Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 1

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Last season: 168-99 (.629)

THURSDAY

Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3), 8:30 p.m.

The Skinny: Blame Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense for all those penalty flags in the preseason. The Seahawks’ big, aggressive secondary manhandled everyone, including the Broncos, on the way to a Super Bowl. Super Bowl hangovers have become commonplace in the NFL, but it won’t happen to Seattle tonight, not for the first game, especially at home.

Prediction: Seahawks, 30-13

SUNDAY

Cleveland Browns (5-11) at Steelers (8-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The dubious streaks owned by the Browns include this one: They have the league’s longest losing streak in season openers (9). They also have scored more than 14 points just once in the past 12 meetings with the Steelers.

Prediction: Steelers, 24-9

Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) at Baltimore Ravens (8-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason or any other Bengals quarterback ever managed to do what Andy Dalton did last year: Lead Cincinnati to their third consecutive playoff appearance. But Joe Flacco has never lost a September game at home (11-0).

Prediction: Ravens, 17-16

Buffalo Bills (6-10) at Chicago Bears (8-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Bills have the potential to be one of those surprise turnaround teams because they have talent at every level of offense and defense. The question is E.J. Manuel. The same can be said for the Bears, but their question is keeping Jay Cutler upright.

Prediction: Bears, 30-20

Washington Redskins (3-13) at Houston Texans (2-14), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Pairing two of the teams that collapsed miserably in 2013 in the opener seems terribly fitting, if not ironic. After a 2-0 start to what some thought would be a Super Bowl season, the Texans lost 14 in a row. The Redskins went from playoff team to second-worst record.

Prediction: Texans, 20-17

New Orleans Saints (11-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-12), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The biggest collapse last season was by the Texans. The second biggest was by the Falcons, who were being touted as a possible Super Bowl participant in 2013. The Saints are looking like they could be one of those teams in 2014.

Prediction: Saints, 31-24

Tennessee Titans (7-9) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-5), 4:15 p.m.

The Skinny: The Titans are hoping to have the same immediate success that new coach Ken Whisenhunt had when he went to Arizona in 2007. It’s very similar to the success Andy Reid had last year in his first season in Kansas City.

Prediction: Chiefs, 34-21

New England Patriots (12-4) at Miami Dolphins (8-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Patriots have won 10 or more games in 11 consecutive seasons, second longest streak in NFL history. They still have a way to go to catch the 49ers, who once had 16 consecutive seasons with 10+ wins. But they will get off to a good start toward another.

Prediction: Patriots, 28-17

Oakland Raiders (4-12) at New York Jets (8-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Raiders might have finally found a young quarterback – rookie Derek Carr – to help reverse their sagging fortunes. The Jets are hoping the addition of RB Chris Johnson will help their young quarterback, Geno Smith, who set several franchise rookie passing records.

Prediction: Jets, 23-13

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-6), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: It’s only a matter of time before the Jaguars turn to rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, their No. 1 draft choice. Best thing the Eagles ever did was turn from Mike Vick to Nick Foles, who had the best TD-to-interception ratio (27-2) in NFL history in 2013.

Prediction: Eagles, 38-10

Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) at St. Louis Rams (7-9), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Like the Jaguars, the Vikings are another team who will use a traveled veteran (Matt Cassel) at quarterback till their young hopeful (Teddy Bridgewater) is ready. The Rams, though, have to use Shaun Hill after another season-ending injury to Sam Bradford.

Prediction: Vikings, 17-14

San Francisco 49ers (12-4) at Dallas Cowboys (8-8), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: Jim Harbaugh is the first head coach since the 1970 merger to lead his team to the conference title game three years in a row. The 49ers look as though they are capable of making it four years in a row. Does anybody really think the Cowboys are a legitimate playoff contender?

Prediction: 49ers, 30-20

Carolina Panthers (12-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: New head coach Lovie Smith gets a chance to make a favorable first impression in his debut in Tampa Bay. The Panthers, a surprise division-winner in 2013, could go the other way this season, especially after losing so many key players in free agency. The Upset Special.

Prediction: Buccaneers, 20-17

Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at Denver Broncos (13-3), 8:30 p.m.

The Skinny: Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning’s replacement in Indy, gets to face the player who set NFL passing records for yards (5,532) and touchdowns (55) in a season in 2013. Wow, no wonder Wes Welker was eager to run all those crossing routes.

Prediction: Broncos, 34-27

MONDAY

New York Giants (7-9) at Detroit Lions (7-9), 7:10 p.m.

The Skinny: The Giants got off to a worse start than the Steelers in 2013, losing their first six games, but rallied to win seven of their final 10. The Lions are hoping the addition of WR Golden Tate will give Matthew Stafford an outside weapon other than the incomparable Charles Johnson.

Prediction: Lions, 27-23

San Diego Chargers (9-7) at Arizona Cardinals (10-6), 10:20 p.m.

The Skinny: The Cardinals won seven of their final nine games last season, including beating the 49ers and almost winning in Seattle in the final two weeks. But they still missed the postseason. The Chargers, not the Steelers, sneaked into the postseason thanks to a missed Ryan Succop field goal and a quick whistle.

Prediction: Cardinals, 23-20


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