Nostrathomas Predicts: Senior Citizens Steal the Week 1 NFL Spotlight!

By Tom Pollin

There are things we know and things we didn’t know about the 2020 NFL season. For example, the Kansas City Chiefs are a serious threat to win their second straight Super Bowl. What we didn’t know, until Thursday night, was that the Houston Texans will be struggling just to contend in the AFC South.

There is going to be a lot more that we’ll know after Week 1 concludes. In the meantime, Nostrathomas will peer through his crystal beer mugs to try and guide you through the uncertainty. Or he will after he clears Andy Reid’s face mask fog off them.

After Thursday night’s opener, Nostrathomas is 0-1 against the spread but did give you the Chiefs to win so the straight-up record starts at 1-0. Still, sports books don’t pay off on straight-up picks. Here are Week 1 predictions that you can take to the bank! (While keeping in mind that these picks are for entertainment purposes only, unless you win big and would like to wet Nostrathomas’ beak).

(Due to internet issues, Nostrathomas couldn’t put together a complete capsule for every game. I apologize that because of those problems, there wasn’t time to write a full analysis for each match-up and still have time to publish.)

Game of the Week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints -3.5 (4:25 PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA)

The Green Bay Packers opening in Minnesota against the Vikings is a big, Week 1 game but this is the game everyone will be waiting for on Sunday. The NFL seems to have missed an opportunity to pick up sponsorship from AARP@ for broadcast rights to this game.

The Senior Citizen Bowl will mark the first time in NFL history that two quarterbacks over 40 years old have started in the same game. This isn’t like throwing Josh McCown on the field against Matt Hasselbeck either. Football royalty will be taking the snaps on both sides of the ball.

Tom Brady just turned 43 years old and, after 20 seasons, will be starting for a team that is not the New England Patriots. Drew Brees will be turning 42 in January. The question for this game is, most quarterbacks have finished suffering a drastic reduction in skills when they reach the plus side of 40. What do these two have left?

Last season, Brees missed five games but still finished with a 116.3 passer rating and was fifth among NFL starting quarterbacks with a 7.4 net yards per attempt average. Brady threw for just over 4,000 yards in 16 starts last season but was twentieth in the league in net yards per pass attempt with a 6.1 average. He wasn’t connecting downfield as consistently as he had in the past. Will he be able to restore that part of his game in Bruce Arians’ vertical attack?

Brady won’t have Mike Evans available for this game, he’s listed as doubtful. That plus the fact that Brees has all his weapons available to him, along with the Saints being better in 2019 at getting to the quarterback has Nostrathomas picking the Saints to win and cover.

New Orleans Saints 29 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23

Week 1 Best Bets

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots -6.5 (1 PM ET; Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA)

Nostrathomas saw where a writer was projecting Cam Newton’s New England offense to be similar to Denver’s offense with Tim Tebow. That had Nostrathomas laughing so hard that he almost spilled his beer.

Tebow could not throw and when defensive coordinators realized that he became Taysom Hill, minus the talent. Newton can throw and if his foot is healthy, and there is every indication that it is, he’s back to being a dual threat with his legs and arm.

What this game boils down to is that New England may not have Tom Brady anymore, but Newton is capable of running Josh McDaniels’ offense. Also, the Miami Dolphins have a lot to prove after a disastrous 2019. Until they do, they’re not being predicted to stay within a touchdown of the Patriots in New England.

New England Patriots 26 Miami Dolphins 13

Philadelphia Eagles -5.5 vs Washington (1 PM ET; FedEx Field, Washington DC)

It appears that the Washington franchise might be finally heading in the right direction, at least on the field. Ron Rivera is not only one of the best head coaches in the league, he’s a man of high character. Rivera also brought Scott Turner to Washington with him from Carolina to be his offensive coordinator and hired on Jack Del Rio to oversee the defense. It’s a strong, teaching staff for a team that has a long way to go to regain respectability, at least on the field.

What will keep Washington from staying within one score in this game will be their offense. Dwayne Haskins still has to prove he’s an NFL quarterback and he doesn’t have much in the way of weapons to work with as it is.

The Philadelphia Eagles do have a quarterback in Carson Wentz and more than enough defense to keep Washington from getting within one score.

Philadelphia Eagles 26 Washington Football Team 13

Tennessee Titans -2.5 vs Denver Broncos (Monday Night Football, 10:10 PM ET; Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO)

We’re going to find out this season if Ryan Tannehill is for real. Unfortunately for the Denver Broncos they won’t have Von Miller to pressure him on Monday night.

Another problem for the Broncos is Derrick Henry is for real and their defense has to find a way to stop him.

Nostrathomas doesn’t see a way that Drew Lock keeps Denver close enough to win over the team that went to the AFC Conference Championship Game last season.

Tennessee Titans 25 Denver Broncos 20

Best of the Rest

Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings -2.5 (1 PM ET; U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

The Vikings spent a lot of money shoring up their defensive line and making sure running back Dalvin Cook is happy. They have more than enough offense and defensive toughness to turn this game into a long afternoon for the Green Bay Packers.

Add this game to Best Bets if you want to pad your parlay.

New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills -6.5 (1 PM ET; New Era Field, Buffalo, NY)

Sam Darnold has to prove this season that he really is the future for the New York Jets. Unfortunately he has to start by facing one of the best defenses in football, on the road.

Buffalo Bills 20 New York Jets 13

Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens -7.5 (1 PM ET; M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore Maryland)

The Cleveland Browns have a lot of weapons on offense for Baker Mayfield and it looks like they’ll be tough to beat in 2020 but not on the road against the best team in the AFC last season.

Las Vegas Raiders -3 vs Carolina Panthers (1 PM ET; Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC)

The Carolina Panthers have too many question marks to get a good read for what kind of team they’ll be in 2020. The main one is, can Teddy Bridgewater continue the success at quarterback that he showed in New Orleans last season?

Las Vegas Raiders 26 Carolina Panthers 20

Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons +2.5 (1 PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)

The Atlanta Falcons need Todd Gurley to step up and be the running back that Devontae Freeman wasn’t last season. If he is, then Matt Ryan is still a quarterback who can take Atlanta back to the playoffs.

As for the Seattle Seahawks, as long as Russell Wilson is on the field, they’re dangerous.

Atlanta Falcons 27 Seattle Seahawks 24

Indianapolis Colts -8 vs Jacksonville Jaguars (1 PM ET; TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL)

That’s a lot of points to force the Indianapolis Colts to cover, especially in Week 1 with a quarterback who showed in 2019 that he’s definitely on the downward side of his career. Still, the Jacksonville Jaguars have even more to prove.

Chicago Bears +3 vs Detroit Lions (1PM ET; Ford Field, Detroit, MI)

If Mitch Trubisky could play against Matt Patricia’s defense every game he’d be a Pro Bowler. Unfortunately for him, after this game he has a long season of proving that he really is the franchise quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

San Diego Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals +3 (4:05 PM ET; Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH)

Joe Burrow wins his first pro start against a team that has more questions than just, why doesn’t anybody in Los Angeles like us?

Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers -7 (4:25 PM ET; Levi Stadium, Santa Clara, CA)

DeAndre Hopkins is one of the nicest gifts the Arizona Cardinals could give to quarterback Kyler Murray last offseason. They’re still opening against the team that represented the NFC in Super Bowl LIV though. Whether either team will be able to see or breath well enough to play football is the biggest question for this game.

Dallas Cowboys -3 vs Los Angeles Rams (Sunday Night Football; SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA)

The Los Angeles Rams get to show off their shiny new stadium and crappy new logo to the NFL world on Sunday Night Football. This will be a great game between two evenly matched teams but it’s Week 1 and we know next to nothing so Nostrathomas is riding the favorite here.

Pittsburgh Steelers -6 vs New York Giants (Monday Night Football, 7:15 PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)

Can Ben Roethlisberger stay healthy? If he can, the Pittsburgh Steelers will some offense to match a hard-hitting defense. Either way, Pittsburgh’s defense should be enough to get them past the New York Giants on Monday night.

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