The 2013 NFL regular season is finally here, with some of the year's best matchups unfolding in Week 1 as all 32 teams set their sights on Super Bowl XLVIII.
Even though it's just Week 1, we're set for some big-time matchups as playoff contenders clash all over the place, providing opportunity for plenty of betting lines and predictions.
Let's take a look at all of the upcoming Week 1 games and predictions, in addition to dissecting some of the biggest matchups of the opening weekend.
Note: All odds courtesy of Bovada
|Baltimore at Denver||8:30 p.m.||NBC||Sports Authority Field at Mile High||Denver (W)|
|New England (-10.5) at Buffalo||1 p.m.||CBS||Ralph Wilson Stadium||New England|
|Cincinnati at Chicago (-3)||1 p.m.||CBS||Soldier Field||Cincinnati|
|Miami at Cleveland (-2)||1 p.m.||CBS||FirstEnergy Stadium||Miami|
|Atlanta at New Orleans (-3)||1 p.m.||Fox||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||New Orleans|
|Tampa Bay (-3) at NY Jets||1 p.m.||Fox||MetLife Stadium||Tampa Bay|
|Tennessee at Pittsburgh (-7)||1 p.m.||CBS||Heinz Field||Tennessee|
|Minnesota at Detroit (-4.5)||1 p.m.||Fox||Ford Field||Minnesota|
|NY Giants at Dallas (-3)||8:30 p.m.||NBC||Cowboys Stadium||NY Giants|
|Oakland at Indianapolis (-10.5)||1 p.m.||CBS||Lucas Oil Stadium||Indianapolis|
|Seattle (-3.5) at Carolina||1 p.m.||Fox||Bank of America Stadium||Seattle|
|Kansas City (-4) at Jacksonville||1 p.m.||CBS||EverBank Field||Kansas City|
|Green Bay at San Francisco (-4.5)||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Candlestick Park||San Francisco|
|Arizona at St. Louis (-4.5)||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Edward Jones Dome||St. Louis|
|Philadelphia at Washington (-3.5)||7 p.m.||ESPN||FedEx Field||Washington|
|Houston (-4.5) at San Diego||10:15 p.m.||ESPN||Qualcomm Stadium||Houston|
Schedule information via ESPN
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Arguably the two top teams in the NFC take center stage in a mid-afternoon clash at Candlestick Park.
It doesn't get much better than that.
The Packers are out to get revenge on last year's playoff defeat at the hands of Colin Kaepernick and the deadly read-option, but they'll have to go into a hostile environment to do so.
Aaron Rodgers doesn't typically let teams get the best of him two times in a row, and he's surrounded by plenty of receivers who can make plays. Whether it's Randall Cobb, James Jones or Jordy Nelson catching passes, Rodgers won't be at a shortage of options.
However, Green Bay is going up against one of the league's best defenses to start the season, and that's never a comforting dynamic.
If the 49ers can rely on their stingy defense and make opportunistic plays and Kaepernick has success with his running game setting up the pass, San Francisco should pull out the home win.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
The 'Niners and Packers catch much of the attention in the NFC Super Bowl conversation, but the Falcons and Saints are all too easily forgotten in that talk.
With Sean Payton back from his year-long suspension, New Orleans looks to erase a woeful 2012 season by revitalizing a turnover-prone offense and patching up one of the league's worst defenses.
Meanwhile, Atlanta folded in the playoffs yet again after being one of the NFC's top teams during the whole regular season. But with Matt Ryan happily financed for the long term and star receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones to go along with future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, this offense threatens to hang 40 on any opponent.
Payton has a bigger impact on Brees than goes noticed, from superior play-calling to the coach's ability to relate to his star player and keep him composed through adversity.
Despite the Saints' woeful 2012 season, they were still able to beat Atlanta at home. That'll be the case again in 2013.