NFL Week 1: 5 Games That Will Be Dominated by Defense
In the first week of the NFL season, defenses usually have an advantage over opposing offenses. Some teams (obviously not the Packers and Saints) need time to develop relationships between the offensive parts of the team. This means that defense will be key in the first week in stopping the offenses.
Some match-ups this weekend are built for defense. Because of the lockout, even more teams will struggle offensively with new pieces. Lost time in organized team activities (OTA's) will prove to be missed time that is indispensable for some teams. This will add to the advantage for NFL defenses.
So here are 4 match-ups that will be dominated by the defenses in this week's games.
The Obvious: Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens
Every game between them is a fight. With their recent meetings in the playoffs, this rivalry has intensified.
When these teams meet in Baltimore, a lot more will be on the line for the Ravens than the Steelers. If the Ravens lose, they will already be a game behind the Steelers with a game in Pittsburgh still to play. Joe Flacco and the offense need to crack Pittsburgh's defense.
Good luck with that, Joe.
Pittsburgh will be looking to defend their AFC Championship crown with a win over their rivals. The Steelers have a chance to take a commanding lead in the division race in only the first week. Yes it is early, but with a game to play in Pittsburgh, the Steelers could potentially have a stranglehold on the division.
PREDICTION- Steelers 16 Ravens 13
Now onto the four other defensive matchups of this weekend.
1. Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers
This may not be a battle of the defenses as much as it will be two offenses that will struggle. Alex Smith and Tavaris Jackson have something to prove in this game, as each has a short leash on their respective jobs.
The NFC West will once again be the weakest division in the NFL. The intra-division games in the NFC West are important because these teams are not going to win a lot of games against teams from other divisions. The loser of this game could be on the brink of elimination.
This will be a low-scoring game because both offenses will be anemic.
2. Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos
Last year, the Raiders blew out the Broncos in Denver 59-14. The Raiders are not as good of a team as last season with the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha. The Broncos recently overcame the Tim Tebow fiasco to announce that Kyle Orton will start the season at quarterback.
Jason Campbell will start for Oakland at quarterback. Both offenses will struggle in the opener and the defenses will be tough to move the ball against. Again, this may not be a defensive game as much as a lack of offense.
Prediction- Denver 14 Oakland 10
3. New York Giants and Washington Redskins
This may be the most emotional game of the weekend with the fans of New York and Washington celebrating the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with each other. Both teams will be excited to play this important game, and that will lead to offensive mistakes.
Eli Manning knows about mistakes, as he had 25 interceptions last season. Rex Grossman will get the opportunity to start for Washington. With the Giants' defensive line having a reputation of forcing fumbles and putting pressure on the quarterback, Grossman may have a tough day.
The Giants will be without Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck is questionable for the game. Even if Tuck doesn't play, the Giants will do enough against Rex Grossman. Washington's defense is underrated and will hold Eli Manning and the offense.
Prediction- Washington 21 New York 17
4. Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In a game between the two breakout teams with the most-hyped quarterbacks, this will end up being a defensive game. Josh Freeman and Matthew Stafford have gotten a lot of praise from critics and many peg this as the year in which both prove themselves to be serviceable NFL quarterbacks.
Detroit's defensive line will dominate Tampa Bay and their running game. Josh Freeman will struggle with the pressure of Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nick Fairley is out) and be forced into mistakes. On the other side, Tampa Bay's underrated secondary will stifle Matt Stafford and the offense.
While Detroit is a sexy pick for the last playoff spot in the NFC, Tampa Bay will win this game in a defensive struggle.
Prediction- Tampa Bay 24 Detroit 20
This weekend should see a lot of defensive struggles, but particularly in these games. While some offenses I mentioned, particularly the Giants and Lions, should improve as the weeks go on, the offenses will struggle in these games.
Football is back, and the defensive struggles start in Week 1 (although not in the Saints and Packers game, that's the only exception).
Thanks for the read and feel free to comment.
Keep the military in your thoughts and prayers, as well as the victims of 9/11 on the 10th anniversary.
Enjoy the games.
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