It's good to have NFL Football regular season games to watch. While the preseason is a good appetizer, by the middle of August NFL fans are ready for the main course, which is the regular season.
Here are the top five games I have identified for opening weekend, with the rest of the games picked after that.
Top 5 Games
1) Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers begin their Super Bowl defense at home against the team that won the most regular season games in 2008. (13) The Steelers' last loss of the 2008 season was a Week 16 beat down in Tennessee by the score of 31-14, a game in which DT Albert Haynesworth sat out with an injury. He won't be there this year either, as he now plays in Washington, but I don't expect a repeat of last year's game.
The Steelers are very tough at home and I don't look for QB Ben Roethlisberger to repeat his two interceptions, four fumbles and five-sack performance from a year ago. These two teams will battle in a low scoring contest, but I look for the Steelers to open their title defense with a big win at home in a thrilling defensive struggle. Winner: Pittsburgh
2) Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons - This is a matchup between two of the NFL's most surprising teams of 2008. In 2007 the Dolphins went 1-15 and the Falcons went 4-12. Both teams made wholesale changes, the Dolphins shining with veteran QB Chad Pennington and the Falcons with star rookie QB Matt Ryan. The result was an 11-5 season for each team and a playoff birth.
This year neither team starts under the radar. The Falcons possess a tough running game, led by Michael Turner and an offense loaded with weapons in WR Roddy White and TE Tony Gonzalez. The Dolphins also have a solid back in Ronnie Brown and feature a tough defense led by LB Joey Porter that has added DE Jason Taylor back to the mix in hopes of improving their pass defense. I think the Dolphins will be able to slow the Falcons' attack, but I look for the Falcons to open up with a win in a competitive game. Winner: Atlanta