But here we are again!!!
Diehard NFL fans are on the brink of our first week of the regular season of action, and I’m here to give insight into a few games that I hope will be filled with suspense and will give us fans that extra dose of hard-hitting action that we live and breathe for during the week.
• Is Tom Brady’s injury for real?
• How long will it be before Ken Whisenhunt is fired….or roasted in Arizona?
• Will Matt Ryan last as the starter of the Atlanta Falcons?
• Are the commentaries ever going to get better?
1. Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons
Looking back on the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons' 2007 seasons wouldn’t give you a clue as to their possible future this year. Both teams have undergone major changes, such as the Lions getting a new offensive coordinator and the Falcons losing their Pro Bowl quarterback to a jail cell in Michael Vick.
The Lions ran an offense last year with plenty of potential, with Jon Kitna and two receivers that could have breakout seasons but also came with a defense that started off horrible, allowing 337.6 yards and 27.8 points per game on defense.
Their head coach, Rod Marinelli, is a defensive mind, carrying his former Buccaneers team to league highs in sacks. Without Mike Martz there to execute his quarterback-damaging offense, the Lions are a much more solid and sophisticated team.
The Falcons went through a tremendous offseason, picking up the No. 1 quarterback in the draft with Matt Ryan and rebuilding their offense and defense with youth and a totally new head coach.
In this game, I picture a nervous Matt Ryan making a decent debut with help from the former L.T. backup, Micheal Turner. Turner could be a game-changer for the Falcons this season, as he is a durable, every-down back with power and poise. However, Atlanta still has plenty of work to do against a fiery Detroit squad, who still has some left in the tank from last year.
I have to go for the visiting team, even though this looks to be a burst of hope for the new Atlanta Falcons.
2. New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
The Jets are sure to have every sports fan watching this weekend, as Brett Favre will make his debut as the quarterback of a Jets team who won 10 games two seasons ago. This offseason was a crazy one for Favre, and many are watching to see if the Packers will have screwed up worse than everybody knows they did.
In 2007, the Dolphins almost made history by going totally defeated and had one of the worst teams in a very long time. This year, they have Bill Parcells on their side, which is always a plus, and an offense with a re-invented Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown.
The Jets not only have an already Hall of Fame quarterback on their side, they have two receivers that have shown a glint of potential to become a tandem of sound wideouts. Jerricho Cotchery had over a 1,000 yards last season, and Laveranues Coles had 646 yards and averaged 11.7 yards per catch.
They also have what should be a strong running attack with the help of Thomas Jones.
The Dolphins will show us that they aren’t the same team as the 1-16 group they were before. The Jets will be excited to finally get past the turbulent offseason and should have enough offense to get by Joey Porter and the Miami defense.
I’m also not sure that Miami has the offensive firepower needed to get through this Jets defense. That means that Brett Favre will have the same kind of Brett Favre win in a different shade of green.
3. Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
The Minnesota Vikings are the team that everyone is watching to make a run for the playoffs this year, with a blooming defense and a two-headed running game with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Tarvaris Jackson is learning how to become a better QB and showed promise in the last few weeks.
The Packers have been through a hideous situation during which they lost their quarterback of over 15 years but gained a player who is supposed to lead them into the future.
Aaron Rodgers has looked good in the preseason games he’s played in, and the Green Bay Packers of last year, who made it all the way to the NFC Championship game, are sure to have a successful season with Aaron Rodgers in charge. Also, the Packers will have a running back to help out with the offensive load with Ryan Grant, who rushed for 946 yards in only 12 games.
With the entire Packer world, and the football world, watching, Aaron Rodgers will lead his team to an almost unexpected victory in their home-game debut against a bitter division rival.
This game should be a nail-biter, with the Vikings pounding the football up the heart of the Packers' questionable defense, but all in all, the Packers go home 1-0.
4. Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants
This game is one between two division teams that did surprising things in the postseason last year but are having plenty of problems this season. The New York Giants' defense has lost both of their star defensive ends to injury and retirement, and on the offensive end, Plaxico Burress still isn’t participating in practices and hasn’t played in a game this preseason.
Jim Zorn, the new coach of the Redskins, still has a lot to prove in the NFL, and he is still one question mark to many. Although he acquired Jason Taylor during the offseason, Taylor is still questionable to be 100 percent for this important season opener.
Looking past this however, the Redskins showed us last year that they have what it takes to be playoff contenders in what is a stacked division in the NFC East. I’m just not sure they have what it takes to knock down what looks to be an under-the-radar Giants team this year.
The Giants will play with that same chip on their shoulder as last year, dealing with the media’s talk already of a down season for the G-Men, and the Redskins will start the season losing what will be a close, but decided game.
Note: The Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants game has already been played with the Giants victorious, 16-7. It's still left in the article as valuable information.
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