We are finally so close to the return of the NFL that you can smell it in the air.
Aaron Rodgers will lead the Packers against the Saints this Thursday night, and with the early Super Bowl buzz around both of these teams, it could be one of the most exciting opening games in recent history.
With so many questions heading into the season, let's get right back to x's and o's and take a look at the exciting Week 1 matchups.
After coming off last year's championship season, the Green Bay Packers will have a large target painted on their backs. Teams will be gunning for them and raising their game when they play against the Pack.
Factor that in with the fact that the last time we saw the Saints, they lost to a 7-9 Seattle team in the first round of the playoffs last year.
With everything to prove and bringing to the table a very balanced football team, this one should be the Saints, but I like the defending champs to pull one out in the end.
PICK: GB 24, NO 21
Jay Cutler showed up to camp lighter, quicker and with better footwork, but he still has a dismal offensive line and didn't look so spectacular this preseason.
Meanwhile, Matt Ryan is now entering his fourth season in the NFL and seems to get better with every game. Michael Turner and the O-line may face a challenge in the Bears' defense if Brian Urlacher and company can be their usual selves, but Atlanta will win this one with ease.
PICK: ATL 28, CHI 17
On the other side, rookie QB Andy Dalton is looking to build on the progress he made throughout the preseason.
With all the youth of the Bengals and a Browns team looking to make a name for itself, this game will not be close. Are you ready for the new-look Browns?
PICK: CLE 28, CIN 13
The defending AFC West champs will be looking for a fast start to try and repeat, while the Bills will be looking to not dig themselves into a hole early in the season again.
This all depends on Cassel, but should he play, this game will go in favor of the home team.
PICK: KC 24, BUF 21
This is one of the more intriguing games this weekend; we have a team considered by many to be a favorite for a Super Bowl appearance and a team that has all the variables to surprise a lot of people this year.
So it may come as a surprise, but I like the underdogs in this one. Sam Bradford in Josh McDaniels' offense, coupled with the defense that the Rams have put together, is going to result in an upset for the Dream Team.
PICK: STL 27, PHI 24
This could be the game of the week featuring two young teams with playoff expectations this year and everything to prove.
The Bucs were 10-6, but missed the playoffs, while the Lions showed promise, but ultimately fell victim to injuries.
Josh Freeman is hoping to lead the Bucs to a fast start, but Matthew Stafford and company are looking good coming into the season as well. In a game that features two future marquee quarterbacks and two promising young teams, Stafford to Megatron for the win.
PICK: DET 34, TB 20
Luke McCown will start for Jacksonville and will look shaky at best.
Meanwhile, a fresh Chris Johnson will torch Jacksonville's D and rush for more than 100 yards in an impressive win for the Titans.
PICK: TEN 31, JAX 17
GAME OF THE WEEK (I)
That will change Sunday.
These teams always fight down to the wire, and Sunday will be no different. The Steelers' defense will hold their own, but more mistakes by Big Ben than his counterpart will be the difference in this one.
PICK: BAL 24, PIT 21
Here come the Texans!
Peyton Manning is officially out for Sunday's matchup and possibly far beyond. If Houston cannot capitalize on that this year, they will not win this division in the foreseeable future.
This game is so important to the Texans, and the Colts are just trying to get by. Houston wins this one handily.
PICK: HOU 35, IND 20
Rex Grossman is making his first opening day start since 2007.
The Giants have some expectations coming into this season, especially surrounding their ferocious D.
Ultimately, the play of running back Tim Hightower will dictate this game. Hightower has the potential to be this year's Arian Foster.
PICK: WAS 28, NYG 24
The fact that one of these teams will be 1-0 after this week is mind-boggling in and of itself.
Seattle may not be such a bad team if their QB didn't look like a high schooler on the field. No footwork, no progressions, no timing—these are not the ingredients to success.
PICK: SF 17, SEA 6
Carolina will continue to struggle, especially with Cam Newton at the helm. Newton will improve throughout the season, but Sunday, new head coach Ron Rivera may consider letting Clausen play.
It will get that ugly.
PICK: ARI 42, CAR 12
It's sibling rivalry Sunday night as Dallas heads to New York to take on the Jets.
With the Ryan brothers' story out of the way, all eyes should be on Jason Garrett's first full season as a head coach. He firmly believes he is going to restore the winning ways of the Cowboys, and what better way to start than a victory in the Meadowlands against Gang Green?
PICK: DAL 32, NYJ 26
The reigning MVP takes his talents to South Beach Monday night against Chad Henne and the Dolphins.
The Dolphins were terrible at home last season and will likely be embarrassed by the Pats on national television. Keep an eye on the developing chemistry between Chad Ochocinco and Tom Brady; if they can get going early, it's going to be a long night for Miami.
If not, Patriots still win, just not by as much.
Wonder what QB's name they'll be chanting at Sun Life Monday?
PICK: NE 42, MIA 20
The last time these two teams played in Denver, the Raiders posted astronomical numbers and had they not pulled their starters, would have easily broken 70 points.
The Raiders, however, are dealing with a new coach and the loss of several key weapons.
The Broncos too are dealing with a new coach, but made improvements on both offense and their dreadful defense. This Monday night, Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller begins his campaign for Rookie of the Year as Denver eeks one out.
PICK: DEN 24, OAK 21