StrategySeptember 8, 2012

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Week 1 Game Previews: It’s Back! - 3 comments

By Stever

Did a fallen coconut almost knock my Corona Light over? No, we are not in paradise; we are only a day away from the first football Sunday for the 2012 season. It is time to set lineups and catch up on the latest news around the league. In this series, we will preview each week’s slate of games.

Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs host the Atlanta Falcons in which should be a close game. From the recent reports it looks like Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers will be a game time decision. If he sits out, Julio Jones and Roddy White are in for big days. The Chiefs will welcome back Jamaal Charles after he was sidelined for most of the 2011 season. Peyton Hillis and Charles are listed as starters for the game, so I expect them to get about the same amount of touches. The tandem will be going against a top-10 run defense in yards allowed per game, so the Chiefs may ride with the hot hand.
Final Score Prediction: 28-21 Falcons
Game Day Weather: 75 F
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears
The Andrew Luck-led Colts go against the new-look offense of the Chicago Bears. Luck will be put to the test early against a Bears team that forced 20 interceptions a season ago. If Austin Collie is out for the game due to a concussion, Luck could be in for a long day. Look for the Colts to struggle running the ball against the Bears top-five run defense in yards per game. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall will look to start off the reunion on a high note this weekend. They have a good matchup against a below average secondary. Matt Forte and Michael Bush are must-starts against the Colts, who averaged 143.9 rushing yards per game last year. I expect Luck to struggle, and the Bears to move the ball with relative ease.
Final Score Prediction: 28-14 Bears
Game Day Weather: 71 F
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
After starting slow in 2011, the Eagles look to break that trend against an improved Browns squad. Trent Richardson is practicing now, which is a good sign for Browns fans; however, he will not see many touches with the Browns down early on the scoreboard. Look for Brandon Weeden to struggle against a strong Eagles secondary. Michael Vick wants to prove doubters wrong, and he has a good chance against the Browns. Browns defensive starters Phil Taylor and Chris Gocong will sit out Sunday’s game.
Final Score Prediction: 27-13 Eagles
Game Day Weather: 69 F with chance of showers
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
This game has blowout written all over it. The Rams defense allowed 4.8 yards per carry in 2011, so expect the Lions running game, led by Kevin Smith, to do well. Matthew Stafford will look to start off the season strong after posting over 5,000 passing yards a year ago. Last season, the Lions were fifth in causing interceptions, so the Rams look like they will be in for a long day. The Lions front seven, led by Ndamukong Suh, will put heavy pressure on Sam Bradford most of the day. Expect to see plenty of garbage points for both teams.
Final Score Prediction: 45-17 Lions
Game Day Weather: Dome
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans
The Texans will meet the Miami Dolphins in the first week of the season. On Thursday, Arian Foster was limited in practice due to a knee injury. This is something to keep an eye on with the talented Ben Tate right behind Foster on the depth chart. With almost no offensive threat in the receiving game for the Dolphins, it looks like Texans will start the season strong.
Final Score Prediction: 24-10 Texans
Game Day Weather: 64 F
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings
Second-year starter Blaine Gabbert will look to take advantage of the Vikings defense that was in the bottom half in passing defense a season ago. Maurice Jones-Drew will get limited touches after his lengthy holdout. Similarly, Andrian Peterson will not get a full workload this week. Christian Ponder will look to target Percy Harvin, making Harvin a strong play in fantasy this week.
Predicted Final Score Prediction: 21-17 Vikings
Game Day Weather: Dome
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints
Robert Griffin III will make his first start in one of the loudest stadiums in the National Football League. The Saints forced just nine interceptions in 2011 but will look to take advantage of the rookie quarterback. Drew Brees and the Saints will want to have a strong start after a rough offseason. Last year, the Redskins allowed 15 rushing touchdowns, which is good news for Mark Ingram. The Saints offense rarely slows down, so the Redskins will have to pass to stay in the game.
Final Score Prediction: 35-28 Saints
Game Day Weather: Dome

Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
The Bills will head to New York for an important early season meeting against their division rivals. The Jets plan to reveal some parts of the Wildcat with Tim Tebow. He is not a worthy fantasy starter. New York will struggle to move the ball against the improved Bills defense. On the offensive side, the Bills did not vastly improve; however, Fred Jackson will be back in the starting lineup. The Jets allowed just 111.1 yards per game last year, so Jackson may have a slow start to his season. This game will come down to which defense makes the big mistakes.
Final Score Prediction: 21-13 Bills
Game Day Weather: 86 F
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans
Tom Brady and the Patriots added a new weapon to the offense this offseason in Brandon Lloyd. They should get off to a good start against the Titans defense that allowed 23.1 completions per game last season. The Titans went with Jake Locker instead of veteran Matt Hasselback to start the first game of the season. Locker will look to take advantage of the weak New England secondary. He will not get too much help from Chris Johnson, who is rushing behind a weak offensive line.
Final Score Prediction: 30-21 Patriots
Game Day Weather: 78 F
Game Time: Sunday 1:00 Eastern

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Rookie Russell Wilson and John Skelton will look to start the season on a high note when these two NFC West teams collide. Wilson has a good matchup against an Arizona defense that allowed an average of 231 passing yards per game last season. It will be important for the Seahawks to establish a running game, but they may be without Marshawn Lynch. However, the coaches feel that Robert Turbin could fill in nicely. The Arizona Cardinals have backfield questions of their own with Ryan Williams returning. It will be hard for them to get going against the Seahawks improved run defense though.
Final Score Prediction: 21-13 Seattle
Game Day Weather: Dome
Game Time: Sunday 4:25 Eastern

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
The top-seeded teams from the NFC face each other in an early season battle. The Packers have won the last nine meetings and lead the series 30-25-1. Aaron Rodgers has a tough matchup against a top-five defense, but he still should put up solid numbers this week. Last season the 49ers only allowed on average of 77.2 rushing yards per game, so the Packers running game should struggle. The 49ers, led by Alex Smith, will have their hands full keeping up with the Packers high-powered offense. In 2011, the Packers lead the NFL in forcing interceptions (31), so Smith cannot afford to make mistakes.
Final Score Prediction: 24-17 Packers
Game Day Weather: 69 F
Game Time: Sunday 4:25 Eastern

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers will look to bounce back after a long season against the Panthers. In 2011 Cam Newton shredded the Buccaneers defense for four rushing touchdowns combined with four passing touchdowns and no interceptions. There is no reason not to expect a big performance. If Jonathan Stewart in unable to play, DeAngelo Williams is in for a big game. The Buccaneers will test their new weapons early this game. In 2011, the Panthers struggled against the run, so Doug Martin will look to get plenty of touches to make the game shorter.
Final Score Prediction: 28-17 Panthers
Game Day Weather: 89 F with possible showers
Game Time: Sunday 4:25 Eastern

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
Sunday Night Football will feature the Broncos and the Steelers, a rematch of the memorable 2011 playoff game. The Broncos retooled offense will look to have a strong week. Ryan Clark will have to sit out due to his sickle cell trait. This will expose the Steelers to the deep ball, so look for Denver wide receivers to have a good game. If you are looking for a sneaky flex option for the week look no further than Willis McGahee. He should see goal-line touches in the new up-tempo offense. The running back situation is the center of attention for the Steelers. The Broncos allowed an average of 126.3 rushing yards per game last season, so expect the starter to have a good day. Champ Bailey will take Mike Wallace out of the game, so the Steelers will look Antonio Brown’s way. This game is must-watch television.
Final Score Prediction: 24-21 Broncos
Game Day Weather: 86 F
Game Time: Sunday 8:20 Eastern

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
The AFC North rivals will be ready to clash heads in the first game of the doubleheader on Monday Night Football. Both teams had top-10 defenses in 2011, so look for big plays to win this game. The Ravens will target Torrey Smith down the field to spread out the Bengals defense. In addition, the Ravens will do more of the no-huddle offense. The Bengals look to challenge for the division crown this season. I expect a slow night for the Bengals offense because they will struggle to run the ball.
Final Score Prediction: 21-13 Ravens
Game Day Weather: 65 F
Game Time: Monday 7:00 Eastern

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders look to put behind their preseason struggles against their division rival, the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers looks to build chemistry with Robert Meachem, who was brought in to replace Vincent Jackson. Running back Ronnie Brown will try to take advantage of one of the league’s worst run defense. On the other side of the ball, the Raiders will feed Darren McFadden the football. The Chargers allowed an average of 122.2 rushing yards per game last season.
Final Score Prediction: 24-17 Chargers
Game Day Weather: 69 F
Game Time: Monday 10:15 Eastern

Stever is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Stever in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of 11stever11.
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3 Responses to “Week 1 Game Previews: It’s Back!”

  1. User avatar rclement3915 says:

    Good read.

  2. User avatar Mr.Joshua says:

    Nice job Stever….. the Steve-inator…..Steve-arino…..the Steve-miester, makin copies…..

  3. User avatar scottaa1 says:

    Corona Light??? let’s see some ID, mister!

    Good work Stever.


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