WED, SEP 5
Dallas @ NY Giants – Too many injuries for the Cowboys to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs on the road.
PICK: Giants, 24-21.
SUN, SEP 9
Indianapolis @ Chicago – Will Peyton Manning’s protege, rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, go into Soldier Field and win his first NFL game against this defensive unit? Short answer: Nope.
PICK: Bears, 27-14.
Philadelphia @ Cleveland – All of Philadelphia’s offensive weapons are finally healthy, Vick included. The Cleveland QB carousel continues, with Weeden being thrown to the dogs against Philly’s tough pass rush.
PICK: Eagles, 31-7.
New England @ Tennessee – It will be interesting to see how Tom Brady and off-season acquisition Brandon Lloyd gel. I am also interested to see how much Josh McDaniels uses Stevan Ridley.
PICK: Patriots, 31-20.
Atlanta @ Kansas City – Arrowhead is always a tough place to play, but something tells me that offense wins out against defense in this match-up; Ryan is efficient, and the Falcons have weapons all over the place.
PICK: Falcons, 24-14.
Jacksonville @ Minnesota – I don’t expect either of these teams to do much this season with second-year quarterbacks at the helm. I guess that means I should probably take the home team.
PICK: Vikings, 20-17.
Washington @ New Orleans – Something tells me that even with the suspensions across the board, the Saints won’t lose their home opener against a rookie signal caller.
PICK: Saints, 35-17.
Buffalo @ NY Jets – I can’t wait to watch this offensive thrill-ride! And by offensive thrill-ride, I mean offensive debacle of course. You know what that means? I believe the Jets will actually finally score an offensive touchdown…OR EVEN TWO!
PICK: Jets, 16-13.
St. Louis @ Detroit – St. Louis loves to pound the rock on the ground with S-Jax, and the Lions have one hell of an aerial attack. In the modern-day NFL, with the rules they have in place, the edge in these two contrasting styles ALMOST always goes to the team that can pass.
PICK: Lions, 31-21.
Miami @ Houston – With Schaub back at the helm, I expect the Texans to be a Super Bowl contender this year. With Tannehill at the helm, I expect the Dolphins to be a first-pick-in-the-NFL-Draft contender this year.
PICK: Texans, 35-13.
San Francisco @ Green Bay – NFC Championship preview in week 1…let me snag some popcorn and soda for this one. It is my humble opinion (and the correct opinion) that Aaron Rodgers is the best offensive player in the NFL, and Patrick Willis is the best defensive player in the NFL. I give the cheeseheads the edge because this one is at Lambeau.
PICK: Packers, 24-23.
Seattle @ Arizona – I’m glad the 49ers/Packers game is one of the late afternoon games, because I wouldn’t want to be stuck watching this mess. I’m sorry if I can’t get excited about the Skelton vs. Wilson match-up behind center. I think the Seahawks defense ends up being the difference.
PICK: Seahawks, 20-17.
Carolina @ Tampa Bay – Can Josh Freeman bounce back to the 2010 version of himself? Can Cam Newton recreate the year he had in 2011? Is Vincent Jackson still a soft diva afraid to go over the middle? The answers to all these questions should start to unfold in week 1. I’m saying the answers are no, sorta, and indubitably, respectively.
PICK: Panthers, 27-20.
Pittsburgh @ Denver – Let the Peyton Manning era begin in Denver, and may the odds ever be in his favor. Seriously though, I wonder if he has nightmares of idiot-kicker Mike Vanderjagt’s kick sailing wide every time he plays against the Steelers. It may only be the regular season, but he gets semi-vicarious revenge through the leg of Matt Prater.
PICK: Broncos, 23-21.
MON, SEP 10
Cincinnati @ Baltimore – I think this year is the last go-round for Ed Reed and Ray-Ray, and I think the Baltimore defense is still good enough to compete for a Super Bowl. If Flacco can avoid mistakes and Ray Rice can stay healthy, I expect a great year; I expect it to start week 1.
PICK: Ravens, 24-14.
San Diego @ Oakland – This one is a coin flip, and it should be a great cap to week 1 action in the NFL. I expect Philip Rivers to throw for 300+ yards, and McFadden to run for 125+ yards. Remember what I said earlier about teams that can pass versus teams that can run? Well, I don’t want to be a hypocrite…so I won’t be a hypocrite.
PICK: Chargers, 27-24.