Week 1 Progno
Tony HolmDecember 4, 2016
How to read the table: The table shows how a team will do Passing and Rushing in the upcoming week of the NFL. Red is HOT, Yellow is WARM, White is NORMAL, Light Blue is COLD and Dark Blue is FREEZING COLD. Play players from teams that are Red and Yellow, avoid players from teams that are Light or Dark Blue and expect average days from teams that are White.
|Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos - Thursday 7:30pm|
Progno Note: Site issues pulled me away from finishing The Progno for earlier in the week but I decided to leave the notes for the Wednesday game untouched. Well done Dallas winning on the road against a tough team. Don't read more into this than what it is: Eli Manning and company vs. Tony Romo and company, winner take all, in this first important division game to open the NFL season. Jason Witten has a lot to say in the outcome of this and with him now being doubtful, this swings firmly the Giants way. Play the passing games of both teams and enjoy the statistical outpouring. The Cowboys linebacking crew will do a nice job on Ahmad Bradshaw, limiting what he can do. DeMarco Murray will run better than Bradshaw but don't expect a big blow out game quite yet. Murray certainly looks impressive early on though.
Favorite: Carolina Panthers by 3
Prediction: Carolina Panthers 24 - Denver Broncos 23
|Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets - Sunday 12:00pm|
I tell you what, all this Shonn Greene bashing is going to make a few look silly. The Jets can't put the ball in the air because that just leads to turnovers. The Jets will evolve Shonn Greene into a battering ram. No, seriously, I double-dog mean it. Let's not get giddy and start anything out of the Jets air offense unless you want to drop Dustin Keller in if your TE is a required position. He'll do well here. I can't wait to see the Tim Tebow wildcat, it just reaks of carnival complete with circus clowns and a bearded lady.
I'm going to take a wait and see approach on the Bills offense. They have a tremendous challenge against arguably, the top defensive unit in the AFC at a Jets home game in New Jersey. I have grave concerns. Though Ryan Fitzpatrick will play surprisingly well given all the obstacles he faces and more than one dropped pass.
Favorite: Cincinnati Bengals by 2.5
Prediction: New York Jets 24 - Cincinnati Bengals 20
|Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans - Sunday 12:00pm|
The only reason this game isn't a complete blow out by the Eagles is because it's in Cleveland. The Eagles don't dare say it but all that dream team talk from last year, and them subsequently eating those words, hasn't sat well. This year is dream team without the talk. Expect execution on both sides of the ball for the Eagles. Start them if you have them. Even DeSean Jackson is about to turn heads.
The Browns aren't going to be completely inept, they.. well.. OK, they'll be completely inept. The good news for the Browns is that they should be a franchise on the way up.
Favorite: Minnesota Vikings by 2
Prediction: Tennessee Titans 24 - Minnesota Vikings 21
|Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sunday 12:00pm|
This will be a more interesting game than many may think. Let's not kid ourselves though, the Patriots win, but the Titans will play this one scrappy. Jake Locker is about to make a name for himself, as one area the Patriots are still stitching together is their secondary. But come on, this is Tom Brady. This is a Patriots offense that has all the pieces to be one of the best the NFL has ever seen. The Titans defense is on the way up and I think Tennessee will surprise everyone this year on offense and defense but not this day.
Favorite: Green Bay Packers by 4.5
Prediction: Green Bay Packers 30 - Jacksonville Jaguars 21
|San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs - Sunday 12:00pm|
Let me paint with a broad brush as this matchup has some large facets to it. Many may see a game filled with offense but the twist, is that this game will be controlled by both defenses. The Falcons will throw the ball and the Chiefs will run the ball, no major surprises there. Both offensive units will take what they are given by the defenses. Starting Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez is recommended but as stated, the Chiefs defense will have answers. Starting Jamaal Charles and maybe Peyton Hillis is also recommended but the Falcons defense will stack it up to stop the Chiefs on the ground. Expect this one to lean Jamaal Charles' way due to his receiving abilities and what he can do after the catch as a result.
Favorite: Kansas City Chiefs by 7
Prediction: San Diego Chargers 23 - Kansas City Chiefs 17
|Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles - Sunday 12:00pm|
Welcome Andrew Luck to the NFL, learning what not to do is half the battle. At Soldier Field, it will be trial by fire for Andrew Luck. The Bears will look like a professional football team and the Colts, well, let's say the good news is that the only direction they can go in is up. Expect a heavy dose of Matt Forte and Michael Bush, so much so that Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler start with a whimper. Expect big things from both Marshall and Cutler but in games where it's all about keeping it on the ground for the Bears, like this one, their passing game will go quiet.
Favorite: Philadelphia Eagles by 4.5
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27 - Cleveland Browns 13
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons - Sunday 12:00pm|
The Lions open at home against the Rams? Seriously? Let's not waste a lot of time on this one. Expect the Lions to roll in an easy one with their passing game running hot. Expect Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew to play well; though this game will be more about the receivers with Titus Young opening eyes early. Titus Young in single coverage all season long is something the Lions will exploit over and over again.
The Rams are Steven Jackson and he'll put in a solid day at the office to open things up. The Rams receivers have been in flux all preseason and there has been precious little time for Sam Bradford to properly work with his starting unit. Their timing will be off and it will show.
Favorite: Atlanta Falcons by 3
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 27 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
|Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints - Sunday 12:00pm|
I am so glad I don't live in this market and be forced to have to watch this game. What may be easier for all of us is if they have the MJD-Cam and just broadcast on the Ocho, ESPN8, complete with a pair of announcers that analyze MJD's every emotion and body language clue. I'd rather be whacked with a nubby stick. If it is a pointed stick, then I'd rather watch the game, just for the record. I am curious to see how Blaine Gabbert performs, he had a strong preseason and just when I wrote him off, there's something in the back of my head that is starting to give this kid a second chance.
The Vikings will run well, Adrian Peterson or not, and Percy Harvin is a star in the making. It's just the advantage they need. Wait till Jerome Simpson comes off suspension, he will fit like a glove in this offense.
Favorite: New Orleans Saints by 1
Prediction: New Orleans Saints 34 - Oakland Raiders 23
|Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens - Sunday 12:00pm|
The Redskins are going to have a very difficult time trying to keep up with the scoring of the Saints. Expect the Saints offense to be on display in New Orleans. The bounty scandal will add a silent chip on every Saints shoulder and they will play with reckless abandon all season long. The Saints will score at will in this, play what you own.
The side effect of the Saints lighting up the scoreboard is that we are going to get a long look at RGIII as a quarterback early on. The Redskins will be forced to abandon the run early which means RGIII will lay it on thick to Pierre Garcon, Fred Davis and Santana Moss. If you're really starting Evan Royster this week, stop it. What is he doing on your roster anyway? We all know that the next guy running the ball for the Redskins will be someone no one has even thought of. It's the Shanahan way. I'm still a Roy Helu guy but if you really want to try and out fox Shanahan you have to match crazy with crazy. Similar to how a negative times a negative makes a positive, crazy times crazy may make sanity so I'm going with Ryan Grant as the next starting RB for the Redskins! And yes, I do get paid for this.
Favorite: Baltimore Ravens by 3
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 27 - Buffalo Bills 20
|Chicago Bears at Houston Texans - Sunday 12:00pm|
Keep in mind that the Texans were well on their way to the Superbowl before disaster struck. This is a very good football team opening at home against a Ryan Tannehill led team who had better receivers at Texas A&M. It won't be pretty, the Dolphins don't really have a chance, but they will keep it surprisingly close. One thing Tannehill will bring to Miami will be scrappy play and Reggie Bush will want to lead by example. The Dolphins will scrap, and take some chances on some low percentage plays that roll in, but ultimately, four quarters are too many for the Dolphins to compete in.
Favorite: Houston Texans by 6
Prediction: Houston Texans 27 - Chicago Bears 20
|Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks - Sunday 3:05pm|
What an interesting open for these two teams. The two teams that didn't have a starting quarterback until just last week. John Skelton will last a while in his position, I'm not sure about the season, but he will last longer than Russell Wilson. Matt Flynn will have those reigns by week 3. I know most are going to say the Seahawks are the better team, and they are probably right, but this one falls the Cardinals way in a disappointing open for the 'hawks. The Seahawks are going to do two things well: Their defense will be impressive and they will run the ball with authority be it Marshawn Lynch or Robert Turbin.
The Cardinals have two advantages that will propel them over the Seahawks. The Cardinals play on grass, the Seahawks on artifical turf (FieldTurf) and you should realize that Mike Holmgren knows what surface most of his games are played on. The Seahawks are built as a turf team and the slower field in Arizona will take away some of Seattle's advantages. The Cardinals have Larry Fitzgerald and a host of quality receivers behind him. John Skelton will start to look like an NFL quarterback and most will be taken by surprise.
Favorite: Seattle Seahawks by 10.5
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 23 - Miami Dolphins 20
|Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts - Sunday 3:25pm|
This week there are two games that stand out as extra complex when contrasting the matchup. The Falcons and the Chiefs were one, with this contest the other. Two playoff hopefuls that will likely see each other in the post season. The 49'ers, who will play well, against the Packers, who can throw the ball at will. The vaunted Packers offense vs. the equally bombastic 49'ers defense, something has to give. The 49'ers will play well on both sides of the ball and the new look 49'ers offense will really flow, especially on the ground but the Packers in Lambeau on opening weekend? This one, as most will be, is simply Aaron Rodgers putting on an aerial show.
Favorite: Indianapolis Colts by 4
Prediction: Detroit Lions 27 - Indianapolis Colts 6
|New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys - Sunday 3:25pm|
The Bucs open up in a smash mouther, against a power running football team and it's going to hurt. The Panthers are going to bump, grind and bruise their way through four quarters of football. Cam Newton will open with a superstar performance, throwing the ball crisply and using his legs for big gains. Enjoy the offense.
Tampa will be on their heels early and will have to start throwing the ball sooner than they'd like. It will prop up Josh Freeman's numbers but the Bucs open with a whimper overall.
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 27 - New York Giants 23
|New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals - Sunday 7:30pm|
The star-power game of the week. This is the perfect game to fill the soap opera part of the "NFL as a product" show. The NFL and network television enjoy painting the picture for us and most enjoy consuming it. Peyton Manning as a Bronco in Mile High and all that will be, versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the most followed teams across the country. Put this game in prime time Sunday night as the only game to watch, and we can all revel in the glory that will be Peyton Manning's return. Expect John Elway to plug up the camera lens almost as often. And the soap opera continues..
The irony in this will be that it's Willis McGahee that puts the Broncos on his back. The Steelers aren't quite sure what to do at running back so they'll feed Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace play after play. Expect a lot of pass attempts from Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers will want to get it going up top.
Favorite: Arizona Cardinals by 6
Prediction: New England Patriots 27 - Arizona Cardinals 24
|Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins - Monday 6:10pm|
In the first of our two Monday Night games, the Ravens at home against an upstart (though a good upstart) team in the Bengals? Division game yes. Ravens dominance, assured. Start your Ravens, bench your Bengals, though I would not sit A.J. Green. Always start your studs as they say in fantasy.
Favorite: Pittsburgh Steelers by 3
Prediction: Washington Redskins 21 - Pittsburgh Steelers 20
|Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers - Monday 9:20pm|
It is a shame this game kicks off at 10:15pm on the Eastern seaboard because in pure football terms, this is the game of the week to enjoy. If you're looking for that one game to sit back and take in, simply because you love the game of football, this is it. The setting alone, in Oakland, where the freaks come out, sets the stage in a division game between two teams that genuinely dislike each other. There will be blood. Expect the most pushing and shoving to show itself when the Chargers are on offense and the Raiders on defense. Those two units will clash and for a football fan, it will be an impressive display put on by both sides.
The Chargers will be just a little bit better in most phases, which propels them by the Raiders. After back-to-back seasons of the Chargers missing out by a game because they started slow, the monkey is firmly on their back to win this opener and they will play this like it's their Superbowl. No week 1 game has mattered more to them. The test here is can the Chargers bring their intensity and win in the intensity sponge that is Oakland? I guess that's why they play the games.
Favorite: Los Angeles Rams by 2.5
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 27 - Los Angeles Rams 11