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NFL picks, Week 1: Football's back y’all!

The return of the NFL means it is time to start picking games. We have set up a weekly pick 'em contest. Here are my picks for Week 1.

Welcome back, football! The NFL kicks off the 2016 regular season Thursday evening with the Denver Broncos hosting the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl rematch. I’m a little surprised they went straight to the Super Bowl rematch, but it’s certainly one way to further boost ratings.

For the second straight season, the San Francisco 49ers don’t play until Monday evening. They host the Los Angeles Rams, marking the return of the California rivalry. The 49ers are home underdogs, but I do think it is a very winnable game. It’s no sure thing, and that Rams defense is tough, but I think the 49ers defense will be able to keep this thing fairly low scoring. I think a turnover or two will be the difference, while offensively this will be the Carlos Hyde-Todd Gurley show.

Tonight’s matchup between the Panthers and Broncos has a lot of folks thinking Carolina will roll against Trevor Siemian and company. I don’t think I am quite so comfortable with that. I think that Denver defense will keep this close, and Siemian might impress against a Panthers defense that lost some key parts. At the very least, I think this will be a relatively close game.

Prediction contest update: For those who are wondering, we don’t have the prediction contest quite yet. Bignerd hasn’t been around the site for a while, and he handled the scoring of things. If someone wants to take that one we could get going in Week 2, but I would kind of like to figure out something new this year.

For the time being, I set up a Yahoo! weekly pick ‘em league. If you want to join in, head over to Yahoo! and join our group. Here's the information you need:

Group ID#: 44915
password: go49ers

Here are my straight up picks for this week.

Panthers @ Broncos: Broncos
Packers @ Jaguars: Packers
Bills @ Ravens: Ravens
Bears @ Texans: Texans
Browns @ Eagles: Browns
Bucs @ Falcons: Falcons
Vikings @ Titans: Vikings
Bengals @ Jets: Bengals
Raiders @ Saints: Saints
Chargers @ Chiefs: Chiefs
Dolphins @ Seahawks: Seahawks
Lions @ Colts: Colts
Giants @ Cowboys: Giants
Patriots @ Cardinals: Cardinals
Steelers @ Washington: Washington
Rams @ 49ers: 49ers