The NFL season starts in earnest today, and it's about damn time. Granted, the early afternoon offerings on our local cable system-- Jets/Titans and Eagles/Texans-- probably don't really qualify as "football," and the late afternoon Cowboys/Jaguars game is interesting only insofar as either Terrell Owens or Bill Parcells might explode at any moment, but it's the principle of the thing.
Also, they serve as a useful warm-up for the real attraction of the day, namely this evening's Manning Bowl pitting my Giants and quarterback Eli Manning against the Colts, quarterbacked by his older brother Peyton. Fearless predictions below the fold (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of hiding my "fearless" predictions from the RSS feed...).
The big issues for the Giants remain the offensive line and the defensive backfield. The line was better last year than in recent years, but if they're going to do anything, they really need to be able to protect Eli Manning. And their secondary was horrible for a lot of last year.
So, what are they facing tonight? Well, a defense led by Dwight Freeney, who is scary fast, and an offense led by Peyton Manning, who set the single-season touchdown record a couple of years ago, and Marvin Harrison who for my money is the best receiver in the business (and doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves, because he's not a preening jackass). That sounds like a recipe for trouble, even if they did make some moves to shore up the secondary.
Throw in the excessive brother-against-brother hype, and I think the Giants are in trouble. Eli Manning already has a bit of a tendency to try to force stupid passes, and if he's trying to show up his brother, things could get ugly.
Colts by two touchdowns.
Feel free to call me an idiot in the comments, and just generally treat this as an NFL open thread.
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