Sunday, September 11, 2011


Here are the remainder of my Week 1 picks. I am 1-0 after Green Bay’s win Thursday.

Atlanta @ Chicago – The Falcons added a new weapon on offense with rookie wide receiver Julio Jones, while Chicago Bears quarterback will officially make his first appearance on the field since the NFC Championship Game last year. The Bears offensive line is a bit shaky, and that could spell trouble for Cutler. PREDICTION: ATLANTA.

Cincinnati @ Cleveland – The Battle of Ohio could be bad. REAL bad. I will take Cleveland mainly because of Colt McCoy’s improvement during the preseason and Peyton Hillis’ running style. PREDICTION: CLEVELAND.

Buffalo @ Kansas City – Was last season’s AFC West title a fluke for Kansas City? Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe will look to have a good day against a rebuilding Buffalo Bills squad. PREDICTION: KANSAS CITY.

Philadelphia @ St. Louis – After a not-so-impressive preseason, the “Dream Team” Philadelphia Eagles will look to start their season off on the right foot. The St. Louis Rams have a good quarterback in the making in Sam Bradford, but he will possibly struggle against a secondary led by Nnamdi Asomugha. PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA.

Detroit @ Tampa Bay – If you are looking for a glance of the future of the NFC, then this game is for you as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Detroit Lions. The Lions are a hungry, young team filled with talented players such as Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh and they are hoping for their first playoff berth since 1999. Tampa Bay is very young, but they also went 10-6 with this nucleus with Josh Freeman at QB. This game will come down to a field goal, but Tampa pulls it out. PREDICTION: TAMPA BAY.

Tennessee @ Jacksonville – For the Tennessee Titans, they committed to superstar running back Chris Johnson by giving him a deal at the end of the preseason. The Jacksonville Jaguars committed to rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert and released David Garrard. Journeyman Luke McCown will keep Gabbert’s seat warm, but Tennessee wins here with veteran Matt Hasselbeck running things. PREDICTION: TENNESSEE.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore – Hard-hitting. Fierce. Defense. These three words sum up the Ravens/Steelers rivalry. Baltimore has been waiting for this game since Pittsburgh knocked the Ravens out in the AFC Divisional Round last year, while Pittsburgh will look to continue its recent dominance in this rivalry. Expect the intensity to be turned up a notch as Joe Flacco will perform well but will lose to Ben Roethlisberger again. PREDICTION: PITTSBURGH.

Indianapolis @ Houston – For the first time since 1994—his freshman year at the University of Tennessee—Peyton Manning will not be a starter in a football game. Kerry Collins gets the nod for the Indianapolis Colts as they travel to Houston. This year might be the best chance for the Texans to realize their potential and take the AFC South for the first time in franchise history. Look for a Houston win as the Colts and Collins will look to get on the same page. PREDICTION: HOUSTON.

N.Y. Giants @ Washington – Emotions will run high in this one as both the Giants and Redskins will be representing the cities hit hardest in the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago. Eli Manning and Rex Grossman are both prone to making mistakes, so whoever limits the turnovers will take this game. PREDICTION: N.Y. GIANTS.

Seattle @ San Francisco – Jim Harbaugh makes his debut as an NFL head coach as the 49ers face the Seahawks in San Francisco. Alex Smith and Tarvaris Jackson will both hope to put behind bad preseasons in order to get a win in Week 1. PREDICTION: SEATTLE.

Minnesota @ San Diego – The Minnesota Vikings actually got younger at quarterback by acquiring 34-year old Donovan McNabb during the offseason. Most importantly, the Vikings recently gave Adrian Peterson an extension worth around $100 million, keeping him in Minnesota until the 2017 season. San Diego on the other hand has Philip Rivers paired with one of his favorite targets in Vincent Jackson. The Chargers will win this one by at least a touchdown. PREDICTION: SAN DIEGO.

Carolina @ Arizona – Welcome to the NFL, Cam Newton and Patrick Peterson! The two SEC standouts will start in their NFL debuts, while Kevin Kolb begins his reign as Arizona’s signal caller. The Cardinals win here and make Cam’s first game tough. PREDICTION: ARIZONA.

Dallas @ N.Y. Jets – The Jets will host the Cowboys in another game that will be filled with patriotic emotions. That will only be part of it as new Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will square off against his twin brother and Jets head coach Rex Ryan. Both teams are pretty even, but I think the Cowboys can limit the mistakes and come away with a win. PREDICTION: DALLAS.

New England @ Miami – The Patriots and the Dolphins will compete in the first game of the Monday Night doubleheader with both teams welcoming in new players. Tom Brady gets another weapon in the passing game in Chad Ochocinco while New England also added Albert Haynesworth on defense. The Dolphins will look to utilize Reggie Bush in the right way, but they may not have an answer for New England. PREDICTION: NEW ENGLAND.

Oakland @ Denver – To close out Week 1, the Broncos and Raiders will renew their rivalry under new regimes. Oakland has Hue Jackson as its head coach, but they have to adjust to life without Nnamdi Asomugha. For Denver, Kyle Orton will be under center but this team could struggle in the first year under John Fox. The Raiders will take this by a point. PREDICTION: OAKLAND.

I also did a simulation of the Steelers/Ravens game. Here's what Madden 12 said...

Steelers 26, Ravens 20
Pittsburgh         10  3   7  6 --   26
Baltimore          7   3   7  3 --   20

First Quarter

PIT  – Mendenhall 52 run (Suisham kick), 10:51

BAL – Boldin 51 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick), 5:34
PIT  – FG Suisham 21, :53

Second Quarter
BAL – FG Cundiff 54, 2:58

PIT  – FG Suisham 37, :52
Third Quarter
BAL – Flacco 8 run (Cundiff kick), 10:15
PIT  – Saunders 4 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 1:38
Fourth Quarter
PIT  –  FG Suisham 49, 9:10
PIT  –  FG Suisham 50, 6:46
BAL –  FG Cundiff 29, 2:42

                                  PIT        BAL
First Downs                  18          15
Total Net Yards            356        373
Rushes-yards              40-151    31-78

Passing                        205        295
Punt Returns                6-46       5-19
Kickoff Returns            4-73      7-135
Interceptions Ret.        0-0         0-0
Com-Att-Int               15-22-0   21-34-0

Sacked-Yards Lost        5-42       8-55
Punts                          6-49.1    7-43.1

Fumbles-lost                1-1         0-0
Penalties-yards            1-5         2-10
Time of Possession      33:55      26:05

Individual Statistics

RUSHING – Pittsburgh, Mendenhall 29-127, Roethlisberger 6-11, Redman 3-7, M. Moore 2-6.  Baltimore, Flacco 11-61, Rice 19-13, R.Williams 1-4.
PASSING – Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 15-22-0-247. Baltimore, Flacco 21-34-0-350.
RECEIVING – Pittsburgh, M.Wallace 4-82, H. Miller 3-38, H.Ward 2-72, Cotchery 2-37, Saunders 2-6, A.Brown 1-11, Mendenhall 1-1. Baltimore, Boldin 11-201, L.Evans 3-87, T.Smith 3-49, Rice 2-3, Dickson 1-6, Leach 1-4.

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