Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 1 Picks

The smell of real football is in the air. Kicks off with the Super Bowl Champs, the New Orleans Saints taking on Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. The first couple weeks are going to be hard in terms of predicting which teams are for real and which teams aren't. I'm giving it my best shot here.

For the record, with my picks in the 2009 season, I went 178-76. This year, I am going to make 2 picks for each game: a 'v/s the spread' pick and an 'outright win' pick.

Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints
Its a rematch of the NFC Championship game from last year. In that game, in spite of the Vikings turning over the ball 5 times, the Saints needed a Favre INT and overtime to snatch a win. So, I think this game will be closer than people think.
Outright Win: Saints
v/s the Spread: Vikings (+6.5)

Miami Dolphins (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills
The Dolphins might be in for a surprise as to how good the Bills pass defense is. But, it wouldn't take long for them to realize that all they need to dominate the Bills is run the ball down their throat.
Outright Win: Dolphins
v/s the Spread: Dolphins (-3.5)

Detroit Lions (+6.5) at Chicago Bears
There was a lot of hype surrounding the Cutler-Martz marriage in Chicago. That lasted till a few snaps in the pre-season. I think we need a couple more weeks to gauge how it's going to work for the Bears. The Lions, although are expected to be bottom feeders again, now have a decent core to build upon. Especially on defense, Suh has the makings to be a perennial force to reckon with for opposing QBs. Watch out for the Lions to sneak up on the Bears.
Outright Win: Bears
v/s the Spread: Lions (+6.5)

Oakland Raiders (+6.5) at Tennessee Titans
As much as people like to make fun of the Raiders, they always seem to give a tough fight to good opponents. And this year, they actually might be a good team. I still think the Titans should be able to take care of business at home. They will have a sense of urgency right from the start, especially after they experienced that slow start to their 2009 season. Raiders can keep it close if they can be decent in run defense.
Outright Win: Titans
v/s the Spread: Raiders (+6.5)

Cincinnati Bengals (+5.5) at New England Patriots
This is a tough game for both off the gates. The Patriots will bring their explosive offense against a under-rated Bengals Defense. And the Bengals balanced offense goes up against a weak personnel of the Patriots defense. The wild card here is if Bill Belichik can draw up a good defensive game plan that masks the weaknesses of the Patriots defense. We know he is more than capable of doing it.
Outright Win: Patriots
v/s the Spread: Patriots (-5.5)

Carolina Panthers (+7.5) at New York Giants
Matt Moore will surprise a lot of people this year with his above average performances. But, not on Week 1, at least it will not be enough to cover the 7.5 points set by Vegas. Especially, with the Giants D line healthy to start the season.
Outright Win: Giants
v/s the Spread: Giants (-7.5)

Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The odds-makers seem to be favoring the Falcons here, in spite of the game being played in Heinz field. I think the Steelers, with a healthy Troy Palamalu, are a formidable team even without Big Ben. Still, I think the Falcons win this one by a Field Goal margin.
Outright Win: Falcons
v/s the Spread: Falcons (-2.5)

Cleveland Browns (+3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are playing for 2011 already. Unless they have Cadillac Williams and/or Kareem Higgins run all over the Browns D, I do not see this game being even competitive.
Outright Win: Browns
v/s the Spread: Browns (+3)

Denver Broncos (+2.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Broncos, interestingly enough, lost a bunch of their good players through trades. And then Elvis Dumerville was lost to an injury. Now, they are a big unknown in the AFC. The Jaguars will, as usual, hope they can ride MJD as far as he takes them.
Outright Win: Jaguars
v/s the Spread: Jaguars (+2.5)

Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) at Houston Texans
Every year, I keep picking the Colts to stumble, but they never do. So, this year I am picking them to have their typical "Colts" start. No, this ain't an attempt at a reverse jinx. The Texans have played them real close of late, but seem to stumble towards the end. This year will be no different...they are the Texans.
Outright Win: Colts
v/s the Spread: Colts (-3.5)

San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) at Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers are favored to win the NFC West, not because they are so vastly improved. Its more so because other teams are way deep in shambles. Like your Seattle Seahawks, where coach Pete Carrol is just tearing apart the team getting rid of all the decent players on the roster in the pretense of re-building.
Outright Win: 49ers
v/s the Spread: 49ers (-2.5)

Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) at St Luis Rams
The Cardinals have decided to trust Derek Anderson with the starting job. It just shows how much they thought of Matt Leinart before they let him go. The Cardinals are going to have a tough year, but they have enough weapons to take care of business with the lowly Rams.
Outright Win: Cardinals
v/s the Spread: Cardinals (-3.5)

Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Washington Redskins
The Cowboys, this season, have high expectations. They think they are loaded for a big run. But, are they? They will be able to scrape through with a victory over the Redskins. At his point though, who knows what that is worth?
Outright Win: Cowboys
v/s the Spread: Cowboys (-3.5)

Baltimore Ravens (+3.5) at New York Jets
The Ravens are suddenly loaded on offense. Its now up to coach Harbaugh to make sure the offense maintains its balanced identity and does not get pass wacky. The Jets on the other hand are this typical over-hyped New York team. In my view, they are good enough to just crawl into the playoffs.
Outright Win: Ravens
v/s the Spread: Ravens (+3.5)

Upset Special of the Week

San Diego Chargers (-5.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The AFC West, in my opinion, rivals with the NFC West as the weakest division in the league. The Chargers will go only so far as Philip Rivers can take them. This is a tricky opening game for them against another AFC West rival. The Chargers, in recent years, have struggled playing at Arrow head stadium. The crowd will be loud and add to it the Chargers' habit of starting slow every year.
Outright Win: Chiefs
v/s the Spread: Chiefs (+5.5)

Homer Pick of the Week

Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Packers need to get off to a fast start. Their first 6 games is the easy stretch in their schedule. Beyond that, it only gets tough. So it is imperative they do not get off to a slow start. The Eagles were impressed with the couple Kolb starts last year. But, what can he do when given sole possession of the starting job?
Outright Win: Packers
v/s the Spread: Packers (-1.5)

Last Week:
Outright Win Record: 0-0
v/s the Spread Record: 0-0

Year to Date:
Outright Win Record: 0-0
v/s the Spread Record: 0-0

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