Welcome back, NFL.
And welcome back, NFL fans.
Hopefully, we can get back to some normalcy this season after watching games last year with no fans in the stands for most of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. But with the Delta variant running rampant and a number of players who won’t get vaccinated, I fear we could be heading down the same road as last year, with limited fans in the stands and some games being postponed.
But the NFL is taking the stance that if a game can’t be made up because a team has numerous players dealing COVID-19, it’s possible we could see a team having to forfeit a game, and the players won’t get paid.
I’m back to pick the games again this season. We now have an extra week. Teams will play 17 games in an 18-week season. It will be nearly impossible for a team to go .500 this year, unless they manage to have a tie and go 8-8-1.
I will also have the broadcasting list. For the first time, FOX and CBS will have doubleheaders in Week 1. They will continue to have the season-ending doubleheaders, this time in Week 18.
Here are my picks for Week 1.
Tampa Bay 28, Dallas 17
Jacksonville 27, Houston 7
L.A. Chargers 24, Washington 23
Seattle 31, Indianapolis 20
N.Y. Jets 17, Carolina 14
Minnesota 20, Cincinnati 17
Tennessee 28, Arizona 18
San Francisco 30, Detroit 14
Buffalo 31, Pittsburgh 27
Atlanta 17, Philadelphia 14 (it will be a long year for me Eagles, even in the lousy NFC East)
Kansas City 34, Cleveland 28
Green Bay 35, New Orleans 13
Denver 23, N.Y. Giants 15
New England 21, Miami 20
L.A. Rams 21, Chicago 14
Baltimore 34, Las Vegas 14
WEEK 1 TV SCHEDULE
(Subject to change)
NBC13 (WNYT) — Dallas at Tampa Bay, 8:20 p.m. (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya).
FOX23 (WXXA) — Philadelphia at Atlanta, 1 p.m. (Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver); Denver at N.Y. Giants, 4:25 p.m. (Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake).
CBS6 (WRGB) — Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 1 p.m. (Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn); Miami at New England, 4:25 p.m. (Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins).
DIRECTV NFL SUNDAY TICKET — N.Y. Jets at Carolina, 1 p.m. (Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Sherree Burruss); Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m. (Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta, AJ Ross); Arizona at Tennessee, 1 p.m. (Tom McCarthy/Tiki Barber); Seattle at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. (Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Sara Walsh); Minnesota at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Jennifer Hale); San Francisco at Detroit, 1 p.m. (Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin); L.A. Chargers at Washington, 1 p.m. (Spero Dedes/Jay Feely); Cleveland at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m. (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson); Green Bay vs. New Orleans, from Jacksonville (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi)..
NBC13 — Chicago at L.A. Rams, 8:20 p.m. (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya).
ABC10 (WTEN) AND ESPN — Baltimore at Las Vegas, 8:15 p.m. (Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters).