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Football is back: Tips for Week 1

How good does this feel?

The offseason is over, September has arrived, and -- unless you're a Baltimore Ravens fan -- your favorite team has yet to taste defeat.

We're mere days away from a heaping slate of NFL games.

With 13 games on tap for Sunday, and another two on Monday night, here's one tip for each and every contest:

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills:

Bill Belichick said the Buffalo Bills have run the no-huddle offense almost exclusively in the preseason. This game might be one-sided, but it could also be a lot of fun to watch with a ridiculous amount of plays on both sides. 
Further reading:
Broncos the "stole" offense from Pats
Bills' Johnson talks trash
Further viewing:
Manuel says knee is fine
Belichick wired

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers:

After a rough preseason, Panthers passer Cam Newton now faces the deepest defense in football. But the real matchup? How about Russell Wilson's 'Hawks offense against Carolina's potentially dominant front seven. Quietly one of Sunday's better matchups.
Further reading:
Seattle near top of NFL Power Rankings
Panthers make Cam Newton a team captain
Further viewing:
Hyped-up 'Hawks face early road test
'NFL Fantasy Live': Sidney Rice

Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears:


Sunday brings our first look at coach Marc Trestman's newfangled Bears passing scheme -- and the launch of Jay Cutler 2.0 -- but the key to Chicago's offense will be a rejuvenated Matt Forte. Tough start Sunday. He might not see a better defensive line this season than Cincinnati's.
Further reading:
Bengals make waves in Power Rankings
'Hard Knocks' recap
Further viewing:
Early road test for Bengals
Trestman wired

Harrison: Week 1 predictions
Finally, football is here! Which teams will get off to a stellar start -- and which will stumble? Elliot Harrison makes his picks. More ...

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns:

The Browns haven't won an opener since 2004. To knock off Miami, Ray Horton's aggressive pass rush must rattle Ryan Tannehill. If it doesn't, Cleveland's secondary could be in for a long day vs. deep threat Mike Wallace.
Further reading:
ATL writers not buying Dolphins hype
Wallace challenges Haden
Further viewing:
Richie Incognito's demons
Second-year QBs Weeden, Tannehill ready to duel

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions:

One piece of good news for the Lions: Adrian Peterson won't have fullback Jerome Felton blocking for him Sunday. Peterson averaged 6.9 yards per carry with Felton last season, but just (just?) 4.6 yards with Felton out of the lineup. "All Day" rumbled for 273 yards on 48 carries against the Lions last season, good enough for a whopping 5.7 yards per tote.
Further reading:
Peterson tops RB Power Rankings
Lions' AFC North prospects
Further viewing:
A.P.'s goals for 2013
NFL Films sets the scene


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Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts:

The passing game of the Colts will be a thing of beauty this season, but don't sleep on Ahmad Bradshaw in Indy's backfield. People overlook Bradshaw, but his 4.6 yards per carry over six seasons with the Giants beats anything the Colts had last season. Oakland's wandering defense could pave the way for a strong debut.
Further reading:
Schein: Luck best of 2012 QB class
QB controversy for Raiders
Further viewing:
Kurt Warner on Terrelle Pryor
Can Colts take next step?

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars:

Jamaal Charles might be the NFL's most underrated player. We know he can run, but new Chiefs coach Andy Reid loves using backs in the passing game. Charles, playing the joker role, is a strong bet to surpass his 320 touches last season.
Further reading:
Chiefs a hot sleeper pick
MJD eyes bounce-back season
Further viewing:
"NFL Fan Pass" with Jason Babin
New regimes for Chiefs, Jags

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints:

Rob Ryan's defense has been sideswiped by injuries, robbing fans of a complete picture of his plans for the Saints' record-setting (in a bad way) unit from last season. It could get ugly right away with New Orleans facing Julio Jones and a Falcons offense that returns all skill players and adds Steven Jackson to the mix.
Further reading:
Steven Jackson's second act with Falcons
Will Saints reclaim division crown?
Further viewing:
Brees, Ryan among fantasy studs
NFL Films sets the stage

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets:

The Bucs mortgaged high draft picks for the rights to Darrelle Revis. Coming off major knee surgery, the shutdown corner has been sealed in bubble wrap all summer. If Revis is fully operational, New York's Geno Smith will face his toughest challenge right out of the gate.
Further reading:
Will Holmes play for Jets?
Bucs' Martin a good fantasy play?
Further viewing:
Revis: Geno should study me
Christie: Super Bowl's in Jersey, not N.Y.

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers:

NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell called Jake Locker the preseason's most-improved player on tape, but don't expect the Titans to go crazy through the air. Tennessee plans to pound the ball behind its refurbished O-line. Said coach Mike Munchak: "We're hoping we have that kind of team that can create that kind of punishment."
Further reading:
Titans' owner impatient
Where are Steelers, Titans in Power Rankings?
Further viewing:
Steelers' AFC North prospects
Physical battle expected

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers:

Too much was made of the Niners running nothing but straight handoffs and play action in the preseason. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is a flat-out mastermind, and Green Bay's offseason-long obsession with stopping the read-option will be tested immediately.
Further reading:
Harbaugh queries league over QB protection
Lacy expands Packers' attack
Further viewing:
Niners' top challengers
NFC titans clash in playoff rematch

Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams:

Quietly one of the weekend's juicier confrontations. All eyes will be on Rams rookie Tavon Austin, and whether or not OC Brian Schottenheimer knows what to do with him. Arizona's Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu make Arizona's defense a fun watch.
Further reading:
Rams have intriguing rookies in Austin, Ogletree
Cards' 1st-round pick out for season
Further viewing:
Best division in football?
NFL Films sets the stage

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys:

The Giants rank third in league history with 49 Kickoff Weekend victories, while Dallas boasts an league-best 35-17-1 mark in openers. The Cowboys can take control if receiver Dez Bryant gets in a groove early against Big Blue's suspect secondary.
Further reading:
Who's higher in Power Rankings?
Irvin likes Dez Bryant for MVP
Further viewing:
Another chapter in timeless rivalry Fantasy prospects for Cruz, Romo

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins:

On the topic of Robert Griffin III's surgically repaired knee, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said this week: "He's ready to go, full speed ahead." How Washington uses its young quarterback against Philly is just as intriguing as Chip Kelly's high-speed, draped-in-mystery offense.
Further reading:
Better fantasy play: Vick or RGIII?
Why Elliot Harrison likes Redskins
Further viewing:
Watch: Riley Cooper, teammate scuffle in practice Game promises spectacular QB matchup

Houston Texans at San Diego Chargers:

DeAndre Hopkins has been talked about all summer as the answer to Houston's eternal search for a No. 2 receiver. He hasn't played since sustaining his concussion on Aug. 17, but "Nuk" is practicing and well-positioned to make an immediate impact for the Texans.
Further reading:
Where do Texans figure in Power Rankings?
Fantasy outlook for Arian Foster, Ryan Mathews
Further viewing:
New start for Rivers; next step for Texans Will Ed Reed play?

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