It’s been far too long. Seriously. It’s been too long. I’ve missed you all dearly. But now…FOOTBALL IS BACK! Oh yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year. You should know the drill by now. However, if you’re new, just relax. Every week I’m going to come at you with my weekly picks. After each week, I’ll be reviewing my picks so we can keep score throughout the course of the season. So, without any further ado, let’s hit it!
My picks will be italicized.
Saints @ Packers – First thing’s first. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a season opening game. I mean, we have a match up between the last two Super Bowl champs! How can this get any better? It really can’t. I am going with the Saints here and I know that will offend anyone who subscribes to the thought that the previous Super Bowl champion should be the favorite. Believe it or not, I do know some folks like that. Listen, the Packers are a fantastic team. But I believe the Saints are truly great. This is gonna be a great game, but I’ve gotta go with the visiting Saints. They have too much firepower everywhere for many teams to handle.
Steelers @ Ravens – The Ravens made a move this offseason that pushed them near the top of the AFC in my mind and that was trading for Lee Evans. It wasn’t a trade that sent shock waves throughout the NFL universe, but it’s going to prove to be a huge pickup for Baltimore. I am leery of the Steelers defense, which I am aware is likely a cardinal sin in the NFL world. However, their secondary, outside of Troy Polamalu has me concerned. I believe this is the year the Ravens are able to surpass them and it all starts week one. Also, I must admit I’m very disappointed this is going on during the same time as the Eagles/Rams game. I’d love to see these two teams duke it out live.
Falcons @ Bears – If you followed my picks last season, you know I wasn’t very high on the Bears. That hasn’t changed. Now, I’m not too high on the Falcons this year either. I believe that defense is very suspect. I do, however, love their offense. Soldier Field is not going to be a total wreck yet so the Falcons speedy offense should be able to take advantage of a Bears defense that is built to pummel you into submission, not keep up with you. That said, this should be a fun game if good Jay Cutler shows up.
Bengals @ Browns – I am a huge Colt McCoy fan. I could never understand why he lasted until the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. No matter. He’s the Browns’ guy right now and I think they finally have someone who will give them stability at the QB position. The Bungles are the Bungles and they will remain so until they can prove the front office knows how to run a football team. The Browns take this game easily. That’s a team on the rise.
Colts @ Texans – Five minutes before writing this the news breaks that Peyton Manning is not starting this game. This poses a problem. Who are the Colts without Manning? Are they still a good team? Or will they be a mess? Fortunately, they’re facing a good team this weekend which makes the whole picking thing fairly easy. This is the year my friends. This is the year that the Texans make that leap. The defense will be vastly improved under Wade Phillips and with the player additions made in the offseason. Give me the Texans with a fired up home crowd behind them. As for the Colts…no Manning, no way I’m picking you.
Titans @ Jaguars – This is one of those really though games. How do you pick between two really mediocre or worse teams? To make matters even worse, one (Jags) just released their starting QB! But, I’ve still got to take the Jaguars. Matt Hasselback is almost done and the rest of the offense doesn’t scare me. In a few weeks, after Chris Johnson gets back into playing shape, that might change. For now I’ll take the Jaguars who very quietly put together a nice defense this offseason.
Bills @ Chiefs – Part of me wants to say this pick hinges on whether Matt Cassell rebounds well from his rib injury. The logical part of me knows that it doesn’t matter. He’s not that great of a QB either way. For some reason, I like what’s going on in Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a good, not very good or great, QB and he has a decent offense around him. This kind of a gut pick, but I think the Bills come in and upset the Chiefs at home.
Eagles @ Rams – A written preview of the game will be posted Friday afternoon, but check out the podcast in the mean time!
Lions @ Buccaneers – I truly love what both of these teams are doing. They’re selling it, I’m buying it. However, the Lions do have some injury concerns right now. The Nick Fairley injury is going to hurt them. Once he’s back, watch out. That defense will be ferocious. The offense should be solid but I don’t know that’ll be enough against a far more balanced Tampa Bay team. I think Josh Freeman takes advantage of the still weak Detroit secondary and Mike Williams has himself a fine game.
Panthers @ Cardinals – You know how much I like me some Kevin Kolb. All last season I insisted he was going to be a heck of a QB. I still believe that. He also has one of the best WRs in the game to throw too. And a pretty decent running game. I like Arizona. The Panthers, on the other hand, are in complete rebuilding mode. They made some nice moves this offseason but I do not think Cam Newton is ready yet. I question if he ever will be, but that’s a debate for another time. For now, give me the Cardinals.
Vikings @ Chargers – Sorry Vikings fans, Donovan McNabb is not the answer. It doesn’t help that you lost your best WR too. Or that your offensive line is very weak. I’m not buying anything you’re selling this year other than Adrian Peterson. Now, I am buying everything the Chargers are selling. Last season was a fluke caused by A.J. Smith’s ego. This year the Chargers are back and I imagine a little angry. That doesn’t bode well for the Vikings or the rest of the AFC West. Give me the Chargers.
Seahawks @ 49ers – When picking between two lousy teams, I tend to go with the home team. I also believe the Seahawks may be the only team starting a QB that makes Alex Smith look competent. Listen, I like a lot of move the Seahawks made this offseason. But I refuse to buy into Tarvaris Jackson. We’ve seen what he can do. It’s not good. Alex Smith can be okay. He’s also got a pretty strong supporting cast and a new head coach who’ll breathe some life into that organization. Give me the 49ers at home.
Giants @ Redskins – How’s this for an upset? I’m sorry but right now I see the Giants ending up fourth in the NFC East. Injuries have decimated a good team. You can only take so much. Meanwhile, the Redskins made some good moves this offseason. They chose Rex Grossman as their starting QB and he’s not as bad as a lot of people seem to think. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not great. But he’s not horrific either. I also really like the addition of Tim Hightower at RB. The Giants, on the other hand, did almost nothing to improve their team. They got worse this offseason. Give me the Redskins. It feels weird to say that.
Cowboys @ Jets – It’s the battle of Ryan brothers! Too bad only one them is worth the hype. I’ll give you a hint…it’s the guy who’s a head coach. Rob Ryan has never impressed me. When he was connected to the Eagles has a possible defensive coordinator hire, I wanted nothing of it. I don’t think he helps the Cowboys too much. I think the Cowboys will be much improved from last season’s horrific start, but I don’t think they’re a team to truly fear as of now. I feel the Jets will be more of the same and that’s fine in my book. They have a great defense, a very good running game, and an okay passing attack. That’s enough to bear the Cowboys in the Meadowlands. Give me the Jets.
Patriots @ Dolphins – Hmmm….Chad Henne or Tom Brady? Chad Henne or Tom Brady? Spare me. Barring injuries, the Patriots are going to continue to be a phenomenal team during the regular season. The Dolphins should have pushed harder for Kyle Orton. Instead, all they have on offense is Brandon Marshall. Too bad he doesn’t have a half decent QB to throw to him. Give me the Patriots. Lock of the week.
Raiders @ Broncos – I’m not sure why these two teams always seem to be involved with the double header for Monday Night Football. But, hey, it’s football. I actually do like what the Raiders have done, with the exception of firing Tom Cable. But, it was to be expected with that crazy old man running the show. As for the Broncos….ho hum. Nice draft, but I still don’t see anything worthwhile. I still look forward to the day Tim Tebow gets an actual shot at the starting job. For now, give me the Raiders.