It’s finally here…the regular season of the National Football League. This is the week that everyone has been looking forward to since early February. Fire up your grills, have a case of your favorite beer nearby, meet up with your friends, trash talk, set fantasy lineups…it’s all about to go down. As the kickoff to the new season begins, so will predictions of the season. Everyone is already talking about which teams will face each other in the Super Bowl and which teams already don’t even have a chance to get to the playoffs. So, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here and settle with some week one projections. To sweeten the deal, let’s also compare the projected final score of the game to the point spread as it stands in Vegas right now. Whether you’re a football fan, a betting man, or both, let’s have some fun with this one.
Wednesday, September 5th
Dallas (+3.5) @ New York Giants
This is the way to start a season. Two divisional rivals going at it. Not to mention it is the NFC East. Whenever teams play each other from this division it always seems to be a great game, no matter what kind of a season each team is having. This is a game that will have to be won in the trenches; offensive lines vs. defensive lines are key here. The advantage goes to the Giants who are better off on both offensive and defensive lines. However, this will still be a game fought to the bitter end.
Projection: NYG 27, DAL 24 – Spread in favor of Dallas.
Sunday, September 9th
Indianapolis (+9.5) @ Chicago
The debut of Andrew Luck will be something that everyone will be talking about this week. However, this may not be the all-star debut that people are hoping for. He is up against a very good Chicago defense that rushes the passer relentlessly. Chicago has a revamped offense with a healthy Jay Cutler and the addition of Brandon Marshall. Chicago should run away with this one.
Projection: CHI 34, IND 17 – Spread in favor of Chicago.
Philadelphia @ Cleveland (+9)
Another rookie debut here. Brandon Weeden gets his first NFL start against the Eagles defense. Sorry, Brandon, but you’re in for a long day. Without a running game to back him up, the Eagles wide-9 technique will terrorize the young quarterback all day long. On offense, Michael Vick and company are looking to get back on track, and this is a golden opportunity to do so.
Projection: PHI 31, CLE 12 – Spread in favor of Philadelphia.
Buffalo (+2.5) @ New York Jets
The Bills newly restored defense will be looking to pick apart Mark Sanchez and company who have looked abysmal in the preseason. Mario Williams will have a monster day here, and the Bills offense will score enough points to easily take down the Jets. This first week could be the beginning of a collapse for Rex Ryan’s squad.
Projection: BUF 23, NYJ 13 – Spread in favor of Buffalo.
Washington (+7) @ New Orleans
Yet another rookie debut here. RGIII looks to get his professional career going against Drew Brees and company. Like Luck, Griffin will have his hands full in this one. Expect the Saints to get an early lead and force Griffin into some tough throws. Week one does not seem to be faring too well for the rookies thus far. The Saints will just be too much for Washington to handle.
Projection: NO 38, WAS 23 – Spread in favor of New Orleans.
New England @ Tennessee (+5)
Jake Locker makes his debut for the Titans as the official starter. Like the rookie quarterbacks mentioned already, Locker doesn’t have it any easier as he faces Tom Brady and the Patriots. New England has an improved offense from last season and addressed their defense in the draft. They should be tough to beat this year as the Titans will find out in week one.
Projection NE 37, TEN 20 – Spread in favor of New England.
Jacksonville (+3.5) @ Minnesota
This is an interesting game. Both teams are without their top running backs (at least at full strength) and both are starting second year quarterbacks that had a rough go last season. This should be a sloppy but close game. The difference maker in this game will be the quarterbacks and Christian Ponder has the advantage at home against Blaine Gabbert. This one goes to the Vikings.
Projection: MIN 23, JAX 13 – Spread in favor of Minnesota.
Miami (+8.5) @ Houston
Miami is a team coming off of a terrible off season. Houston is coming off of a playoff birth and seems to be healthy all around. Houston figures to be one of the most dominant teams in the AFC this season, where Miami figures to be a doormat. That will show mightily in this game as Houston rolls easily over the Dolphins.
Projection: HOU 34, MIA 15 – Spread in favor of Houston.