NFL Week 1 Picks: Teams Set to Spark Postseason Hopes with Convincing Wins
You can't win the Super Bowl in Week 1, but you can certainly begin the long road there in the first week of the season.
Fans can watch as much preseason football as humanly possible. Until the ball is snapped in that first regular season game, you can never truly know what any team is capable of in 2013. With the amount of parity in the league, it only takes a couple of weeks for a team to go from title contender to cellar dweller, or vice versa.
Plenty of teams are carrying lofty expectations into this season. They have their fair share of question marks as they look to capitalize on their small window for success.
Of those teams with playoff aspirations, these three will stand out with signature wins.
|Time||Home Team||Away Team||Winner|
|Sunday, Sept. 8|
|1 p.m. ET||Buffalo Bills||New England Patriots||Patriots|
|1 p.m. ET||Pittsburgh Steelers||Tennessee Titans||Steelers|
|1 p.m. ET||New Orleans Saints||Atlanta Falcons||Saints|
|1 p.m. ET||New York Jets||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Buccaneers|
|1 p.m. ET||Jacksonville Jaguars||Kansas City Chiefs||Chiefs|
|1 p.m. ET||Carolina Panthers||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks|
|1 p.m. ET||Chicago Bears||Cincinnati Bengals||Bengals|
|1 p.m. ET||Cleveland Browns||Miami Dolphins||Browns|
|1 p.m. ET||Detroit Lions||Minnesota Vikings||Lions|
|1 p.m. ET||Indianapolis Colts||Oakland Raiders||Colts|
|4:25 p.m. ET||San Francisco 49ers||Green Bay Packers||49ers|
|4:25 p.m. ET||St. Louis Rams||Arizona Cardinals||Rams|
|8:30 p.m. ET||Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants||Giants|
|Monday, Sept. 9|
|7:10 p.m. ET||Washington Redskins||Philadelphia Eagles||Eagles|
|10:20 p.m. ET||San Diego Chargers||Houston Texans||Texans|
Schedule via NFL.com
The offensive line has long been a concern for the Chicago Bears. While the unit's gone from being abject to just average over the last few years, it doesn't look good for Chicago as it's facing off against a loaded Cincinnati Bengals pass rush.
Off the edge, there's Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, who had a combined 17.5 sacks in 2012. On the inside, there's Geno Atkins and his 12.5 sacks from year ago. Atkins looks like the next coming of Warren Sapp and should be boosted by his contract extension (h/t ESPN's Adam Schefter).
Bengals DT Geno Atkins and Cincinnati agreed to a five-year, $55 million extension, per ESPn source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 2, 2013
Cincinnati will be able to get after Jay Cutler and knock him around. If that happens, he could grow frustrated and try to take too many risky throws.
The Bears have a very good defense, but even they will have a hard time with the Bengals offense. Tyler Eifert will help to take some pressure off AJ Green, while Giovani Bernard adds a different dimension to the run game.
Cincinnati has the potential to be one of the best teams in the league, and it will prove exactly why on Sunday.
New England Patriots
The Buffalo Bills are one of those teams that could go either way this year. They've got a good enough defense to go along with an offense that has the weapons in order to get above .500.
The biggest question mark is the quarterback position. Adam Schefter reported EJ Manuel will get the start against the New England Patriots.
Doug Marrone announced today that QB EJ Manuel will start Week One against the New England Patriots.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 4, 2013
That should be news to the Patriots' ears. Manuel is nowhere near being a capable starting quarterback in the NFL yet. New England should be able to get plenty of pressure on the rookie and force him into costly mistakes.
Offense is not much of a concern for the Patriots, either, as long as Tom Brady is under center.
Although Wes Welker had a huge game against the Baltimore Ravens, his absence won't hurt the Pats too much. Danny Amendola is the perfect like-for-like replacement, and there's been the emergence of Kenbrell Thompkins in the offseason as well.
New England shouldn't have much trouble getting past the Bills.
New York Giants
Same year, same problems for the Dallas Cowboys. Their defense is a big question mark but should improve under Monte Kiffin. As always, though, the Cowboys will likely go as far as Tony Romo can take them.
That's not the most secure of positions.
The New York Giants have been hit with a lot of injuries in preseason, perhaps none bigger than Stevie Brown, who was placed on injured reserve after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. The Giants secondary could be in trouble on Sunday night.
Luckily for New York, it still has Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks in the passing game, and David Wilson looks like a great breakout candidate in the running game. The Giants will be able to keep pace and then some if this turns into a track meet.
It doesn't matter the margin of victory, by going into Dallas in the first week of the season and picking up the victory, the Giants would be laying down a major marker for the 2013 regular season.
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