NFL Picks: Week one is wide openPublished 10:28am Thursday, September 5, 2013
It’s that time of year again where I pick all of the NFL games on my blog. Every year it seems like the NFL gets harder and harder to pick. Parity is thriving and the game is wide open.
This is a good thing as fans from every team know that their squad has a chance to make the playoffs. Just look at the Vikings last season. They went from being 3-13 overall and in the cellar to being a playoff team.
Anyone can truly make the jump in the NFL.
I think it’s going to be another great year.
Here are the picks:
Baltimore at Denver
The Ravens are the defending champs in name only. They lost eight starters from last year’s team, including Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who were the generals on the defensive side of the ball.
Denver is also short on defense, so I fully expect this one to be a shootout.
When points are piling up, I’d rather be in Peyton Manning’s corner, than Joe Flacco’s corner.
BRONCOS 38, RAVENS 28
New England at Buffalo
None of th NFL experts seem to think the Patriots will be bothered by their offseason which saw Aaron Hernandez arrested and Rob Gronkowski suffer another injury. I feel like I’m the only one who noticed that Tom Brady only threw to Hernandez, Gronkowski and Wes Welker over the past three seasons and all three of those guys are gone.
New England will probably still be in the playoff hunt, but that offense has to take a step back.
As for the Bills, I think CJ Spiller is in for a huge season. Watch for them to come out strong at home.
BILLS 24, PATRIOTS 20
Cincinnati at Chicago
The Bengals seem to be everybody’s sleeper pick this season and you know what that means. They are probably headed for a disappointment. It’s easier to sneak up on people if ESPN personalities aren’t talking about you being a Super Bowl pick.
The Bears will still be the Bears – tough defense with an offense that turns the ball over too much.
BEARS 17, BENGALS 10
Miami at Cleveland
I don’t think either of these teams are going anywhere this year. The Browns have a strong running game with Trent Richardson and they’re at home, so I’ll give them the nod.
BROWNS 13, DOLPHINS 7
Minnesota at Detroit
The Vikings will go as far as Adrian Peterson takes them this season, which could be pretty far if he stays healthy. I don’t expect the passing game to take a leap with Greg Jennings on board. With Christian Ponder at quarterback, Jennings’ best case scenario is to be a possession receiver who breaks free for a big play occasionally.
The Lions made a solid addition in Reggie Bush, but that defense is still suspect.
VIKINGS 28, LIONS 24
Oakland and Indianapolis
This summer Terrelle Pryor came out and said he didn’t learn to throw a football properly until just recently. Of course he ‘won’ the starting quarterback job from the Oakland Raiders.
I’d say the silver and black is in for a rough year.
COLTS 34, RAIDERS 13
Atlanta at New Orleans
It’s easy to forget that the Saints were one of the elite teams in the league before Sean Payton and company were suspended for paying players to take opponents out. Now Payton is back and you know the Saints have a huge chip on their shoulder.
The Falcons finally picked up a playoff win last season, but they blew a huge lead to the 49ers in the NFC title game. It was one of those gut wrenching losses that can haunt a franchise forever – just ask the 1998 Vikings, who had their hearts broken by the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in the NFC title game.
SAINTS 35, FALCONS 20
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Jets
The Jets have spent the entire season wondering whether to start Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez. That’s like deciding if you want to get kicked in the face or punched in the stomach.
If it even matters, they chose they stomach punch – Smith.
If I was forced to choose a ‘sleeper’ this year, it would be the Bucs. Watch out for them.
BUCS 28, JETS 10
Tennessee at Pittsburgh
The Steelers missed the playoffs last season but head coach Mike Tomlin will have the team competitive again this season.
I don’t see the Titans making much of an impact.
STEELERS 17, TITANS 3
Seattle at Carolina
The Panthers were close in a lot of games last year, but without a strong running game, Cam Newton is likely to continue to make costly mistakes. From what I saw of Newton last season, he has a ton of talent, but he is not about the team, he’d rather be the highlight.
The Seahawks will continue to play defense and run the ball. Then, when you think you’ve got Marshawn Lynch locked up, Russell Wilson will burn you with the play-fake.
SEAHWAKS 21, PANTHERS 17
Kansas City at Jacksonville
If there was another candidate for a ‘sleeper’, it would be the Chiefs, but I’ve heard a lot of hype around them as well. In theory they should be good. They bring in Andy Reid, who has a great history and Alex Smith, who played well for the 49ers before getting hurt last season.
We’ll see how it plays out.
CHIEFS 27, JAGUARS 9
Arizona at St. Louis
The Cardinals signed Carson Palmer and it was an upgrade from what they had last season at quarterback. That is not a good thing.
RAMS 27, CARDINALS 14
Green Bay at San Francisco
The Packers have always struggled with mobile quarterbacks and until they prove otherwise, I expect them to give up a lot of yards to guys like Colin Kapernick.
49ERS 41, PACKERS 31
N.Y. Giants at Dallas Cowboys
It may just be a hunch, but I don’t see the Giants doing very well this year. Their receivers are banged up and they’re reduced to second year running back David Wilson as their only viable option in the backfield.
I expect the Cowboys hype machine to be cranked up to its highest level after this game.
COWBOYS 31, GIANTS 17
Philadelphia at Washington
If you like college football, you’ll love this matchup. Each of these teams run college offenses, where players play for free and subjecting your quarterback to 20 hits per game isn’t that big of a deal.
Somebody should probably tell the Redskins that Robert Griffin III is a pretty good quarterback and it’s not a great idea to run a five or six quarterback sweeps per game, because NFL defenders like to hit QBs.
When I drafted Griffin in my fantasy football team this year, I definitely made sure I took Andrew Luck in the next round, because Griffin won’t last long if he’s carrying the ball 10 or 15 times per game.
REDSKINS 31, EAGLES 24
Houston at San Diego
The Texans bring back Brian Cushing, whose injury really slowed down their defense last season. I expect them to shut teams down, but I don’t know if Matt Schaub can carry them to a deep postseason run.
TEXANS 41, CHARGERS 24