Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season is officially upon us, and the predictions surrounding the biggest blowups from this weekend have football fans across the country ready for more action.
Thursday’s game was an appetizer for Sunday’s main course.
Before the matchups commence, here are the three biggest blowouts fans should expect and a full slate of game predictions.
Houston at San Diego
The San Diego Chargers have plenty of talent across the depth chart, but the chemistry with new head coach Mike McCoy isn’t there yet. That lack of continuity will be exploited by the Houston Texans in this one-sided blowout.
While San Diego struggles to find a consistent tempo on offense with Philip Rivers under center and oft-injured Ryan Mathews in the backfield, Houston has the perfect combination of an elite rushing attack led by Arian Foster and a dynamic passing threat with QB Matt Schaub and wide receivers Andre Johnson and rookie DeAndre Hopkins.
The real difference will be the Texans defensive unit. Led by Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, Houston has one of the best all-around defenses in the league. With a secondary able to cover for an elite pass rush, as well as a linebacker group ready to stop the run, the Texans will be tough to beat in Week 1 and all season.
Prediction: Houston 37, San Diego 13
Oakland at Indianapolis
The Oakland Raiders right now are one of the worst teams in the league, and the Indianapolis Colts will take advantage of the silver and black's inefficiencies on both sides of the ball.
Led by second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts pass offense (seventh in the NFL with 258 yards per game last season) will only be half the story in 2012. The addition of veteran running back Ahmad Bradshaw should give Indianapolis the piece of the offensive puzzle it had been missing.
While the Colts are facing some turnover on the defensive side of the ball (lost end Dwight Freeney to free agency), the fact that Oakland will start Terrelle Pryor at quarterback guarantees that the Raiders will be playing from behind throughout the game.
Even if Pryor finds a rhythm as the game progresses, Indianapolis will already have total control.
Prediction: Indianapolis 30, Oakland 13
Kansas City at Jacksonville
The expectations for the new-look Chiefs are all over the place, but starting the season in a battle with the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars should answer any doubts as to whether Kansas City has improved from last year's dismal 2-14 team.
New head coach Andy Reid and starting quarterback Alex Smith are ready to run the quintessential West Coast offense. With skilled players like running back Jamaal Charles and receiver Dwayne Bowe, the offensive unit will be exponentially better than 2012.
The Chiefs defensive unit was already one of the most decorated in the league (four Pro Bowl players in 2012), but it will be the lackluster offense of Jacksonville that seals the fate of this game and helps Kansas City find continuity.
The Jaguars have a mediocre quarterback in Blaine Gabbert who hasn’t proven to be the kind of leader the struggling franchise needs. While Kansas City will have to prove it can stop RB Maurice Jones-Drew, this should be an easy victory for the Chiefs.
Prediction: Kansas City 27, Jacksonville 10
|Date||Matchup||Predicted Winner||Time (ET)||TV|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||New England at Buffalo||New England Patriots||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Cincinnati at Chicago||Cincinnati Bengals||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Miami at Cleveland||Cleveland Browns||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Atlanta at New Orleans||Atlanta Falcons||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Tampa Bay at NY Jets||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Tennessee at Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh Steelers||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Minnesota at Detroit||Detroit Lions||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Oakland at Indianapolis||Indianapolis Colts||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Seattle at Carolina||Seattle Seahawks||1 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Kansas City at Jacksonville||Kansas City Chiefs||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Arizona at St. Louis||St. Louis Rams||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Green Bay at San Francisco||San Francisco 49ers||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||NY Giants at Dallas||New York Giants||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Monday, Sept. 9||Philadelphia at Washington||Philadelphia Eagles||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|Monday, Sept. 9||Houston at San Diego||Houston Texans||10:15 p.m.||ESPN|