Football is back. Is that the most exciting three-word phrase in the English language? If you're reading this column ... yes! The 2015 NFL season is finally here, set to begin on Thursday night with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. That matchup is the first one on a jam-packed 16-game Kickoff Weekend schedule.
The wonderful thing about Week 1 is that every team is undefeated and, if you're in the business of picking NFL games, you've also got no losses on your season ledger. Savor this moment, because there's a good chance it won't last for more than a few weeks (or a few hours, depending on your acumen).
The worst thing about Week 1 is that we've got little predictive information about these games, aside from what you can get out of reading the best NFL preview on the Internet and studying historical matchups and/or stats. If you think you're going to rely on whatever you saw in the preseason, think again: last year the New York Giants went 5-0 in the preseason while the Indianapolis Colts were 0-4. Yeah, that makes sense.
If you're looking for an obvious choice for a survivor pool game this week, there are a bunch of unanimous picks, including the Patriots over the Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys beating the Giants, the Seattle Seahawks taking care of the St. Louis Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers handling the Tennessee Titans.
Those first two picks look pretty solid, but be careful about locking in those last two matchups. The Seahawks are 2-3 on the road against the Rams over the past five seasons, including a 28-26 loss last year in Week 7. The Bucs and Titans were both 2-14 last year and still have deeply flawed rosters, so do you really believe in Jameis Winston that much more than Marcus Mariota? There are probably better picks to be made if you're looking for a guaranteed winner.
As a reminder, these are picks to win the game (not against the spread), so choose wisely and do your research before making your own predictions this week:
|Week 1||Ryan Van Bibber||Stephen White||Joel Thorman||David Fucillo||Danny Kelly||Matt Ufford||PFT Commenter||OddsShark|
|PIT vs NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE|
|IND vs. BUF||IND||BUF||BUF||IND||BUF||IND||IND||IND|
|GB vs CHI||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||CHI||GB|
|KC vs HOU||HOU||KC||KC||KC||KC||HOU||HOU||HOU|
|CAR vs JAX||JAX||JAX||CAR||JAX||CAR||JAX||CAR||CAR|
|CLE vs NYJ||NYJ||NYJ||NYJ||NYJ||NYJ||NYJ||CLE||NYJ|
|SEA vs STL||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA|
|MIA vs WAS||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||WAS||MIA||MIA||MIA|
|NO vs ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||NO||NO||ARZ|
|DET vs SD||SD||DET||DET||SD||SD||SD||SD||SD|
|BAL vs DEN||BAL||DEN||BAL||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN|
|CIN vs OAK||CIN||OAK||CIN||OAK||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN|
|TEN vs TB||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB|
|NYG vs DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL|
|PHI vs ATL||PHI||ATL||PHI||ATL||PHI||PHI||ATL||PHI|
|MIN vs SF||MIN||MIN||MIN||SF||SF||MIN||MIN||SF|
Our panel consists of: David Fucillo, SB Nation's fantasy guru; Danny Kelly, SB Nation NFL contributor; PFT Commenter, SB Nation's hot takes expert; Joel Thorman, SB Nation NFL blogs manager; Matt Ufford, editorial producer; Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation's NFL editor; and Stephen White, retired NFL defensive end and SB Nation NFL contributor.
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