Well, to paraphrase former WWE Champion the Rock, FINALLY the 2012 NFL Season has begun. As an NFL fan for over 35 years, I always get excited, especially when the first week of the season arrives. I love seeing the pre-game shows, and seeing the “experts” argue over who they think will win. I love see video of fans tailgating, and hearing about injury reports, Super Bowl predictions, scandals, and the whole kit and caboodle. In my opinion, the NFL Season is the best season ever.
Well, since I have starting writing this blog, I have noticed that writers for this, and other blogs have posted their weekly picks for the NFL. Well, last season, I didn’t partake in doing a weekly blog, but I did do picks for the NFL playoffs, and the Super Bowl, and I had a good time doing, so for this season, I decided to take the plunge, and do weekly picks.
Now, so my readers understand, I do NOT go by the spread, or predict the score. I am going to list the teams, the stadiums, etc. I am going to mention any notable injuries, and do a little analysis, and just make my prediction of which team I think will win the game.
Sound Good? Well, here we go:
Before I start with Sunday’s Match ups, let me do a quick post-mortem on the Dallas Cowboys at the defending champion New York Giants that was played on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at Met Life Stadium. At first, it started out like neither team wanted to score, and it was going to be one of those boring defensive games. However, Dallas’ offense somehow got going, and put 24 points on the board, and New York’s Eli Manning could not quite make one of his miraculous fourth quarter comebacks, and was only able to get the Giants 17 points, and Dallas won.
Game was just OK overall. I didn’t go nuts like everyone does over Dallas. It is only Week 1. Let’s see how these guys are, especially Romo in December.
Now, for Sunday, and Monday Night:
All 1:00 P.M. Games:
Indianapolis Colts AT Chicago Bears
Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill
The main injury concerns for the Colts concern the availability of Austin Collie (WR). At first, he was declared likely, but now he is a game time decision. LB Pat Angerer is out. For the Bears, despite his saying the knee won’t be the same, MLB Brian Urlacher will play.
Final Analysis: This is the official NFL debut for the much touted rookie QB from Stanford, Andrew Luck who is the new Colts QB. He looked very much the part of a professional QB in the preseason, but before we put him in Canton, let’s remember he is a rookie. He will make rookie mistakes, and he is facing a good Bears Defense that will try to confuse him.
On the other side, it will be interesting to see how Bears QB Jay Cutler can rebound after the season ending injury he had last season. Now that he has his favorite target on offense, we will see if that offense improves. The running game should be good as well.
Pick: A lot of people are very high on Luck, and think he can win. With Urlacher not quite up to speed, and the fact that Luck, and his offense are apparently on the same page, I am going to gamble a bit, and go with the rookie. Winner: Indianapolis Colts
Philadelphia Eagles AT Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, OH
The injury report for the Eagles is interesting for the fact that Michael Vick is NOT on it. The Browns’ Trent Richardson is listed as questionable. I am hearing he is supposed to play though. Browns’ Scott Fujita is now available (for now) to the team thanks to the overturning of his Bounty related suspension.
I don’t mean to sound like a smart ass but I don’t really think it matters. I mean, seriously. The Eagles should beat the Browns like a drum. Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
St. Louis Rams AT Detroit Lions
Ford Field in Detroit, MI
The Rams will be without their First Round pick Michael Brockers due to an ankle injury. The Detroit Lions will be banged up in the secondary as CB Chris Houston is doubtful due to an ankle injury, and Safety Louis Delmas listed as doubtful due to a knee injury.
Well, this game does not look all that exciting to me. Rams’ QB Sam Bradford has yet to show me that he is worthy of that #1 overall pick. It is true that he has hardly any receivers. The defense is just alright. The Lions have a fierce front seven with that Suh, Vanden Bosch, etc. Of course, their offense features Matt Stafford, and Megatron. Rams will be eaten by the Lions. Winner: Detroit Lions
Miami Dolphins AT Houston Texans
Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX
The only person that is hurt for the Dolphins is Tony McDaniel. Their opponents, the Texans have of interest, LB Brooks Reed (hip), and star RB Arian Foster (knee) who are both game time decisions. Foster said he expects to play though.
Even though it is great that the Dolphins are coming into Houston healthy, I don’t think they are going to come out of there with a win. Houston is one of the top teams in the AFC, and I just think they are going to just crush Miami. Winner: Houston Texans
Atlanta Falcons AT Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO
The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense has been bombard with injuries, and as many as six could be out for this game. DE Allen Bailey with an ankle injury, Safety Kendrick Lewis with a shoulder injury, DT Anthony Toribio with an ankle injury are all listed as doubtful. LB Jovan Belcher with a groin injury, CB Brandon Flowers with a foot injury, and LB Derrick Johnson with an ankle are listed as questionable.
It looks like Matt Ryan, and his group of receivers, and his Hall of Fame (surely) tight end, Tony Gonzalez may just have a field day at Arrowhead despite that stadium being one of the hardest places to play. I am not sold on Matt Cassel being a good QB, and I just don’t think the Chiefs are up to the task. Winner: Falcons
Jacksonville Jaguars AT Minnesota Vikings
Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota
The main injuries in this game are the Jaguars will be without Daryl Smith, their best LB who will miss the game with a groin injury, and Derek Cox, their top CB with a hamstring injury. Their rookie receiver Justin Blackmon is probable with an ankle injury. For the Vikings, the main injury of note is their top RB Adrian Peterson who is coming back from that ACL tear suffered on Dec 24, 2011. Listed as questionable, there will be a decision Saturday morning whether he plays or not.
Well, people will be watching this game to pretty much see (if he plays) how Peterson does. If he is allowed to play, it will be a great thing to see. As for who wins, with Maurice Jones-Drew just getting back to the team, and getting back into football shape, I am thinking that the Vikings will wind up winning it. It will be ugly though. Winner: Vikings
Washington Redskins AT New Orleans Saints
Super Dome in New Orleans, LA
Well, the news that NFL Commissioner Goodell got repelled (for now) by that three person panel, puts an interesting spin on notable injuries. Jonathan Vilma is now eligible to play, but he has an injury where he won’t be ready (not that he is anyway, football-wise) for a few weeks. Saints could put him on PUP for six weeks. Will Smith could play right away as he is healthy. The Saints, before all this has WR Marques Colston (foot), CB Jabari Greer (groin), LB David Hawthorne (knee), and LB Curtis Lofton (ankle) listed as questionable. All seem likely to be able to play.
Well, we have another rookie QB in the highly touted Robert Griffin III in his debut with the Washington Redskins. I prefer him to Andrew Luck, but in this game sadly, Griffin is making his debut against the wrong team at the wrong time. The Saints are at home with their crowd backing them up, and after the terrible offseason, and now with the latest news, they are going to be mad as hornets. Winner: New Orleans
Buffalo Bills AT New York Jets
Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Buffalo Bills WR Stevie Johnson is listed as questionable with a groin injury, and for the Jets, the significant injury is TE Dustin Keller who is questionable with a hamstring, but both are expected to play. The other injury for the Jets is LB Sione Pouha who’s also questionable with a back injury, but doesn’t look likely to play.
Well, I am going to be “from Missouri” so to speak with these two teams. They are going to have to show me they are worth the hype, especially ESPN’s favorite team, the Jets. The Bills, on paper have improved their defense with the addition of former Texans’ Mario Williams. Let’s see though if QB Fitzpatrick can play well for more than 5 games.
For the Jets, who I feel is the most over hyped team in the NFL, they better live up to the hype. I am reading that Tebow is going to play 10-20 percent of the game. Well, call me old school, but when you have two QBs, you don’t have any. Jets Owner Woody Johnson does not like the team being called a “circus?” Well, maybe his team better stop acting like clowns then.
I think from looking at the Jets’ O line, especially that right side, I think Buffalo could exploit it with their defense. Jets have no pass rush, and a pop gun offense. Winner: Buffalo
New England Patriots AT Tennessee Titans
LP Field in Nashville, TN
The only notable injury for the Patriots is RB Shane Vereen (foot). The injuries of note for the Titans are LB Sen’ Derrick Marks is doubtful with his knee, and CB Jurrell Casey questionable with his elbow.
This should be an interesting game. The Titans are giving the reins to second year QB Jake Locker while former starter Matt Hasselbeck is the backup, and mentor. Locker is going up against one of the most elite QBs in the NFL, and arguably one of the best QBs ever in Tom Brady. I’m looking forward to this game.
It will be interesting to see if the Patriots’ young, and hopefully improved defense can stop the star RB for the Titans in Chris Johnson. Seeing the McCourty twins is going to be really cool. The main question for the Patriots is can the offensive line which is still coming together (no Brian Waters, and Matt Light retired) protect Tom Brady? I think so. Winner: New England Patriots
4:25 pm NFL Games:
Seattle Seahawks AT Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
Injury of concern for the Cardinals is Beanie Wells who was listed as questionable with a hamstring. For the Seahawks, the injuries are tackle James Carpenter, and WR Golden Tate are out with knee injuries, and RB Marshawn Lynch is questionable with back spasms.
Well, it is obvious to me that despite having a beast of a WR in Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals, outside of Kurt Warner, can not find a QB to throw him the ball. I mean, it is just tragic. Now, I am not as high on Seattle as a lot of people, but let’s see what the rookie QB Russell Wilson can do. Winner: Seattle Seahawks
San Fransisco 49ers AT Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI
The only injury of any importance is Ted Ginn being listed as questionable due to an ankle injury.
This game should be the best game of the week. Great QB match up in the sense that 49ers Alex Smith was the #1 overall pick in the 2005 Draft, and the first QB taken, and he is going up against Aaron Rodgers who sat in that green room for the longest time, before being taken at #25. In most experts’ eyes, this was supposed to be the NFC Championship game last post season, but it didn’t happen. Should be a good one.
For the game, even though the 49ers have an excellent defense, and the Packers defense hopefully have improved some, and I am not sure I have faith in them, I think Rodgers will put on a light show. Winner: Green Bay Packers
Carolina Panthers AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL
RB Jonathan Stewart for the Panthers is listed as questionable. He has not practiced all week, so it is not likely he will play. Arrelious Benn, WR for the Bucs is listed as questionable despite practicing all week.
The Bucs were awful last year, and this preseason, they didn’t look all that great. I am a Rutgers graduate, so in that sense I want new Bucs Head Coach Greg Schiano to do well, but it will take awhile to turn this around. The Panthers once again have Ron Rivera as their head coach, and Cam Newton as QB. Will he have the dreaded sophomore slump? Will he be even better? We will see. He should lead the team to a win though. Winner: Carolina Panthers
8:20 pm SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Pittsburgh Steelers AT Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO
Notable Injuries for the Steelers are Safety Ryan Clark will not be playing due to his sickle cell illness which is aggravated by playing in the high altitude. There are conflicting reports as to whether LB James Harrison (officially listed as questionable) will play or not. RBs are pretty banged up: Rashard Mendendall (knee) listed as doubtful. Issac Redman (ankle) is listed as probable, and Baron Batch is listed as questionable with a groin. The Broncos have no important injuries.
Well, this is a huge game for a one Peyton Manning. It is his first game back after losing a year of his career due to a fourth neck surgery. Most fans know about his parting with the Colts. It will be strange to see him in other than a Colts uniform, but life goes on. It will be interesting to see how healthy, and how back to 100% he REALLY is. He looked pretty decent in preseason.
The Steelers come to town to try to avenge the post season loss to the Broncos. Of course, this time they face a much superior QB. The Steelers come in a bit banged up, and they have Ben, their elite QB learning a new offense, and getting to know new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley, but I think this game as a whole will be a good game.
Defensive guru Dick LeBeau turns 75 tomorrow, and I think the Steelers will give their Defensive Coordinator a birthday gift. I think it will be close though. Winner: Steelers
9/10/11 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Game 1 at 7pm: Cincinnati Bengals AT Baltimore Ravens
M &T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
No notable injuries for either team.
This game shows why, at least in my view, the AFCN is the best division in the NFL. You have four tough, hardnosed teams who are physical not only with opponents outside their division, but with each other. This should be a pretty good game. It will be interesting to see how Terrell Suggs (on PUP due to Achilles ) absence affects the defense, and if Flacco can be the elite QB he claims he is.
The Bengals need to prove they can continue to be a playoff contender, and if this game somehow becomes a scoring fest, QB Andrew Dalton has show he can keep up. Their defense has to get after Flacco, and hold down RB Ray Rice. However, since Flacco has an excellent record at home, I expect him to hold on to that. Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA
The only notable injury for both teams is RB Ryan Matthews for the Chargers being out due to the collar bone injury as he had no contact in practice.
Well, I think this year is do or die for both the Chargers, and their coach Norv Turner. If they don’t get in the playoffs, I think their “genius” of a GM has to see that Turner is not the answer. Rivers has to cut down on the turnovers. The entire Chargers team has to cool it with their brashness, and bravado, and not start out so late, and hope to be Silky Sullivan (he was a great racehorse in the ’50s who would start his run about 40 lengths back), and somehow get into the playoffs. They can get off to a great start by destroying the Raiders. The Raiders are what they are. It will take awhile to get that team turned around. Winner: Chargers
Well, those are my picks. Good luck to everyone, and I pray there are no serious injuries in Week 1.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan