Sunday, September 8, 2013

NFL Picks - Week 1

Off to a good start with Denver’s Thursday night win over Baltimore.  Here are the rest of my picks for Week 1. 

Bucs @ Jets
They’ll blow it since I’m picking them, but aside from hosting the Raiders, I’m not sure I could have picked a better opener for the Bucs.  Geno Smith is nowhere near ready for prime time, and oh yeah, Darrelle Revis is back in town.  They’ll ignore him like the plague, but taking away half the field for an overmatched rookie QB is a tremendous edge for the Bucs. 

Patriots @ Bills
I’m really anxious to see this Patriots team in action.  In what should be one of the week’s higher scoring games, I think New England wins a close one.  These teams have played entertaining football against each other the last three years.  Last year’s two contest saw a total of 148 points scored.

Bengals @ Bears
My surprise team of ’13 gets it started with a road upset at Chicago.  I concede that they could easily lose this game, but I believe Cincinnati is a clearly superior team.  Defense travels, and they have one of the best in the business.  They force Jay Cutler into a couple of decisive miscues and turn them into points. 

Dolphins @ Browns
Miami has received a ton of hype for their offseason acquisitions, but I actually like Cleveland a little more at this point.  I think we’ll see a heavy dose of Trent Richardson against a defense I’m not loving.  Cleveland wins by double digits.

Vikings @ Lions
Not counting the playoffs, Minnesota won its last four games of ‘12, while the Lions lost their last nine.  It’s a new year, but I’m not sure a ton has changed.  MVPeterson totaled 273 rushing yards in his two games against Detroit last year, and in order to keep Johnson, Stafford, and Bush on the sidelines, he’s going to get fed a ton again.  I predict he gets at least 175 yards in this one. 

Raiders @ Colts
Oakland sucks, and Terrelle Pryor isn’t an NFL passer.  The Colts are going to get scored on a lot again this year, but I don’t think the Raiders have the goods to get it done.  Andrew Luck and company get a nice warm up for week two against the Dolphins.  Colts by 17. 

Falcons @ Saints
Since these two are the early favorites in the NFC South, this isn’t your standard season opener.  I still have a lot of questions about New Orleans’ defense, but having Sean Payton back is a free agent addition in itself.  The Falcons aren’t air tight on defense themselves, and having a limited (at best) Roddy White won’t help them keep up on the scoreboard.  Saints 31-24. 

Titans @ Steelers
As I’ve said, I’m down on the Steelers this year, but I’m even lower on the Titans.  This still isn’t a defense that Jake Locker wants to see, and I don’t think Ben Roethlisberger is going to have a ton of trouble finding Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, or Markus Wheaton.  I think this is going to be an ugly, low scoring game that has Tennessee in striking distance late but unable to convert when it counts. 

Seahawks @ Panthers
If I was to pick a “gotcha” of the week, it’s probably this game.  The Seahawks are going to win a lot this season and are clearly the more talented team in this matchup.  I can see Carolina turning a couple of early turnovers into scores and building a lead via the east-coast-travel curse, but as long as Seattle keeps their composure, they should be able to force enough mistakes themselves and emerge with a hard-fought victory. 

Chiefs @ Jaguars
Week one isn’t a “must win” for anyone, but if the Chiefs want to convince their fans that this is a new year, then they’ve got to beat the Jags.  I see a big day for Jamaal Charles and a rough one for MJD who gets smothered by a KC defense that doesn’t have to respect the pass against a limited Blaine Gabbert who was already limited because he’s Blaine Gabbert.

Cardinals @ Rams
I like Carson Palmer in this offense, but only three teams surrendered less passing TDs last season than the Rams.  I think this one matters more to the Rams since they’re on the road with tough ones at Atlanta and Dallas in weeks two and three. 

Packers @ 49ers
I think this is the best time for the Packers to try and get revenge against the Niners, the team that started and ended Green Bay’s season with losses.  There’s no Crabtree, and Colin Kaepernick is still trying to develop chemistry with his receivers.  Word is Dom Capers spent a Saturday or two this offseason scheming against the read option offense.  I expect Kaepernick to be a one-man-show early on, so if the Packers can avoid the early onslaught, I think the veteran visitors can hang in there.  The Packers get a couple more stops this time, and James Jones scores the winner in the fourth. 

Giants @ Cowboys
New York and Dallas met to kick off the ’12 season, and they’re meeting in week one again this year.  Dallas won last year’s opener 24-17, and I say they win again by the same score.  Jason Witten, who caught 18 passes the second time these teams met in ’12, scores twice. 

Eagles @ Redskins
This one should be entertaining.  You’ve got Chip Kelly’s new offense against the rehabilitated RGIII.  Washington was one of the higher scoring teams in the league last year, and I don’t think this disjointed defense has what it takes to slow and even slowed RGIII.  Points galore in this one.  I’ve got the Redskins winning a MNF thriller 34-31. 

Texans @ Chargers
This one shouldn’t be close, which tells me Houston is going to be sloppy and keep San Diego in this one.  I still can’t see Philip Rivers doing much of anything against this defense, so it will probably be a low scoring, uneventful week one wrap up that Houston has in hand nearly the whole time. 

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