My articles from this point forward will pick out a few matchups each week with a breakdown of how I believe the game will play out. I will also include the point spreads and say which team I think will win (with regard to the point spread). I’d also like to include the Sunday Night game each week, as I personally believe these are the best games of the weekend. Before I begin, I’d like to give a shout out to “The Beej,” the NFL pick’ems columnist who came before me. Without further to do, let’s begin. (Home teams will be written in CAPS).

Atlanta Falcons at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Though the Saints are favored by three points in this NFC South matchup, I think the Falcons will not only cover their end of the spread but will also win the game. The Falcons were 1-1 against the Saints last year, losing in week 10 by four points but winning in week 13 by 10 points. Ultimately, I think this game comes down to the fact that the Falcons offense is too explosive for the Saints’ defense to contain. The addition of Steven Jackson as running back should help the Falcons balance their offense more. I also believe Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez are all too dominant and explosive for the Saints’ secondary to cover. The Saints’ offense is explosive, but I think the Falcons’ secondary will be able to hold off Drew Brees to get the win. Falcons 34 Saints 28

Seattle Seahawks at CAROLINA PANTHERS
In this matchup, the Seahawks are favored by three and a half points. Despite not having wide receivers Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, the Seahawks will still win this game. Russell Wilson took the NFL by storm last year surprising nearly every team that played him with his ability to both run and pass the football. This year, I think he’ll continue to do just that. Marshawn Lynch is still one of the toughest running backs in the league, and he should post another strong running season. I think this game once again comes down to defense and, unfortunately for the Panthers, the Seahawks defense is just too strong. The combination of cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman will make passing the ball for the Panthers a nightmare. Aside from their pass defense, the Seahawks’ run defense ranked fourth in the league in 2012, allowing only 75 yards per game. I believe the Seahawks will not only win this game but that they will cover the point spread. Seahawks 27 Panthers 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NEW YORK JETS
The Buccaneers are favored by three points in this matchup and as much as it saddens me to say, the Buccaneers will win by more than three points. As a Jets fan, I’ve already set my expectations low, and although I’m excited to see Geno Smith start at quarterback, his preseason showing is grounds for concern. Tampa Bay’s triple threat (Josh Freeman, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson) will dominate the Jets’ defense this weekend. Had the Jets still had Darrelle Revis to cover Vincent Jackson, I would be feeling a bit more optimistic. Instead, Revis will now be covering the Jets’ starting wide receiver – whoever that may be – this weekend, meaning that that receiver will affect the game minimally. Buccaneers 31 Jets 21

Miami Dolphins at CLEVELAND BROWNS
The Browns are favored in this game by one point, meaning that this should be a very close game. Once again, I’m going to go against the point spread and pick the Dolphins to win this one. I do happen to like Trent Richardson but that’s just about it for the Browns’ offense. Ryan Tannehill is settled in this year and has a deep ball threat in Mike Wallace that Tannehill will look to a significant amount of the time. Lamar Miller replaces Reggie Bush in the Dolphins’ backfield and is expected to have a good sophomore season. In addition, the Dolphins went out and signed free agent and former pro bowler Brent Grimes, who missed the 2012 season. Grimes should definitely help the improving Dolphins’ defense in this matchup. Dolphins 35 Browns 21

New York Giants at DALLAS COWBOYS
The Cowboys, having home field advantage in this matchup, are favored by three and a half points over the rival New York Giants. Eli Manning and the Giants have yet to lose in the new Cowboys (AT&T) Stadium, in the past four years. Unfortunately, I think this Sunday’s matchup will give Manning his first loss. The Giants are without safety Stevie Brown and lineman David Diehl who were injured during the preseason and could be without defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who hasn’t played this preseason. On the Cowboys side of the ball, Dallas has opened the first month of the season with a combined 21-10 record in the past 10 years. Ultimately, I don’t know what to expect from both the Giants’ running game and their defense. Dallas has gone out and gotten an entirely new coaching staff after Jason Garrett turned out to be a bust at head coach. I think Dallas takes this game and starts the season 1-0. Giants 24 Cowboys 27

– By Adam Troyetsky

Photo courtesy of Mark Botham, Flickr