The host of “The Herd” chose five Sunday games to highlight, beginning with the Carolina Panthers — led by newly-acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield — taking on Mayfield’s former team, the Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
His other choices include the Detroit Lions taking on the Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET, FOX), the Houston Texans facing the Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m. ET, CBS), the Washington Commanders vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, FOX), and the Minnesota Vikings facing the Green Bay Packers (4 p.m. ET, FOX).
Blazin’ 5: Texans, Vikings highlight Colin’s Week 1 picks
Colin Cowherd shares his first Blazin’ 5 picks of the NFL season for Week 1.
Here are Cowherd’s predictions, along with odds and win totals as presented by FOX Bet.
Colin’s thoughts: “I like Baker Mayfield here, at home, against his ex-teammates. First of all, the Panthers had the most blown leads in the NFL last year with 10. They were in a lot of games. Sam Darnold made too many mistakes. Their defense is excellent — I said that all year. They had the third-fewest yards all year. That’s against Jacoby Brissett, missing his starting center, who has a career passer rating in the low 80s and struggles to complete 60% of his throws. Carolina, back-to-back, has had drafts that I like. Cleveland is using a career-average backup. Baker has a history of being inspired for individual games. I’m going to take the Panthers and Baker, 27-23.”
Colin’s thoughts: “The Lions are 3-3 in their final six games, and once Jared Goff got comfortable at the end of the year, he completed 69% of his throws, 11 TDs, and two picks. They have two of the best tackles in football — I love their tackles. And the Eagles couldn’t get to the quarterback last year — second-fewest sacks. Detroit is an inspired football team, not a great one, but they are at home as a dog. Dan Campbell, if nothing else, is a great motivator. I’m going to take the Lions to win one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. Take the points, 27-26.”
Colin’s thoughts: “I’m going to take the Texans plus-7. Davis Mills was good last year — you just didn’t watch him play. He’s a rookie and was second among rookies in completion percentage, touchdown passes, and passer rating. And the Colts have lost eight-straight season openers. They are on another quarterback, and they don’t really have a No. 2 receiver. I think the Colts will win the division, but they aren’t dynamic offensively. They shut down Jonathan Taylor, and they have limitations over the top in what they can do. I’m going to take the Texans with the points, but the Colts win narrowly.”
Colin’s thoughts: “I’m taking the Jaguars plus-2.5, and I think they will win outright. First of all, they spent over $300 million in free agency. Teams that spend that kind of money in free agency usually improve. And they got Trevor Lawrence an offensive coach. They’ve got Ed Ingram at tight end, Zay Jones at wide receiver, Christian Kirk at wide receiver, and they’ve upgraded the offensive line. Carson Wentz — total disarray for this franchise [Washington]. It’s another quarterback, he didn’t have a great camp, there’s controversy, and the Commanders’ defense struggled mightily against the pass last year. I think the Jags are one of the surprise teams in the league this year. They won’t be great, but in that division, they’ll be a real threat week-to-week. I have them beating the Commanders, 28-20.”
Colin’s thoughts: “I don’t know how [the Vikings] are getting points at home. They were in the most one-possession games last year, and that’s with a lot of injuries and a quarterback that didn’t feel supported. Kirk Cousins was one of two quarterbacks that had 30 touchdowns and fewer than 10 picks. Only Aaron Rodgers last year in the league did that. The Packers are usually great at home, but they were only a 5-4 road team last year, and they have struggled through the years with Minnesota. Allen Lazard is hurt. Christian Watson is hurt. Robert Tonyan, the tight end, is off an ACL. The Packers are beat up. They don’t have a No. 1 receiver. Eventually, this receiving crew is tasty, but Game 1 with a new coach, I don’t know. I think the Vikings should be favored. I’m going to take them, 26-23.”
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