Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints
Vegas Betting Line: Saints -5.5 (Total: 48.5)
Prediction: Saints -7 (Total: 47)
In the NFC Championship game back in January the Saints were able to keep the Vikings passing game in check by pressuring QB Brett Favre on a constant basis, and this game figures to be no different. The Saints have a solid D-Line, and the Vikings have an “iffy” O-Line which is a huge question mark coming into this season. The Vikings will need to rely on RB Adrian Peterson to have a huge game if they want a chance at winning this one, as New Orleans defense should be able to contain Minnesota’s aerial attack. The same will not be said for the Vikes defense, as their secondary will not be able to handle QB Drew Brees, despite having a very good D-Line. Brees has too many talented weapons surrounding him and his release is just too quick. Minnesota was only able to drag down Brees once during the conference championship.
Cleveland Browns @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vegas Betting Line: Buccaneers -3 (Total: 37)
Prediction: Browns -7 (Total: 33)
If Browns QB Jake Delhomme can play a solid game and avoid turning the ball over, Cleveland should be able to move the ball consistently. The Browns should also be able to move the ball on the ground successfully in this one against a Buccaneers defense that has problems stopping the run. Tampa also has a poor O-Line, so I doubt they will be able to open up holes for RB Carnell Williams, and I doubt they will be able to give QB Josh Freeman enough time to be successful.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
Vegas Betting Line: Dolphins -3 (Total: 38.5)
Prediction: Dolphins -10 (Total: 38)
The Dolphins will stack the box in order to contain RB CJ Spiller and Buffalo’s running game, forcing QB Trent Edwards to win the game with his arm. Edwards won’t win the game but he should have a solid showing against a below average Miami pass defense. However, the Bills will lose the game because of their inability to stop the run. The Bills have a horrible run defense, and Miami RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams should come close to combining for 170-plus yards in this one, and a couple of TDs.
Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots
Vegas Betting Line: Patriots -4.5 (Total: 45)
Prediction: Patriots -3 (Total: 65)
Many people are writing off the Patriots this year, me on the other hand am not (Although I do hate them with a passion). Pats QB Tom Brady is going to come back this year possibly better than ever as he is playing for a HUGE long-term contract, as his current contract expires at the end of this season. The Bengals have a decent secondary, but the Pats have way to much fire power and will overwhelm Cincinnati’s pass defense. Although New England will come out on top in this one, the Bengals should have a good offensive showing with QB Carson Palmer and RB Cedric Benson putting up impressive numbers versus an average Pats defense. This one could be a shootout.
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Vegas Betting Line: Jaguars -2.5 (Total: 40)
Prediction: Broncos -3 (Total: 31)
Broncos QB Kyle Orton has looked solid this preseason and seems to be comfortable and confident with his young, and talented receiving corps. Denver’s passing game should be successful, as Jacksonville cannot defend the pass at all, and very well could be the worst pass rush team in the league. The Broncos will look to contain RB Maurice Jones-Drew by putting extra men in the box; however MJD should still put up good numbers against a pedestrian run defense. Jags QB David Garrard will struggle against a fairly talented Broncos secondary.
Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants
Vegas Betting Line: Panthers -6.5 (Total: 41)
Prediction: Giants -3 (Total: 45)
Panthers RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart should have no problems running the ball versus the Giants as they are simply not talented enough to handle the both of them. However, the Panthers will have defensive problems of their own. Their defensive front is questionable, but I do believe they should be able to handle New York’s run game. Giants QB Eli Manning on the other hand should have a big game if his O-Line can give him time in the pocket, because Carolina will be sending a couple extra blitzers in an attempt to thwart the Giants passing attack. New York will win, but the line in this one is way too high.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Vegas Betting Line: Bears -6.5 (Total: 44)
Prediction: Lions -3 (Total: 45)
Last season teams had no problems getting to Lions QB Mathew Stafford, but the addition of RB Jahvid Best should slow down the opposition’s pass rush. Even with the addition of DE Julius Peppers, I don’t think Chicago will generate enough pressure on the QB to shut down their passing game. Also, the Bears secondary is not talented enough to stop WRs Calvin Johnson (who in a year or two will be the best in the league) and Nate Burleson (who is shaping up to be an excellent number two receiver). On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions should be able to get enough pressure on QB Jay Cutler to force him into throwing a couple costly interceptions as Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has no idea how to draw up a good protection scheme. But, Cutler should be able to throw for a couple hundred yards along with a couple TDs as the Lions secondary is absolutely terrible. I am calling the upset in this one though, GO LIONS!
Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Vegas Betting Line: Atlanta -2.5 (Total: 37.5)
Prediction: Atlanta -3 (Total: 23)
The Steelers will be running the ball a lot with RB Rashard Mendenhall with QB Ben Roethlisberger out, but the Falcons will be focusing 99.9% of their efforts on stopping the run as they will not be worried about Pittsburgh’s passing game, because they don’t even have a passing game to begin with. But the Steelers defense will keep their team in the game by shutting down RB Michael Turner which will put QB Matt Ryan in long yardage situations on a constant basis.
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