NFL Picks Week 1: Elite Teams Who Will Stumble in Season Opener

Ryan DavenportContributor IDecember 20, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets is hit by  Spencer Johnson #91 of the Buffalo Bills  during their game on November 27, 2011 at  MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

It's almost here.

Technically, Week 1 of the 2012 NFL Season began on Wednesday night, but unless you're a fan of the Eagles, Giants or Queen Latifah, the first Sunday of the season is the day circled on your calendar. 

With all 32 teams in action, Week 1 has the potential to produce at least a handful of upsets that will leave fans of contenders in disbelief, and give supporters of perennial cellar-dwellers a sense of hope for the future.

Though many of the games on tap this weekend may seem to be lopsided matchups at first glance, anything can happen this early in the season.

Here are some of the games featuring elite teams that could result in upsets this weekend.


Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

The Jets' preseason featured everything from fights on the practice field to Santonio Holmes' decision to begin speaking on Mark Sanchez's behalf, so it's really no surprise that the team struggled at both ends of the field.

While the Jets' 0-4 preseason record isn't any serious cause for concern, the fact that neither Sanchez nor Tim Tebow threw a touchdown during that span is.

The Bills, on the other hand, have a much-improved defense featuring the newly acquired two-time All-Pro defensive end Mario Williams, and promising second-year tackle Marcell Dareus.

It won't be all that pretty to watch, but the Bills will come out on top, and the quarterback controversy in New York will begin.

Winner: Buffalo

Washington at New Orleans

On paper, this one looks easy to call.

The Saints, just two years removed from their Super Bowl title, have the personnel and experience to make another deep postseason run, but the Redskins may not be as bad as advertised.

The Skins, who signed a pair of talented receivers in Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan for Robert Griffin III, their newly-minted quarterback of the present and future, suddenly appear to have some offensive weapons.

RG3 and company obviously won't be able to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saints' vaunted offense if it turns into a shootout, but if the Skins' offense can take advantage of their opportunities, and the defense limits the Saints to under 30 points, they stand a fighting chance.

Winner: Washington

Cincinnati at Baltimore

The Bengals were thought to be one of the league's worst teams heading into the 2011 season, but after Andy Dalton and A.J. Green lead Cincinnati on a Cinderella run to the postseason, expectations are higher in 2012. 

Even so, Baltimore is favored to win by seven according to most lines, primarily because the team has consistently been among the NFL's best for the last decade, and went 2-0 against the Bengals in 2011.

However, with a year of experience under his belt, Dalton is ready to take the next step in his development as a quarterback, and his chemistry with the fleet-footed Green will be too much for Baltimore's secondary to handle.

Dalton will outplay Flacco, and though Ray Rice will have a big day, the Bengals will squeak by the Raves in Baltimore.

Winner: Cincinnati