In the immortal words of Zack De La Rocha "It has to start some time, it has to start somewhere. What better place then here? What better time than now?" That's correct ladies, gentlemen and Raiders fans, the 2009 season is officially underway this weekend (with the exception of Thursday's OT "thriller"). Finally, the 2009 San Francisco 49ers will be taking the field in Arizona come Sunday, and hopefully the wait was worth the suspense. In this week's edition of MYWFG, I take a look at some sit/start matchups.
Clinton Portis RB Washington Redskins @ New York Giants - Of all the opponents the Redskins face in the NFC East, the Giants have been the team that Portis has seen the least amount of success against (in terms of yards). Portis has scored 6 total TDs against the Giants in 9 games versus New York, but I don't expect him to hit paydirt this Sunday. The Miami product has averaged 78 yards rushing against the Giants, and he'll struggle to meet that number against one of the league's premier run defenses. Week 1 Forecast: 70 total yards, 0 TDs, 1 FL
Brett Favre QB Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns - Favre vs. the Browns seems like a great match up, but don't expect it to be the case. Cleveland was second in the NFL in interceptions last year with 23, and allowed around 205 passing yards per game. I'm not 100% sure the total number or receiving TDs the Browns allowed, but I do know they allowed 151 rushing yards per contest, which boads very well for Adrian Peterson and the Vikings ground game. Favre may not even attemp 20 passes in this game, as the Vikings should run all over Cleveland. Week 1 Forecast: 175 pass yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Vincent Jackson WR San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders - Anytime a team's number 1 WR is going up against Nnamdi Osomugha it's a good idea not to start him, as is the case with Jackson. In Jackson's five career games against the Raiders, he's averaged 41 yards receiving and scored just 1 TD. While Jackson could somehow sneak his way to the end zone on Monday, his receiving totals won't justify his place in your starting lineup. I also wouldn't recommend expecting a TD; hopefully you have a reliable bench WR to insert in Jackson's place. Week 1 Forecast: 40 total yards, 0 TDs
After the jump, I'll recommend some guys you should think about starting....
Ray Rice RB Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs were on of the worst teams defending the run in 2008, and I don't expect much to change in Week 1 versus Baltimore. Ray Rice is the starter for the Ravens, and is a speedy multi-dimensional threat (he catches passes). Even with a crowded backfield, Rice should produce the most on Sunday, and hog a majority of the carries while remaining effective. In other words, there won't be many reasons for Baltimore to sub out Rice, unless he's extremely gassed from ripping off huge gains. Week 1 Forecast: 120 total yards, 1 TD
Carson Palmer QB Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver Broncos - Denver's defense was a mess in 2008, as they struggled against the pass (just 6 INTs). Carson Palmer returns to 2009 with high hopes and a pretty good receiving corps, although questions may linger about Palmer's health. I don't expect Palmer's ankle to hold him back from having a productive day against Denver, especially since the game could wind up being a shoot-out. Start Palmer without worry, and he'll reward you nicely. Week 1 Forecast: 250 pass yards, 2 PaTDs, 0 INTs
Donnie Avery WR St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks - Injuries prevented Seattle from having any kind of secondary in 2008, as the team was the worst in the NFL at stopping the pass. While St. Louis isn't stacked with many WR options, Donnie Avery is a speedster that will find ways to keep the Rams in the game Sunday. Avery has recovered from a foot injury and will start in the divisional match-up, so expect him to put up some good numbers and his way into the endzone. Week 1 Forecast: 80 total yards, 1 TD
Check Back in next week to see just how bad I was at recommending these match-ups, as I track and break my analysis each week. If I make a foolish prediction, I'll be the first to tell you about it after the games have been played. Like if Brett Favre goes out and throws for 300 yards and 3 TDs, I'll be prepared to take the heat (don't bank on it happening).