Ok family, it’s finally here, my wait is over. It was a little longer than most because I last reported the NFL at TSF in December of 2008, so I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. Looking forward to the debates and trash talk during the season.
Here are my picks for Week 1.
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins 1pm: Two of last seasons surprise teams. Both finished 11-5, Don’t expect to see too much of the Wildcat from the Phins but expect Atlanta’s young secondary to be challenged. I see the Dirtys mixing it up early but running the ball if they’re up late.
Final: Falcons 31 – Dolphins 27
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens 1pm: If Matt Cassell (game time decision) isn’t ready to go Brodie Coyle is the guy. The Chiefs are going to try and establish some sort of running attack to stay in this one. Player to watch in this one is Ravens running back Ray Rice, if he gets busy this season the Ravens offense will go to the next level.
Final: Ravens 28 – Chiefs 13
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers 1pm: For all the fuss being made about the injuries to Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley and Tackle Shawn Andrews the Panthers defense will be without DT Maake Kemoeatu and both teams will have rookie defensive coordinators. Jake Delhomme is eager to put the 5 interception debacle behind him. Keep an eye on Brian Westbrook’s touches and how much help Winston Justice gets from fullback Leonard Weaver as a chipper.
Final: Eagles 24 – Panthers 23
Minnesota Vikings at Clevland Browns 1pm: The identity of the Browns starting QB is being kept under wraps until the last minute. This is a better match up than most people think the Browns will have trouble running the rock against the Williams Bros. If Favre has to throw more than 25 times the Browns have a shot.
Final: Vikes 23 – Browns 14
New York Jets at Houston Texans 1pm: I really like Jets QB Mark Sanchez and I believe he will have a successful debut, due largely to the Jets defense and running attack. But you will see flashes from Sanchez as a passer. The Texans are looking to improve on last seasons 8-8 campaign, they have a nice core of young talent that will be tested by a veteran Jets D.
Final: Jets 28 – Texans 24
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints 1pm: Lions rookie QB Matt Stafford will be welcomed to the NFL with a steady helping of blitzes from new Defensive Coordinator Greg WIlliams. To stay upright and available for next week Stafford must use back Kevin Smith and his hot reads to the max. Expect an improved Lions defense. The Saints are hoping that Reggie Bush is anywhere close to 100%. He’ll be used in situations that they feel he can cause a mismatch. Nevertheless QB Drew Brees will find a way to get the Saints into the end zone despite the Saints’ D being prone to giving up big yardage.
Final: Saints 35 – Lions 24
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1pm: Tony Romo embarks on his toughest campaign to date. This is his team now and I’m eager to see how Romo runs it. One thing still intact is the Cowboys D. Bucs QB Byron Leftwich gets a second shot as a starter and has a pretty decent group around him – newcomer TE Kellen Winslow will be a huge boost for his overall game. Cornerback Ronde Barber enters his 13th season.
Final: Bucs 24 – Cowboys 21
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals 1pm: The Broncos are tore up from the floor up. Expect Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco to reunite themselves with the end zone.
Final: Bengals 38 – Broncos 10
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts 1pm: The Jags offensive line is improved, great news for QB David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew. Curious to see if Tory Holt still has it. Life without Marvin Harrison begins today for Peyton Manning and the Colts, expect WR Anthony Gonzalez to progress the way Reggie Wayne did three seasons ago.
Final: Colts 30 – Jags 28
Washington Redskins at New York Giants 4:15pm: An early NFC match up looks to be a defensive struggle. If the Skins have to run the ball early and often and dare the young Giants receivers to beat them. I think they can pull it off.
Final: Skins 19 – Giants 17
San Francisco 49′ers at Arizona Cardinals 4:15pm: I’m not sold on the Cards running game, is Tim Hightower a 25 carry back? I think the Niners D has to really play physical with the Cards receivers to have a chance?
Final: Niners 24 - Cardinals 20
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks 4:15pm: The Seahawks will challenge the Cardinals for the NFC West crown this season. A solid backfield of Julius Jones and Edgerrin James will pay dividends. Matt Hasselbeck has T.J. Houshmanzadeh as a key target.
Final: Seahawks 28 – Rams 6
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers 8:20pm: When was the last time the QBs from both teams headlined this rivalry? Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers have 1,000 yard backs in Matt Forte and Ryan Grant, but Rodgers has pair of 1,000 yard receivers in Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. The Packers D is one to watch this season.
Final: Packers 27 – Bears 17
We’ll Pick Monday Night’s games tomorrow.