1. Don’t sleep on Buffalo vs New England
Whenever talking heads say “I’m not going to say it’ll happen but what for x to happen” I get annoyed, but I’m going to do that right now… it’s my blog, not yours! I won’t say Buffalo will win, because I’ve long learned not to underestimate the Patriots with Brady and Belichick, but I think there’s a chance Buffalo can sneak out a win here. Brady is still working on chemistry with his new receivers, and the Pats defense still consists of Vince Wilfork and not much else. They’re sound, but not the old stalwart defense that Brady won a couple Superbowls with. Meanwhile Buffalo has a lot of unknowns to deal with, an underrated defense (though play-making safety Jarius Byrd is not playing), and an electrifying running back (when healthy and he is today at least). Spiller is a game-breaker and Marrone is going to get him his touches.
2. Jacksonville will not look nearly as incompetent as they have in recent years
My favorite coaching hire last season was Gus Bradley to Jacksonville, and, if his pre-season offense is any indicator, this is a group that will improve exponentially from last year. This up-tempo offense looks like a good fit for Gabbert (though I think they’re on the new quarterback train this coming off-season), and their defense will benefit from Bradley’s innovative concepts. I won’t take them over KC this week because I think the Chiefs are an elite team this year with Reid and Alex Smith settling the only weakness this team had, but I will expect the Jags to win several games most won’t this year.
3. Tennessee beats Pittsburgh
I won’t be wishy-washy on this one, I’m taking the Titans in Pittsburgh. I love the way the Titans have approached this off-season. Their line is menacing and the Steelers vaunted run defense is not ready for this group… hell no one may be ready for them. Levitre and Warmack road grading? I’m not blocking that! Meanwhile, the coaching staff has been working Locker out of play-action and boot-legs and he looks better. He’s still got a shotgun for an arm (in that he’s inaccurate not that he’s strong though he has a good arm too), but it should allow for some shots down field. I think their defense is good enough and the Steelers have no run game right now. Sets up for a surprise win I think.
4. My favorite game of the week is Washington Vs Philadelphia
I’m taking the Redskins, but only because I’ve seen the Eagles defense play and I don’t think its good. This is going to be a great display of innovation on offense I think. The Eagles will be winding up the speed, while the Redskins are going to be a balanced nightmare. I’m very interested to see how Vick operates this offense and who will be the big targets for him, while I want to see RG3 make strides as a thrower. Most intriguing will be how Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan handle this up-tempo in their pursuit of the quarterback.
5. How is Atlanta-New Orleans on at 1pm?
Giants vs NY is a great game, I get that. Same with Phi and Wash. I don’t know, I just want this game to be prime time. This rivalry is like what Baltimore-Pittsburgh was a few years back. It’s constantly thrilling, but with points this time! Matt Ryan needs to finally step into the light of the elite quarterbacks. Now that will happen in the post-season but if you can take a win in New Orleans week 1, wow! Big stuff. Meanwhile, the Saints have that feeling of the 2007 Patriots. ‘We got hammered by the league so now we’re going to win every game’ sort of feeling. Sean Peyton is back and he is the greatest play caller in the league right now (Jim Harbaugh is number two if you’re curious), and Drew Brees is in perfect synch with this system. If Rob Ryan can find a pass rush, this team is scary good. This game is must see. No excuses, watch like a champion today!