Last regular season: 176-97-1. That's a pretty tough act to follow, but I'll give it my best shot. Week one is always difficult, with nothing but last year and very limited preseason action to go by.
Thursday (predicted in a prior post)
Green Bay @ Seattle: The defending Super Bowl champs have a formidable opponent to open the defense of their title. This is a tough pick and I'm tempted to go with the Packers in an upset. But Seattle is next to unbeatable at home and not much has changed from the team that won it all last season. Seattle 27 Green Bay 23
Buffalo @ Chicago: The Bears have what is potentially the most potent offense in the NFC. Buffalo has been mired in mediocrity for two decades. I'll admit that this is an upgraded Bills squad, but I don't think they have the defense or the firepower to beat Chicago in a shootout. Chicago 31 Buffalo 21
Washington @ Houston: Questions about RGIII's ability to be productive from the pocket persist, but what I like about my Skins is the stingy defense. A strong running game and tough defensive front should be enough to get by on the road in Houston. Washington 24 Houston 20
Cincinnati @ Baltimore: The Bengals have been one of, if not the most, overlooked teams the past four years. Andy Dalton has progressed nicely, but it remains to be seen if Jay Gruden's departure for Washington will affect his play. I'm taking Cincinnati on a whim, nothing more.
Cincinnati 27 Baltimore 20
Tennessee @ Kansas City: The Chiefs started out on fire last season against a weak first half schedule. Despite their second half problems and melt down in the playoff contest against Indianapolis, I think Kansas City will have enough, especially at raucous Arrowhead Stadium, to hold off the Titans.
Kansas City 30 Tennessee 16
New England @ Miami: It's as if the Patriots can just be penciled in to win 11 or 12 games every year, especially in a division that doesn't really offer much in the way of consistent opposition. Well, this season they're going to have to battle out of an 0 - 1 hole. Miami 34 New England 30
Minnesota @ St. Louis: The Rams have been devastated by the loss of QB Sam Bradford, and they really don't have a particularly good plan B. The Vikings have opted to go with veteran Matt Cassel at QB over rookie Terry Bridgewater, a move that should at least give them the victory this week. Minnesota 24 St. Louis 20
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh: The Browns decided to wait to launch the Manziel era in favor of Brian Hoyer, at least for a few games. Pittsburgh appears to be in a rare rebuilding mode. They missed the playoffs by a game but don't really seem to be on the way up. Cleveland, suffering from ownership, management and coaching turmoil that goes back to their reinstatement as a team, is hopeful that it's time for improvement. Not yet. Pittsburgh 24 Cleveland 20
Jacksonville @ Philadelphia: Last season Chip Kelly's fast paced offense got the Eagles off to a fast start. The Jags haven't been relevant in a long time and judging from Nick Foles' recent regular and pre-season success, they'll have to wait another week to turn it around. Philadelphia 30 Jacksonville 20
Oakland @ New York Jets: The Jets' Gino Smith is probable better than what he's given credit for and the Raiders are just a mess. I don't think either of these teams is ready for prime time, but someone has to win. Jets 27 Oakland 17
New Orleans @ Atlanta: This is one of those really big division rivalries, going back to when these teams were expansion franchises at about the same time. Saints fans flock to Atlanta in a big way. A lot of experts like New Orleans to make a deep playoff run, while the Falcons are trying to shake off a 4 - 12 season. I'm going out on a limb here. Atlanta 28 New Orleans 27
San Francisco @ Dallas: The 'Niners are hindered by injuries while the Cowboys are just hindered. Dallas is as potent as anyone on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense is just terrible, especially against the run. However, San Francisco has very few weapons offensively. As much as I hate to do it, I have to go with Jerry's 'Boys in this one. Dallas 24 San Francisco 20
Carolina @ Tampa Bay: The Bucs are a trendy pick to show major improvement this season, but they have to open up against the defending division champs led by star QB Cam Newton. The Panthers play great defense for former Bear Ron Rivera and Newton has more than enough weapons to win the opening game on the road, even if it's in the Tampa heat. Carolina 31 Tampa Bay 21
Indianapolis @ Denver: Talk about your great opening Sunday night game, this one is it. Even if Manning is a couple of seasons removed from his days as a Colt, there will still be emotion around this one. These are two of the top teams in the AFC, if not the league, and they're forced to show up and deliver week one. I have to go with the home field and altitude advantage the Broncos get to open the season. Denver 34 Indianapolis 31
New York Giants @ Detroit: The Giants are just plain awful and the Lions have been perhaps the most underperforming team in the league the last two or three years. It's time for Detroit to step up and make a statement. Detroit 30 Giants 17
San Diego @ Arizona: The Chargers were the surprise of the season, both by getting into the playoffs and then by winning a game when they got there. The Cardinals were undoubtedly the best team not to make the playoffs last year, and they'll be hungry to make a statement early. This should be a great one to stay up late for to end week one. I like Arizona at home. Arizona 30 San Diego 28