– PATRIOTS AT TITANS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Patriots won 59-0 when these teams last met in 2009. That should light a big home fire under Titans, but no amount of incentive makes up for the likelihood Tom Brady will have a day that makes his fantasy owners do handsprings while counterpart Jake Locker makes his first NFL start. So Pats win a ninth straight opener.

PREDICTION: Patriots, 28-17

DOLPHINS AT TEXANS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Miami is Week 1’s biggest underdog with good reason. Dolphins looked shades of bad to awful in the warmup month, and Houston presents an opponent plenty of folks see with Super Bowl potential. The combination makes a postgame smile unlikely for Joe Philbin, one of the five rookie head coaches this season. Houston is 6-0 all-time in this series, but that trend doesn’t shape this pick. The Texans’ outright superiority does.

PREDICTION: Texans, 30-10

FALCONS AT CHIEFS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Jamaal Charles’ return from injury gives QB Matt Cassel the running-game help he desperately needs. KC is 3-0 all-time at Arrowhead vs. Atlanta, and I start this season thinking it’s being underestimated and could be a playoff team, and that ‘Lanta (annually oversold) again must prove it deserves the hype.

PREDICTION: Chiefs, 24-20

JAGUARS AT VIKINGS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: The fact both teams’ offensive engines are running in idle-mode siphons interest. Adrian Peterson of the Vikings, back from serious knee surgery, might or might not play. Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars, just back from a holdout, won’t start and could play sparingly. Make it a venue call in what should be a points-shy affair.

PREDICTION: Vikings, 19-17

COLTS AT BEARS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: The Andrew Luck Era sets sail but there are far easier places for a debut. These clubs met in the rained-soaked Miami Super Bowl after the 2006 season. Neither looks Super this season but Chicago is miles closer.

PREDICTION: Bears, 27-16

EAGLES AT BROWNS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Philly’s supposed “Dream Team” went bust a year ago but comes back improved. The Eagles’ fairly awesome pass rush will crush rookie QB Brandon Weeden. And LeSean McCoy will put up XXL fantasy numbers vs. Cleveland’s soft run defense. The Browns kept 15 rookies and have lost seven straight openers. Make it eight.

PREDICTION: Eagles, 34-13

RAMS AT LIONS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: A duel of overall No. 1-drafted QBs in Matthew Stafford (2009) and Sam Bradford (2010). The difference is Stafford has more surrounding talent, including some guy named Calvin Johnson.

PREDICTION: Lions, 31-26

REDSKINS AT SAINTS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Curtain rises on rookie QB Robert Griffin, but the arm that steers this result will be that of Drew Brees, whose offense still looks prolific. And the secondary is the worst part of Washington’s defense.

PREDICTION: Saints, 30-20

BILLS AT JETS, 1 P.M.

OUTLOOK: The Jets’ new offensive chief, Tony Sparano, can’t find the end zone and has a Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow QB mess-in-waiting. New York has won five straight in the series.

PREDICTION: Bills, 20-17

SEAHAWKS AT CARDINALS, 4:25 P.M.

OUTLOOK: The Seahawks are flying in off a 4-0 preseason in which they outscored opponents 122-44 and rookie QB Russell Wilson looked great. Time for a bubble burst? Could happen. The Cardinals are a very tempting home underdog, especially with John Skelton 5-0 in career starts in the desert, and with top SEA back Marshawn Lynch iffy with back spasms. But my chips are in with Seattle’s defense.

PREDICTION: Seahawks, 21-16

49ERS AT PACKERS, 4:25 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Here is as likely an NFC title-game preview as any, with trends piling up for the Packers, who have won five straight openers and nine straight over the 49ers. Need more convincing? How about Aaron Rodgers vs. Alex Smith. San Francisco’s defense is great but nobody stops Rodgers.

PREDICTION: Packers, 28-20

PANTHERS AT BUCCANEERS, 4:25 P.M.

OUTLOOK: The Bucs are a ripe home underdog but the thing is, Carolina put up 86 points on Tampa Bay in two wins last year, and Cam Newton should be even better than the rookie version. Plus Josh Freeman is struggling in Coach Greg Schiano’s new offense.

PREDICTION: Panthers, 27-17

STEELERS AT BRONCOS, 8:20 P.M.

OUTLOOK: The Game of the Week committee was raging and brawling, but ultimately the slim majority raising hands for Peyton Manning’s ballyhooed comeback shouted down the vocal minority incredulous that the 49ers-Packers wasn’t this week’s pick. Bottom line: Manning returning from a year lost to neck surgeries and in a different uniform is the story of the year out the gate. Why do you think this one owns a prime-time stage? Whether Manning unveils himself heroically or is made to look old and rusty by Pittsburgh’s tough defense, his 2012 debut will be the talk-story Monday morning. Denver (and Tim Tebow) upset the Steelers in last year’s playoffs, but I like Pittsburgh enjoying its revenge, even if RB Rashard Mendenhall sits out, and even though Denver is a league-best 38-13-1 (.745) in home openers. See, Manning might be the story of this game but he isn’t the best quarterback in this game. Ben Roethlisberger is.

PREDICTION: Steelers, 24-23

MONDAY

BENGALS AT RAVENS, 7 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Season debut of Monday Night Football offers a good one as Cincinnati, seeking its first consecutive winning years since 1981-82, arrives hoping to show it can hang with Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Doubts remain. The Ravens are 4-0 in openers under John Harbaugh and couldn’t stop Ray Rice in last meeting.

PREDICTION: Ravens, 24-20

CHARGERS AT RAIDERS, 10:15 P.M.

OUTLOOK: Monday’s late game should find Oakland’s freakazoid fans in full 1974 KISS concert-on-Halloween regalia. Near pick-’em game could be a wild affair, with Philip Rivers and Darren McFadden both stat-padding. Chargers have won seven of the past eight meetings played in Oakland, but that feels like a trend about to end under the law of averages. When in doubt, go home.

PREDICTION: Raiders, 27-24

— Ron Cote, The Miami Herald