2012 Week One NFL PredictionsBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Saturday, September 8th, 2012
The Andrew Luck era begins with a tough matchup, as the Colts go on the road to one of the toughest stadiums to visit in the NFL. Chicago will embrace the opportunity to start off on the right foot, and should dispose of the young, rebuilding Colts with ease.
Philadelphia @ Cleveland
For the second straight year, the Eagles begin the season with a layup in Week 1. The Browns promise to be one of the league’s worst teams. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden should be overwhelmed by the ferocious Philadelphia pass rush, and Trent Richardson may find it difficult to make an impact right away after missing the preseason. With a difficult schedule ahead, this game is too important for the Eagles to suffer a let down in.
St. Louis @ Detroit
Another mismatch on paper. The Rams are looking to establish some kind of stability, while the Lions are looking to take their first step towards a return to the playoffs. Even on their best day, the St. Louis offense doesn’t have nearly enough firepower to hang with the explosive Detroit attack.
Miami @ Houston
Miami fans may not even want to bother tuning in for this game; it’s going to be a bloodbath. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets his first taste of real NFL action against an excellent defense under Wade Phillips’ command. Not only will the Dolphins be unable to move the ball offensively, but they won’t be able to contain the Houston offense, which is currently completely healthy.
Atlanta @ Kansas City
The Falcons better not take the Chiefs lightly. Although Atlanta is the superior team, Kansas City has the tools they need to win this game at home. A healthy offense featuring the returns of Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles is capable of putting up some points, and don’t sleep on head coach Romeo Crennel’s ability to put together a strong defensive gameplan; remember that Crennel’s Chiefs were the only team to defeat the powerful Green Bay Packers in the regular season a year ago.
That being said, it’s difficult to imagine the Falcons losing this game. They fell into a trap during Week 1 of 2011 when they lost on the road to the Bears, but I think this group begins the year with much better focus. They know they’re going to be fighting with a lot of good teams in the conference for a Wild Card berth, and can’t afford to let a winnable game slip away early in the year.
Jacksonville @ Minnesota
A battle of 2011 first-round quarterbacks, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder will go head-to-head to start their seasons. Even though they’re on the road, I like the Jaguars in this game. Unlike the Vikings, the Jaguars have a couple of spots on their team that you can point to and be optimistic about. With Jacksonville, you have a young quarterback that has made some strides in the preseason, a decent receiving corp, and a mediocre defense. In Minnesota, you have a lame duck coach in Leslie Frazier, a hobbled Adrian Peterson, an unimpressive quarterback, and a below-average defense.
Washington @ New Orleans
Tough way to start the RG III era. The Washington defense is better than many give it credit for, but they won’t be able to contain Drew Brees and the explosive New Orleans offense. The Saints will finally get a chance to play some meaningful football after enduring an off-season of suspensions and scandals, and I think they cruise to victory in Week 1.
Pick: New Orleans
Buffalo @ New York Jets
If you read my AFC East Projections article, you know I’m optimistic about the Bills and pretty down on the Jets. But even though I believe Buffalo will finish ahead of New York in the standings, I think the Jets are in a better position for victory this week. The Bills are going to be fun to watch this year, but I don’t think they’re ready to steal a game on the road this early in the season. The New York defense is still above average, and should be able to force Ryan Fitzpatrick into some mistakes. I think Rex Ryan’s group survives an ugly game to start the year 1-0.
Pick: New York
New England @ Tennessee
Jake Locker won the starting job for the Titans, and his reward is mismatch against one of the best teams in football. No matter how well Locker and the offense is able to perform, their defense doesn’t have any chance of limiting the damage done by Brady and the Patriots.
Pick: New England
Seattle @ Arizona
This will be an interesting match to watch as rookie Russell Wilson makes his first career start for Seattle. If the Cardinals can get any kind of competent quarterback play, they’ll be a tough out for any team. John Skelton gets the nod this week, and although he’s unspectacular, the Cardinals did go 6-2 with him at the helm a year ago. I think the Arizona defense gives Wilson fits, and the Cards start the year with a win at home.
San Francisco @ Green Bay
Great defense versus great offense. The two top teams in the NFC from 2011 face one another to begin the season. As good as the San Francisco defense is, they’re going to have a hard time shutting down Aaron Rodgers and his powerful passing attack. Offensively, I don’t expect Alex Smith to repeat his surprising success from a year ago, and I think the Packers win this game by more than a touchdown.
Pick: Green Bay
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
Josh Freeman and the Bucs try to put their embarrassing 2011 season behind them, but they’ll find it difficult to start the year with a win with Cam Newton and the rising Panthers coming to town. Newton and his offensive weapons will prove to be too much for Tampa Bay to handle.
Pittsburgh @ Denver
Peyton Manning steps back into the NFL against a tough opponent in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger and company are going to have revenge on their minds for last year’s playoff defeat, and I think the Manning era gets off to a rocky start with the Steelers winning an ugly game.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore
Andy Dalton and the young Bengals are still improving, but they aren’t ready to take down the Ravens, who are one of the AFC’s Super Bowl contenders.
San Diego @ Oakland
I like Oakland in this game. The Chargers just don’t impress me at all. The presence of Phillip Rivers is enough to keep them competitive, but they just don’t have very good support around him at the skill positions.
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