NFL Picks Week 1: Five Upsets Ready To Happen
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL???
If yes, then you've come to the right place.
Week 1 of the NFL regular season kicks off tonight with a marquee match up between the defending champion New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. The rest of the league will start on Sunday and Monday.
There are hundreds of unanswered questions still surrounding every NFL team.
Which rookies will be booms, and which will be busts? Who's ready to take the next step to stardom, and who's bound to have a sophomore slump? Which teams are contenders, and which are only pretenders?
But while we wait for the answers to these questions, here are five Week 1 upsets that may just happen.
Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
What happens when you combine an All-Pro wide receiver in Chad Ochocinco with one of the NFL's most dynamic personalities and talents in Terrell Owens?
Well, nobody really knows actually.
But love them or hate them, the duo gives quarterback Carson Palmer some serious toys to play with. The question, as always, is can the Patriots stop them?
New England had an average defense to begin with. Then they lost both defensive end Ty Warren and top cornerback Leigh Bodden for the season.
They can get by without Warren, but Bodden led the team in interceptions (5) last season and helped solidify the secondary. Without him, the Patriots will have to rely heavily on second-year player Darius Butler and rookie Devin McCourty.
Butler and McCourty are both capable players. But Ochocinco and TO are going to torch them, repeatedly.
The Patriots have their own offensive weapons between Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker. But will they be enough?
This game has all the makings of a shootout, and will likely come down to who wins the turnover battle.
With All-Pro Patriots guard Logan Mankins still holding out, it looks like Cincinnati may actually hold the advantage.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Yes, the Colts are the defending AFC champions. Yes, they return almost their entire roster. Yes, they still have Peyton Manning.
But the Texans are good.
They may have only gone 8-8 last year, but they played Indianapolis very tough. The last two times the Colts visited Reliant Stadium in Houston, they needed 21-point fourth quarters to pull out wins.
So we know the Texans can compete with the Colts. We just don't know if they can finish the job.
Houston still has the league's No. 1 ranked passing offense, and a running game that appears to be getting stronger. The defense is still a bit of a question mark, especially without Brian Cushing, but in Week 1 anything is possible.
The Texans will be aided by the fact that Indianapolis may be without two of their starting offensive linemen. Left tackle Charlie Johnson and All-Pro center Jeff Saturday are both questionable.
Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
This would've been a much easier upset to pick had Revis not ended his holdout. But even with their star corner back in the fold, this will not be an easy game for the Jets.
The Ravens did stomp all over the Patriots in the playoffs before losing to the Colts. They also added star wideout Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmanzadeh to complement the electric Ray Rice at running back and the strong-armed Joe Flacco at quarterback.
Baltimore will, however, be without All-Pro safety Ed Reed due to a hip injury, making them the clear underdogs in this game.
But don't expect the Jets to walk away with this one. It's a Monday night match up and it will be one of the biggest games of Mark Sanchez's young career. He may have dealt with pressure at USC, but certainly nothing like being expected to bring a Super Bowl to New York.
If Sanchez and the Jets begin to fold under the pressure, the Ravens may be able to sneak away with this one. Stay tuned.
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
The Packers are another team expected to contend for a Super Bowl. With Aaron Rodgers evolving into one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks and a defense that features the league's best rushing defense and the reigning defensive player of the year (Charles Woodson), there is definitely reason for optimism in Green Bay.
But the Eagles are optimistic too.
After trading longtime franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb to division rival Washington, the Eagles are handing the team over to Kevin Kolb.
Kolb has plenty of weapons to work with, including Pro-Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson, promising speedster Jeremy Maclin, and tight end Brent Celek. He's also proven he can perform.
In limited action in 2009, Kolb twice threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns while McNabb was recovering from an injury.
Green Bay is without corners Atari Bigby and Al Harris on Sunday, so this first game may be the perfect opportunity for Kolb to showcase his talent. The Packers better watch out.
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Anytime you have a strong team going against the world champions, it's an upset waiting to happen.
Every NFL team will be gunning for the Saints this season, and the Vikings have as good a chance as any team to pull off the upset.
It's easy to forget now, but the Vikings thoroughly outplayed the Saints in the NFC Championship game. If not for a few inopportune turnovers, Minnesota would have won.
Now, they get their chance for revenge.
Brett Favre is back, again. Adrian Peterson is still Adrian Peterson. Jared Allen is still a freak of nature. The Vikings are as complete a team as there is in the NFL and they will be atop the NFC standings throughout the season.
That's not to say the Saints won't give them a fight. Drew Brees is a great quarterback who always gives New Orleans a chance to win. But the Saints will have to play without All-Pro safety Darren Sharper, who is still recovering from offseason knee injury.
Expect a fantastic game, and don't be surprised if the champions fall off their throne.
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