SAINTS (-5) over Vikings
This season should be a good one for me for the following two reasons:
1) The Packers look great. Experts and casual fans alike are fawning over their exceptional preseason, and who can blame them? They’re putting up a lot of points, they had the top-ranked defense last year, and Aaron Rodgers is the next elite QB – that is if you don’t already think he is an elite QB. I think that anyone who watches football at my house this year will hear a lot of screams of joy from my wife. That sounded weird.
2) The Vikings look terrible. Aside from the unfortunate Sidney Rice injury, Favre is a year older with a bum ankle, and they only have three CBs. This is something that most teams would consider to be a problem. Will they run the ball and stop the run? Certainly, but it takes more than that to win a division with the Packers in it. And Sarah hates the Vikings the way that I’m supposed to hate the Giants. She understands rivalry. She hates anything purple.
Anyway, I expect the Saints to put up 35 by half-time and then cruise to victory in the second half. I have a really bad feeling about this Vikings team, and that makes me happy.
Panthers (+7) over GIANTS
Man, I miss Jake Delhomme already, don’t you? I love watching a game with this question in the back of my mind: “How many interceptions does he have to throw before Fox benches him? 3? 6? 12? I honestly have no idea.” I’ll miss that. As for the actual pick, I’m not sold that the Giants are a top-tier team yet. They did fairly well last year, but I’m not sure where the improvement is going to come from. They have essentially the same core they had last year, and I have the feeling that Eli is about as good as he’s ever going to be. Tom Coughlin looks like Emperor Palpatine. Just sayin’.
Packers (-3) over EAGLES
Let me clear this up: I think the Eagles are going to be a good team (again) this year. I still like their defense and as long as Kolb can manage to NOT throw 4 interceptions a game, I think their running back committee should be able to keep them in a lot of games. Not this game though, and I’m a little shocked that the Packers are only a 3 point favorite, given the amount of preseason hype they’ve accumulated. It almost seems like the kiss of death to receive so much praise before the season even starts, but it’s not that far-fetched, considering that the Packers were very good last year and lost in one of the most entertaining and ridiculous playoff games in my memory.
Dolphins (-3) over BILLS
Who is on the Bills? Is their QB still J.P. Losman? Whatever happened to Beast Mode? Unless the Bills are the Padres of the NFL, I have no idea how they win more than four games this year. I guess the Padres’ secret weapon was their bullpen, but I have no clue as to what the Bills secret weapon might be. Playing their games in Canada? The loyal Bills crowd? Their mastermind coach? Never mind, I don’t even know who the fuck their coach is.
Falcons (-2) over STEELERS
The Falcons are certainly better than their record indicated last season. The Turner injury was the breaking point, but if you look at the way Jason Snelling ran the ball after Turner was out, you can see that the offense line is still there. It seems like they made a classic blunder with a second-year QB: They tried to turn Matt Ryan into Tom Brady overnight. I have no idea what Matt Ryan’s ceiling actually is, but were I the Falcons coach, I would limit his pass attempts and pound other teams with my running game. I would also have a mistress on the side.
BEARS (-6) over Lions
Look, I want the Lions to be good as much as the next guy, but I need to see something from them before I start picking against the grain. Yes, I know Jay Cutler is horrible and Matt Forte killed an untold number of fantasy teams last year (I almost picked him with the second pick in the draft last year…), but I still have to believe that the Bears can beat the Lions at home on opening day. I know it’s very possible that the Lions have some sort of turn around this year, but I’m not expecting more than six wins out of them, and I don’t think their resurrection starts week one.
PATRIOTS (-4.5) over Bengals
I can’t get over last year’s playoff loss to the Jets. I don’t remember the last time I saw a playoff team look so terrible in an actual playoff game. Actually, that’s a lie, because I remember the Dolphins loss to the Ravens. Moving on.
Colts (-2) over TEXANS
Same thing with the Lions – the Texans need to show me that they can win these sorts of games before I start picking them to beat the Colts. I think this will be a close game, but I ultimately see only two ways this game can end: With Peyton Manning engineering a masterful last minute drive, or with Matt Schaub choking in the final minutes. Let me put it this way: Schaub is a better fantasy QB than real-life QB, if you understand my meaning.
TITANS (-6) over Raiders
The Raiders are going to be better this year, but you can’t ignore the way the Titans finished their season. After they started V. Young, everything changed for them. The running game improved (somehow! It was already brilliant), their defense started to clamp down, and I’ll be damned if Jeff Fisher doesn’t know how to coach. Tom Cable? Not so sure yet. I hear he throws a mean right-hook though.
JAGS (-2.5) over Broncos
The first in a line of games I don’t really even want to think about. I guess I’ll go with the Jags because their at home, but that line is curious. They’re saying that the Broncos are .5 points better than the Jags. I say both teams are bad.
Browns (+2.5) over BUCS
Yes! Jake Delhomme! Again, two terrible teams, but won’t it be fantastic to see Delhomme without the aid of Steve Smith, DeAngelo or Jon Stewart? I can only hope that his fantasy numbers are in the negative by A LOT, say minus 17.5, with five interceptions, 4 sacks, two fumbles lost and broken tear ducts.
Niners (-3) over SEAHAWKS
O.K. Yes, the Niners look very good this year. I even heard one analyst say that the Dolphins were “The Niners of the AFC.” I thought this was curious because the Niners play in the easiest division in the NFL while the Dolphins play in the AFC east, with three potential playoff contenders. Alex Smith and Chad Henne are similar, right? How about Patrick Willis and Chaning Crowder? Mike Singletary and Tony Sparano? Singletary looks like a football coach while Sparano looks like the stereotypical heavy drinking, polish sausage-eating NFL fan.
Cardinals (-4) over RAMS
I hate this game. I don’t want to talk about it.
Ravens (+2.5) over JETS
I don’t understand this line. I know that the Jets made an improbable playoff run last year, and that their defense is feared, etc. However, just thinking about the two teams, don’t the Jets just seem like a lesser version of the Ravens? Flacco > Sanchez. Rice > Shonn Greene. Boldin > Braylon. I guess the sense in the NFL is that defense wins and since the Jets defense was so dominating next year, they’re just going to continue to do so. And maybe they will, but the Ravens seems like a better overall team, and their defense isn’t terrible either…
CHIEFS (+5) over Chargers
Let’s take the Chiefs at home and see what happens. There are so many questions surrounding the Chargers right now, I can’t figure them out. It’s like trying to look at one of those magic eye pictures at the mall. Can they stop the run? I don’t know, but I know that Jamaal Charles CAN run. (By the way, note to Jamaal’s parents: What the fuck is with that extra “a”? Seriously? Don’t do that anymore. Jesus Christ, NFL players have the largest number of made up sounding names in all sports. LaDainian? Jahvid? Jermichael? Carnell? Just stop already.)
REDSKINS (+3.5) over Cowboys
Fuck the Cowboys and hope for big games out of Cooley and Santana Moss.