The first week of the NFL season is by far the most difficult to predict because you never quite know how a team is going to be for the coming season and there are always surprises. I got just half my picks right (apparently I did worse than my mom in her office pool), so let's hope I do better in Week 2.
Last week's record: 8-8
2011 season record: 8-8 (50 percent)
Bills over Raiders—Everyone knew the Bills' offense was improving, but I don't think anyone expected them to be this good this fast. The Bills could continue to roll in their home opener against an iffy 1-0 Raiders team.
Lions over Chiefs—Kansas City was obviously not as good as their playoff berth last year may indicate, and we really saw that in their demolition at the hands of the Bills in Week 1. Calvin Johnson should be healthy enough to play and the Lions could continue to impress.
Ravens over Titans—Aside from a few big plays, the Titans' opener was very ugly and they were unable to be a Jacksonville team that had just released its starting quarterback. Baltimore surprisingly shellacked Pittsburgh in Week 1 and should have no problem here.
Browns over Colts—Cleveland obviously isn't a very good team and they lost to a Bengals squad many thought was even worse in Week 1, but I do think they'll rebound. I also can't justify picking a Colts team that just looks lost without Peyton Manning.
Buccaneers over Vikings—It's a bit of an upset with the Vikings at home, but I just don't like Donovan McNabb as a quarterback anymore. The Bucs have a lot of young talent and I think Josh Freeman gets his team to rebound in Week 2.
Saints over Bears—Chicago upset (in my view) the Falcons in the first week of the season, but I don't think they are quite that good. New Orleans is aiming for a big game after losing to the Packers in the opener.
Jets over Jaguars—New York got pretty lucky with a gift-wrapped victory over Dallas last week, but I don't buy Jacksonville as a very good team. The Jets' defense should be able to handle them pretty easily.
Steelers over Seahawks—Coming off an embarrassing loss to their biggest rival in the opener, Pittsburgh has the good fortune of playing a pretty bad Seattle team. I don't see any way the Steelers don't even their record up here.
Packers over Panthers—Speaking of Newton, I'm not buying stock or changing my stance on him just yet. The first overall pick is in for a big reality check this week against the defending champs and there is no way he'll be able to keep up with Aaron Rodgers' offense.
Cowboys over 49ers—San Francisco won their home opener against a bad Seattle team thanks in large part to the special teams heroics of Ted Ginn Jr., but they won't always be that lucky. Dallas has the superior talent and I expect Tony Romo to rebound after a tough loss to the Jets.
Broncos over Bengals—I was shocked the Bengals were able to win in Week 1 with a rookie quarterback playing most of the game. I really don't think they've arrived yet and I expect a veteran like Kyle Orton to be able to out-duel him.
Texans over Dolphins—As good as Chad Henne looked in the season opener, he's not going to be able to win it without a running game, offensive line or defense. I don't expect the D to be that bad again, but they are playing yet another elite offense and I can't see Miami coming out on top.
Patriots over Chargers—Easily one of the best matchups of the week, this pits two elite offenses against each other. New England had some defensive troubles of their own in Week 1, but it's hard to bet against Tom Brady and the Pats' offense right now.
Falcons over Eagles—Michael Vick is certainly going to be amped up back playing in Atlanta and there is no doubt his team has talent, but I think the Falcons rebound from their Week 1 loss and turn the tables on Vick in this one.
Giants over Rams—New York was upset by their divisional rival Redskins in Week 1, but they have superior talent to the Rams and St. Louis got pretty banged up in the opener against Philly. I like the Giants to win this one.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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