Week 1 NFL Picks: Games Destined to End in Blowout Fashion
Some matchups in Week 1 of the new NFL season are destined to end in blowouts.
The New England Patriots had a tumultuous offseason filled with injuries and off-the-field issues, but drawing the Buffalo Bills for the first game of the season was a welcome occurrence.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins look to get off to a great start with a revamped offense filled with new players who are sure to give the Cleveland Browns a hard time.
It looks like it will be a long season for the Oakland Raiders and their fans. Their Week 1 showdown with the Indianapolis Colts is the first of many games that will end in disappointment for the franchise during the 2013-14 season.
Let's break down each of these games in order to understand why a blowout is imminent.
Week 1 NFL Picks
|Baltimore at Denver||Denver|
|Tampa Bay at New York Jets||Tampa Bay|
|Arizona at St. Louis||St. Louis|
|New York Giants at Dallas||Dallas|
|New England at Buffalo||New England|
|Cincinnati at Chicago||Chicago|
|Miami at Cleveland||Miami|
|Atlanta at New Orleans||Atlanta|
|Tennessee at Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh|
|Minnesota at Detroit||Detroit|
|Oakland at Indianapolis||Indianapolis|
|Seattle at Carolina||Seattle|
|Kansas City at Jacksonville||Kansas City|
|Green Bay at San Francisco||San Francisco|
|Philadelphia at Washington||Washington|
|Houston at San Diego||Houston|
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Forget that this game is in Buffalo, because the talent gap between these squads on both sides of the ball will more than make up for that.
The Pats may be depleted at the wide receiver position, but this is Tom Brady we're talking about here. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has a new and talented weapon in Danny Amendola to throw to, and rookie Kenbrell Thompkins has emerged as a viable target for Brady after a solid preseason.
Buffalo's biggest problem in this game will be its rookie quarterback. EJ Manuel will make his debut against the Patriots on Sunday after two impressive preseason performances, but such a small sample size isn't enough to predict he'll do well.
Who ya got?
And things will be much different for Manuel in regular-season games, as teams will have their starters on the field for the entire contest. New England also has a talented secondary for Manuel to deal with, which should present more problems for the rookie.
The biggest thing for the Pats in this game will be to stop running back C.J. Spiller. New England finished No. 9 in the NFL in rushing yards per game against in 2012, so stopping Spiller and forcing a rookie to beat them is the most likely scenario in this one.
New England was also plus-25 in the takeaway/giveaway department last season, and that spells disaster for what should be a mistake-prone team with an inexperienced signal-caller.
Final Score: New England 37, Buffalo 13
Miami Dolphins vs. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are playing at home and facing a young quarterback, but those are the only factors working for them in this contest. The Browns have an inexperienced signal-caller themselves, so the home-field advantage is slight at best.
The Dolphins have surrounded Tannehill with a ton of new weapons this season. Aside from Miami's upstart receiver from a year ago, Brian Hartline, the Dolphins also added Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson to the mix, which should give Cleveland's lackluster pass defense a tough time.
Who ya got?
Cleveland wasn't great against the run last season, and that bodes well for new starting running back Lamar Miller, who averaged five yards per carry in 2012-13. Granted, Cleveland was better against the run last season, but Tannehill airing it out with ease should be more than enough to open things up for Miller.
While the Dolphins were solid against the run last season, they weren't particularly good against the pass. But still, Brandon Weeden has a long way to go in his development, and he'll have a difficult time getting support from Trent Richardson with linebacker Dannell Ellerbe roaming around up the middle.
Miami's offense looks to be dangerous this season, and the Week 1 domination of Cleveland will put it on full display.
Final Score: Miami 31, Cleveland 10
Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis loves to throw the ball with sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck, who threw 627 passes in 2012-13—good enough for No. 5 among quarterbacks. While Luck compiled a ton of yards in his rookie campaign, turnovers were an issue. But a year of experience under his belt should help change that.
Oakland's secondary is looking better this season with Charles Woodson returning; however, the jury is still out on rookie DJ Hayden and the rest of Woodson's support. Also, the Raiders were not good at stopping the run last season, and that's great news for the Colts' new running back, Ahmad Bradshaw.
On offense, things couldn't be a bigger mess for the Raiders. The only near certainty is running back Darren McFadden, who battled injuries and missed four games last season. McFadden only averaged 3.3 yards per carry last season behind what was—and should continue to be—a suspect offensive line.
Who ya got?
At quarterback, Terrelle Pryor will get the nod. Pryor still has a lot to prove after an unimpressive preseason that saw him win the starting job over Matt Flynn and the rest of the pathetic quarterback cast.
Even the Raiders organization is skeptical of the QB, according to NFL.com's Michael Silver, via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com:
During a Wednesday appearance on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," NFL.com's Michael Silver said there's "a lot of skepticism" about Pryor being the starting quarterback in Oakland. According to Silver, Pryor has an ally in Raiders owner Mark Davis, who would like to see what the third-year pro can do.
Ouch. Don't expect much from Pryor in his season debut. That further stacks the deck in favor of the Colts.
Final Score: Indianapolis 38, Oakland 7
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