2013 NFL Pick ‘Em: Week 1

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Picking the First Week of NFL Action

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for some real NFL football.

No more rookie minicamps. No more training camp reports. No more player hype after someone puts up decent numbers against a defense made up of undrafted rookies. All of that wannabe football is over.

With the 2013 regular season only two days away, it’s time to take a look at the first week of NFL action and what we should be expecting from each and every of the 16 games that will ensue over the next six days.

Following an interesting preseason, it’s time to get a real look at all of these high-flying offenses that the NFL has to offer this upcoming season. We can finally see dynamic passers like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III unleashed. We get to watch elite gunslingers such as Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady rack up yards through the air. And then, we get to mock others such as Terrelle Pryor and Blaine Gabbert, who shrug when asked what being a quarterback really means.

We finally get to find out if Adrian Peterson can live up to his promise of rushing for 2,500 yards in 2013. We get to see if anyone can finally eclipse Michael Strahan as the NFL’s single-season sack record holder (J.J. Watt?). Or maybe we’ll watch Calvin Johnson put up another dominant performance as the league’s best pass-catcher. So many things to look forward to…

With that in mind, here’s a look at the first week of NFL action and my picks for the winners of Week 1.

*All records shown are from the preseason

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Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Denver Broncos (2-2)

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The NFL picked a perfect way to kick off the new season: a showdown between the 2012 Super Bowl champs and one of the favorites heading into 2013. With plenty of question marks surrounding their rebuilt defense, though, the Ravens are going to have a tough time slowing down the lethal Broncos passing game. Look for Peyton Manning to put up big numbers to get the 2013 campaign off on a high note.

Winner: Broncos

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New England Patriots (3-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-2)

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Upset of the week alert! While the Patriots continue working out the kinks of their rebuilt offense, the Bills are going to enjoy an unexpected explosion in the form of Jeff Tuel – assuming E.J. Manuel doesn’t play. The rookie quarterback will unload on the New England defense the way he did against the Colts in the preseason. Feel-good story of 2013? I think so.

Winner: Bills

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Tennessee Titans (1-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)

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The Titans are looking like an improved team in 2013 – especially if Chris Johnson can get back on track – but the Steelers are ready to prove they aren’t as bad of a team as some people think. The defense is aging, but possesses plenty of talent. The biggest factor, though, is that Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and shouldn’t have any trouble tearing apart a suspect Tennessee secondary. He’ll have to carry the offense with Isaac Redman starting at running back, but will do what’s needed to pull out a win.

Winner: Steelers

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Atlanta Falcons (0-4) at New Orleans Saints (3-1)

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As primed as the Saints appear to be to make a push for the NFC South crown in 2013, the Falcons aren’t going to give up their throne so easily. While everyone knows that Atlanta’s passing game is a threat, the addition of Steven Jackson will help them take advantage of a weak New Orleans defensive front. The Superdome will welcome Sean Payton back, but they won’t be happy with the end result in Week 1.

Winner: Falcons

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) at New York Jets (3-1)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While the Buccaneers are a strong team, the reason they will win in Week 1 is because of the lackluster roster that the Jets will field on Sunday. The offense stumbled during the offseason, and rookie quarterback Geno Smith clearly has a lot to learn. The biggest storyline to follow in this matchup is the debut of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is making his return from an ACL tear.

Winner: Buccaneers

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Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)

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The Chiefs are a completely different team heading into 2013 after completely overhauling the roster this offseason. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are just trying to figure out how to field a semi-competent starting 22. No matter whose starting at quarterback for Jacksonville, they won’t match Alex Smith and the new-look Chiefs. Welcome to Kansas City, Andy Reid!

Winner: Chiefs

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Seattle Seahawks (4-0) at Carolina Panthers (3-1)

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If the Panthers play anything like they did during the preseason, they won’t stand a chance against the Seahawks. While Cam Newton does provide a dynamic quality at quarterback, the offense lacks weapons and is rather young on the defensive side. Meanwhile, Seattle boasts one of the best rosters in the NFL and made numerous moves this offseason to improve the defensive line. Look for Russell Wilson to pick up where he left off and the Seahawks dominant secondary to shut down the Panthers’ underwhelming receiver unit.

Winner: Seahawks

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Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) at Chicago Bears (2-2)

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A lot of people are talking about the Bengals finally taking that next step this upcoming season, and it starts in Week 1 against the Bears. There’s plenty for Chicago fans to be excited about, but the Bengals look like a potential division winner. With Geno Atkins in the middle of their defense and an elite receiver in A.J. Green on offense, the sky is the limit. They’ll get off to a good start in Week 1 against the Bears.

Winner: Bengals

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Miami Dolphins (2-3) at Cleveland Browns (3-1)

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

After spending a boatload of money this offseason, the Dolphins still have plenty of questions to answer with the regular season a few days away. The offense is still lacking weapons and the defense hasn’t quite clicked, which will create an opportunity for the Browns to start the season on a positive note. Expect Trent Richardson to rumble through and over the Miami defense early and often during Week 1.

Winner: Browns

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Minnesota Vikings (1-3) at Detroit Lions (3-1)

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Facing one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, the Vikings will have to do more than just feedAdrian Peterson all game long. This will be Christian Ponder’s first chance of 2013 to live up to his first-round billing, and he’ll enjoy having a dynamic playmaker like Cordarrelle Patterson on his side. The Lions will put up big passing numbers – like usual – but turnovers will put the Vikings on top in the end.

Winner: Vikings

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Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Indianapolis Colts (2-2)

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I’m sorry Raiders faithful, but there’s little hope that the silver and black win this one. With Andrew Luck under center and an improved defense, the Colts look like a team ready to make a return to the playoffs. Even with Terrelle Pryor adding a dynamic element to the Oakland offense, the Raiders simply don’t have the talent to compete in this one. Barring a complete meltdown, Indianapolis starts the season off on the right foot in Week 1.

Winner: Colts

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Green Bay Packers (1-3) at San Francisco 49ers (3-1)

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Like most matchups between high-octane offenses, this is going to be shootout with the winner likely to be the last team with the ball. Unfortunately for Green Bay, Colin Kaepernick will have the final say and he’s not going to give away a win in Week 1. Teamed with a dominant running game and a sneaky-good group of pass-catchers, Kaepernick will shred the Packers defense and walk away with a victory.

Winner: 49ers

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Arizona Cardinals (3-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-3)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Are you ready for some Patrick Peterson on the offensive side of the ball? Well Bruce Arians and the Cardinals are, and it’s going to get interested for the Rams defense. St. Louis boasts an improved offense and young defense, but won’t be ready to slow down the potentially high-powered Arizona passing game. If Carson Palmer can click with his receivers early, the Cardinals should have no trouble winning this one.

Winner: Cardinals

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New York Giants (1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

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As much as the Giants would love to wipe that silly smirk off of Tony Romo’s face to start the 2013 season, it’s not going to happen. New York was a mess during the preseason, and likely haven’t worked out all of the kinks in the last week. If DeMarco Murray can contribute and Dez Bryant can stay hot, the Cowboys should have no trouble starting this season off in the win column.

Winner: Cowboys

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Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) at Washington Redskins (4-0)

Robert Griffin III
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It’s simple, really. The Eagles have a horrid defense and the Redskins will finally have dynamic quarterback Robert Griffin III back from an ACL tear. Griffin is looking to start off his AP-esque comeback on the right foot, and should have fun victimizing the Philadelphia secondary. It’ll also be the first opportunity we have to see Chip Kelly’s new offense running on all cylinders.

Winner: Redskins

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Houston Texans (3-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-3)

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As sad as it is, the Chargers just don’t have the talent to even compete against a top-tier Texans team looking for a third-straight playoff appearance. With a poor offensive line, no pass rush and a depleted receiving unit, San Diego will fall to J.J. Watt and Co. as Houston cruises to an easy victory to kick off the 2013 campaign.

Winner: Texans

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Content Planner for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.