The NFL season has arrived, so it’s time for weekly predictions. And give the NFL credit. Lots of great games in Week 1.
Ravens at Broncos: Denver 23-20. The NFL hung up Joe Flacco banners throughout downtown Denver, to celebrate the opener. Who makes decisions like that? I mean, literally. Who could possibly think that was a good idea?
Patriots at Bills: New England 31-13. The Patriots don’t have Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. But Buffalo doesn’t have Andre Reed or Thurman Thomas. And New England still has Tom Brady.
Titans at Steelers: Pittsburgh 26-10. The Steeler offensive line is in tatters. But Tennessee is in no position to take advantage. Ben Roethlisberger is his own offensive line.
Falcons at Saints: New Orleans 30-27. The best game of Week 1. Atlanta is my Super Bowl pick, and Matt Ryan is a major reason why. But Drew Brees still fling it and will, in Sean Payton’s return.
Buccaneers at Jetropolitans: Tampa Bay 19-6. Geno Smith figures to start for New York. Another Big 12 alum, the Bucs’ Josh Freeman, figures to have the big edge at QB.
Chiefs at Jaguars: Kansas City 20-19. I’m not all that sold on Alex Smith as the KC QB, but I am sold on Andy Reid. And I’m not sold on anything in Jacksonville, particularly Blaine Gabbert.
Bengals at Bears: Cincinnati 24-23. Andy Dalton is growing up as an NFL quarterback. Some wonder whether Jay Cutler ever will grow up.
Dolphins at Browns: Cleveland 27-24. On Sept. 24, 2011, Brandon Weeden completed 47 of 60 passes for 438 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against Texas A&M. The Aggies’ Ryan Tannehill completed 28 of 47 passes for 309 yards, two TDs and three interceptions. OSU won 30-29. Less than 24 months later, they meet as second-year NFL starting quarterbacks.
Seahawks at Panthers: Seattle 33-24. Russell Wilson doesn’t get the ink of Robert Griffin III or Cam Newton or Andrew Luck. But Wilson might be the best of the NFL’s young quarterbacks.
Vikings at Lions: Minnesota 26-20. Upset special. I don’t think Christian Ponder is long for the Vike quarterback job, and Matthew Stafford is the real deal in Detroit. But Adrian Peterson still wears a Viking cape.
Raiders at Colts: Indianapolis 41-9. Terrelle Pryor is starting at quarterback for Oakland. That’s all you need to know.
Cardinals at Rams: St. Louis 25-17. Does anyone else still get confused when the Cardinals play the Rams? A team named the Cardinals, with those classic white helmets with a redbird on the side, is playing a team from St. Louis. The Twilight Zone. Sam Bradford begins Year No. 4 with the Rams, and he’s a similar talent to the Cards’ new QB, Carson Palmer.
Packers at 49ers: San Francisco 38-30. A superb uniform game. Of course, Aaron Rodgers and Colin Kaepernick look good in any uniform.
Giants at Cowboys: Dallas 27-20. Eli Manning is 8-5 against Tony Romo. It’s not Peyton Manning for Tom Brady, but it’s a nice little quarterback rivalry.
Eagles at Redskins: Washington 19-17. Watching Chip Kelly’s offense develop is going to be one of the more entertaining aspects of this NFL season. It could lengthen Michael Vick’s career, if Vick can stay healthy. Health wouldn’t be a bad thing for RG3 himself.
Texans at Chargers: Houston 29-17. Matt Schaub is the AFC’s Matt Ryan. Time to win big. I’m picking an all-Matt Super Bowl.