It's finally time to get back on the gridiron.
The NFL comes back on Thursday when the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers to kick off the season. After a rough couple of months watching the rumor mill for anything interesting to talk about, the fans now have something to talk about every day.
Week 1 will leave us with plenty to talk about. The season's opening slate of games will show us which teams put in the work in training camp and which teams still have some work to do.
Below, you'll find picks and scores for all 16 games on the schedule, with two games in particular highlighted.
|Date||Time (ET)||Team 1||Team 2||Prediction|
|Thurs, 9/4||8:30 p.m.||Green Bay Packers||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks, 28-17|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Buffalo Bills||Chicago Bears||Bears, 24-13|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Cincinnati Bengals||Baltimore Ravens||Bengals, 28-24|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Cleveland Browns||Pittsburgh Steelers||Steelers, 27-10|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Washington Redskins||Houston Texans||Redskins, 19-14|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Jacksonville Jaguars||Philadelphia Eagles||Eagles, 33-17|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Tennessee Titans||Kansas City Chiefs||Chiefs, 21-14|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||New England Patriots||Miami Dolphins||Patriots, 30-20|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Minnesota Vikings||St. Louis Rams||Rams, 17-10|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||New Orleans Saints||Atlanta Falcons||Saints, 38-20|
|Sun, 9/7||1 p.m.||Oakland Raiders||New York Jets||Jets, 23-16|
|Sun, 9/7||4:25 p.m.||Carolina Panthers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Panthers, 26-20|
|Sun, 9/7||4:25 p.m.||San Francisco 49ers||Dallas Cowboys||49ers, 24-23|
|Sun, 9/7||8:30 p.m.||Indianapolis Colts||Denver Broncos||Broncos, 34-24|
|Mon, 9/8||7:10 p.m.||New York Giants||Detroit Lions||Lions, 31-20|
|Mon, 9/8||10:20 p.m.||San Diego Chargers||Arizona Cardinals||Chargers, 23-20|
Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers
The Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos in last season's Super Bowl, essentially making them the No. 1 team in most power rankings heading into the upcoming year. The Packers aren't a cakewalk, however, so it should be interesting to see how this one finishes.
Green Bay is an offensive juggernaut, with Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy candidates to post strong seasons. A full season of Rodgers will do a lot to keep the Packers in the NFC North race for the entirety of the 17-week season.
While both offenses have the potential to go back and forth given the weapons at each quarterback's disposal, the difference in this game will be the defenses.
There's simply no defense comparable to that of the Seahawks.
According to ESPN, the team possesses two of the top five defenders in the entire game:
Rodgers will have a hard time completing passes against the Legion of Boom, and that means the Packers will have to rely on Lacy against a great rush defense. That simply doesn't sound like a good mix for success.
Prediction: Seahawks 28, Packers 17
Detroit Lions vs. New York Giants
This game can really go either way. The New York Giants have potential on offense with Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Rashad Jennings, but their inability to grasp the new offense put in place by Ben McAdoo could be detrimental to their early success.
That said, they could just as easily break out in their sixth game with the new system in place.
The Detroit Lions' system is quite simple—get the ball in Calvin Johnson's hands. Matthew Stafford now has Golden Tate in the fold, meaning Johnson should be easier to find due to a lack of crowding around him.
The matchup to watch in this game is most definitely Johnson against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Rodgers-Cromartie was handed a nice contract by the Giants during the offseason, and he'll be tested right away against the best wideout in the game.
It's impossible to completely stop Megatron, but holding him under 100 yards is exactly what would make upper management in New York smile. It will be difficult, though. Rodgers-Cromartie has said that it's almost impossible to prepare for him, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com:
"When you go against him, you count on the scout team wideout that mimics him and acts like Calvin Johnson. But you'll never get the real picture."
Given the uncertainties on offense and their question marks covering Johnson, the Giants might go into Week 2 without a win.
Prediction: Lions 31, Giants 20
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR