Bengals Dalton and Nelson greet on the sidelines during an NFL football game in Indianapolis (Photo : Reuters)
The first official Monday Night Football of the 2012 regular season starts tonight with a double header on ESPN.
The first game will see the Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore territory as they take on the Ravens at 7 p.m.
According to NFL Network Reporter Ian Rappaport, this game is important as two things stand out, "Pass-rusher extraordinaire Terrell Suggs is out indefinitely, and it's still unclear where Baltimore's quarterback pressure will come from. Rookie Courtney Upshaw is learning, and few would be able to replicate Suggs' production, anyway. How will the Ravens attack? And if they aren't in quarterback Andy Dalton's lap, can they cover receiver A.J. Green? That's a tall task for anyone."
Like Us on Facebook
The Bengals enter their 44th season as a professional sports franchise following their 9-7 record last season, while the Ravens had a more impressive record of 12-4, which set a franchise record of going to the postseason for four consecutive seasons.
A NFL poll asked fans on who they'll predict will win and a "very slight edge" goes to the favor of the Ravens. Fans predict the game will end 30-16 for the Ravens' favor.
The late game will be the San Diego Chargers battling against the Oakland Raiders at 10:15 p.m. EDT on ESPN.
The Raiders enter their 43rd season with new head coach Dennis Allen replacing Hue Jackson and following an 8-8 record from the 2011 season. The Chargers also enter following an 8-8 2011 season and under the same coach they had for the last six years, Norv Turner.
Rappaport was blunt in his observation of the game, stating, "This one features two AFC West teams nobody seems very interested in."
He added, "These are just two teams trying to emerge from the depths of mediocrity to regain their once-proud status. Is that melodramatic enough? Two teams trying to win again."
Despite the mixed performances by both teams last season, fans predict the victory will go to the Chargers, likely in a 28-12 victory.
Following today's games, the next NFL game is set for Thursday when the Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers at 8:20 p.m. EDT on the NFL Network.