Photo credit: NFL News
Author: Joey Carr
The first Sunday with actual football since February 2nd, 2015 is finally upon us. A few marquee matchups and some exciting Primetime games, the 13 game slate tomorrow should let NFL fans everywhere rejoice. Many questions will be answered over the next two days, including whether or not Peyton Manning is finally on the decline and if the Seahawks D will feel the affects of a shaken up secondary. Let’s take a look at each Week 1 Game:
Colts vs. Bills
This will be our first look at Rex Ryan’s new-look Bills, and the fierce defense could prove to be trouble for Andrew Luck. With a shaky offensive line, Luck might be on the ground more than he’s accustomed to with Mario Williams and newly paid Marcell Dareus coming at him from all angles. But the story of the game will be which revamped offense can execute more, but both sides have some concerning question marks. The quarterback for Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor, is largely unproven but had a good preseason and paired with Lesean McCoy and Sammy Watkins, could turn in a decent game. On the Colts side, Andrew Luck will be Andrew Luck but with aging players Frank Gore and Andre Johnson, does he have enough weapons to overcome the stout Bills D?
Prediction: Colts 24 Bills 21
Panthers vs. Jaguars
In what figures to be one of the more underwhelming games of the day, there will still be some things to keep an eye on, including the quarterbacks: Blake Bortles and Cam Newton. Bortles was average in his first season with the Jags, throwing 11 touchdowns with 17 interceptions, but now has more experience and a sophomore slump doesn’t look to be in the cards with some new weapons on offense. The Panthers on the other hand don’t look to be in very good shape. The receiving corps is extremely depleted, forcing rookie Devin Funchess to be thrust into the number one spot. Cam Newton remains sharp as ever but with a lack of talent on offense and an average Carolina defense, the Panthers don’t look equipped to win this game.
Prediction: Jaguars 17 Panthers 13
Chiefs vs. Texans
Two potential playoff teams square off in Houston, and defense will be the name of this game. J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, and cancer survivor Eric Berry all take the field in what should be a defensive battle to the end. Both teams have questions on offense, but the Texans have more of a concern as they named Brian Hoyer their starter, a quarterback who couldn’t keep his job in Cleveland. Their star running back Arian Foster is out for at least a few weeks, leaving the workload to Alfred Blue. The only bright spot in the Houston offense is DeAndre Hopkins, a star in the making. The KC offense is always deadly with Jamaal Charles
and with the addition of Jeremy Maclin, their streak of games without a TD pass to a wide receiver should end tomorrow.
Prediction: Chiefs 27 Houston 17
Seahawks vs. Rams
This matchup could be one of the more important games in the race for the NFC West crown. Whether people want to admit it or not, the Seattle D without Kam Chancellor and with a banged up Earl Thomas is a very big deal. The Rams offense is significantly improved with Nick Foles taking the helm and a healthy Tavon Austin. However, their defense will be the reason they win any games this season. Robert Quinn is an absolute force on the line, and can take over games by himself. But the Seattle offense is largely unchanged except for the addition of Jimmy Graham, the second best tight end in the league. Many people think his production will dwindle but he can be the focal point of this offense and change the scope of Seattle’s offense.
Prediction: Seattle 23 Rams 21
Browns vs. Jets
Except for the locals, it’s safe to say no one is too excited to watch this game. A matchup that includes two of the worst teams in the NFL last year, it’s not a leap to say that this will be a low scoring, turnover riddled game. The Jets get to see the return of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, who should cause problems for Josh McCown. However, New York’s starter Ryan Fitzpatrick might be completing a pass or two to Browns star cornerback Joe Haden.
Prediction: Jets 14 Browns 10
Packers vs. Bears
A century old rivalry that has diminished in recent years looks to be a lopsided victory for the Cheeseheads. Aaron Rodgers lost his favorite target Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL but still has Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy, which should lead to a high scoring output against a feeble Bears defense.
Prediction: Packers 31 Bears 13
Dolphins vs. Redskins
The main story line of this game will be if Kirk Cousins can hold his own now that the team is finally all his. With new addition Ndamukong Suh, Miami’s defense makes that task for Cousins very difficult. Cameron Wake and Suh will make sure that the new Washington starter wakes up sore Monday morning. As long as Ryan Tannehill does his job, Miami should cruise in this one.
Prediction: Dolphins 28 Redskins 14
Saints vs. Cardinals
With the return of Carson Palmer, Arizona has a very good chance to win the majority of the games they play. And against a weak New Orleans defense, he has the potential to have a great day through the air, as does his counterpart, Drew Brees. In the end, the outcome of this game will be determined by which quarterback has a better day.
Prediction: Cardinals 24 Saints 16
Lions vs. Chargers
One of the more promising games of the afternoon looks to have tons of scoring with some high-powered offenses. Although he’s not what he used to be, Phillip Rivers is still a top 10 quarterback and has some reliable weapons at his disposal, including rising star Keenan Allen. Matthew Stafford, however, is in his prime, and has the receivers to make sure he doesn’t waste the best years of his career. Calvin Johnson will be Megatron, and paired alongside Golden Tate, they’re one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL and should allow the Lions to run away late tomorrow.
Prediction: Lions 30 Chargers 17
Bengals vs. Raiders
Many people will write this game off as a Cincy win, but the Raiders could be in a better position than most think. The AC/DC pairing of rookie Amari Cooper and Derek Carr could spell trouble for that Bengals D, who also have to deal with speedster Latavius Murray. If the Raiders D can hold their own, Cincinnati is in serious danger of losing in an upset in Week 1.
Prediction: Raiders 21 Bengals 20
Titans vs. Buccaneers
The matchup of the rookies: Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota. Number one overall vs. number two overall. No one can really predict accurately who will win this game because we have seen so little of both quarterbacks. And with two underwhelming defenses, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will pull this one out.
Prediction: Titans 17 Bucs 13
Giants vs. Cowboys
The second best quarterback rivalry in the NFL is back at it Sunday night, with Tony Romo leading his Cowboys and Eli Manning taking the helm for the Giants. Unfortunately, unlike last time, there probably won’t be another Odell Beckham catch like the one we see last time these two played on Sunday Night last year in Week 12. But, we will see two offenses that look to continue their high scoring ways. But will the Cowboys feel the affect of losing Demarco Murray?
Prediction: Cowboys 31 Giants 24
Eagles vs. Falcons
It’s the first Monday Night game of the year, and it’s somewhat of a toss up. Sure the Eagles look better equipped to win, with former rushing champ Demarco Murray and new QB Sam Bradford, but the Falcons have a few new toys as well. Their new head coach, Dan Quinn, shook up the defense, and they look poised to turn a few heads this season. And with the receiver tandem of Julio Jones and Roddy White back, the Eagles will have their hands full.
Prediction: Eagles 24 Falcons 23
Vikings vs. 49ers
The return of Adrian Peterson is widely anticipated across the league, and couldn’t have asked for a better week one opponent. The 49ers endured one of the worst and tumultuous offseasons in history, losing countless key members on both offense and defense, as well as losing their head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Vikings on the other hand are in position to make a run at the playoffs this year.
Prediction: Vikings 31 49ers 17
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