I’ve been impressed with the revival of Entourage this season. For the last couple of seasons, I thought the show was heading downhill, but this year they got Vinny on a drug binge, making bad choices, and dating a porn star. Excellent twist to what was getting to be a repetitive series. Speaking of things reviving themselves, and the true reason for this post, the NFL is bizzniizzzizzaacckk! This means that every team has hope again (including my Raiders and the overly optimistic prediction I made about them making it to the AFC Championship), but this also marks the beginning of gambling season, and the return of Doin Lines! Even if you aren’t betting on spreads, lets face it, there’s plenty of $10 bets thrown down on games amongst friends. I found myself enjoying keeping track of how I did against the spread last year, and ended the season doing surprisingly well considering I was way below .500 for awhile there, and had pondered giving up posting my picks out of sheer embarrassment. My comeback was strong, and ending 49-45-3 on the season, which made me want to see how I could do in my second year of keeping track. At points during the season, I was much more into making these picks correctly than keeping track of my fantasy teams. Not to say that I didn’t care about fantasy, but of all the fantasy seasons, football is the least attractive to me. It’s too much of a crapshoot, and everyone talks endlessly about their “squad”, which is more of a turnoff than a girl with a butterface. Instead of picking ALL of the games, we decided to each pick the top six or so games that we believe are either mortal locks, or very watchable. I did say “we” right!?! Well, this season, By has decided to join me on the adventure of posting picks, so I don’t feel like such an addict doing all these lines by myself! By also had a couple quick thoughts before we get started.
Before I reveal my picks, I must say I’m excited to hear that Entourage is back on the radar in terms of “must see” programs. There was a point in my life where I looked forward to watching Entourage as much as I looked forward to watching a football game on Sunday, but then it slipped. But from what Chappy just wrote, and from what friends have mentioned, Vinny addicted to hard drugs, Sasha Grey, plus the return of Carla Gugino (who is one fine woman) equals the return of Entourage! I have catching up to do …
Now, on to business …
@ New Orleans (-5) Minnesota
Chappy: New Orleans (-5) Everyone keeps saying the Saints are going to have this crazy Super Bowl hangover, because they’ve been partying since February, and I’m here to say that won’t happen. That especially isn’t happening week 1 on the opening game of the season at home. The crowd alone gives them a touchdown lead. The mellow drama that was Minnesota’s off season seems like it would have a much bigger effect on the field than the relatively quiet off season for the Saints. Sure, the Saints may have had to make a ton of forced appearances when they could’ve been preparing for the season, but every week there’s been a new question mark coming up in Minnesota. It just makes me have a hard time believing they will be ready to hit the ground running when the season kicks off. Normally I wouldn’t pick this game, but since I’m going to bet on it, I may as well tell you my two cents.
Chappy: Miami (-3) Luckily Miami gets to go north when the weather is still nice, so they don’t freeze their south beach asses off. I think Miami might have a good season now that they have a legitimate receiver to throw to, and maybe can keep defenses slightly more honest with them worrying about Marshall a little more than they used to when they only used the wildcat. The fins faded badly down the stretch last year, and if they don’t come out and beat a VERY bad Bills team convincingly, I might jump off their bandwagon after week 1. The Bills seem to have way more question marks than answers. The only spots that seem set are Trent Edwards and rookie sensation CJ Spiller. Even Spiller sounds like he’s going to have to share the load of carries. I don’t think anything short of Marv Levy coming back will make this team worth talking about anytime soon.
Indianapolis (-2) @ Houston
By: Houston (+2) The Colts are a better team on paper, and in real life. If you don’t believe me, try arguing against the 15-1 record the Colts hold over the Texans, lifetime. Dominating to say the least. So why, in my right mind would I pick Houston here? Well for one, they’re at home. Two, at some point a team says enough is enough, and will themselves past their rivals, ala MJ & the Bulls battling with Detroit all those years, and finally advancing past them in 1991. I know this isn’t the Playoffs (yet), but it has to start somewhere.
But, the main reason I’m picking Houston here, is because I have a conspiracy theory about the Colts approach to this season. They caught a lot of flack for quitting on perfection last season, and some may say it cost them a Super Bowl. Karma’s a … well we know what it is. So I think they’ll take the opposite approach on the road to Dallas this season. Not only do they stumble, but they stumble week one versus a division rival who they’ve dominated all their existence. Everyone writes them off, and no one will even notice the eight game win streak that ensues after dropping the opener.
Brilliant strategy Indy.
Chappy: Atlanta (-2.5) I’m not sure what to expect out of Pittsburgh to start this season. I could really see them winning 10 games this season, but could also see them losing 10. We know they are going to run a lot to open the season with Big Ben taking his 4 game bathroom break. With him not in this game I don’t see how they win, even though I’m a big Dennis Dixon fan. They didn’t look particularly good during their implosion at the end of the season last year, so I see that lingering until they get their leader back. Atlanta is in one of those years trying to show that they weren’t over rated last year, and this year want to prove they are under rated. I’m buying them this year, and in this opening road game. Matt Ryan is about to embark on his third year, a year that typically we see the biggest jump in production on the positive side if they truly are a good quarterback. Their defense has been worrisome over the last two years, and drafting Sean Witherspoon out of Missouri will definitely help.
@ Chicago (-6.5) Detroit
Chappy: Detroit (+6.5) For some reason I think Detroit will be decent this year. They are going to test out their new toy, Ndamukong Suh, and I’m sure he will show off his abilities against the ugly frontline that the Bears are sporting these days. The Lions also upgraded their line with getting Kyle Vanden Bosh who should make a huge difference up front. It’s funny that unproven rookie Javid Best is almost getting more looks in fantasy leagues than Matt Forte. I’m thinking that Stafford can put up some points with some viable weapons this year in Megatron, Best, and newly acquired Tony Scheffler. The more I think about it, the more I’m happy picking the Lions here. Cutler can’t have as bad a season as last year, but then again they didn’t improve anything around him enough to make me confident he will do better. I see the Lions winning this one outright, and putting Lovie one step closer to adding to our historic unemployment totals.
San Francisco (-3) @ Seattle
Chappy: San Francisco (-3) Looking over my picks so far, I didn’t expect to be taking the away team on four out of five games, but that’s what ended up happening. I think Seattle might be the worst team in the league, but since they are in the NFC West, they will probably manage their way to a few more wins than the team that ends with one or two wins. I’m thinking the Bills might be just that two win team. Maybe my 49ers friends have been in my ear a little too much this off season, but everyone is expecting good things out of the Bay Area. Alex Smith isn’t exactly good, but he’s not as terrible as we first thought. I think Singletary has this team on the right track, and they should make the playoffs if the breaks that didn’t go their way last year go their way this year. They should blow out Seattle, and make Pete reconsider leaving USC because of those NCAA sanctions don’t sound so bad when you’re 1-15. One thing I’m excited about is that Gore finally gets a decent team while he’s in his prime. For awhile there, I thought they were going to waste away his talents without ever being relevant.
By: San Francisco (-3) Yes I am a huge 49ers fan, and yes Joe Montana is the greatest QB ever. With that out of the way, this pick isn’t about the 49ers as it is about the Seahawks. Chappy and I were discussing how bad Seattle really is, and they are definitely amongst our favorites to be picking #1 next draft. With the 49ers ever so improved (crossing fingers they live up to the hype train) this seems like a no brainer.
Only thing I question is if the 49ers are prepared to open the 2010 season on the road, and just how good is our offense? Alex Smith? Please. I just hope the STD battle between VD & Crabs is cured. With that said, -3 is just too little a spread to cover for San Francisco, this game is an easy pick.
Dallas (-3.5) @ Washington
By: Washington (+3.5) The common theme for me while picking my teams is to ask myself, not what is it I like about one team over the other, but what is it I don’t like. In this case it’s Dallas Head Coach Wade Phillips, and QB Tony Romo. And no, it’s not just because they represent a team I hate, but it’s because they don’t know how to win big games. Or let me rephrase that, they know how to lose big games. And starting the season on the road at a new look division rival, in a competitive division, is kind of a big game.
That’s really all that needs to be said. I just don’t feel Tony Romo and company know how to respond to a pressure packed environment. Of the four games I picked this week, I feel the least sure about this one, but Romo don’t fail me now. Choke buddy.
OK, I just hate the Cowboys, but week one is the best time to flat out pick against the teams you hate.
San Diego (-4.5) @ Kansas City
Chappy: San Diego (-4.5) While we’re talking about teams we hate, here are two that I would personally group into that category. If they could both lose that would be the real win, but that won’t happen, and I doubt we’ll see the first tie in three years, so I’m taking San Diego. I’m not sure what to make of what happened to SD over the off season. Mcneill not blocking Rivers backside will be a problem this year, and another big problem is Rivers safety blanket VJ is gone, so no more throwing it up there and watching VJ somehow come up with it in the middle of a triple team. He still has Gates, but there’s no making up for VJ’s production. I’m thinking that Rivers is going to come back to earth on his crazy completion percentage/QB efficiency ratings. Less protection, and less amazing grabs from VJ has to equal a humbling year for the crybaby. All that being said they should still be able to handle a Chiefs team that looks like it’s going nowhere faster than the speed of love. I think this one could be a scoring fest, because neither defense can be considered anything but average. Maybe I’ll have to parlay SD with the over of 45!
By: NY Jets (-2.5) This is a hard game to pick, which is why I’m tackling it. And I chose the word tackling, because this game will provide plenty of it. Baltimore’s defense isn’t at 100%, and missing the ball-hawking presence of Ed Reed would normally hurt them a ton, but not when the opposing QB is Mark Sanchez. Sanchez couldn’t hit his target on a simple ten yard curl if his receiver was an elephant. Even if he did hit his guy, but his guy happened to be named Butterfingers Edwards, I mean Braylon, it wouldn’t matter. An incomplete pass is an incomplete pass.
With that said, this game will come down to defense, and now with Revis back in the fold, the Jets have one side of the field essentially shut down. In order to score on the Jets, you need a masterful QB ala Manning or Brady, and Flacco is not Manning or Brady. For Baltimore, it will be entirely up to Ray Rice to carry the load for the offense, and I’m not completely sold on him continuing where he left off last season. At least not in this game. Add to the fact that the Jets are at home, and it’s a done deal. Jets by at least ten points.
Even Sanchez can’t mess this one up. You snap the ball, and you hand it off to Shonn Greene. Not that difficult.