NFL Week 1 Predictions
The first week of the football season is all about speculation. The Cowboys defeating the Giants on Wednesday night doesn't really tell us much, but it is a big win, emotionally, for Dallas. However, heading into Sunday's action there are still many questions around the league. How will Peyton Manning's first regular season game with the Broncos go? Will his replacement, Andrew Luck, have any success in Indianapolis? Can the Jets succeed with Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez? For now all we can do is guess, so here's my best attempt at doing just that.
Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears
All signs point to Andrew Luck having a great rookie season, which won't be hard for him considering the Colts' abysmal record last year. However, Luck will be up against one of the toughest defensive units in the league. Expect Matt Forte to shred Indy's defense, leading his team to a week one victory. Bears wipe out Colts in Soldier Field.
Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs
The key for Kansas City this season should be run the ball. Nothing against Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe, but when you have a backfield with Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, that indicates trouble for opposing defenses. Meanwhile, the Falcons have just the same, if not as much star-power than the Chiefs. The addition of Asante Samuel in the secondary, alongside Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes, will be crucial for Atlanta all year. And, well, their offense speaks for itself. This will be a hard fought game but I'll give the edge to Matt Ryan and the Falcons, despite being on the road. Atlanta wins a tough one in Arrowhead Stadium.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
According to Rex Ryan, this year's team will be the best he's ever coached in New York. Sound familiar? It's probably because he said something similar last season. But really, with that defense he should have a lot of confidence. Factor in Tim Tebow, the wildcat offense, and the Jets look like an interesting team to watch this year. On the other side of the ball, Buffalo added Mario Williams to their defensive line which will also be something to keep an eye on. The uncertainty, though, is what Ryan Fitzpatrick will show up? The same could actually be said for Mark Sanchez, too, but he luckily has another "quarterback" on his side to take away some of the pressure. Advantage J-E-T-S. New York wins a tough one in the Meadowlands.
GAME OF THE WEEK: San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
If you're not excited about watching this game then I'm not sure you're a true football fan. The dominance the Packers have shown in the past couple of seasons will continue as long as they have Aaron Rodgers under center. Green Bay also has a great defensive unit which will cause problems for San Fran. But almost identically, the 49ers also have an aggressive defense, which will make it difficult for Aaron Rodgers. And with the new faces on offense, Alex Smith has to be ready to go toe-to-toe with Rodgers. The difference in this game might just be the running backs, and look no further than Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs and LaMicheal James. Regardless of the results, there's a good possibility that these two teams will be playing each other in January. 49ers edge out the Packers in Lambeau Field.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (Sunday Night Football)
You could decide if I'm being sarcastic here, but what better way to end your weekend then watching Peyton Manning play his first regular season game as quarterback for the Denver Broncos? And fortunately for Manning, he might not have to worry about James Harrison on Sunday because he is unlikely to play after missing practice on Friday. Steelers' running back Rashard Mendenhall is also doubtful for the game. This is Pittsburgh's perfect opportunity to get revenge on Denver for eliminating them in last year's playoffs, but they'll need to be 100% healthy to beat Manning and company. Broncos win a hard fought game at home.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (Monday Night Football)
Andy Dalton and the Bengals showed a lot of poise last season, but the Ravens were a Billy Cundiff mistake away from going to the Super Bowl. With weapons like Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Ray Rice, look for Joe Flacco to have a superb game. And regardless of their age, Baltimore's defense is always something to be afraid of, even without Terrell Suggs. Ravens win big on Monday Night.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
I'll be surprised if the Browns win more than five games this season, and that's being generous. This will be a good warmup game for Micheal Vick and the Eagles. Philly blows out Cleveland.
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
The Rams stand no chance against the Lions, nonetheless on the road. Megatron might just have a 150+ yards, two touchdown game. Big win for the Lions in Motown.
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints
Robert Griffin III has the potential to be a great quarterback in the NFL. Unfortunately, he's playing against a quarterback that has already proven himself to be among the elite. New Orleans is going to be pumped up now that they have Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith back. Saints win in the raucous Superdome.
New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans
Remember what happened last time these two teams played each other? If you don't, well, you're probably a Titans fan that's trying to forget the 59-0 blowout in Gillette Stadium a few years ago. Actually, it wouldn't be surprising to see similar results on Sunday. With their easy schedule and addition of players like Brandon Lloyd and Chandler Jones, the Patriots look to be one of the toughest teams in the league. New England wins its ninth consecutive season opener.
Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans
This is simple - Miami is a struggling team entering this season and Houston is not. Matt Schaub will come out firing, making up for missed time last year. The Dolphins stand no chance against the Texans. Easy win for Houston.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings
This could be a great game due to the running backs, but it probably won't be. Because of Maurice Jones-Drew pointless holdout and a rehabbing Adrian Peterson, it's unclear how much either of the backs will play this Sunday. However, Jones-Drew has a better chance of playing on Sunday, so advantage Jacksonville. Jaguars win a sloppy one on the road.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a disappointing season last year, the Bucs added a few pieces with hopes to avoid finishing last in the NFC South. Not only did Tampa get a new head coach, they also signed wide receiver Vincent Jackson and tight end Dallas Clark to help out Josh Freeman. This new Tampa Bay team might just have more success than expected. But of course, keep an eye on Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly, too. Bucs win a close one against the Panthers.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Wake me up when this one is over. Cardinals win.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
The Chargers have significant injured players such as Ryan Matthews and Vincent Jackson, but there seems to be no reason to be confident about the Raiders this year. Plus, just look at the quarterback matchup. It's completely one-sided. Chargers win big on the road.
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