Packers @ Seahawks

GB - Dumps

I love Aaron Rodgers and his starry blue eyes as much as the next person, but he can only carry Green Bay so far this season. The success of the Packers will largely depend on their defense, which hasn’t been a strength in recent years. On the other side, Russell Wilson still isn’t as good as Seattle thinks while the Seahawks are one Percy Harvin injury away from having no one to catch the ball. At some point, Marshawn Lynch will come crashing back down to Earth with all the miles logged on his Lamborghini. And the NFL is supposedly now enforcing the actual rules after allowing Seattle to consistently mug opposing receivers. Hopefully the Regression Monster will hunt down and destroy the Seahawks, but there probably won’t be any evidence of that in this matchup. Without B.J. Raji, Green Bay will be very vulnerable to the run all year.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Saints @ Falcons

New Orleans is already a popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl for those who don’t want to chalk up Seattle for a repeat. But are they really a polished product? Just like their initials: NO. Drew Brees is still trying to cling onto his spot amongst the top QBs in the NFL, but his weapons have grown increasingly mediocre. If the Saints can’t pound the run, I’ll have my doubts about Breezy’s ability to carry New Orleans deep into the playoffs. However, the division rival Atlanta Falcons are coming off a complete mess of a season. No one should have confidence in Atlanta’s head coach Mike Smith, which is the absolute apex of generic white guy names. Matt Ryan will post better numbers if Julio Jones and Roddy White can stay healthy, but the Falcons have serious issues on the defensive side and they’re also willingly counting on 47-year old Stephen Jackson—arguably a contender for most generic black guy names. New Orleans will create enough turnovers to put Atlanta’s defense in a position to make stops. Not gonna work out well for ATL.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Bills @ Bears

Buffalo sucks so bad that they just gave $10 million over two years to recently retired Kyle Orton to be a backup to E.J. Manuel. That does not bode well for E.J. Manuel’s career as a NFL QB, which didn’t get off to such a rousing start considering the Bills broke both arms reaching for him so early in the 1st Round. Buffalo could be a sneaky dangerous team later in the season if the Bills can keep C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson healthy and effective. But the Bears are not a team you want to start the season against. Chicago just needs Smokin’ Jay to place throws where only Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery can reach up and catch them because there’s not a better jump ball receiver duo in the NFL. Matt Forte will continue to be underrated and underappreciated as he registers another solid season in his consistently good career. Whether Chicago can win the division depends on their defensive improvement. The defense will be good enough in this game, but there’s serious questions as to how competitive the Bears will be against the likes of Green Bay and Detroit later this year.

Win: Chicago Bears

Titans @ Chiefs

It’s The Whiz versus The Walrus! Jake Locker against Alex Smith! Somehow, this still isn’t the most boring game on the opening week slate. Kansas City literally has a huge red flag marked on them as everyone expects regression to the mean. As long as Jamaal Charles can stay healthy, the Chiefs could still scratch and claw for a Wild Card spot. But Tennessee is equally mediocre with a chance of being good. Still trying to reclaim the glory of the Jeff Fisher era, the Titans are counting on Jake Locker to be healthy. Over the long-term, I would put more faith in Tennessee vying for a playoff spot, but Arrowhead is such an important home field advantage that it makes Kansas City a slight favorite.

Win: Kansas City Chiefs

Vikings @ Rams

Easily the most boring game of the week. Absolutely no one cares about watching Matt Cassel against Shaun Hill. Whoever wins this matchup of mediocre proportions will depend on the running game that breaks for multiple scores. I might be crazy, but that seems to favor Minnesota and Adrian Peterson—who could also make a difference in the passing game if Norv Turner’s offseason speak can be trusted. St. Louis’ defense is stacked on the defensive line, but the Rams don’t possess enough offense to keep up with most opposing teams.

Win: Minnesota Vikings

Patriots @ Dolphins

NE - Glass

Prepare yourself for another year of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. New England will be there again in the AFC Championship game unless something happens to Mr. Bündchen. Miami is not a threat to anyone aside from Jonathan Martin. They’re actually so incompetent that they think Ryan Tannehill may be their problem. The Patriots should dominate the Dolphins both offensively and defensively, and the fans (or people who happen to wander into the stadium) in Miami won’t care one way or another.

Win: New England Patriots

Raiders @ Jets

Everyone knows by now that no NFL player wants to reside in Oakland with the Raiders. Oakland desperately needs to save themselves from themselves and just fire Reggie McKenzie now. This is the only front office that though Matt Schaub should still have a starting NFL gig. That didn’t last very long. Now with rookie Derek Carr at the helm, the Raiders should just be happy if they manage to keep him upright more often that his brother’s historically awful rookie campaign. Carr will provide glimpses of hope—perhaps even in this game against New York’s shitty secondary—but you can pencil in Oakland for a prime draft position again. Don’t count on the Jets to be considerably better because they’re just a small losing streak away from firing Rex Ryan and becoming a complete dumpster fire. Geno Smith will fail to inspire hope, Michael Vick will play briefly before getting hurt, and the Jets will be forced to turn back to Geno near the end of the year. This story doesn’t have a happy ending.

Win: New York Jets

Jaguars @ Eagles

Even with DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia’s offense is going to be an imposing juggernaut. The defense will surely lose them some close games, but don’t expect the Jaguars to put up that much of a fight unless Nick Foles implodes. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see a cameo from Mark Sanchez later this season, but the Eagles will be in trouble if Mr. Butt Fumble is starting more than a handful of games. For Jacksonville, the only glimmer of promise will happen when Blake Bortles takes the field in place of Chad Henne. Until that time comes, the Jaguars will be in the same sorry position as the Vikings—just biding their time with a veteran before their future long-term solution has an opportunity. Chad “King of Garbage Time” Henne might get close to 300 yards in catch-up mode, but this competition will not be close.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Browns @ Steelers

Will Johnny Manziel play? Will I give a shit? Cleveland has proven to be an incompetent franchise with no real direction or leadership. While the Browns actually seemed to be building something last season, that turned out to only be a bowel movement as the owner Jimmy Haslam excise the waste. With Josh Gordon suspended pending league agreement on a new drug policy, Jordan Cameron at tight end will remain the team’s only receiving threat. If opposing defenses blanket coverage to take away that option, both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Acne face an uphill climb to be competitive. Pittsburgh will continue to own this rivalry as long as Bell and Blount avoid smoking weed on their way to the game again.

Win: Pittsburgh Steelers

Bengals @ Ravens

BAL - Bland

Is there a more boring NFL player than Joe Flacco? The man is like a young Al Gore in football pads. I’m surprised his teammates don’t fall asleep in the huddle when he’s calling plays. There are a lot of signs that point to Baltimore struggling to remain relevant, and the Ray Rice distraction (a.k.a. brutally beating his then-fiancée/now-wife) certainly didn’t help start the season off on the right foot. However, I still can’t trust the Red Rocket Andy Dalton and his dog dick colored hair. Every team in this division might just suck enough to enable all of them to be in the mix late into the season. For now, my faith will reside in Cincinnati’s Gio Bernard—a breakout star if the Bengals don’t bungle his usage.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Redskins @ Texans

A strong contender for the “Who Gives a Shit?” designation for this week’s most boring game. However, there’s enough intrigue regarding the health of RG Knee that elevates this turd a level higher on the trash heap. I’m not convinced either team significantly improved this offseason, but the team with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting QB is certainly worse. Washington backup Kirk Cousins might even be the best QB in this matchup. Houston’s defense will have to carry them in this game and throughout the season in order for the team to have a winning record. The other storyline in this game is the distraction of the most offensive nickname in team sports. It’s just disrespectful to refer to someone as that, and there should be no debate that the team should change its name. I mean, who wants to be called a Texan? I can’t imagine anything worse.

Win: Washington Redskins

49ers @ Cowboys

SF - Cops

Breaking News: the entire San Francisco 49ers’ defense has just been arrested for running a train on a few women of the night. Roughly 86% of the 49ers have had a run-in with the law this offseason—that might be a lie. But San Francisco is certainly the most vulnerable they will ever be to start the season. Even with the league’s worst defense, Dallas could steal a victory away from an NFC contender by running the ball and picking their spots deep with Dez Bryant. Somehow, I still expect Jim Harbaugh to will San Francisco to a win. Against the Cowboys defense, Harbaugh might even be able to put on the pads and do some damage throwing the ball all over their atrocious secondary.

Win: San Francisco 49ers

Panthers @ Buccaneers

Whether this game is remotely worth discussing depends on Cam Newton’s health. If Derek Anderson is instead throwing to the likes of Jerrico Cotchery, then the Panthers don’t stand a fucking chance. With Cam Newton, Carolina was the team most likely to not reach the playoffs. On the other side, Tampa Bay just needs to give Josh McCown enough time to heave jump balls to the Buccaneers basketball team of receivers. Since the Panthers will have their Superman stuck in the phone booth, expect Tampa Bay to increase the temperature in their hot air balloon with a decisive victory against a division foe.

Win: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Colts @ Broncos

Indianapolis had no business being in the playoffs last year. But that’s the impressive strength of Andrew “The Giant” Luck. With a running attack that struggles to reach the line of scrimmage, the pressure will be on Luck to pull those horseshoes out of his ass again. Barring a miracle, that won’t happen this Sunday night against the Denver Broncos. It doesn’t matter who is catching those perfectly placed passes from Peyton Manning. Denver will post points on the piss poor defense of the Colts, and Luck will have to similarly embarrass the Broncos defense. Especially since the game is at Mile High, Manning will spread the ball all over and lead the Broncos on a string of scoring drives. I’m just happy to have another year of Peyton Manning playing football in my life. I can’t imagine how little I will care about the NFL once he is done…until one of his sons takes the league by storm.

Win: Denver Broncos

Giants @ Lions

The Detroit Lions were so bad and undisciplined last year that they thought it was a bright idea to literally hire a black mannequin as coach. But he’s not just any black mannequin: Jim Caldwell is THE Black Mannequin. An unblinking abomination of plastic with a mustache, Caldwell considers himself a Christian first and foremost (an actual line printed on an old Colts game program). I expect Caldwell to be a doormat for Detroit because I cannot envision a scenario in which any of their thugs would listen or respect him. Let’s be honest, Peyton Manning was the player/coach of the Colts so this really should be considered Caldwell’s rookie year. However, the Giants are struggling to grasp a new offensive system and their defense is still remarkably unremarkable. While New York may very well stay around .500 for much of the season, Eli is the team’s only chance of upsetting the Lions at home on Monday Night Football.

Win: Detroit Lions

Chargers @ Cardinals

How much can the Cardinals overcome? Arizona’s defense has been mangled to shreds of last year’s stout unit, and there are too many “next man up” players populating along the line and linebacker core. Meanwhile, San Diego is the most likely sleeper to cash in on the early pre-season hype. If the offensive line is improved, Philip “Li’l Dick” Rivers might be able to throw outside the tackle box instead of checking down and dumping it off at every opportunity. Expect the Chargers to exploit Danny Woodhead as a backfield receiver and hopefully they’ll have the wherewithal to pepper passes to Ladarius Green on intermediate routes. If enough pressure is put on Carson “#3-INT” Palmer, San Diego can just rely on a mediocre running game to keep possession and control the clock. Arizona has a slight chance if Andre Ellington actually plays, but the Cardinals would be wise to take it slow with their true offensive focal point. This could turn ugly quick if Arizona’s defense is as bad as it appears on paper.

Win: San Diego Chargers


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