The 2010 NFL Season is just about underway, and I, among countless others, am anxious for the year to kick off. While the inspiring Super Bowl XLIV win of the New Orleans Saints still looms, all 32 NFL teams enter the 2010 NFL season with a clean slate to work with. Here are my 2010 NFL Season week 1 picks and predictions (for Monday night football games, click here).
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Brett Farve is back for what may very well be his curtain-closing season, and he leads the Vikings against the very team that dramatically shut the door on his unexpectedly spectacular season last year in the NFC Championship Game. That team, none other than the Saints, returns with many of the pieces that brought New Orleans their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. Though they’ll be hard-pressed to repeat, they’re still a superior match to the injury-struck Vikings. Unless the Vikings’ stout, Purple-People Eaters defense can rattle the ever-composed Brees, the first of my 2010 NFL week one picks goes to the Saints over the Vikings 31-17.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Carolina Panthers at NY Giants
The release of QB Jake Delhomme has Carolina thinking new beginnings. On the other end of the field, the Giants are looking to rebound from an underachieving 8-8 season. The G-men play in arguably the league’s stiffest division (the NFC East), and they need to come out gunning if they want to silence critics who have the sexy-pick Cowboys and talented Eagles team finishing ahead of them. I think they can handle the Panthers, but it may be close: Giants over the Panthers 24-21.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburg Steelers
Will this be the year that the Atlanta Falcons fly out from underneath the NFC South shadow of the Saints? If Big Ben were under center, it’d be much harder to pick the Falcons over the experienced Steelers team. However, due to the fact that Dennis Dixon is slated to start, I think Matt Ryan and his talented Falcons offense can bring home a week one road win. I’m predicting the Falcons to beat the Steelers 28-13.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Cleveland Browns at TampaBay Buccaneers
Neither team is expected to make much noise this season (good noise, at least), but a 2010 NFL week 1 win would be huge for either team. Why? Because we can’t expect them to win too many more the rest of the year. If anything, it will be interesting to watch Josh Freeman, an up-and-coming, young quarterback square off against Delhomme, the aforementioned outcast of Carolina who’s been given one more shot to resurrect his up and down career. My gut tells me the old man and his predominantly young Cleveland crew will beat the Buccaneers 13-10.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
You already know that many Jaguars’ fans wanted their franchise to draft their state’s golden child, Tim Tebow, who will make his NFL debut in the state where he became a collegiate legend. Regardless of what you think of Tebow, his #15 presence, even if he only comes in for a couple wildcat or trick-play snaps, will be enough reason for many NFL fans to tune into this week 1 match-up. Despite that media-hoopla, I see Maurice Jones-Drew shredding this Broncos defense and leading the Jaguars to a 17-10 win over the Broncos.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Will Peyton Manning ever win more than one Super Bowl ring, especially against a team that doesn’t have Rex Grossman leading the charge? It’s definitely possible, and while the Colts are still the class act in the NFL, their divisional foe, Texans have quietly been creeping up behind them. Houston boasts a quarterback-receiver tandem in Matt Shaub and all-pro Andre Johnson that is arguably the most dynamic in the league. On top of that, their defense has vastly improved over the last two seasons. Nevertheless, I still think Manning and his revamped receiving corps will stifle the Texans’ laudable game-plan: Colts over the Texans 28-24.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
The Miami Dolphins quietly put together an off-season that doesn’t leave them too far behind AFC East bandwagon-favorites, the New York Jets, and the former most-hated-team in the NFL, the New England Patriots. In fact, I believe that the Dolphins have a chance to bypass the Brady and Belichek’s aging Pats, at the very least. If Dolphins’ starter Chad Henne quickly develops with the highly anticipated Brandon Marshall, the Fins will be scary. In addition, if Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams can stay healthy, the Dolphins will be a handful. There isn’t too much to say about the Bills, and mom always told me to never say anything if I didn’t have anything nice to say. Oh – they do have potential ROY award winner, C.J. Spiller, but I don’t think he’s winning that one behind their paper-thin line. This 2010 NFL week 1 pick goes to the Dolphins over the Bills 21-7.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
In reality, both of these disappointing teams are looking up. I have faith the Detroit Lions will win at least one game this year, and the Bears will give opponents a good game every now and then if Jay Cutler tones it down and can find someone to throw to. If he doesn’t, I actually think the Lions will take this game. Matthew Stafford has a year under his belt and a new running threat in Jahved Best to help keep the defense honest, all in the hopes that “Megatron”, Calvin Johnson, can return to his special form that saw a drop-off last season. I think the Lions open up with a surprising road game win over the Bears, 17-14.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans
It’s hard to believe it, but the Oakland Raiders finally put together a solid offseason. Their defense only gets better with 8th overall pick Rolando McClain, and the long overdue parting with bust JaMarcus Russell may signal a new era. Not to mention his replacement, Jason Campbell, has the experience and skill-set to help kick-start this anemic offense and lead a potentially bright receiving group. While the Titans made a surprisingly strong push in the second half of the season behind the emerging leadership and play of Vince Young, their lackluster offseason won’t get them any closer to bridging the gap in a crowded AFC South division that includes the Colts and Texans. Contrary to their losing ways, I actually predict the Oakland Raiders to leave Tennessee with a win, beating the Titans 14-10.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
This could be the big shootout of week one. Carson Palmer and the Bengals have an offense that features older players, but is poised to do some damage. As witnessed by preseason viewers, Palmer is clearly in sync with newly acquired T.O., and we all know that teams will have to pick their poison with Chad Ochocinco lining up on the opposite side of the field. The Patriots also feature an aging team, but they have slowly begun working towards more youth. I like the weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal; however, it will be interesting to see if a 33-year-old Moss can get past his depressive talk about what he believes to be his final season in New England and simply play to prove his Hall of Fame worth. This is a tough call, and though I want the Bengals to pull out the win, I have a feeling the Patriots will come out guns blazing and win 38-27 over Cincinnati.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford really opened some eyes during the preseason, but if his line can’t hold the fort, he’s in for a tough NFL welcoming. While the Cardinals are far and away from the deep playoff threat they were the past two years with Kurt Warner and Whisenhunt’s high octane, throwing offensive scheme, they are still a decent team. Nevertheless, they simply lost too many important pieces during the offseason (Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle, etc.) to go much further than winning their NFC West division. It’s risky, but I think Steven Jackson will help alleviate Bradford’s growing pains and help pull the small upset. I predict that the Rams will win their opening game at home over the Cardinals, 21-14.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: San Francisco at Seattle
Many analysts and fans believe that the 49ers have a growing chance to surprise opponents and win their close NFC West division. Perhaps this is the year that Alex Smith makes good of his high draft selection, particularly if Smith can get the ball to the talented likes of Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree (who is posed for a breakout), and Frank Gore out of the backfield. Seattle, on the other hand, is in the middle of an identity crisis. The new regime, highlighted by former USC coach Pete Carroll, appears to be making moves that bring as many former Trojans to the Northwest. They’re taking chances on players like Mike Williams over the recently released and established T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and it’s only a matter of time before Charlie Whitehurst eclipses a declining, injury-prone Matt Hasselbeck. Something tells me the 49ers will choke their first week, however, leading to a Seattle victory of 21-20.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
The Green Bay Packers have emerged as a sexy Super Bowl pick this year, and for good reason. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his ever-increasing play and leadership has done more than enough to craft his own name in place of the estranged Brett Farve. The Packers offense is complete with a solid line, a strong running back, and great receiving options. On the defensive end of the ball, the Packers can stuff the run (they ranked first in 2009) and are a top 10 unit. The Eagles are attempting to make their own transition from having a potential Hall of Fame quarterback, McNabb, to a young gun, Kevin Kolb. Though Kolb has the electric Desean Jackson and emerging Brent Celek at TE, the Eagles will struggle if they can’t establish a solid ground game against the Packers’ stiff defense. I expect the Packers to win over the Eagles, 28-20.
2010 NFL Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
The thought of the Cowboys hosting a Super Bowl in their flashy home stadium is, without a doubt, on their minds. I personally believe that though the team has the potential to make a deep push in the playoffs, the pressure of the scenario will collapse this talented team. Tony Romo finally has a playoff win under his belt, and it will be exciting to see Dez Bryant lined across the field of Miles Austin, but this aging offensive line is the kicker for me. For week one, however, I think the Cowboys can handle the Redskins. McNabb’s presence on the other sideline and, ultimately, the field will make this game much harder than in years past, but any NFC East game is going to be difficult. The Redskins are certainly improved this year, but I think Shanahan and this new regime will quickly realize the work cut out for them in their crowded division. I think this will be a close game, but I see the Cowboys pulling out the win, 23-20.
And that’s the conclusion of my NFL picks, week 1 edition. Check back for more NFL picks and predictions every week!
Source (for stats)