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Welcome back all SP users! Another NFL season is FINALLY upon us and we’re all just chomping at the bit to get it started! The National Football League opens the much anticipated 2013 season on Thursday (Sept. 5, 2013) with an exciting match-up in Denver when the Broncos host the Super Bowl winning Ravens. We want to wish each and every one of you a great season and we’re just happy to be back for yet another great year at SafePicks! Okay, without much further ado, let’s get right into Week 1 – let’s go first to that exciting kickoff in Denver.
Baltimore @ Denver -9: Sports Authority Field at Mile High will be the place for when it all goes down, the kickoff to open the 2013 NFL season. QB Joe Flacco leads the Super Bowl champion Ravens into Denver, where Peyton Manning and the Broncos are highly touted contenders to be hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy come February. QB Flacco will be eager to show he’s worth the $120 million contract he received in the offseason thanks to the Ravens’ title triumph over San Francisco for the Super Bowl trophy. Now it’s a re-worked Ravens squad who will take the field, without retired defensive and emotional leader Ray Lewis, and then some, more later. The Broncos have endured some turmoil, too, with linebacker Von Miller suspended for six games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Nevertheless, four-time Most Valuable Player, Peyton Manning, is widely expected to guide Denver to the playoffs as he did last year in his return from multiple neck surgeries. Now, the Broncos have waited almost eight months for their chance to avenge last season’s dramatic divisional playoff loss to a Ravens team that appears ready for the challenge this week. Riding an 11-game winning streak and ahead by seven late in the fourth quarter, Denver appeared headed to the AFC championship game last season, until Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco connected with Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds left, forcing overtime and stunning the Broncos. The Ravens went on to a 38-35 double-OT victory in which QB Flacco threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns – along with that long TD to Jones – in the playoff win. Then that propelled them to a 28-13 win at New England the next week, and they went on to beat San Francisco 34-31 (it was also a SafePicks NFL Expert Prediction) to claim their first Super Bowl title since 2000. And the rest is history.