Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
The Superdome spotlight will be on Sean Payton as he resumes play-calling duties for the Saints after being banned all of last year. Rob Ryan has been brought in to aid with the abysmal defence and he should have an immediate impact. Drew Brees will be as dangerous as ever and a renewed running attack should give their offence more balance. Matt Ryan's Falcons are rightly favourites to top the NFC South and the addition of Steven Jackson will give them a new dimension however they often struggle in New Orleans and this could be a bad start. Expect some big numbers with the hosts prevailing
Recommended Bet: Saints @ 1.645/8
Cincinnati Bengals @ Chicago Bears
Two teams that finished 10-6 last year but could now be on different trajectories. The Bengals already had a formidable offence last year with the predictable but effective Andy Dalton to AJ Green combination, now with lightning back Giovani Bernard added to the backfield it will take the pressure of Green-Ellis and they'll have an equally impressive ground game. Another plus for Cincy is that their sturdy defence has been boosted by the arrival of the great James Harrison. The Bears have a new coach and will expect more from Jay Cutler this season but it's still the D they will rely on despite the loss of Urlacher.
Recommended Bet: Bengals @ 2.3611/8
Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Look for a significant improvement in Kansas' record this year. Andy Reid as the new boss and Alex Smith is at quarterback, big changes that bode well. Jamaal Charles is one of the few superstar running backs in the league and the defence is packed with quality. The Jags have improved but only marginally, another poor season can be expected despite the best efforts of Maurice Jones-Drew.
Recommended Bet: Chiefs @ 1.528/15
Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland Browns
Two teams sure to show improvement on last season. Both Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden showed promise in their debut campaigns but were overshadowed by other rookie quarterbacks RG3, Luck and Wilson. Tannehill will have a new target with the arrival of Mike Wallace at receiver and that should help him but his offensive line may let him down. Cleveland's Weeden will be playing under a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator but will miss his preferred receiver Josh Gordon who is suspended until week three. A fresh Tent Richardson in the backfield and an improved defence should edge this one for the Browns.
Recommended Bet: Browns @ 1.9110/11
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
The Vikings were way too reliant on the brilliance of Adrian Peterson last year and Christian Ponder needs to take more responsibility. The Lions slipped to an ugly 4-12 record last season and Matthew Stafford seamed to be going backwards. There have been changes on both teams in the off season, the most significant the acquisition of Reggie bush that should help the Lions have a more rounded attack, expect them to start well.
Recommended Bet: Lions @ 1.454/9
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Brady and Belichik travel to Buffalo to take on first year head coach Doug Marrrone and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, no contest. Whether it be due to injury, trading or incarceration Brady has lost nearly his entire receiving corp and the general consensus is that the Pats are fading. That will only fire them up and expect them to lay down a marker in week one.
Recommended Bet: Patriots @ 1.232/9
Oakland Raiders @ Indianapolis Colts
This year Andrew Luck will be playing under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton who he'll know well from his college days. Luck had an extraordinarily impressive opening year but expect him only to improve, the offensive line has been beefed up and tough runner Armand Bradshaw will earn some of the hard yards. The defence too has been upgraded and coach Pagano should be full of optimism. The Raiders still look short, the quarterback position is still up for grabs and their brightest star Darren McFadden is blighted with injury problems.
Recommended Bet: Colts @ 1.222/9
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
The Seahawks are many peoples pick for the Superbowl this year and with good reason. Russel Wilson showed great variety in his game at quarterback last year and the addition of Percy Harvin will only make him look better. In Marshawn Lynch they have a truly devastating running back and their swarming secondary can nullify even the most potent passing game. Coach Pete Carroll knows he has a great team but they no longer have the element of surprise. Cam Newton's Carolina Panthers have failed to deliver in the first half of both of the last two seasons but they still have the talent on their roster to make the playoffs. Their offence was shut down here last season and will be eager to impose itself more this time, Steve Smith and co. will have to work hard to find any space and the form of back DeAngelo Williams could be key. No doubt Seattle will march to the playoffs with ease but they may take a few week to warm up, amongst others Percy Harvin remains on the treatment table and their road form still needs improvement. The Panthers have a chance to cause an upset here.
Recommended Bet: Panthers @ 2.727/4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Jets
Rex Ryan failed to deliver last year and the pressure is already on. He tried to create competition for the QB spot in preseason and it backfired with likely starter Mark Sanchez getting hurt. Ryan is rattled and his team seem to lack confidence before and the season hasn't even started, it doesn't bode well for rookie Geno Smith. He could face a baptism of fire against the Bucs', they already had a solid run defence and they've added to the secondary, namely superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis. Tampa's Josh Freeman has Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as outlets and Doug Martin on the ground, they could be looking at the playoffs.
Recommended Bet: Buccaneers @ 1.538/15
Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben and co. look to win an eleventh straight season opener for the Steelers in Pittsburgh but the team is already missing key personnel. Rookie rung back Le'Veon Bell is hurt as is top tight end Heath Miller. Big earners Mike Wallace and James Harrisson have both left and it feels that the Pittsburgh squad has been depleted. However the return of Polamalu should galvanise the defence and make it tough for the Tennesee. The Titans have tinkered their roster and have tried to give Jake Locker a more rounded offence to use although Chris Johnson remains their main threat.
Recommended Bet: Steelers @ 1.351/3
Arizona Cardinals @ St Louis Rams
A new dawn in St. Louis as they will no longer be able to call on the rushing service provided by Steven Jackson. Instead a more expansive passing game is hoping to evolve and a lot will be expected from first round draft pick Tavon Austin. For the Cards in comes Carson Palmer, rescued from the Raiders and given a better team to work with, especially Larry Fitzgerald to aim at. Mendenhall has also arrived from the Steelers and he's an underrated performer. Hard to predict how these two will fare but the edge has to be the home team.
Recommended Bet: Rams @ 1.422/5
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers
Huge match up and the pick of the games in week one, there's not a lot wrong with either of these teams. The 49ers are absolutely dominant at the line and have forged one of the most bullish defences in years. The emergence of Colin Kaepernick now makes them equally as formidable with the ball. The Packers play a more traditional game but have all the weapons to challenge late into the post-season. Their pass rush led by Clay Matthews will pose problems for most quarterbacks although may find it tough to catch Kaepernick on the scramble. On offence Aaron Rodgers has lost a couple of receivers but will find new targets, the main concern for the Pack is buying their star man enough time to find his targets, last year the offensive line failed to protect him and against the 49ers that's fatal.
Recommended Bet: 49ers @ 1.444/9
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Sunday night and an age old rivalry between the Giants and Cowboys, two teams looking to bounce back from disappointing seasons. The Giants fell way short of their Superbowl winning 2011 last year as their famous pass rush evaporated and numerous top performers got injured. They start this season without safety Steve Brown and defensive headline act Jean Pierre-Paul. On offence they have suffered losses at running back with Bradshaw leaving and Brown out with a serious injury. A lot, and probably too much, will be needed from Eli and the offence. Dallas too need improvement, Romo signed a new deal and he will expected to lead the team, to help him they must establish some form of running game .
Recommended Bet: Cowboys @ 1.564/7
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
RG 3 vs. Michael Vick, tune in. The Eagles start a new regime under the coaching of Chip Kelly and Vick is given another shot to lead the team and try and rediscover his unplayable form of a few years back. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are the other big names on the offence and is they can start well and gain confidence this team could get on a roll. After the uncertainly over RG3's fitness throughout preseason coach Shanahan will not want to give his marquee player too much wotjk in Week one and expect Alfred Morris to see a lot of action. If the 'Skins can establish the run they contriol the game and take the win.
Recommended Bet: Redskins @ 1.548/15
Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers
Last game of the week and it's a mismatch. The Houston Texans have arguably the most complete squad in the NFL but there's a question over whether Matt Schaub is worthy of leading such a strong unit, he's solid but lacks the magic that you need in the playoffs. As for the rest of the team it only gets better; their already formidable defence led by J.J Watt sees the return of Brian Cushing and the arrival of veteran Ed Reed. On offence Adrian Foster is nursing knocks but will start and Andre Johnson will be pulling them in downfield. The Chargers will begin again under new coach Mike McCoy and he has demanded more protection for QB Philip Rivers, unfortunately his calls won't be answered, Rivers will feel the heat continually on Monday night.
Recommended Bet: Texans @ 1.548/15