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We have waited a long time for this, the start of the NFL season. All those days in training camp and all those trade rumors and all those holdouts all served one purpose, and that was opening day of football season and winning a Super Bowl. Now Walker-Sports it ready to start picking games. Let me explain how this works, we pick four or five games and give you a preview and the score. We will keep a running tab on how our picks work.
Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants: The Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champions. Thursday night they receive their Super Bowl rings in a ceremony. That may be the highlight of their night though. In typical NYC fashion the Giants are a circus once again. Half of the amazing D-Line that stared in the Super Bowl is either hurt or retired. That will cripple what was a very good defense. On offense the Giants will look very much the same as last season, which could be good or bad; it just depends on which Giants team shows up.
The Washington Redskins are hurting. Jim Zorn is entering his first season as a head coach and he will have an uphill battle ahead of him. His West Coast offense has not worked for the skins to this point. Washing was outscored 77-7 in the last weeks of the preseason. On defense Pro-Bowler Jason Taylor is already hurt. He is a game time decision on Thursday, but the rumor mill says that sprained knee is really a ligament tear of some sort. The Redskins have too many new faces all over their staff and too much instability at the QB position.
Giants win 21-17
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers: The Vikings were oh so close to picking up Brett in the off-season but they will have to settle for Tavaris Jackson. Unfortunately, Jackson is very injury prone, and he has already suffered a knee injury this season. The story in Minnesota will be Adrian Peterson yet again. He will need to remain healthy and be a workhorse. Especially against a stout Green Bay defense that will blitz Jackson often to confuse him and force turnovers.
It is Aaron Rogers’s time. He has waited his whole life for this moment and on Monday night he will have to calm the nerves and go out and play against a solid Minnesota defense. Granted the Green Bay fans have stood behind him to this point, but if Rogers tosses a couple picks on Monday you can expect to hear that name we shall not mention be passed around. Rogers needs to take control of this game early and establish himself as a leader and the future.
Packers win: 24-17
Tampa Bay Bucs vs. N.O. Saints: The Bucs were another team rumored in the Brett saga; they also failed to pick him up and instead alienated their starting QB. Jeff Garcia. Nonetheless, the Bucs are coming off a playoff performance last season and there is no doubt they want to return their again this year. The difficult part with this team is they are aging. They will struggle to keep up with a very young and speedy Saints team.
The Saints have dodged the bullet yet again as Gustav ravaged New Orleans last week. However the Superdome is fine and the spirit of New Orleans is nearly impossible to break. Last year the Saints took a bit of a set back due to injuries, but in 2008 they are locked and loaded to go. Brees will return to stellar form and look for Shockey to work the seams against Tampa. In addition another victory for the Saints would be a solid return for Deuce.
Saints win: 31-20
Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns: The Browns have a lot of injuries going into this game. Anderson is making his debut after recovering from a concussion he received during the regular season. In addition Edwards is also entering the season banged up. Last year the Browns offense was dynamite and they will need to be explosive just to keep pace with the Cowboys on Sunday.
For the Cowboys the regular season almost doesn’t matter. They will be graded on how they perform in the playoffs. Nonetheless, they need to play and win their regular season games to put themselves in the best position possible. Dallas was ravaged by injuries at the wide-out position. Sunday’s game will be a good chance for one of their new guys to step up and establish themselves. Also do not be surprised if the Browns get a heavy dose of Mr. Jones out of the backfield, catching passes, working in the slot.
Cowboys win: 38-27