02 September 2012

2012 NFL Week 1 Picks

That is correct, friends, the NFL is back. No more of this preseason nonsense, it is back to real football. The 2012 NFL campaign will begin at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford as the New York Giants start their title defense by hosting one of their heated rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. Every team has a chance to make the playoffs right now as everyone is 0-0. Who will start their season on the right foot?

Here are my predictions for week one.

Wed., Sept. 5th
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants (NBC, 8:30)
This is a big statement game not for the Giants, but for the Cowboys. Why? They really need to have a strong season or else Jerry Jones could clean house. He is definitely tired of mediocrity and underachievement. But I see the Giants taking the season opener. I think they will ride the emotion of being crowned the Super Bowl champions. Plus it is interesting to note that every year that the defending champs have hosted the kickoff game, they have won.
Giants 28 Cowboys 24

Sun., Sept. 9th
St. Louis Rams vs. Detroit Lions (FOX, 1:00)
This really is a tough matchup for the Rams. Their awful offensive line is going up the aggressive front of the Lions' defense. Not exactly what Sam Bradford was looking for in his season opener. Jeff Fisher will make a difference for this Rams club but the Lions' defensive line will have a feast on his quarterback.
Lions 24 Rams 6

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns (FOX, 1:00)
The Browns' offense is really relying a lot on rookie first rounder Trent Richardson so the likelihood that he will not be 100% after having his second knee surgery of this year just the other day. Now Brandon Weeden and his underwhelming receiving corps are going to have a lot of pressure on them in Weeden's NFL debut. I think Andy Reid is grinning right now as Philadelphia is my Lock of the Week.
Eagles 20 Browns 3

Atlanta Falcons vs. Kansas City Chiefs (FOX, 1:00)
I really like this matchup and I think this could very well be one of the best games of the week, particularly in the intriguing showdown of the Falcons' offense and the Chiefs' defense. Both teams will not have a great time throwing the football, in my opinion, so I think it will come down to who can run the ball effectively, which gives the edge to the Chiefs. Kansas City has the electric, and healthy, Jamaal Charles with Peyton Hillis to spell him, while Michael Turner has been in decline.
Chiefs 17 Falcons 13

Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints (FOX, 1:00)
So the Saints are going with an interim interim head coach for the first six games of the season. I have no idea why the team decided to go with Joe Vitt, who is suspended for the first six weeks, as their interim when they would need another interim coach in the meantime. Now the ball is in Aaron Kromer's court and I think that conundrum gives Robert Griffin III and the Redskins the opportunity to pull the upset in the Big Easy.
Redskins 31 Saints 27

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Minnesota Vikings (CBS, 1:00)
The Jaguars will be relying a lot on Blaine Gabbert, at least early on as Maurice Jones-Drew is not likely up to speed. Will he actually look like an NFL quarterback? He could, going up against a mediocre Vikings secondary. But Jared Allen will have some fun with a subpar offensive line and Adrian Peterson will have himself a big game to swing this one to Minnesota.
Vikings 20 Jaguars 12

Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets (CBS, 1:00)
Was the Jets' offense pitiful in the preseason? Yeah it was. I understand that it is the preseason and does not mean jack, but when you score one offensive score with the third string quarterback in the final preseason game (the quarterback who Kerry J. Byrne thinks should start at some point). Not sure how well this mediocre offense will do against a much improved Buffalo defense.
Bills 13 Jets 6

Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans (CBS, 1:00)
The Texans are really gearing up for a Super Bowl run and they have a hungry and most importantly, a healthy team, something that sidelined their Super Bowl run last season. Miami will start their rookie Ryan Tannehill, who has showed some flashes in the preseason but he is raw and has a pretty mediocre receiving unit he is throwing too. Houston will take this one easily.
Texans 30 Dolphins 9

Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears (CBS, 1:00)
Welcome to the National Football League, Andrew Luck. You get the opportunity to make your debut against a very strong defense and a very good pass rush. You look you will be a star but your supporting cast is pretty underwhelming, something you will have to deal with all season. Not a good matchup, quite frankly.
Bears 31 Colts 12

New England Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans (CBS, 1:00)
Jake Locker get a nice opponent to start his first full season as an NFL starter, going up against a rebuilt Patriots defense that is relying on a bunch of rookie contributions across the board. That said, they do not have quite the firepower to keep up with Tom Brady and crew and Tennessee's mediocre pass rush will prove fatal.
Patriots 42 Titans 27

Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals (FOX, 4:15)
How good is Russell Wilson? Boy, did he tear it up this preseason and thus he got the Seahawks' starting job. Now I am not completely sold yet because it was the preseason but he does look like he may have the chops to make it in the league. That said, he will take on a very good Cardinals defense, and a team that made the right decision to go with John Skelton at quarterback, and I think in his debut, Wilson will struggle a little.
Cardinals 19 Seahawks 13

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX, 4:15)
There is a clear mismatch that will shape this game. The Buccaneers have a mess of a secondary right now and they really need free agent signing Eric Wright at corner and rookie safety Mark Barron to step up to help what was a miserable unit a year ago. Cam Newton should be able to pick that unit apart. But it will be a closer game than you would think because of Carolina's mediocre defense.
Panthers 28 Buccaneers 20

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers (FOX, 4:15)
Now this is one exciting matchup, the explosive firepower of the Packers offense and the strong defensive unit of the 49ers. I think the two will cancel each other out on those ends so thus I think it will come down to a matchup of the Frisco offense and the Green Bay defense. Now while I think the 49ers made some decent moves to upgrade their receivers, I do think that the Packers' pass rush, now with somebody actually opposite Clay Matthews in rookie Nick Perry, will give Alex Smith some trouble.
Packers 21 49ers 20

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos (NBC, 8:20)
Hey, the Broncos have Peyton Manning! So naturally they are better than last year's edition because that one had Tim Tebow and this one has Peyton Manning! But here's the thing, how good will Manning be one year after multiple neck surgeries? He was somewhere between decent and pretty good during the preseason but how will he fare in real games against a tremendous pass rushing defense. I think he will struggle a little bit and give the Steelers a victory.
Steelers 24 Broncos 17

Mon., Sept. 10th
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (ESPN, 7:00)
Cincinnati definitely took steps forward as they surprisingly made the playoffs last season. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were both great and the defense, which has been solid for years, played a key part in the team's success. But one cannot deny that the Bengals got by on an easy schedule and they beat no team that was over .500. I think that will actually change on Monday night and I think that Cincinnati will go into Baltimore and upset the Ravens to prove that they are for real (even as I do not see them making the playoffs again).
Bengals 20 Ravens 14

San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders (ESPN, 10:15)
The Chris Berman special, can't wait. I think this is a relatively even matchup but I think the Raiders could get the advantage since the Chargers will be without Ryan Mathews, and really do not have anything of any worth in his place. But then again, the pressure will be on Philip Rivers, who is going up against a pretty underwhelming Raiders secondary and I think that will be the difference. The running game be damned.
Chargers 30 Raiders 27

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