NFL Predictions Week 1: Road Teams That Will Cruise to Victory
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
|Baltimore at Denver||8:30 p.m.||NBC||Sports Authority Field at Mile High||Denver|
|New England at Buffalo||1 p.m.||CBS||Ralph Wilson Stadium||New England|
|Cincinnati at Chicago||1 p.m.||CBS||Soldier Field||Cincinnati|
|Miami at Cleveland||1 p.m.||CBS||FirstEnergy Stadium||Miami|
|Atlanta at New Orleans||1 p.m.||Fox||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||New Orleans|
|Tampa Bay at NY Jets||1 p.m.||Fox||MetLife Stadium||Tampa Bay|
|Tennessee at Pittsburgh||1 p.m.||CBS||Heinz Field||Tennessee|
|Minnesota at Detroit||1 p.m.||Fox||Ford Field||Minnesota|
|NY Giants at Dallas||8:30 p.m.||NBC||Cowboys Stadium||NY Giants|
|Oakland at Indianapolis||1 p.m.||CBS||Lucas Oil Stadium||Indianapolis|
|Seattle at Carolina||1 p.m.||Fox||Bank of America Stadium||Seattle|
|Kansas City at Jacksonville||1 p.m.||CBS||EverBank Field||Kansas City|
|Green Bay at San Francisco||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Candlestick Park||San Francisco|
|Arizona at St. Louis||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Edward Jones Dome||St. Louis|
|Philadelphia at Washington||7 p.m.||ESPN||FedEx Field||Washington|
|Houston at San Diego||10:15 p.m.||ESPN||Qualcomm Stadium||Houston|
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.
"I feel like I'm game-ready to carry the load. I'll get my feet wet this game." RB Arian Foster on how much he thinks he'll play Monday.— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 5, 2013
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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