NFL Football Friday: Week One Preview
This is a new weekly piece that I’ll author at the end of each week previewing the games and players to watch over the weekend. This edition includes:
- Gut Check
- List Min Pickups
- Story to Watch
- Prospects to Watch
- TNF Recap
- Beer of the Week
Falcons @ Bears
- The Bears will be the team most effected by the new kickoff rules since Hester made such a big impact on field position and momentum. The Falcons have gotten better since off-season with the additions of Julio Jones and John Abraham. While Chicago seems stagnant, although they gave away a Olsen for Roy Williams (basically). The field is always something to watch for on Solider Field, as the traveling Falcons are a dome team.
Eagles @ Rams
- A matchup between former coach and assistant. This is a big game for the Rams who have a tough opening schedule. These two teams had great off-season’s in my opinion and both have improved their team. If there was a time to catch the Eagles, it’s early with OL issues and a new secondary. I’d expect the Rams to lean on Jackson and Amendola heavily as well as Lance Kendricks.
Lions @ Bucs
- I’m excited to see Tampa Bay’s new defensive line take on Detroit’s below average unit. Gerald McCoy now has the help of Adrian Clayborn and Bowers to generate pressure. Conversely, Detroit has a great d-line but TB’s OL is underrated making this more even. Best did not look his best in the preseason and he should have an opportunity to test the new Bucs LBs. Stafford, if given time, should be able to find his secondary options.
Vikings @ Chargers
- My gut tells me the Chargers will have their way with the Vikings defense that is missing the Williams wall and Ray Edwards. I think Phillip will have a monster year and I’m not worried about the slow starts. He nearly put up 5000 yards last year without Vincent Jackson, and this year they should be an elite tandem. Although, Adrian Peterson broke the rushing record, 296, against the Chargers a few years ago, HERE, the line isn’t what it used to be. I think McNabb should be able to provide competent QB play, but whether he and “B-Twice” can form 1-2 deep punch could determine if they finish last or fight for second in the North. Harvin should be prominent in the offense as well and gets a good test from SD who covers the short stuff very well.
Cowboys @ Jets
- Sanchez and Romo are surrounded with viable options. Seems like Sanchez has a competent set of outlets like Eli did when they had Tiki-Burress-Shockey. Jets get the advantage in the running game and Cowboys in the passing game. Felix Jones and Shonne Green get their chance to prove they can be the lead backs for their team. Revis should mirror Austin, leaving Dez Bryant against Cromarite with a chance to shine on Sunday night. With Holmes, Burress, Mason, and Keller in the house, this could the year Sanchez doesn’t have any excuses for not raising his level of regular season play.
Raiders @ Broncos
- Denver has a great opportunity to start the new regime in a big way against rivals who blew them out last year. The Broncos return sack master Elvis Dumervil and will team him up with stud rookie Von Miller. Interested to see how new coach Hue Jackson calls the plays, whether he does more to a vertical passing game or sticks to the run.
Story to Watch
College Prospect to Watch
- Bonus: Manti Te’o, ILB for Notre versus Michigan’s Denard Robinson.
- Also, watch Blackmon’s two 2 TD catches from Thursday night. A top 2012 NFL Draft Prospect.
Thursday Night Football
- Packers: James Starks, a 2011 Fantasy Football Sleeper and Value Pick showed up in a big way in the second quarter and has confirmed he is the best back on the team. Jermichael Finley caught 3 balls for 50+ and looked more than ready for a top season. Defensively, B.J. Raji was stout as usual in the middle of the defense. While Woodson played a variety of roles and MAtthews brought heat from a variety of blitzes.
- Saints: New Orleans defense continued to struggled. They couldn’t get pressure without the blitz and Aaron spread ’em & shred ’em. Their secondary did not cover well enough and were exposed early and often. The second level didn’t fare much better in coverage. They missed Will Smith. Sproles was explosive every time he touched it and Ingram had an encouraging debut again one of the toughest defenses.