NFL Week 1 Picks: Home Teams Heading for Disappointing Loss
Six teams lost on their home turf in Week 1 of the 2011 NFL season, and at least half that many will suffer that same disappointing fate in 2012.
Most franchises are still getting their legs under them. Depth charts are set, but positions are still up for grabs in many cases.
This causes uncertainty and instability, and that impacts some teams more than others.
Home-field advantage is a 12th man for most teams, but that won't help some avoid a tally in the loss column to start the year.
Here are three teams that will lose in front of their home crowd on Sunday.
New York Jets
The Jets have no offense whatsoever. It's bad enough to greatly diminish the value of one of the league's better defenses.
New York faces more question marks on offense than any team in the league. They have no set plan at quarterback, and no strategy to speak of.
At this point, they are relying on Shonn Greene to carry their offense. He did run for over 1,000 yards last season, but is that really who you want bearing your offense's main responsibilities? I highly doubt it.
This game is going to be very close. Expect a battle of attrition with both teams struggling to score for 60 minutes.
In the end, Buffalo will pull off the win on the road. Their offense has two capable running backs, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is further along than either Jets quarterback at this point.
Defensively, the Bills are better than last year. Mario Williams and rookie Stephon Gilmore fill two big holes, and Marcel Dareus is heading for a breakout second season.
This has more to do with the Jets than it does the Bills. They are in disarray, and they shouldn't fool you.
It's one thing to be coy heading into the regular season, but the Jets have no idea what they are doing.
Green Bay Packers
We are lucky to have a heavyweight battle like this on the opening week's slate, and it won't disappoint.
The 49ers will start their 2012 season off on the right foot with a colossal victory in Lambeau Field.
Last year, the Packers faced the Saints in their season opener. That was a battle of two high-octane offenses, but the Packers face a different animal in this one.
That's not saying that the 49ers have no offense, but they are the No. 1 ranked defense in your fantasy league for a reason. They bring it from all angles, at all times.
On top of that, Alex Smith has a bunch of new toys to work with. Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James have been added to the San Francisco backfield, and Mario Manningham is his newest target at receiver.
You can't forget Randy Moss either, even at 35 years old.
The 49ers offense is much better on paper entering this season, and the Packers defense is still questionable. Nick Perry will provide an improved pass rush as a rookie, but he can't solve all of their problems.
Look for this game to go down to the wire, but the 49ers will snag a huge opening-week win.
Mile High will be rocking in anticipation of Peyton Manning's debut in a Broncos uniform, but they will be bitterly disappointed with the end result.
Last year is still too fresh in Pittsburgh's mind. Their loss to Denver in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs is still an open wound.
Manning wasn't on that team, but Pittsburgh is still a proud franchise. Emotions will be running high in this one as they attempt to keep Manning from reemerging against their daunting defense.
The Broncos ball-control offense made their defense look better than it really was last season, and the Steelers will exploit their holes on Sunday evening. Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, and he has a full arsenal of weapons to work with.
This is going to be another good game, but Pittsburgh is going to spoil Manning's regular season debut with his new squad.
The Steelers are the better team on both sides of the ball, and they want to prove that last year is behind them.
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