Rarely does a team play exactly like it did last season. Some veteran players that made heavy contributions last year were just cut, some are returning from injuries and are back in the mix. There are free agent acquisitions, rookies, new coaches and new schemes. The preseason was fun, but I’m ready for the real deal so lets get started.
Tennessee @ Pittsburgh. How will the Titans’ Defense respond without Albert Haynesworth in the lineup? Although they will miss him I think they will be able to get some pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, as the Steelers O-line is penetrable. They key will be which team stops the run better. I have to give the Steelers the edge at home but not by much.
Jacksonville@Indianapolis. I am just not feeling the Jaguars right now. They seem to be in disarray to me, heading for a rebuild. I know the Colts have a new head coach but this has been a move in the works for years, and why would Jim Caldwell want to mess with the formula that has provided so much success for so long? Colts.
Detroit@New Orleans. A rookie head coach and a rookie QB leading a team that was win-less last season into another team’s home Dome. The Dome team was the highest scoring team in the NFL last year. Saints.
Philadelphia@Carolina. That Philly D is always good but now they are without its mastermind, the late Jim Johnson. The Philly O had a lot of talent and added play makers Jeremy Maclin and Michael Vick. The Carolina Defense is no longer dominating. Panther Jake Delhomme is coming off his worst game as an NFL QB, when he stunk it up versus the Cardinals in the postseason. There are many story lines, and I think ultimately the Eagles will be the stronger team this season. However, I am enamored with DeAngelo Williams and think he will be the difference in this one. Panthers.
Dallas@Tampa Bay. Firing their Offensive Coordinator just a few days ago, starting the immobile QB Byron Leftwich on a young rebuilding team, I don’t see the Buccaneers being able to move the ball all that well this Sunday. Cowboys.
NYJets@Houston. I think this will be a competitive game, but Houston’s plan has to be to bring pressure all game long to rookie QB Mark Sanchez, and DE Mario Williams is the one to do it. Texans.
Kansas City@Baltimore. Is QB Matt Cassel healthy? Does it matter? The Chiefs are going to struggle to run and pass block, they have a new coach, a new Defensive Coordinator and they also just fired their Offensive Coordinator a few days ago. Not only do they have to face the tough Ravens Defense, the Ravens Offense is looking to air it out with young gun QB Joe Flacco spreading the field. Ravens.
Denver@Cincinnati. Its hard to say Cincinnati is clearly the better team but look, Carson Palmer is back fully healthy and their Defense improved steadily all year long last season. The Broncos are in a well documented mess right now, with a rookie head coach and they may be without their starting QB to start the season. Bengals.
Minnesota@Cleveland. Favre or no Favre, the Vikings have a rock solid Defense and the Browns probably will play Mangini style Offense – weak. Vikings.
Miami@Atlanta. Has the Dolphins Defense improved? They were middle of the pack last year. Matt Ryan plus Tony Gonzalez, Michael Turner and Roddy White sounds like a victory for the Falcons.
Washington@NYGiants. The Redskins haven’t been able to move the ball consistently well for years. The G-men have a tremendous Defense. Giants.
San Francisco@Arizona. San Fran could pull this one off, no doubt about it. The Cardinals have looked out of sync in the early stages and these games always come down the wire. You know Singletary will have his team ready, and I am not sure the Cardinals are yet. Still, Arizona only lost twice at home last season, and the 49ers will struggle to cover all the Cardinal weapons. Cardinals.
St Louis@Seattle. St Louis is young and can’t protect their QB. Seattle plays great at home, and has a better Defense. Seahawks.
Buffalo@New England. Buffalo is starting two rookies on their O-line and is the third team to have just fired their Offensive Coordinator. New England is a juggernaut. Patriots.
San Diego@Oakland. San Diego is stacked with talent, and the Raiders are just now showing they have a pulse. Chargers.
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