Thursday, September 9, 2010

Here we go: NFL Week One Predictions

Football season is finally here! With the Saints and Vikings set to kick things off on Thursday, it's time for me to weigh in with my weekly predictions! Once again, each week this season, I'm going to make my picks for every NFL game. Last season, my overall record was 176-80, a .688 winning percentage. Since I did so well last season simply picking who would win each game, I decided that, for a little more challenge, I am going to be picking games against the spread this year. I fully expect my winning percentage to plummet, so I wouldn't use my picks for gambling purposes.

Before I get into my choices for Week One, I will quickly run through my picks for the entire season, from division winners to the eventual Super Bowl Champion:

NFC Division winners: Cowboys, Packers, Saints, Niners
NFC Wild Cards: Giants, Vikings

Not too many surprise picks in the NFC. The toughest division to pick is probably the West, where the Niners are the pick by default over a Cardinals team without an identity right now. Sorry, Eagles fans, I think the Birds just miss out on the last Wild Card spot.

Just like last year, I'm picking the Packers to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They might be everyone's trendy pick but they look so incredibly dominant on offense that I don't see how anyone in the NFC will be able to slow them down.

AFC Division winners: Jets, Ravens, Colts, Chargers
AFC Wild Cards: Patriots, Texans

The AFC looks pretty loaded once again this year, with good teams like the Dolphins and Steelers being left out in my picks. I think this is finally the year the Texans get over the hump and get into the playoffs.

I'll go with the Ravens to make the Super Bowl out of the AFC. Joe Flacco suddenly has a ton of weapons and that defense is always good.

Super Bowl: Packers over Ravens. How much fun would this Super Bowl be? The Packers offensive juggernaut against the Ravens stout defense should be a great matchup. Give me Aaron Rodgers to lead the Packers on the game winning drive at the end of the game.

With my picks for the season in mind, let's get to my picks for Week One of the NFL season:

Picks this year are made against the spread I'll be using the spread values that ESPN uses in their Pigskin Pick'em game.

Thursday Night Game:

Vikings @ Saints (-6.5)
The defending Super Bowl Champs always seem to win their opening game and I like the Saints to win by at least a touchdown. My pick: Saints

Sunday Day Games:

Dolphins @ Bills (+3.5)
I'm surprised the Dolphins aren't favored by more here. What exactly did the Bills do to improve themselves this offseason? C.J. Spiller can't do it all by himself. My pick: Dolphins

Lions @ Bears (-6.5)
Clearly, the oddsmakers have more faith in the Bears than I do. Don't they know that Mr. Interception, Jay Cutler, is now leading a Mike Martz turnover machine offense? The Bears might win, but not by much. My pick: Lions

Raiders @ Titans (-6.5)
There is a temptation to go out on a limb and think the Raiders will be better this year with Jason Campbell at the helm but the Titans should win by at least a touchdown at home. My pick: Titans

Bengals @ Patriots (-5.5)
The Bengals seem to be a sleeper pick for a lot of "experts" but I just don't see it. You're telling me an aging T.O. is going to put them over the top? You're telling me Carson Palmer is still good? Sorry, I'm not buying it. My pick: Patriots

Panthers @ Giants (-7.5)
I like the Giants to win this game but they aren't going to win by more than 7 points. Expect a low-scoring game with the victor winning by a field goal. My pick: Panthers

Falcons @ Steelers (+2.5)
Not having Big Ben shouldn't make that much of a difference to the Steelers, who need to be much better on defense this year if they want to compete, anyway. I don't think the Falcons are that good but I like them to eek out a close win on the road. My pick: Falcons

Browns @ Bucs (-2.5)
It's only Week 1 and we already have a stinker of a game on the schedule. Seriously, who outside of Ohio and Florida is going to watch this game? The Browns are the lesser of two evils in this one, so I'll take them to win the game. My pick: Browns

Broncos @ Jaguars (-2.5)
I don't think either of these teams are that good, either. With Maurice Jones-Drew possibly banged up, I have to go with the Broncos, unless they decide to trade away another of their best players before the game starts. My pick: Broncos

Colts @ Texans (+3.5)
I'm shocked the spread in this game is so close; don't the Colts beat the Texans every time? I guess someone thinks this will finally be the Texans year. I'll stick with Mr. Dependable, Peyton Manning. My pick: Colts

Niners @ Seahawks (+2.5)
With the Seahawks in such flux, I have no idea why the spread is so low. If the Niners have any plans of winning the division, they need to come out and make a statement and win by at least a touchdown on the road against a mediocre at best Seattle team. My pick: Niners

Packers @ Eagles (+1.5)
Sorry, Eagles fans, this might be the easiest game of all to pick. With the way the Packers have looked this preseason, I'm shocked this line isn't much higher. While I'll be rooting hard for an Eagles win, the Pack just look too dangerous on offense and I don't think Kevin Kolb will be able to keep up. My pick: Packers

Cardinals @ Rams (+3.5)
This is probably the second ugliest game of the week. If the Rams had anything on offense besides Steven Jackson, I'd be tempted to pick them to beat the Leinert-less Cardinals. Speaking of Leinert, you know your career is over when crappy Derek Anderson is a much better option than you. My pick: Cardinals

Sunday Night Game:

Cowboys @ Redskins (+3.5)
How much has really changed in Washington? They still look old (Joey Galloway?) and overpaid and are filled with ridiculous drama. The Cowboys are probably the best all-around team in the NFC. Man, that's painful to say. My pick: Cowboys

Monday Night Games:

Ravens @ Jets (-3.5)
The Jets are beyond overhyped at this point, mostly because of Hard Knocks. We'll find out quickly if they are all talk. I think the Ravens win this one outright. My pick: Ravens

Chargers @ Chiefs (+5.5)
Why are both West divisions so terrible? Seriously, 8-8 will probably win both. The Chargers aren't nearly what they used to be but they are still a few steps ahead of the lowly Chiefs. My pick: Chargers

Those are my picks for Week 1 of the NFL Season. Check back every Thursday during the season for the latest predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comment section!

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