Week 1 Predictions; Panthers Beat San Diego In Upset

Andrew ButlerCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2008

     Tennessee over Jacksonville, Fantasy Stud: David Garrard JAC QB

         Week 1 Stalemate Matchup

   With losses on the Jacksonville d-line, they'll be strong but not stout with the Johnson-White 1-2 punch for TEN.  As good as Jones-Drew and Taylor are, with Haynesworth and Kearse on the TEN d-line it'll be like fighting against the Minnesota rush defense.  With everyone talking about how good Jacksonville is as well, I'm sure they're heads are plenty full of confidence, probably too much.  These two teams both have a great running game, decent passing game, and strong defenses, this should be the best game in week 1.

     Washington over New York, Fantasty Stud: Clinton Portis WAS RB

   The Redskins are facing the Super Bowl Champs in the first game of the season, look for them to bring their A-game with the X on the Giants backs from last season.  With only half of the elite Giants defense returning, and Zorn dressed to impress in his head coaching debut, I expect Portis to run over the Giants

     Cincinnati over Baltimore, Fantasy Stud: Carson Palmer CIN QB

   With Joe Flacco in his first start, I expect the Ravens offense to really struggle while the Bengals have various problems on defense, even Peyton and Favre struggled in their first games.  Baltimore's pass defense went down the drain last season, unless they can return to prime form, expect Palmer to have a field day with Houshmazilly and Ocho Cinco.

     New York Jets over Miami, Fantasy Stud: Thomas Jones NYJ RB

   I expect Brett Favre to look good in his debut in green and white with the best Offensive Guard in the NFL, Alan Faneca, upgrading the jets o-line.  Granted, the Dolphins were the worst team last season, their pass defense is easily their best feature although its far from spectacular.  Look for Favre to have a decent game.  Where Jones will walk over the team with the worst rush defense last season, before they traded Jason Taylor.

     New England over Kansas City, Fantasy Stud: Tom Brady NE QB

   Easy pick, the Patriots should be hell bent on getting back to the super bowl.  The Chiefs have a good pass defense, but New England just has too many weapons.  Look for the Kansas City o-line to falter and make their offense struggle altogether.  The Chiefs lack a good rush defense, but with Maroney and Morris sharing carries, I would wait until one of those guys gets injured again or performs better later in the season.

     Pittsburgh over Houston, Fantasy Stud: Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB

   This should be a tough -, while PIT has a declining o-line after allowing over 45 sacks last season and giving up their best lineman, shown by all of Willie Parker's 2 TD's.  Houston has a bad secondary and has lost their best corner for most of the season, look for Roethlisberger to capitalize on it.

     Detroit over Atlanta, Fantasy Stud: Calvin Johnson DET WR

   Detroit has a lot of weaknesses both in their secondary and rush defense after trading away Shaun Rogers and a weak linebacker core.  But I'm sure they'll hold up just fine against rookie QB Matt Ryan.  Atlanta traded away their best corner as well, DeAngelo Williams and can't stop the run either.  I'm looking for it to be a duel between Kitna and Ryan giving Calvin Johnson the high ground on this battle.

     Seattle over Buffalo, Fantasy Stud: Matt Hasselbeck SEA QB

   With Paul Posluszny and Marcus Stroud stopping the run and a struggling secondary, I would look for Matt Hasselbeck to make things happen through the air.  With Jason Peters still holding out I wouldn't set high expectations for Marshawn Lynch or an inconsistent Lee Evans and Trent Edwards, but look for James Hardy to be a productive rookie this season.  Seattle will walk over Buffalo, but look for them to put up a fight.

     New Orleans over Tampa Bay, Fantasy Stud: Reggie Bush NO RB

   Tampa Bay has a secondary, and may struggle to stop Shockey, Meachem, Patten, Colston and Henderson, and Brees will put up ridiculous numbers again, just not in this game against the #1 secondary in the NFL. I'd take Reggie Bush here, though I hate to admit it.  I'd take him here against the Bucs rush defense which is nothing great and look for Brees to throw it to Bush a fair amount as well.  Joey Galloway may catch a long ball as well against the New Orleans weak secondary.

     Philadelphiaover St. Lous, Fantasy Stud: Brian Westbrook PHI RB

   Philly has Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis injured holding up Donovan McNabb, look for sleeper receiver Hank Baskett to emerge this season.  He's tall, fast and did well for his rookie season last year, but DeSean Jackson may steal the show as well with his great speed.  St. Louis pass defense is slightly better than their rush defense, so Westbrook is the best pick here.  Look for Jackson to struggle against a stout Philly d-line and a declining St. Louis o-line.

     Dallas over Cleveland, Fantasy Stud: Terrell Owens DAL WR

   Cleveland's secondary fared pretty poorly, and trading away their one emerging CB to Detroit, Leigh Bodden, makes me skeptical that they can hold anything against Tony Romo and T.O.  Though Cleveland has added some bulk on their d-line so their rush defense should improve, not enough to bench Marion Barber though.  I like Derek Anderson against the Dallas secondary which is steadily improving, but Jamal Lewis will probably have a mediocre performance at home.

     Carolina over San Diego, Fantasy Stud: LaDainian Tomlinson SD RB

   Last season Carolina went 7-9 with horrendous QB play.  A healthy Delhomme, power running game, and Hackett and Muhammad at wide-out makes me think they could be very underrated, even if Steve Smith is out.  And San Diego's record doesn't look as impressive playing Kansas City and Oakland both twice last season.  The only real weakness in Carolina may be their defensive line, although I wouldn't call it weak, but it's weak enough for L.T. to have a nice game.

     Arizona over San Francisco, Fantasy Stud: Edgerrin James ARI RB

   Arizona is a good team that may struggle in the secondary, but with inexperienced J.T. O'Sullivan in the new Mike Martz system, I'd look for him to have a few growing pains getting used to it.  Frank Gore would be my next likely target, but the Arizona rush defense is very underrated.  With the losses on the d-line for San Francisco I'd look for Edgerrin James to do pretty well, along with their improving o-line with their second year head coach.

     Indianapolis over Chicago, Fantasy Stud: Peyton Manning IND QB

   Re-match of Super Bowl XLIII, great start to this season.  Chicago had lots of injuries and suspensions on their defense last season, but it seems they're strongest weakness may be their secondary getting ran over this preseason.  Look for Manning to exploit that matchup, but if Kyle Orton gets going later in the season, Mark Bradley could be a sleeper receiver for them.  Joseph Addai may have trouble against the stout Chicago rush defense.

     Oakland over Denver, Fantasy Stud: Selvin Young DEN RB

   Jay Cutler won't have Brandon Marshall, and will be going against one of the top pass defenses in the NFL, he will struggle to say the least.  Oakland's running by committee will flourish against the weak rush defense in Denver, but Oakland's rush defense is weaker which is why Selvin Young is the fantasy pick, and Oakland is the winning team pick.

     Minnesota over Green Bay, Fantasy Stud: Adrian Peterson MIN RB

   With Green Bay having two great d-ends and two weak defensive tackles, along with Green Bay's good secondary and linebacker core, and a banged up Tavaris Jackson, mean Adrian Peterson will run it up the gut for most of this game and will have a lot of success.  Ryan Grant won't stand a chance against the best d-line.  Aaron Rodgers will have a lot of success but with a new and stronger secondary they'll get the best out of the young Rodgers.



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