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NFL Pro Football 2012 Week 1 Picks

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 1 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | September 5-10, 2012

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Wednesday, September 5

Dallas at NY Giants (-4, 45) 8:30 pm - The NFL season kicks off a day earlier than planned so as not to interfere with President Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

It was a good move for the president, as the NFL is eminently more popular than politics and long-winded speeches.

Since the Giants are about as good a team as any in the NFL and the Cowboys are coming off another season of unmitigated mediocrity, one has to side with Eli Manning and the Giants' offense. Eli's got healthy receivers, which means trouble for Dallas' rebuilt secondary.

The New York defense will be in Tony Romo's face when Dallas has the ball, and field position will be an important factor as well, another win for the G-Men, who have better special teams. Could become pretty one-sided. Giants have won five of the last six meetings and two of the last three at home.

Prediction: Giants 31 Cowboys 13

Sunday, September 9

Indianapolis at Chicago (-9 1/2, 43 1/2) 1:00 pm - Andrew Luck gets his first official NFL start for the Colts, and, if preseason gave us any clue to how he'll perform, he should be pretty good, though still a rookie and prone to mistakes.

The Bears definitely will have an edge when they have the ball as the Colts are testing out new players at many different positions, though they gave up fewer points in the preseason than did the Bears.

Chicago is supposed to have a good defense, though one wouldn't know it, judging by the 99 points they allowed, though they did finish 3-1; the Colts, 2-2. The Colts look good enough to keep this affair a close one.

Prediction: Bears 24 Colts 20

Jacksonville at Minnesota (-3 1/2, 38 1/2) 1:00 pm - Minnesota will probably be better this season than the 3-13 record they posted in 2011, and so will Jacksonville, though neither team is seriously considered playoff-bound.

The Vikes will likely be without star RB Adrian Peterson, who has practiced and wants to play in the season opener, but the Vikings can do without him, as backup Toby Gerhart is a quality replacement and runs downhill.

Maurice Jones-Drew, who held out through the preseason, will play for the Jags and that's a big deal, if he's in game shape. Blaine Gabbert will start for Jacksonville at QB; Christian Ponder will line up behind center for Minnesota. Jags deserve some respect in what should be largely a defensive struggle.

Prediction: Jaguars 14 Vikings 13

Buffalo at NY Jets (-3, 39) 1:00 pm - The Jets didn't score a TD until the final preseason game, and that's a real cause for concern in New York, but the Bills offense looked pretty ragged and inconsistent, something the coaching staff doesn't want to worry about against the Jets.

Ryan Fitzpatrick signed a big contract midseason last year and his production fell off, though part of that was due to various injuries to backs and receivers. Still, the Jets would like to return to prominence as one of the better defensive units in the league and getting an unorganized Bills team at the Meadowlands could be just the tonic. Tim Tebow will get action returning kicks and running a Jets-style wildcat offense. It should be an interesting show.

Prediction: Jets 24 Bills 17

Miami at Houston (-12, 43) 1:00 pm - This could be the start of a very long season for the Dolphins, a team which is unlikely to win as many as eight games this year. Ryan Tannehill gets the QB nod, but his counterpart on the Texans is one Matt Schaub, who should have a tremendous year if he, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson all stay healthy.

This has the makings of a blowout win for Houston, a team which should make the next step in the playoff progression. Last year they were in, but lost their only post-season game. Much more is expected this time around.

Prediction: Texans 31 Dolphins 10

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New England (-5 1/2, 47) at Tennessee 1:00 pm - There are questions about how well the Patriot line can protect QB Tom Brady, and the New england brass is somewhat concerned about their Super Bowl chances if protection isn't solid.

This should be a fair road test for the Pats, because the Tennessee line and backers aren't much of a sack-happy bunch, so the New england o-line should fare well.

Jake Locker will have a go at QB for the Titans, a team in rebuilding mode, not the spot they'd ideally like, hosting one of the top AFC teams. Tennessee should keep it close for a while, but the Patriots should win handily.

Prediction: Patriots 24 Titans 16

St. Louis at Detroit (-7, 45 1/2) 1:00 pm - Well, Sam Bradford better live up to has advance billing or it's going to be another long, achy season in St. Louis.

Matthew Stafford and the Lions have one ferocious offense, but Detroit is still a little ragged on defense, and with St. Louis players mostly healthy, this could turn into a shootout. The Rams may surprise some people this season. While they may not win this one, it could get wild at the end and the Rams should have a shot to win it late, though the Lions should prevail in a nail-biter.

Prediction: Lions 31 Rams 27

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Washington at New Orleans (-7, 50) 1:00 pm - Robert Griffin III starts his first game at QB for Washington, but the task is a tall order even for an experienced QB, which he most definitely is not.

The Saints, despite all the off-season suspensions and issues, still have a solid football team, but confusion in crunch time may throw them off a bit. Drew Brees will get his scores, no doubt, but there's fire in RG3 and the offense. If the Redskin defense can make some plays, this could become a barn-burner of a game, with New Orleans pulling it out late, though not by enough to cover the line.

Prediction: Saints 30 Redskins 24

Philadelphia (-8 1/2, 43 1/2) at Cleveland 1:00 pm - Rookies Brandon Weeden (QB) and running back Trent Richardson will add plenty of spark to the Cleveland attack, but the defense, as usual, is questionable for the Browns and that's not a good thing when facing Michael Vick and the high-octane offense of the Eagles.

Though the Eagles won in week three of preseason over the Browns, 27-10, it was Nick Foles guiding the Eagles and three turnovers really hurt Cleveland's chances. The stats were a lot closer than the score, so give Cleveland some props and hope Mr. Vick doesn't go wild in his season opener.

Prediction: Eagles 21 Browns 17

Atlanta (-3, 44) at Kansas City 1:00 pm - Upset special of the week has the Chiefs upending the Falcons, who won only one preseason game, a 23-6 win at Miami. Matt Ryan wasn't anywhere near regular season form in the preseason and the defense was prone to mistakes.

Of course, the Chiefs aren't exactly world-beaters, but they're home and their defense had some nice games at the end of last season. They should be able to keep the Atlanta offense in check, maybe get a turnover or two and let the offense pound away.

Prediction: Chiefs 20 Falcons 14

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2012, 2013, 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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