NFL Week 6 Picks: This Whacky Game

Last week’s roll call was an easy one straight up; all you really had to do was pick mostly the Vegas favorites and you could have run a dozen correct picks easy. I came in at 13-2 with my only miscalls being Detroit’s unlikely meltdown and New England’s epic exorcism.

In a season that has otherwise been a temporal storm of uncertainty, that was one easy lineup of games to wrap your head around.

Now let’s get back to the TUFF STUFF.

Colts at Texans
The most impressive thing about Indy’s win against Baltimore this past weekend was how energetic and active they were on defense giving Joe Flacco fits all day. Elite talent or not, playing active defense is a recipe for success; just ask Peyton or Tony Dungy about Super Bowl XLI. This defense reminds me of that unit. The Texans, overall, have a top flight defense for sure but they are not that good against the run and not good enough against the pass to matter with Luck chuckin’ it around the way he has all season. I don’t like Fitzpatrick to keep up with Luck tossing five TDs or something ridiculous like that as the game wears on. Unless the Texans jump out to a very quick and big early lead, this one is a lock.

Bears at Falcons
The Bears are such a statistical nightmare to evaluate. They are practically league average in every efficiency cat across the board whether it be offensively or defensively, in the box or in the secondary. Strangely, they just keep losing games and won two questionable ones and could very easily have a much worse record. Now they go on the road to play a Falcons team that is completely different at home in a must-win situation. Not that they’re any good but the Falcons will do what the Packers did and outscore them faster on the way to a victory.

Patriots at Bills
One of the contenders for Game of the Week. As much as I would like to call for a letdown by the Pats after their statement game on Sunday night and pick the Bills and their elite defense at home, I don’t trust Kyle Orton. He got away posting a nice stat line while playing a mediocre game because of the volume. Still, to be fair, he gave Buffalo a slightly better chance than EJ had been and for that, you gotta give him credit. I think the Patriots are going to harass him to no end. And if rediscovering the dual TE scheme is working for Brady, that might be enough to outscore the Bills readily on the road in a key AFC East battle between two 3-2 rivals.

Panthers at Bengals
Whatever you want to say about these two teams, here is something that must be said: these are two defenses that are in need of showing up big this week. I believe they both do meaning this will be a sludgy, grungy low scoring affair. With AJ Green hobbled or out entirely, the Bengals are going to pound the rock with Gio and Hill against a Panthers team that has looked susceptible to the ground game. The Bengals’ D will have much to prove after getting smacked by the Patriots. Fortunately for them, they don’t have to worry about Carolina’s rushing (fortunate because that is Cincy’s biggest weakness defensively) since they have about one and a half healthy bodies back there. If Cam is forced to catch up through the air on the road, it may be a long afternoon. Or Superman, I dunno.

Steelers at Browns
The AFC North is really tight and at the bottom of the division are the 2-2 Cleveland Browns, a team that maybe ought to be 3-1 or maybe even 4-0 right now were it not for a last second meltdown/FG against division rival Baltimore and a really sluggish start to the season against these same Steelers a month ago. In fact, the Browns have won or lost all four of their games by less than 3 points! Which means they’re just as likely to be 1-3 or even 0-4! Hahaha this whacky game that we love. Anyway. I love what the Browns are doing this year and can’t wait until they get their full roster but they are going to get shredded in the air by Big Ben who, along with Antonio Brown’s epic season, has been a monster. The Browns are fortunate to have an offense that can clearly move the chains when it needs to (and that did storm back on the Steelers in Pittsburgh before falling just short). But I just don’t know if they can hold them under 30 with an already tore up secondary now also missing CB Joe Haden.

Jags at Titans
While the Titans have a win on their season and the Jags are winless, these are two teams with significantly different outlooks. The Jags are clearly going through growing pains but have an exciting young QB throwing the ball to a couple of exciting young athletic receivers. Their run game leaves a lot to be desired and their defense has been getting wrecked but they showed a little life last week. This week they visit a Titans team that is in such disarray, it is hard to figure out how they got there. More and more it is starting to seem like their week 1 triumph over the Chiefs who have since then improved in all areas was fluky at best and that this team is more or less the team that hasn’t been able to win since (and looked like shit while at it). They have an irregular commitment to the run game which isn’t doing well anyway and can’t keep their starting QB on the field. That is a recipe for disaster. And what is more disastrous than the Jags getting their first win against you in your own house?

Packers at Dolphins
The Dolphins certainly had plenty of time to prepare for the Packers with the bye and all. They’re also at home this week. And it still won’t matter a whole lot. The Packers are coming in scoring points unhindered, have rediscovered their run game and despite giving up a lot of yards defensively, also force an impressive amount of turnovers (tied for tops in the league). Tannehill does make mistakes from time to time and I think the Packers dictate the tempo of the game, force aforementioned mistakes and ultimately outscore the Phins. By a lot.

Lions at Vikings
There is a real temptation here to roll with the home team. Minnesota is getting Teddy Bridgewater back in action and that instantly boosts this offense’s value to around where it was when it shredded Atlanta en route to that beatdown. The Lions defense surely is not the Falcons defense … but there’s something seriously wrong with the Lions offense and that may very well be the determining factor of this game. They weren’t able to put up all that much in the way of points against Buffalo although Buffalo sports a pretty snazzy defense themselves. Still there has to be concern about a team without Megatron, without a healthy Reggie Bush and with a struggling Matt Stafford. Expect the Vikings to finally get Patterson and Wright going at the same time and more semblance of a running game than they showed last week. If they can score points against Detroit’s defense at home in Minny, look for the Vikes to win.

Broncos at Jets
What can we say here? Yeah, yeah, Any Given Sunday, That’s Why They Play the Games, These Are All Pros… should I dig up anymore antiquated NFL clichés to describe the 2% chance the Jets pull off this upset at home? They’d have to break Peyton’s neck in half for that to ever happen. The Jets can stop anybody’s run game… but what if they are playing a team that doesn’t even run the ball because they have Peyton and his fifty good-to-great receivers? Why am I still typing?

Ravens at Bucs
I was thinking about this one for some time. The Ravens are heavy favorites in terms of being picked to win no matter the line. They are one of the most solid teams in the league, no doubt. And yet I am still rolling with the Bucs at home. They have looked entirely different the past two weeks and barely lost in OT against an absolutely desperate Saints team. Fact of the matter is the Bucs are headed back to Tampa for the first time in nearly a month, are likely to play much stauncher defense at home and will square off with a Ravens team playing their second road game in a row. That is a recipe for a monumental upset. And don’t forget; these same Bucs pulled an equally impressive upset of the Steelers just a couple weeks ago. Roll em.

Chargers at Raiders
Should I be the only not-completely-insane person to pick the Raiders here? After all, you’ve got a home game coming off a bye against a divisional rival that you have played tough in other purported lopsided matchups in the past. A game against a team that has been on such a profoundly good roll, it is almost inevitable that they are overdue for the sort of clunker that a team like the Raiders can take advantage of. There’s also this whole new coach thing and the ball he buried. You know, this is the perfect game for the Raiders to stomp the Chargers. You know… that game that I will be rolling Saturday Night on Madden when I play pretend that I am the new head coach/GM of the Oakland Raiders. Utterly STOMP.

Redskins at Cardinals
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins looked much better last week against the top defense in the league than they did against the rival Giants the week before. It just didn’t matter because they were utterly outmatched. That said, they have a far more manageable match up this week against a team that is just riddled with injuries and missing players. The funny thing is that even with all those injuries, the Cards are good enough defensively, especially against the pass, that it could make all the difference in the world at home. Especially with the Redskins coming to town on a short week. There’s also the matter of Arizona possibly getting Carson Palmer back and that would be a huge boon to an offense that was already finding ways to win with Drew Stanton under center.

Cowboys at Seahawks
A contender for Game of The Week. It has been a nice little roll that the Cowboys have been on. They’ve won games that got out of control for their opponents and they won games that were close and tenuous. Impressive thus far, the Cowboys travel to the toughest place to play in the league to play against the best team in the NFC and possibly still the best team in the entire NFL. Unfortunately, this is where their run temporarily ends. I just don’t see them going into Seattle and beating this defense (especially when Dallas’ bread and butter these days is running the rock with Demarco Murray and the Hawks are now one of the better run D’s around) let alone being able to stop Russell Wilson who right now looks to be about as dominant a QB as you can be without spending a majority of your time in the pocket. Wilson makes throws that don’t make any sense given where he is and where the play is. The Redskins found out the hard way that the guy has about 50 eyes and they are all over the STADIUM let alone anywhere on his head. And Marshawn Lynch is probably the best overall running back of the past half a decade. Nice run but no dice this week, Dallas.

Giants at Eagles
This will be fun. Another contender for Game of The Week (I should have just titled this blog entry GAME OF THE WEEK, amirite?). Most of the nation is split 50-50 on the outcome of this one; that goes to show you just how unpredictable this game will be. That said, common wisdom suggests that in such a push, the home team is the one that has the ever so slight edge and while I am normally inclined to give that notion tread, these are two teams giving me entirely different impressions right now. The Giants look confident, dialed in and able to beat you with a suddenly reliable and balanced offense. Even without Jennings running the rock, rookie Andre Williams has looked strong and bruising bludgeoning in between the tackles in his stead. The return of Odell Beckham Jr. and the emergence of Larry Donnell gives Eli Manning four legitimate weapons in the passing game with which to rip apart a porous Eagles defense. On the flip side, the Eagles are an interesting dichotomy. While it is impressive that they have been scoring in a bunch of different ways, the fact they aren’t scoring consistently on offense is alarming. Even though they finally got LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles a lot of meaningful touches and they moved the chains a bit, neither scored… leaving the Eagles to build a large lead on blocked kicks and turnovers. While that works against crappy teams, these are not reliable ways to beat good teams. Home team or not, I expect the Giants to go all BIG BLUE on the Eagles and their cute little all black unis they plan on rollin’ out on Sunday.

Niners at Rams
This is one game the Rams won’t be able to climb back into if they fall behind big early on. Unlike the Eagles, the Niners will collect turnovers like Disneyland Pins. Good running football teams are great road teams because they can quiet the crowd and control the tempo by pounding the rock. The Niners, now that they’ve returned to their rushing strengths, are that kind of team and I expect them to control the game, harass Austin Davis and put up a healthy amount of points on the road on the way to a 4-2 record. Lock it up.

Dig it


NFL Week 5 Picks: What a Comeback Looks/Smells/Tastes/Sounds/Feeeels Like…

Just getting warmed up.

Even with a couple of 8-8 duds to start the season, I am at 36-25 overall in my office pool so I’m coming in at just about the same clip as a majority of the nation. But I don’t intend on being average…

Time is of the short variety this week so let’s get straight to them.


Vikings at Packers
The Vikes surprised everyone last week by running shod over and through the Atlanta Falcons defense. But that game was at home. Teddy Bridgewater is gonna try and go all banged up on a short week visiting the Pack at Lambeau. He will likely have to rely heavily on the run game which at this point is the plodding, uninspiring Matt Asiata and the explosive yet unproven rookie Jerick McKinnon. All the while trying to keep up with A Rod and company. Too much firepower on that offense to keep up with them for four quarters. Packers run away with it eventually.

Texans at Cowboys
The Battle for Texas between a couple of 3-1 teams is going to come down to an utter bloodbath. The Cowboys have been one of the best teams in football on both sides of the ball and are going to be at home in a statement game. The Texans have been playing a little over their heads and have had some soft match ups. This week is maybe a bit too big a test for Fitzpatrick and company to overcome.

Bills at Lions
This may have looked like a really exciting match up a few weeks ago when the Bills seemed atop the world. Now with Kyle Orton under center, while they can’t be any worse offensively than they had been the past couple weeks, the Bills are going to have to do business with one of the top three defensive units in the game. On the road. Yuck. Lions win big.

Browns at Titans
The good news for Tennessee is that they are probably getting Locker back and are planning on running the ball early and often with underutilized rookie Bishop Sankey. That should open things up a bit for them. The Browns are getting healthy on defense and get their opening day starting RB back which means they now have three quality backs to roll out. The Browns are due for a win especially after the debacle that was the final few minutes of the Ravens game and have had two weeks to prepare for the Titans.

Ravens at Colts
One of the best games this week as we have yet another matchup between 3-1 teams. The Ravens have looked balanced so far this season with much improved offense thanks to Steve Smith Sr. stretching the field for big armed Joe Flacco. Can they keep up with Andrew Luck and the Indy offense on the road? That’ll ultimately be the question. In such a tight contest, one is well served to roll with the home team as I think Luck is nearly unstoppable late in games.

Bucs at Saints
The Bucs stunned the Steelers last week and must be flying high and feeling increasingly confident in running Glennon out there under center. Unfortunately for them, they run into a struggling Saints team at the wrong time. Nobody really knows what’s going on with the Saints which bodes poorly for Tampa. It just looks like a funk. A funk that Brees and company will break out of in a big way at home. Not quite as big as Matty Ice and the birds did but enough to win this one by two scores.

Falcons at Giants
Speaking of the Dirty Birds, they came crashing down to earth last week against the Vikings. Granted, they ran into an underrated defense but there has to be concern about their sieve of a defense. Eli has finally got a handle on things and I feel that keeps clicking, especially in this potential barn burner. Still, I am waiting each week for the Giants defense from late last season to show up. If they do, the Falcons are going to have a hard time on the road (for a second straight week) keeping up with Big Blue in New York on ten days rest.

Rams at Eagles
Eagles will bounce back in a big way this week following not only their first loss but one of the uglier losses you will see. 21 points and not a single one on offense. Philly’s offense is already one of the most explosive units in the game and at home, it is even more so. The Rams have an even tougher defense than San Francisco’s so it is possible they frustrate Foles and company but fortunately for Chip Kelly’s boys, the Rams simply cannot keep up on the scoreboard meaning even if they were to limit the Eagles, they are unlikely to outscore them.

Bears at Panthers
That Panther defense just isn’t what it used to be. They’ve been getting gouged left and right and I don’t see an end to that in sight. Luckily for them, the Bears’ defense is even worse. Cam Newton has been limited and the Carolina run game nearly nonexistent. Still, they are due for a win and are at home and I expect Newton to go off.

Steelers at Jags
This may be Jacksonville’s first winnable opportunity. And it also might be the wrong time to catch an explosive Steeler team on the heels of an embarrassing loss and some bonafide Tomlin rage. The Burgh will be in fine, amped form against the Jags who are on the cusp of getting out the cellar but will have to wait a little while longer to get there.

Cardinals at Broncos
I tried to reason with myself as to how Arizona could come in and take this from Denver on the road but I can’t get over how difficult that would be without Carson Palmer. Hell it would be difficult even with Palmer. The Cards have been one of the more surprising stories this year given all their injury issues but I just don’t see it happening. Peyton and the Broncos have been resting and preparing for this game for two weeks. I get that the Cards are coming off a bye too lol But this is Peyton we are talking about and so in a lot of ways, the Cardinals are doomed because of that alone.

Jets at Chargers
Yikes. A team with a red-hot QB taking on a team that is having some serious problems in their secondary with bad coverage assignments. This is a recipe for a home win for the Chargers who, so far, have looked like one of the top ten teams in the league. The Jets will have to stay very disciplined and not turn the ball over to have any kind of chance in this one on the road.

Chiefs at Niners
Hard to tell what happens here. The Chiefs are clearly coming off a huge win against the Pats in which they showed off their running game, stout defense and up-n-coming star TE. And that was against a decent defense. Well, the Niners showed off a more than decent defense last week in shutting down one of the most explosive offenses in football. That is very much worth noting. This will be a great game especially given the storyline of Alex Smith returning to SF to play Kaepernick and the Niners but I don’t see the road team winning here.

Bengals at Patriots
Oh boy. So everybody is signaling the end of Brady’s career and of the Patriots’ run. That may be just a slight bit overblown. We have simply come to expect too much from them due to a decade of domination, that a 2-2 start is like an 0-4 for most other teams. Monday night’s game has awakened this sleeping giant, trust. The Patriots coming off that loss and heading home to host the de facto best team in football is the perfect recipe for a monumental upset. And it is entirely possible. Except I’m still rollin with the Bengals. Because they are the best team in football and I believe they are licking their chops at an opportunity to prove they are for real by passing this very tough test.

Seahawks at Redskins
After what the Giants defense did to Kirk Cousins, it is really hard to imagine him finding much success against this Seahawks defense even if the game is being played in the nation’s capital. Most weeks, I am not entirely sure what is going on with the Redskins who get away with being the Raiders of the East Coast but are never nearly as blasted for it. They have talent but much less of it than Seattle does. And it is a Monday night game. Hook. Line. SUNK.

On Bye: Oakland (thank god), Miami


NFL Week 2 Picks: The Rogering, The Ravening and Other Stories

What a tumultuous week in the NFL, eh?

This season has already been one of the worst PR trainwrecks the league has ever found itself in and we are barely a week in. Already, there are calls for the commissioner’s head and TMZ involvement is never good. This is like that accident you see on the side of the road that keeps causing other accidents because everybody and their mother can’t resist rubbernecking to catch a glimpse of The Rogering, the harsh reckoning that’s coming to Commissioner Goodell soon. In light of the reports that he either lied about not seeing the Ray Rice elevator footage or for running an inept ship to where something like that was kept from him, his position cannot be considered a very strong one.

Not to mention The Ravening; nothing good can come from GM Ozzie Newsome’s odd albeit earnest statement that Ray Rice had told him the truth about what happened in the elevator which now puts the organization in hot water as well for not having reported it or shared it with the league or union or otherwise acted on. All in all, it is like four trains crashing into each other simultaneously.

I mean, things are so awful with the Raygate, that the previous PR nightmare the league was going through with the league drug policy is suddenly an afterthought… and rightfully so. After all, Ray Rice clean clocking his fiancee in an elevator with the one-hitter-quitter left hook is a considerably more jarring indictment of the inhumanity of some (and a more permanent black eye for the league) than… you know… Josh Gordon not even smoking any pot and getting suspended a whole season for a borderline test, anyway due to some neanderthalic three-strikes rule. And of course Wes’ mystery molly (whatever, bro, cool hat). Oh and Vance MacDonald and Greg Hardy and….

It is hard to talk about the NFL these days without having to delve into all these off-field distractions. Granted, most casual observers of the game don’t really get too caught up in the in-game drama as much as the die-hards so this stuff is like candy for them. This is reality TV at its finest and so it makes sense that it dominates the airwaves and print and the blog-o-sphere. And trust me, I’ll be sharing my own take on these issues in due time as well. Naturally.

But I’m a football guy first and foremost and the only thing I give a shit about right now is Week 2 kicking off in a few hours in Baltimore. There’ll be plenty of time later to rant about the inhumanity of Ray Rice, the indiscretion of the league, the asinine witch hunt of marijuana in pro sports and the future of Roger Goodell as a result of all of it.

Moving on.
Week 2

Steelers at Ravens
What was more surprising? That the Steelers couldn’t stop the Browns in the second half and nearly gave the game away? Or that the Ravens stormed back on the Bengals only to fall just short of an improbable win? Either way, Pittsburgh has got to be concerned about letting the Ravens back into the game although one has to wonder how all the awful media attention the franchise has been getting because of Ray Rice will affect them. Typically, it either galvanizes a team or unravels it. Forsett was a reasonably effective runner after B Pierce was shut down. They’ll have to pound the rock on Pitts to beat them. On the other side, it looks like the Steeler offense is locked and loaded behind Bell and Ben… but their defense looks like, as one pundit put it, the Soft Curtain. I am weary of a Harbaugh led, inspired Ravens team in B-more on a Thursday night.

Patriots at Vikings
For one half, the Patriots looked like your good ol’ Pats beating up on those good ol’ buds of theirs down in Miami. Except, by the second half, the Dolphin defense really started to harass Brady and took control of the flow of the game with an excellent edge rush and a very good run game. Looking at this match up, I don’t see much of a difference. The Vikings will obviously run the rock as effectively if not more so than Miami did and C-Pat has emerged as a near-impossible to stop force underneath. New England will have their hands full on that side of the ball and the 33 points they gave up to Miami will seem mild compared to Minnesota’s potential output as they have the potential to be a sneaky player in the NFC North.

Saints at Browns
I expected the barn burner; but I was impressed by the Matty Ice Bros. They shredded and worked this supposedly improved Saints defense like it was soft cream dropping 30+ on them easy. Granted, the Browns won’t be able to put up that kind of scoring but they also showed a bit of explosiveness in the second half of their tilt with the equally soft and creamy defense. The Browns actually have a decent shot at giving the Saints some issues if the West/Crowell tandem is for real and they can not only dictate the flow of the game and keep it out of Brees’ paws but open up their own pass game. And of course if Jordan Cameron plays. And it would be nice if Josh Gordon was reinstated already. Yeah…

Falcons at Bengals
Speaking of the Matty Ice Bros… how about that fluid offense. When Ingram pummeled into the endzone near the end of regulation last week, I knew that Birds weren’t done but it looked like I was going to get away with a correct pick. Until the Falcons of course flashed the Matty Ice Bros! The defense for Atlanta still looks extremely suspect and the Saints game was something of a tossup, honestly. The Bengals are much tougher on that side of the ball and still have the offensive firepower with a very balanced attack to put up 30 some points just like New Orleans could. I don’t see Atlanta’s defense playing well enough on the road to unseat a Bengals team that may have hiccupped a bit late against their rivals from Baltimore but generally look set to win the AFC North and contend in the postseason.

Lions at Panthers
This is one of the tougher ones to call this week. What we saw from the Lions is an unstoppable offense (we also watched a putrid Giants team that could neither stop anyone nor move the chains themselves). What we saw from the Panthers is a defense so good, it allowed Derek Anderson to play loose enough to perform his best Tom Brady impression. Any way you slice it, this will be one of the stiffer tests the Lions will face this year, that’s for sure. Now plug in Cam Newton and this Lions’ defense will definitely be tested far more than Eli and company were able to last week. On the road. Hard to trust the Lions here. I really do like what they’re doing in Detroit but Carolina looks poised to get theirs this Sunday.

Cardinals at Giants
What to do about the Giants? It is hard to figure out what is going on with the G-men on either side of the ball, honestly. We thought their defense was going to be a low key surprise after how well they finished the year last season but they got torched by Detroit. And offensively, Eli looks a mess. His timing is off, he is running for his life behind the line, his receivers are pouty, and while Rashad Jennings has looked good, even as a bellcow he isn’t too convincing. On the flipside, Arizona survived a stiff show from the Chargers and that’s no joke; the Chargers are a sneaky team that is especially tough on defense especially in primetime. Yet when it counted, Arizona moved the ball fluidly and Palmer took advantage of one of his many explosive weapons. I don’t think where they play this game matters too much. The Cardinals will give up some points with all the attrition to their defense but this offense is barely starting to take off.

Cowboys at Titans
What to do about Tony Romo? He looked visibly hurt out there, just to be clear… this maybe had less to do with Romo being Romo and more to do with just being out of sync and out of flow. Their defense is still as worthless as we thought they’d be and they face another rough go with the Titans. Even if the Cowboys don’t make as many mistakes as they did against the Niners, they are looking at a defense that can presently stop the run way better than the Niners who have injuries/suspensions throughout their front seven. The Titans will not give up as much real estate (in Nashville, no less) as the Niners did. And sleeping on Jake Locker and the Titans offense is also a big mistake. I think they may be the best team in their division and it wouldn’t even be a question if Luck wasn’t quarterbacking in Indy.

Dolphins at Bills
This is another exciting one that is tough to call. Both of these AFC East rivals got stunning wins to kick off the new season and in largely the same way. They dominated on the ground and they forced turnovers with strong defense. Both teams come in looking eerily similar; both have exciting dual-back attacks whether it is Miller/Moreno or Jackson/Spiller, they have exciting receivers that can stretch the field and elite pass rushes. This puppy’s a push; even Vegas has no clue. But I do. Conventional wisdom would tell you that the Dolphins going up to Buffalo would be a tall order given how otherwise evenly matched the teams are. However, Miami has the more reliable QB in the often underrated Tannehill. His line is still pretty atrocious but they looked really good the second half of their match with New England and if they hold up, this could be a surprising 2-0 start for the Phins.

Jags at Skins
Well, they both lost in week 1 but Washington’s is far more concerning. The Jaguars arguably shocked the football world more than anyone else with their first half against Philly… before giving up a gazillion unanswered points in the second half. They are what we thought they’d be. Washington on the other hand has to be concerned about RG3 and his very obvious lack of confidence in his game. He has a full arsenal of weapons and a decent enough defense to where they can win games. Against Houston, they moved the ball fine against a very good defense, ran the ball with authority with Alfred Morris in limited touches and passed the ball effectively enough. But they couldn’t close anything. Their one TD drive came with a missed XP. That’s just it; they don’t know how to win games. They better find a way to do so this weekend in their home opener.

Rams at Bucs
Oi, what a train wreck. First of all, this game has the potential to be a shitshow. Secondly, I feel really bad for Rams fans (ok, I lied, I don’t but it is really sad) that on the verge of a really promising season where they were going to try and sneak into the NFC West conversation with all the hopes of a dominant division, they lose their QB (again) and now lost DE Chris Long. Their strongest strength, their defense, is going to get shredded only because they are going to be exhausted and worn out from their offense not being on the field much. Their offense is going to look as futile as it did Sunday, pretty much all season. The Bucs are also a trainwreck. They had all manners of hype coming into the year (as well as from yours truly) and they laid a fatty. McCown was a bad idea for the organization, they should have trusted in the young kid Glennon with all the shiny weapons they have on that side of the ball. Their defense didn’t look terribly bad against Carolina but it was hard to get any momentum or consistency going when you had McCown and the offense failing to do anything every possession. This is one of those situations where one of these fail teams has to win and the one that is playing at home is the more likely to do it. If the Bucs can get things going, they can be a tough out for anybody. Well, anybody except for the Rams.

Seahawks at Chargers
The Chargers certainly don’t get an easy start to the season. A week after taking their first loss in a tough one against a tough NFC West opponent, they get the class of that division (and likely all football). Luckily for them, the game is in sunny San Diego. Unluckily for them, it doesn’t really matter. Listen, after what Seattle did to the Packers defensively in completely shutting down one of the best offenses in the NFL and after what Seattle showed with their use of Percy Harvin and the power by which Marshawn Lynch is still running, this team got BETTER. They will continue to roll.

Jets at Packers
Gang Green got the expected win last week against my Raiders. They fall to 1-1 this week. This is the absolute worst time to play the Pack in Lambeau lol All of that frustration from Opening Night is going to get taken out on the Jets to the tune of about 40 or so points. A-Rod is goin’ off, if Lacy suits up, he’ll go off, if not, Starks will go bananas… all this against a pretty solid defensive front and shaky but serviceable secondary. The Jets offensively will be able to score about the same amount of points they scored against the Raiders. That won’t be nearly enough. This one’s a wrap.

Chiefs at Broncos
The Chiefs get some guys back that they sorely needed with Dwayne Bowe being the most notable but the truth is, they are running into a team that is on a mission to crush ALL opposition. The Chiefs were exposed in the secondary by Tennessee and that Titan defense exposed the KC line for what it is without Branden Albert. The Broncos will pin their ears back, chase Smith, force them to abandon Charles early (except maybe in the pass game) when they jump out to one of their signature 21-0, 3 TDs to D. or J. Thomas or whoever Peyton feels like feeding on Sunday. Broncos keep rolling.

Texans at Raiders
If you know anything about me at all, it is that when it comes to picks, I have been handicapping myself since the beginning of time by always letting the homer make the pick for me. This week won’t be any different. I was burned by the Jets loss only because there really was plenty of opportunity to take that game had the Raider offensive line held up against the blitz better and had MJD not been completely useless against New York’s stout DL. Problem for the Raiders is that the Texans aren’t any slouches defensively either and will pose the same problems for the running game. However, MJD can’t go this weekend, meaning McFadden gets a shot at validating why the Raiders went there again in resigning him on a one year contract after so many promising years ended early with injuries. If he goes off (which he has always been able to do), that might be enough to open up the pass for Carr who looked great were it not for having to run for his life the whole damn time. The Raider defense looked solid enough against the Jets until they started to really get gouged. The Texans can still hurt you on that side of the ball but this may be one of the last winnable games for the Silver n Black for a long while so they are going to need to come out guns blazing in front of the Black Hole and handle their business.

Bears at Niners
I didn’t see either of their first games coming. The Bears weren’t supposed to lose to Buffalo with that high powered offense of theirs. Jay Cutler did his best Tony Romo impersonation and didn’t make all his weapons count for anything. Speaking of Tony Romo, he made the Niners secondary look a lot better than they actually are. Forte will have no problems doing to the Niners what Murray did to them except with more versatility and maybe more damage as a result. All of that said, Cutler is shaping up more and more to be very Tony Romo like. He is great for your fantasy team in that he will throw a lot and there are big receivers who can haul in passes… but forget expecting him to win consistently because he just doesn’t. The Niners are basically playing the same type of game back to back weeks except this one is at home opening the new stadium (in a regular season game). No dice, Chi Town.

Eagles at Colts
So, are we expecting 70? 80 points? Niether of these guys play any defense. Both of these guys have really good young QBs who love to throw it all over the place. As unbalanced as Indy is, I just think they have the better QB and are at home and quite honestly, that is what I am basing my pick on. I don’t like how easily the Eagles allowed JAX to put up an early big lead. Granted they came back but that’s because the Jags couldn’t keep scoring points. The Colts basically only stop scoring points when the final whistle blows.


Dig it.

NFL Week 1 Picks

And we’re back. With a new look too!

After years of bouncing around from one platform to the next, I think I may have finally settled on a home for my sports blog and it came as a result of finally giving in to the pressure to use WordPress. Despite long being told how awesome the platform was, I resisted… until I used it for both my music blog as well as for a company blog I was tasked with bringing to life. Suffice to say, I fell in love with WP! So here we are with the new fancy and powerful Power Moves. And it’s football season. Sooo…

… six fantasy drafts, a month of preseason football and enough reading to have bloodied ten eyeballs later, we are live and set to roll.

Let the pickining begin.


Packers at Seahawks
Memories of the Fail Mary still odorously fresh in our collective conscience, we are in for Seattle’s “We are the Champions” party on national TV and while I like the Pack a lot this year to make some major noise and expect Seattle to have a hangover midway through the season, it won’t start Thursday. The 12th man will be rockin, the juices flowin and the Hawks hawkin’

Vikings at Rams
The Vikes are going to look more balanced right out of the gate with more emphasis on the air game; there’s even word they want to significantly bump AP’s targets coming out of the backfield. That’s fine; I just don’t see it factoring in Week 1 much. The Rams have probably the best defense nobody talks about and certainly the best defensive front/pass rush in the NFL which means nightmares for Minnesota. AP will get his touches but it won’t matter.

Saints at Falcons
The Saints have an improved defense… which unless you just started watching football is something we talk about every year. Atlanta is improved and healthy again and that should translate to a decent bounceback story this season. Just not in Week 1. The Saints are one of my early picks to roll to the Super Bowl and will march on into the A this weekend and set the tone for the NFC South.

Bengals at Ravens
It’s hard to trust Andy Dalton with opening day games and the Cincy defense, while still good, won’t be as dominating as they were last year. I’m still not worried about the vastly more talented Bengals and their exciting new two headed rushing attack being able to work a win on the road against their rivals. The Ravens are built around the run, too but will be playing without Rice and with a “mildly” concussed Pierce. Expect the Bengals to handle their business.

Titans at Chiefs
Don’t look now but the Titans are one of the up and coming teams in the NFL. They’re still a little ways from where they’ll be once Sankey arrives and if Locker can replicate what he was doing last year before he got hurt. But the Titans can play the sort of game that gives the Chiefs trouble. Lots of action on the ground, tough defense, lots of field goals… but I still don’t know who Alex Smith is going to throw the ball to (aside from super monster Kelce). A better air attack from the Titans will be the difference. That or a field goal.

Bills at Bears
The Bills are making strides to get out of a decade long dump but are not going to have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the Bears; even though Buffalo’s defense is probably one of the more underrated groups around. Alshon Jeffrey is set to explode this year and a healthy Jay Cutler is poised to take full advantage of that. EJ Manuel’s sluggish development keeps the Bills grounded. Too bad, too because they have the weapons to score points.

Redskins at Texans
I don’t know what to expect from either of these teams. The Texans are headed for a fairly dismal season, again. I get the excitement of having Clowney and Watt harassing QBs all year but I just wonder what Houston will accomplish on the other side of the ball when all is said and done. I don’t expect much from an aging Andre Johnson and a suddenly unpredictable Arian Foster. RGIII has to prove he can be the guy moving forward and this is as good an opportunity to take advantage of all those nice weapons he has at his disposal. Otherwise, he might get ditched for Cousins waiting in the wings.

Raiders at Jets
The Derek Carr era begins rather quickly in Oakland and quite frankly, not a moment too soon. He has swagger, confidence and arm strength… three things Schaub is utterly devoid of. That should, despite a handful of understandable and inevitable growing pains, ignite the Raider offense which has pieces to be serviceable. The Jets are a tough order but I, despite obvious homerism, am convinced the Raider defense is better than the Jets offense more significantly than the Jets defense is better than the Raider offense. So operating solely off that logic…



Jags at Eagles
The million dollar question is whether Nick Foles is for real. The second show will tell us a lot about the kid now that the league has seen him thoroughly. He is in a position to continue to light people up if he is. The Jags are on an uptick sporting an aging but talented defensive front, a young QB with some swagger and an underrated crew of receivers though I’m unsure of what Toby Gerhart can bring even with his certain workload. The Eagle defense is pretty awful. This game may be a tight one. Or Foles is for real and blows the top off the Jacksonville secondary early at home and be done with it.

I vote for the latter.

Browns at Steelers
I want desperately to root for the Browns and probably will. #freejoshgordon has become a personal motto. And despite the fact I hate attention-whoring antics like the ones Johnny “Football” (even if he didn’t come up with it himself, it’s incredibly narcissistic and lame) tends to be synonymous with, I think a fully healthy and functional Browns team can win a lot more games than one would expect. Including this one. Except Gordon isn’t playing, Hoyer is and the Steelers are at home. Blitszburgh’s defense, even as a shell of itself, will demolish this offense and score half of the Steelers’ points on the day.

Patriots at Dolphins
It’ll be close. The Pats just aren’t as scary as they once were and they just sacrificed some of their legendary pass protection for a little more explosiveness which may or may not backfire against them. The good news this week is that with that excellent secondary of theirs and Miami’s godawful offensive line, NE’s mediocre pass rush will look like STL’s and force countless turnovers and eventually lead to a Patriots triumph.

Niners at Cowboys
Oh the memories of when these two used to go toe to toe in the 90s! Ok, don’t be shocked by my stupendously bold prediction: the Cowboys have an explosive enough offense to where they can outright beat the Niners and their depleted defense. There are simply too many missing players for San Francisco right now on that side of the ball and Colin Kaepernick looks terrible and out of sync with his receivers. The Cowboys have one of the more whack defenses in the league but it may not be bad enough to make the Niners’ woeful offense look any better than 20 points.

And I think Romo at home in week 1 with the likes of Dez, Terrance, Witten and Demarco Murray are capable of putting up more than 20. #Jussayin

Panthers at Bucs
I’m gonna keep rolling with these wild upset bids. Sure the Panthers dominated the division with a 12-4 mark last year and have one of the more dominating defenses around. FASHO. However, the combination of a passing game that will take some time to develop, Cam’s beat up self and Tampa looking better than before in nearly every way, I’m not sure the Panthers can walk into Tampa and take this one. A Lovie Smith defense at home to start the season with the kind of silly good talent he has on both sides of the ball?

Colts at Broncos
Peyton would love nothing more than to exercise all and any lingering demons from last February with a trouncing at home of his former club. The Colts can score points. They just can’t stop anybody else from doing the same. A healthy Reggie Wayne will ensure they get close to 30. A pissed off Broncos offense that actually got better (and a defense that isn’t anywhere near as awful as Indy’s) will mean they score close to 40.

Giants at Lions
The Giants are a mess. The Lions may no longer be. Stafford is widely touted as being on the verge of his best season yet and he must be excited about having the weapons that he will have this year to complement Megatron. With a full set of Decepticons, there won’t be many defenses that can keep them under 20 this year let alone 30. Certainly not NY. And the way they have looked offensively, unless the Giants run the ball like a top 3 rushing unit with Jennings and Williams, they won’t be able to keep up.

Chargers at Cardinals
The Cardinals are a trendy pick to surprise everyone this year with a playoff run; pretty much since they would have made the playoffs last year were it not for the Niners and Seahawks being so beast. Losing Darnell Dockett will hurt that, certainly, but this team is still so stout on defense and their offense so on the verge of utter explosion, I can’t imagine them struggling with very many teams on their schedule not hailing from SF, SEA or DEN this year. Since this tilt is in Phoenix, I expect the Cards to have enough juice to outscore the Chargers with the true difference being how much more formidable the Arizona defense is than San Diego’s.


Now go, my dear friends, and dominate your office pools!

Dig it.