At last, the real games will begin. It's time to think seriously about who we're going to start. We have some great quarterback matchups in Week One. First of all, New Orleans and Atlanta face off. Drew Brees played much better at home against Atlanta last season than on the road. He's the safest bet of all quarterbacks opening weekend and has a statistical floor that most quarterbacks would love to have as their ceiling. Matt Ryan has come into his own as a fantasy starter and should not disappoint this opening weekend. His last time in New Orleans, he passed for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. The New Orleans defense has not improved enough to prevent Ryan from having an awesome game. I'll be shocked if these two quarterbacks do not post two of the top five performances of the first week.
Another great matchup of two great quarterbacks is Green Bay against San Francisco. I'm sure Aaron Rodgers will be looking to wash the bad taste of two losses last season to the 49ers out of his mouth. One loss that started his 2012 season and the other that ended it. It looks as though his receiving weapons will all be healthy to start the season. If the Green Bay running game can keep the 49ers off balance, Rodgers will have an easier game. Otherwise, it'll be an uphill battle all afternoon. Colin Kaepernick had some really good games during the 2012 season but for most people the playoff win over Green Bay was his coming out party. How many times have you seen his third quarter fifty-six yard touchdown run? I swear I've seen it almost fifty-six times. NFL teams have had the offseason to scheme against the Pistol but that doesn't mean that the Niners haven't come up with some twists and adaptations to the offense to stay one step ahead. The one worry is the loss of Crabtree but I'm sure Kaep will still be able to put up the points.
Finally, a very intriguing game in the first half of the Monday night doubleheader. Griffin against Vick. Washington has wisely saved Griffin for the regular season and has let him heal. It remains to be seen in live game action, if he is hindered in any way. Washington has strongly suggested that he has not been restricted in any way during practice and will be able to perform as well as he did last season. Griffin picked the Eagles apart with his passing in their two games last year. I believe he'll do the same in this upcoming matchup. There was so much speculation after Andy Reid left that Michael Vick was finished in Philadelphia. But look who's the starting quarterback as Week One comes around. Vick last faced Washington in 2011 and the Redskins haven't faced Chip Kelly's offense. Vick will have a pretty good game but the real winner will be Griffin owners in Week One.
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My sleeper for Week One is Alex Smith. I don't believe he's going to go off and throw for 300 yards but I can see a nice game of two touchdowns and 275 yards. Facing Jacksonville should enable him to get his season off to a successful start.
Here are the top five quarterbacks for passing touchdowns in 2012:
1. Drew Brees - 43
2. Aaron Rodgers - 39
3. Peyton Manning - 37
4. Tom Brady - 34
5. Matt Ryan - 32
And here are the top five quarterbacks for passing yards in 2012:
1. Drew Brees - 5177
2. Matthew Stafford - 4967
3. Tony Romo - 4903
4. Tom Brady - 4827
5. Matt Ryan - 4719
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