Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
PHILADELPHIA minus 9
The veteran-laden Eagles remain in “win-now” mode, while the once-again-rebuilding Browns will start a rookie at quarterback and running back. The death of much-reviled former Browns/Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell this week may be the only thing Cleveland fans will cheer.
The pick EAGLES
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
ST. LOUIS plus 8
It’ll take more than the experienced hand of Jeff Fisher on the Rams tiller to steer his ship to safety in this den of Lions.
The pick LIONS
Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs
ATLANTA minus 3
It is only Week 1, and the Chiefs defence is already banged up (plus, Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali will sit for a one-game suspension). The Falcons are eager to prove their offence is an elite unit.
The pick FALCONS
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints
WASHINGTON plus 8
It shouldn’t take second-overall draft pick Robert Griffin III long to work out what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. One look at Saints counterpart Drew Brees should do it.
The pick SAINTS
Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans
MIAMI plus 13
Big things are expected of the Texans this season: A (finally) healthy and balanced offence, a top-flight defence … a near-two-touchdown spread in the first game. The Miami D is good enough to keep this one respectable.
The pick DOLPHINS
New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans
NEW ENGLAND minus 6
Pats owner Bob Kraft ruffled some feathers recently, when he compared QB Tom Brady to NFL legend Joe Montana. Montana never felt the pain of defeat in the Super Bowl; Brady should be champing at the bit after losing his second last February.
The pick PATRIOTS
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings
JACKSONVILLE plus 4
A clash of second-year QBs who underwhelmed as rookies. Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew missed the preseason in a contract holdout; Vikes counterpart Adrian Peterson missed it rehabbing a knee injury. Perhaps a tie?
The pick JAGUARS
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
BUFFALO plus 3
Given the revamped Buffalo defensive line, Jets QB Mark Sanchez should be grateful Tim Tebow is on hand to spare him from taking all the punishment.
The pick BILLS
Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears
INDIANAPOLIS plus 10
Welcome to the NFL, Andrew Luck. The 2012 first-overall draft pick will quickly find out these aren’t the Baylor University Bears he’s playing.
The pick BEARS
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CAROLINA minus 3
The Cam Newton Show begins its second season with a confident cast and a full training camp spent in rehearsal. Until Tampa proves it is better than the team that lost 10 in a row to end 2011 ...
The pick PANTHERS
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
SAN FRANCISCO plus 5
The game of the weekend pits two teams that can legitimately claim to be the best in the NFC. If that notion holds true, we can expect to see a sequel in the postseason.
The pick PACKERS
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
SEATTLE minus 3
The preseason means nothing, right? Too bad. The Seahawks mauled their opponents, outscoring them 122-44 in going 4-0. Seattle starter Russell Wilson is a rookie, but the Cards would trade both their QBs (John Skelton, Kevin Kolb) for him in a heartbeat.
The pick SEAHAWKS
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
PITTSBURGH plus 2
Everyone will be excited to see QB Peyton Manning return to the football field for the first time in over a year … everyone except the Steelers, that is.
The pick BRONCOS
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
CINCINNATI plus 6
On the other side of the Browns coin, Baltimore fans will undoubtedly praise the memory of former team owner Art Modell, who brought the NFL back to the city in 1996. The Bengals haven’t had back-to-back winning seasons since 1981-82.
The pick RAVENS
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
SAN DIEGO plus 1
Can Chargers QB Philip Rivers put his turnover-filled 2011 (20 interceptions, seven lost fumbles) behind him? Can Raiders RB Darren McFadden stay healthy? Are either of these defences respectable? Flip a coin.
The pick RAIDERS