Let the madness begin!
As autumn comes around and the leaves begin to change, millions of Americans change their Sunday afternoon routines, as well. Get out the chips and dip, grab a couple friends, your favorite team's apparel and your remote control because this Sunday marks the start of football season.
And as always during the NFL season, our highly trained sports staff at Silver Chips Online is here to give weekly predictions on highly anticipated games played by your favorite teams. This season is shaping up to be a memorable one. Of course everyone is anxious to see if twelve-year league veteran Donovan McNabb can give the Redskins some spark and improve last year's 4-12 record. In Pittsburgh, the Steelers face a huge set back to the start of their season; with quarterback Ben Roethilsberger suspended for the first four games of the season, it'll be a challenge for the Steelers to find a rhythm without the stability of a reliable quarterback. Moving west, this season, the Packers already have their eye on a huge prize: taking the Superbowl. With strong leadership coming from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay is extremely confident in their offensive line this season.
But of course nothing's fun without a little competition– while Blake is poised to achieve greatness as a senior, fresh blood emerges with football experts Eli and Melissa. We'll see who's out on top in 17 weeks.
Thursday, Sept. 9
Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at New Orleans Saints (0-0)
Blake - Saints
Eli - Saints
Melissa - Saints
The Saints will beat the Vikings but it will by no means be a blow out. Last season the Vikings finished first in the NFC North division, led by quarterback Brett Favre, who had 4202 yards overall. The Vikings are definitely hungry for revenge against the Saints when they fell to New Orleans in last year's NFC Championship. Despite all of the hype around this game I have a feeling the defending Superbowl champions will put the Vikings in their place.
In this rematch of last year's NFC championship, Brett Favre and his crew will look to get revenge on the Super Bowl champs. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Favre will be without his favorite target, Sidney Rice, who's sidelined for at least six weeks with a knee injury. Drew Brees will be too much for the Vikings' defense and the Saints will come out on top again.
The Saints' strong offense and Drew Brees' ability to keep the ball moving down the field should help the Saints win this one. Even though Brett Favre is back and looking for another winning season, the Saints have an all-around better team and the Vikings defense will probably have a hard time containing the Saints' dynamic receivers and tight ends.
Sunday, Sept. 12
Denver Broncos (0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
Blake - Broncos
Eli - Jaguars
Melissa - Broncos
How quarterback Kyle Orton performs on Sunday will be a huge deciding factor in whether the Broncos can pull off the win. Orton can pull it off, however, especially with Tim Tebow, who could quite possibly not play at all for Jacksonville on Sunday.
Maurice Jones-Drew has proven he's in an elite group of running backs and we can expect his skills to be on display against the Broncos defense. The Jaguars will edge Denver thanks to a big game from MJD.
Losing outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and wide receiver Brandon Stokley was horrible for the Broncos but they should be able to pull out a win against the weak Jaguars.
Oakland Raiders (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Blake - Titans
Eli - Titans
Melissa - Raiders
Picking it up halfway through last season after a six game losing streak, the Titans are ready to start the 2010 season off right. Chris Johnson emerged for the Titans as one of the strongest running backs in the league and is looking to break some league records this year set for yards rushed.
Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson.
Prediction: Neither team has much going for them, but Oakland has fared far better in the preseason and it seems like their defense might actually play well this year. On the other side, Tennessee's Vince Young has yet to seriously prove that he is a great quarterback. Oakland will win this game.
Cleveland Browns (0-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)
Blake - Browns
Eli - Buccaneers
Melissa - Browns
Both the Browns and the Bucs are looking to redeem themselves this season. The Browns are testing their luck with running back Jerome Harrison who looked impressive during pre-season. The Browns will edge out on top of the Bucs, who have faced an unfortunately high number of injuries to players in pre-season.
Tampa Bay's head coach Raheem Morris has done a great job with the club since taking over for Jon Gruden in 2009 and his team will prove their potential on Sunday.
The Browns acquired quarterbacks Jake Delhomme, who formerly played for Carolina, and Colt McCoy in the off-season, while the Bucs quarterback is lesser known Josh Johnson. Even though it's unlikely that either of these teams will have winning records, the Browns will win this one simply because they have a better team than Tampa Bay.
Indianapolis Colts (0-0) at Houston Texans (0-0)
Blake - Texans
Eli - Texans
Melissa - Texans
This game is going to be big. Along with the underdog factor, Houston's rough, aggressive offense will be enough to shake the Colts.
The Colts finally have a worthy opponent in the AFC South. The Texans' offense is almost a mirror image of Manning's high-scoring attack – quarterback Matt Schaub and the league's best receiver, Andre Johnson, are a deadly duo who hooked up for over 1,500 yards and 9 touchdowns last year. The game will come down to a shoot-out but Houston will come out with the "W” for this one.
I'll go with the upset here and pick the Texans. Everyone knows Peyton Manning is one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but the Texans have solid quarterback Matt Schaub. Houston also has a great defense led by Andre Johnson. Look for the Texans to surprise everyone by coming out of the gate and beating the Colts in what will probably be a close game.
Detroit Lions (0-0) at Chicago Bears (0-0)
Blake - Lions
Eli - Lions
Melissa - Lions
Lions and bears — oh my, what a match up. While neither team had impressive records last season, the Lions will be able to turn it around with the leadership of quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The Lions will surprise a lot of people this year with an improved offensive game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is settling into his second year in the league, while rookie running back Jahvid Best is an electrifying talent and receiver Calvin "MegaTron” Johnson is a stone-cold stud. Detroit pulls the upset in a low-scoring affair.
These two teams are about equal in talent, but Matthew Stafford has proven that he can lead his team to victory. On top of that, Jay Cutler is usually inconsistent. The Lions will surprise everyone and win their first game of this season.
Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0)
Blake - Falcons
Eli - Falcons
Melissa - Falcons
The Steelers are going to struggle in their home opener without Roethlisberger. Without their starting quarterback and Bryon Leftwich, who is out with a MCL sprain, Pittsburgh now has to turn to third-string rookie quarterback Dennis Dixon. Expect a close, low scoring game but for the Falcons to pull this one out.
Pittsburgh's third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon will struggle as the replacement for suspended starter Ben Roethlisberger. Matt Ryan and the Falcons will win with their balanced offensive attack, cashing in on solid play from receiver Roddy White and runningback Michael Turner.
The Falcons will definitely win this game. With Roethlisberger's offseason troubles, the Steelers are left without a solid quarterback. On the other hand, Matt Ryan has matured well and can be counted on to lead the Falcons to victory with the help of tight end Tony Gonzalez, who has proved time and time again that he is an exceptional player.
Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-0)
Blake - Dolphins
Eli - Dolphins
Melissa - Bills
I'm going with Miami on this one. Despite having home field advantage, the Bills' offense is not strong enough to handle the Dolphins' defense.
Miami, with new acquisition Brandon Marshall, will be victorious against the lowly Bills. Looking long-term, however, neither of these teams have a chance of reaching the playoffs in an AFC East dominated by New York and New England.
Buffalo has strength with running back C.J. Spiller, who proved his worth this preseason. Miami, on the other hand, is just average without a strong quarterback. Buffalo will win this one.
Carolina Panthers (0-0) at New York Giants (0-0)
Blake - Giants
Eli - Giants
Melissa - Giants
This game could get sloppy. Neither team had an impressive 2009 seasons but the Giants seem to recover a lot better than the Panthers.
The Giants prevail in an ugly game. Look for runningback Ahmad Bradshaw to step up in his new starting role for the G-Men.
Eli Manning should be able to lead his team to victory - but only if he has the help of running back Brandon Jacobs. The Panthers have a formidable defense that could potentially shut down the receiving game. However, the Giants should still be able to etch out a win.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)
Blake - Patriots
Eli - Bengals
Melissa - Patriots
It's too soon to tell if Ochocinco and T.O. can work well together to shut anyone down. Tom Brady is stable and can reliably bring New England the "W.”
Both of these teams are going to put up big numbers on the scoreboard but the Bengals will put up a little more. Sunday will serve as an Ochocinco-T.O. show down, and running back Cedric Benson will go for at least 100 yards rushing.
Even with the friendly duo of Terrell Owens and the infamous Chad Ochocinco, the Bengals have yet to prove that this pair can actually help Carson Palmer win games. Tom Brady will keep New England together, and the Patriots will win their first game of the season.
Green Bay Packers (0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)
Blake - Packers
Eli - Packers
Melissa - Packers
The Packers are the stronger team in this match up. After losing McNabb, the Eagles don't have much of an edge while the packers have the leadership of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers are my early Super Bowl pick. Aaron Rodgers is going to put up absolutely monster numbers this season and he's aided by a stellar receiving tandem in Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. I'm not buying the Kevin Kolb hype and Philly's runningback LeSean McCoy hasn't impressed me yet either. Look for Green Bay to roll over the Eagles.
Even though this game will be even as both teams possess strong offensive and defensive lines, the Packers have more talent with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will come out on top in this one.
Arizona Cardinals (0-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-0)
Blake - Cardinals
Eli - Cardinals
Melissa - Rams
Since both teams have strong and eager quarterbacks, this game will come down to who has the stronger set of receivers. With more experience, quarterback Derek Anderson will distribute the ball well and the Cardinals will just escape past the Rams.
The Rams' quarterback Sam Bradford is an unproven rookie. The Cardinals' quarterback Derek Anderson is a shaky veteran, whose best couple years were in Cleveland. I'm counting on Arizona runningback Beanie Wells and receiver Larry Fitzgerald to reach paydirt once or twice. Cards win.
With Kurt Warner retiring and Matt Leinart signed by the Houston Texans, the Cardinals are left with quarterback Derek Anderson to lead the team. Anderson, who never fared well with the Cleveland Browns, is pretty inconsistent. Sam Bradford was the number one pick by the Rams in the draft and should use this game to prove his worth. Either way, it's a toss-up, but the Rams will win on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers (0-0) at Seattle Seahawks (0-0)
Blake - 49ers
Eli - 49ers
Melissa - 49ers
The Seahawk's line up is no match for the stacked offense the 49ers possess. Seattle's quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is short enough receivers to execute effective plays.
The Niners offense is equipped with a lot of weapons. Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, and tight end Vernon Davis are all capable of putting up huge numbers. The Seahawks simply don't have the talent to keep up with San Francisco on either side of the ball. 49ers win with ease.
The 49ers have the edge over the Seahawks, with running back Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis helping quarterback Alex Smith move the ball downfield. Michael Crabtree is also an asset to the Niners. They should win this game easily.
Dallas Cowboys (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0)
Blake - Redskins
Melissa - Redskins
I've got to go with the home team Redskins on this one - how could a person from D.C. or Maryland root for the Cowboys? This long standing rivalry should be the most hyped game of the week, especially as Skins fans anticipate how McNabb gels with the rest of the team. McNabb's performance Sunday should be a good indicator of how this season will play out for the Redskins.
Let me start by saying that the Cowboys are incredibly overrated - since when is Romo a top-five quarterback? McNabb is a leader, and he'll get the job done on Sunday night even though Washington's wide receivers lack talent. I am a huge Skins fan and I'm extremely excited to see them beat Dallas on national TV.
The Skins have spent the offseason rebuilding their team to a competitive level with additions such as quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was acquired from the Eagles and has caused a lot of buzz throughout the offseason. Even though the Cowboys have strong receivers like Miles Austin and Tony Romo, Romo is not always dependable in clutch situations. I'll take the risk and pick the Redskins to beat the Cowboys.
Monday, Sept. 13
Baltimore Ravens (0-0) at New York Jets (0-0)
Blake - Jets
Eli - Ravens
Melissa - Ravens
Sadly, I'm going to have to go against Baltimore on this one. The Jets have been hyped this season to go deep into the play-offs. There is no doubt in my mind that Baltimore will provide tough competition, however, with the power of receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin. This game will be a very close call and really could go either way.
This might be the match up of the week. Baltimore's an all-around solid team this year, and many people believe they'll be in Dallas come February. Running back Ray Rice can flat-out play and quarterback Joe Flacco has some new toys this year with the addition of receivers Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Their defense is still solid even without safety Ed Reed, who is out with a lingering hip injury. On the other side, the Jets have been the talk of the off-season, signing LT and dealing with the whole Darrelle Revis situation. New York finally came to terms with Revis, and he'll be back this season but Baltimore squeaks past the Jets in this matchup.
This game is a hard one to predict since both the Ravens and the Jets have pretty strong teams going into the first game of the season. However, the Ravens lost safety Ed Reed and WR Donte Stallworth to injuries in the preseason. The Jets have a strong secondary, with cornerback Darrelle Revis finally signing a contract after holding out for much of the offseason. While quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Baltimore) and Mark Sanchez (New York) are both solid, I'll stay loyal to the "home team" and take the Ravens to win this one.
San Diego Chargers (0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
Blake - Chargers
Eli - Chargers
Melissa - Chargers
Coming off a great last season, the Chargers will most definitely beat the Chiefs. Point blank, the Chiefs don't have any players who can contend with the Charger's line up, which includes quarterback Phillip Rivers, and have only won ten games over three seasons. Sadly for them, the team's eleventh win is not coming on Monday night.
No-brainer. The Chargers are a Super Bowl contender while the Chiefs will be lucky to win more than three or four games this year. Expect a big game from San Diego's rookie running back Ryan Mathews.
San Diego has running back Darren Sproles who brings power and quarterback Philip Rivers who is a very reliable player. Since leaving New England, Chiefs' quarterback Matt Cassel has never really found the success he had as Tom Brady's backup a few seasons ago, despite his typically good performance. The Chiefs have no one to help him out and Cassel is left carrying the team by himself.
Melissa Haniff. Melissa loves music, One Tree Hill, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She is also a diehard Patriots, Red Wings, Pistons and University of Michigan fan...Go Blue! More »
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside ... More »