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The Oratory's NFL Picks for Week 1
by John Canton (NFL)
Posted on September 10, 2009, 6:37 AM

John: Welcome to week one of the NFL season. This is my second time doing weekly picks here on the Sports Oratory, the last time being in 2006. I've assembled a different crew to join me through the journey this time by amassing three other long time regulars of our Oratory Forums. We've got a good bunch here representing different teams from different parts of America. We've got a Falcons fan from the south, a Raiders fan from out west, a Steelers fan from Pennsylvania and then a Rams fan in me from Ontario (yes I know it's weird, but I covered it in my 2009 NFL Season Preview). Basically we've got it all covered. Every week we'll run through every single game from week one up until the Super Bowl in Miami. In future weeks I'll use this opening space to let you know how everybody did last week (we're picking straight up) and we'll get straight to the picks. This week, because it's the opening, I asked everybody to write an intro about themselves to give you more info on them before you read about their picks. One last thing before I hand it off to James. For the bettors out there like me, I'll have four point spread or over/under picks that I really like at the bottom of this column. I'll keep track and hopefully help you decide what to place your money on during the week. I'll hand it off to James and then I'll see you again when we get to the picks.

James: Hello, my name is James Deaux and I am a long-time Oratory denizen. As of August 29th, I’ve been a member of the forums for 7 years, and during that time, I’ve made a lot of friendships with my fellow forumites. I am thrilled to be writing sports columns again and I’m especially grateful to John for letting me join up with him on his weekly previews. Few people, if any, on the Oratory know more about football than him. Funny thing is, I’ve never written an NFL column before—I’m what you’d call a baseball die-hard. But since my baseball team has decided to start planning their October golf outings rather than actually play like they care, I stand up and cheer, “NFL season is here! PRAISE BE TO...” well, I’m an atheist, so never mind. But I am super-excited that pro football is back. I’ve gone through plenty of pain over the years as a Falcons fan—the Vick saga, seeing Joey Harrington’s and Doug Johnson’s names on jerseys on the active roster, and tons of other things. But thankfully, Arthur Blank has brought in tons of high-class, intelligent football minds, drafted an incredibly special player in Matt Ryan, made maybe the greatest free-agent signing in franchise history last year in Michael Turner, and the franchise looks to be a major factor in the league for many years to come. Knowing this takes the sting out of a dismal collapse of my Atlanta Braves out of the NL playoff chase. No more banter from me—let’s get to some predictions. There aren’t any games that just scream “Game of the Week” to me, but a smattering could be in the “really good” range.

Anthony: Welcome to the 2009 season of the NFL! I’m Anthony Logan, and I’m a lifelong Raider fan...it’s sad how that sounds like the opener at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, but those are the breaks. I hope everyone is as excited for the season as I am, and that these picks either make you a lot of money (if you’re a betting man/woman) or bring you the joy of laughter (feel free to email me if you disagree too).

Matt: Morning all, the season finally begins. I’ve been waiting for opening day since the last few ticks of the clock in the Superbowl. As many of you know I am in fact a Steeler fan. Growing up here in the middle of Pennsylvania you pretty much had three choices. Eagles, Steelers or Cowboys. Dad was a Steeler fan, so I became a Steeler fan just in time to watch Neil O’Donnel and his MVP Performance for the Cowboys cost my team the championship. I watched through some lean years, and a few almost there’s waiting for the return to the big game and began to fear that “The Bus” was going to retire without a championship. Thankfully, he took the word of his rookie QB that he would get the Steelers one for the thumb and one of the top RB’s in the history of the league was able to retire on top. I like a good story of triumph over adversity and a good close defensive struggle on the gridiron. These are just a few of the reasons I’m a football fan, a Steeler fan.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh (Thu)
James: Tennessee’s defense has looked atrocious so far in the preseason, and I think #92 being gone has a lot to do with that. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is almost entirely intact from their Super Bowl championship season last year, so I think they take this pretty handily. How’s that Hall of Fame résumé coming, Vince? Pittsburgh 24 – Tennessee 13

Anthony: On the Tennessee side, Chris Johnson and LenDale White are going to be hard to stop this year, with White losing weight but not strength, and Johnson still being that hyper-elusive back with the 5th, 6th, and 7th gear. Pittsburgh is no slouch either, with Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward doing what’s expected of them, this should be close. Tennessee will run the ball, Pittsburgh will not get their run game going, and Tennessee wins by 7. Final: Tennessee 20, Pittsburgh 13

Matt: Didn’t get to see much of the Titans in the pre-season this year, and the Steelers starting group looked pretty average in the first two games that I was able to catch. This will not be a repeat of the game last season that saw the Titans walk all over the Steelers by shutting down the run and causing 7 turnovers . There are several factors that lean in favor of Pittsburgh this year. The Steelers will be playing at home and with most of the starting players healthy. There is a ton of motivation on this team to avoid a post SB slump like in the 2006 season since there are several players on the team that remember that let down. The Steelers also retain most of the Superbowl winning lineup. I’d be worried about a lack of depth that the Titans have if I were a fan of this team, and I think they are going to be hurt by a weak receiving group and D-line. Steelers 14-10

John: Since the NFL has done the Thursday night opener (great idea, by the way) the home team, who is always the defending champion, has never lost. I don't see that trend ending this year because the Steelers are tough to beat at home and the charged up crowd will help. Throw in the fact that the Titans gave them a big loss last year (while stepping on their hanky...err towel) and I like Pittsburgh to triumph here on the backs of their defense. Steelers 23-10

Miami at Atlanta
James: Ah, my beloved Falcons—I look forward to this game to see just how awesome this offense can look against a solid defense for four quarters. They have elite options at every position with Turner, White, Gonzalez; and the complimentary players in Jenkins and Norwood provide a good change of pace. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t say that the Falcons’ young defense—especially the secondary—looks really, really bad. I have a feeling this team will be involved in a lot of shootouts this year. Miami is a team that I think could be really good again this year, or, considering their hideously tough schedule, a big disappointment. Despite their lack of WR’s, Miami does have Chad Pennington—a very smart QB—and the Wildcat. And as young as the Falcons’ defense is, I think Pennington could dissect them if they can keep John Abraham off of him. I think with the dome-field advantage, Atlanta takes this...barely. Atlanta 30 – Miami 28

Anthony: This is what I’m going to call my sleeper game of the week pick because both of these teams defied expectations last year, and Matt Ryan is a hell of a quarterback with some weapons to deal with in Michael Turner, Roddy White, and newly added Tony Gonzales, their offense will be high powered this year. Miami is not devoid of weapons, with Ronnie Brown and a revitalized Ricky Williams in the backfield, Ted Ginn split out and the added piece to the Wildcat offense in Pat White, who I think was born to play Wildcat QB. The defensive units are pretty stacked on both ends, with both teams having talented front seven’s to deal with, Channing Crowder and Jason Taylor for Miami and Mike Peterson signing with Atlanta this year. This will be game of the week by Tuesday morning. Final: Atlanta 36, Miami 28

Matt: This is going to be a fun game to watch between two of the most surprising teams from last season. I like the way the Dolphins O matches up against the Atlanta D, however I like the Falcons O over the Miami D even more. Chances are we see quite a few points in this game but I’m betting more of them are on the Falcons side of the scoreboard as Miami keeps working to establish the 3-4. Falcons 28-24

John: The two teams with the biggest turnarounds last year meeting in week one this year is intriguing to me. I love the Falcons offense a lot with prosing QB Matt Ryan handing off to Michael Turner and throwing to the likes of "Rowdy" Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, who is not done yet. Defensively they're still growing with some issues all over the place although I like the DL enough with Abraham getting after the QB. Miami's a tough defensive team that keeps games close. I'm also interested in how the offense adds to their innovative Wildcat formation. Should be a fun game. I'll go with the home team in a tight one. Falcons 24-20

Denver at Cincinnati
James: You can’t have much worse of an offseason than Denver did. After completing one of the most epic collapses in NFL regular season history, you fire your longtime head coach. Then, you get a coach who causes you to lose your franchise quarterback. Your replacement for said QB breaks his finger in a preseason game. Your defense still looks horrific. And, of course, while all of this is going on, your number one wide-out, Brandon Marshall, acts like who he is—a crybaby—and is suspended for insubordination. If Denver was playing most other teams, I’d call this an easy win for the opponent. Alas, since it’s the Bengals and you never know what to expect from them, it’s not so easy. Carson Palmer is so injury-prone that I can’t even fathom how he’ll fare here, but if he is anywhere near 100%, he should eviscerate the Denver “defense” while Cincy’s defense keeps whoever is at QB for Denver out of any kind of rhythm. Cincinnati 21 – Denver 6

Anthony: This game will be ugly. The Bengals have a few weapons and a good quarterback in Carson Palmer, so this game should be something of a blowout, with Cincy putting up loads of points and shutting down the Denver offense...this will be Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga’s coming out party. Final: Cincy 42, Denver 17

Matt: This will not be a fun game to watch, unless you like watching live trainwreck footage. I’ve got the Broncos winning a game where I think it is a miracle that the teams even show up for the game due to the poor coaching on both sides. What are the odds that one or both coaches forget where the game is to be played or something. Broncos win not because they are that good, but the Bengals are that bad. Broncos 28-18

John: Bad game. Really bad. I think the Broncos are going to have a brutal year adjusting to a new coach that appears to be in over his head. The Bengals still aren't that good, but with Carson Palmer healthy they can probably put up enough points to win here. Bengals 23-7

Minnesota at Cleveland
James: Minnesota’s defense should eat the law offices of Anderson, Quinn and Associates alive. Remember, this is a team that didn’t score an offensive touchdown after November 17th last season and wound up 31st in the NFL in total yards. Favre will probably look awful considering how little he’s played in the preseason after joining midway through on another new team. But when you have Adrian Peterson lined up behind you, you have a pretty darn good security blanket. I don’t see any way Cleveland can possibly stop him. Minnesota 27 – Cleveland 7

Anthony: This game will be even uglier than the Denver/Cincy game. Minnesota has too many weapons, a Hall of Fame quarterback in a familiar offense, fast receivers in Berrian and Harvin, and an all world running back in Adrian “All Day” Peterson, and a stout defense. Cleveland might not even have their leading rusher from last year...I predict a beating and a sound one at that. Final: Minnesota 38, Cleveland 13

Matt: Make no mistake about it, no matter what the Browns do here, the whole story is going to be Farve this Farve that. Over or under Farve gets 50 more mentions than the entire Browns team. I like watching the guy play, but really, there’s more to the NFL than Farve. Vikings 28-17

John: It's really a shame that Favre gets all the attention all the time because Adrian Peterson is such a great running back. In my opinion he might be the best player in the NFL and the one that is most valuable after the top QBs. With the offensive line they have they can up the holes for him to run through. Once he gets through the line he can take it to the house on any play. The pregame talk will be about Favre, but post game all anybody's going to talk about is how good Adrian Peterson really is. To the Browns, somebody tell Eric Mangini that waiting this long to announce Brady Quinn is starting isn't strategy. It's an admission that, "wow, our team is bad." Yes they are. Vikings 24-6

Jacksonville at Indianapolis
James: Peyton Manning can’t be happy at how his offense has meandered around all throughout August. I have a feeling they will be fine, though, when game time rolls around. Jacksonville is still in rebuilding mode, although I think their offensive line should be several times better than the Swiss cheese line they had last year. Maurice Jones-Drew is the wild card here. If he is 100%, the Jags should be in this the whole way (especially with Indy’s constant defensive issues). If not, Manning will be smiling at the end of regulation. Indianapolis 30 – Jacksonville 20

Anthony: This game is already important because this divisional match-up is crucial for playoff implications, and even worse for the home team, the Jags have more than something to prove. Adding John’s favorite guy ever, Torry Holt, and waving goodbye to Fred Taylor to make room for the emerging Maurice Jones-Drew makes for an exciting offense to watch. The Colts, usually pretty steady in terms of offseason moves, have a new head coach, nearly lost their starting center for the last decade, no longer have the second half of one of the best QB-WR combos since Montana-Rice, and the health of Bob Sanders is in question after last season and he hasn’t played yet in this pre-season. There’s room to wonder here, so I think that the Jags will squeak by in this one. Final: Jacksonville 24, Indy 17

Matt: This is a game I really want to see because I have the Jags picked as a wildcard for the AFC this year and the Colts as Division winners. I think it is getting to the point of do or die for this team as the low number of ticket sales has been forcing blackout talk. This team needs to give the fans something to cheer for. As it stands right now I just don’t feel comfortable picking the Jags over the Colts this early in the year. Maybe for the rematch in J’ville later in the season? Colts 24-17

John: The Jags are one of those teams that's good every other year, so with last year being bad that means they're good this year, right? I don't see it. The Colts are consistently good and they will continue to be this year. I don't think their offense will miss a beat this game although I am concerned about their running game. I think it needs to be better than what it is. Still, they have enough in their passing attack to win here. Colts 23-13

Detroit at New Orleans
James: Wow, are there ever some hideous guaranteed blowouts this week. Detroit won’t go winless again this year, but they won’t win more than 3 games. This isn’t going to be one of them. New Orleans scores on the opening drive and never looks back. New Orleans 42 – Detroit 14

Anthony: This one doesn’t deserve many words. New Orleans is a high powered offense attached to a revamped defense, and the Detroit Lions are the Detroit Lions. Final: New Orleans 45, Detroit 10

Matt: Detroit will not go winless again this year, but they will start this year like they played the entirety of last year, with a loss. Saints 38-10

John: The Lions won't be as bad as last year. They quit on the coach and they had issues all across the board. Bad teams tend to start slow, though, and this matchup isn't very favorable to them. The Saints will roll. This is my Survivor pick of the week. Saints 34-17

Dallas at Tampa Bay
James: Tampa Bay might end up with one of the bottom five offenses in football this season, when all is said and done. Frankly, they might be the most directionless team in the NFC. (I would amend that to say it would be the entire NFL were it not for Oakland.) Dallas, on the other hand, has plenty of options, and even Tampa’s seasoned defense won’t be able to stop them. Plus, Tony Romo doesn’t normally collapse until way down the line in December. He’s money in September. Dallas 28 – Tampa Bay 7

Anthony: Dallas is a good team, even without Terrell Owens, and they should be just fine heading into this game, against a team that fired it’s offensive coordinator a week before the season starts. Their top draft pick isn’t in the running to start, instead there will be either Byron Leftwich or Luke McCown starting under center. Either one will be well acquainted with the talented 3-4 of the Cowboys and will be on first name basis with Demarcus Ware by halftime. Coincidentally, this game will be out of reach by then too. Final: Dallas 31, Tampa Bay 7

Matt: Good matchup between two teams that are going to contend for the wide open NFC playoffs this year. If I remember correctly, the Bucs were all over the place last year, while the Cowboys were almost good enough. Should be fun to see this rematch from last year. It was a low scoring game last time and I just don’t see any other way to call it this time. Leftwich is a huge addition to the roster for the Bucs and his presence might make the difference in a close game. Still picking the Cowboys 17-14

John: Tough game for me to pick. I think Dallas is the most overrated team in the NFL like they always are (no playoff wins in over a decade) while the Bucs will probably be bad, but I see them as one of those pesky teams that always plays hard especially at home. Tight game and probably not a pretty one. Cowboys 20-17

Philadelphia at Carolina
James: Philadelphia won’t have to worry about the Michael Vick headaches until Week 3. This week, they likely won’t have to think about the legions of PETA psychos picketing the team outside Bank of America Stadium. Even if they do show up, it won’t matter. Jake Delhomme had maybe the most atrocious game for a QB in NFL playoff history last January, and I don’t see him magically becoming good here. (He was never all that great to begin with.) Besides Steve Smith (and how many times will Delhomme even get him the ball, anyway?), all their offense has going for them now is their running game, and nobody seems to know when Jonathan Stewart is going to play. Carolina is, for the meantime, a one-trick pony with a hobbled leg. Carolina’s defense is solid, if unspectacular, but McNabb shouldn’t have many problems with it. They have several plus options at WR, and Brian Westbrook—at least until he sprains an ankle or separates a shoulder. Philadelphia 25 – Carolina 16

Anthony: This game will be a really good game, two teams that can put up lots of points with weapons all over the field. I think that Philly will have a little bit of trouble stopping Smash and Dash, and Carolina has Jeremy Maclin, Desean Jackson, Brian Westbrook, Lesean McCoy, and Kevin Curtis to deal with. Their hands will be full, both defenses, I’m calling this a shootout, and since I have more faith in McNabb than Delhomme, this one goes to Philly. Final: Philly 45, Carolina 34

Matt: Assuming that Vick continues to be a model player for this team when he is allowed to play later in the year, I think he could give the Eagles the edge to make this a confident pick. That said, you’re barking up the wrong tree if you are picking the Panthers here just because Vick will be holding the clipboard in this one. Eagles 27-18

John: Everybody's riding the Eagles nuts, aren't they? They're favored on the road against a team that was 12-4 last year that was 8-0 at home during the season. They were that good at home because they ran the ball. In the playoff game against the Cardinals they got away from that and Delhomme threw it away literally. The problem with the Eagles is when they have as much hype as they do this year they tend to fold. They start slow, they piss people off and then they lose. I think Carolina wins on the legs of Williams and Stewart while the defense slows the Eagles down enough to get the close win. Panthers 27-23

Kansas City at Baltimore
James: *Lock of the Week* Message to whoever is quarterbacking for the Chiefs on Sunday: I hope you have a good insurance policy. Baltimore 27 – Kansas City 0

Anthony: This game will need the mercy rule. Great merciful Jesus this will be brutal for KC fans. Final: Baltimore 38, KC 3

Matt: Baltimore D is going to be the story here. Look for a low scoring game with Baltimore’s margin of victory coming from either a points turnover, or a turnover deep in KC territory. Ravens 10-3

John: I think after this game a lot of people are going to regret not picking Ray Rice in fantasy leagues. The Ravens D will shut the Chiefs down. I like KC as a second half team, but it will be a rough start. Ravens 20-6

NY Jets at Houston
James: This is another game that could be extremely entertaining and competitive, and is my pick for Game of the Week. Mark Sanchez has looked good in the preseason, but I remain skeptical that he will look as good against the first-stringers for an entire game—especially a defense with Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans leading it. Houston’s dynamic offense will provide a great first test for Rex Ryan’s new Jets’ defense. One burning question remains: how long until Matt Schaub gets injured and is on the shelf for five weeks? Houston 20 – New York 10

Anthony: Houston has a damn good offense with a capable (if not a little injury prone) quarterback, and the Jets have a revamped defense under Rex Ryan, so this game should be fun to watch. I predict a decent game for Andre Johnson if Schaub can stay upright, and Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans are a tough tandem for a first start...pray for Mark Sanchez. Final: Houston 20, Jets 10

Matt: Can anyone predict anything about the Jets this year after how they ended the season last year? Or the Texans, is this the year they finally make it to the playoffs after many years of speculation? I’ve got both teams pegged to have losing records this year, but the Jets finish worse after this loss Texans 21-7

John: It's always a tough go with a rookie QB at the helm like the Jets have with Mark Sanchez. He played well in the preseason, but it's a different animal in week one when teams start doing things they didn't do in the preseason. I think the Texans defense has to step up this year to get into the playoffs. I think they will set the tone here. I see it being a closer game than a lot of people think although the Texans will cover the points. Texans 23-16

Washington at NY Giants
James: Think about how awesome the Giants’ defense was last year. Also consider that Osi Umenyiora was out the entire year. He’s back. No matter how much I feel that Eli Manning is hideously overpaid, their defense is going to be stupidly good this year. Jason Campbell is going to have a terrible time of it Sunday and it will mark the beginning of the end of his tenure in Washington. It’s obvious that this franchise has little faith in him as an NFL quarterback, as evidenced by their interest in Jay Cutler in the offseason. The Redskins have a pretty formidable defense, themselves, with Albert “Also Overpaid” Haynesworth in the mix. If the Redskins score any points at all, it’ll be off of a Manning or a Giant wide receiver turnover, which, truthfully, is a good bet to happen at least once, I’d wager. New York 18 – Washington 7

Anthony: Hate to down my own favorite team, but the Redskins’ Dan Snyder makes it rain in the offseason like Pacman Jones in heat. Albert Haynsworth is getting a ton of money to have an impact and his first game will be a test. Brandon Jacobs has a great offensive line to run behind, and he’ll likely do a lot of that since the best receivers on the Giants are rookies at this point in time. The Giants still win, because Washington has no faith in Jason Campbell and I’m losing faith too. Final: Giants 24, Washington 20

Matt: I’ve seen a few picks for the Redskins on the forums, but I just don’t think they are going to be all that great this year while someone has to prove to me that the Giants will have the slide that some are predicting. Giants take a fairly lopsided game here Giants 27-10

John: I'm one of those people that think the Giants are overrated because I believe they will miss Plaxico Burress more than anybody in that organization will admit. Their passing game was pretty bad after he shot himself and they really didn't add much to help in that area. As a result of that I think teams will stack the line, do their best to stop Brandon Jacobs and make overpaid Eli Manning beat them. The Skins have a tough defense that will put up a wall to shut them down. I think they do it for most of the game until the Giants score late for the win. Giants 17-13

San Francisco at Arizona
James: I really do feel bad for San Francisco. Michael Crabtree is an outright moron living in a fantasy world—apparently one where John Madden is lord and master. His ridiculous holdout has set them back even more than they already were. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona miss the postseason this year, but they have no business losing this game, especially at home; and with that offense, they won’t. How long can Warner keep this up, though...? Arizona 34 – San Francisco 10

Anthony: For some reason I see this being high scoring and almost unbearable to watch because both teams are going to come off flat. Final: Arizona 31, SF 14

Matt: I’ve got both teams pegged to make the playoffs this year (I really do see the NFC as being that wide open). Still, as much improved as I think the 49ers are and as much as I hate to say it, the Cardinals are the better team here. Their SB loss is going to make them very hungry this year. Look for a pile of points here as neither Defense remembers where to find the stadium. Cardinals 38-30

John: Warner's my boy, so I'll always be happy to see him out there. He signed a two year deal and seems content with retiring at that point. I hope it's a healthy two years for him. At least he's got a good start to the year with this game. I can see the Niners putting up some points on the legs of Frank Gore, but will it be enough? I doubt it. Cardinals 31-20

St. Louis at Seattle
James: Matt Hasselbeck coming back at full strength will be one huge reason why Seattle should return to the playoffs this season. Another is newly-acquired wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who seems to already have built up chemistry with the aforementioned QB and is getting rave reviews. Seattle’s big weakness to me seems to be their running game. They released touchdown vulture, T.J. Duckett, and now they are relying solely on Julius Jones and newly signed Edgerrin James. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of Seattle fans, I don’t know what will. That might be the worst RB tandem in football. Seattle should handle a rebuilding Rams team, which, to be fair, is definitely making good moves and heading in the right direction. Steve Spagnuolo won’t have a pretty W-L record this year, but he will definitely help this team get back to contending sooner rather than later. Chalk this one up in the “L” column, though, for him. Seattle 23 – Rams 19

Anthony: Aaron Curry is a beast already, Seattle is healthy, and they’ve added a legit wideout. This could get ugly for the Rams. Final: Seattle 24, St. Louis 10

Matt: Ugh, I hope this doesn’t look as much like preseason week 5 as I think it might. Both teams are rebuilding but neither has much to offer at this point in time. Both teams lost some close ones last year I believe, but I can’t really remember at this point in time. Let's go with the Seahawks 28-24

John: Upset! I won't be picking the Rams in week two at Washington or in week three home to Green Bay, so I might as well get my biased pick out of the way right now. The Rams have always played well in Seattle while Steven Jackson has had plenty of big games against them. I think the Seahawks weakness on offense is running the ball, so the Rams should be able to stop them enough to score on their own. Big game from Jackson and a nice upset in Spagnuolo's first game as a head coach. And if not, hey, I'm used to the losing. Rams 24-20

Chicago at Green Bay
James: This should be very entertaining. I am eager to see if Jay Cutler has established (or will establish) a rapport with Devin Hester because Cutler’s arm combined with Hester’s legs should = ridiculous long-range bombs for TD’s. Aaron Rodgers, on the other side, has to be one of the most underrated QB’s in the game right now. He put up absurdly good numbers last year, and few seemed to notice because of the ever-present #4 going in and out of retirement. This might be the hardest game of the week to predict outside Miami/Atlanta. Green Bay 24 – Chicago 20

Anthony: The new QB in Chicago steps into the rivalry as his first game? Well, he’s got nearly no receivers to throw to, but a great guy out of the backfield in Forte, and the defense is still good and their special teams with Hester is always a threat. However, Aaron Rodgers did better than hold down the fort last year, and this year I think he makes another step forward and it starts here. They pick up a win by ten. Final: Green Bay 17, Chicago 7

Matt: Another game I really want to see. Green Bay was evolving from the Bret Farve Era nicely last year and the Bears look to be falling out of the near championship form they were in for a few years there. Lets go with the Packers 20-10

John: This is one of those games where I would normally pick the Bears just because everybody's riding the Packers. However, the Packers are my NFC Super Bowl pick, so I have to go with them in a game like this. I'm interested in seeing the Bears offense now that they actually have a quality QB on the team. Are they going to be good enough passing the ball or will they struggle without a true number one WR? I see some struggle early on especially against a good Packers secondary. Green Bay should have enough offensively to get the job done. Packers 24-13

Buffalo at New England (Mon)
James: Hahahahahahaha. Welcome to Hell, Bills. Population: 53. Buffalo cannot get any pressure on opposing QB’s, and they have no chemistry anywhere on offense. That’s a brutal combination when going into any road game, let alone Foxboro. T.O. and his gimpy toe will play, he’ll get frustrated at Edwards, who will be pressured all night long, and the cycle will begin anew. New England 37 – Buffalo 9

Anthony: Ouch. Even with the new offense, the Bills are up against a team that for this decade has presented a tough defense and a dynamic offense. There’s a bit of me that wants to say this will be a dog fight, but it will be more like a mauling. Final: New England 42, Buffalo 24

Matt: Ugly, one sided mess of a game. Week to week it seems like more and more bad news comes out about the Bills. Maybe they catch a break and the Patriots feel like giving them a fair shake and not cheating in the opener this year. Not that it matters here Patriots 48-20

John: Lots of points for the Pats here. The Bills OL is a mess, they don't have Marshawn Lynch and I think the Pats are going to prove that they are a good defensive team. Of course on offense the unit that scored the most points ever two years ago is healthy. They'll show just how healthy they are in this game. Patriots 42-13

San Diego at Oakland (Mon)
James: Laff. Can someone explain to me what the Raiders did last season (or, for that matter, the five before that) to warrant any primetime games this year? Even the Washington Nationals laugh at this franchise. The horror stories of what goes on in practices and behind the scenes with Oakland are comedies you simply cannot write. San Diego wins this in a magnificent slaughter. San Diego 42 – Oakland 17

Anthony: This game...I can’t see this one being pretty, since Shawne Merriman is bored with beating women and is probably itching to abuse a quarterback instead, and coming off an injury, I see the first time he blows by Cornell Green of the Raiders being not good for Jamarcus Russell. The Chargers win, but I think we will see more fight than usual out of the Raiders, at very least better than last season’s opener. Final: San Diego 24, Oakland 14

Feel free to email me at loganam@gmail.com, or PM me on the forums (username: Logan)!

Matt: The Chargers are going to have a better record this year than the team should earn. This is a team that misses the playoffs in most other divisions in football this year. Still with two games against each the Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos I find it hard to peg them for less than 8 or 9 wins. I’ll let Logan handle talking about his Raiders for now. Chargers 27-10

John: San Diego needs to get off to a fast start to compete for a first round bye. They need to send a message to the rest of the league with a dominant win right here. I think they do it with Phil Rivers leading the offense in the same way he did last year. The defense is healthier now and should show up to shut down Oakland. The Raiders are a team that is constantly in turmoil with a number one overall pick at QB that is not living up to his hype. They need to find a way to score points on a consistent basis. I don't know if they can score enough here. Chargers 24-10

JC's Money Picks
John: I'll pick four games against the spread or over/under. These odds come from pinnaclesports.com as of Thursday morning when I wrote this.

Vikings -4 over the Browns. I see the Vikes rolling on the legs of AP.
Patriots -10.5 over the Bills. The spread's not big enough. Bills will have trouble stopping that attack.
Broncos/Bengals UNDER 43 because the Broncos offense is so bad.
Cardinals -6.5 over the 49ers. I think it's a fairly comfortable win.

Thanks for reading. We'll see you next Friday for week two. If there's a Thursday game we will post this on Thursdays, but when there are only Sunday games then it gets a Friday posting. We'll be here every week through to Super Bowl. We hope that it's a fun ride.

Enjoy the games.

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