NFL Predictions Week 1: 5 Things You'll Never See Coming on Sunday
It's that most wonderful time of the year for football fans across the land, as the first week of the 2012 National Football League season is underway, with a full day of action set to kick off on Sunday.
As with every week in the National Football League, there are bound to be more than a few surprises, so let's hop through the looking glass, cruise right past the minor shockers and hit on a handful of stunners that no one will see coming.
Except me, of course.
And my therapist.
Never mind. He thinks I'm crazy, too.
1. Adrian Peterson Will Top 100 Rushing Yards
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Belly up to the bar for a tall, cold glass of purple Kool-Aid.
There's no guarantee that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who tore both his ACL and MCL last December, will even play when the Vikings face the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, although the 27-year-old insists his knee is fine and told Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that sitting out the game would be "a tough pill to swallow."
Even if Peterson does see the field, it will all but certainly be in a limited fashion, but that's all Peterson will need, as a long touchdown run will propel "All Day" to a big day and show just how well he's recovered from his injury.
2. Blaine Gabbert Will Throw for More Yards Than Aaron Rodgers
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No, I haven't been drinking.
Except for that purple Kool-Aid, of course.
No team in the National Football League surrendered more passing touchdowns last year than the Minnesota Vikings, and without the services of star tailback Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert will go to the air early and often in the matchup of the two teams on Sunday.
At the end of the day, Gabbert will have had his best game as a professional, and the second-year pro will actually throw for more yardage than Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers does in his game against the San Francisco 49ers.
3. The Kansas City Chiefs Will Defeat the Atlanta Falcons
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The Atlanta Falcons were a playoff team in 2011 and have been one of the big stories of the 2012 preseason, as the new up-tempo offense of coordinator Dirk Koetter has sliced and diced its way through the exhibition season.
Some pundits have even tabbed the Falcons as a Super Bowl sleeper, but those plans are going to hit a snag in Week 1.
The Kansas City Chiefs are a tough out at Arrowhead Stadium, and with a pair of talented running backs in Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis who can keep the ball out of Atlanta's hands, the Chiefs will grind out a victory over the Falcons on Sunday.
4. Tom Brady Will Throw for 550 Yards
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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady lit up the Monday-night opener against the Miami Dolphins in 2011, throwing for 517 yards in a Patriots win.
This year, with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd added to his arsenal, Brady will do even better against the Tennessee Titans.
The 35-year-old will top 550 passing yards and toss four touchdown passes in Nashville, propelling New England to victory in the first of many eye-popping performances for Brady this season.
5. Doug Martin Will Gain 200 Total Yards in His NFL Debut
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded back into the first round of April's NFL draft to select Boise State running back Doug Martin, and new head coach Greg Schiano has already anointed the rookie the team's starting tailback when they face the Carolina Panthers Sunday.
That faith will pay off against a Carolina Panthers team that ranked 25th in run defense in 2011, as the 5'9", 223-pound bell cow will have one of the best debut games by a running back in NFL history, piling up over 200 total yards and scoring twice in a Tampa Bay victory.