Forecasting NFL Week 1, Winners, Losers and Upsets
Week 1 is just around the corner, and the NFL is back in action!
Training camp has shown us some surprises this summer an has given us a good "sneak peak" at where some teams are heading into the season.
We know the favorites, we know the contenders, but there have been some teams that have opened up our eyes and should make this season interesting if they can continue their fortunes when it counts.
Here's a rundown of Week 1. The winners, losers and upsets.
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints
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The Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers open the 2011 season Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
The defending Champions are going to find a very tough opponent in the New Orleans Saints.
Both teams have exciting offenses that can score at will and capitalize on mistakes made by opposing defenses.
This game should provide much entertainment as Aaron Rodgers airs it out.
Saints' running back Mark Ingram is set to make his regular season debut against the Packers and should fare well considering the issues Green Bay's defensive line has against the run.
Both teams are primed for action, but the uncertainty of the Green Bay offensive line may cost them this game if they can't pull it together.
Packers 24 - Saints 27
Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears
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Sunday's games showcase some great contests that will surely bring the NFL fever back full swing.
The Atlanta Falcons led by quarterback Matt Ryan come to Soldier Field to face the Bears in a game that should be a battle.
Atlanta should be able to pound the Bears with a healthy dose of Michael Turner, and with the very dangerous Roddy White paired with rookie phenom Julio Jones running routes, the Falcons could be problematic for the Bears.
Jay Cutler hopes to answer his critics and start the season off with an impressive showing but questions of how capable a distraught Bears' receiving corps is will limit what they can do.
Atlanta 24 - Bears 14
Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans
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The Colts trot into Houston to face the Texans with the underdog role in tow due to the absence of superstar Quarterback Peyton Manning.
Although the Colts have acquired Kerry Collins as an emergency replacement until Manning returns; he has shown he needs to learn the teams offensive scheme better to give the Colts a chance at winning.
The Texans' Matt Schaub leads the way for the Texans who have a injury bug bite as well regarding running back Arian Foster.
If Foster is not able to suit up, it would level the playing field somewhat. If Foster is out it puts added pressure on Andre Johnson to carry the team.
Everyone is slamming the Colts and picking the Texans, however, I feel the Colts still find a way to win this one.
Colts 23 - Texans 21
Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
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The Buffalo Bills seek their first victory as they visit the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.
In a game that will be buried in the week's action, unless you live in Buffalo or Kansas City, this game should come down to the most effective running game, I give the edge to the Chiefs.
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick can heave the ball, the Buffalo receivers won't be on the same page.
Buffalo 13 - Chiefs 21
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
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This game just became a lot more interesting as Chris Johnson has signed with the team he was holding hostage all preseason.
Though I don't expect Chris Johnson to explode immediately, his role, however limited, will be enough to open up the offense for newly acquired Matt Hasselback and company.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team without an identity at the moment, and this game could get out of hand on them quickly.
Johnson says hello, and the Titans roll to their first victory.
Tennessee 29 - Jacksonville 10
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
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The battle for Ohio begins when the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Cleveland Browns.
This is a game worth watching as both teams will have a slew of players that provide interesting questions regarding how they will perform.
The edge here goes to Cleveland as they have a better system and the more experienced quarterback.
Although McCoy doesn't have a tremendous edge in the experience category, he has enough to overcome his counterpart Andy Dalton.
Peyton Hillis should run swiftly through the Cincinnati defensive linemen.
Cleveland 24 - Cincinnati 10
Philadelphia Eagles vs. St. Louis Rams
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The "Dream Team" goes to St. Louis with the hopes of starting their bid for the Super Bowl by beating the Rams on their home turf.
The game isn't going to be as simple as that due to the ability of the Rams to move the ball through the air and on the ground.
Although Philadelphia boasts an all-star secondary, the team still needs time to gel and find its fluidity.
I think the Eagles will take this game, but it won't be by much. The Rams will hang around long enough and this game could be tight until the third quarter where the Eagles should pull away.
Eagles 28 - Rams 17
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
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Week 1 offers a great rivalry as the Baltimore Ravens host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Both teams rely heavily on their defenses, and both are capable of putting points on the board. The Ravens and Steelers are also very capable of scoring on the ground and through the air.
Look for what Lee Evans can do against the Pittsburgh secondary as he is sure to bolster the Ravens receiving corps, but the Steelers are an overall better football team.
The game should be close and low scoring.
Steelers 18 - Ravens 12
Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Detroit takes on Tampa Bay in Week 1, looking to show the NFL and the world that the preseason hype and success wasn't a fluke.
The Lions are solid on offense with a multitude of players who can score and just as nasty on defense.
The Buccaneers look to LaGarrette Blount, who will have a hard time running against the hungry Lions.
Outside of Blount, the Tampa Bay offense will face stiff challenges and sputter against this team.
Welcome back Detroit, it's been a long time!
Detroit 33 - Tampa Bay 9
Minnesota Vikings vs. San Diego Chargers
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Donovan McNabb looks to help the Vikings rebound from an abysmal 2010 campaign which left the team facing a real possibility of fading away.
With the addition of McNabb, the team has found a way to stop the bleeding and establish itself as team that will not be taken lightly.
The concern here is how Vikings receivers Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian will be able to handle the workload. Berrian would rather forget his last season, and Harvin's injuries and inconsistencies leave the Vikings on shaky ground.
Adrian Peterson will be the workhorse, but in San Diego, I don't know if that will be enough.
The Chargers have an array of players who can score and Phillip Rivers steering the ship.
This game should be over by halftime.
Chargers 28 - Vikings 17
New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins
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I have the Redskins as the favorite in this game.
The New York Giants have serious issues to address regarding their secondary as they have lost three starters to injuries. The Giants may not have a huge problem against the Redskins' receivers, but there will be passes that shouldn't be completed allowed.
The Redskins should deploy Tim Hightower as the starter, but with Mike Shannahan, you never know how he will approach the game.
The Giants problems extend beyond defense, as Eli Manning has struggled to get on the same page as his receivers and should be average in Week 1.
Redskins 21 - Giants 14
Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals
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A newly revitalized Arizona offense looks to christen the season with a win as new quarterback Kevin Kolb is ready to take charge in the desert.
Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald will regain his superhuman status in the NFL now that he has a QB capable of throwing him the ball.
Beanie Wells should have a fairly easy time running the ball against a Panthers defense that isn't that good.
The Panthers hope that Cam Newton can remind the Panthers' faithful what winning feels like again as he steps onto the field in his first NFL start.
The Panthers offense should see some issues with press coverage, and if Arizona penetrates the offensive line, Newton is in for a long day.
Arizona 24 - Panthers 13
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49er's
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This game should not garner much attention outside of their respective markets.
Seattle looks to Tarvaris Jackson as the answer to its problems and acquired Sidney Rice's ability to bring a threat to the Seahawks receiving game.
This should be the last season of the Pete Carroll regime, as he could very well be headed back to college.
The Seahawks will win some games but not many.
The Niners have quarterback issues as well, but they have Vernon Davis and Frank Gore.
Don't look for high flying excitement here as this game could cure insomnia.
49er's 17 - Seahawks 14
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Jets
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The Jets welcome the Dallas Cowboys to the Meadowlands in their Week 1 matchup that pits the new and improved Cowboys against the machine known as the Jets defense.
I have a hard time believing that the Cowboys will be able to escape this game with a win as the Jets should score often and as they please.
The only way Dallas wins is by containing the Jets receivers and stealing some points off turnovers.
Dallas 17 - Jets 31
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
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There aren't many ways for the Dolphins to upset the heavily favored Patriots.
There aren't many ways for the Patriots to lose to the Dolphins.
There is no reason to say any more.
Patriots 35 - Dolphins 10
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
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In the second of the Monday night games, the Denver Broncos host the Oakland Raiders.
Oakland approaches with an underestimated Raiders team that could surprise some people this year.
Jason Campbell will look to challenge the Broncos defense, and Raiders running backs Darren McFadden and Michael Bush look to make their marks respectively.
The Broncos need to control this game by putting together clock-consuming drives and mixing the offensive plays equally between passes and rushes.
Brandon Lloyd should have a nice start to the season, and Willis McGahee should capitalize on his end zone opportunities.
Raiders 20 - Broncos 27