Okay, here we are, getting underway with another much-awaited NFL season. More great storylines pervade NFL nation this year, as we had a ridiculous flurry of an offseason and a seemingly rushed preseason. Now, we start the regular season with a bang…
(Check out this link for a quick explanation of this series of posts.)
In CAPS is my pick to win the game, with a short explanatory paragraph to follow. The records include this week’s game
Thursday, September 8:
8:30 – New Orleans (0-1) at GREEN BAY (1-0)
Like I have said for the past two years, I do like this now-not-so-new trend of giving the defending champs the night to themselves to open the season the following year at home. And, even more, I LOVE the trend of almost always picking a fantastic opponent for them. This year is no different. As you will see in the coming posts, I love both of these teams this year, and really see this game going either way. However, at home, raising a banner, it’s hard to pick against the defending champs.
Sunday, September 11:
1:00 – Atlanta (0-1) at CHICAGO (1-0)
Honestly, this first one on Sunday – right off the bat – may have been the hardest game for me all week. I like the Falcons, but I don’t like them that much on the road. I’m not huge on the Bears, but I think they might have a “circle the wagons” kind of mentality coming off how they ended 2010. I also think that the Falcons may just be looking ahead to Michael Vick’s return to the Georgia Dome a week from now. In the toughest pick of the week, give me the Bears at home.
1:00 – Cincinnati (0-1) at CLEVELAND (1-0)
I think the Bengals stink. I am kind of a believer in Colt McCoy. Give me the Browns here at home, with relative ease.
1:00 – Buffalo (0-1) at KANSAS CITY (1-0)
I think the Chiefs are due for a bit of a regression, and I also think that Buffalo will be better than they were at the beginning of last year. However, the Chiefs are great at home, and there is absolutely no reason to think they won’t handle Buffalo here on opening day.
1:00 – Philadelphia (0-1) at ST. LOUIS (1-0)
Maybe I’m overcompensating for my homerism here. Maybe I’m trying the reverse-jinx. Maybe I believe too much in the Rams. But, St. Louis was 5-3 at home last year, and they are a better team now than they were then. And, with all the new faces, are the Birds ready to come together this soon? Don’t you think Steve Spagnuolo will have a few blitzes dialed up for an O-line that looks off-kilter? Doesn’t a fresh Steven Jackson terrify even the most ardent Eagles D supporters? If this game was schedule for Week 13, I think the Eagles win easily. But, game one with all the new faces and an inexperienced O-line against an elite defensive mind, I think the Rams might shock us all here. And, this is exactly why – in the NFL far above any other sport – looking at WHEN you play the games, not just against whom, is vital in analyzing a team’s prognosis for an upcoming season.
1:00 – Detroit (0-1) at TAMPA BAY (1-0)
If the Eagles are “Team Hype,” then what the hell are the Detroit Lions? If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that this team signed 3-4 elite free agents to add to an already successful team in a proven organization. But, no, the Lions (who only won 6 games last year and have one of the worst histories for a franchise in North American sports) added the 13th overall draft pick to a position at which they were already very strong and a 2nd-round pick at running back one year after adding a 2nd-round pick at running back. Oh, and by the way, both of those “additions” are injured, including LeShoure, who is out for the season. Yes, they are young and improving, but let’s slow down a bit. Give me the young, up-and-coming team that WON (not lost) 10 games last year, who also happens to be at home.
1:00 – TENNESSEE (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1)
I feel like every year I rip the Jags and then they go out and win 5 more games than I thought they would. Well, not this year, folks. I’m going to still rip them, but they’re not going 8-8. I’m not big on the Titans and originally had Jax winning this game, but first Chris Johnson signed and then the Jags cut their starting quarterback for one of the McNowns or McCowns or McClowns (none of them are good enough to decipher between them), I quickly changed my tune. Gimme the Titans on the road.
1:00 – PITTSBURGH (1-0) at Baltimore (0-1)
Honestly, if you told me that we were going to eliminate 30 NFL teams, keep two and just have them play against each other every week until the end of time, I wouldn’t even think twice. I’d line up the Steelers and Ravens to play each other forever. With absolutely no rooting interest in either team, I can honestly say that these games are what football is all about. I’m not happy that this game is so early in the season with a full slate of football, including Nnamdi’s Eagles debut, but still, this is gonna be great. However, much to the dismay of all my fellow Baltimoreans (most of whom will be wearing all purple everything all week, but probably wouldn’t know who Heloti Ngata was if he walked in the room), I like the Steelers in this one. The Ravens let go of a lot of veterans in a year where experienced veterans are going to be very important in the early going. The Steelers, on the other hand, have everyone back from a 12-4 team that was a play or two from winning yet another title. So, despite my man-love for Ray Lewis, I like the Steelers to grab a HUGE road win in Week One.
1:00 – Indianapolis (0-1) at HOUSTON (1-0)
Even with a healthy Peyton Manning, I like the Texans to exorcise some demons here and beat the Colts. Now, with Kerry Collins, this one’s pretty easy.
4:15 – N.Y. Giants (0-1) at WASHINGTON (1-0)
With the exception of the Bears-Falcons, I went back and forth on this game more than any other game on the slate, and I am still VERY unconvinced either way. In the end, I actually decided that the Redskins offense would be able to put up enough points against a really banged up Giants D to allow their defense to win the game. They have a gambling, turnover-dependent defense, which plays perfectly against a guy (Eli) who turned the ball over THIRTY times last year. The Giants offseason just seems like one of those offseasons where too much happened to right the ship immediately. And, I think the ‘Skins come out of the offseason with more confidence than many thought they would – myself included.
4:15 – Minnesota (0-1) at SAN DIEGO (1-0)
The Super-Chargers are going to be super this year. I put money on them at 12:1 to win the Super Bowl, and I love the bet. Minnesota is going to be better than people think, and the Chargers (as we all know ALL too well) aren’t exactly the fastest of starters. But, there is no reason to think SD doesn’t win this game and win it easily.
4:15 – Seattle (0-1) at SAN FRANCISCO (1-0)
This one was actually pretty tough for me here. I don’t like what the Niners did in the offseason (how can you?), but…and I NEVER thought I’d say this…I think they made a better quarterback decision than their Week One opponents did this offseason. Don’t get me wrong, as the manager of the Jack-O’s (a team of all Jacksons in our BSB fantasy football league, All in the Family), I am strongly rooting for Tavaris Jackson to perform masterfully, but I just don’t see how it’s possible.
4:15 – Carolina (0-1) at ARIZONA (1-0)
The Kevin Kolb Era is underway. I honestly think he’ll be decent. I don’t think he’ll be worth the money. I don’t see any Pro Bowls in his future, but I think he’ll be “decent.” The Arizona defense, on the other hand, not so much. But, I don’t think they’ll be bad enough to lose to a Cam Newton-led Panthers team at home.
8:20 – Dallas (0-1) at N.Y. JETS (1-0)
This is a FANTASTIC game to open the season on Sunday Night Football. (Quick tangent: Am I the only one who despises Chris Collinsworth? I’ll save my justification for another time, but I really can’t stand him, like, AT ALL.) While I do have question marks about their defense, I think the Cowboys could be really good this year. But, I don’t think they have much of a shot in this one for several reasons. One, the Jets are just a better team. Two, Rex & Co. love the spotlight of prime time games. Three, New York City, prime time, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Emotion plays more of a role in the sport of football than any other sport. I think emotion carries the day here and give the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets a big Week One win.
Monday, September 12:
7:00 – NEW ENGLAND (1-0) at Miami (0-1)
I like the whole Monday Night double-header on Week One (I’ve actually been saying FOR YEARS that I don’t understand why the most popular TV sport in the country lets 85% of their games conflict with one another…it’s stupid). But, what I don’t like is the fact that the games always seem to kind of stink. I don’t mind this game because it’s in Miami, so I think the ‘Phins defense can at least make it a game, but it probably won’t be interesting for all that long, unless Chad Henne becomes who I thought he would be last year and not who he actually was last year. Give me the Pats on the road, rather easily.
10:15 – Oakland (0-1) at DENVER (1-0)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of this Broncos team. And, the minute the hand the reigns over to Tim Tebow, I will pick them to lose every game for the rest of time. But, for now, they still have Kyle Orton. They also have added Willis McGahee. And…as our loyal readers know…I am a blind believer in all things John Fox. Throw in the fact that I don’t think the Raiders are all that much better, and I’ll take the Broncos at home in Week One.
STANDINGS AFTER WEEK ONE
After each week, we will update the standings for each division, maybe do a little synopsis of the division races, and then, starting about 6 games in, we’ll give the tenative playoff positioning. But, for now, it’s just about the standings. Also, we won’t really worry about tiebreaker scenarios until maybe Week 13 or something like that.
0-1 N.Y. Giants
Haha, if you told me that the Redskins would be a full game clear of the rest of the division at any point in the next 5 years I would probably say that you were crazy. But, this might certainly be the situation when we wake up Monday morning. Don’t worry, it won’t stay this way.
1-0 Green Bay
This year – same as last year. Packers and Bears up top, Lions and Vikes down below…at least in the early going.
1-0 Tampa Bay
0-1 New Orleans
Both the Saints and Falcons start 0-1 with tough road losses, while the Bucs pick up a decent home win against everyone’s early-season darling, Detroit. It should be interesting to see whether this is a 2-team race or a 3-team race.
1-0 San Francisco
1-0 St. Louis
No way is this division 3-1?!? I must have messed something up here…hold on, let me check something.
1-0 New England
1-0 N.Y. Jets
Jets and Pats should battle for this division all year. The two “also-rans” start off with losses.
An absolutely GIGANTIC road win for the Steelers over the Ravens could keep them on top of this division for a while. The Browns opened with a divisional win, as well, but it’s not quite as impressive when it’s home against Cincy.
Is this the year? Can the Texans finally get over the hump and into the playoffs? Well, I just have to say that if it’s not this year, then it’s never going to happen because this division is not very good.
1-0 Kansas City
1-0 San Diego
Just like the NFC West, the AFC West also has a surprising 3-win opening week. I’m not sure how good this division will be all year, but it’s off to a nice start.