NFL Week 1 bold predictions: Keenan Allen balls in Dolphins-Chargers shootout; 2 sacks for T.J. Watt
Throughout the 2023 season, NFL Network analysts will provide one bold prediction heading into each week’s slate of games (see the full Week 1 schedule).
MARC ROSS: All the attention will be on Nick Bosa after he signed a deal that made him the highest-paid defensive player in league history. However, the best edge rusher in Sunday’s 49ers-Steelers contest will be Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt. He leads the home team to a dominant performance with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble.
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JOEL SMYTH: This new Chargers offense under Kellen Moore will feature Keenan Allen brilliantly, especially this week against the Dolphins. No Jalen Ramsey means no nickel corner to slow down the veteran receiver. And there should be no reason to worry about Pro Bowl corner Xavien Howard, as he shadowed Allen’s co-star, Mike Williams, last time out this past December. The result back then? Justin Herbert threw for 367 yards, targeting Allen 14 times. On Sunday, Allen will likely face Kader Kohou, a second-year player who’s stepping up for a secondary already dealing with injuries. I predict Allen logs at least 25 fantasy points.
MICHELLE MAGDZIUK: Washington QB Sam Howell and WR Jahan Dotson will connect for 100-plus yards and two touchdowns. This second-year duo has a chance to start the season with a bang against a bleak Cardinals defense that allowed the second-most passing touchdowns last year and lost many starters from that unit during the offseason. The Commanders’ young pitch-and-catch combo displayed a strong connection during the preseason, with Howell hitting Dotson for seven receptions, 106 yards and one TD on nine targets. With Terry McLaurin dealing with a toe injury, Dotson should be the go-to receiving option for Washington — especially given that he led the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards over the last four weeks of the 2022 campaign.
DAVID CARR: The Packers don’t miss a beat without Aaron Rodgers and continue their dominance of the Bears. In the road win at hostile Soldier Field, Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon each post 100-plus scrimmage yards.
MARCAS GRANT: The Bengals’ loss will be Joe Mixon’s gain. Samaje Perine moving on to Denver removed a major obstacle to Mixon being more of a do-everything back in Cincinnati’s offense. That will be on display this week against Cleveland, with Mixon going for 150 total yards and two touchdowns. With increased passing-game duties, Mixon’s weekly floor should go up. In Week 1, he could hit his ceiling in a contest that might turn into a track meet.
MATT OKADA: Remember that legendary 54-51 Chiefs-Rams fiesta on Monday Night Football in 2018? There were 319.14 fantasy points scored in that game — the most in the last five seasons. The Dolphins and Chargers will top that exorbitant number with 323 combined fantasy points on Sunday (shoutout, LA area code). If you drafted players on either side, get them in your fantasy lineup immediately. And yes, that includes guys like Raheem Mostert and Cameron Dicker the Kicker.
MICHAEL F. FLORIO: Chris Olave’s breakout campaign starts off in a big way against a Titans team that allowed the most yards (1,197) and touchdowns (11) on deep passes last year, per Next Gen Stats. Mr. Air Yards and his new quarterback, Derek Carr, connect for two long touchdowns, totaling 150 yards in the process.
Full NFL Week 1 schedule
Thursday, September 7
- Detroit Lions 21, Kansas City Chiefs 20
Sunday, September 10
- Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m. ET on FOX)
- Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m. ET on FOX)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints (1 p.m. ET on CBS)
- San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m. ET on FOX)
- Arizona Cardinals at Washington Commanders (1 p.m. ET on FOX)
- Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (4:25 p.m. ET on FOX)
- Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers (4:25 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots (4:25 p.m. ET on CBS)
- Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (4:25 p.m. on FOX)
- Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (8:20 p.m. ET on NBC/Telemundo/Universo)
Monday, September 11
- Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN/ABC/ESPN2/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes)
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