Impressive showing by the PAC 12 this weekend, would have been even better if they had kept the conference at 10…
NFL WEEK 1 PICKS
When I make my picks I approach the situation with knowledge and logic. However, I never ignore my gut. I try to make the sound decision, but I enjoy bold predictions and analysis that involves a little bit of fanfare. I guess I get more out of picking one farfetched upset correctly than getting the majority of vanilla picks correct, and that’s why my friends call me whiskers.
Without further ado, I give you week 1:
Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears, Line: Colts +10
Even with Peyton and most of the old talent gone in Indy, this line seems pretty high. I have a feeling Andrew Luck is going to show up big for his first game, he’s no ordinary rookie. Plus the Bears have tended to always underwhelm, and Urlacher seems like more of a distraction than an asset at this point in his career. Luck can handle this defense (at least keep it close).
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns, Line: Browns +9½
PICK: EAGLES -9½
As a Browns fan it pains me to make this pick, but I am a realist. Brandon Weeden looks lost and Trent Richardson is a question mark. And I just realized the two players Cleveland is dependent on as game changers this season are rookies…I like PHILA even more. Even if Vick only makes it through a quarter before breaking himself, I like Foles and the Eagles to embarrass Cleveland.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets, Line: Bills +3
PICK: BUFFALO win
The Jets’ offense is non-existent, with distractions up the wazzoo. The Bills upgraded their defense big time during the off-season and Fitzpatrick got paid like a real Ivy Leaguer should. Oh and don’t forget Fred Jackson is back. Frankly, I don’t get why the Jets are favored.
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints, Line: Redskins +7½
PICK: REDSKINS +7½
I see people picking the skins because of RG3, but for me I just feel like their overall team is solid. This is a pick more so in doubt of New Orleans and less in RG3 being electric. Redskins are much improved and the Saints have an interim-interim head coach…take the points and buckle up.
New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans, Line: Titans +6
PICK: PATRIOTS -6
This line seems astronomically low. If I had to guess this line I would have put it at at least 8. Maybe I missed something in the off-season (I wouldn’t put it past me), but the Pats upgraded on both sides of the ball and still have that guy Tom Brady directing the offense. While the Titans are starting a 2nd year QB and are crossing their fingers Chris Johnson shows up this year. PATS in a blowout.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings, Line Jaguars+ 3½
PICK: VIKINGS -3½
This game is awful. No use in wasting time analyzing the Jags, just stay away from them. Minnesota covers and gets a rare 2012 victory here.
Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans, Line: Dolphins +12
PICK: TEXANS -12
Usually such a high spread on opening week is too tempting not to take the points, but fortunately I watched Hard Knocks. The Dolphins are still a season away from winning more than 3 games. The Texans look good, and I think Schaub is the most underrated QB going into this season. Even if Foster is sidelined, Ben Tate will carry the load well. Bottom Line: FINS=AWFUL, TEXANS=GOOD. Good beats awful by more than 12.
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions, Line: Rams +7½
PICK: RAMS +7½
A coach makes all the difference, look for Jeff Fisher to lead the Rams to respectability this year. I’m not saying they’ll be good, just not embarrassing. Detroit just feels shaky to me, I don’t trust their defense and I have no idea how they’re running game will be. The Lions may pull this one out, but not by more than a TD. Take St. Louis and the points here, have faith in Bradford.
Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs, Line: Chiefs +3
PICK: FALCONS -3
This is a total gut pick. This is definitely the hardest game for me to decide on this week, so I went with first instinct. The Falcons have looked really good to start every season ever since Ryan’s sophomore year, and they keep adding talent each year little by little. This may be Atlanta’s break out year. With that said, I think the Chiefs make the playoffs, they look good on both sides of the ball, but I still don’t trust Cassel and the loss of Brandon Carr will cause issues matching up with Julio and Roddy. Falcons by 4.
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers, Line: 49ers +5
PICK: PACKERS -5
The 9ers are the sexy pick this year, but I’m not sold. If Alex Smith can prove to me he can effectively spread the ball around this offense my story will change, but until then I will put my money on the best QB in the league with a great Defense to back him up. Plus this game is in Lambeau Field, I have a gut feeling the Packers make this one look too easy.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Line: Buccaneers +3
PICK: BUCS +3
Raheem Morris is gone, nuff said. Carolina looks like a solid team without many holes, but I think Cam will struggle a bit this year as defenses have had a season to scheme for him. And I think this is a statement game for Josh Freeman, I imagine he feels like he’s been slighted by the media by not being compared to Cam. This game will be tight, so take the points and cross your fingers.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, Line: Cardinals +3
PICK: SEAHAWKS -3
Seattle might just win their division this year; new jerseys usually have that effect on teams. But in all seriousness I am a believer in Seattle this year, their defense will be known as elite by the end of the season. I really want to be the first to start the Red Robin, Red Bryant chant. REEEDDDD BRYANT…YUUMM! The Cardinals are a mess, O-Line problems with a shaky quarterback. Seahawks in a blowout.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos, Line: Steelers +2
PICK: BRONCOS -2
I can’t wait to see the Peyton Manning to Eric Decker connection this year. The Broncos defense is solid again, and Peyton Manning will turn this offense around into a serious threat. The Steelers just don’t look impressive this year, not even on paper. Polamalu is a year older and they did nothing to upgrade their offense. Broncos cruise to victory in Mile High.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens, Line: Bengals -7
PICK: RAVENS -7
This was a tough one. My bias against Marvin Lewis may be coming out in this pick. I think the Ravens change their identity this season and become an offensive powerhouse. I think the Ravens cover due to a poor Bengals secondary and I question how well Dalton will do in his second year under center. Plus, even if Ed Reed doesn’t play he can comfort the Ravens players on the sidelines telling stories from the olden days.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders, Line: Chargers +1
PICK: RAIDERS -1
There is nothing about the Chargers that makes me second guess this pick. And I like Carson Palmer to have a good year. With Al Davis gone (RIP), the Raiders can get back to football. How Norv Turner still has his job baffles me, and I’d think most of his team wonders the same thing. This game will be painful to watch, but the Raiders will win and cover.
So there you have it, my Week 1 picks. Thanks for reading.
Personality traits of Bryce Harper are eerily similar to young Tiger Woods. His arrogance along with lack of respect are being confused with “passion” for the game. Just something to think about.
Teach your children good sportsmanship.
Being both an adult and a sports fan, we tend to lose sight of things. This breach from reality is most evident when we attend a live sporting event. Sporting events turn into an escape from our responsibility and stress filled lives; but when we were kids we actually played sports and dreamt that one day we could become one of those sports stars we were watching. As adults it turns into pure entertainment, and we forget what sports really mean and how they shaped who we are. All of the lessons we learned playing youth sports and friendships formed in seem all too far away as we grow older. Who can really blame us though, as we grow older we become less naïve and can conceptualize the million dollar contracts players sign and the billions of dollars being wagered every game. Professional sports rightfully become a show, an event, and the “game” is lost on us. Yes, we cheer when “our” team wins and are bummed when they lose but now there we have context. As a child, losing a big game was a matter life and death, the emotional maturity wasn’t there yet. As an adult we know how to weigh emotional and prioritize importance. This loss of innocence as we grow older comes at a price. In a way, it is almost a regression of behavior, but due to a progression of contextualization. As I look around a stadium and watch fans taunt, curse, and boo at players I wonder what kind of example we are setting for our youth. This barbaric behavior is so widely accepted at sporting events that it’s really turning into an epidemic. As an adult at a sporting event, we rationalize this behavior; we paid for these seats, these men are paid millions of dollars to entertain me, I can act how I want, my heckling is not only expected but encouraged. Yes, that is rational to an adult, but think of a child. A kid sees his father boo and yell insults to players on the court and he thinks this is appropriate behavior. The context that you are at a professional sporting event is lost on the child. An innocent kid is led to believe that booing and heckling is acceptable behavior. This situation is a breeding ground for hate; sporting events should be a place to promote sportsmanship and positivity, instead it is being reduced to a angry, hate-filled outburst of the worst side of human nature. It is one thing to root for your team, but another to boo the opposing team. I look back at the past MLB Home Run Derby as a great example of what’s wrong with professional sports today. The home run derby is meant to be a fun atmosphere where fans can get to watch their favorite athletes come out of their shell and show some personality, all while watching them display their freakish athletic ability. This past derby showed an ugly side of fan retaliation. In short, the Kansas City crowd boo’d every time Robinson Cano came to the plate, and cheered every time he suffered an out. Many wrote this off as fans-being-fans, it was home town retaliation towards the Derby’s captain(Cano) not picking a Kansas City Royal to compete in the home run derby. It is easy for us fans to say it was all in good fun and in the light of an old rivalry, “KC fans were just sticking up for their team!”. It’s hard not to agree, or at least to not be amused at how persistent fans were about booing Cano, but after putting it into context we know it was totally uncalled for. Think about the 7 year old Royals fan who doesn’t really understand the motive behind the booing. In a young fan’s mind, for what reason is he booing? It feels like were almost forcing children to hate, it’s that mob mentality that starts it and the wide acceptance which lets it continue. Now this young Royals fan thinks it is okay to boo and heckle. Does this child understand the context and where to draw the line? It is a terrible day when we see innocent kids, who love sports, be reduced to “hating” a player or team on the field, there is an innocence lost. It is a vicious cycle that unfortunately doesn’t seem to have a break. Kids see their father and respected elders booing and heckling, the adults they look up to spewing hate onto the opposing team, and they copy this behavior while nobody is explaining what is really going on or telling them that this verbal abuse is not acceptable. The positive atmosphere of sports that is supposed to nurture a child’s development is thrown out the window as soon as they step into a professional arena or stadium. Unfortunately, this behavior kids learn at live sporting events bleeds onto the playground and into organized youth sports. As adults we are supposed to be examples to children. Next time you stand up at a game to yell at the referee or heckle a player, think of the child sitting 3 rows behind you. Do you really want to continue this cycle of bad sportsmanship? Set the example.
It is not my prediction this time, I’m giving the floor to Ryan Kalil, with the extremely bold Super Bowl championship prediction he made with a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer today. I’ll let you check out the grim details for yourself in my source link below. What ever happened to the old school Offensive Lineman; quite, humble, and tough as nails. A prediction like this is usually reserved for a prima donna wideout or runningback. It’s a sad day when we have offensive linemen wanting the spotlight. I thought Kalil had a better head on his shoulders, you would think when he says he didn’t tell anyone he was doing the ad because he was afraid he would be talked out of it that he would realize its probably a bad idea. I thought that was just common sense. Maybe we are entering a new age, where O-linemen feel entitled and deserving of the spotlight due to their huge contracts and new found value. I guess we really can’t blame them, back in the day linemen were the “unskilled” players who were too fat and slow to be “impact” players, trust me I was one of those guys in high school. I was too slow to play any skill position so they threw me and those with the same later-in-life athletic development on the offensive line. But in the past 10 years there has been a complete change in the culture of linemen. Mostly it has come from the need for more athletic big guys due to faster defensive players. It has come to football’s collective attention of how important and valuable a great o-lineman is; and players are taking advantage of that, as they should. Now the big kids in high school are getting prepped and catered to as much as the fast and ungodly athletic “skilled” players. It’s pretty amazing to look at this culture shift. Left Tackles get drafted as top picks in the NFL draft; they’re so valuable in protecting the franchise Quarterback’s blindside from those freakishly fast and strong Defensive ends. But there lies the conundrum. These offensive linemen are still seen as the investment to protect the talent. This is why I have a qualm with Kalil’s antics. Offensive linemen are payed to protect the guys who get payed to be the in the spotlight. They are not payed to be in the spotlight. Call me old fashioned, but offensive linemen are payed for their play and protection, while the skilled players they’re protecting are getting payed to not only play well, but to entertain. Remember the 2009 draft, when Michael Oher had all that attention from the Sandra Bullock flick about his life? I know it wasn’t just me who though Michael looked super awkward in the spotlight, it almost felt like he wasn’t even the center of attention on that stage full of his family and supporters(which is hard to do when your that ginormous).
Maybe that was a sidetracked observation, but my old-school outlook of an offensive lineman’s temperament made me feel like Oher handled his spotlight like a natural Offensive lineman. I’d caution Kalil to stay in the shadows. Leave the spotlight to the “skilled” players(they need it to boost their confidence), and without their talent a lineman’s value is irrelevant.