to this week.

Carolina 17, San Francisco 10: As they try climbing back to the top, the Panthers are going back to their defensive roots. That should be enough–even on the road–against the anemic ‘Niners.

Dallas 20, New York Giants 17 (Sunday night): The Giants have played well in Dallas since the Cowboys’ new stadium opened. I think the two will stage another tense battle.

Minnesota 23, New Orleans 20 (Monday night): The Vikings have shown they can (at times) field a dominant defense. They’ll show it again against Drew Brees and Co.

Denver 24, Los Angeles Chargers 13 (Monday night): The last game of the first week features two teams that are in transition. I’ll pick the Broncos at home.


About Joe Platania

Veteran beat writer, Joe Platania, is entering his 39th year in Baltimore media. He covers sports with insight, humor, and prescient eye. A former longtime member in good standing of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Pro Football Writers of America, Platania manned the CFL Stallions beat for The Avenue Newspaper Group of Essex (1994 and ’95) and the Ravens beat since the team’s inception — one of only three local writers to do so — for PressBox, The Avenue, and other local publications and radio stations. A sought-after contributor and host on talk radio and TV, he often appears on “Inside PressBox” (10:30 a.m. Sundays) and he can be heard at 10 a.m. Saturdays on the “Purple Pride Report,” WQLL-AM (1370). He has also appeared on WMAR-TV’s “Good Morning Maryland” (2009), Comcast SportsNet’s “Washington Post Live” (2004-06), and WJZ-TV’s “Football Talk” postgame show — with legend Marty Bass (2002-04). Platania is the only sports journalist in Maryland history to have been a finalist for both the annual Sportscaster of the Year award (1998, which he won) and Sportswriter of the Year (2010). He is also a four-time Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association award winner. Platania is a graduate of St. Joseph’s (Cockeysville), Calvert Hall College High School, and Towson University, where he earned a degree in Mass Communications. He lives in Cockeysville, MD.

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