By Gerry Dulac | Scripps Howard News via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Miami Dolphins (7-9 last season) at Cleveland Browns (5-11), 1 p.m. (CBS)
New Dolphins WR Mike Wallace is no stranger to the Browns, who watched him catch 16 passes and average 20.8 yards per catch when he was with the Steelers. This is another new start for Cleveland, which has a new owner and a new head coach, hoping to end five consecutive seasons with at least 11 losses.
Prediction: Browns, 17-16.
Tennessee Titans (6-10) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8), 1 p.m.
The Titans haven't made the playoffs the past four seasons, so they brought in 17 free agents and eight draft picks for an overhaul. The Steelers, who went winless in the preseason for only the fourth time in history, haven't gone back-to-back seasons without the playoffs since 2000.
Prediction: Steelers, 24-13.
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Chicago Bears (10-6), 1 p.m.
The Bengals are expecting bigger things after making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for only the second time in franchise history. The Bears are expecting big things from their new coach, Marc Trestman, hoping he can change Jay Cutler into a playoff-winning quarterback.
Prediction: Bears, 20-17.
New England Patriots (12-4) at Buffalo Bills (6-10), 1 p.m.
The Buffalo Bills have another new head coach (Doug Marrone) and another new quarterback (E.J. Manuel) in an attempt to change what is the longest active playoff drought in the league (13 years). The Patriots don't have that problem. They are trying for their 10th division title in the past 11 years.
Prediction: Patriots, 34-20.
Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Carolina Panthers (7-9), 1 p.m.
The Seahawks won seven of their final eight regular-season games and a road playoff game in Washington and look like a team that could challenge the 49ers for the division title. The Panthers won their final four games last season, but that was just to finish with a more palatable record.
Prediction: Seahawks, 23-17.
Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at Detroit Lions (4-12), 1 p.m.
The Vikings won their final four games last season to make the playoffs and finish with seven more victories than the previous season. They have even bigger hopes this season. The Lions went the other way, winning only four games after a 10-6 season in 2012. They're hoping for bigger things, too.
Prediction: Lions, 28-27.
Oakland Raiders (4-12) at Indianapolis Colts (11-5), 1 p.m.
With Andrew Luck, the Colts improved by nine wins last season and made the playoffs as a wild-card team. But can he do that again without his mentor, Bruce Arians? The Raiders, who regressed from eight wins to four, would love such a turnaround.
Prediction: Colts, 31-21.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14), 1 p.m.
In a week pitting some of the league's top teams, this one matches the teams with the worst records in 2012. Both the Chiefs and Jaguars have new coaches, but Andy Reid inherited a KC roster with six Pro Bowl players. Then he went out and acquired QB Alex Smith, giving the Chiefs a chance to have one of those big turnaround seasons.
Prediction: Chiefs, 24-16.
Atlanta Falcons (13-3) at New Orleans Saints (7-9), 1 p.m.
New Orleans is excited and invigorated about the return of coach Sean Payton from his one-year suspension. The Falcons are excited that they have added even more talent to a roster that was just 10 yards shy of getting to the Super Bowl.
Prediction: Saints, 31-30.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) at New York Jets (6-10), 1 p.m.
Not surprisingly, the Jets are going to start the season with rookie QB Geno Smith, not Mark Sanchez. His first rule of thumb: Don't throw at former Jets CB Darrelle Revis, now with Tampa Bay. The Bucs would like to parlay their offensive talent into a playoff spot, something they haven't had since 2007.
Prediction: Buccaneers, 26-19.
Arizona Cardinals (5-11) at St. Louis Rams (7-8-1), 4:25 p.m.
The Rams are hoping to build on a season in which they can say they never lost to the 49ers in two meetings (1-0-1). The Cardinals are hoping to rebuild their confidence after a season in which they lost 11 of their final 12 games. That's why they hired former Steelers coordinator Bruce Arians, hoping he can engineer another turnaround.
Prediction: Cardinals, 27-24.
Green Bay Packers (11-5) at San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1), 4:15 p.m. (FOX)
Hopefully, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has come up with a plan to slow Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers, who shredded his defense for 579 total yards in last year's NFC playoff game. If not, it could be another long afternoon in the Bay Area. The 49ers are loaded.
Prediction: 49ers, 34-28.
New York Giants (9-7) at Dallas Cowboys (8-8), 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
No active quarterback in the league has started more consecutive games than Eli Manning (135). And Manning has never lost in the Cowboys' palatial playground (4-0). The Cowboys gave their quarterback, Tony Romo, the richest contract in franchise history, hoping he can give them their first playoff appearance in four years.
Prediction: Cowboys, 31-30.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-12) at Washington Redskins (10-6), 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Robert Griffin III missed the entire preseason while recovering from offseason ACL surgery, but he will start for the Redskins. It will also be the first game for new Eagles coach Chip Kelly, whose up-tempo style will either help change the NFL ... or him.
Prediction: Redskins, 24-14.
Houston Texans (12-4) at San Diego Chargers (7-9), 10:20 p.m. (ESPN)
It took a while, but the Chargers finally grew weary of underachieving with Norv Turner and brought in Mike McCoy to change the culture. What's more, new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has plenty of offensive weapons with which to work. Just not against the Texans.
Prediction: Texans, 30-24.