When last these teams met, it was the last game of the regular season with a trip to the playoffs on the line. The Giants won the game and the rest is history. The Cowboys come in with some health question marks, while the Giants come in with the often heavy Super Bowl crown. As always these teams meet the game will be decided in the fourth quarter, and that is when Eli Manning is at his best, while Tony Romo is prone to make the big mistake.
Colts QB Andrew Luck makes his debut against the Monsters of the Midway at Soldier Field. The Bears have a strong pass rush led by Julius Peppers so the top overall pick will be under fire right away. Andrew Luck will one day be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, but his first game will be something he rather forget as the Bears give him plenty of bruises and a Sunday loss, welcome to the NFL kid.
The Eagles need to get off to a good start this season, as they begin the year with the weight of the world on their back. This makes a game against the Cleveland Browns a perfect patsy. It is like a big school with BCS hopes starting the year against McNeese State. The most important thing would be for Michael Vick to stay healthy as the Eagles should have this game sewn up before halftime.
Two teams starting the season in opposite mindsets, the Rams are trying to erase the bitter memories from last season, while the Lions are looking to build off last year’s playoff appearance. The Rams are not as bad as their 2-14 season would indicate, but starting the season in Detroit is not helpful for a team looking to get off to a good start. The Lions have the talent to become a perennial playoff team, while the Rams have some work to do.
The Joe Philbin era is not off to a good start in Miami, perhaps inviting HBO in to a young team was not the best idea, and neither was signing Chad Ochocinco. Ocho is gone but the Dolphins appear to be a work in progress, and that is being kind they actually look more like a disorganized mess. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill returns to familiar territory, but against the Texans it will not be a game to remember as the Dolphins who looked total lost in the preseason are an easy win for Texans who have Super Bowl dreams.
After a forgetable 2011, the Chiefs are another team that needs to get off to a good start. Facing the Falcons they will have their work cut out for them. One big thing in the favor of the Chiefs is they have a strong defense that will be able to stop Michael Turner while making life uncomfortable for QB Matt Ryan. This may be one of the best games in the opening weekend, and the Chiers will win it with a late field goal.
When two awful teams meet in Week 1, somebody must get off to a 1-0 start. Both teams nearly mirror each other as the Jaguars with attendance problems could be destined for LA some day, while the Vikings are using LA to get a new stadium in Minnesota. One team has a star back coming off injury the other is coming off a hold, while both teams have second year QBs who left a lot to be desired in their rookie season. The game is in the dome, and the Jaguars have more issues, so it should be a win for the team in purple.
After a tumultuous off-season, the Saints will look to make a statement in Week 1 as they face the Redskins led by Rookie QB Robert Griffin III. Losing their coach and Jonathan Vilma for the season will not affect Drew Brees who is my fantasy pay to play selection for week 1, because nobody will but up more gaudy numbers. As the season come to an end last week it almost became automatic that the Saints would light up the scoreboard and that will certainly happen in Week 1 and no matter how good RGIII plays he won’t be able to match him.
The kickoff for this game is scheduled at 1:00, by 1:20 we will hear the first chants of “Tebow” as the Jets offense continues to spin its wheels. Not that Tim Tebow will do any better, but the lack of a strong line and a running game and deep threat makes the Jets the most predictable offense in the NFL. In the preseason the endzone had an invisible force field as the Jets did not score a TD until the final game of the exhibition season. Expect things to get ugly early as the Bills score an upset on the road.
The Patriots coming off another Super Bowl loss begin the season in Nashville in a winnable game, but there several questions they must answer before they can get back to the big game. They still have holes in their defense, which can be exploited by Titans RB Chris Johnson. However, with untested Jake Locker at quarterback it will be hard to imagine the Titans can actually win the game with Tom Brady still lead the Pats offense. However, it should be a closer game than the spread suggests.
Two teams in the NFC who hope to be in the playoff chase meet in a key early season showdown. The Seahawks are gambling on third round draft pick Russell Wilson, who had a great preseason in the quarterback position. Like any rookie quarterback there is going to be some butterflies in the stomach in the first game, especially if the game is on the road. The Cardinals have their own questionmarks at quarterback by John Skelton has been there before, and he will earn a win in Week 1.
Last season these were the two best teams in the NFC during the regular season, and both of them experienced heartbreak against the Giants. The Packers have the edge of the home crowd in this one, but if any team can win in Lambeau Field it is the 49ers. It should be close throughout, as both teams could easily meet again with more on the line in January. This week I will give the edge to the Packers because they are at home.
Love those home dogs in the first week of the season, especially when they are looking for something to prove under a new coach. This sets up the perfect situation for the Buccaneers. The Panthers come in with heavy hype, but Cam Newton has not proven he can win on a consistent basis despite his surreal numbers in his rookie season. Look for the game to be close, with the Bucs defense keeping Newton under tabs as they score an early upset at home.
Last year in the playoffs the Broncos stunned the Steelers with Tim Tebow having his best passing day. Imagine what they could have done with Peyton Manning. In making his first start in Denver you know Peyton Manning will look to make a statement on Sunday Night. While the Steelers are a tough foe, they have a major disadvantage any time they play in Denver as they lose Safety Ryan Clark who gets physically sick in the Mile High air. This sets up the perfect scenario for the Broncos to get a Week 1 win.
The Bengals and Ravens both made the playoffs last season, and with a meeting on Monday Night in Week 1 there is an early test for supremacy in the AFC North. The Ravens were a dropped pass and a missed field goal from playing in the Super Bowl. With an aging team there is a sense of urgency in Baltimore. With this game at home they must get the win. The Bengals still have a way to go meanwhile before they can actually overtake the Ravens in the division race.
Two teams with something to prove meet in Week 1, and both teams can’t afford to get off to a bad start. Playing at home the Raiders have the edge especially get a boost as Darren McFadden returns to action. However, the player with the most to prove is QB Carson Palmer, and he should be able to get off to a good start facing the Chargers defense, which is not good as it used to be, while the Chargers offense is no longer up to the level that once made them to team to beat in the AFC West.