Prisco's Picks: Week 1

 
 
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WEEK
 
1
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013
 
Denver
Broncos
28
The Broncos have to love the idea of facing the team that knocked them out of the playoffs at home in the opener. Both of these teams are a lot different than last January when they met. I still expect another fun game, maybe not as good as that one. The Ravens are Joe Flacco's team now, and this is his first chance to show it. With the Broncos banged up on defense, he will have a good game, but not good enough to beat Peyton Manning, who will be better.
Result: Denver Broncos 49, Baltimore Ravens 27
Baltimore
Ravens
23
 
Sunday, Sep. 8, 2013
 
New England
Patriots
37
The Bills will start first-round pick EJ Manuel against the Patriots. He was dinged up in the preseason, but he will start. It will be interesting to see what Bill Belichick throws at the kid. The Patriots will use a lot of complex looks to try to confuse him. On the other side, Tom Brady will have a chance for big shots down the field against a so-so Bills secondary without Stephon Gilmore. The young receivers do some good things. Blowout.
Result: New England Patriots 23, Buffalo Bills 21
Buffalo
Bills
17
 
 
Carolina
Panthers
23
This is a long, tough trip to open the season for Seattle. Carolina looks to be much improved on defense. Their pass rush could cause problems for Russell Wilson. Seattle is a trendy Super Bowl choice, but Carolina is the team that gets off to the fast start. Cam Newton outplays Wilson here.
Result: Carolina Panthers 7, Seattle Seahawks 12
Seattle
Seahawks
20
 
 
Cincinnati
Bengals
24
The Bengals have a tough road opener to show if they are truly legitimate as a Super contender, which I think they are. The Bears have a new coach in Marc Trestman, who should liven up the offense. The problem will be the Cincinnati pass rush here. They will get after Jay Cutler. A.J. Green will have a big day. The Bengals will earn a tough road victory.
Result: Cincinnati Bengals 21, Chicago Bears 24
Chicago
Bears
23
 
 
Cleveland
Browns
17
This is a game matching two teams who should be improved -- at least they think they are. The Dolphins spent big in free agency, while the Browns have a new coach in Rob Chudzinski. This will be about the two quarterbacks. Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill are both in their second seasons. Weeden gets off to a better start here and the Browns will win a close one.
Result: Cleveland Browns 10, Miami Dolphins 23
Miami
Dolphins
14
 
 
Detroit
Lions
31
Expect the Vikings to do what they do, which is to pound Adrian Peterson into the Lions front. That front will be much improved. The Vikings will have to throw it here if they want to keep up. Chrisitan Ponder has some new weapons, and he has to be better. The Lions will be good in the passing game again, but can they protect Matt Stafford? I like a lot of points here.
Result: Detroit Lions 34, Minnesota Vikings 24
Minnesota
Vikings
28
 
 
Indianapolis
Colts
27
The Raiders have major problems in a lot of spots. Does it really matter who starts at quarterback? They will have problems winning three games this season. This is a great way to start for Andrew Luck in his second season. The happiest guy in this one might be Robert Mathis, who will spend the day in the Raiders backfield. Colts easy.
Result: Indianapolis Colts 21, Oakland Raiders 17
Oakland
Raiders
14
 
 
Kansas City
Chiefs
21
Blaine Gabbert, who suffered a hairline fracture of his thumb two weeks ago, is expected to start here. Jacksonville looks to be improved on offense, but the defense has major issues. Look for the Chiefs to attack the young secondary and make some big plays down the field. Alex Smith and Andy Reid go to 1-0 with the Chiefs.
Result: Kansas City Chiefs 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 2
Jacksonville
Jaguars
17
 
 
Atlanta
Falcons
33
This should be an offensive shootout. Both teams will score a ton this season, and both teams have question marks on offense. Sean Payton is back for the Saints, which will help. I think the Falcons get off to the fast start and the addition of Steven Jackson comes into play here in the passing game. Enjoy this one. It will be an offensive explosion.
Result: Atlanta Falcons 17, New Orleans Saints 23
New Orleans
Saints
31
 
 
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers
21
Will it be Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith? Does it matter? The Jets have offensive issues. The defense has some good players, but some holes too. I look for the Bucs to hit some deep shots down the field with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. And Doug Martin will get his yards too. Darrelle Revis wins his return to the face the Jets.
Result: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17, NY Jets 18
New York
Jets
13
 
 
Pittsburgh
Steelers
20
The Steelers didn't look good at times in the preseason, and many think they will be down. But I disagree. Ben Roethlisberger will win a lot of games. The Titans will be feisty all season, but can Jake Locker do enough? Tennessee keeps it close, but the Steelers find a way.
Result: Pittsburgh Steelers 9, Tennessee Titans 16
Tennessee
Titans
16
 
 
San Francisco
49ers
30
The 49ers abused the Packers with the read option last season. Green Bay spent the summer working on it, and will do a better job. On the other side, Aaron Rodgers should hit some shots down the field against the 49ers secondary, which has coverage problems. This will be close, but somehow Colin Kaepernick will find a way to pull it out in the end.
Result: San Francisco 49ers 34, Green Bay Packers 28
Green Bay
Packers
27
 
 
St. Louis
Rams
27
These two are improved from a year ago, and one of them might be able to make a playoff push. Both teams have good defenses, so it's all about the quarterback play. Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford have to get off to good starts. I think it will be Bradford who does it in the home opener here. The Rams pass rush might be too much for Palmer.
Result: St. Louis Rams 27, Arizona Cardinals 24
Arizona
Cardinals
21
 
 
Dallas
Cowboys
21
These rivals are both coming off disappointing seasons and need to get off to fast starts. Tony Romo received a new contract this offseson, but all it did was add to the heat he takes. The Giants have injury issues, and that plays out here. I look for Romo to Dez Bryant to have a big night as a combo.
Result: Dallas Cowboys 36, NY Giants 31
New York
Giants
17
 
Monday, Sep. 9, 2013
 
Washington
Redskins
30
The Eagles will be a lot of fun to watch. They will score a lot, and give up a ton. What will we get from Robert Griffin III here? It will be his first action since tearing up his ACL. But the Eagles aren't good on defense. And that will show. It's a losing debut for Chip Kelly.
Result: Washington Redskins 27, Philadelphia Eagles 33
Philadelphia
Eagles
20
 
 
Houston
Texans
21
The Texans are a legitimate contender in the AFC, while the Chargers are trying to get back to respectability. This is a tough opener on a Monday night for Houston. San Diego's pass protection will be key here. Can they block J.J. Watt? No, but they will stay in this game. Philip Rivers is far from done, but the Texans will win it late.
Result: Houston Texans 31, San Diego Chargers 28
San Diego
Chargers
20
 
 
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