Okay another season, another chance to remove egg from your face and give you my picks for the first Sunday of the NFL season.
This season promises to be good with all teams enjoying a full off-season with no CBA strike and bargaining occuring. The players asked for less physical practices, yet injuries are still happening. Some teams have been affected by such injuries such as Minnesota Vikings with Adrian Petersen; yet some teams like Kansas City have those returning like Jamal Charles who will change the balance of a side.
Some teams have been affected by contract hold outs like Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville; or a new star on a new team; Peyton Manning starts for Denver, whilst the man he replaced Tim Tebow lines up in a supposed wildcat offence with the New York Jets.
All in all though I cannot wait for the season to start, and having wrongly predicted a New York Giants victory on opening night, I hope my picks are a bit better this weekend
Week 1, Sunday 9th September
Colts @ BEARS - a baptism of fire for the new star rookie QB Andrew Luck facing a tenacious defence of Chicago even without the questionable Brian Urlacher. Jay Cutler rekindles his partnership with Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte with his new contract will want to get off to a winning start. Double digit victory, though Luck should still throw 2 TDs
EAGLES @ Browns - Michael Vick v Brandon Weedon; like John Wayne v Randolph Scott. Who you going to pick? But Eagles have too many other weapons, and Andy Reid has won 63% of his road trips, too much experience for the Browns, though will be good to see how Trent Richardson's knee holds up
Rams @ LIONS - personally I like the Rams and think they will improve to maybe 6-10 this season, although on Detroit's home turf it is asking a lot. Although Jeff Fisher v Megatron will be good; how will the League combat the best receiver in football. Double digit victory.
PATRIOTS @ Titans - the reigning AFC Champions return with more weapons against a quietly rebuilt Titans with Jake Locker at the helm. Might be closer than people may think, but on paper the quality shines through.
Falcons @ CHIEFS - this is a great opening match-up; Atlanta are one of the better regular season teams yet have no play-off win yet for Matt Ryan. The Chiefs have rallied for Romeo Crennel, and with a 1-2 punch of Charles and Peyton Hillis at running back, and Dwayne Bowe still at wideout, expect an upset in Kansas.
Jaguars @ VIKINGS - not the most mouth watering of encounters but in terms of quarterback play, Christian Ponder is better than Blaine Gabbert right now, and the Viking will win if Petersen starts.
Redskins @ SAINTS - following the news that Johnathn Vilma and Will Smith will be eligible to play this season, this will give the Saints extra motivation to get off to a winning start. They may not have Sean Payton, but Drew Brees is this team's true leader. RG3 debuts and expectations are high.
Bills @ JETS - this one has flipped and flopped for weeks, but I nudge it to the Jets as they have the Tebow option for short yardage and wildcat. Ryan Fitzpatrick is okay but the Jets sometimes know how to win and have not shown us their full hand yet.
Dolphins @ TEXANS - Ryan Tannehill goes on the road for his rookie start at AFC South favourites Houston. Houston have weapons on offence, yet in spite of losing defensive options will still have too much for a team very much in transition.
49ers @ PACKERS - what a great game for the first week,the two best regular season teams from NFC face off. The 49ers are better with more weapons at receiver and added Brandon Jacobs, yet this is still Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau, home field advantage still counts for a lot nowadays.
SEAHAWKS @ Cardinals - Russell Wilson is an explosive QB, he will excite people and Pete Carroll has put his neck on the line; Arizona have one of the best receivers in football in Larry Fitzgerald yet they still cannot find a man good enough to throw to him, they have chosen John Skelton.
Panthers @ BUCCANEERS - the Bucs have changed coach, they traded well getting Vincent Jackson from San Diego, drafted well in getting Doug Martin and have a decent QB in Josh Freeman. The Panthers do have Cam Newton, but again the home team for me on this occasion. The momentum is in Tampa Bay.
Steelers @ BRONCOS - a great contest with Rothliesberger v Peyton Manning in his regular season debut for Denver. I fancy Manning to come out of the gate here, throwing to numerous and unheralded receivers (hello Eric Decker) who will become household names.
Bengals @ RAVENS - a tasty divisional rivalry match up for Monday Night Football's opener; expect the Ravens and their new no-huddle offence to create even more points and targets for Ray Rice, under the leadership of Joe Flacco.
CHARGERS @ Raiders - whilst the nudge for the AFC West has been given to the Broncos and Chiefs; the Chargers have flown under the radar whilst the Raiders are in turmoil. If the Chargers can halt Darren McFadden they win the game.