NFL Picks Week 1: 10 Bold Predictions for This Weekend

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIISeptember 7, 2012

NFL Picks Week 1: 10 Bold Predictions for This Weekend

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    There is no reason to be modest when making predictions for the slate of NFL games this weekend. It's far more fun to take a trip down the yellow brick road and quit being such a cowardly lion.

    It's easy to claim Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will throw for 300 yards, but that is not going to shock anyone.

    And while it may be a little late to predict multiple touchdowns for Kevin Ogletree, there are other receivers who will accomplish the same feat on Sunday.

    So, what are the boldest predictions to be made that are actually going to come true?

    What is in store for Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings?

    Let's take a trip down the yellow brick road and check out 10 bold predictions for this weekend.

10. Josh Freeman Will Outplay Cam Newton

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    After the respective seasons each of these quarterbacks had last year, this prediction seems improbable.

    Cam Newton was like the Harlem Globetrotters vs. Josh Freeman's Washington Generals, Batman vs. an anonymous henchman or Super Mario vs. a Koopaling.

    Yet, this year, Freeman and the Bucs can only get better and make what should become a budding NFC South rivalry more competitive.

    Adding Vincent Jackson to the receiving corps gives Freeman a desperately needed legitimate No.1 option.

    His decision-making has been good in the past, and smart money says last year was just an aberration.

    Newton is going to be great again this year, but Tampa Bay has a bigger statement to make in Week 1.

9. Matthew Stafford Will Throw for 400 Yards Against the St. Louis Rams

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    This may not seem too bold after considering the fact that Matthew Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards last season.

    But before you all grab the torches and pitchforks, consider this:

    Stafford threw for over 400 yards in a game just twice last season. See that? Now, the shoe is on the other foot.

    The Rams' secondary is actually not that bad, and Cortland Finnegan, in particular, is a serious playmaker.

    But, with Detroit again suffering from multiple inactive running backs, the pressure falls squarely on the shoulders of Stafford and the passing game.

    Four hundred yards is a large number, but Stafford is in a good position to pull it off.

8. Brandon Marshall Will Find the End Zone...Twice

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    Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall have formed a dynamic duo before, and now, Batman and Robin are back together in Chicago (and for those keeping score at home that is in fact two Caped-Crusader references already.)

    Some may think it's unfair to assume they will rekindle their flame as quickly as Week 1.

    I do not subscribe to that theory.

    Cutler and Marshall have looked great in the preseason and have clearly not lost any of their chemistry or timing.

    The Indianapolis Colts do not present the most challenging o secondaries in the first place, and Marshall will be a difficult matchup for anyone in their secondary.

    He will find the end zone twice, perhaps, three times if the stars align.

7. The Kansas City Chiefs Will Beat the Atlanta Falcons

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    The Atlanta Falcons are more talented than the Kansas City Chiefs and will likely have a better record at the end of the season.

    But, in Week 1, inside Arrowhead Stadium, they are in for a disappointing start to the 2012 season.

    The new two-headed backfield monster consisting of Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis has the potential to resurrect a Chiefs offense that lost it's way last season.

    The juxtaposition of Kansas City's two-back system with the Falcons' two elite wide receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones will provide a compelling storyline all game.

    However, Atlanta is always vulnerable away from the Georgia Dome and has lost its previous two season openers.

    Does that have any bearing on this matchup?

    Probably not but it's a trend that is going to continue in a close battle.

6. Rashad Jennings Will Run for over 100 Yards

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    Jacksonville Jaguars fans rejoice! Maurice Jones-Drew is back and ready to slash through defenses as he always has.

    But, that is not the only reason to be happy. It turns out the Jaguars have another talented running back on the depth chart in the form of Rashad Jennings.

    Much like Ben Tate in Houston, Jennings is patiently waiting behind an elite back, ready to step into a starting role.

    Jennings played great in extended preseason action and will undoubtedly take advantage of his Week 1 starter status.

    Minnesota plays well against the run, but Jennings has a statement to make, and as long as he stays away from Jared Allen, he should be OK.

    Oh, and speaking of Allen...

5. Jared Allen Will Have at Least 3 Sacks

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    Jared Allen had at least three sacks in three different games last season, and each of those instances came against a familiar NFC North opponent.

    So then, why will he be able to pull off such a miraculous feat against Jacksonville?

    Because of Blaine Gabbert and Eugene Monroe.

    Monroe has the makings of a future Pro Bowler, but he is not yet capable of corralling Jared Allen.

    Couple this with the fact that Gabbert is notoriously jumpy in the pocket and you have the makings of a sacked lunch, "num num num."

    Yes, Gabbert has looked better in the preseason, but he will need to look good when the points matter to earn any real respect.

    Don't expect that in Week 1.

4. The Philadelphia Eagles Will Beat the Cleveland Browns by at Least 30

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    The Philadelphia Eagles have won each of these teams three recent meetings and will again punish the Cleveland Browns to open the 2012 campaign.

    With Trent Richardson far less than 100 percent and Brandon Weeden entering only his first NFL contest, this is more lopsided than a B-Rabbit/Papa Doc rap battle.

    Michael Vick has battled injuries in the preseason, which may theoretically open some windows of opportunity for the Browns, but that is a pipe dream.

    Philadelphia's offense is too good, and Cleveland has too few weapons to make this anything more than a blowout.

    Look for LeSean McCoy to establish an early presence and open up the Eagles' passing game.

3. Darren McFadden Will Be the Week 1 Leader in Rushing Yards

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    Darren McFadden often gets injured and forgotten at some point during each NFL campaign.

    Well, he is definitely healthy heading into Week 1 and is one of the most physically gifted and talented running backs in the league.

    When he is on the field, McFadden tends to impress and should have quite the chip on his shoulder after his 2011 season was cut short.

    San Diego's defense is no slouch against the run, but Oakland's balanced attack won't allow the Chargers to key in solely on McFadden.

    The bright lights of Monday Night Football will provide the type of showcase game that "DMac" needs to solidify himself as an elite talent.

2. Russell Wilson Will Throw for over 250 Yards in a Seahawks' Blowout

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    The incredible rise of Russell Wilson is only going to continue in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.

    Watching the results of two high-profile preseason QB battles should be interesting, especially because of the extreme discrepancy between the two situations.

    Wilson took a firm hold of the Seahawks job, while somebody had to be given the top spot on the Cardinals depth chart, and John Skelton was less terrible than Kevin Kolb.

    Seattle is a team with a ton of potential this season and can take advantage of a weak NFC West division.

    Marshawn Lynch's Week 1 status is still up in the air, and without him, more responsibility falls on Wilson.

    He has already proven he knows how to step up and will do so in a big way this weekend.

    Expect at least 250 passing yards and a giant statement win from Seattle.

1. The New York Jets Will Score Multiple Offensive Touchdowns

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    Ignore the fact that neither Mark Sanchez, nor Tim Tebow were able to anchor any touchdown drives in the preseason.

    Honestly, that statistic means far less than is being portrayed.

    Sanchez may not be the next Joe Namath, but he is not exactly Browning Nagle either.

    The Buffalo Bills do not have an imposing secondary, and as long as Sanchez manages to throw with Mario Williams breathing down his neck, everything will be fine.

    Plus, the mythical "Tebow packages" haven't even been unleashed yet.

    This is an offense that was playing hide-and-go-seek all preseason and is finally ready to be found.

    Shonn Greene and the running game may not be as good at ground-and-pound football as Rex Ryan would like, but this offense is going to discover end-zone paint this weekend.