NFL Week 1 Picks: Predicting Winners for Prime-Time Games
This tantalizing Week 1 matchup is a worthy showcase for Sunday Night Football, and in case you can't wait, I'll tell you who is going to win.
That is not the only game I will eliminate the suspense from, as I have deduced with certainty who will win the two Monday night contests as well.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos on Sunday at 8:25 p.m. ET
Coming back from a season away from football and neck fusion and then going against the Steelers defense is not exactly an easy landing.
This isn't going to be tough on just Manning, either, but on the whole Bronco offense. Sure, the Broncos ended the Steelers' season with a shocking playoff win last year, but this is a new-look Denver team. They are transitioning from a team that avoided passing as much as possible to a fast-paced aerial attack.
Pittsburgh is going to find the parts of this offense that have not gelled and exploit them.
The Steelers enter this game with a host of running back injuries and an offensive line that will be vulnerable to the Broncos' fierce pass rush. But their defense will give them enough opportunities to wear down Denver's D.
Prediction: Steelers 20, Broncos 17
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens on Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET
The Cincinnati Bengals made a shocking run to the playoffs last season, and this young team will look to build on that success this year.
If the Bengals want to do that, they have to start beating the beasts of their division. They were 0-4 against the Ravens and Steelers last year.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, they are not going to get one of those wins in Week 1 against a healthy Ravens team playing in front of a jacked-up home crowd.
Baltimore's defense will make life miserable for the Bengals, and Ray Rice and Joe Flacco will take care of the rest.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Bengals 13
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders on Monday at 10:15 p.m. ET
The San Diego Chargers kept the Oakland Raiders from winning the AFC West last year by torching their defense for 38 points.
The Raiders have since made plenty of changes to their defense, including bringing in a defensive-minded head coach and a new defensive coordinator, and that maligned unit looked much better this preseason.
Still, the Raiders corners are suspect, and Philip Rivers loves to attack on the outside.
On the other side of the coin, the Raiders offense struggled mightily this preseason, with Carson Palmer leading just one touchdown drive.
San Diego has some injury concerns, including the left tackle and running back positions, but the team should be healthy enough to earn the win here.
Prediction: Chargers 20, Raiders 13
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