NFL Denver Broncos

2013 NFL Picks Week 1: Expect Denver Broncos to Start Off Season With a Win

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NFL Picks Week 1 For 2013 Season

(Chris Humphreys/USA Today Sports)

After a long wait--the 2013 NFL season is finally set to get underway on Thursday as the Denver Broncos will square off against Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.

With the way things played out last January, there's no doubt that football fans couldn't have asked for a better game to start off the regular season as these two teams have what it takes to be two of the best in the AFC once again in 2013. The Broncos will be anxious for revenge as they still have that bitter taste in their mouths from their loss to the Ravens in the playoffs and as scary as it sounds--Peyton Manning could be even better in 2013 now that he has Wes Welker on board.

Along with the Broncos and Ravens, Week 1 is filled with plenty of great matchups to start off the regular season as we will get an early taste of which teams really have what it takes to be contenders. The Dallas Cowboys hope to end their losing streak at home against the New York Giants. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers hope for a better outing this time around against the San Francisco 49ers. Even fans who don't follow the Washington Redskins will be excited to see if Robert Griffin III can return to his dominant form against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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2013 NFL Power Rankings Week 1: San Francisco 49ers Earn Top Spot For Week 1

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Denver Broncos Over Baltimore Ravens

(Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

The photo says it all--the catch that changed the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos thought they were on their way to the AFC Championship before Joe Flacco threw a miraculous 70-yard touchdown catch to Jacoby Jones to send the game into overtime and eventually led to a Baltimore Ravens win. One year later, the taste is still bitter for the Broncos and even though their defense will be playing without two of their top players from last season, the offense has too many weapons for the Ravens to handle.

Plus, let's not forget Baltimore is playing without eight starters from last year's Super Bowl team--so things will be different this year.

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New England Patriots Over Buffalo Bills

(Andrew Weber/USA Today Sports)

On any given Sunday, any team has a chance of pulling off a miraculous victory against their opponents--no matter how much of an underdog they may be. Unfortunately for the Buffalo Bills, that may be a long stretch against the New England Patriots.

Despite all of the drama surrounding the Patriots from this offseason, do you really think Tom Brady is going to lose to a Bills team on opening day playing with rookie E.J. Manuel under center? C.J. Spiller will most likely post big numbers against New England's defense, but even that won't be enough for Buffalo to pull off the upset in this one.

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Seattle Seahawks Over Carolina Panthers

(Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports)

The Seattle Seahawks may be considered one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl heading into the regular season, but their first matchup against the Carolina Panthers seems like one of those "trap" games to keep an eye on.

Cam Newton could be in for a long day against one of the league's top defenses in Seattle, but Carolina is also being considered a possible sleeper team to keep an eye on when it comes to making a playoff run. Still, there's a reason why the Seahawks are being seen as early favorites--which is why they should be able to pull off the road win on Sunday.

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Cincinnati Bengals Over Chicago Bears

(Frank Victores/USA Today Sports)

Last season, the Chicago Bears seemed like the team to beat in the NFC during the first half, but a second-half collapse resulted in them falling short of the playoffs. With a new head coach and Jay Cutler playing in a contract year, it will certainly be interesting to see how this team competes in the NFC North in 2013.

Playing at Soldier Field may work to their advantage on Sunday, but the Cincinnati Bengals are one of a few teams looking to be on the rise and make some serious noise during the 2013 season after back-to-back playoff appearances. This Bengals team is loaded with lots of talent on both sides of the ball and look for them to come out hot to start the regular season.

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Cleveland Browns Over Miami Dolphins

(Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports)

In a weak AFC East, many believe the Miami Dolphins have what it takes to overtake the New England Patriots in the division (sorry Bills and New York Jets fans--but we know your team certainly doesn't have what it takes).

Expectations are high for Ryan Tannehill now that he has Mike Wallace to throw to in the passing game, but the Cleveland Browns are another one of those teams nobody should sleep on either this season. With an improved coaching staff and one year of experience under the belts of Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson--expect this team to start off strong in Week 1.

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Detroit Lions Over Minnesota Vikings

(Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

Last year, the Minnesota Vikings made a surprise run at the playoffs thanks to a record-breaking season by Adrian Peterson and even though the addition of Greg Jennings was huge for the passing game--this team still has some areas to be concerned about heading into 2013.

This year will be big for Christian Ponder when it comes to proving himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL and he'll certainly have his hands full against a Detroit Lions' defense looking to work their way up the rankings this year. Matthew Stafford has thrown for 10,000+ yards combined over the last two seasons and expect him to get off to a big start against Minnesota on Sunday.

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Indianapolis Colts Over Oakland Raiders

(Thomas J. Russo/USA Today Sports)

Who would have thought the Indianapolis Colts would reach the playoffs in Andrew Luck's first season under center?

It was no secret the potential was always there for Luck, but nobody could have predicted for him to make an immediate impact as a rookie. Now, expectations will be even higher for Indianapolis as the former No. 1 pick heads into his second season as the starter and luckily for them--they have a favorable matchup against the Oakland Raiders.

After trading for Matt Flynn during the offseason, it will be interesting to see how the Raiders' offense functions with Terrelle Pryor under center, but don't be surprised if the former Buckeye struggles--especially with a weak offensive line.

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Kansas City Chiefs Over Jacksonville Jaguars

(John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

If you're looking to watch one of the least exciting games for Week 1--the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars are your perfect matchup.

It's difficult to see the Jaguars being contenders this year and despite last season's disappointing 2-14 finish--keep in mind the Chiefs still had the talent as five of their players reached the Pro Bowl. Expect new head coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith to get off to a fresh start with their new team as the Chiefs cruise to a 1-0 record to start the season.

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New Orleans Saints Over Atlanta Falcons

(Daniel Shirey/USA Today Sports)

The Atlanta Falcons certainly have what it takes to return to the NFC Championship this season considering they have one of the most talented offenses in football on paper. Unfortunately, when it comes to the NFC South, it's no secret their two games against the New Orleans Saints each year are never easy to deal with.

There's a good chance this game will come down to the fourth quarter as the Falcons and Saints could have two of the most talented offenses in football in 2013. Plus, you have to take into consideration that New Orleans is playing at home for the first time with Sean Payton on the sidelines--which means that place will be rocking.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Over New York Jets

(Joe Camporealle/USA Today Sports)

Well, it looks like Geno Smith will have the chance to prove whether or not he has what it takes to make it in the NFL earlier than originally expected.

Smith will start for the New York Jets as Mark Sanchez continues to recover from a shoulder injury, but don't expect big numbers from the rookie in his debut. The Jets did little to improve their offense that ranked near the bottom of the league in 2012 and as bad as it sounds--it's difficult to imagine this team winning more than four games this year.

As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have enough weapons on offense between Doug Martin, Mike Williams, and Vincent Jackson that should help them pull off the road win to start the season.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Over Tennessee Titans

(Jason Bridge/USA Today Sports)

Normally, the Pittsburgh Steelers are considered one of the teams to beat in the AFC, but thing seem to be different heading into 2013 thanks to having aging veterans and losing some of their key players--mainly Mike Wallace at wideout.

Still, it's difficult to see the Steelers losing at home to start the season against a Tennessee Titans team with even more questions when it comes to what to expect this season. Will Jake Locker finally live up to the hype? Will Chris Johnson bounce back and look worthy of his hefty contract?

Only time will tell, but don't expect Tennessee to start the season off 1-0.

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San Francisco 49ers Over Green Bay Packers

(Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports)

Remember what happened in the playoffs last season when the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers met? Well, football fans should expect similar results once again this time around.

Colin Kaepernick and company will be motivated more than ever to return to the Super Bowl after falling just short against the Ravens last February. The 49ers may have to adjust to life without Michael Crabtree to start off the season, but they should be just fine with Anquan Boldin on board.

As for the Packers, there's no question they'll be one of the top teams to beat in the NFC, but their opening day plans will be spoiled by the 49ers.

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St. Louis Rams Over Arizona Cardinals

(Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

In a division where the Seahawks and 49ers are considered the favorites, it will be interesting to see if the St. Louis Rams or Arizona Cardinals can compete in the NFC West.

Both teams made numerous changes during the offseason to improve the offense as the Cardinals brought Carson Palmer on board at quarterback and the Rams selected one of the most dangerous weapons on offense from this year's draft class in Tavon Austin. Every game will be extremely important for both these teams if they're going to have any chance in the NFC West, but it's difficult not to like St. Louis in this one.

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Dallas Cowboys Over New York Giants

(Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Everybody keeps talking about how the Dallas Cowboys have never beaten the New York Giants in their new stadium--which is why this is the perfect time for that streak to come to an end.

In a division where there seems to be no clear favorite, the Cowboys or Giants could easily emerge as NFC East champions this season and based off the two matchups from 2012--there's no better way to kickoff the regular season than watching these two teams play. There's a lot of pressure on Tony Romo to help the Cowboys come through this year and if Dez Bryant can post monster numbers like he did in the second half of last season--expect a Dallas win on opening night.

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Philadelphia Eagles Over Washington Redskins

(Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

All eyes will be on Robert Griffin III as he starts his first game for the Washington Redskins since suffering a torn ACL last January, but that doesn't mean the former first-round pick will shine on opening night.

The Philadelphia Eagles' defense certainly isn't anything to brag about, but they will most likely be dealing with a very rusty Griffin since Mike Shanahan decided to go against playing him during the preseason. While most of the attention will be focused on Griffin, there will also be plenty of talk surrounding Chip Kelly's offense--which could work wonders for the Eagles this season.

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Houston Texans Over San Diego Chargers

(Tim Heltman/USA Today Sports)

While the San Diego Chargers appear to be heading towards a long season, the Houston Texans hope to emerge as one of the top teams in the AFC once again.

The Texans finally got over the hump the last two seasons with back-to-back playoff wins during the Wildcard Round, but they know things could have turned out different last year if they held on to one of the top two seeds in the AFC. Houston is certainly one of the top overall teams as they're loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, but the health of Arian Foster could be a reason for concern.

Either way, if the Texans are as good as they appear to be--defeating the Chargers should be no problem.