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NFL Picks Week 1: We’re Thinking We’re Back

The 2023 NFL season kicks off with an interesting slate of matchups. Here are the predictions for Week One.

Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The kickoff of the 2023 New Orleans Saints season begins with a renewed excitement in New Orleans. This Saints team enters the season with a new franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, who instantly became one of the NFC’s top quarterbacks upon his signing, as well as certainly the best and most accomplished quarterback in the NFC South. Carr may just be the missing piece to get the Saints back on top of the NFC South this season.

These Saints aren't necessarily expected to bring New Orleans its second Lombardi title, but expectations are to win the NFC South, host a playoff game and make some noise in a questionable conference, outside of the reigning NFC Champions at least. The Saints may ultimately have what it takes to get to Las Vegas next February for Super Bowl LVIII, and they have as good a shot as any contender in a weak NFC this season. Their hopeful path to Vegas in February begins in New Orleans in Week 1.

In truth, despite the past two seasons, the Saints haven't been away from the NFC contention scene for very long, much like their skid from 2014-2016, but the Saints and their fans are thinking they’re back. Back where they belong, atop the NFC South and contending for more.


All season and postseason, Wallace Delery of Canal Street Chronicles will be presenting you with each and every game on the NFL schedule along with my pick for each game. It’s been a long wait for this season to begin, so let’s get started.


Thursday, September 7th - NFL Kickoff 2023

Lions at Chiefs

Kansas City, despite injuries going into this season opener, remains the best team in the NFL, and their path to at least a sixth-consecutive AFC Title Game appearance begins with a routine victory over Detroit, as their Super Bowl LVII banner is unveiled before Arrowhead Nation. Kansas City wins 34-24.

Pick: Chiefs


Sunday, September 10th - Early Games

Panthers at Falcons

Atlanta is a chic pick in the NFC South among many talking heads and clickbait posters online, but the “new and improved” Falcons will stumble right out of the gates, and they will Falcon against rookie QB Bryce Young and the new-look Panthers, thanks to some patented late-game Falconing. Carolina wins 26-21.

Pick: Panthers


Texans at Ravens

Houston and rookie QB CJ Stroud have a very tough matchup right out of the gates on the road against Baltimore. The Ravens will jump out early against the Texans and coast for the rest of this game. Baltimore wins 37-12.

Pick: Ravens


Bengals at Browns

Despite injury concerns for Joe Burrow this offseason, Burrow will have another fantastic season, leading Cincinnati deep into the AFC playoffs again, but it will be a bit of a slow start getting footing in this game against a Cleveland team that needs to show some serious progress this season before seats start getting very hot. Cincinnati wins 21-17.

Pick: Bengals


Jaguars at Colts

Eyes will certainly be on Indy’s rookie QB Anthony Richardson, and how he adapts to NFL regular season play, but this is still Jacksonville’s division to lose, and the reigning AFC South champs will keep a firm grip on their crown this season. Jacksonville wins 26-17.

Pick: Jaguars


Buccaneers at Vikings

Tampa’s 2023 season will be uglier than their uniform combinations over the years, and the Baker Mayfield era will start in spectacularly ugly fashion with a thrashing against Minnesota. Minnesota wins 28-14.

Pick: Vikings


49ers at Steelers

As usual, San Francisco’s hopes this year will depend on how far their quarterback room takes them. If Brock Purdy is healthy and doesn't take a major step back from his play a year ago, the Niners are looking at another deep playoff run in the NFC. Pittsburgh, led by second year QB Kenny Pickett, has the talent and certainly the coaching to get back in the AFC playoff race this season. This will be one of the better games to open this season. San Francisco wins 24-20.

Pick: 49ers


Cardinals at Commanders

Tampa thinks they’re so bad they can just waltz up to the podium to pick Caleb Williams first-overall next spring, but Arizona is here to say, “Not so fast, my friend”. The Cardinals are staring into an abyss of futility this season that only Las Vegas will ultimately rival. Washington, the only NFC East team not to make the playoffs last season, is gifted an easy win, with a new QB under center (again) to start a potentially hot-seat season for Ron Rivera. Washington wins 29-14.

Pick: Commanders


Titans at Saints

The New Orleans Saints have the pieces to get back into the playoffs this season, even if a major piece like Alvin Kamara isn't available to start the year. In recent years this would've sunk the team, but this isn't like those seasons. The Saints now have a Pro Bowl franchise QB in place, a healthy (no jinxing) Michael Thomas at WR joining standout Chris Olave, a plethora of TE talent, and a bonafide RB partner behind Kamara in Jamaal Williams. On defense, the Saints look improved from their fifth-ranked unit from a season ago.

Tennessee, once a contender in the AFC just a few seasons ago, are now an afterthought, as the rest of their conference has lapped them. Although they don't have the marquee quarterback that many of their AFC counterparts have, they rely on the type of football that Dennis Allen daydreams about: Defensive focus with a complimentary running game. It won't be enough to return them to contention in the AFC, but it will be enough to keep them competitive against a Saints team looking to gel offensively in Week 1.

The Saints have the personnel and potential to be special this season and it starts here against the Titans. There will be some stumbles in this opening game, but the Saints will secure a tougher than expected victory at home to start the season. Saints win 28-26.

Pick: Saints


Sunday, September 10th - Late Games

Packers at Bears

Aaron Rodgers owned the Bears in Chicago, but Aaron Rodgers isn't in Green Bay anymore. Chicago finally gets a win at home against the Pack. These teams are closer to each other this season than many acknowledge, and they are certainly heading in opposite directions from a season ago. Chicago wins 21-14.

Pick: Bears


Raiders at Broncos

Las Vegas won't just have a bad season by normal Raiders standards, but they will have a “Caleb Williams Lottery Ticket” bad season, much like Arizona. Surprisingly though, their season will start with its highest moment, a win over their AFC West rivals from Denver. This shouldn't be too much of a surprise considering the Raiders are undefeated against Denver, 6-0, since moving to Las Vegas in 2020. The Broncos game is just the one that the Raiders seem to get up the most for, no matter how much they are struggling.

Derek Carr is no longer in Silver and Black, and his play attributed a lot to Vegas’ success in the past six matchups, statistics show, but as poor as the Raiders’ defense has been over the past decade, they had no problem getting to Russell Wilson, recording six sacks in two meetings last season. The Sean Payton era in Denver will begin with scratching of heads and gnashing of teeth following a loss at home to the lowly Raiders. Las Vegas wins 27-20.

Pick: Raiders


Dolphins at Chargers - Game of the Week

Both of these teams ended their years with disappointment a year ago, and their expectations remain very high in a treacherous AFC. If both teams remain relatively healthy and play near their potential, both could certainly be playoff teams and be in the battle for their respective divisions. Justin Herbert will be the difference in this one, having a huge performance to open the season. Los Angeles wins 24-21.

Pick: Chargers


Eagles at Patriots

Philadelphia could certainly suffer from the famed “Super Bowl Hangover”, but it won't occur here in Week 1 against a New England team that may struggle in a treacherous AFC East this season. After Week 1, Philly will still look like the team to beat in the NFC again. Philadelphia wins 31-24.

Pick: Eagles


Rams at Seahawks

The Rams are looking to prove their horrible post-Super Bowl season from last year was just a fluke, while Seattle is trying to prove their playoff season last year was not a fluke at all. Both teams should be somewhere in the middle this year and are closer to each other than even they may think. This game will be very close, but the home team finds a way late. Seattle wins 23-20.

Pick: Seahawks


Sunday Night Football

Cowboys at Giants

These NFC East rivals were both playoff teams a year ago, but despite this, the Giants are being surprisingly underrated while the Cowboys are being unsurprisingly overrated once again. Both teams are very close and will be so throughout the season. In this game it will be the Dallas offense that gets off the blocks the quickest. Dallas wins 25-17.

Pick: Cowboys


Monday, September 11th - Monday Night Football

Bills at Jets

It’s a certainty that the Aaron Rodgers story will suck the air out of any and every game the Jets play this season, especially here in the season opener on Monday Night. The A-Rod circus gets off to a bumpy start, thanks to huge efforts by both defenses, with the reigning AFC East champs pulling out a tough, and pivotal victory in the first week. Buffalo wins 19-16.

Pick: Bills


That’s how I see it, tell us how you see Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season unfolding. Leave your comments and insight below. Finally, Saints football is back! WHO DAT!

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