Week one of the NFL is underway, and I am 0-1 on my picks so far. Not off to a great start, but it’s a good thing these guys have plenty of games yet to be played. Every NFL matchup is intriguing to me, whether I have a fantasy football interest, my team is playing, or I simply find the players entertaining–there are literally no bad games in my eyes, and that’s the beauty of the NFL. That being said, here are my week one predictions (I was about 75-80 percent last year).
This game is in Chicago and going up against Julius Peppers with a young, inexperienced offensive line is a tall order for any rookie quarterback, even the best since Elway. I think this could be a long day for Luck, but I also believe he will show flashes of brilliance. I think the Bears are a legit Super Bowl contender this season, and they’re going to make some noise with a win in this game.
As much as I love the addition of Trent Richardson to the Browns, they look like they could be one of the worst teams in the NFL. I know Philly has been overrated, but they are a much better team here. I don’t often feel overly confident about the road team getting a win in any situation, but this game is the Eagles’ to lose.
The high-flying Lions get set to take on an underrated front four in St. Louis, but that young Rams team is still very young and unproven. Sam Bradford has to get things together and prove to the Rams’ org that he was worth the number one pick and $50 million three years ago. As of right now, Matt Stafford is well ahead of him in terms of development, but the Lions also have the biggest, baddest weapon in the NFL–Calvin Johnson.
This is another game I’m pretty sure about. Houston is projected to be a dominant team, but some injury concerns have me concerned. If they get their big names in there for even the first half, they should have this one well in hand. I think Houston has a chance to dominate the AFC South this season and win 13 games, and this is no gimme but the Texans are balanced enough to be able to play a below average game and still beat Miami on their home field.
The Falcons have a high flying offense, and Kansas City is returning a ton of key players from injury last year. They have a lot more speed offensively than they are given credit, but I am not sold on Matt Cassel at all. The Chiefs struggled a bit in the pre-season, and I think the Falcons looked pretty solid. Matt Ryan’s crew has a few things to prove after a disappointing finish last season, and the Chiefs are a potential “worst to first” candidate. This should be a very good game.
This game is a story of what running backs are or aren’t going to be there. Fantasy owners across the country collectively held their breath until Maurice Jones-Drew returned to Jags camp, and the anticipation of Adrian Peterson’s return after signing a monster extension have Vikings fans on the edge of their seats. This could be one of the worst games of the week, but if those two guys play, there might not be a better running back matchup this season.
All the distraction surrounding the Saints, and all the hype surrounding Robert Griffin III. I think as long as the Saints have Drew Brees in the fold, they are a very safe bet on their home field unless an offense is proven to be able to out-score them. There are not many of those in this league, though Washington’s defense is capable of forcing Brees to make bad decisions. This game could be interesting for three quarters.
To me, the Jets are a huge mess and until I see them prove it on the field, I think they could be one of the biggest busts of the 2012 season. Their running game could really struggle this year, and I honestly believe Tim Tebow would put them in the best position to win with their power running offense. That’s just the Tebow lover in me, though. The Bills’ defense is very tough, and the additions they made this offseason were as good as any in the NFL.
Are you betting against the Patriots right now? I’m not.
The Cardinals’ O-line and QB situations are in a shambles. This is an awful outlook going into the season. On the other sideline, I love what the Seahawks did making Russell Wilson their starting QB, and their defense is arguably the most underrated in the NFL right now. This is an important season opener for two teams that could compete for a wild card spot, though I think the Cardinals’ stock arrow is pointing down.
This is arguably the best game of the week, here. The Packers have probably the best offense in the NFC and the Niners are hungry after an NFC Title loss and a stout defense that bested Drew Brees’ Saints last year in the playoffs. This could be an NFC Title preview.
Carolina is a sleeper team, and Tampa may have been the victim of a massive sophomore slump last year. Both teams are intriguing here, but I think it comes down to quarterback play, and I like one QB better than another in this matchup.
The regular season and home debut for Peyton Manning in orange. Man this is gonna be weird, but great. The Steelers are looking for some revenge after Denver’s OT thriller in the playoffs last year, but the Broncos are the better overall team here.
I love the young nucleus in Cincy, but I think the Ravens are going to make a statement at home in this game.
How can Philip Rivers handle all this adversity? His top WR target is gone to Tampa Bay, and the team’s projected top offensive player in Ryan Mathews is out with an injury. This is not shaping up for a good start for San Diego, but luckily they play one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders.
So there you have it. Don’t blame me for any money you lose to your buddies!