The 2011 NFL Regular Season is right around the corner. In fact, it starts tonight.
After a long and less-than-suspenseful offseason lockout, sports fans can rejoice in the fact that football is back on the air. The biggest games of the year are fresh in our mind, but it's tough to remember exactly how the teams all stacked up in 2010.
Starting Thursday night, an entirely new year takes hold and the debates can begin anew.
There are so many questions that won't be answered for weeks and months to come.
Will the Green Bay Packers do what so few have done before and repeat their Super Bowl Championship?
Will the Philadelphia Eagles lay truth to their new title as the "Dream Team?"
Will the Detroit Lions live up to their preseason hype?
Will Cincinnati or Cleveland ever challenge Pittsburgh and Baltimore for the AFC North division title?
And will Tim Tebow ever find his way into the Denver Broncos' starting position? Just kidding, nobody's truthfully wondering that.
The answers surely will not come during week one. But nevertheless, the week looks to be packed with excitement. It feels like Christmas morning all over again.
Let's take a look forward at this weekend's games as I do my best to predict each winner and loser as we all start the season together.
New Orleans Saints (0-1) L - W Green Bay Packers (1-0)
The 2011 NFL Regular Season will kick off just the way the 2010 postseason ended, with a Green Bay Packers win.
Atlanta Falcons (1-0) W - L Chicago Bears (0-1)
The Falcons will let go of their losing ways in the preseason by defeating the underachieving Chicago Bears.
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) L - W Houston Texans (1-0)
Colts fans will miss Peyton Manning dearly as Houston starts off this year with the type of game they should have been finishing their others with, a big division win.
Buffalo Bills (0-1) L - W Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
The Chiefs will serve as an insurmountable opponent against the Bills as they take a fast start towards their goal of another AFC West division title.
Tennessee Titans (1-0) W - L Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
The Jaguars are the underdog of the division, despite what some may think of Tennessee. They will continue their role as such in a loss to newly appointed starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck as the Titans rule in Jacksonville.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) L- W Cleveland Browns (1-0)
Colt McCoy will pick up as he left off, continuing on an impressive start for the Browns (impressive considering what they're used to in Cleveland.)
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) W - L St. Louis Rams (0-1)
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) L - W Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Pittsburgh fans beware, Baltimore is on the way towards the top spot in the AFC North again. They will begin with a triumphant win against their formidable division rivals.
Detroit Lions (1-0) W - L Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
The Lions have been almost everyone's underdog surprise pick for 2011. They get an easy start against Tampa Bay in week one. Tampa will put up a fight in a close game, but Detroit takes the upper hand.
Minnesota Vikings (1-0) W - L San Diego Chargers (0-1)
San Diego starts every year sluggishly, and the trend won't stop now. Expect Adrian Peterson to display just why he has the reputation he does, as the No. 1 running back in the league, as the Vikings lay waste to the Chargers.
New York Giants (1-0) W - L Washington Redskins (0-1)
For a lot of folks it's difficult to pick the Washington Redskins on any day in the recent past—this game is no exception. While not a powerhouse, the Giants will be more than enough to overpower the Redskins during a seemingly easy road opener.
Carolina Panthers (0-1) L - W Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
John Fox is done in Carolina, but the Panthers losing ways are here to stay—at least for now. Kevin Kolb and the highest paid wide receiver in the league, Larry Fitzgerald, will perform aerial acrobatics the likes of Cirque du Soleil as they fly past the Panthers on Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) W - L San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Tarvaris Jackson may not appear as a standout quarterback in the league, but he'll certainly have that impression when compared to the guy throwing against him on Sunday. Seahawks cruise to an early tie for the lead in the NFC West in week one.
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) L - W New York Jets (1-0)
New England Patriots (1-0) W - L Miami Dolphins (0-1)
The only true dynasty of the last decade will ascertain a quick advantage over the underdogs in the AFC East as the Patriots collide with the Dolphins. New England leaves with another season-opening win.
Oakland Raiders (0-1) L - W Denver Broncos (1-0)
In a huge game for both teams, Kyle Orton will carve his starting position in stone, and the most underrated team of this year will take a commanding win away on their home field.
Week one will most likely not resemble the whole of the season in any major regard.
A team that suffers a blowout in their first outing may find themselves in a bid for the Super Bowl Championship four months later.
And a team that plays like champions in week one may end up as one of the league's bottom-feeders by the time the season is said and done.
Nonetheless, the outcome of a week one game can prove ever so important for the teams involved. A win could motivate an underdog with high aspirations, and a loss could prove to knock an over-zealous and over-confident team down a few pegs.
However it may turn out in the end, we'll all be watching as it's going down. Here's to week one of the long awaited 2011 NFL Regular Season.
How do you think week one will turn out? Post a comment below and join the conversation. Tell me your picks.
Want to know how accurate I was afterwards? Click "Become a Fan" on my BleacherReport profile and stay up to date as this article changes. And be sure to check in every week this year for my next round of NFL picks.
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