Kickoff Sunday News & Predictions

By TLarner

Are you ready for some football? After a thrilling Saturday of college ball, the 2010 NFL regular season begins September 12th with a full slate of hard-hitting action.

Ragin’ Cajun

We all got a taste of the grid iron on Thursday with the Saints topping Brett’s Vikings at the Superdome 14-9. Favre went 15-27 for 171 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. I said the Vikings would need a big game from Adrian Peterson if they wanted to win, and while Peterson had a game high 87 yards rushing, he was held out of the end zone. Without his top wide out Sidney Rice, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe stepped up as Favre’s number one target with four grabs for 76 yards and a touchdown. Favre’s pick came on a poor throw while being tackled by Saints’ safety Roman Harper. New Orleans’ defense looks to have improved from last season, as they held Minnesota to only 253 total yards. Jonathan Vilma came away with the interception, and Sedrick Ellis recorded his first sack of the year. Drew Brees threw for 237 yards and a score to Devery Henderson in the first quarter to take an early lead. Pierre Thomas finished with 71 yards and a rushing touchdown after seeing very few carries in the first half. Marques Colston had five catches for 62 yards, and Reggie Bush added 47 total yards. Kicker Garrett Hartley missed two field goals that could have padded the Saints’ lead.

Notes from around the league

Cincinnati defensive end Antwan Odom will play Sunday against the Patriots. Odom tested positive for a banned substance, but says the substance is in a prescription medication. No suspension is expected to be handed down.

After getting in an accident early Thursday morning, Tom Brady will have plenty of extra cash for a fleet of new cars. The New England quarterback just signed a four-year, $72 million extension, making him the highest paid player in the NFL. He was also elected a team captain.

49ers tight end Vernon Davis also signed a contract extension. The Pro Bowler agreed to a five-year deal worth $37 million.

Seattle Seahawk’s sixth overall pick Russell Okung will miss at least the first week with a high ankle sprain he suffered during the preseason.

Offensive lineman Kevin Mawae announced his retirement Friday. The 16-year veteran was unable to find a team to play for after his contract with the Titans ended this offseason. Mawae helped pave the way for Chris Johnson to rush for 2,006 yards in 2009. He also blocked for former Jets star running back Curtis Marin while in New York. Mawae was elected to eight Pro Bowls. He is also the President of the NFL Players Association. He turns 40 in January.

Game of the Week: Dallas at Washington

My Game of the Week for the start of the regular season is the Dallas Cowboys at the Washington Redskins. First off, it’s a game between NFC East division rivals. Washington Head Coach Mike Shanahan makes his return to the NFL. Redskin’s quarterback Donovan McNabb makes his first start since being traded to Washington from division opponent Philadelphia. Dallas wants to make an early statement, proving they are the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Receiver Miles Austin, who has just given a six-year, $54 million contract extension, looks to build off his breakout season in 2009.

Key Matchup: Andre Carter & Brian Orakpo vs. Alex Barron & Doug Free

Dallas has suffered from some injuries along their offensive line. Left guard Kyle Kosier and right tackle Marc Colombo will both be out on Sunday. Alex Barron will replace Colombo, and Montrae Holland will fill in for Kosier. Barron was signed from St. Louis, and was expected to compete with Free for the starting left tackle job, but quickly proved to be a disappointment at training camp. I’m interested in seeing how Barron and Free can handle the pass rush of Washington’s two outside linebackers, Carter and Orakpo. As the Redskins switch to a 3-4, I expect this duo will cause more havoc for opposing QB’s. Each had 11 sacks last season, Carter as an end and Orakpo at linebacker. Tony Romo may find himself using his feet to escape the pressure, which he has proven he can do.

Best of the Rest

Looking at the rest of this weekend’s games, here is a list of my predictions (team in italics is home):

  • Tampa Bay over Cleveland
  • Miami over Buffalo
  • Cincinnati over New England
  • Colts over Houston
  • Jacksonville over Denver
  • Atlanta over the Steelers
  • Titans over Oakland
  • NY Giants over Carolina
  • Chicago over Detroit
  • Arizona over St. Louis
  • Philadelphia over Green Bay
  • 49ers over Seattle

Monday’s games:

  • NY Jets over Baltimore
  • San Diego over the Chiefs

Got any NFL Splinters? Share them here.

16 Responses to "Kickoff Sunday News & Predictions"

  1. Rey   September 12, 2010 at 9:21 am

    So what makes Green Bay so good? I see a whole bunch of people picking them to possibly go to and win the Super Bowl. I know Rodgers put up some monster numbers, but are they the total package? I must have missed the preview for their division.

  2. Smitty   September 12, 2010 at 10:38 am

    TL – you are going have to give us your W-L from this week in your next column. Going off recent memory, I don’t remember a Week 1 with this many key divisional matchups. The Bills actually get the short end as Miami comes to visit in September. I am sure the Bills would prefer that they visit in December.

    Mike Shanahan, Chan Gailey and Pete Carroll return the NFL.. What is the combined over/under for the number of wins for these 3? 16 wins??

  3. Wally   September 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    How ’bout dem Texans?!?!

    Looks like the same old Bills and Bears … Bears were LUCKY to beat Lions at home. Geez its gonna be a long season in the Windy City.

  4. Casey   September 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Don’t look now, but Tom Brady and the Pats might have that swagger back.

    Not for nothing, but when you have a QB who has lacks success in the league, like let’s say Trent Edwards for instance. Just saying. Not directly referring to him or anything. Or maybe I am talking about Edwards. But when you have this QB who needs some confidence, why do you wait until the second half to let him throw a bunch of quick, three-step drop passes? I’m not saying that I know anything about football. It is just strange how the Bills looked soooo friggin’ good on ONE drive and that was it.

    Eli to Nicks. Sounds good to me.

  5. Rey   September 12, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Ha – Cincy still stinks! Here’s to Chad JOHNSON and TO duking it out on the sidelines at some point this season!

  6. Rey   September 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Hey, T: it’s week 1 and the question has already come up in Philly. I don’t understand the whole Kolb obsession with the Eagles and their staff. He goes down and Vick comes in and looks pretty good. At least advanced the ball one way or the other and got the Eagles back in the game. Do we have a controversy already?

    I still honestly think the plan all along was to get rid of McNabb before he went downhill, allowing Kolb to step in and hopefully fail quickly, then basically saying, “Well, I guess it’s time to give Michael a real shot.” They wanted to do all of this before Vick lost a step or two. They didn’t want to look like they were handing it to him right away though.

  7. TLarner   September 12, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    The reason I picked Philly over Green Bay is because I am an Eagles fan, but my gut knew the Packers would win. The Packers have a high powered offense with Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Greg Jennings, and Jermichael Finley. Their defense is also near the top in the league, if they can repeat last season’s performance. Kolb can be good in his first year. He has a lot of weapons and a o-line that, while not amazing, is better than quite a few others around the league. Kolb obviously isn’t going to come out slinging. The concussion is a huge set back. I highly doubt the Eagles wanted Kolb to fail so Vick could play. If Vick continues to do well, Andy Reid will probably leave Kolb out longer until he is 110% healthy. Kolb is the QB of the future.

  8. bill ribas   September 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I didn’t see much of the games, since I was running on about 4 hours sleep, but I did see Buffalo’s first series, which pretty much spells out their year – blocked pass, blocked pass, sack, punt. I don’t think Trent can see further than his lineman, because he can’t pass deep very well, and gets confused when the defense comes to say hello to him.

    I saw parts of the Dallas/Washington game last night, and two thoughts – the guy that fumbled at the end of the half is having a great day today. He’s not, however, having as much fun as 71, the guy who got all the penalties. My guess is he’s doing some grunt work today, well, if he answers his phone at all.

  9. Casey   September 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Does anyone else get a sense of satisfaction watching Jerra Jones and the Cowpokes crash and burn? Hee hee. This little piggy went to market.This little piggy stayed home.This little piggy had roast beef,This little piggy had none. And this little piggy went Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee! all the way home.

    Of course, the Pokes defeat came at the hands of another NFC east rival.

    As for the Bills, how can they have ONE outstanding drive and look horrible the rest of the day on offense. Miami should have had two pick 6 plays. Thank goodness the defense showed up.

  10. Wally   September 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Casey … I’m right there with ya in terms of ENJOYING every Cowboys miscue. Wade Phillips has a reputation of not being the brightest crayon on the box … hard to believe he still has a job in the league … and Jerra keeps him there. Meanwhile … they fumblin’, bumblin’ and stumblin’ … and i just love every minute of it.

    Someone ought to ask Jerra what the definition of “insanity” is. In Webster’s, his photo is next to the word.

  11. Casey   September 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Wally – ya gotta look at the positive as far as keeping Phillips with the Cowboys. Donut shops in the greater Dallas area continue to thrive as long as Wade stays in the Lone Star state.

  12. Casey   September 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Is the surprise of the week Seattle’s pasting of San Fran?

  13. Wally   September 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    That shocked me too, Casey … you’re right. The worst thing about it is that it makes Pete Carroll look good.

    Also surprising was certainly Va Tech’s loss to Ben Franklin … oops .. wrong patriot … James Madison. (Dolly must’ve also suited up for this one). But what about SoCal’s narrow escape at home vs Virginia. 17-14? How uninspiring.

  14. TLarner   September 13, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Seeing the Redskins beat the Cowboys made my night. Not only am I glad Tomy Romo gets the loss, I want Philly fans to look at our QB situation now without McNabb. If both Vick and Kolb struggle and McNabb takes the Skins to the playoffs, or at least win more games than the Eagles, then maybe people in Philly will repspect what they had and not have wanted him to get the boot.

  15. Wally   September 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    T —
    I’m still bitter that ND did not recruit McNabb from Mt. Carmel in the Chicago Catholic League … how’d they let a gem like him get away from right under their noses???

  16. bill ribas   September 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Casey, I don’t like either the Cowboys or the Redskins, but I hate the skins more, just because I lived down that way for a while. But answer me this, can Romo ever throw a spiral? Most of his tosses were like flying pancakes.

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