NFL Week 1 Picks: Road Teams with Something to Prove

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2013

TAMPA, FL -  AUGUST 29:  Cornerback Darrelle Revis #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leaves the field after the game against the Washington Redskins August 29, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Redskins won 30 - 12.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Winning an NFL game on the road is no easy task, but there are teams with something to prove in Week 1 that will emerge victorious in their respective away game.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a few key additions to their roster in 2013-14 and look to build on what was a seven-win season a year ago. That process begins with the New York Jets, a team that is being given a chance to pull out a Week 1 win at home.

The Miami Dolphins are another team potentially on the rise this season with some new toys to surround their sophomore quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.

While many still doubt Miami, concerns could be erased with a strong showing in Cleveland against the Browns.

The New England Patriots are an established franchise that is competitive year in and year out, but there are people questioning this year's version thanks to some tough losses on offense during the offseason.

Bill Belichick and company don't figure to take these doubts lying down and will look to not only win, but dominate their Week 1 opponent, the Buffalo Bills.

Let's take a look at each of these matchups and why the road team is looking to make a statement.

Week 1 Picks

Baltimore at DenverDenver
Tampa Bay at New York JetsTampa Bay
Arizona at St. LouisSt. Louis
New York Giants at DallasDallas
New England at BuffaloNew England
Cincinnati at ChicagoChicago
Miami at ClevelandMiami
Atlanta at New OrleansAtlanta
Tennessee at PittsburghPittsburgh
Minnesota at DetroitDetroit
Oakland at IndianapolisIndianapolis
Seattle at CarolinaSeattle
Kansas City at JacksonvilleKansas City
Green Bay at San FranciscoSan Francisco
Philadelphia at WashingtonWashington
Houston at San DiegoHouston

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at New York Jets)

There should be no angrier team in the NFL than the Bucs. After all, Tampa Bay has been pegged as one of the few potential victories for a lowly Jets squad this season.

That kind of disrespect should motivate the Bucs to prove they are much better than people are giving them credit for.

The most notable addition for Tampa Bay this offseason is star cornerback Darrelle Revis. Along with second-year safety Mark Barron, the Bucs should be vastly improved against the pass, which was a clear weakness for this squad after finishing dead last in passing yards allowed per game in 2012-13.

A revamped secondary for the Bucs couldn't be worse news for the Jets.

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith will be making his regular-season debut on Sunday and will have a ton of problems to deal with, including staying off of Revis Island.

Running back Doug Martin will get his yards on the ground, but the play of quarterback Josh Freeman will determine just how dominant the Bucs are in this game. It's clear the Bucs are better on both sides of the ball and that should spell victory for them in Week 1.

Final Score: Bucs 21, Jets 7

Miami Dolphins (at Cleveland Browns)

Despite all the problems the New England Patriots have had this offseason, they are still considered the favorite to win the AFC East. The Dolphins likely aren't happy about such a fact, as they will look to prove they are more than just a threat in the division.

Improvements to the offense have been plentiful, with receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson being added to the mix, while running back Lamar Miller will look to build on a solid rookie season during which he averaged nearly five yards per carry.

Tannehill has a favorable opponent to start his second season. The Browns were dreadful against the pass last season, so he stands a chance of having a huge game in Week 1.

Miami's signal-caller is looking to show that his selection wasn't a waste of time and the weapons the Dolphins brought in this offseason will lead to a new and exciting offense that will put serious points on the board.

There are some folks out there who are picking the Browns in this game, but that's OK for the Dolphins.

Miami will come out with a chip on its shoulder and show it is worthy by disposing of the Browns without incident.

Final Score: Dolphins 31, Browns 13

New England Patriots (at Buffalo Bills)

It's crazy to think that the Patriots actually have something to prove in Week 1, but it's just the reality of the situation. There are questions about the Pats' receiving corps, which has been decimated by injuries and key departures during the offseason.

Now, that's not to say they aren't still favored to win their division, because they are. However, the doubts are about just how elite the Pats can be on offense.

New England brought in receiver Danny Amendola to help fill the void left by Wes Welker. Undrafted rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins undoubtedly has something to prove, as he looks to make teams that passed on him look silly. 

According to, tight end Rob Gronkowski is listed as doubtful for the season opener, but fellow tight end Zach Sudfeld should be able to step in.

Regardless, this is Tom Brady we're talking about here and he's bound to make at least one of his unknown targets a star by season's end.

Meanwhile, the Bills have a ton of questions to answer this season. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel will be taking the ball for Buffalo and will be up against what is considered to be a solid secondary for New England.

As if Brady needed another chip on his shoulder, the Pats' signal-caller will show he's more than capable of making things work with a mishmash of receivers.

After crushing the Bills in Week 1, it will be scary to think how much better the Pats will be through the air when Gronk is healthy.

Final Score: Patriots 41, Bills 14


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