Welcome to the official Opening Day of the 2014 Regular Season. The Seattle Seahawks easily dispatched the Green Bay Packers at home on Thursday to open the season, but today marks when Week 1 really gets started. Let's preview each of today's games and I'll even offer up my own predictions.
As many of you who read MHR daily, I am fairly high on the Saints this year, but I decided to take a chance in Week 1 with this intense division rivalry. Something in my gut tells me that the Falcons are hungry to prove themselves early and being at home gives them a good opportunity to do just that. For the Falcons, it comes down to how well their defense can matchup against the ever consistent Drew Brees. It should be a fun game, but I'm going with the Falcons in a close one 27-24. This prediction goes against my better judgement, but we'll see. Prediction: Falcons 27, Saints 24.
I have the Bills as the worst team in football, but only because of all of the dire news coming out of Buffalo regarding E.J. Manuel. If Kyle Orton gets the nod, well, I still say the Bears destroy this team at home. It's going to be a long year for Buffalo. Prediction: Bears 41, Bills 13.
It would be so fun to fade the Chiefs here, if only to troll those fans who read this blog. Alas, I do think the Chiefs take this game at home. However, I think its closer than Chiefs fan probably expect. Those that hope Alex Smith is ready to take the next step are delusional, but that doesn't mean he isn't an effective, if not average, quarterback in the NFL. As for the Titans, I believe they are trendy upwards and its hard not to root for their newly minted team captain, Wesley Woodyard. Prediction: Chiefs 16, Titans 13.
The Vikings had a tough year last season, but I think they bounce back in 2014. They may not make the playoffs, but they'll upset some teams and surprise a lot of folks. The sooner Teddy Bridgewater starts the better, but until then I think Matt Cassel is good enough to manage the Vikings to victory today. The Rams on the other hand are way over-hyped due to them being in the vaunted NFC West and I think they will continue to struggle offensively with Sam Bradford done for the year again. The NFC West takes a huge step backwards in 2014 and starts with the Rams. Prediction: Vikings 20, Rams 13.
Never have I been so tempted to pick against Tom Brady and the Patriots in an AFC East showdown. However, in my Yahoo Pick'em league that costs $85, I could not bring myself to go with the 7% of Yahoo users who went with Miami - probably all Dolphins fans. The Patriots will probably win a close one anyway, but I really like how well the Dolphins tend to matchup up with the Patriots when playing in Miami. It's going to be a good game. Prediction: Patriots 23, Dolphins 21.
If you were to ask me which rookie quarterbacks I think will most likely become great quarterbacks in the NFL, I would only mention two names. Blake Bortles and Derek Carr. The Raiders tend to ruin careers, but if there is a guy who will overcome that it would be Carr. I was tempted to take the Raiders in this spot against a Jets team that I think may be picking in the Top 10 in the 2015 NFL Draft, but I hate picking rookie quarterbacks to win in their first NFL start - especially on the road. Prediction: Jets 17, Raiders 13.
With Chad Henne starting for the Jaguars, this game is going to be fun to watch for Eagles fans. The Eagles are already heavily favored and I do think that Chip Kelly is on the verge of a dynasty-like team there in Philly. The Jaguars on the other hand, well, they just need to throw Blake Bortles in there and let him learn how to play quarterback in the NFL. He'll end up succeeding, just like Elway did in 1983. Prediction: Eagles 48, Jaguars 16.
It's Johnny Football team. Whoops, not its not! Which means the Browns should at least be somewhat competitive against the Steelers. As for the Steelers, they just seem like a franchise spinning its wheels right now. They have quality coaching, but can't seem to draft properly to save their lives. Every winnable game is a "must win game" for this team. Prediction: Steelers 19, Browns 12.
Everyone is on Andy Dalton and the Bengals to win the AFC North, but I really do think the Ravens end up barely beating them out for that honor. It starts in Week 1 as the Ravens will win. Jimmy Smith will have trouble containing A.J. Green, but at the end of the day it won't be enough. The Bengals will struggle on both sides of the ball at critical moments and lose a close one on the road. Prediction: Ravens 21, Bengals 20.
I love that most of Yahoo users are pounding the Redskins here as its going to be an easy win for me picking the Texans. As long as Kirk Cousins sits on the bench and Robert Griffin III continues to search for his way in the NFL, the Redskins are not going to be a huge threat to anyone. The Texans on the other hand have a defense that would make me envious if we didn't already have a potential version of the Orange Crush already. Plus the game is in Houston, so chalk this one up as a win for them. Prediction: Texans 28, Redskins 16.
There you have it Broncos Country. Let me know what you think of these predictions, then stick around and use this thread during today's early games. Don't hesitate to make fun of these predictions during the games, especially if they are laughably horrible!