Seattle @ St. Louis
The Seahawks open their season with what could be their final trip to St. Louis ever. With the looming possibility of the Rams moving to LA you'll no doubt see many of the Hawks snatch a few blades of turf on their way out of the illustrious Edward Jones Dome just in case, so that they can prove to their grandchildren that they set foot inside the legendary building that gave birth to Ram Rules. Expect a slug fest.
Green Bay @ Chicago
Many expert prognosticators, including myself, are expecting the Bears to stumble this year, and it makes sense when you really look at the logic. The old adage is that when you're being chased by a bear you should run downhill because the bear's own momentum will cause it to tumble over itself. This applies to the NFL as well. When trying to beat the Bears, run downhill. Or you could also pass on them too; their entire defense will probably be lousy.
Kansas City @ Houston
I'm highly anticipating this match-up because it features one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. Sure JJ Watt is great, but the guy I'm talking about is Justin Houston. Though, my excitement has little to do with his actual play on the field, it's more more about the fact that during this game Justin Houston will be just in Houston. How serendipitous! I'll give the edge to the Chiefs in this one because of that pun and my lack of faith in the Texans' offense.
Cleveland @ New York Jets
IK Enemkpali, the man who punched Geno Smith in the face, breaking his jaw and rendering him a useless smoothie-drinker for the foreseeable future, is currently on the Bills practice squad, meaning he doesn't actually have to attend Buffalo's games. If I were IK I'd a buy a front row seat to every Jets game in an effort to intimidate the sidelined Smith like so many a pro wrestler before him. (NOTE: After some quick research, and really just thinking about it for a while, I'm pretty sure that practice squad players do have to be on the sidelines for games; but does IK Enemkpali seem like a guy who cares about the rules to you? Exactly.) In what should be a real stinker I'll take the home team.
Indianapolis @ Buffalo
Here's one of the more interesting match-ups in Week 1, featuring the high-powered Colts' offense clashing with a stout Bills' defense, and a questionable Colts' defense going up against a stout Bills' offense (not a compliment). I'm expecting a classic Andrew Luck performance, meaning he'll throw a couple of interceptions early, but ultimately rally his team for the win.
Miami @ Washington
It's pretty clear at this point that Redskins' coach Jay Gruden just hates Robert Griffin III. I'm not saying I have much confidence in him either, but Gruden seems to relish the opportunity to bench him on a yearly (if not weekly) basis. I wouldn't be surprised if Gruden purposefully sent RG3 out to the field as the 12th man multiple times throughout the game just to incur a penalty and make Griffin look like an idiot. Then again, nothing surprises me in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.
Carolina @ Jacksonville
Get ready loyal reader for one of your favorite features: Mild Upset Alert! I have little faith in the Panthers; then again, I don't have much faith in the Jaguars either. So if they're both lame let's make this one interesting and take the underdogs playing at home. Yes, I know those underdogs are the Jaguars. Yes, I know that the Jaguars have sucked for years. Ok, yes, sucked hard. Yes, I ... quit trying to talk me out of this!
New Orleans @ Arizona
If last season was any indicator, this will be one of the few games all year in which half the Cardinals' roster isn't injured. That should be enough to put Arizona over the top. Not to mention that the humidity-prone Saints figure to be confused the dry desert heat of Glendale. While it will do wonders for those players with tuberculosis it will take at least two and a half quarters to acclimate, at which point it will be too late.
Detroit @ San Diego
Once more into the breach old friends! It's another chapter in one of the NFL's greatest rivalries: Lions vs. Chargers. And fear not, the personification of this classic match-up, the rivalry's very own mascot, Leo Boltman, the electric, dancing lion will surely be in attendance. Whether it's your first Detroit/SD game or your last, this one should be a real treat. Unless it's your last, that means you're going to die soon.
Tennessee @ Tampa Bay
It's the #1 pick in the draft going up against #2 when Jameis Winston takes on Marcus Mariota, with the simple stipulation that whoever loses must go back to college after the game is done, choose a new major, and complete their eligibility, forfeiting millions of dollars in the process, of course. Why would either player agree to this you ask? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can tell you for certain that it's not made up, in case that's what you're intimating.
Cincinnati @ Oakland
With every new season comes the chance to turn it all around. For Andy Dalton and the Bengals that means actually winning a playoff game. For the Raiders it means finishing the season with a winning record. Do I think either of these things will happen? No. But September is a time for dreamers, so why not let them believe? Unfortunately I can't count myself among those folks. I haven't had a dream in six years. It's to the point now where I'm wondering if this is actually the opposite, and in reality just one six year long dream that I haven't woken up from. You guys would tell me if that were the case, right?
Baltimore @ Denver
These two teams faced off in the opening week of 2013 as well. In that contest Peyton Manning tied an NFL record by throwing 7 touchdown passes. It seemed like a remarkable achievement at the time until later in that very same season when Nick Foles matched it. If you ask me, Peyton's never been the same again. He's constantly haunted by the idea that he's no better than Nick Foles. Perhaps this rematch will jog Manning from his funk, or perhaps he will devolve deeper into his existential nightmare with nary an end in sight. So in other words there's quite a bit riding on this one. Peyton and co. usually start the season hot, which makes them the pick here.
New York Giants @ Dallas
As I mentioned in the season preview, we have managed to land a premiere NFL mind to contribute guest analysis for the Sunday night games this season. In fact, it's the man who provides the color commentary for Sunday Night Football himself. That's right, Mr. Cris Collinsworth! Now, we only have audio from him due to some webcam issues, that we will hopefully have ironed out by next week. But, we've ingeniously provided a charming photo of him in the clip below to make things easier on you. Let's hear his thoughts on this match-up:
Dynamite stuff CC. I'll ride his wave of excitement and take Dallas.
Philadelphia @ Atlanta
The biggest question coming into this match up is how long will Sam Bradford be able to remain on the field? Despite what some may think, I just don't see him staying out there the whole game. It's crazy to think that the Falcons won't possess the ball for at least a few minutes. And if they do it would require Bradford to play both ways, something I'm not sure he's capable of. Also, he's probably going to blow out both of his knees on the first snap.
Minnesota @ San Francisco
After the mass exodus of players and coaches this offseason the 49ers cupboard is quite bare. So bare, in fact, that new head coach Jim Tomsula will also be starting at middle linebacker alongside Navarro Bowman. I realize he's a fiery little guy, but putting him out on the field at this point in his life is unwise and downright dangerous. In all honesty though, the rapid demise of the Niners has almost inspired sympathy from me. It's kind of sad ... Kind of. But in the end I'm not losing sleep over it. If there's a silver lining for them it's that San Francisco doesn't have much to lose, because their expectations are so low ... because they look shitty.