Here we go, the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night and it's going to be exciting. Last year picks ended up being okay, but I am working on this. This is year 2 and we're going to see if I learned anything. Again, I'm trying to perfect this and take this to Vegas so I can quit my day job. I pick all of the NFL games each week straight up. I will give you some picks based on the spread if you leave some comments (and ask for the help). Each week I'll tally my picks and misses and keep a running total for the year.
And we're off,.........
Tennessee @ Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh starts the season at home with a tough conference foe. The Steelers still have all of their pieces and it doesn't look like they will need much to beat the Titans. The Titans lost their defensive stopper in Haynesworth, and although Coach Fisher always prepares his teams, I don't think they'll have enough. Winner - Steelers.
Miami @ Atlanta - Year 2 for Matt Ryan and I expect him to be even better. They still have a potent running game and now he has a great tight end in Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons defense should be better. Miami brings in Year 2 for Tony Sparano. This team will compete and they will definitely give the Falcons some fits on both offense and defense. I still am not sold on Chad Pennington being a good QB, he's average at best, but they do have Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. This will come down to whichever defense makes stops. Winner - Falcons.
Denver @ Cincinnati - Surprise, Brandon Marshall got reinstated. The Broncos have just had a terrible off-season with the trade of Cutler and the possible trade of Brandon Marshall. Add to this the injury to the finger of Kyle Orton. Orton won't be able to throw the deep ball because of his finger and he's really got no one to throw to except Marshall. The Bengals have Palmer back off of an injury riddled season. They are actually depending on Cedric Benson to lead their running attack. Let's just say that I'm happy that Palmer is healthy. Winner - Bengals.
Minnesota @ Cleveland - Just what Favre needed to prove that he still has it, a Browns team that gave up almost 150 yards (avg) on the ground last year and some good weather. I expect AP to get about 200 yards in this game and for Favre to look wonderful going 20-25 with about 2 TDs to put the icing on the cake. The Browns will start Brady Quinn (why would they start Andersen?) and will probably get blown out. I imagine that the QB carousel will be on full blast by about week 3 of the season for the Browns. Winner - Vikings.
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis - Not much to say about this one. The Jaguars have lost a lot on defense and their offense (outside of MJD) is not that good because of their lack of depth at WR. yes they got Tory Holt and I expect him to do well, but he's all they got. The Colts start the first year AD (After Dungy). I think more of the same in the past years. Manning will play well, they will run the ball a little more, and the defense should be ready to eat the Jaguars lunch. Winner - Colts.
Detroit @ New Orleans - Can anyone say 0-17? The Lions are starting Duante,....no they are starting Matthew Stafford. Big mistake here. I like Stafford, but he is going to get them an 0-3 start before he gets pulled for Culpepper. At least Culpepper gives them a better chance to win now (not often, but at least now). The Saints are one of the teams to watch this fall. They are going to march up and down the field on the Lions, and I'm putting them on the 40 point alert (meaning they should easily put up 40 points in this game). Brees should have another great season. Winner - Saints.
Dallas @ Tampa Bay - We know that the Bucs are rebuilding and even Carnell Williams has been deemed the starter at the RB position. That would be great if it were a few years ago, but with no QB (why did they get rid of Garcia?) to speak of and a defense that I think will struggle, this is going to be a rough ride for the Bucs. Dallas gets their first chance to show how good they can be as a team without T.O. If the Cowboys are smart, they will run the ball, then run it some more, and then finally run it again. Don't let Romo start slinging the ball early. Winner - Cowboys.
Philadelphia @ Carolina - This ought to be good. The Carolina defense is ready to play. The offense has the running back tandem of Williams and Stewart (questionable). They finally have a few receivers who may be able to make a contribution outside of Steve Smith. The Eagles are the Eagles. You're going to get a lot of Westbrook, McNabb, and Jackson. Who will step up outside of the regulars? How will the defense be without former coordinator Jim Johnson? Winner - Eagles.
Kansas City @ Baltimore - Let's see here, a gimpy Matt Cassel, a rebuilt offensive line, no receivers of record, and you're going to Baltimore to play the Ravens defense. Doesn't sound good at all. I gave the Ravens a lot of isht for playing Joe Flacco over Troy Smith last year, but I can admit when I'm wrong. Flacco may struggle in his 2nd year, but he doesn't have to do it all by himself. The Ravens should be able to run the ball and let Flacco manage this game. When will they get him a real #1 receiver? Winner - Ravens.
New York Jets @ Houston - Hello Mark Sanchez, this is the NFL. Sanchez should be decent. He has a lot of weapons around him and a coach that saw how Joe Flacco was managed last year. Rex Ryan will give his QB the reigns, but he will watch closely. I expect the Jets will try to pound the ball against the smallish front of the Texans. With that said, the Texans are my team to watch this year. It seems as though they finally have it all together. Their defense is solid and they have a good offense. They will be at home and I think that will help them get win #1 of the year. Winner - Texans.
Washington @ New York Giants - The NFC East, going to be rough. The Giants bring it all with their running game and their defense. I think this year, the Giants defense will hurt 4 QBs before the season is over. I'm not an Eli Manning guy, he's OVERRATED. If you don't think so, let's see how he does this year with no name receivers. The Redskins finally get an opportunity to see Jason Campbell within the same system for the first time in his career. I think he'll be good, but the question is their backfield. Has anyone even seen Clinton Portis this year? Haynesworth will help the defense, but will it be enough? Winner - Giants.
San Francisco @ Arizona - We've had a full training camp with Mike Singletary and we'll see how the team reacts. They still have Shaun Hill starting at QB and that says a lot. The 49ers will be decent and they'll compete each game, but do they have enough talent? The Cardinals basically bring back the same team that went to the Superbowl last year. They are a little older, but if the offensive line can keep Kurt Warner upright, they are going to be dangerous. Look for Arizona to put up some numbers in this game. Winner - Cardinals.
St. Louis @ Seattle - Does St. Louis still have a team? Yes they have Stephen Jackson, but not much after that. If Marc Bulger makes it half of the season I'll be surprised and if he doesn't that just means more time for Kyle Boller (not a good thing). The Seahawks are the team to beat in the NFC West and they are going to make some noise in the NFC. Hasselbeck is finally healthy and they went out and got him a good receiver in Houshmandzedah. Winner - Seahawks.
Chicago @ Green Bay - This is a big game for Cutler. The Bears HAVE to beat the Packers twice every year (won't happen this year). Cutler doesn't have a #1 receiver, but he has Forte behind him and he'll keep defenses on their toes. Someone needs to get in touch with Lovie and tell him that Hester is best used as a kick/punt returner. You'll win the field advantage all day and give your offense short fields all day. Green Bay looks great. I mean Aaron Rodgers (I was not a fan) is the best decision that the Packers could have made to replace Favre. He threw for 4000+ yards last season and should do the same this year. Winner - Packers.
Buffalo @ New England - How mad will T. O. get during this game? I think that's really the only question. The Bills are good but not great and they get the Pats at home for game #1. The Pats got rid of Seymour (I'm sorry they sent you to the Raiders, that has to suck big time), but they have enough offense to beat almost anyone. Winner - Patriots.
San Diego @ Oakland - This is always a good game, no matter how bad the Raiders are. Why do they even still have a team? The fans are great, but whew. The Chargers are finally stacked and this is their year. If they ever want to win it all, they have to put everything together and it starts in Oakland. This should be a blow out. Merriman needs to stay away from all forms of Tequilla. Winner - Chargers.