Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Date and Time: Monday 9/9/13 at 7:10pm on ESPN
Game Line: Washington Redskins -4.5 (from 5Dimes)
The Eagles are a giant unknown heading into the 2013 season under new head coach Chip Kelley. Even their quarterback situation is a mystery. Nick Foles is a good leader with a limited arm and no speed, Mike Vick has the speed but he is a turnover machine and fourth round pick Matt Barkley has similar problems as Nick Foles. One thing we know, Kelley wants to use tight ends, so he signed James Casey and drafted Stanford’s Zach Ertz to play together and try to create mismatches. DeSean Jackson should expect big things in Kelley’s fast paced system but he is afraid to take a big hit and likes to quit on his team. No matter the system, the Eagles will run the ball early and often. LeSean McCoy has to be happy about this and should expect big things. Felix Jones and Bryce Brown will compete for the backup job. No one knows what the Eagles defense will look like either. It’s all a guess as to who will play where, whether they will be in a 3-4 or a 4-3. Their secondary is almost completely new, and will have to learn to play together, which will lead to struggles early in the 2013 campaign.
If QB Robert Griffin III can stay healthy this year, Washington should be back in the playoff picture but he has proven to be anything but durable. It would help if the Redskins upgraded at tackle, Tyler Polumbus was one of the worst in the league, but they kept him. The other 8 potential line mates are solid if they can keep from drawing penalties. The stability up front should help RB Alfred Morris who shined as a rookie in 2012. The Redskins are lacking playmakers though, Pierre Garcon meshed well with Griffin when healthy but between the two of them they miss too much time. TE Fred Davis signed a one year deal and hopes to come back healthy after tearing his Achilles in 2012. The Redskins defense has the same problem as their offense, health. Brian Orakpo is a stud who missed almost all of 2012, as with Adam Carriker but both will be healthy and hoping to get to the QB early and often in 2013. Washington drafted to upgrade their secondary, CB David Amerson will learn behind DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson who both played well last year. Safety Philip Thomas was another early round rookie who will be needed to start much sooner. Young defensive talent aside, the Redskins will go as RGIII goes, if he can stay healthy they should make another playoff run in 2013.
Eagles at Redskins Pick: Eagles +4.5 and over 50
Eagles at Redskins Game Prediction: 31-28 Eagles
What to watch for in this week 1 NFL matchup: We will be tuning in to see what exactly this Eagles team looks like and the surprise factor will help them in week 1. Griffin should have no problem getting to the outside against Philadelphia’s defensive front which will open things up for Alfred Morris in the middle.
Houston Texans at San Diego Chargers
Date and Time: Monday 9/9/13at 10:20pm on ESPN
Game Line: Houston Texans -3 (from 5Dimes)
Matt Schaub is running out of time to prove himself in Houston. They are a preseason playoff favorite every year and have yet to make it out of the second round. Schaub and all-star WR Andre Johnson are both in their 30’s now and running out of time. Johnson was Schaub’s only receiver in 2012 and but they attempted to remedy that by drafting DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson who is a great route runner. Arian Foster needed blocking help badly so the team signed stud fullback Greg Jones. Still, we are expecting another down year for Foster after he led the league in carries last year and is hitting the 5 year life expectancy for an NFL running back. He is already showing signs with a calf injury in OTA’s and missing training camp. Their offensive line returns all five players including Pro Bowl center Chris Myers. Defensively, Houston has the capability to break last year’s 44 sack total behind defensive end JJ Watt who is the best in the game. He opens things up for his line mates who love getting to the quarterback. In the secondary Houston lost Glover Quin to the Lions and signed Ed Reed from Baltimore. Ed Reed’s best days are behind him and he will compete with rookie D.J. Swearinger for the starting job. The Colts are quickly catching Houston for the class of the AFC South and Schaub and company need to start winning playoff games before their time runs out.
Phillip Rivers is in a similar situation to Matt Schaub, the clock is ticking. Rivers arm strength, durability, and weapons around him are all depleting quickly. Then again, it is impossible to know what Rivers has in the tank because he has the worst offensive line in football, allowing 49 sacks last season. The big addition to fix this was Alabama tackle DJ Fluker who was taken 11th overall in the draft and should really open up the running game. The rest of their offensive line has little promise. The Chargers skill position players should improve with WR Vincent Brown returning from injury and Danario Alexander emerging late last season. Also, Danny Woodhead signed from the Patriots and might battle potential bust Ryan Mathews for playing time. The Chargers will have a decent pass rush with DE Core Liuget and Kendall Reyes are showing young promise which they will need because they might have the worst secondary in the league
Texans at Chargers Pick: Texans -3 and under 50
Texans at Chargers Game Prediction: 31-17 Texans
What to watch for in this week 1 NFL matchup: The Texans are a terrible matchup for this Chargers team. They are weak at offensive line, while the Texans get to the quarterback and they lack a shut down corner while Houston has Andre Johnson, one of the best WR’s in the business. The Chargers should slow down Arian Foster and stall a few drives but big plays over the top make the difference.