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2014 NFL WEEK 1 – GAMES OF THE WEEK

Picking “games of the week” in the NFL is almost a useless task as you can make an argument that every game is important to the overall success of failure of a team. Each game creates an amazing narrative regardless of where the teams find themselves in the standings. I’m going to try and stick to 10 games a week, but if there is a week where all 16 games are compelling I’ll list them. This week has some amazing games on tap. It should be an amazing start of another great NFL season.

 

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It doesn’t get any better than #18 going against his former team in round 2 in Denver. The Manning v. Colts story isn’t as good a one as it was last year in Peyton’s return to Indianapolis, and this time around the focus will be more on the teams & how they’ll play one another. Visions of Denver HAMMERING Baltimore a year ago in Week 1 are dancing in my head, but the Colts showed they weren’t fazed by the Broncos a year ago & are good in their own right. These two teams are expected to win their divisions so obviously this could be a playoff preview & of course Manning v. Luck is a must see event.
Green Bay was 6-2 when Aaron Rodgers got hurt & missed significant amounts of time. It cannot be understated that if Rodgers is under center, the Packers are never out of a football game. This is an incredible game for the NFL season to start with as the Packers are a great football team traveling to the defending Super Bowl champions. The Seahawks will be raising the banner so it’ll be interesting to see how much of a dogfight they’ll actually be in once the pregame celebrations are complete. This is another instance of two teams who are expected to win their division in a potential playoff preview.
I think this will be an interesting game in regards to whether or not Atlanta really is back to their ways before they were injury ravaged a season ago. For the Saints I wonder what the effects will be for them having won a playoff game on the road in Philadelphia? To me the Saints have an embarrassment of riches on offense especially because Kenny Stills can play & the Saints drafted Brandin Cooks. Mark Ingram is strong & the Falcons defense is going to have a brutal time stopping the Saints while trying to score on a Rex Ryan defense. I could see New Orleans establishing dominance in this game.
I think this game is interesting because while the Ravens will be dealing with the loss of RB Ray Rice, the Bengals are actually breaking in 2 new coordinators as OC Jay Gruden is now the HC of the Washington Redskins & DC Mike Zimmer is the HC of the Minnesota Vikings. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bengals have any lingering effects from that drastic of a change. I’m not sure the Bengals would go into Baltimore & get a win anyway but this game could signal a sea change in the AFC North especially with the Steelers looking so good. Cincinnati has the distinct possibility of finishing in 3rd place.
I doubt highly the Cowboys win this game, but as long as the Dallas offense remains healthy, they should be able to put up quite a bit of points even against a defense as stout as the 49ers. The probably for Dallas is that Tony Romo is a huge injury risk & the defense is downright awful. What Dallas can’t have happen is a blowout loss to a hated rival at home to open up the season! The best part is that it seems likely to happen which means the Jason Garrett watch is on. I don’t know if Garrett will last the season & the first nail in his coffin could definitely be the season opener against a TOUGH 49ers team.
Sometimes you have to look ahead to see what a game really implies. For the Dolphins, if they have any type of aspirations to be a contender in the AFC East, they need to beat the Patriots at home especially in Game 1 when some players could be rusty. Four of Miami’s first 5 games come against the Patriots, Chiefs, Bears & Packers! The 5th game is a road date in Buffalo. If Miami starts the season 0-5 then I don’t see how Joe Philbin keeps his job. Ryan Tannehill will probably be considered a bust & it would be time to rebuild. That’s a lot of pressure for Game 1, but things implode pretty quickly.
The NFC South has a tradition it seems of last place teams finishing first the following season. While I don’t see the Bucs getting the better than the Saints, they’ve made enough significant improvements in all facets of the game that they could easily over take the Falcons for 3rd. The next spot would be the Panthers who lost so much on the offensive line & secondary that the Bucs could make a serious run at 2nd place in the South. This game will be a good barometer of where the Bucs are. If QB Josh McCown can be effective then I think the Bucs could be onto something & fight for a playoff spot. A sexy pick.
The Cardinals were probably the best team in the NFL not to make the playoffs last season but this game is very interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that I don’t think you can understate Arizona losing Karlos Dansby, Darnell Dockett & Daryl Washington from their defense. The Chargers might be even better offensively this season in HC Mike McCoy’s 2nd season so the Bolts could pose significant problems. The other issues is that Arizona needs to win home games because playing in the NFC West is going to be tough enough. This is a game they almost have to win but signs point towards SD.
This is a game that is probably not on most people’s radar but I think Chiefs/Titans could be somewhat intriguing. You know that most Chiefs fans believe they are a playoff contender and the Titans faithful always feel like Tennessee is this close to getting into the playoffs. The Titans don’t play that bad when Jake Locker is QB and right now at least he’s healthy. I also don’t think Kansas City was nearly as good as their record indicated and their early season schedule isn’t nearly as soft. Tennessee isn’t awful & I think this game will be looked back on as one of the games either team had to win to contend.
Living in Indianapolis, I can attest that I’m not a huge Jim Caldwell fan which is why I thought it was completely amazing that the Lions would tab Caldwell as their new HC after firing Jim Schwartz. The Lions offense should fire on all cylinders especially if everyone can stay healthy. There is simply too much offensive firepower, but it’s almost like a car wreck waiting to happen because I’m not sure in what way Caldwell will screw it up. Another interesting part of this game is that Detroit’s defense is pretty good & NY is trying a new West Coast offensive scheme. It’ll be interesting to see how Eli does with it.
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September 4, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Week 1

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