The 2010 NFL regular season is finally here, and it is time to pick the opening games of the season. The opening month is always the toughest to pick, as it is difficult to figure out if teams with good preseason play can carry that over to the regular season and if teams with bad preseason play are able to flip the switch.
It is also difficult to figure out which bad teams from last year truly improved and which playoff teams are on their way to disappointment.
Each week I will pick the five best games of the week followed by the rest of the games. In 2009, my record was 168-88.
1) Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at New Orleans Saints (0-0) – This is one of four opening weekend games featuring two playoff teams from the season before. This is also the premier matchup of the opening week, as this is a rematch of the 2009 NFC Championship Game, won by the Saints 31-28 in OT.
A lot has been made of the Vikings' injuries to WR Sidney Rice and rookie CB Chris Cook, but the Saints have a number of significant injuries as well. S Darren Sharper has been slow recovering from a knee injury and will start the season on the PUP list, along with LB Clint Ingram. That becomes problematic because LB Jonathan Casillas was placed on IR and MLB Jonathan Vilma has been nursing an injured groin but probably will be available for the opener.
This should be an offense-oriented game with a lot of scoring from both offenses. I think the Vikings have had this game circled since committing five turnovers in the title game last year. I look for them to come out with a lot of intensity, and I see a big game from RB Adrian Peterson, which will open things up for QB Brett Favre. Vikings outlast the Saints and QB Drew Brees in a Thursday night shootout to open the 2010 season. Winner: Minnesota