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2010 Week 1 NFL Preview

The NFL season is upon us, and with it comes our first preview of the year. There are innumerable story lines in all of these games, but I've tried to keep things short and sweet. At the end of the article I've also included some links that could prove useful to you as you get ready for opening day in the NFL. It's football season!

Sunday Night Football - 8:20 PM

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

Favorite: Dallas by 3.5

There is a lot of drama swirling around the Washington Redskins, but they have all the pieces to beat Dallas at home if McNabb can stay healthy and Haynesworth gets on the field. The Cowboy's running game hasn't shown up in the preseason, and I don't think Tony Romo is going to get it done by himself. Washington's defense is ranked 8th according to DVOA, and Donovan knows how to beat Dallas.

Prediction: Washington Redskins

Monday Night Football - 7:00 PM

Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets

Favorite: New York Jets by 2.5 

You could make a case that this game will feature the league's two best defenses. Unfortunately for the Jets, Baltimore also features a very capable offense. Flacco, Rice, and company will make life difficult for New Yorks' star-studded defense. Despite all the hype, the Ravens pull off the upset and defeate New York.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Favorite: San Diego by 4.5

The Kansas City Chiefs are projected to win the AFC West according to DVOA, but I'll believe it when I see it. The Chargers have still not signed Marcus McNeill or Vincent Jackson, certainly a significant loss on the offensive side of the ball. Still, I think Phillip Rivers is supremely talented and he will lead San Diego to a resounding victory on the road.

Prediction: San Diego Chargers

Get previews on Sunday's NFL games after the jump...

Early Games - 1:00 PM

Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Favorite: Jacksonville by 2.5

The Denver Broncos are headed to the infamous Tim Tebow's old stomping grounds in Florida this week. Kyle Orton will get the start, but I'm sure there will be plenty of fanfare surrounding Tebow's entry into the NFL. I would expect to see plenty of Tebow reaction shots if you're watching this game. As far as the teams are concerned, these two clubs look fairly evenly matched. Jacksonville wins at home in a close game, followed by an interview with Tebow!

Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

Favorite: Tennessee by 6.5

The Oakland Raiders are in the enviable position of starting an NFL season with a legitimate NFL-caliber quarterback. Gone is JaMarcus Russell, replaced by Jason Campbell. While I expect the Raiders offense to be much improved, it's simply too much to expect Oakland to pull off this upset in Week 1. Coach Fisher always has his teams ready to play, and the Titans' defensive line looks very stout. The Raiders will still lose, but they will lose respectably. Baby steps.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears

Favorite: Chicago by 6.5

If you enjoy watching quarterbacks take a beating, this may be your game! Jay Cutler! Mike Martz! Sack! I wouldn't be surprised if the Chicago Bears end up leading the league in sacks allowed, but it won't matter for this week at least. The Lions have some exciting pieces, and there is a healthy buzz building around a lot of their young stars. Still, the Bears are at home and favored by 6.5 points. A healthy Forte and a newly signed Chester Taylor should improve their running game enough to get them a win on opening day.

Prediction: Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots

Favorite: New England by 4.5

The Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs last season, but were they really that good? To me they always seemed like more of a middling team that somehow found a way to win week, after week, after week. However, they won't be able to pull off this upset on the road. The Bengals have made some nice additions to their passing game and New England has a relatively young secondary, but I'm not betting against Belichick's ability to coach these guys up and get the win.

Prediction: New England Patriots

Cleveland Browns @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Favorite: Tampa Bay by 3

I'm finding this game hard to get interested in. I do find it humorous that Mike Holmgren was brought in to turn the franchise around, and he proceeds to bring in Jake Delhomme as his starting quarterback. Yes, Jake Delhomme will save Cleveland football...Ouch! The Bucs are still not very good, but they'll at least win this game.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite: Atlanta by 2

Ben Roethlisberger is suspended. Byron Leftwich is injured. So, third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon will get the start against the Falcons. Pittsburgh's defense is still imposing, but I'm not sure their offense can score enough to keep up with Atlanta. Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez will team up for at least one touchdown, and the Falcons win on the road.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills

Favorite: Miami by 3

Buffalo is at home and they appear solid on defense, but the offense is atrocious. Miami's own offense is not exactly prolific, but they are above average. C.J. Spiller will not be enough for Buffalo to pull off the upset. Miami grinds out a victory against a divisional rival.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins

Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants

Favorite: New York Giants by 6.5

The Jets have been getting all the publicity, but New York Giants are still a very good team. While the Panthers are dangerous because of their running game, the quarterback situation leaves much to be desired. If New York is going to challenge for the playoffs, they should be able to beat up on Carolina at home. 

Prediction: New York Giants

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans

Favorite: Indianapolis by 2.5

The Colts are better, but Houston has been competitive against them as of late. The Texans are at home, and I just can't help but think that they have a chance in this one. Matt Schaub was prolific in 2009, throwing for over 4,700 yards and 29 touchdowns. He'll have a big day against Indianapolis, and Peyton Manning will be hampered by the injuries to his offensive line.

Prediction: Houston Texans

Late Games - 4:15 PM

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Favorite: Green Bay by 3

I'm not sure that Kevin Kolb is as good as we've been led to believe. I definitely don't think he's capable of keeping up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a shoot out. Green Bay's defense is no slouch either, and I can actually see this game ending in a lopsided fashion. Philadelphia will recover, but they'll start the season 0-1.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers

Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams

Favorite: Arizona by 4

The Cardinals prevail in a battle of have nots and has beens. Bradford has shown promise in the preseason, but who is he throwing to? Arizona has Derek Anderson at quarterback, which is never a good thing, but with their wide receivers I think he has a chance of working out.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks

Favorite: San Francisco by 3

Seattle is always tough at home, and the arrival of Pete Carroll should have Qwest Field buzzing. I suspect this will be a very close and competitive affair, but I like the 49ers' talent to prevail in the end. Look for San Francisco to put Hasselbeck on the turf early in the game. Defense leads the 49ers to a victory in Seattle. 

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 

*As always, all DVOA statistics are courtesy of Football Outsiders.

Football Outsiders - 2010 DVOA Projections
ESPN - 2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1