NFL Week 1 Predictions: Which NFL QB Will Have the Most Impressive Week 1?
The day has finally arrived; Week 1 of the NFL season is upon us.
Happy start to the season everyone!
If there's one aspect that I love the most about the first games of the year, it is the unpredictability of game results and players' performances.
Sure, there's the preseason to judge where football gladiators stand among their peers and against opposing sides of the football. But everything changes once the regular season starts.
Year in and year out, there is the class of elite quarterbacks, which includes Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Then there are the young guns such as Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton.
The 2012 season is also a great year for veteran quarterbacks attempting to prove their worth in the likes of Peyton Manning and Michael Vick.
So based off of previous seasons' performances, the talent of the quarterback and his overall team and a whole lot of intuition, who will have the best Week 1 output?
Tom Terrific, of course.
If you give a quarterback a handful of productive and reliable receivers, he is bound to make plays and move the ball.
If you give Tom Brady multiple, dynamic wideouts with big playmaking ability, the New England Patriots are going to score upwards of 30 points consistently.
In all but four games last season, the Patriots did just that.
Frankly, when one of the best quarterbacks of all time and a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame is tossing the ball to a bevy of receivers as if the defense is nonexistent, 50 points isn't inconceivable.
Brady loves to spread the ball around, connecting with seven or more receivers in 14 of 19 games last year, including the playoffs.
His weapons this year are mostly the same as 2011's crop, and arguably even better.
Brady's favorite target, Wes Welker, a man who's career was reborn with the Patriots, is as dependable as it gets in the NFL. Catching more than 110 passes in four of his five seasons in New England, there is no reason why 2012 should be any different.
The tight end situation at Gillette Stadium is a dream come true for any quarterback. Never before have two of the most talented tight ends been on the same team, and they've certainly never lined up in formation together.
The Patriots make it work, though, with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both of whom are off of fresh, new contracts.
Gronk is more of the traditional tight end and will look to form the type of chemistry he had with Brady last season in which he caught 17 touchdown passes.
Hernandez is a bit smaller at 6'1'', 245 pounds and can line up in the slot or on the outside.
Newcomer Brandon Lloyd will be the deep threat the Patriots have lacked since the departure of Randy Moss. With Brady behind center, Lloyd should turn into the player he was in 2010 when he caught 77 passes for over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Some fans have questioned the cut of Deion Branch, a fan-favorite and consistent wideout. However, Branch likely would have been relegated to irrelevance this year, especially after his production drop off at the end of last season, catching three passes or less in eight of the last nine games, including the playoffs.
The addition of Greg Salas from the St. Louis Rams is a move simply to give Brady more options rather than a direct replacement of Branch.
The Titans Defense
Don't get me wrong, the Titans have a solid defense that should become one of the best in the league in a few years.
But on Sunday against Brady and Co., this defensive set is going to get a reality check.
Tennessee's D last season ranked 14th in passing yards per game at 226.8. They ranked even better in points allowed per game at 19.8, good for eighth in the league.
On average, their defense allowed just over one touchdown pass a game, conceding 21 on the year. They battled well against long pass attempts as only four passes against them all season went for over 40 yards.
Statistics from the previous year are beneficial to a certain extent, but this is a young Titans defense that still has some maturing to do.
Their D-line has an average age of 24.5.
Right defensive end Kamerion Wimbley is probably the most dangerous threat. He has recorded 16 sacks over the past two seasons with the Oakland Raiders but is also the most veteran player on their defensive line at age 28.
Their three starting linebackers have an average age of 26.3, which is largely skewed by veteran Will Witherspoon, who saw a drop off in production last season at age 32.
The secondary averages in at 26.25 years old.
Brady won't pick the Titans' defense apart, but he is good for at least three touchdowns on Sunday.
He's Tom Brady
Need I say more?
In 2011 Tom Terrific threw for a career-high 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough for a passer rating of 105.6, which was third in the league behind Aaron Rodgers (122.50) and Drew Brees (110.6).
Brady is fifth all-time in most career touchdown passes with 300 and second among active players behind Peyton Manning's 399.
His career passer rating is 96.4, which is fourth overall and third among active quarterbacks.
He is a seven-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Associated Press First-Team All-Pro.
Josh McDaniels' return to the offensive coordinator position for the Patriots will benefit Brady tremendously in 2012.
You may remember the last time the two were teamed up; it was 2007 and Brady threw 50 touchdowns and registered a superhuman 117.2 passer rating.
The only concern for Brady in Week 1 will be how is offensive line performs. They looked shaky through the preseason. Reliable protector Brian Waters has yet to show his face for the 2012 season, and veteran Dan Koppen was trimmed from the 53-man roster.
If the O-Line can't give Brady enough time in the pocket, we should expect to see a lot of screen plays and short routes over the middle.
It's a Patriots offense, what else would you expect?
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