LOS ANGELES, September 4, 2013—After seven long months, the National Football League returns.
Week 1 offers the traditional Thursday night kickoff along with two Monday night games. Here is the Week 1 prequel (all times EST).
Thursday, September 5, 8:30pm
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos (8.5)
The rematch of one of the great playoff thrillers of all time should have been in Baltimore, but circumstances from another sport derailed that. Ray Lewis is retired, Ed Reed left, and Peyton Manning will get his revenge. Denver is the trendy AFC favorite, and their quest to dethrone the Ravens starts tonight. Broncos win but fail to cover
Sunday, September, 8
New England Patriots (10) at Buffalo Bills
The Patriots may not be the Patriots of old, but the Bills are a mess. The spread is high for a road game, but this game is the men against the boys until the Bills show otherwise. Patriots cover
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (7)
The Titans are coming off a miserable season and start against a Steelers team that had an off year last year and should rebound. Steelers cover
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (3)
The Falcons window is not closed yet, but starting on the road against a possessed Saints team is tough. New Orleans could win it all this year, and they will have chips on their shoulder from the lost 2012 Bountygate season. Sean Payton is back with a vengeance. Saints cover
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3) at New York Jets
The Jets could be the laughingstock of the year, with or without quarterback “butt-fumbles.” Yet the Buccaneers are not that special, delaying the Jets misery for one week. Upset special, Jets win outright
Kansas City Chiefs (3.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Both teams were awful last year, but the Chiefs now have Andy Reid. He will need time to build a winner, but this game is the best the Chiefs could have asked for. Jacksonville is hopeless. Chiefs cover
Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears (3)
These teams are both overrated and expected to regress. The Bengals have not shown they can take the next step, while the Bears fired a defensive-minded coach and replaced him with an offensive coordinator with mixed success. Home field decides this one. Bears cover
Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns (Pick)
Neither of these teams are going anywhere, but league rules require this game be played. Go with the home field. Browns win
Seattle Seahawks (3) at Carolina Panthers
Seattle could win it all this year. Carolina regressed last year, and Cam Newton starts by facing Pete Carroll’s aggressive defense. Seahawks cover
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (4.5)
Adrian Peterson cannot do it all by himself. Detroit has more overall talent and the home field, but they underachieved badly last year. Lions win but fail to cover
Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts (9.5)
The Raiders have no offensive line. They look awful in the trenches on both sides of the ball. This game could be over by the first quarter. Colts cover
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams (5)
The Cardinals will be the most improved team this year with Carson Palmer leading an explosive Bruce Arians offense. Yet Jeff Fisher knows defense, and the home crowd should make a difference. Rams win but fail to cover
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (4.5)
The 49ers could be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February, but Aaron Rodgers still has plenty of targets to duel against Colin Kaepernick. San Francisco still has the better defense. 49ers win but fail to cover
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (3)
The Giants do well on the road against Dallas, but everybody in Dallas is playing this year to keep their jobs. Jerry Jones may blow up his $1.2 billion metropolis if Dallas loses this game again. Cowboys cover
Monday, September 9
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (3.5)
RGIII has been cleared to play, but he and Michael Vick are the wildcards in this game. Washington is at home, and nobody knows if the Chip Kelly system will work. Mike Shanahan knows a thing or two about systems. Redskins cover
Houston Texans (3.5) at San Diego Chargers
The Texans window to take the next step has probably closed, but nobody knows if the new regime in San Diego can revive Philip Rivers. Houston still has a solid defense, which should be enough. Texans win but fail to cover
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities.
Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
Follow us on Twitter @wtcommunities
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.