The Week 1 NFL schedule is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy‘s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk‘s Dave Bearman hand out helpful nuggets as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.
Thursday: KC 34, HOU 20
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 67.2 | Spread: BAL -7 (48)
What to watch for: The Ravens will be coming after Baker Mayfield. In Baltimore’s Week 4 loss to Cleveland last season, the Ravens blitzed 34% of the time, and Mayfield picked apart the secondary for 342 yards. In the Ravens’ Week 16 victory, they ramped up the pressure, sending five or more rushers 56% of the time and limiting Mayfield to 192 yards passing. — Jamison Hensley
Bold prediction: Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins scores two touchdowns in his Ravens debut against a short-handed Browns defense down multiple starters due to training camp injuries. Dobbins had eight multi-TD games last season at Ohio State. — Jake Trotter
Stat to know: Browns running back Nick Chubb recorded 1,494 rushing yards last season — second most in the NFL behind Derrick Henry‘s 1,540 — and a season-high 165 of them (along with a career-high three rushing touchdowns) came against the Ravens in Week 4. But that isn’t the only rushing attack to watch. Baltimore led the NFL with 206.0 rushing yards per game.
What to know for fantasy: The Ravens might have spent the 55th overall pick on Dobbins this spring, but Mark Ingram had two of his four best games of last season in the first three weeks and is one of just four players since 2001 to have rushed for six scores in six consecutive seasons (LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson and Shaun Alexander). See Week 1 rankings.
Trotter’s pick: Ravens 35, Browns 20
Hensley’s pick: Ravens 34, Browns 17
FPI prediction: BAL, 70.3% (by an average of 7.7 points)
Matchup must-reads: No excuses for Browns’ Mayfield in Year 3 … Jackson “obsessed” with winning Super Bowl … Browns not interested in hype or excuses heading into opener … Hollywood Brown “feels powerful” after packing on pounds … Talented but crowded backfield is happy
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 61.7 | Spread: SEA -2.5 (49)
What to watch for: Todd Gurley is expected to play a significant role as the Falcons’ new top running back. The team monitored his reps during training camp to make sure his left knee and body are fresh for the regular season. Although Gurley won’t be asked to carry the full load, he could bring a much-needed run-game threat to what has been a pass-happy offense. — Vaughn McClure
Bold prediction: Seahawks defensive back Marquise Blair will make a game-changing play. He had the best game of his rookie season against the Falcons in Atlanta, with a team-high 11 tackles and a key forced fumble. Blair was one of Seattle’s standouts of training camp as he transitioned from safety to nickelback, and he should see action in that role Sunday against the Falcons’ three-receiver-heavy offense. — Brady Henderson
Stat to know: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson leads the NFL with 100 passing touchdowns over the past three seasons, but Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is 3-2 in his career versus Wilson, including playoffs, and has won the previous two matchups.
What to know for fantasy: Ryan has been a top-five fantasy quarterback through the first six weeks in each of the past two seasons and faces a Seahawks defense that allowed the sixth-most passing yards last season (4,223). See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: Ryan is 12-5 ATS in his career as a home underdog. Read more.
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 26, Falcons 23
McClure’s pick: Falcons 28, Seahawks 24
FPI prediction: SEA, 52.1% (by an average of 0.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Wilson wants to “cook”; will the Seahawks let him? … Falcons aiming to get Jones in the end zone more often … Exploring Adams’ contract status with Seahawks entering 2020 season … Falcons 2020 season preview: Gurley could be ultimate wild card
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 56.1 | Spread: MIN -2.5 (45)
What to watch for: Will Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook get a contract extension before kickoff? The running back has no leverage to hold out of Sunday’s game and risk not accruing a season toward free agency. But who knows how things will play out as Cook’s contract status heads into the eleventh hour before game day? — Courtney Cronin
Bold prediction: The Vikings will sack Aaron Rodgers five times. Minnesota won’t have Danielle Hunter, but the Packers will realize they don’t have a viable option at right tackle after letting Bryan Bulaga leave in free agency. Rodgers was never sacked more than five times in any game last season. — Rob Demovsky
Stat to know: Rodgers posted a 50.4 QBR last season, his worst since becoming a starter in 2008. But for the second straight season, he threw for 4,000 yards and fewer than five interceptions — he is the only QB in NFL history to do it even once.
What to know for fantasy: Three of Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen‘s best seven career games have come against the Packers, and now he is set to see a spike in target share following the trade of Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: Since hiring coach Mike Zimmer in 2014, Minnesota is 60-34-2 ATS overall (.638), 33-14-1 ATS at home (.702) and 26-11-1 ATS as a home favorite (.703) — all the best marks in the NFL in that span (regular season). Read more.
Demovsky’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 23
Cronin’s pick: Packers 24, Vikings 21
FPI prediction: MIN, 54.9% (by an average of 1.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Rodgers is ready for Year 2 of LaFleur’s offense … Vikings’ Jefferson has look of a star, but he might have to wait … Dillon’s potential is as big as his legs … Vikings counting on NFL’s youngest group of corners in retooled defense … Kirksey key to Packers’ D
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 51.3 | Spread: BUF -6.5 (39.5)
What to watch for: This is Stefon Diggs’ and Josh Allen‘s first game together, and it comes against a mediocre Jets secondary. Look for the third-year quarterback to target the Bills’ new star wide receiver often as they continue to build chemistry. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bold prediction: The Jets will score only one touchdown, and it won’t happen until late in the game. In his past six games against Sean McDermott-coached defenses, Adam Gase’s offenses haven’t scored more than 21 points — and the average per game is just 16.5. The Jets’ offense has so many new players that it’s hard to imagine an efficient performance. — Rich Cimini
Stat to know: Jets quarterback Sam Darnold went 6-2 over the final eight games of the 2019 season, throwing 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. His first five? A 1-4 record, six TDs and nine interceptions.
What to know for fantasy: The Bills’ Allen has just one touchdown pass in his career against the Jets (78 passes thrown), but he has scored 25.9 fantasy points with his legs in his two full games against the divisional rival. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The underdog has won four of the past five meetings outright in this series. Read more.
Cimini’s pick: Bills 24, Jets 13
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 31, Jets 10
FPI prediction: BUF, 62.9% (by an average of 4.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Jets’ Gore begins 16th NFL season with Gore Tour … Bills GM: Not “on track” until we win AFC East … Jets GM says team angered by low expectations … Bills’ White gets extension, to be highest-paid CB … Jets 2020 season preview: Enough playmakers around Darnold? … Bills 2020 season preview: Can Allen lead them to a title?
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 46.5 | Spread: NE -6.5 (42)
What to watch for: While all eyes will be on Cam Newton becoming the first non-homegrown quarterback to start for the Patriots since Scott Secules in Week 10 of the 1993 season, equally as compelling will be the matchup between Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (assuming both play through hamstring injuries). Parker got the better of Gilmore — the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year — in last year’s season finale (eight catches, 137 yards) in a performance that sat with Gilmore all offseason. — Mike Reiss
Bold prediction: Preston Williams — not Parker — leads the Dolphins in receiving, totaling over 100 yards in his first game back from a torn ACL. Parker was the star of the previous matchup between these two teams. But with a healthy duo and extra attention on Parker, Williams will be the main beneficiary of Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s aggressive downfield throws. — Cameron Wolfe
Stat to know: Newton will become fifth quarterback to make his first start for the Patriots since Bill Belichick became the team’s head coach. The previous four all won that first start.
What to know for fantasy: After getting shut out in Week 2 against the Patriots, Parker’s 137 receiving yards in Week 17 were the most against New England since Tyreek Hill‘s 142 in Week 6 of 2018. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: Miami was 9-3 ATS over the final 12 games last season, all as an underdog. Read more.
Wolfe’s pick: Patriots 20, Dolphins 16
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 20
FPI prediction: NE, 70.3% (by an average of 7.7 points)
Matchup must-reads: Why Fitzpatrick’s impact on Dolphins cannot be overstated … New era: Newton ends Patriots’ QB streak, takes over for Brady … Dolphins 2020 season preview: It’s Fitzpatrick’s team, until Tagovailoa takes over … Patriots 2020 season preview: Can Newton keep dynasty rolling? … Dolphins acquire dynamic RB Bowden from Raiders
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 41.8 | Spread: PHI -5.5 (42.5)
What to watch for: There are two key matchups. First, keep an eye on Washington’s defensive front, the strength of the team, versus the Eagles’ offensive line, which has been weakened. The second is Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin against Philly cornerback Darius Slay. McLaurin caught five passes for 72 yards in a matchup versus Slay last season when the latter played for Detroit. In two games against the Eagles, McLaurin caught a combined 10 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. — John Keim
Bold prediction: Chase Young will begin his NFL career with a pair of sacks. The Eagles’ offensive line had a rough summer, losing a pair of starters, Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard, to to injury, and a third, Lane Johnson, was hobbled for much of camp with an ailing ankle. Jason Peters, 38, moved back out to left tackle this week after training this offseason at guard and will have to quickly adjust to fend off Young and the rest of Washington’s formidable pass-rushers. — Tim McManus
Stat to know: In seven career starts against Washington, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has a 5-2 record with 15 passing touchdowns.
What to know for fantasy: The Eagles ended the 2019 regular season on a four-game win streak and led the league in running back fantasy points over that stretch (163). That run included a game at Washington (Week 15) in which Miles Sanders scored a season-high 35.2 points. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Eagles have won the past six games in this series, covering in five of them. Read more.
McManus’ pick: Washington 24, Eagles 23
Keim’s pick: Eagles 24, Washington 20
FPI prediction: PHI, 70.8% (by an average of 7.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: After kicking down doors, Wentz has found his voice … How Washington’s Gibson made Peterson expendable … Eagles 2020 season preview: Wentz needs O-line to hold up … Washington 2020 season preview: Can Haskins lead a turnaround? … Eagles’ Peters gets pay bump for move to LT
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 33.5 | Spread: DET -3 (42)
What to watch for: Bears starter Mitchell Trubisky has shredded the Lions’ defense over the past two seasons, throwing nine touchdowns and one interception. Detroit has the same head coach (Matt Patricia) but a new defensive coordinator (Cory Undlin). Whether Trubisky continues to complete passes at a 74.7% clip against Detroit will be the difference. — Michael Rothstein
Bold prediction: Chicago’s offense scores a touchdown on its opening drive. Unlikely, right? The Bears’ offense struggled horribly in the first quarter last season. In their first eight games of 2019, the Bears scored one touchdown and punted an NFL-worst seven times on opening drives, and they ended the season with 37 first-quarter points. Will the Bears’ offense rise from the ashes with Trubisky back at quarterback? Well, probably not. But he is usually pretty good versus the Lions. — Jeff Dickerson
Stat to know: The 2019 Bears offense ranked No. 31 in yards per play (4.7), No. 29 in points per game (17.5) and No. 27 in offensive efficiency (35.4). In all, it had nine games with fewer than 20 points last season, tied for fourth most in the NFL. Part of the reason was Trubisky’s drop in Total QBR from 2018, a plummet that ranked second worst behind only his new backup, Nick Foles (minimum 100 pass attempts).
What to know for fantasy: Chicago wide receiver Allen Robinson scored 104.9 fantasy points in divisional games last season, ranking him fourth at the position (behind only Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin and Robert Woods). See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: Detroit has nine consecutive seasons of hitting the over in its season opener, the longest active streak in the league. And the Bears were 1-7 ATS on the road last season and failed to cover in 10 of the past 12 games overall. Read more.
Dickerson’s pick: Bears 17, Lions 16
Rothstein’s pick: Lions 23, Bears 17
FPI prediction: CHI, 55.1% (by an average of 1.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: Bears’ running game has question marks … What does signing Peterson mean for the Lions? … Mack determined to improve on substandard 2019 … Stafford’s “photographic” memory helps him master Lions’ offense
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 27.7 | Spread: LV -3 (47.5)
What to watch for: Carolina ranked as one of the worst teams in the NFL at stopping the run last season, allowing 143.5 yards per game, and the Raiders ranked 13th in rushing offense with 118.3 yards per game. So keep an eye on how the addition of first-round pick Derrick Brown, a defensive tackle out of Auburn, and the return of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short from injured reserve bolsters a run defense that new Panthers coach Matt Rhule says will be key. — David Newton
Bold prediction: A high-scoring, college football-style shootout is in the offing. Didn’t Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady just coach in college? “We’ve been watching Baylor, we’ve been watching Temple, we’ve been watching LSU’s offense, we’ve been watching the Saints’ offense,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said, “to get ready for the Carolina offense.” With Christian McCaffrey and Derek Carr, I’m calling for a bunch of points. — Paul Gutierrez
Stat to know: The Panthers have just 46% of last season’s snaps returning in 2020, the fewest in the NFL. And that includes 34% of their defensive snaps, the fewest in the NFL by 15%. The Raiders are second lowest in that department at 49%.
What to know for fantasy: Carolina’s DJ Moore quietly tied for the third-most games as a top-20 performer at wide receiver (nine), and over the past two seasons, the Raiders have allowed the seventh-most points to opposing receivers. See Week 1 rankings.
Gutierrez’s pick: Raiders 37, Panthers 34
Newton’s pick: Raiders 34, Panthers 21
FPI prediction: LV, 51.4% (by an average of 0.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Raiders’ Waller continues march for stardom, continued sobriety in Sin City … Panthers’ Brady brings next-gen approach — and mystery — to opener … Less talk, more focus: Raiders’ second-year “rookie” Abram returns at safety … Panthers 2020 season preview: Young DBs in crosshairs
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 24.9 | Spread: IND -8 (45)
What to watch for: The Jaguars have always had trouble with Philip Rivers. The quarterback is 7-2 against them — completing 69.4% of his passes for 2,668 yards and 24 touchdowns with only five interceptions — and he has led his team to at least 31 points in six of the seven victories. Rivers is 38 and has slowed a bit, but he’ll be facing a young, unproven Jaguars defense. The Jags have one rookie cornerback (CJ Henderson) starting, and five of the team’s 11 defensive backs are rookies. The only proven pass-rusher on the roster is Josh Allen, and the interior of the defensive line has been ravaged by injuries and retirements. — Mike DiRocco
Bold prediction: The Colts will have more than 175 yards rushing. The Jaguars are in rebuild mode, and the Colts are coming off a 2019 season in which they were seventh in the NFL in rushing. So what better way to show that their success isn’t predicated on Rivers’ right arm than by having running backs Marlon Mack and rookie Jonathan Taylor rushing behind one of the league’s best offensive lines, led by All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson? — Mike Wells
Stat to know: The Jaguars have won five consecutive home games against the Colts after going 4-10 in their first 14 home games versus Indianapolis in franchise history. The Colts have lost six straight season openers, tied with the Bears for the longest active streak in the NFL.
What to know for fantasy: Over the past five seasons, Rivers averages 21 fantasy points in Week 1 and 16.4 in all other games. He faces a Jags team that allowed the sixth-most yards per pass attempt last season (7.9) and allowed the fifth-most big pass plays (30-plus yards gained). See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Colts are the fifth team since 1970 to be favored by a TD or more in Week 1 after missing the playoffs the season before. The other four teams went 0-4 ATS. Read more.
Wells’ pick: Colts 31, Jaguars 13
DiRocco’s pick: Colts 28, Jaguars 17
FPI prediction: IND, 66.0% (by an average of 6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Mack-Taylor RB tandem fits Colts, not fantasy football … Jaguars choosing committee approach over featured role at running back … 2020 season preview: Colts trying to keep pressure off Rivers … Jaguars, banged up at RB, add ex-Buccaneer Ogunbowale … Colts make Kelly NFL’s highest-paid center … Jaguars 2020 season preview: Minshew and low expectations
4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 28.9 | Spread: LAC -3 (42)
What to watch for: All eyes will be on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who will be starting in his NFL debut. He’ll have to contend with Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, Burrow’s former teammate at Ohio State, and a stout Chargers defense. — Ben Baby
Bold prediction: The Chargers’ defense will pick off Burrow at least two times. The Chargers’ secondary might be down star safety Derwin James for the season, but watch for their defensive backs, led by Chris Harris Jr. and Casey Hayward Jr., to take advantage of the rookie. — Lindsey Thiry
Stat to know: The Bengals went 2-14 last season in their first year under coach Zac Taylor, tied for the worst record in team history. But Burrow hasn’t lost a game since Nov. 24, 2018. On the other side of the field, Tyrod Taylor isn’t debuting, but he will be the first QB not named Philip Rivers to start a game for the Chargers since the 2005 season finale, when Drew Brees started for San Diego. Taylor most recently started in 2018, when he was under center for three games with the Browns (1-1-1).
What to know for fantasy: Only three times did a quarterback score more than 16.5 fantasy points against the Chargers last season, so while Burrow deserves the hype, counting on him breaking Cam Newton’s record for QB points in a debut (30.7 in 2011) isn’t wise. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Chargers have covered the spread in each of their past five season openers. Read more.
Thiry’s pick: Chargers 24, Bengals 14
Baby’s pick: Chargers 20, Bengals 14
FPI prediction: LAC, 57.9% (by an average of 2.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: Another James injury sizable setback to Chargers’ defensive harmony … “Like he’s been there before”: What Bengals are saying about Burrow … Zoom calls, isolated meetings, no preseason: Burrow’s NFL education during a pandemic
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 76.2 | Spread: NO -3.5 (48)
What to watch for: It’s a matchup for the ages: Tom Brady against Drew Brees. This will be the first game in NFL history with two starting QBs over 40 years old, and both teams are decidedly “Super Bowl or bust” because of it. Brees has not officially declared this as his final NFL season but acknowledged this week, “I’m on borrowed time. I’ve got nothing to lose, so I’m turning it loose.” — Mike Triplett
Bold prediction: Brady and Brees will combine for 600-plus passing yards and five touchdowns, as both continue to defy Father Time. Perhaps this is a sneak peek at the NFC Championship Game. — Jenna Laine
Stat to know: Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has caught 78 touchdown passes from Brady, the fifth most by any quarterback-receiver combo in NFL history and just two shy of passing Dan Marino and Mark Clayton for fourth on the list.
What to know for fantasy: Brees’ past two home games against the Bucs have resulted in 50.3 fantasy points, an 81.9% completion percentage, five touchdown tosses and zero interceptions. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: Brady is an underdog for the first time in his past 75 regular-season games, ending the longest active streak of being favored. Read more.
Laine’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Saints 24
Triplett’s pick: Saints 26, Buccaneers 23
FPI prediction: NO, 59.3% (by an average of 3.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: Battle of the GOATs? Why Brady-Brees matchup is like nothing we’ve seen before … Brees says he’s “on borrowed time” as Saints enter “Super Bowl or bust” season … Evans uncertain for opener vs. Saints … Sources: Saints, Kamara “extremely close” to lucrative extension … Fournette: For first time, I really have a QB
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 63.2 | Spread: SF -6.5 (48)
What to watch for: Have the Niners put their Super Bowl disappointment behind them? Is Arizona ready to take the next step to contend after some big offseason additions? These teams played a pair of thrillers last season, with the 49ers winning both by a combined 13 points. If this one looks similar, it could portend a season full of heavyweight brawls in the loaded NFC West. — Nick Wagoner
Bold prediction: DeAndre Hopkins‘ Cardinals debut will be one to remember. The newest member of the Arizona receiving corps will have 150 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Kyler Murray, showing how far they’ve come together in a short amount of time and issuing a preview of what’s still ahead. — Josh Weinfuss
Stat to know: The Cardinals were 1-5 in division games last season, their worst record since 2012, and they lost both of their games against the 49ers. But Arizona hasn’t lost three straight to San Francisco since 2012-13. Murray, who in 2019 became the sixth QB with 3,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in single season, will have to have a big game to avoid three in a row.
What to know for fantasy: Two of Murray’s top five games came against the 49ers last season, and that was without a pass-catcher (WR/TE) scoring 16 points in either of those games. Hopkins, though, has 16.5 fantasy points per game for his career and 19.8 over the past three seasons. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Cardinals are 4-0-1 ATS in their past five against the Niners, whereas the Niners are 3-15-2 ATS in their past 20 games as the home favorite. Read more.
Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 34, 49ers 24
Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 31, Cardinals 27
FPI prediction: SF, 70.4% (by an average of 7.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Cardinals receiver Hopkins’ XXXL hands are “incredible” … Can 49ers’ Garoppolo get the Kyle Shanahan Year 2 bump? … Drake will “stir the drink” for Cardinals’ offense … 49ers face questions as they begin pursuit of second straight Super Bowl
8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 68.9 | Spread: DAL -2.5 (51.5)
What to watch for: The Rams’ defense returns stars Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, but under first-year coordinator Brandon Staley, the unit will face a tall challenge in stopping Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the top-rated 2019 Cowboys offense directed by second-year coordinator Kellen Moore. Staley, whose defense is expected to emulate the Bears’ and Broncos’, must find a way to keep the Cowboys from gaining the 263 rushing yards they piled on the Rams late last season. — Lindsey Thiry
Bold prediction: Prescott will see a pass intercepted. Not bold? In four season openers, he has thrown 131 passes without having a pass picked off. To close last season, Prescott did not have an interception in the final four games. — Todd Archer
Stat to know: Last season, Prescott became the fifth player in NFL history to pass for 400 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in an opener. And after compiling 4,902 pass yards in 2019 — the second most in franchise history — he could join Tony Romo as only Cowboys QBs with consecutive seasons of 4,000-plus passing yards.
What to know for fantasy: The Rams held wide receiver Michael Gallup to a season-low six yards in Week 15 last season, but he caught 10 passes for 196 yards and three scores over the final two weeks of 2019 and saw his ADP rise throughout draft season this summer. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Rams are 1-8-1 in their past 10 games as a home underdog. Read more.
Archer’s pick: Rams 33, Cowboys 30
Thiry’s pick: Cowboys 28, Rams 21
FPI prediction: LAR, 49.9% (by an average of 0.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Cowboys’ Prescott: I will “seize the moment” after difficult offseason … Ramsey worth the price but gives Rams another huge contract to work around … Cowboys 2020 season preview: All eyes on Prescott, McCarthy chemistry … From St. Louis to SoFi Stadium, only six Rams complete the journey … Sources: Cowboys rework Martin deal for ’21 cap … Rebuilding? Reloading? Rams at a crossroads entering the 2020 season
What to watch for: It’s Ben Roethlisberger‘s first game back from an elbow injury that required surgery. Without a preseason this year, he hasn’t played in a game since Week 2 of last season. Will Roethlisberger instantly be back to his previous form? It might not be so easy for the 38-year-old. All eyes will be on the future Hall of Fame quarterback against a Giants defense that has some deficiencies on the back end. — Jordan Raanan
Bold prediction: Pittsburgh running back James Conner rushes for over 100 yards against a leaky Giants front. The running back is entering a contract year coming off an injury-plagued season. Fully healthy, he’s going to capitalize on the chance to be the Steelers’ main tailback and run all over the Giants. — Brooke Pryor
Stat to know: Daniel Jones will be the first Giants QB not named Eli Manning to start a season opener since Kurt Warner in 2004, as well as the second-youngest Giants quarterback (23) to start the opener in the Super Bowl era (Jerry Golsteyn, 1977). Jones had 20 touchdowns and three interceptions versus man coverage last season, but four touchdowns and nine interceptions against zone, per ESPN metrics powered by NFL Next Gen Stats. The Steelers’ defense led the NFL in Total QBR (24) and interceptions (14) when playing zone coverage.
What to know for fantasy: No better time to be healthy than Week 1, and in eight career games with 20-plus touches, Conner averages 29.3 fantasy points per game (10 TDs in those games). See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Steelers are 16-2 outright and 10-8 ATS on Monday night under coach Mike Tomlin. Read more.
Pryor’s pick: Steelers 27, Giants 14
Raanan’s pick: Giants 27, Steelers 25
FPI prediction: PIT, 59.3% (by an average of 3.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: Roethlisberger nervous for his first game in a year … State of the Giants: Jones, Judge are reasons for optimism … Mom knows best: Steelers’ Smith-Schuster ready to have fun again … Giants 2020 season preview: How bright is the future with Jones?
What to watch for: How will the Broncos’ youthful offense, with Drew Lock starting his first season opener at quarterback, respond to the moment? The Broncos’ plan to lean on the defense early in the season took an immense hit Tuesday when Von Miller suffered what might be a season-ending ankle injury on the final play of practice. But they stumbled out of the gate 0-4 last season largely because of an offense that couldn’t get out of neutral. — Jeff Legwold
Bold prediction: Ryan Tannehill and the Titans’ passing game will come out firing away against a Broncos defense that will stack the box to stop running back Derrick Henry. As a result, both A.J. Brown and Corey Davis will finish with 100-plus yards receiving. Why is that bold? The most recent Titans duo to finish with 100 yards receiving each was Justin Hunter (109) and Kendall Wright (103) in a 23-19 win over the Raiders on Nov. 24, 2013. — Turron Davenport
Stat to know: The Titans were 9-4 with Tannehill starting at QB last season (including the playoffs) after beginning the season 2-4 under Marcus Mariota. And the Broncos were 4-1 with Lock as their starting QB versus 3-8 with everyone else. Lock will become the second-youngest Broncos QB (23) to start the season opener in the Super Bowl era (John Elway).
What to know for fantasy: The Broncos were the seventh-best defense in terms of preventing yards after contact during the second half of last season. Those gains will need to be sustained as they face Henry, the fifth-highest-scoring RB in 2019 and the leader (minimum 500 carries) in yards after contact since he entered the league in 2016. But note that Henry had season lows in rushes (15), rushing yards (28) and rushing yards after contact (23) in Week 6 at the Broncos last season. See Week 1 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Titans are 6-2 straight up and 7-1 ATS in their past eight Monday night games. Read more.
Davenport’s pick: Titans 27, Broncos 14
Legwold’s pick: Broncos 23, Titans 20
FPI prediction: DEN, 53.6% (by an average of 1.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: Clowney says his past with Mike Vrabel was key to picking Titans … Broncos have no replacement for Miller … Titans bank on Clowney elevating defense to Super Bowl level … Broncos’ Bouye doesn’t feel pressure to replace Harris at corner … Titans 2020 season preview: Another playoff berth might depend on improving pass rush … Broncos’ Lindsay: Battling coronavirus about caring for each other