Nagler's Never Right: Week 1 Predictions
This season, I'll be providing my NFL predictions for each game, although as you may have guessed from the headline, my track record isn't very good. Let's see how I do with these choices for Week 1:
Andrew Luck's NFL debut will be close for awhile, but as the game goes on, the talent discrepancy will become apparent. The Colts have a chance at keeping things close using Coby Fleener down the seam against the Bears' Tampa 2, but the Bears' offensive playmakers will be way too much for the Colts' secondary.
The Browns have an underrated offensive line, a powerful new rookie running back and a decent defense. The Eagles are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, at least until Mike Vick gets hurt. The Eagles simply have too much talent on both sides of the ball for the Browns to handle.
It all starts up front, and Vince Wilfork will cause all sorts of problems for the interior of this Titans' offensive line, which makes life difficult for Chris Johnson. Expect Jake Locker to throw the football a bunch as the Patriots, whose protection issues are greatly overblown, start to pile on the points.
Atlanta looks ready to lean on Matt Ryan rather than its running game, which is obviously what you want to see with the weapons at his disposal. But can they protect Ryan? The Chiefs have plenty of weapons of their own and will be able to score against a transitioning Falcons defense.
Blaine Gabbert has certainly looked better this preseason, but Week 1 in the Metrodome is always a tough draw. The noise will give Jared Allen and company a big advantage. For the Vikings, Toby Gehart and Adrian Peterson will get plenty of carries to keep the pressure off of Christian Ponder.
The Us-Against-The-World Tour kicks off in the Superdome. Drew Brees and the offense will have no trouble moving the football and scoring points. The Redskins will move the ball as well, until the Saints are out far ahead, enabling the Saints’ defense to get after RGIII.
Stevie Johnson is one of the only receivers in the league with a history of success against Jets’ corner Darrell Revis, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to him a bunch. The Jets’ offensive struggles in the preseason are well documented, but look for Santonio Holmes to get in the end zone at least once.
The Rams should be improved on offense, but this is a tough matchup for them in Week 1. The Lions’ defensive line coupled with the crowd will make life miserable for Sam Bradford. For the Lions’ offense, look for fireworks between Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Titus Young.
The Dolphins are clearly chalking up 2012 as a time for young guys to grow, and they’ll get a ton of opportunity for growth going up against one of the AFC’s Super Bowl contenders. Things will get late real early in Miami this year.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense will have their hands full keeping Justin and Aldon Smith out of the backfield, but Rodgers’ mobility should lead to big plays outside the pocket. The 49ers will find success pounding the football with Frank Gore and company. In the end, the Packers make one more play than the Niners.
Russell Wilson gets his first NFL victory against a Cardinals team that is better on defense than they showed in the preseason and worse on offense than they have any right to be this far into Ken Wisenhunt’s tenure. Expect a healthy dose of the running game from Seattle to open things up for Wilson.
Cam Newton begins his sophomore NFL season as an unmitigated superstar—but is that enough for a Carolina offense whose other marquee offensive players are hurting? The Bucs will pound the football with Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blout against a suspect Carolina defensive line. This should be a great game.
Peyton Manning’s debut after a year away from football will be must-see TV. Steelers’ defensive coordinator will undoubtedly test Manning early to see if just how in-sync the Broncos are on offense early. The Steelers should spread things out and let Big Ben throw it all over the yard.
The Ravens have looked fantastic on offense throughout the preseason, but the thinking here is that Joe Flacco and company will struggle with their no-huddle offense once coordinators are game-planning for it. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green just won’t be enough on their own to beat the Ravens in their house.
The Raiders have precious little depth, but that won’t matter in this Week 1 contest. Look for Darren McFadden to carry the ball a ton. Bruce Allen’s defense will be a pleasant surprise all year, starting against a Chargers offense that is still trying to put all the pieces together.
Feel free to let me know what an idiot I am in the comments section...
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