ESPN NFL Experts
With eight days till the initiate of the NFL draft, the league has launched the fat frequent-season agenda for 2019. Week 1 aspects Inexperienced Bay at Chicago to kick off the season on Thursday night, plus two stellar matchups on Monday Evening Football, with Texans at Saints and Broncos at Raiders.
Who’s the ideal winner from the brand new agenda? Which video games would possibly per chance maybe moreover still you circle for your calendar? Our panel of ESPN NFL consultants weighs in.
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Which sport beget you circled for your calendar?
Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Inexperienced Bay at Chicago on Thursday, Sept. 5 (Week 1). C’mon, it’s opening night at Soldier Field. That is feeble-college. And we discover a high-time seat to scrutinize Aaron Rodgers — in his first sport below new coach Matt LaFleur — match up to the price and playmaking skills of the Bears’ defense.
Mike Clay, legend author: Browns at Jets on Monday, Sept. Sixteen (Week 2). This matchup gave us Baker Mayfield‘s coming-out birthday celebration in 2018, and in all likelihood the 2019 version will function two playoff groups. That would moreover seem optimistic for the Jets, but 2d-twelve months Sam Darnold completed stable as a rookie, Contemporary York has surely one of many league’s easiest schedules, and whereas the defense has holes, it entails some spirited celebrity energy. If that won’t ample, the Baker-to-OBJ connection below the lights would possibly per chance maybe be involving.
KC Joyner, legend author: Steelers at Patriots on Sunday, Sept. Eight (Week 1). Pittsburgh’s total offseason has revolved around interior battles. Facing Contemporary England within the Week 1 Sunday night matchup will let the field know in a scamper if the Steelers beget been in a house to refocus their efforts on external battles.
Mina Kimes, NFL author: Saints at Rams on Sunday, Sept. 15 (Week 2). As we all know, the town of Contemporary Orleans is a shrimp of miffed just a few obvious pass interference penalty that went uncalled within the NFC Championship Sport. That is the Saints’ probability for revenge. Or no longer it’s moreover a substantial matchup between two of the league’s most explosive offenses and a pair of groups that would moreover still be appreciated to diagram to the playoffs.
Mike Sando, senior NFL author: Colts at Chiefs on Sunday, Oct. 6 (Week 5). Can surely one of these emerging AFC groups usaa. Contemporary England within the conference? Is Patrick Mahomes better than Andrew Luck? This matchup is in regards to essentially the most recent and the prolonged scamper.
Kevin Seifert, nationwide NFL author: Chiefs vs. Chargers on Monday, Nov. 18, in Mexico Metropolis (Week 12). This sport is no longer lawful between two fun offenses and division competitors, with timing that would possibly per chance maybe play a huge role in figuring out playoff seeding. It moreover marks the NFL’s return to Mexico Metropolis after remaining twelve months’s discipline-connected cancellation at Stadium Azteca. The league has a vested hobby in cultivating worldwide followers, and it wants this sport to work from a logistics standpoint.
Field Yates, NFL analyst: Chiefs at Patriots on Sunday, Dec. Eight (Week 14). This sport pits the AFC’s finalists from remaining season in what became as soon as — individually — the ideal sport of the season. The chess match between Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes vs. Invoice Belichick is one thing I’m already relishing.
The ideal winner of the agenda is ____________.
Bowen: The Patriots. Contemporary England has some holes to beget on the roster forward of we discover to the frequent season, but the agenda objects up for them to initiate the season. After hosting the Steelers in Week 1, the Patriots discover the Dolphins (away), Jets (house), Bills (away), Redskins (away), Giants (house) and Jets again (house) forward of the Sunday night matchup with Baker Mayfield and the Browns. If Contemporary England can beat Pittsburgh on opening weekend, it would possibly per chance maybe in all probability hump on a valuable scamper to initiate the season.
Clay: The AFC East. By my metrics, the Patriots, Jets and Bills will relish the three easiest schedules. Besides to going by the rebuilding Dolphins twice, the three groups will face off with the NFC East and AFC North, that are arguably the league’s two least-proficient divisions (moreover the AFC East itself). Playing practically one-third of their video games towards the Dolphins, Giants, Redskins and Bengals will completely wait on these groups’ playoff probabilities.
Joyner: The Patriots host the Steelers in Week 1 and then arguably don’t square off towards but every other top-tier team till their Week 9 matchup with Baltimore. Add that to closing the season towards Cincinnati, Buffalo and Miami, and the highway is determined for but every other first-spherical bye for Contemporary England.
Kimes: The Patriots (what’s new?). Glancing on the precious few weeks of their agenda, 7-0 is in play. After just a few though-provoking matchups vs. Cleveland and Baltimore in Weeks Eight and 9, the Patriots beget a neatly-timed bye forward of a cosmopolitan stretch.
Sando: The Rams, with only two video games kicking off at 10 a.m. PT (no longer including a London sport in Week Eight), an early initiate time that groups from the West Cruise hope to steer obvious of. Oakland (six), Arizona (five), San Francisco (Four), Seattle (Four) and the Chargers (Four) beget more early begins.
Seifert: Browns followers. While the high-time agenda will add tension and scrutiny to the team, this will possible give the NFL’s longest-struggling fan harmful but every other jolt of enjoyment. For the precious time in extra than a decade, the league is taking this franchise severely. Expertise it!
Yates: The Browns. I’m no longer diving into any function that ties into whom they play or where they play them. That is in regards to the Browns — prolonged the laughingstock of the league — having Four video games scheduled for high time. That is the team that people will gravitate in direction of this season.
Put up-free agency defend totals are out. Which over or below attain you are feeling handiest about deciding on correct now?
Bowen: Colts over 9.5 wins. Indy will get some early season tests with the Chargers within the opener and the Chiefs in Week 5. But I scrutinize an especially neatly-coached team here that took a of route super and calculated diagram to free agency, re-signing key veterans whereas including some new pieces who can produce an instantaneous impact. Plus, with nine picks within the 2019 draft, overall supervisor Chris Ballard can continue to produce his roster. I scrutinize the Colts taking the AFC South.
Clay: Cowboys over Eight.5 wins. Dallas has reached the nine-defend label every of the previous three seasons and Four of the previous five. The defending NFC East champions improved the roster for the length of the offseason, including Robert Quinn, Jason Witten and Randall Cobb. All-Pro Travis Frederick is moreover expected encourage.
Ryan Clark makes his predictions for the Rams’ 2019 agenda, including a loss to the Browns in Week Three.
Joyner: Browns below 9 wins. Cleveland’s agenda strongly suggests that nine wins would possibly per chance maybe moreover still be thought to be the high aspect of the Browns’ defend full projection.
Kimes: Packers over 9 wins. After a disappointing 2018 campaign, the Packers beget a quite simple agenda when in contrast to their division competitors, a new-undercover agent defense and, hopefully, a wholesome Aaron Rodgers.
Seifert: Browns below 9 wins. I reserve the superior to replace my mind, but whereas the Browns beget made huge personnel strides the previous twelve months, external pleasure a ways outpaces reality. Four high-time video games only add to the tension that coach Freddie Kitchens faces. There is a large mixture of personalities on this roster, and public scrutiny will be better than it has been at any level as a result of Browns returned to Cleveland.
Yates: Seahawks over Eight.5 wins. This team will be more proficient than the one who reached 10 wins and the playoffs remaining season. The health of key contributors equivalent to linebacker K.J. Wright and, hopefully, large receiver Doug Stanley 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley presents me faith that this Seattle team will attain 10 wins again.
What’s your early Large Bowl desire?
Bowen: Chiefs over Bears. After the Chiefs hired Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator, I’m flipping from my desire of the Chargers earlier this offseason. With Spags working that aspect of the ball, undercover agent for Kansas Metropolis to beget a substantial improved defensive unit to pair with Patrick Mahomes and that explosive play offense. Give me the Chiefs because the Large Bowl champions over a Bears team that makes it to the remaining dance thanks to its top-tier defense and noticeable pattern from Mitchell Trubisky in his 2d season below Matt Nagy.
Clay: Saints over Patriots. The Saints beget been a sky defend overrule away from a Large Bowl look remaining season and improved what became as soon as already an illustrious roster for the length of the offseason. They’re arguably the league’s handiest team on paper. Invoice Belichick and Tom Brady return to the Large Bowl for the fourth consecutive season, but the dynamic duo falls quick to MVP Drew Brees this time around.
Joyner: Chiefs over Eagles. The hiring of Steve Spagnuolo would possibly per chance maybe moreover still slice back the form of shootout video games Kansas Metropolis will get into and consequence in an AFC title for the Chiefs. The Eagles beget essentially the most full team within the NFC as prolonged as Carson Wentz stays wholesome.
Kimes: Saints over Patriots. I became as soon as tempted to desire the Packers due to I love the strikes they’ve made this offseason, and I mediate we’ll scrutinize a return to make for Rodgers, but the Saints’ roster is simply too full to desire towards. Within the AFC, I impart Mahomes will continue to shine, but I accomplish no longer mediate the Chiefs’ defense improved ample to state Contemporary England.
Sando: Chiefs over Vikings. Kansas Metropolis is a better desire than the Patriots within the AFC at this level, merely due to Contemporary England is within the early stages of polishing off its defensive workers and filling out its roster. Minnesota must beget a top-five defense, with an offense that ought to beget the profit of continuity and more below-center ideas on early downs.
Seifert: Saints over Chiefs. But for just a few controversial officiating calls and a unusual beyond regular time rule, this would possibly per chance maybe beget been the Large Bowl LIII matchup. The Saints beget been knocking on the door the previous few years and beget as many pieces in house as they’ve ever had. And likewise you would possibly per chance maybe moreover count on Chiefs coach Andy Reid to birth the season with a bunch of adjustments to counter opposing defenses that spent the offseason looking out to forestall quarterback Mahomes.
Yates: Patriots over Saints. The Saints return what is surely one of many league’s most balanced rosters, and presuming they’ll gain a dangle to enrich Mike Thomas within the receiving community, they will moreover still continue to be explosive offensively. While the Patriots have to continue to toughen their offensive potential community, the team is stacked on defense with what often is the ideal secondary within the league. Forty-plus-twelve months-feeble quarterbacks rule.