Week One finally came!
After a long summer and what seemed like a thousand preseason games, NFL fans finally got their early Christmas present with kickoff of the regular season. The week had great comebacks, a quarterback going bananas and widespread optimism for many fan bases.
Let's see what Week Two will bring us. (Picks are in bold)
Houston at Tennessee
The Houston Texans are an up-and-coming team with young talent on both sides of the ball. This year, I believe that they can piece it all together and finally make it over the hump and into the postseason.
Quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Steve Slaton run the offense while defensive end Mario Williams, tackle Amobi Okoye, and linebackers Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans lead the defense into battle week in and week out.
Despite how much promise I think this team has, it won't come together this weekend against the Tennessee Titans, a hungry team after an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend. They have too much on the defensive side of the ball and, with Kevin Curtis most likely out for Houston, they can really focus on shutting down Johnson.
The Texans still need to come together. The Titans are the pick.
New Orleans at Philadelphia
The Eagles looked like an elite team last week, with quarterback Donovan McNabb leading a strong passing attack.
However, McNabb won't be playing this week and it is uncertain who will line up under center for the Eagles. In any case, the defense needs to put pressure on Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has thrown 22 touchdown passes in his last seven games. If the Eagles can't get pressure on him, Brees will have a field day.
The Saints will need to stop the running game of the Eagles, who will turn to Brian Westbrook to take some of the pressure off of backup quarterback Kevin Kolb. If the Saints can stop the run, and put points on the board, the Eagles don't stand a chance.
New Orleans is the pick.
Arizona at Jacksonville
Last year's Arizona Cardinals couldn't run the ball during the regular season. Last week, they continued that trend, gaining a mere 40 yards in their home loss to the 49ers. In order for the Cardinals to make another run at the postseason, they need to get the ground game going with Tim Hightower and rookie Beanie Wells.
I like the Cardinals more than the Jaguars this year, despite Maurice Jones-Drew being the best all-around back in the league. The one thing going for the Jags is the Cardinals' East Coast woes. Arizona lost all five games in the regular season last year when they had to travel across the country.
If the Cardinals are sluggish, Jacksonville will take it to them early. But I think veteran Kurt Warner will find his rhythm and get the Cards a win on the road.
Oakland at Kansas City
In the worst game on the schedule, both the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs have huge question marks on all sides of the ball.
Why waste my time delving into this game any more? I will spend as much time talking about this game as you will watching it.
Oakland is the pick.
Cincinnati at Green Bay
The Bengals are the joke of the NFL and knowing how that team is run (not to mention the last-second loss last week) I don't see them keeping up with the Green Bay Packers this week.
The Packers are good on all sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers is leading the offense against a very weak defensive unit that the Bengals have.
The Packers offense alone should be too much for the Bengals to handle, and I don't see them putting many points up either.
Packers are the pick.
New England at NY Jets
The game of the week pits two AFC East rivals against one another, both coming off big wins last weekend.
The Jets showed that they have one of the best defensive units in the entire NFL last weekend as they dominated the Houston Texans attack. The question mark on the team is still at the quarterback position.
I know that Mark Sanchez played very well last weekend, but this isn't the Houston Texans defense. He is facing one of the best coaches of all time this week who will certainly be throwing out disguised coverages and blitzing schemes.
Look at that, already a few lines in and I still haven't even mentioned that Tom Brady is back and is looking for revenge. He didn't play well out of the gate against the Buffalo Bills last week but finished strong.
Look for him to build off of the second half performance against Buffalo and get the ball to their playmakers, Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Both hauled in 12 catches last week.
It will be very close, but ultimately it will come down to quarterback play against two very good defenses. I'll take Tom Brady any day of the week.
Pats are the pick.
Carolina at Atlanta
Watching last week's highlights, it was hard not to assume that the Panthers are a bad team. Quarterback Jake Delhomme had five turnovers, but the defense played huge, giving up just 267 yards of total offense.
The Falcons bring in an explosive offense with quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Michael Turner, wide receiver Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Panthers will have to try to take all of their playmakers out of the mix, which I don't think will be possible.
Atlanta takes this one.
Baltimore at San Diego
The San Diego Chargers were my Super Bowl pick, but last week they looked very average, just squeaking past the Oakland Raiders.
Baltimore has a much better defense than the Raiders and will look to stop the run against a Chargers team playing without running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Darren Sproles will try to take over the workload, but he is not a between-the-tackles runner like LT and won't fair well against the Ravens killer defense which limited the Chiefs to 1.7 yards a rush last week.
The Chargers will turn into a one-dimensional team, never a good thing to do against the Ravens. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers might put up some good stats, but in the end, the Ravens defense will be too much.
Ravens taking this one.
Pittsburgh at Chicago
As if franchise quarterback Jay Cutler throwing a ton of passes to the other team wasn't bad enough, the Bears lost Pro Bowl linebacker Brain Urlacher for the season. It shouldn't get any better for them this week as the Bears go up against a very strong Pittsburgh defense.
Ben Roethlisberger should be able to make enough plays to be able to take it to the Bears.
NY Giants at Dallas
In the first regular season game played at the new Cowboys Stadium, Dallas fans are hopeful about quarterback Tony Romo after his strong performance last weekend. Romo is 4-0 in his career against the Giants in the regular season, but I have a feeling something is about to give in this game.
The Giants defense will be getting after Romo all game and will force him into turnovers. I am still not high on Eli Manning, but with the great running game behind him, he should be able to manage the game well.
Giants in a close one.
Indianapolis at Miami
The Monday night matchup pits a team battling injuries against a team trying to regain the momentum they had last season.
Even with wide out Anthony Gonzalez and safety Bob Sanders out for Indy, Peyton Manning will keep the Colts in every game they play.
In what could turn into a high-scoring affair, I like Peyton to keep the Colts ahead on the scoreboard.
Colts are the pick.
Minnesota at Detroit
St. Louis at Washington
Tampa Bay at Buffalo
Seattle at San Francisco
Cleveland at Denver
Last Week: 13-3