The 2012 season is under way, and week 1 on the NFL schedule is filled with some interesting games… and some that will only be of interest to the fans of those two teams.  I sat down with Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) to talk about the top 5 games on the schedule. Here’s part 1 of that two-man round table discussing NFL Week 1 for 2012.

NFL Week 1 - New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills

#5 – Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets

Rob: Of the two teams, the Bills have been predicted to make it to post-season play this season and the Jets are predicted to implode. What happens in this first game won’t define how their season goes, but it will give us an indication.

Bryan: Both teams have a lot to prove early on. Buffalo has to prove some of their offseason acquisitions were worth it, and the Jets have to prove they won’t be the second coming of the Bronx Zoo.

Rob: That Buffalo defense could be dangerous, between the signing of Mario Williams and the players they drafted.

Bryan: What’s that saying? No pressure, no diamonds? I can’t imagine what the headlines are going to be for New York if they lose this game. Especially if Sanchez struggles.

Rob: So which direction are you predicting? I usually go the route of the home team in divisional games since it’s usually just a toss-up. Plus, I’m not sure that the Bills defense has gelled yet.

Bryan: I have to go New York. You alluded to some people predicting Buffalo in the playoffs, but I just don’t see it. This New York season could get nasty, but for now they are what they are: a very, very talented football team.

#4 – New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans

Bryan: This game has shootout written all over it. New England has made marked improvements on defense and Tennessee’s defense isn’t horrible, but the real strengths of these two teams are their offenses.

Rob: I’m looking forward to seeing how the retooled Patriots defense looks, along with their WR corps. And then there’s Jake Locker, Chris Johnson and Wright, who I’m thinking could make Sunday very exciting.

Bryan: It should, but Chris Johnson has to redeem himself. He was horrendously inconsistent last season.

Rob: As a firm believer in off-season conditioning, I blame CJ’s lack of success in 2011 on his hold-out. I’m expecting huge things from him in 2012. I still don’t think it’ll be enough to get the Titans past New England. Which way are you going on this one?

Bryan: If the Titans had even a puncher’s chance in this one, I think Kenny Britt was required. He won’t be there, and neither will a Tennessee ‘W’.

Rob: No doubt in my mind that the dangerous Mr Britt would give them a chance, but I’d likely still go with the Patriots.

NFL Week 1 Preview - Robert Griffin III debuts

NFL Week 1 Preview – Robert Griffin III officially debuts

#3 – Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints

Rob: The official professional debut of Robert Griffin III against a bountygate-scarred Saints team who just found out they got some of their players back from suspension.

Bryan: That’s right. Or, as some might want to call the Saints season: Drew Brees versus the world.

Rob: He is their de facto Head Coach for the next month or so, right?

Bryan: I think he’s their de facto head coach for the entire season. If your a player on this Saints team, who do you honestly respect more, Joe Vitt or Drew Brees?

Rob: Well, Vitt will be the one calling the plays and running (at least most of) the team meetings, but your point is well taken. So the players that get to return thanks to the appeals process, do they help the team or hurt the team, or does it even matter?

Bryan: Well, the GuysNation diehards will already have read my article about the suspensions being overturned, and they know Will Smith will probably play but Vilma probably will not. I’m not usually one to say one player can make THAT much of a difference, but the Redskins O-line is patchwork at best. I wouldn’t be surprised if the return of Smith plays a critical role in this game.

Rob: This is really going to test how versatile RGIII is, as well as the level to which he understands Shanahans’ offense. Despite a subtraction to their receiving corps (common theme this week?) the Saints still have tons of weapons against a questionable Redskins secondary.

Bryan: That’s a good point. I think this game will be a good barometer of where the Saints are right now. If they beat Washington, they should be on pace for a playoff season. If they lose, though, people will wonder if this team is in trouble.

Rob: My friends and family will be disappointed with me if I go against the Redskins, so I’ll be optimistic to say that New Orleans are going to be mentally out of sorts enough to let RGIII have a huge debut. I know you likely have similar fans around you… where does your outlook on this one get you in terms of a prediction?

Bryan: My heart and my brain are two different organs. I like the Saints but it should be close either way.

Rob: We can only hope.