Just a couple of hours until the best weekend of the NFL season kicks off. Here is how I see things playing out:
Broncos 35, Ravens 17: I have to admit I’m scared to death that Peyton Manning has to wear gloves in cold weather because of his previous neck injuries — reminds me of how Brett Favre couldn’t function as well in the cold later in the his career because of his own nerve issues — but I just can’t see how the Ravens’ old and slow defense (at sea level) is going to last into the fourth quarter. Broncos pull away at some point.
49ers 27, Packers 20: Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers do their best work when they are underdogs, but this isn’t 2010 all over again because the line isn’t as good at every position but right guard. I don’t see the Packers protecting Rodgers well enough for him to do his thing, though I think the Packers would be best served by going no huddle at the start of the game. If they do that, they could pull it off. At the end of the day, the 49ers are better up front on both sides of the ball.
Seahawks 20, Falcons 17 (OT): Marshawn Lynch’s foot injury bothers me a lot, but I just like the confidence and swagger that the Seahawks are playing with. They aren’t afraid of anything, and have the look of the some of the recent teams that went on the road to land in the Super Bowl (Packers, Giants, Steelers). I’m not believing in Matt Ryan until he proves it.
Patriots 32, Texans 20: This feels like a close game for the first half, and then the Patriots get one of their double scores to create needed distance in the third quarter. New England needs to win this in the third quarter because I’m still not sure if they are a top finishing team. Though they should be against Matt Schaub.