The Staff at NFL Gridiron Gab will be teaming up to pick the NFL Games this season, and here with go with our six staff members giving their views and predictions for Week one of the NFL season
Kansas City at Houston (-2.5)
Blake Kelley: Kansas City 35 Houston 14 – Chiefs have too much and Houston has too little for this game. Larry Johnson gets his yards and Houston looks for answers on offense as they struggle to put up points against an average Defense.
Russell Loede: Kansas City Chiefs 27 Houston 13 – Larry Johnson, no matter how long he plays (forget the QB), will shred the Texan defense. K.C. will give Coach Herm Edwards a strong performance on defense that will have Houston fans questioning early on if Howie (Matt) Schaub is the answer. OLB Derrick Johnson, returning home (Texas Univ.), will rip apart any who has the ball, leading the way en route to an easy win on the road for the Chiefs.
Jeff Sack: Houston 17 Kansas City 14 – Matt Schaub should be starting games for the Falcons right now, Boy If Rich McCay could take that move back! Houston will finally start to show some progress this year, Chiefs are on the downward spiral. At Home Houston wins the game.
Stephen Rhodes: Houston 17 Kansas City 13 – The Texans, thanks to some untimely Chiefs’ turnovers, will cover and prevail in a close one. Larry Johnson will only be average this Sunday.
Jim Dubenetzky: Houston 17 Kansas City 10 – K.C. will realize they have now QB while the Texans new QB plays just good enough to win.
Matt Loede: Houston 21 Kansas City 17 – Texans have a new look with Matt Schaub and Ahman Green. The Chiefs offense have looked awful in the preseason, and with Larry Johnson being held back a bit, I think the Texans will take this one.
Denver (-3.5) at Buffalo
Blake Kelley: Denver 30 Buffalo 13 – Denver runs all over Buffalo as the Bills realize it will be a long season for them. Lynch gets killed as Denver breaks through that line very easily. Champ Bailey shuts down Lee Evans all day and fantasy owners will be disappointed in his performance.
Russell Loede: Denver 37 Buffalo 17 – Cutler shows why he is a Top 10 QB and the run game of Denver will go bananas (like usual) all over Buffalo’s weak, shoddy defense. Losman will be throwing more to Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly more than Lee Evans, and this game will be over by the 1st half. Denver will outgain the Bills by over 300 yards.
Jeff Sack: Denver 24 Buffalo 14 – The Jay Cutler Travis Henry era begins in Denver, and the “Curse of Doug Flutie” continues for the Bills, Buffalo crowd will be booing at the latest by the start of the 3rd quarter.
Stephen Rhodes: Buffalo 17 Denver 14 – Buffalo will pull out the shocker at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Broncos offense will be ground to a halt as the home field advantage will make a difference.
Jim Dubenetzky: Denver 24 Buffalo 17 – The Broncos will teach the Bills a lesson in ball control and time of possession.
Matt Loede: Buffalo 24 Denver 14 – In the long run the Broncos will be the better team, but the Bills usually play well on opening day, while the Broncos don’t. I like the J.P. Losman, Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans combo for the Bills to generate some points here.
Pittsburgh (-4.5) at Cleveland
Blake Kelley: Pittsburgh 21 Cleveland 14 – Pittsburgh beats Cleveland early and often as it is only this close because Pittsburgh puts in the backups. This one will be over before the half and will start another bad season for the Browns.
Russell Loede: Pittsburgh 23 Cleveland 16 – This game will be sluggish and very close throughout. Roethlisberger will throw for two scores on play-action and Willie Parker will go for a buck-fifty. Cleveland’s defense will play well enough to keep it close, while Winslow leads the team with 8 catches. Pittsburgh Steelers will win the field position and make sure they punch it in with goal-line opportunities from point-blank range.
Jeff Sack: Pittsburgh 28 Cleveland 7 – Phil Savage may have confidence in Romeo, and Crennel may have confidence in Charlie Frye, but that and 50 cents won’t get you a cup of coffee these days. McGinest, Baxter,(is he always hurt?) will miss game due to injuries, Ryan Tucker suspended for four games. Mike Tomlin will look like a genius after game one, but the Browns will make a lot of opposing head coaches look that way this season.
Stephen Rhodes: Pittsburgh 27 Cleveland 13 – The Steelers’ ground game will be the difference in this game. Willie Parker will get over 100 yards rushing and a TD. Let the Browns’ growing pains begin!!
Jim Dubenetzky: Pittsburgh 20 Cleveland 17 – Cleveland will surprise people by keeping it close but the difference will be a big play and Pittsburgh will make it.
Matt Loede: Pittsburgh 27 Cleveland 10 – The Steelers own this series, and this one won’t be any different. The new look with Mike Tomlin begins for the Black and Gold, and look for a solid opener complete with a defensive TD and big play on special teams.
Tennessee at Jacksonville (-6.5)
Blake Kelley: Tennessee 14 Jacksonville 7 – Vince Young pulls this one out as he will have to all season long. Jags look for answers on offense as defense still has game.
Russell Loede: Tennessee 19 Jacksonville 14 – AFC Division Battle will come down to Vince Young vs. David Garrard. Sadly and unfortunately the decision to let go Leftwich will plague the Jags. Young will run for 85 yards and throw for 215, while scoring twice. The Titans D will not crack, as they are steady to stop the run game of Taylor and Drew from Jacksonville. Titans will comeback in the fourth, being led by the playmaking artist named Young, while the defense makes critical interceptions down the stretch.
Jeff Sack: Jacksonville 28 Tennessee 17 – J-Ville QB David Garrard was successful against Titans last year, against a terrible Tennesee defense no reason not to expect the same result this time. Vince Young will get his game together later in the campaign, but not this early
Stephen Rhodes: Tennessee 20, Jacksonville 14 – Vince Young will run for and throw a TD and the Titans’ defense will prove just good enough to spoil the debut of Jaguars QB David Garrard. Tennessee will cover.
Jim Dubenetzky: Jacksonville 17 Tennessee 13 – Vince Young won’t be able to carry the entire team to a victory in this one.
Matt Loede: Jacksonville 23 Tennessee 7 – The Titans offense starts a season with little firepower, while the Jags will run, run, run, and new QB David Gerrard will make a few plays.
Carolina at St.Louis (PK)
Blake Kelley: St. Louis 30 Carolina 14 – St. Louis has a balanced offense and will show it against a very good defense. This will prove to everyone how good the Rams really are as Steven Jackson has a very nice game.
Russell Loede: St.Louis 45 Carolina 24 – Bulger makes sure to take care of Carolina secondary, picking apart the safeties of the Panthers. Jackson will have 250 all-purpose yards and the Rams will come out like bandits on defense, forcing 3-4 turnovers. TE McMichael will help key an aerial onslaught, as the Rams will live in Carolina territory all day.
Jeff Sack: St. Louis 28 Carolina 14 – Rams won their last three games of the 2006 season, and a mediocre at best Carolina team will allow QB Mark Bulger and the boys to start off on a winning note.
Stephen Rhodes: St. Louis 34 Carolina 20 – An 80% healthy Torry Holt will embarrass a 100% healthy Panthers’ secondary. Bulger should have a field day against the Panthers this Sunday.
Jim Dubenetzky: Carolina 24 St.Louis 21 – Carolina head coach John Fox is on the hot seat and needs to get a win early.
Matt Loede: St.Louis 20 Carolina 14 – The tandem of Marc Bulger and Stephen Jackson will spark the Rams offense, while the defense will play better vs the Panthers, who could be in for a long year.
Philadelphia (-3) at Green Bay
Blake Kelley: Philadelphia 38 Green Bay 17 – Brett Favre can’t pull out victories single handedly and Philly is too good to beat with a one dimension team. McNabb has a huge day as he makes a full recovery.
Russell Loede: Philadelphia 38 Green Bay 20 – Mismatches are a plenty at Lambeau: Donovan McNabb returns to MVP form with 5 touchdowns vs. the awful pass defense of G.B. Brian Westbrook goes for 100 rushing and receiving, and the defense blitzes in way through, led by SS Brian Dawkins, for 7 sacks and 5 turnovers forced. Favre wants to retire and Philly still gets under appreciated as a Super Bowl contending team. McNabb calls out the entire NFL and tells â€˜em Eagles will win at least 13 games in ’07.
Jeff Sack: Philadelphia 24 Green Bay 10 – Brett Favre should be part of one of the Network pre-game shows but he just can’t leave the game, he will after this pathetic year. Donovan McNabb recovered from ACL surgery gets into sync in the 2nd quarter
Stephen Rhodes: Philadelphia 27, Green Bay 13 – Brett Favre will have a “crap” day vs the stout Eagles defense. No Packers running game + Eagles’ stingy secondary = Eagles win at Lambeau Field.
Jim Dubenetzky: Philadelphia 30 Green Bay 14 – In the battle between two veteran QB’s, the younger will prevail big time.
Matt Loede: Philadelphia 28 Green Bay 13 – The Eagles are a solid team, and with Donovan McNabb back and 100 percent, the Eagles will fly high with a win here that starts what should be a good season.
Atlanta at Minnesota (-3)
Blake Kelley: Minnesota 10 Atlanta 9 – Minnesota lulls the fans to sleep as they run out the clock with three quarters left in the game. Look for lots of field goals in this snoozer.
Russell Loede: Atlanta 22 Minnesota 10 – Jerious Norwood shows the world he is “Next” by running over, through, by, and around Viking defenders. Dunn and Norwood combine for close to 300 rush yards, and the Minnesota defense, after the game, say they were sick of being called one-dimensional. Falcon defense puts on a clinic, while LB Keith Brooking knocks out Adrian Peterson.
Jeff Sack: Atlanta 17 Minnesota 10 – Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson goes though early season “Sophmore Slump” Joey Harrington will have some early season success before reverting back to form. Game ball goes to Team Owner Arthur Blank.
Stephen Rhodes: Atlanta 17 Minnesota 10 – Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson, not the Falcons secondary, will ensure the Falcons victory up in Minneapolis.
Jim Dubenetzky: Minnesota 12 Atlanta 3 – Don’t expect to see too much offense in this one, Minnesota’s D gives them the edge.
Matt Loede: Minnesota 17 Atlanta 13 – The two-headed monster of Peterson and Taylor will lead the Vikings vs a bad run defense in the Falcons to victory.
Miami at Washington (-3)
Blake Kelley: Miami 24 Washington 7 – Miami wins this one surprisingly easy as Ronnie Brown gets a good chunk of receiving yards. Trent Green has a solid game as the new starter for the Dolphins and pleases the fans with a good performance.
Russell Loede: Washington 25 Miami 21 – TE Chris Cooley catches three touchdowns from QB Jason Campbell and Washington gets over 100 yards from Ladell Betts. Game comes down to the wire, as Miami’s offensive weapons keep game interesting at the end. Washington’s LaRon Landry and Sean Taylor preserve win by each getting a pick in the 2nd half.
Jeff Sack: Washington 20 Miami 14 – Trent Green may get better as campaign rolls along, but too many new elements as coach Cam Cameron and Green get used to swimming with the Dolphins.
Stephen Rhodes: Washington 21 Miami 13 – Redskins RB Clinton Portis will rush for over 100 yards and a TD in a game that will not be as close as the final score indicates. Redskins to cover easily.
Jim Dubenetzky: Miami 21 Washington 17 – Cam Cameron’s new offense surprises some folks including the Redskin’s D.
Matt Loede: Washington 14 Miami 7 – Low scoing snooze fest, as the Redskins running game should be enough to help Jason Campbell and the Skins get past the ugly Dolphins offense.
New England (-6) at New York Jets
Blake Kelley: New England 27 NY Jets 21 – The Jets don’t have enough in the tank to stay in this game with the Pats high powered offense. Jets still get some points from a banged up New England defense.
Russell Loede: New England 20 NY Jets 16 – Interceptions galore make top headlines in N.Y. while Pennington is invited to the fun, getting benched in favor of Kellen Clemens. He throws 5 picks (4 in the 1st half) and Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork break him in half early in the 2nd quarter. Brady leads team to 14-3 1st quarter lead, but a Jets strong defensive stand, led my All-Pro MLB Jonathan Vilma (20 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 ints, and 3 forced fumbles), keeps team in it to the end (final play). Leon Washington fills in nicely for an injured Thomas Jones, with 175 total yards.
Jeff Sack: New England 21 NY Jets 14 – Yes Seymour and Harrison are out and who knows about Randy Moss, but Brady still has a treasure chest of wide receivers, and Laurence Maroney says he feels fine. Besides you know Belichick will pull out all the stops to beat Eric Mangini!
Stephen Rhodes: New England 27 NY Jets 13 – Jets RB Thomas Jones will be ineffective vs the Patriots run D and Tom Brady will embarrass the Jets’ secondary. Patriots to cover easily in a laugher.
Jim Dubenetzky: New England 27 NY Jets 17 – The Patriots just have too much talent for the Jets to contend with.
Matt Loede: New England 24 NY Jets 20 – Jets will keep this one close, and the teacher vs pupil is always a good matchup. Look for a late Brady score to be the difference.
Tampa Bay at Seattle (-6)
Blake Kelley: Seattle 24 Tampa Bay 14 – Seattle has a better running game and passing game then Tampa which leads to a Seahawks win simply put.
Russell Loede: Tampa Bay 27 Seattle 26 – A one-point game is a thriller at Qwest Field, as Shaun Alexander fumbles on the goal line with 3 minutes left in the 4th. Derrick Brooks picks up huge, costly fumble, and then laterals it to Ronde Barber for a 100-yard touchdown to seal the deal. Carnell Williams goes for 125 yards, while Galloway and Clayton catch TD passes from Garcia. Seattle does not capitalize on good field position at the end, settling for a potential GW 52-yard FG to win it, Brown misses wide right (time expires). Jon Gruden takes over Trotter’s spot at LB on the roster, as he says this during a post game press conference, “He is not tough enough, and I will show the team I’m more of a player than him.”
Jeff Sack: Seattle 27 Tampa Bay 9 – Jeff Garcia did a nice job in Philadelphia taking over for Donovan McNabb and leading the Eagles to the playoffs, different season, different team different result. Seattle simply out classes Bucs in the weeks most one side contest.
Stephen Rhodes: Seattle 31, Tampa Bay 17 – Shaun Alexander will shred the Bucs run D to pieces and the Seahawks secondary will make Bucs QB Jeff Garcia’s life a living hell in a rout. Seattle to cover and then some.
Jim Dubenetzky: Seattle 20 Tampa Bay 16 – Hasselback, Alexander and their Geritol will be ready to go on Sunday.
Matt Loede: Seattle 21 Tampa Bay 10 – Hawks are out to return to the form of 2005, and will start the 07 season off with a solid win vs the bad Bucs.
Chicago at San Diego (-6)
Blake Kelley: San Diego 20 Chicago 13 – The Chargers have a great offense going against a wonderful Bears defense but their offense is not even close so battle of the offenses easily goes to the Chargers and so does the game.
Russell Loede: San Diego 21 Chicago 17 – Uneventful game ends with Devin Hester hook-and-ladder play coming up 7 yards short. Bears play solid defense, holding Tomlinson to under 75 yards rushing, but forget him on a big pass play for a TD. Urlacher and Merriman fight after the game, Urlacher wins the battle, but not the game. Gates scores final points with 1:35 left, catching a pass that is past the out-stretched arms of FS Mike Brown, for a 17-yard score. Benson does nothing and Bernard Berrian scores both TD’s.
Jeff Sack: San Diego 24 Chicago 10 – LT and Tight End Antonio Gates make this team so good not even Norv Turner should be able to mess this up, Still not sold on Rex Grossman yet.
Stephen Rhodes: San Diego 24 Chicago 17 – Philip Rivers and not LT will be the difference in what could possibly be a preview of the next Super Bowl. Grossman will be his usual self (a lost fumble, one TD and 2 INT’s). San Diego to cover, but just barely.
Jim Dubenetzky: San Diego 24 Chicago 10 – It will be tough for SD to score against the vaunted Chicago D, but they will score, and San Diego’s defense will eat Rex Grossman.
Matt Loede: San Diego 19 Chicago 10 – This will be a back and forth low scoring game, but the Chargers are the better team, and will have enough to kick a few field goals and hold the Bears offense.
Detroit at Oakland (-2)
Blake Kelley: Detroit 7 Oakland 0 – Worst game of the week by far, if your at this game you were obviously paid by the Raiders to fill the stadium.
Russell Loede: – NFL Cancels game due to lack of talent, has USC play Appalachian St./Michigan in a classic match-up. USC wins 57-42. Coach Carr challenges Pete Carroll to take over an NFL job, while he leaves the field saying it’s his last game as Head Coach ~ wants to go to ASU, saying, “People there are nicer.”
Jeff Sack: Detroit 24 Oakland 21 – Saw a recent picture of Al Davis the other day, and forgive me for saying this but he looks terrible, time has not been good to him. His team looks the same, outside of the Bay Area and the Motor City does anyone care about this game??
Stephen Rhodes: Oakland 17 Detroit 13 – The Raiduhs’ secondary will make Jon Kitna look really bad this Sunday and Daunte Culpepper will do just enough for the Raiduhs to squeak this one out. Oakland to barely cover.
Jim Dubenetzky: Detroit 17 Oakland 10 – The Oakland D will look good but a few Raider mistakes will lead to Detroit scores.
Matt Loede: Oakland 16 Detroit 10 – The Raiders were #1 vs the pass last season, and they will hold down Jon “50 TD’s” Kitna and the Lions new offense. Look for just enough from the Raiders here.
NY Giants at Dallas (-5.5)
Blake Kelley: Dallas 17 NY Giants 14 – A very competitive game between two potential playoff teams. Dallas edges this one out as the Giants can’t get it together and Coughlin’s seat gets even hotter.
Russell Loede: NY Giants 28 Dallas 20 – QB Eli Manning goes crazy and tells Coach Coughlin to put Jared Lorenzen at FB next to Brandon Jacobs (combined for over 550-pound backfield). Coughlin responds with, “Good Idea, Eli, I knew you were good for something besides interceptions, that’s one Phat combination behind your sorry ___”. Giants run for three short TD’s and defense comes through for victory in Irving. Jerry Jones releases QB Tony Romo afterwards because he partied up until start of the game (came in late – 2nd qtr. Appearance made at LT because it was their best option) and names Jason Garrett the starter. Strahan makes a tackle on Special Teams. Roy Williams asks for trade to Jacksonville with buddy Aaron Glenn: Owens says he will replace him in secondary.
Jeff Sack: Dallas 21 NY Giants 14 – I remember Bum Phillips coaching the Oilers in Houston with Earl Campbell just dominating the game like it was yesterday, His son who coaches for Dallas now is no where near that good a coach. Luckily for him the Giants have stopped listening to Tom Coughlin.
Stephen Rhodes: NY Giants 21, Dallas 17 – Eli Manning will pick apart the Cowboys’ secondary for 2 TD’s, and the 2-headed monster known as Jones/Barber will be ineffective. The Giants to beat the spread Sunday.
Jim Dubenetzky: Dallas 24 NY Giants 17 – The Cowboy DB’s will play great and keep Plaxico and Shockey quiet and without them Eli will be lost.
Matt Loede: Dallas 27 NY Giants 13 – The Giants are going to be very bad, and when it starts to unravil, it will happen fast. The Cowboys will get some revenge for a Monday night beating last season with a little T.O. and Romo action.