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Welcome to the blog of The Killer Nacho, known to most mortals as Timothy J. Sharpe, a Computer Science graduate of Messiah College and currently a Systems Analyst for Sunoco Logistics. Within this tome of pages, one will find my innermost thoughts about various things concerning things that I enjoy. These subjects include, but are not limited to, roleplaying, gaming, American Football (the NFL), things to do with computers, philosophy, movies that are awesome, TV shows that are awesome, my own writings and creative works, and dangerous Mexican snacks.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 1 NFL 2011 Power Rankings and Predictions: Football is Back!

It seems with the short off-season, football has almost "sneaked up" on me this season.You know, it's almost hard to believe that the first week of the regular season starts this Thursday! Having said that, I'm really excited, and really excited about this column on my blog once again. This year, I'll be starting from the beginning, Week 1, for my Power Rankings and Predictions. The outline of these posts should be similar to last season's, with a notable addition ... One, you'll notice that each game will also be simulated using my American Football simulator, in addition to my own prediction (the listed score is the average score of 1000 games, not a single game, so it is more of a prediction than a simulation). I'll also keep track of the W-L of the AMS. Should be interesting.
Without further delay, my Week 1 Power Rankings:

Biggest Winner: Detroit Lions (+9)
Biggest Loser: Oakland Raiders (-16)

1. New England Patriots (14-2, +0): At the end of the year last year, I had the Patriots ranked #1. While they did not go all the way as I expected, I still have them ranked as my #1 team. Why? There are lots of reasons. For one, I think that the Patriots' young TEs Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski will continue to improve, especially under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. While Ochocinco has not looked good this preseason, the trade sent the same shivers up my spine that the Randy Moss trade did years ago. Finally, the Patriots addressed arguably their largest weakness, the defense, in this year's Free Agency. With them looking to run more of a 4-3 this year, they've acquired DEs Andre Carter and Shaun Ellis, and also added DT Albert Haynesworth, who I still consider to be one of the game's top 4-3 DTs when motivated. This adds to the depth they already had on the defensive line with All-Pro DT Vince Wilfork and DE Mike Wright. The Patriots are (unfortunately for me) going to be sick this year.

2. Green Bay Packers (10-6, +5): Most analysts have Green Bay #1 right now, and while I still think they are a great football team, there are a few reasons to doubt the Super Bowl champs. For one thing, their defense has looked pretty poor this pre-season. This can be explained by some key defensive losses, but might also have to do with a Super Bowl hangover. While I do think the Pack has too much talent on the defense to be bad, it may take a few weeks for them to come together as a unit. On the other hand, Green Bay's offense looks more brutal than ever with Aaron Rodgers looking great and getting some key players back from injury, including TE Jermichael Finley. We're bound to see some great things from the Pack this year.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, +1): As most of you know, there is a little curse rumored to be around the NFL runner up on the following season. As it goes, the loser of the Super Bowl will miss the playoffs the following year. I have a hard time seeing this for the Steelers. Still sporting arguably the game's best defense, the Steelers should continue to dominate teams defensively. Offensively, I actually think that Ben Reothlisberger will have a good year. In my opinion, the young Pittsburgh offensive line will improve as the season goes on, and WR Mike Wallace is entering his prime, and is a dangerous offensive threat.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, +2): Philadelphia's aggressive off-season moves has given them the dub of "the Dream Team". While several of the moves have been good, is Philadelphia really a 'Dream Team'? They won the Asomugha sweepstakes, bringing the undeniably Top-2 CB to the franchise. They also signed DE Jason Babin, and got CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round pick for Kevin Kolb, an absolute steal. The funny part about it is that Rodgers-Cromartie will probably be the nickel back, since the Eagles already have Asomugha and Samuel, considered two of the top CBs in the game. Other notable signings include RB Ronnie Brown, OT Ryan Harris, and QB Vince Young. Despite all of these great signings, though, the Eagles still have some noticeable flaws. For one thing, the entire Linebacker corp and Safety corp are question marks. While the Eagles may have some talent in these areas, it is unknown if it will all work out as the starters are largely unproven. Further, the right side of the Eagles' offensive line is an absolute mess... Vick will have to use his legs plenty of times this season. If the Eagles can overcome their shortcomings, however, it can be argued they are the most talented team in the league.

5. Atlanta Falcons (13-3, -3): Atlanta is still the same team as last year, and should enjoy another successful year. There are two main concerns I have with the Falcons. One, Michael Turner is at the time of a RB's career that he'll begin to lose a step. I don't think we'll see the same kind of success from him we've seen in previous years, and I don't think the Falcons have a worthwhile replacement on the roster. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan has looked great, but has been unable to win games when it counted. This will be a big year for him, since I think Atlanta's passing attack will play a bigger role in 2011. Defensively, they addressed the pass rush concern by bringing in free agent DE Ray Edwards, so their defense looks to be solid again.

6. New Orleans Saints (11-5, -1): Drew Brees, finally healthy, has looked like a changed man this pre-season. Now that he's completely healthy, we shouldn't see the interception-riddled season we saw from him this past season. That alone will make New Orleans a threat. To add to this, however, New Orleans has several good RB (including rookie Mark Ingram) that will allow them to set up a devastating rushing attack. Defensively, New Orleans made their already-great defensive line better with free agent acquisitions DT Shaun Rodgers, DE Turk McBride, and DT Aubrayo Franklin (who is likely to be a run-stuffing specialist) and 1st round pick DE Cameron Jordan. While they still have questions at Linebacker, we should see a devastating front four from New Orleans all season.

7. Baltimore Ravens (12-4, -4): For the past couple years, I've been really high on Baltimore at the beginning of the season. This year, I have some concerns. While I still consider them one of the league's top contenders, Baltimore has severe offensive line concerns right now, and QB Joe Flacco lost two of his favorite receiving options this off-season when the Ravens said good-bye to WR Derrick Mason and TE Todd Heap. On the flip-side, this may be RB Ray Rice's season to shine.Their defense looks to continue to be an asset, but I'm worried about their secondary. Aside from Ed Reed, their secondary is filled with mediocrity and question marks.

8. Chicago Bears (11-5, +0): Last year wasn't a fluke for the Bears, I think. A lot of people are down on the Bears this season, but this is a team with a lot of defensive depth who has done a good job addressing its needs this off-season. They addressed their offensive line need early in the draft with OT Gave Carimi. From there, they added WR Roy Williams to the mix, who should find success in Mike Martz's offense. Last week, they improved even more by signing FS Brandon Meriweather, who was released from the Patriots. He should start Week 1 opposite of Chris Harris. I think Jay Cutler will get better protection this season than he did last. Do not be surprised if the Bears pull off another 11-5 season.

9. New York Jets (11-5, +0): The Jets are a bit overrated going into this season, but they still have several things going for them. A superb coaching staff, one of the league's better secondaries complete with 'Revis Island', a solid offensive line, and two serviceable running backs. They've also seemed to find a completely Fullback in John Conner. However, the Quarterback position is still a point of major concern. Mark Sanchez has not really developed into an top-tier Quarterback. While he's had success in post-season, he is mistake prone and the Jets have not improved their receiving corp much. WR acquisitions Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason have not looked good, and these experiments will likely fail in New York.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6, +3): As most of you know, I was not on the Bucs' hype train last season, but I do like them going into this season. While poor pre-season play from QB Josh Freeman may make me regret this decision later, I think their young offense will continue to improve. Josh Freeman had great play last year, and the emergence of RB LeGarrette Blount will help take the pressure off of him. The Bucs also have a strong secondary with Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber, Sean Jones, and Tanard Jackson (when he returns).

11. Detroit Lions (6-10, +9): Despite the injury bug hitting the Lions hard this pre-season (including losing their first two draft picks to season injuries), I'm going to jump on this Lions' bandwagon. They are headed in the right direction, and Matthew Stafford has looked great this preseason. If he can stay healthy, the Lions have a serious shot at playoff contention. Defensively, the Detriot Front 7 is absolutely sick, and that's all I really need to say.

12. San Diego Chargers (9-7, +2): Last year was one of the only years in recent memory where they were not AFC West champions, but I think this year we'll see an improvement in terms of record from the Chargers. Philip Rivers is one of the league's best passers, and he'll get WR Vincent Jackson and TE Antonio Gates back (Jackson from hold-out, Gates from injury). This should be one scary offense this season, and the defense should be great too. The key is not being burned by punt returns.

13. Houston Texans (6-10, +5): I really like what the Texans are doing on defense. Wade Phillips may not be a good head coach, but he can be a hell of a Defensive Coordinator. And instead of spending huge money on a single free agent Nnamdi Asomugha, they decided to share the wealth by adding several good secondary talents such as CB Jonathan Joseph and FS Danieal Manning (who is very underrated). The one thing I dislike is how the transition to the 3-4 will affect Mario Williams, who is much better fit to the 4-3 DE. While he will try out the 3-4 OLB position, he may not be quick enough to fill the role. The Texans ought to be fielding trade offers for Williams right now, but I'm not sure if they will... I can't see him being anything more than an average OLB.

14. New York Giants (10-6, -2): Eli Manning may think he's one of the league's best Quarterbacks, but I sure don't. His career has been beyond mediocre, and he's had one of the worst pre-seasons for a Quarterback that I've ever seen. To make matters worse for the Giants, it appears that someone in the organization really pissed off a witch-doctor or something 'cause the Giants have been decimated by injuries. Add to the fact that their offensive line looks a lot worse than last by cutting Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert and the loss of TE Kevin Boss, its hard to really get excited about the Giants this year.

15. Dallas Cowboys (6-10, +2): They got rid of Wade Phillips, are getting Tony Romo back from injury, got an exciting Defensive Coordinator in Rob Ryan, and completely redid the offensive line by removing old out-dated trash and replacing it with young talent. Its hard to say how all of these changes will add up this season, but I think this makes Dallas overall a better football team. There will be some bumps and hills this season, but this talented team should rebound from its poor performance last year.

16. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6, -5): First of all... really, Todd Haley? He defiantly regrets keeping his starters late into the 3rd quarter of the 4th pre-season game now, as it put TE Tony Moeaki on injured reserve, and makes QB Matt Cassel questionable. Having said that, I think the Chiefs will have a hard time reaching last season's success. Last year they had a pretty easy schedule and while they have a solid team after an interesting off-season, they weren't really a 10-6 team last year if they didn't play in the AFC West.

17. St. Louis Rams (7-9, +8): Sam Bradford proved last season that he is a legitimate NFL quarterback, and should only improve in 2011. Trouble is, who will he be throwing the ball to? The Rams have receiver trouble. Amendola is solid but nothing special, Mark Clayton still has his injury lingering, Donnie Avery was cut, and Mike Sims-Walker has not looked good in pre-season or training camp. To make matters worse, Steven Jackson is aging. Despite all this, I still have the Rams as favorites to win the NFC West. Not that that's saying very much, is it?

18. Minnesota Vikings (6-10, +3): Goodbye, Brett Favre; hello Donovan McNabb. The Vikings should be much of the same team we saw last year. Inconsistent passing game, solid defense, and of course, Adrian Peterson. Their success this year will largely be determined by how well McNabb is able to play. It doesn't help being in a division with Green Bay, Chicago, and Detroit, though. Still, I like their overall chances better than I did last year.

19. Miami Dolphins (7-9, +0): At the end of last season, the Dolphins had two major problems: the offensive line and the quarterback position. At the beginning of this season, the Dolphins have two major problems: the offensive line and the quarterback position. This coming from a Head Coach whose specialty is supposedly the offensive line... go figure. Despite these problems, the Dolphins' defense is one of the best in the NFL and will certainly help them win enough games to miss out on Andrew Luck. Rookie C Mike Pouncey has looked pretty good in camp and pre-season, but the entire right side of the offensive line needs major work. Vernon Carey has struggled at RG (why did they move him from RT?) and Marc Colombo just sucks. Chad Henne will continue to be inconsistent. At least Captain Checkdown will have Reggie Bush this year, who is likely the league's best checkdown. And due to stud WR Brandon Marshall, he'll have a few good games statistically. Expect a mediocre year from the Fins.

20. Indianapolis Colts (10-6, -10): Let's face it. The Colts without Peyton Manning is at best a 3-win team. And with Manning looking to be doubtful for Week 1, they are looking to Kerry Collins (who has only been on the team for two weeks) to fill the void. This will not end well for the Colts, and they better hope to get Peyton back as soon as possible.

***UPDATE***: Word on the street is that Peyton Manning had a 3rd surgery, which would sideline him for a minimum of 2-3 months... worse case, he could go on IR. Beforehand, I was thinking the Colts could survive a few weeks, waiting for Manning's return, but there is no way the Colts will find their way into the playoffs with Kerry Collins under center for most (if not all) of the season. For this reason, I'm dropping the Colts to #21 on these Power Rankings. They'll win some games on defense alone, but that offense will be ineffective without Peyton.

21. Tennessee Titans (6-10, +1): I don't view Matt Hasselbeck much of an improvement on anyone at this point in his career. Having said that, now that Chris Johnson has re-signed, all he needs to do is hand the ball to Johnson, so he should be able to do that. All those who prayed for Chris Johnson to make his millions of dollars, rejoice. Too bad Chris Johnson is one of the only things really going for the Titans this season.

22. Cleveland Browns (5-11, +4): Seeing with Pat Shurmur did for Sam Bradford, I think he can do the same for Colt McCoy. Deep down, Cleveland still has a good offensive line and Peyton Hillis & Montario Hardesty should see success running behind them this season (maybe not Hillis due to the Madden Curse, but we'll see). The two things that concerns me is the defense, which I feel will have growing pains going back to the 4-3, and the receiving corp, which is completely unspectacular (look for TE Benjamin Watson and RB Peyton Hillis to be McCoy's favorite targets).

23. Buffalo Bills (4-12, +6): Buffalo may be headed in the right direction under Chan Gailey. Ryan Fitzpatrick has developed into a solid NFL Quarterback, and a strong draft and off-season has given the Bills a solid front-seven on defense. While their overall talent level is still low and they should not compete this season (especially in the AFC East), they could surprise people. Offensive line and the defensive secondary look to be a concern.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8, -8): I believe this season marks the beginning of the end for lame-duck coach Jack Del Rio. He's an unspectacular coach, and I believe the players will not be inspired to play for him this season. Honestly, he should've been gone a couple of years ago. Look for Blaine Gabbert to be starting sometime mid-season, David Garrard is still David Garrard. They still have a pretty decent defense, but in a tough division they will struggle.

***UPDATE***: Looks like the Jaguars did what I thought they'd do, except much sooner than I thought they would, get rid of starting QB David Garrard. Not just bench him, either. The Jaguars have cut David Garrard, days before the season opener against Tennessee. Really, Jacksonville? What did he do, sleep with Del Rio's wife or something? In any event, Luke McCown, not rookie Blaine Gabbert, will replace him as the starter (but I expect Gabbert to be starting soon). This is the beginning of the end of the Del Rio era in Jacksonville.

25. Denver Broncos (4-12, +5): With Tim Tebow falling to #4 on the depth chart and former high round picks being swatted like flies by the new Broncos regime, Josh McDaniels must be laughing his ass off right now by trolling the Broncos organization. Well played, sir, well played. In any event, the Broncos won't be terrible this season. John Fox isn't a bad head coach like some seem to think he is, and the defense ought to be scary with Von Doom (combination of OLB Von Miller and DE Elvis Dumervil) leading the pass rush. Offensively, QB Kyle Orton should find success with WR Brandon Lloyd again. I don't think Denver is ready to really compete yet, but they will improve from last season's 4-12 record.

26. San Francisco 49ers (6-10, +2): Seriously, Alex Smith must have something on the 49ers owner... how the heck does this guy still have a starting Quarterback job, let alone for the 49ers? Anyway, the 49ers aren't really ready to start competing under Jim Harbaugh. Quarterback is still an issue, and their only offensive threat is RB Frank Gore, who will likely be injured half way through the season. Depending on how bad Alex Smith actually is, we may see some play from rookie QB Colin Kaepernick this season. And if they're really bad, maybe we'll see a reunion of Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh next season.

27. Carolina Panthers (2-14, +5): Honestly, the team with the top pick is rarely actually the worst team. When you have the worst record in the NFL, injuries and other factors (including lame-duck head coaches) and often more to blame than actual roster talent. This is the case with the Panthers, I think. Their offensive line is talented and healthy again. Their defense has several play-makers in John Beason and Chris Gamble, so I will be slightly shocked if Carolina has the top pick again next season. As for rookie QB Cam Newton, I was against the pick and the decision to start him, but it won't be all bad for the Panthers. I think he'll have a similar season to Vince Young his rookie year; he'll make big plays for both teams.

28. Arizona Cardinals (5-11, +3): The Cardinals got their "franchise Quarterback" but they sold their soul to get it. Kevin "corn on the" Kolb isn't worth a starting CB and a 2nd round pick, but the Cardinals really did need Quarterback help. Ken Whisenhunt knows another poor season will likely mean he's done, so I don't blame him for trying. Unfortanutely for him, Kolb is an average Quarterback at best. Highly surprised Larry Fitzgerald decided to sign long-term before seeing how Kolb would work out.

29. Washington Redskins (6-10, -5): Granted... Grossman vs Beck is a lose-lose situation, but Rex Grossman is one of the worst starting Quarterbacks in the last decade. While he can have some good games, he has incredible inconsistency. I'm not a real fan of the Redskins defense despite looking okay on paper (Shanahan has shown ineptitude in building defenses in the past), and starting RB Tim Hightower is not starting quality. To make matters worse, the Redskins interior OL is still bad. Michael Lombardi picked the Skins to win the NFC East this season, the only explanation I can think of is that he was intoxicated at the time. The ironic thing is that the Redskins are probably good enough to miss on Andy Luck next season... will they ever get a franchise QB?

30. Seattle Seahawks (7-9, -7): Tavaris Jackson ... really? Don't let a playoff win fool you, the Seahawks were not good last season, and did very little to improve this season. Their offensive line is horrid, so they can't really trust their running game to Marshawn Lynch nor Justin Forsett. While receiving acquisitions WR Sidney Rice and TE Zach Miller may seem sexy, we must not forget who is throwing them the football. Seattle will struggle this year. They will have a good shot at Andrew Luck... maybe that's Pete Carroll's master plan?

31. Oakland Raiders (8-8, -16): Welcome to Oakland, Andrew Luck? The Raiders has had one of the worst off-seasons in recent memory. While it started out okay with (finally) addressing the offensive line early in the draft, it quickly turned bad as they allowed arguably their best offensive linemen (OG Robert Gallery), best defensive player (CB Nnamdi Asomugha) and best receiver (TE Zach Miller) to walk in free agency. Then to add to the madness, Oakland struggled hard with the salary cap due to outrageous contracts given to several players (CB Stanford Routt, OLB Kamerion Wimbley, and DT Richard Seymour). While they have some talent, the Raiders will struggle to beat even the NFL's worst teams this season.

32. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12, -5): Seriously, I can't decide who is stupider - Owner Mike Brown or QB Carson Palmer... actually, yes I do. Mike Brown. If he would've just traded Ochocinco and Palmer when they wanted to be traded, he could've ended up with several high-round draft selections. Instead, due to his arrogance, he trades Ochocinco for pennies, and allows Carson Palmer's contract to go wasted this season (in a market where Quarterbacks are rated very highly... Philadelphia traded their backup Quarterback for a starting Cornerback and a 2nd round pick, for Pete's sake!). Anyway, the Bengals are in disarray. Andy Dalton is not ready to be a starter, but he'll be forced into the role anyway. The Bengals will not win many games.

Predictions for next week

Prediction accuracy for 2010: 127-79 (61.65%)

Rodgers will need to be sharp to outscore NO.
New Orleans (0-0) @ Green Bay (0-0): Aw man, could the NFL pick a better game for the Thursday opener? Featured here is the Super Bowl champions against a much improved Saints team. I think this will be a high-scoring game, as Green Bay's defense has struggled a bit during the pre-season, possibly due to a Super Bowl hangover. Still, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense has looked spectacular and should be able to pull out the win. The Super Bowl winner never loses opening Thursday, so it would be unwise to pick against them. TKN's pick: Green Bay by 7; AFS prediction: New Orleans 22, Green Bay 30

Atlanta (0-0) @ Chicago (0-0): This should be a good game. Both teams were successful last year in the regular season. I think Chicago's defense will give trouble to Atlanta's offensive line, limiting the effectiveness of Michael Turner and Matt Ryan. Offensively, look for Jay Cutler to improve in his second year in Martz' offense, with a few interesting new receiving options to choose from. TKN's pick: Chicago by 3; AFS Prediction: Atlanta 23, Chicago 25

Indianapolis (0-0) @ Houston (0-0): With Peyton Manning out, I like the Texans here. Although its still a hard pick since the Texans also have injury concerns with star RB Arian Foster. Still, I like what the Texans did on defense, and they have a young RB in Ben Tate who has looked very good this pre-season to fill in for Foster if Foster does miss this game. Kerry Collins is a game manager at best in this career, and I can't see the Colts winning many games without Manning. TKN's pick: Houston by 10; AFS Prediction: Indianapolis 24, Houston 30

Buffalo (0-0) @ Kansas City (0-0): Kansas City has injury concerns for Quarterback Matt Cassel, this after putting TE Tony Moeaki on IR. Cassel's backup is Tyler Palko... who? This is all thanks to the ineptitude of Todd Haley, playing his starters into the 3rd quarter of the 4th pre-season game. Still, Arrowhead is a hard place to win and the Chiefs sport a great rushing attack and a solid defense. If Cassel plays, I think the Chiefs pull this out. If not, I may be wrong. TKN's pick: Kansas City by 3; AFS Prediction: Buffalo 20, Kansas City 25

Tennessee (0-0) @ Jacksonville (0-0): Honestly, this game's a toss-up for me. Neither of these teams look very good but I'm going to pick the Titans here due to Maurice Jones-Drew's injury concerns and the fact that his backup, talented RB Rashad Jennings, is out for the year. Look for the Tennessee defense to give David Garrard headaches, and Chris Johnson to be, well, Chris Johnson.

***UPDATE***: Without David Garrard, the Jaguars have even less than a chance. They plan to start Luke "McClown". Good luck with that, Jacksonville, he's even worse than Garrard.

TKN's pick: Tennessee by 7; AFS Prediction: Tennessee 23, Jacksonville 21

Cincinnati (0-0) @ Cleveland (0-0): Cleveland is headed in the right direction, Cincinnati is not. That's all I really need to say about this selection. Cleveland is more explosive on both sides of the ball, and this is an early opportunity to give QB Colt McCoy some confidence. Meanwhile, look for Bengals QB Andy Dalton to struggle in his first NFL start. TKN's pick: Cleveland by 7; AFS Prediction: Cincinnati 21, Cleveland 23

Philadelphia (0-0) @ St. Louis (0-0): St. Louis is by no means a 'gimmi' but it is one that the Dream Team should win. Andy Reid is extremely good in the first game of the season... I can't recall the last time he's lost one. While the Rams have a good shot at the NFC West this season, they lack the overall talent that the Eagles do, and the Eagles secondary should have an easy time covering St. Louis' poor wide receiver corp. TKN's pick: Philadelphia by 7; AFS Prediction: Philadelphia 31, St. Louis 25

Pittsburgh (0-0) @ Baltimore (0-0): Joe Flacco just can't beat Ben Roethlisberger, and I don't think he will this time, either. Flacco lost two of his favorite weapons this off-season in Derrick Mason and Todd Heap, and he is playing the best defense in the NFL. I don't expect Ray Rice to find much running room, either while Ben Roethlisberger could abuse Baltimore's soft Cornerback corp. TKN's pick: Pittsburgh by 7; AFS Prediciton: Pittsburgh 21, Baltimore 22

Stafford as looked great, can he show it in the regular season?
Detroit (0-0) @ Tampa Bay (0-0): As I mentioned in my Power Rankings, I'm high on both of these teams this season. At home, I'll give the nod to the Bucs. Part of the reason is that while Matthew Stafford has looked great in pre-season (again), he has yet to show anything when it counts. I think he'll lead the Lions to a good season if he can stay healthy, but so will Josh Freeman. TKN's prediction: Tampa Bay by 3; AFS Prediction: Detroit 21, Tampa Bay 24

Minnesota (0-0) @ San Diego (0-0): I know the Chargers normally struggle early in the season, but with DT Kevin Williams out, this is a golden opportunity for them to beat the Vikings while their defensive line looks to be depleted. The Chargers had a top-ranked offense and defense last season, so I expect a good matchup on both sides of the ball. Minnesota has a below average secondary, so Philip Rivers must be smirking right now. TKN's pick: San Diego by 10; AFS Prediction: Minnesota 24, San Diego 26

New York G (0-0) @ Washington (0-0): As I said in my Power Rankings, the Redskins will struggle as long as Rex Grossman is Quarterback. The Giants, despite their offensive woes, still have a monster defensive line and solid linebacker corp, which will limit what the Redskins will be able to do on offense. If Eli Manning can avoid looking horrible, the Giants should be able to get the W here. TKN's prediction: New York G by 7. AFS Prediction: New York G 23, Washington 20

Carolina (0-0) @ Arizona (0-0): Question mark Quarterback @ Question mark Quarterback here. Kevin Kolb is more proven than Cam Newton, and Arizona's defense is actually decent, so I'll give the checkmark to Arizona here. I don't think they'll run away with it... Arizona's defense could not stop the run last year, and I see no reason for that of changed. This week would be a nice time to start DeAngello Williams or Jonathan Stewart in fantasy. Ultimately, though, I think both Quarterbacks will make mistakes, but when it comes down to it, Kolb will find Fitzgerald at least once or twice, spelling Game Over for the Panthers' defense. TKN's pick: Arizona by 7; AFS Prediction: Carolina 27, Arizona 25

Seattle (0-0) @ San Francisco (0-0): Screw the fact Seattle made the playoffs last season, I'm going with the 49ers. Alex Smith, while terrible, is still better than Tavaris Jackson and Frank Gore is healthy so he'll be able to bulldoze Seattle's defense. If Seattle wants to win this game, Zach Miller will be the key. Of course, that would mean Tavaris Jackson needs to be accurate enough to actually throw the ball to him. Good luck. TKN's pick: San Francisco by 7; AFS Prediction: Seattle 22, San Francisco 24

When the Ryan brothers clash, you know it will be a good one!
Dallas (0-0) @ New York J (0-0): The Jets should win their home opener. While the Cowboys made some improvements this off-season and gets Tony Romo back, Rex Ryan has beaten his brother Rob the last two times they've clashed, and I don't think this time will be much different. Rex always finds a way to break Rob's defense. Meanwhile, Dallas's offense, while young and talented, will struggle with their offensive line early this season which will not give Tony Romo time to find the open man... which could take awhile considering the Jets' secondary. TKN's pick: New York J by 7; AFS Prediction: Dallas 20, New York J 27

New England (0-0) @ Miami (0-0): New England's offense will likely sport two TE, two WR sets this season, which will give Miami's defense trouble. Miami struggled to cover TEs last season, and hasn't really done anything to improve this area. While Miami should be able to shut down New England's running attack for the most part, look for Tom Brady to carve up Miami's defense easily. The Dolphins offensively would need to keep up, but with New England's improved defensive line, running with the Dolphins' offensive line woes will be difficult and there are still questions if Reggie Bush can carry the load as a premiere back. I actually think Chad Henne will have a decent night, as well as Brandon Marshall, but ultimately Miami will not likely win this game against the NFL's best team. TKN's pick: New England by 10; AFS Prediction: New England 25, Miami 21

Oakland (0-0) @ Denver (0-0): Denver is the better team, and Oakland has regressed hard from last season. I think Denver will surprise a lot of people in this game, I actually expect them to win handily. Look for Von Doom to pressure QB Jason Campbell all game with Oakland's offensive line, while Denver is able to move the ball well with a good balance of run and pass. TKN's pick: Denver by 10; AFS Prediction: Oakland 24, Denver 22

Question of the Week

Starting up this old column for the 2011 season, too. This weeks' question is simply: "Which team do you feel had the best off-season in 2011?" between the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys or Other (please list). As for me, I'm voting for the Patriots.

Vote on the right hand side of my blog!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this stuff TKN I'm the two-time defending salary cap football champ in my league so thanks for the power ranks

    Keep going with the pokemon battles. :)