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NFL Pro Football 2011 Preseason Week 1 Picks

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Pro Football Preseason Week 1 Picks - late games


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Fearless Rick's NFL Preseason Week 1 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | August 7-15

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, August 11

7:30 pm Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 34) - Considering that this will be the first real action for all players, the starting QBs - in this case, Michael Vick and Joe Flacco - won't see much more than a few drives, allowing the second and third stringers to get in the bulk of the action.

It will be interesting to see what Vince Young can produce, especially since he hasn't played much since the middle of last season and has to learn a whole new playbook, courtesy of Andy Reid. The only way to take the Eagles is if one believes their secondary won't allow any long tosses and that Vick or Young don't cough it up, because the Raven defense is pretty solid all around. Still, it's tempting to want to see Vince work his magic and being in a new home city, he'll probably be on his best behavior, at least for this week.

BTW: The Eagles are the new Oakland Raiders, taking misfits and undesirables and turning them into a football force.

Prediction: Eagles 17 Ravens 13

7:30 pm Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (-3 1/2, 35 1/2) - Jacksonville doesn't have much to match up with the Patriots, who believe they are on a mission from God (otherwise known as Bill Belichick) to return the Lombardi Trophy to Foxboro, Massachusetts.

A healthy Tom Brady will want to air it out in the early going and will likely attempt some throws to his newest weapon, Chad Ochocinco. Both teams were 2-2 in last year's preseason games, so it comes down to which is going to be better prepared in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Preparation is key to New England's overall scheme.

Prediction: Patriots 23 Jaguars 13

8:00 pm Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers (-3 1/2, 35) - There are a lot of new faces in the Seattle locker room, but the most notable is quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who will get every chance to make it or break it as the starter for the Seahawks. Backup Charlie Whitehurst is going to see plenty of action, but don't be surprised if Jackson gets additional reps, well into the second quarter and maybe until half time.

For the Chargers, the usual combos of Phillip Rivers to Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson will be obvious in the early going and they should score at least two TDs in the first half, but expect the Seahawks to overtake them in the second half as head coach Pete Carroll's rah-rah approach will rally the second and third-stringers.

Prediction: Seahawks 24 Chargers 21

8:30 pm Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (-3, 35) - In the minds of the Cowboys, this is a mismatch, and owner Jerry Jones would like nothing more than to see his troops carry the day in their spacious stadium. The highlights will be Tony Romo's play in the opening quarter and Tim Tebow's performance as Denver's QB after Kyle Orton gets in his licks.

The Dallas defense left a lot of plays on the field last season and improvement is needed, but Denver's defensive unit was among the worst in the league and they will be hard-pressed to keep up with Dallas in the late stages.

Prediction: Cowboys 31 Broncos 24

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10:00 pm Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders (-3, 32 1/2) - Here are two teams moving in opposite directions, but don't tell that to the Arizona faithful, who expect big things from new starting QB Kevin Kolb.

Arizona may encounter some issues within the offense, as Larry Fitzgerald is the only starting wideout back from last season and the Raiders will try to blanket him in the early going. Early Doucet is the other wideout, with limited experience, and former Raven Todd Heap makes his debut at tight end for the Cardinals.

Jason Campbell and Trent Edwards will take the majority of snaps and it would appear that Campbell has a lock on the starting job, but Edwards is an accurate short passer, which may come in handy as the Raiders will pound the ball with their running backs, Darren McFadden, Michael Bush and Rock Cartwright.

Home field doesn't hurt and the Raiders will blunt the Arizona attack, raising questions about where the Cardinals are headed in 2011.

Prediction: Raiders 21 Cardinals 10

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Friday, August 12

7:30 pm Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions (-4, 35 1/2) - This will be Matthew Stafford's first start since week 9 of last season, so he'll be looking to get some of the kinks out in the early phases of the game. The Lions are loaded offensively, with Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson at wideout, Brandon Pettigrew at tight end and running back Jahvid Best, but look for Shaun Hill to open things up even more in the second half with throws to rookie Titus Young and Rashied Davis, who came over from the Bears.

Confusion reigns supreme in the Bengals camp, but Andy Dalton, fresh out of TCU, is loving that Carson Palmer is MIA and will get the start here. Dalton was a star n college, but he's learning a new system and the NFL on the fly, without the benefit of a lot of camp time. Dalton is likely to be a solid starting QB, but to expect much from him here is a big stretch.

Prediction: Lions 34 Bengals 17

7:30 pm Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons (-2 1/2, 33 1/2) - Reggie Bush makes his debt with the Dolphins and the question is how will he fit into the Miami offensive scheme. Rickey Williams is gone, so Bush should get a few carries, but don't expect to see him much after the first quarter.

For Atlanta, this is their season to take home all the marbles and winning on the road would be nice, even if it is preseason. QB Matt Ryan has a new target in Alabama rookie Julio Jones, and the Miami defense will be up against it to defend him, Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons will also give the ball to rookie Jacquizz Rodgers, out of Oregon, and see if his speed and shiftiness can translate into positive yards in the NFL.

Chad Henne is expected to start for Miami, amid much criticism. Backup Matt Moore will try to impress in the second half. This one could be a nail-biter, so the points are a bonus.

Prediction: Dolphins 24 Falcons 23

7:30 pm Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins (-1, 33) - The Redskins have question marks at any number of positions but the biggest one is who will be their starting quarterback?

According to most depth charts, it's Rex Grossman, but John Beck may be the future. No matter which QB starts, this looks like a low-scoring affair, especially for Washington, which doesn't have enough speed to spread the field and not enough running game to penetrate the tough Steeler defense.

Ben Roethlisberger will find the end zone early and the Steeler defense should hold up in the late stages of this one.

Prediction: Steelers 16 Redskins 6

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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