Survivor pools are one of the best things about the NFL season. There's something about the drama that surrounds having your pool's livelihood depend on one team winning.
Not that NFL football is boring, but added drama never hurt. It's why fantasy football is such a big deal. You don't want to be that guy who drops out in week one with a bad pick so to help you out, I've given you five winners and five teams to stay away from (these teams are all favorites coming into the game).
Good luck with your pools and stay alive out there!
Conventional wisdom says that I shouldn't like the Steelers here, but I do.
Dennis Dixon is under center and not Ben Roethlisberger, but I don't think it's going to be as big of a loss as people expect it to be. Pittsburgh can pound the rock with Rashard Mendenhall and Dixon is a playmaker with his legs if things break down.
I'm not a huge fan of Atlanta and think they're in line for another mediocre season. I could be wrong, but I like Pittsburgh to win this weekend, especially at Heinz Field.
Jacksonville is coming into its matchup against the Broncos and that may be by default.
The Jaguars are at home this Sunday which has to be one of the worst home-field advantages in football. Jacksonville is constantly putting tarps over large swathes of seats to avoid a television blackout.
Can we just get that team out of there and to a city that will support it already? Along with that is the coaching talents, or lack there of, of Jack Del Rio. I'm not a huge fan of the Jags this year and this game could go either way.
Avoid the Jags in your pool this week.
Sorry Eagles fans, the Kevin Kolb era is not going to start well.
Green Bay's offense looked dominate during the preseason and I think they're going to feast on the Eagles this Sunday. Kolb is going to put his team in bad spots time after time and give the Packers good field position.
Aaron Rodgers is a legit MVP candidate this year and he's going to prove why early on. Feel safe taking the Packers even if the game is in Philadelphia. The rabid Eagles fans aren't enough to weigh in on this outcome.
The Cowboys get to start the season off against hated rival Washington on the road. That's not exactly what I'd consider a recipe for success to start the 2010 campaign.
Dallas has had issues on the offensive line in the preseason and has been without Dez Bryant during that span as he nursed a high ankle sprain. The Redskins are going to double Miles Austin and it's going to be interesting to see what kind of attack we get from the Cowboys.
It's a division game on the road and I tend to try and stay away from these types of matchups unless they're no brainers. With Donovan McNabb under center, Washington will hang tough with Dallas. Stay away from this game.
What's the best way to start the season for the Chargers? If the answer was "facing the Kansas City Chiefs," then you're spot on.
While Kansas City is improving and should have a great running game this year, they're no match for the Chargers, even without Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeil. San Diego is looking for rookie running back Ryan Matthews to help the team move on from LaDainian Tomlinson and I think he'll have a nice game.
I'm not sold on Matthews as the back of the future, but for one night he's going to shine under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
I like the Chargers a lot as a survivor pool pick.
I know it's St. Louis but people are underestimating the Rams this year. Sam Bradford will inject a little energy into the franchise and they still have Stephen Jackson at running back.
Meanwhile, Arizona is starting Derek Anderson at quarterback and he is a massive downgrade from Kurt Warner. The Cardinals are a mess right now and it's going to be a rough transitional year for Arizona.
If I'm betting the farm on one team. I'm staying far, far away from the Cardinals. The Rams could sneak up and surprise Arizona, even in the weak NFC West.
One of the biggest mortal locks of the week, Miami is traveling to take on Buffalo to start the season.
The Bills are destined to be a top three pick in the draft in April and Miami is a team that is looking to make a run for a playoff spot. Chad Henne has looked good in the preseason and now he's got Brandon Marshall to throw to.
While Buffalo has some playmakers in the secondary, I'm not sure they have answer for Henne, Marshall, and Ronnie Brown on defense. The Dolphins are going to make some plays, especially with the Wildcat and Buffalo just doesn't have enough horses to keep up.
You can sleep tight picking Miami to win.
The Jets are having their first season opener in the new Meadowlands Stadium against Rex Ryan's former team, the Baltimore Ravens.
New York is favored in this game and I'm not sure why. The Jets' fans and the media have talked themselves into Mark Sanchez and company being a force this year and I'm not buying it.
The Jets went 9-7 last year and happened to get hot in the playoffs after backing into it in the first place. If New York's fans want to believe they've got it going on, they're going to be in for a rude awakening when they face Baltimore who is a great pick to make the Super Bowl.
Unlike the Jets, the Giants open up hosting Carolina and I think this is a mortal lock for the Giants.
Matt Moore isn't going to get it done and John Fox is in a has to go situation in Carolina. I know the Panthers did work on the Giants in the final game of the season on the road last year, but you have to believe the Giants didn't forget about last year.
The Giants are opening the new Meadowlands and I think there's just too much for Carolina to handle there, even with a solid running game.
Okay, Peyton Manning is coming off of a heartbreaking loss in the Super Bowl and he's 15-1 against the Houston Texans. What doesn't sound good about this?
While the record looks good on paper, you need to remember that Houston plays Indianapolis close all the time and has had a couple of very close calls and heartbreaking losses. The Texans have had problems in the fourth quarter and maybe this is the year they put it together.
I think the Colts are going to win the game, but it's such a close matchup that I don't want to touch this game with everything on the line. Avoid this game at all costs. There's plenty of easy wins out there for you and stick with those.