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Forget Jan. 1, the new year has started

Here we are again.

Having survived the worst part of the summer, also known as the NFL exhibition season, we have finally arrived at the true start of football season. You might have thought it started when Presbyterian visited Wake Forest eight days ago or when Taylor Swift, who just screams football, sang us into the New Orleans-Minnesota game Thursday night.

Nice try, but not quite.

It doesn't really start until Ron Jaworski's eyes bulge talking about two-deep coverage in the regular season and you get a Sunday afternoon with more action than fight night in Vegas.

This is when grown-ups, people who handle your finances or your insurance or your falafel, wear game jerseys so they can feel more like Joe Flacco. It's when you develop a close relationship with Mohamed Massaquoi because he's on your fantasy team.

The calendar says Jan.1 is the start of the new year. The calendar is wrong.

It starts Week One:

CAROLINA at NEW YORK GIANTS: Is an offensive touchdown by the Panthers too much to ask? Giants 24, Panthers 13.

DENVER at JACKSONVILLE: Tim Tebow returns to Florida, making Sunday an official state holiday in the land of Urban Meyer, Daytona Beach and the Burt Reynolds Museum. Broncos 24, Jaguars 16.

OAKLAND at TENNESSEE: The who cares game of the week. Titans 24, Raiders 20.

CINCINNATI at NEW ENGLAND: Also known as "Real Wide Receivers Of The NFL." Randy Moss said this week he feels underappreciated by the Patriots because the team hasn't already reworked his contract, set to expire after this season. Poor baby.

On the other side of the ball, Team Dysfunction has T.O., Chad Ochocinco and more potential for trouble than an MTV reality show. Patriots 32, Bengals 21.

CLEVELAND at TAMPA BAY: Jake Delhomme looks good in brown and orange, which isn't something that can be said about many people. And, after the Panthers' preseason, he might still look pretty good in black and blue. Browns 23, Bucs 20.

DETROIT at CHICAGO: Julius Peppers, Monster of the Midway? Maybe. Or maybe not. Lions 30, Bears 24.

ATLANTA at PITTSBURGH: According to a recent survey by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, Pittsburgh - where putting french fries on a sandwich is considered upscale dining - ranked 48th out of 50 in the list of the fittest cities in the U.S.

The good news is it beat Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. Too bad the Steelers aren't playing the Colts or the Buckeyes this week. Falcons 28, Steelers 24.

MIAMI at BUFFALO: Note to Bills rookie C.J. Spiller: It's predicted to be around 70 in Buffalo on Sunday. Enjoy it. It won't last for long. Bills 20, Dolphins 17.

INDIANAPOLIS at HOUSTON: If the Texans are to be taken seriously, they need to win games like this one. Maybe this is Houston's Boise State moment. And this is another season when the Colts win the AFC. Texans 31, Colts 21.

GREEN BAY at PHILADELPHIA: Since this is the season for predictions, I'm picking the Packers to win the NFC. I know, that's not exactly going on out on a limb, but who am I supposed to pick, Tampa Bay? Packers 27, Eagles 17.

ARIZONA at ST. LOUIS: Just as "Didn't He Used To Be Matt Leinart" is exiting the Cardinals, Sam Bradford is debuting for the Rams. Finally, a reason to watch St. Louis highlights. Cardinals 31, Rams 21.

SAN FRANCISCO at SEATTLE: This one matters for one reason: fantasy football. 49ers 32, Seahawks 27.

DALLAS at WASHINGTON: The only man in Washington with more headaches than President Obama is Skins coach Mike Shanahan. Cowboys 35, Redskins 14.

BALTIMORE at NEW YORK JETS: Here comes the sequel to the Jets' recent reality show on HBO. This time it's called "Hard Knocks: Ray Lewis Style." Ravens 26, Jets 14.

SAN DIEGO at KANSAS CITY: This is called ending Week One with a whimper, not a bang. Chargers 42, Chiefs 24.

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