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NFL Predictions Week 1: Road Teams That Will Cruise to Victory

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 29: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants warms up prior to the preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 29, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Steven CookContributor IIISeptember 6, 2013

Home-field advantage typically plays a big role in the NFL, but a handful of teams will rise above that in Week 1 and win on the road in their season openers.

While any of the 32 teams welcome the prospect of opening the regular season in their building, it's not a guarantee of a win by any means, and these teams will prove that.

Let's take a look at predictions for Week 1, as well as some road teams that will come up big.

 

Note: All odds courtesy of Bovada

Steven Cook's Week 1 Predictions
MatchupTime (ET)TVLocationPrediction
Baltimore at Denver8:30 p.m.NBCSports Authority Field at Mile HighDenver
New England at Buffalop.m.CBSRalph Wilson StadiumNew England
Cincinnati at Chicagop.m.CBSSoldier FieldCincinnati
Miami at Clevelandp.m.CBSFirstEnergy StadiumMiami
Atlanta at New Orleansp.m.FoxMercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans
Tampa Bay at NY Jetsp.m.FoxMetLife StadiumTampa Bay
Tennessee at Pittsburghp.m.CBSHeinz FieldTennessee
Minnesota at Detroitp.m.FoxFord FieldMinnesota
NY Giants at Dallas8:30 p.m.NBCCowboys StadiumNY Giants
Oakland at Indianapolisp.m.CBSLucas Oil StadiumIndianapolis
Seattle at Carolinap.m.FoxBank of America StadiumSeattle
Kansas City at Jacksonvillep.m.CBSEverBank FieldKansas City
Green Bay at San Francisco4:25 p.m.FoxCandlestick ParkSan Francisco
Arizona at St. Louis4:25 p.m.FoxEdward Jones DomeSt. Louis
Philadelphia at Washingtonp.m.ESPNFedEx FieldWashington
Houston at San Diego10:15 p.m.ESPNQualcomm StadiumHouston

Schedule information via ESPN 

 

New York Giants over Dallas Cowboys (-3)

Eli Manning's New York Giants folded an opportunity to defend their Super Bowl title last season by failing to make the playoffs. Expect them to take that out on one of their least favorite opponents.

The Dallas Cowboys own one of the most unique home-field advantages in football with the 80,000-seat Cowboys Stadium, but it didn't prove to be too helpful in 2012. They finished with a 4-4 record at home, including a 29-24 loss to the Giants on their own turf.

The receiving duo of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz should be one of the most potent one-two combinations in the league should both stay healthy. Nicks finished with just 652 yards in 13 games—11 of which he caught a pass in—and eclipsed five receptions in only two games.

Cruz has missed practice time since suffering a heel bruise in the second week of the preseason, but the Giants' injury report from ESPN's Dan Graziano noted that he expects to play in the opener. 

If Manning's top targets can prove to be reliable in the opener, expect the G-men to spoil the Cowboys' home opener. 

 

Houston Texans (-4) over San Diego Chargers

The Chargers and Texans are two franchises simply heading in different directions, and that will come to the forefront in their Monday Night Football showdown.

A typically potent San Diego offense was lethargic to say the least in 2012, finishing 24th in passing yards and 27th in rushing yards, per ESPN. Philip Rivers completed an impressive 64.1 percent of his passes but posted his lowest touchdown total (26) since 2007. 

The Chargers finished 3-5 at home last season, losing three of their last four at home with a season-ending 24-21 win over the Oakland Raiders as their only victory in that final stretch.

Texans safety Ed Reed is doubtful to suit up for the opener, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, but star running back Arian Foster looks ready to "carry the load," according to the Texans' official Twitter account.

But no matter how ready Foster really is, Matt Schaub shouldn't have too many problems carving up a Chargers defense that finished in the bottom half of the league in pass defense a year ago. 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) over New York Jets

The league's best run defense in 2012 coming into town doesn't bode well for the home team Jets.

New York's offensive struggles have been well documented, and that's not expected to change early on in the season. Head coach Rex Ryan opted to start rookie quarterback Geno Smith in the opener, per ESPN New York's Rich Cimini, but Ryan said the quarterback competition "isn't finished."

Meanwhile, they're opting to replace departed back Shonn Greene with Chris Ivory, who hasn't been more than third or fourth option for the Saints thus far in his career. 

It's going to take some time for this Jets offense to get going, if they get going at all this season. The Bucs' weakness on defense is in the air—where they finished dead last in pass yards per game—and Smith's underwhelming preseason doesn't bode well for their chances in that department in Week 1.

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