James Lofton's picks for Kickoff Weekend


THIS WEEK’S HALL OF FAMER: James Lofton, Class of 2003
Lofton caught 764 passes for 14,004 yards during his stellar 16-season career with the Packers, Raiders, Bills, Rams, and Eagles. He has continued his career in football by serving as an assistant coach with the Chargers and Raiders. This season, he has joined the NFL broadcast crew for CBS Sports/Westwood One Radio. He debuted in the radio  booth at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton in early August.

Lofton’s “Hall of Fame” picks for Kickoff Weekend

{GALLERY}Bronze Bust
Washington at New York. This game is a classic battle between the proven and unproven quarterback - Eli Manning vs. Jason Campbell. That is why I think this game is the weekend’s marquee matchup. I like New York because Eli and the Giants have played in so many big games, including the Super Bowl victory, in recent years. They’ve proven themselves. For Campbell, this is a game where he can earn his stripes and put an end to all the trade talk that filled the offseason. He can show that he is clearly the Redskins QB of the future. But, in the end the Giants defense will make the difference and I wouldn’t be surprised if they even put some points on the board on turnovers. My pick: Giants.

Gold Jacket
Chicago at Green Bay. Who would have thought that Aaron Rodgers would be the veteran quarterback of the NFC North!?  (That is, the longest starting QB with the same team....so that trumps Brett Favre with the Vikings!). This division has a lot of new faces at quarterback but Rodgers continuity and his comfort with his offense will be the difference early on in the season. The Bears will come in with some offensive swagger led by Jay Cutler. We don’t often spend a whole lot of time talking about the defensive coordinator but the debut of Green Bay’s new defensive coordinator Dom Capers and  his 3-4 defense is going to be a factor. They’ll give the Bears some new looks and they’ll get after Cutler and force him out of the pocket where he’ll make some mistakes. My pick: Green Bay

Hall of Fame Ring
San Diego at Oakland. No team in the league has offensive weapons as lethal as the Chargers. They can move the ball on the ground with two great running backs in LT and Darren Sproles.  And Philip Rivers had an incredible year last year. He’ll pick right up where he left off at the end of last season when he led the league in passing. The Raiders boast a lot of talent with several No. 1 picks on their roster. Players like JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey will have to mature in a hurry.  My pick: Chargers

Here’s who else I like for Kickoff Weekend
Steelers over the Titans
Falcons to beat the Dolphins
Ravens will down the Chiefs
Eagles over the Panthers
Bengals to take down Denver
Browns winning at home versus the Vikings
Texans over the Jets
Colts to beat Jacksonville
Saints will defeat the Lions
Cowboys over the Buccaneers
Cardinals over the 49ers
Seahawks will beat the Rams
Patriots on top of the Bills

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