The first game of the season kicks off Wednesday with NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys and defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Who do I have winning, you ask?
Wait no longer, because it’s time for NFL pick em’s. I will start with the matchup that means more to the Cowboys than the Giants.
Cowboys At Giants
Not only is this the first game of the regular season, this game will be aired on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. As I just mentioned, this game should mean more to the Cowboys. The Giants have won seven of their last nine meetings, and probably aren’t the least bit concerned. Unfortunately, some teams just have a number on another. The Cowboys’ shaky offensive line will be a feast for the Giants front four. And If the game is close, wouldn’t you put the ball in the hands of Eli Manning, rather than Tony Romo?
Take: Giants 24-21
Colts at Bears
The era of Andrew Luck officially begins, but so does the second coming of Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall. Reports indicate that the Bears will be blitzing the young phenom frequently. The Colts’ offensive line is very suspect. It could and should be a long day for the rookie signal caller.
Take: Bears 30-17
Eagles at Browns
Outside of Trent Richardson, the Browns will be down in the dumps for another season. This is a perfect opportunity for the Eagles and Michael Vick to get a jumpstart on their ‘do or die’ season.
Take: Eagles 27-13
Rams at Lions
Jeff Fisher will help this Rams team improve, but it won’t start in the first week. The Rams’ offensive line is arguably the worst in the league, while the Lions are known for having one of the best defensive fronts in football. In the words of WWE commentator Jim Ross, this could be a “slobber knocker.”
Take: Lions 37-14
Patriots at Titans
It will be business as usual for Tom Brady and Co. The Titans will be better than most people think, just not enough to hang with the AFC Champions.
Take: Pats 33-20
Falcons at Chiefs
This game could go either or. I’m predicting Matt Ryan will be the next player the make the ascension to elite status. The Chiefs will smash-and-dash with Hillis and Charles. Considering how electric Arrowhead Stadium is, I’m going with the sleeper choice here.
Take: Chiefs 27-21
Jaguars at Vikings
Just about every week, there will be a game that shouldn’t be televised – this is one of them. Yes, there are elite running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson. The problem is that Peterson may not play, and if he does, he’ll be limited. With holdouts, most players come out of shape. Jones-Drew probably isn’t an exception. Besides, he’s not exciting enough for me to watch the Jaguars, of all teams. And don’t get me started with the quarterbacks.
Take: Vikings 16-10
Redskins at Saints
Another phenom draft prospect makes his regular season debut in Robert Griffin III. His ability to play in hostile environments will be tested from the get-go. The Saints are going to be playing angry all year. Griffin III and his Redskins will be the first to feel the wrath.
Take: Saints 34-20
Bills at Jets
The Buffalo Bills will be the NFL’s surprise team this year. In fact, I have them making the playoffs. The Bills can run, they have an improved front four and their secondary is filled with ball hawks (ask Vick and Brady). Ryan Fitzpatrick is an average QB, but he’s still a better option than Mark Sanchez or *gasp,* dare I say Tim Tebow.
Take: Bills 20-7
Dolphins at Texans
The Miami Dolphins are in complete disarray. The Houston Texans are primed to make the push from being a playoff team to Super Bowl contenders. Anybody think the Dolphins will upset? *Crickets*
Take: Texans: 24-9
49ers at Packers
For some reason, this matchup hasn’t been much of a discussion. I mean, it’s only the NFL’s top ranked defense versus one of the top ranked offenses. In short, it will be Aaron Rodgers vs the Niners’ D. Teams need to be able to throw, and do it a lot. I still don’t see the Niners competing in that category. It will be difficult to hold the Green Bay offense from scoring at least 17 points, and the game will be close.
Take: Packers 23-20
Seahawks at Cardinals
Let’s keep it simple: this will be the start of the Cardinals’ chances in the Matt Barkley race.
Take: Seahawks 20-16
Panthers at Bucs
Cam Newton begins his sophomore campaign against another one of NFL’s under-the-radar teams. The Bucs will be about a nine-win team, but with Newton having an offseason under his belt, just think how good he will be this year.
Take: Panthers 27-24
Steelers at Broncos
One of the many tough tests for Peyton Manning and crew. I must admit, I fear for Manning in this game. We all know the Steelers D will bring it. I have an inkling that while Pittsburgh should win this game, Manning will have some tricks up his sleeve for his Sunday night return.
Take: Broncos: 24-17
Bengals at Ravens
It’ll be a hangover for the Bengals after last season’s success.
Take: Ravens 23-17
Chargers at Raiders
The second game of the Monday Night Football regular season opening doubleheader. The pressure should be off for the Chargers with all the focus on the Broncos. Rivers had his worst season and will be looking to bounce back against the division rival Raiders. I’d give the Raiders the win, but Carson Palmer still continues to look pick-happy.
Take: Chargers 31-27
Feel free to include your NFL pick em’s in the comments section.
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