Week one of football brought all sorts of surprises making this week’s predictions tough. Here is a look at what should be an interesting test of who is real, and who is not.
Carolina pulled off a late win against the Chargers 26-24 in last Sunday, and their passing game looked to be on track even without Steve Smith. The Bears’ defense however, played like they were expected to all of last year, dominant. With some questions on the Panthers’ defense and an absent Steve Smith on offense, Kyle Orton and an average Bears offense might have the advantage on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers was finally able to quiet critics with a fantastic debut against the Vikings, and he would love to start off the season 2-0 in his very own NFC North division. If the Pack is able to contain Calvin Johnson and company, and limit the penalties, look for them to blow-out the projected 5-11 Lions who gave up over 300 yards to the Falcons last week.
Indianapolis Colts @ Minnesota Vikings
This will be the game to watch. With both teams projected to lead their divisions, and both teams being upset last week, get ready for some grid iron football. Do not expect another shaky performance by Peyton Manning, and expect Adrian Peterson to go crazy on a defense which allowed 123 yards on 23 carries to Bears rookie Matt Forte last week. A mediocre Vikings defense may be all Peyton Manning needs to rebound from last week’s wake up call.
I don’t think I have to remind anyone that Tom Brady is out. The only question now is can the Pats overcome that. The Jets last week barely won against a revamped Dolphins team that has been atrocious the last couple of seasons. If Cassel is able to connect with Moss like he did against the dismal Chiefs, they will make things difficult. I know I wrote an article on how the Pats will be okay without Brady, but I am going to put my money on Brett Favre over the backup, or the newly signed Matt Gutierrez.
Jacksonville is projected to be one of the better teams in the AFC this year, especially now with Brady out, and if Peyton doesn’t start playing with confidence, watch out. With that being said, the Jags played horrible last week. They are either going to be shell shocked this week or just obliterate the Bills out of outrage. The Bills embarrassed the Seakhaws last week and the momentum is definitely in their favor. Following last week’s 34-10 victory, plus the bad taste left their mouths from last year’s beating in Jacksonville, and I’d have to go with the underdog, Bills.
Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals
The Dolphins suffered a tough loss against Favre and the Jets last week, and personally I did not expect them to play as well as they did. I think this matchup will result in a downright slug fest between two subpar teams. My pick: The Cardinals are going to beat the Dolphins strictly because of home field advantage, but it will be close. If the Cards were playing in Miami, I’d pick Dolphins.
The Steelers were able to beat up on a below average Houston Texans squad in their first contest 38-17. As long as Ben gets just little bit of help from his offensive line they will make it tough for the Browns. Even with a sore shoulder, Roethlisberger should prove to be the difference. Sorry Browns fans, unless you start giving Brady Quinn a chance you are going to see a lot more losses like last week’s 28-10 defeat to the Cowboys. Anderson did not look good. Not bad overall though considering you were playing Dallas.
The Titans are coming off of an upset win which should give them some momentum. The Titans may not have to worry about Vince Young searching for answers down around his ankles again, for he will most likely sit out with a sprained knee. I do expect a certain loud mouth receiver to do better this week for Cincy, but with how stinky the Bengals offense was last week, I don’t know how you could pick them to win. I think Titans will find a way to win, whether with Kerry Collins, or newly acquired Chris Simms.
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans
This game, much like the Dolphins-Cardinals game is going to be a close one. Both teams are driven by their defenses, which doesn’t say much either. This one is up for grabs but I am going to go with the Ravens, The Texans’ offense simply has too many holes.
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
This is another difficult pick but I guess it has to be done. Shawne Merriman is out for the season, finally. Merriman accounted for almost a third of the Chargers’ sacks last year, and no doughtily is a fearful presence on the field. With his absence and a Confident bunch of Broncos, at home, look for Denver to take the victory.
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs
For the last couple of years I have referred to Oakland as the place players go to die. Think about it, three quick ones Sapp, Culpepper, and Moss. Well, Moss before he was saved by the Pats. Anyways, back to the point, Chiefs run away with this one, probably score another 41 points on a horrible Raiders defense that will offset a bad KC offensive line.
Seattle gets the pick against the 49ers with or without some of their starters. The 49ers’ defense has not been playing up to full potential, and they will have to improve if they want to stop a healthy Matt Hasselback. The Seahawks defense will have their hands full with what is looking to be an impressive run attack.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Jessica Simpson already called this one so I don’t need too. She was decent enough to inform the Eagles that the Cowboys are going to “kick your butt”. Well I don’t know if they are going to kick their butt, however, I do think they have the upper hand especially playing in Dallas. Philly will not be able to hold America’s team to three points and will definitely not be able to score 38 points. Dallas will walk away with this one after a close game.
Let’s face it, this won’t even be fare. If the Rams even come close to winning it will be an upset. Watch for the Giants to win big.
The Saints who won last week looked, well, just okay as they edged the Bucs 24-20. The main reason I thought the Saints would win is because of the poor performance by the Skins’ Clinton Portis as of late. If Portis remembers how to run, the Saints defense, which allowed 145 yards rushing last week, will have a problem. Now with Colston out too, the redskins could take advantage. This one is a tossup.
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brian Griese is going to be the starting QB for the Bucs after an ankle injury sidelines Garcia. This does nothing for their chances to beat an Atlanta team who showed an explosive offense last week. However, last week the Falcons played a bad Detroit team that is probably going to make a lot of teams look good this year. Don’t expect another 220 yard performance for Michael Turner, but half of that should be enough to win.