The Opening Drive: Week 1, 2014

Now that the Thursday night opener is behind us, it’s time to get all up in the real football action of week one, which will take place on Sunday and Monday night (on which there is the extra special double-header). There are plenty of divisional match-up’s to break down, but as with every week one, expect plenty of upsets.

You want it. I want it. Let’s do it. It’s time to kick-start the Opening Drive of week one!

(0-0) New Orleans Saints at
(0-0) Atlanta Falcons

The Saints are embarking on a season in which they’re favorites to reach the big game, but that trek starts in the Georgia Dome on Sunday. The Falcons are trying to rebound after a god-awful 2013. if Matt Ryan wants to be back in the discussion as a top quarterback, defeating Brees would be a good way to start. I just can’t see the Falcons defense slowing down this Saint offense at all.


(0-0) Minnesota Vikings at
(0-0) St. Louis Rams

This monumental clash pits Matt Cassel against Shaun Hill. Wow that sounds boring as hell. Let’s try again. This epic showdown will see Adrian Peterson try his luck at running through the dominant d-line of the Rams. …Okay, better. I’m envisioning a lot of field goals, ya know, like one of those classic “grind it out” games. The offense that screws up the least will win the day! …I just don’t trust the Rams’ unit to do that.

(0-0) Cleveland Browns at
(0-0) Pittsburgh Steelers

I can only imagine how ugly this game could be. In the first of two inter-AFC North contests, the Browns unleash Brian Hoyer onto the NFL landscape, again. Last season Hoyer showed legitimate promise before succumbing to the Cleveland “Can’t Have Anything Nice” curse and tearing his ACL. Now, he has to fend off Johnny Manziel. He gets his first chance against Dick LeBeau’s Steeler defense, which is no longer as vaunted as it was once. I’m more interested in how Cleveland’s defense performs against Big Ben and that offense. Antonio Brown versus Joe Haden? Yes please.

(0-0) Jacksonville Jaguars at
(0-0) Philadelphia Eagles

The waiting game begins for Jacksonville! How many losses can they endure before swapping Chad Henne for Blake Bortles? It’s a mystery for now, but a game in Philadelphia won’t do much to help Henne’s standing. That Jaguar defense is going to need to step up big time if they want to contain the ground duo of Shady McCoy and Darren Sproles. I may have picked Jacksonville to win six games, but this likely won’t be one of them.

(0-0) Oakland Raiders at
(0-0) New York Jets

Ew. I’ve already found a game to hate and it’s only week one! The Raiders are starting rookie Derek Carr at quarterback this season, but he’s probably already better than Geno Smith, whom the Jets have trotted out instead of the no-fucks-giving Michael Vick. I’ll say the Jets win simply because I know a few names on their offense. The Raiders? No idea. I only know they have two injury-ready running backs.

(0-0) Cincinnati Bengals at
(0-0) Baltimore Ravens

Ah, another AFC North game. This one has a chance to be exponentially better than that Browns-Steelers match-up, as these teams may each have a semblance of a passing game. Andy Dalton gets a shot to stake his team’s claim on the division by coming in week one and taking a win away from their North title rival. Hopefully Bernard Piece can shoulder the running load for Baltimore in Ray “Fucking Asshole” Rice’s absence. Or not. They’re the Ravens. I don’t care.

(0-0) Washington Offensive Names at
(0-0) Houston Texans

Under new head coaches, these teams are hoping to rebound from dreadful 2013 campaigns. Seriously. These teams sucked last year. There are a lot of fun match-up’s to watch for here. Can Clowney and Watt chase down and contain a healthy RG3? Will DeSean Jackson tear apart the suspect Texan secondary? Can Ryan Fitzpatrick put four non-screwup quarters together? The NFL world is anxious to find out. I’m assuming Washington’s offense will be too much for Houston to keep up with, but they could also crap the bed on the road. That’d be SO them.

(0-0) Tennessee Titans at
(0-0) Kansas City Chiefs

Here’s KC’s recipe for success. Jamaal Charles run. Jamaal Charles catch. Jake Locker interception. Jamaal Charles run. You get the picture. At Arrowhead, the Titans face an uphill battle. Also, they’re too boring to write about effectively.

Katy Perry fascintating

Me whenever someone discusses the Titans.

(0-0) New England Patriots at
(0-0) Miami Dolphins

The Patriots get to test their new-look secondary against Ryan Tannehill’s passing game. Darelle Revis is probably healthy enough to hang with Mike Wallace, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t see that match-up often. The Patriots will have a way to remove Wallace from the game regardless of it Revis is on him. I’m usually not all that confident in picking week one divisional games, but there’s no way Miami can match points with the Pats.

(0-0) Carolina Panthers at
(0-0) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs welcome in their division rival following an offseason of change. They have a new head coach in Lovie Smith and a new starting quarterback in Josh McCown. Cam Newton is questionable for the Panthers with a rib injury… so everyone should brace themselves for a Derek Anderson sighting. Anderson + Carolina’s receivers = 50 carries for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.

Oh, and 50 carries for Williams and Stewart = 1 1/2 combined injuries for Williams and Stewart.

Biel Math Major

(0-0) San Francisco 49ers at
(0-0) Dallas Cowboys

HOOWEE. Jerry World opens the regular season hosting the 49ers, who will have Ray McDonald play despite being arrested for domestic violence last week. They’re letting the legal system “play out” or something. The NFL is weird about these things. Anyways, the Niners could come out flat after an offseason of turmoil, but I’d bet on them being angry as hell. Without Aldon Smith though, I wonder how effective their pass rush will be against Tony Romo? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Niners had a hard time dealing with the Cowboys.

(0-0) Indianapolis Colts at
(0-0) Denver Broncos

Sunday night brings us a match-up of epic hype proportions, even if it already happened last season. The Colts and Broncos are both prospective division winners, so it’s always fun to see where teams are at in week one. I’m expecting Peyton and company to repeat last year’s week one showing when they dismantled the then-Super Bowl champion Ravens. And now they have a few brand new pieces on defense to help defend against Andrew Luck. T.Y. Hilton isn’t getting past T.J. Ward. And Reggie Wayne could be SHUT DOWN by Aqib Talib. Even without Wes Welker, I’ll take the Broncos to start a winning streak.

(0-0) New York Giants at
(0-0) Detroit Lions

Monday night starts out with what could be a pick-fest. Between Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford, there could be 31 turnovers when the night is done. I’m so excited for this. I think we’ll all win when this perfect example of how not to quarterback a team is put on national television. Between the Giants’ complete inability to mount an offense in the preseason to the Lions’ defense being a hot mess of anger-balls and no-talents, this will be hilariously fun.

(0-0) San Diego Chargers at
(0-0) Arizona Cardinals

Speaking of turnovers… Philip Rivers AND Carson Palmer? Interception 2: Electric Boogaloo closes out week one with two quarterbacks that can sling it into opposing coverage with the best of them. I want to see at least two fumbles and two pick-sixes. It’s the only way I’ll be able to keep my excitement level up until midnight, which is when this game might end. These Monday-night doubleheaders are always killer. I’ll be rooting for the injury-riddled defensive front of the Cardinals to wreck Philip Rivers. HARD.


The first installment of The Opening Drive is in the 2014 books! How’d that feel for you? Good? Good. I feel good.