With the first game of the 2010 NFL season starting in less than an hour, it’s about time to hit the weekend preview. First up, the NFC Championship game rematch.
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
This could be a very good game, except for the injuries that are currently plaguing the Vikings’ secondary. The Saints have the ability to spread the field very well and with quarterback Drew Brees pulling the trigger, the Vikings are going to need to have a spectacular pass rush to help contain Brees and company.
If the game stays close deep into the second half, the Vikings could very well take over the game with running back Adrian Peterson, as long as he keeps the ball in his hands.
If the Saints can force quarterback Brett Favre to try and win the game, that could spell trouble for the Vikings. He hasn’t played much since the last time these two faced and he most likely does not want to remember that game.
In essence, I expect the Saints to win this game, but the Vikings do have a good chance if they can keep it close.
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
This could either be the snoozer game of the weekend or the second coming of the Detroit Lions/Cleveland Browns game from last season.
The Jaguars do have the benefit of having running back Maurice Jones-Drew, which should help them win this game.
The Broncos are suffering from a lot of key injuries already, which leads me to think the Jaguars should win this game handily.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
This game could have some long-term playoff implications.
The Titans are looking to ride momentum from the second half of last season to make a push for the playoffs, while the Raiders with an atypical off season for owner Al Davis could capitalize on a very weak AFC West.
In order to have a shot at winning this game, the Raiders are going to need to contain running back Chris Johnson and keep quarterback Vince Young from making plays with his feet.
The Raiders improved on the offensive side of the ball, acquiring quarterback Jason Campbell from the Washington Redskins for basically chump change. With a competent quarterback at the helm—and yes, Campbell is a competent quarterback—the Raiders might prove to be a good team this year.
However, it will take time for that team to come around, and I just don’t know if they can even contain Johnson and Young.
It should be a good game, but the Titans should win.
Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
This game is going to be very interesting.
The Patriots defense has looked quite atrocious in the preseason, allowing rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams to shred them. Expect quarterback Carson Palmer and his targets to have a big day.
The Patriots offense, however, has looked just as good as ever. With Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom being suspended for four games, it will be interesting to see if he plays since the suspension was just sent down. The Bengals will need him to have any chance of containing quarterback Tom Brady.
This will be an old-fashioned shootout. Could very well be the highest scoring games of the weekend.
Bengals win an extremely close but high scoring game.
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Oh yes, another likely snoozer of a game.
The Browns and Bucs were both quite bad last year. However, I think the Bucs did more to improve this offseason, acquiring impact players on both sides of the ball in defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and wide receiver Mike Williams as rookies.
How well they perform over the season remains to be seen, but at least on that level...
I think the Bucs have improved more and should win this game. Not much scoring will occur, I think.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
This game could be quite interesting, or it could be boring—it depends on which Texans team shows up.
Quarterback Matt Schaub has the potential to be a really good quarterback and he has some weapons. However, he needs to stay healthy.
Plus, they need to beat the Colts. It’s not a coincidence that they haven’t made the playoffs and have beaten the Colts a grand total of one time. If they are going to make that jump, they need to beat the Colts.
Right now might be their best chance. The Colts are banged up on the offensive line and that will certainly play into the hands of defensive end Mario Williams.
That will be the name of the game for the Texans’ defense on Sunday, getting consistent pressure on Manning. If they do that, they could win.
Something tells me that the Colts will continue their stranglehold on the series, however.
Alright, that’s it for Part One! Enjoy the games and stay tuned for Part Two.