The Hunter’s Weekend of Sports – NFL Special
Tips, Tricks, Picks, and Odds.
America’s Favourite Sport is Back.
This weekend, the biggest sport in America (and arguably one of the biggest in the world) returns in full force.
It’s been an exciting off-season, with trades, signings and waivers like we’ve never seen before. It’s almost a completely fresh league – and I’m as keen as anyone to get stuck in.
Because it’s the first round of the season, I’m going to do things a little differently to my usual weekend column, and cover every single game with my tips for who will win, and what to look out for in the coming season.
Bears v Packers
The opening game of the season is a battle between two historic giants of the NFC North. Chicago host the Packers in a game that’ll be a battle on both sides. Rodgers and Trubisky are both solid QB’s and both teams have solid defence. Green Bay have a special teams advantage (especially after Chicago released their kicker following that woeful choke), but lack offensive support for Aaron Rodgers. Ultimately, with the home advantage and a more solid team, I think Chicago will come through here.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Bears to Win
Jaguars v Chiefs
How. Good. Is. Mahomes.
No matter what anyone says, last year’s MVP and Kermit the frog impersonator will be back with a vengeance this season, and I can see KC going all the way. The Jaguars made a good trade for Superbowl MVP Foles in the offseason, but I can’t see them getting the upper hand on the Chiefs. Mahomes just makes so much magic, he’s easily the most exciting young player in the game.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Chiefs to Win
Vikings v Falcons
The Vikings had a great draft. It was clear that their one goal was to give Kirk some offensive support, and hope (and pray) that he lives up to the contract they’ve given him. They drafted the best young centre in the league with their pick, and have built a solid O-line around him. The Falcons, meanwhile, are a fledgeling team with an ageing QB. The Vikings always seem to underwhelm, but I think they’ll at least take this first game.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Vikings to Win
Browns v Titans
Cleveland are the undisputed champions of this offseason. Over the summer they’ve gone from a potential 0-16 team to a serious playoffs contender. Their biggest trade would have to be the blockbuster acquisition of OBJ, along with Kareem and Baker this is looking like a formidable team. Mariota’s confirmed he’s healthy to start for the Titans, but I still can’t see them pulling it off. I expect the Browns to start their season on the right foot with a win here.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Browns to Win
Jets v Bills
To be honest this isn’t much of a game to talk about. I don’t see either of these teams contending for the playoffs, and given that the Jets dropped Val Holmes, I don’t have much of a vested interest in either. With that being said, the Bills are the better team and should take the game here – as much as I do like Darnold as a young QB.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Bills to Win
Dolphins v Ravens
Again, a game with no real impact on the overall end result of the league. The Dolphins always play out of their skin for the first few games, before imploding on themselves and losing. I expect this year to be no different, even with Fitzpatrick at the helm. Also, the Ravens are rubbish. Dolphins to win.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Dolphins to Win
Eagles v Redskins
The Eagles traded Nick Foles to show their loyalty to Wentz, and for that, I will never forgive them. With that being said, the Redskins are a shambles this season and I see Philly winning this with ease (Dilly Dilly).
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Eagles to Win
Panthers v Rams
Goff is now the most expensive player in NFL history, and it’s time to see if he can justify his price tag. After coming oh so close in last year’s Superbowl, the Rams will want to up the ante this year and take it all home. Supported by a good defence, I can see them having a chance, and I think that’ll start with a win in Carolina.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Rams to Win
Chargers v Colts
The Colts were beginning to look like this was their year. Until Luck retired last week. Now without a franchise QB I can’t see them even making the playoffs. The Chargers are a decent team and with Rivers doing what Rivers does, can probably claim the win here.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Chargers to Win
Seahawks v Bengals
Speaking of absolute bumper QB deals, the Seahawks secured their franchise QB for a then-record sum at the start of the summer. Wilson will now attempt to lead a team of less-than-ideal players to a position slightly better than their WC berth last year. I don’t know if they will, but they should beat the Bengals at least.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Seahawks to Win
Cowboys v Giants
This is a big game. Insufferable Cowboys fans have once again claimed that this will “be their year” after finally having a deep playoff run last season. They’ve finally secured Zeke on a $60mil contract, and honestly, I like their chances. Standing in their way first up are the NY Giants, who drafted Eli manning 2.0 in Daniel Jones – but will still bench him for an underwhelming and ageing Eli. I think the Giants have the potential to put something good together (even though they traded OBJ) but they really need to get over this whole Eli obsession and play their best QB, whoever that may be.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Cowboys to Win
Buccaneers v 49ers
The Buccs traded away their QB, and the 49ers QB has thrown more picks in preseason than a high school footballer. This is another game that won’t mean much. Either way, I think the 49ers will probably take it.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: 49ers to Win
Cardinals v Lions
The Cardinals, with their first pick in this years draft, selected a young and promising QB to build the team around. Just like Mahomes, Kyler Murray has a background in baseball (Even being drafted #1 by the Oakland A’s last year), and his dynamic arm makes him a fast and spritely QB. Expect a lot more Kyler/Mahomes-esque QB’s to come through the ranks in the coming years. On draft day many criticised him for being too short, but so was Wilson. We’ll only really know how he goes when he gets actual minutes. And, against a rubbish Detroit Lions side, this could be the best way to start his NFL career. I see the Cardinals taking this with ease, and Murray making some serious yards.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Cardinals to Win
Patriots v Steelers
Big Ben and the Steelers will be keen to put the offseason’s dramas behind them. Offloading the petulant Antonio Brown to Oakland and rebuilding from there. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they come up against Tom Brady and the reigning SB champs first up. I don’t expect the Steelers to have pulled themselves together enough to pull this one off.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Patriots to Win
Saints v Texans
Will the day ever come when NOLA fans are quiet about that missed call? Or the Minneapolis miracle? It’s fair to say the Saints have been unlucky the past couple of years, and while still a fairly good team, need to learn to put their demons behind them and focus on the future. This is likely to be one of Brees’ last chances at a Superbowl, so it’s crucial that the Saints start their season outright. The Texans are a good team – a great team – but I think the Saints have the edge here.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Saints to Win
Raiders v Broncos
Oh, the Raiders, what an absolute mess I have to finish on. Despite the imminent relocation (to Vegas) the Raiders seem incapable of building a good team. Their one-star acquisition (AB) has missed training and is throwing a hissy fit about his helmets, meanwhile all the other teams in the competition are focused and performing. I don’t think Denver are a good team by any measure, but I still think they’ll beat the Raiders.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Broncos to Win