A year ago the Titans handed the Steelers a beating late in the season, while several players stomped on the Terrible Towel. The Steelers did not lose again on the way to the Super Bowl. Look for the Terrible to be waving as Steelers fans won’t let the Titans forget, while the Steelers begin defense of their championship by extracting some revenge.
The two biggest surprises last season face off in the season opener, as Falcons QB Matt Ryan seeks to continue to develop into one of the NFL’s best young Quarterbacks. He faces a tough task in the Dolphins defense, but he should be able to find a way to get the Falcons off to a fast start, as the home crowd will give them enough of an edge in a battle of evenly matched teams.
The Chiefs big off-season acquisition Matt Cassel is questionable. Perhaps it would be a good idea to sit their new QB coming off a knee injury in the pre-season, as the Ravens defense could make it worse, as they have a habit of bringing the pain to Quarterbacks. The line may give you some pause here, but at home there is no way the Ravens don’t win this one easy.
A match up of two playoff teams in Week 1 always is key, as both teams will be looking to get off to a good start, while getting an early key Conference win. The Panthers season ended on an ugly note with six turnovers in a home loss, while the Eagles are hoping to parlay their run to the NFC Championship Game into a Super Bowl trip this year. Look for the Eagles to get off to a good start, as the Panthers offense is vulnerable against good defenses.
Just how bad do things look for the Broncos? They are underdogs in Week 1 against the Bengals. For good reason the team is one big mess as WR Brandon Marshall is coming back from a preseason suspension for insubordination, which is coming off the heels of the Jay Cutler trade. However, the big problem is a QB for the Broncos, as Kyle Orton is not going to win a whole lot of games.
A year ago Eric Mangini was there as Brett Favre began his career with the Jets. Now he is there as Favre starts life with the Vikings. The fact that he is now with the Browns should tell you did not end well, as Favre struggled and the Mangini era was ended in New York. The Mangini era in Cleveland won’t start any better, but it won’t be Favre who does in his old coach, it will be Adrian Peterson, who will have a field day in Cleveland.
The Texans are heading into the season with a sense for the first time, that they truly have a shot at playing in the playoffs. Meanwhile the Jets are just starting a new era with a rookie QB and a brand new coach. On the road against a strong defense is a tough task for any Quarterback, but for Rookie Mark Sanchez it may be a little too much to expect him to deliver a win in his first game.
Even though they do not have a lot of wins in Indianapolis the Jaguars have a habit of giving the Colts hard fought games on the road. Expect much of the same this time around, as Jim Caldwell makes his debut wearing Tony Dungy’s shoes. Look for it to be close through out, but in the end too much Peyton Manning as the Colts win, but the Jags cover.
When the schedule came out Saints QB Drew Brees must have been salivating at thought of opening the season against the Lions, who have did not win a game last year. Lions Rookie QB Matt Stafford will be on the field getting his first taste of the NFL and may have a chance to put up some numbers as the Lions defense will have him playing catch up all game, as the Saints will score and score often.
A new beginning in Tampa, as the Buccaneers start fresh with many of their longtime stalwarts not on the roster for new Coach Raheem Morris. Against the Cowboys they face a tough task, as Dallas is thinking Super Bowl, and will come in looking to get off to a strong start. Don’t be surprised if Bucs draft pick Josh Freeman sees the field as the Cowboys win easily.
After years of scuffling the Arizona Cardinals begin the season as defending NFC Champions. However, the will learn quickly that life at the top is hard as they will face a tough challenge for the improved 49ers. Division games are always tough and six and half points is a wide spread for an early season game, look for it to be close, as the Cards win late.
The Giants start the season with aspirations to regain their crown as they say good bye to Giants Stadium. One big concern is their receivers who played poorly in the pre-season. However, against the Redskins, they should be able to control the game with their defense and running game to get off to a good start against a division foe.
Two teams looking to improve off disappointing seasons last year. While the Seahawks are looking to regain their spot atop the NFC West, the Rams are just like Rodney Dangerfield looking for some respect. The Rams won’t get it in this game, as the healthy Seahawks should be able to start strong, although the spread could be a little high, at home they should cover it.
What a way to begin the Sunday Night schedule, the oldest continuing rivalry in the NFL, with both holding Super Bowl aspirations. The Bears have a new Quarterback and the Packers an improved defense. What may decide this game is simply the fans in the stands, and since they will have cheese on their heads, the pick is the Pack.
The Bills looked awful in the preseason as Terrell Owens fought a sore toe. The Bills hoping to find a spark fired their offensive coordinator. However, even if they were firing on all cylinders it would be hard to imagine them winning in Foxboro. Look for a strong game from Tom Brady, as the Patriots look to make a big statement on Monday Night.
The Chargers have a sign hanging over their heads saying, “Super Bowl or Bust”. The Raiders meanwhile are considering changing their slogan from “Commitment to Excellence” to “Hoping for Mediocrity”. I don’t expect this one to be pretty as the Chargers will be looking to make an early statement playing on Monday Night.