…now that Game One of Week One is in the books for the 2018 NFL Season, it’s time to get the rest of the league rolling on Sunday. Per usual, Week One is always hard to predict…seeing that we really cannot take a whole lot from the preseason games. Sure, we know the players and what teams should be good and all that. But one never knows once the curtain goes up. So let us take our wild stab on Opening Week and see how the chips may fall:
Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cleveland
No Le’Veon? Who cares? He may show up anyway, but does it matter? Hue Jackson is 1-31 in 2 years. Is Tyrod Taylor going to make a big difference? Or any of their other additions? Doubtful. Especially not in Week One.
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 13.
Tennessee (-1.5) at Miami
Two teams seemingly getting a lot of love. The Titans I guess because they have a new coach in Mike Vrabel and the Dolphins I guess because…I don’t know…Ryan Tannehill is back? Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill…what’s the difference?
Tennessee 20, Miami 17.
Buffalo at Baltimore (-6.5)
Nathan Peterman everyone! Joey Flacco is supposedly rejuvenated because he was pissed the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson. What, he wasn’t threatened by Robert Griffin III? Oh and wait…Patriot fans…does this scenario sound familiar?
Baltimore 27, Buffalo 17.
Houston at New England (-6.5)
Pundits, fans, opponents and everyone around the world is predicting the demise of the New England Patriots. Local sportswriters think the team will start 0-2. The team has no wide receivers. The defense cannot stop anyone, no less Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. We’ll see.
New England 30, Houston 27.
Jacksonville (-3.5) at New York Giants
The Jags had a great year last year. The D is apparently still strong. But they still have Blake Bortles…and will have him for some time now. I’m betting they are going to regret that contract extension. The G-Men stunk last year. But that clown head coach is gone. That’s worth at least a win right there.
New York Giants 24, Jacksonville 21.
San Francisco at Minnesota (-5.5)
The Jimmy G era is really kind of starting now. Welcome to Minnesota.
Minnesota 34, San Francisco 17.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-9.5)
Fitzy!! He just won’t go away. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.
New Orleans 41, Tampa Bay 13.
Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-2.5)
Somehow Marvin Lewis remains. Andrew Luck is back. I really don’t have much more to add.
Indianapolis 24, Cincinnati 21.
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)
The Chargers are another team I hear a lot of positive chatter about in the AFC. We will see about that, though they should have been a playoff team last year. Hopefully, they got themselves a good kicker this year. The Chiefs are handing the reins to Patrick Mahomes. Expect some inconsistency there.
Los Angeles Chargers 23, Kansas City 17.
Dallas at Carolina (-2.5)
Go with the home team here. Unfortunately, that’s really all I can tell you on this one.
Carolina 31, Dallas 20.
Washington at Arizona (-0.5)
Washington 13, Arizona 10.
Seattle at Denver (-2.5)
I’m not rooting for it, but I’d almost bet my house that Case Keenum comes crashing back to earth this year. Seattle isn’t the same team they were when they were going to Super Bowls. But they still scare me for whatever reason.
Seattle 27, Denver 16.
Chicago at Green Bay (-8.5)
I don’t think Khalil Mack is going to make much of a difference.
Green Bay 34, Chicago 10.
New York Jets at Detroit (-6.5)
I’ll be rooting for Matty Patricia to succeed. Seems like a nice guy. Even though that defensive game plan in the last Super Bowl may have been the worst one I have ever seen. And that includes any Cleveland Browns game plan…ever. Don’t we have to blame Patricia at least a little bit for that, instead of heaping all the blame on Belichick? And for the record, I have never rooted for the J-E-T-S to succeed. And never will.
Detroit 27, New York Jets 9.
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Oakland
Jon Gruden is back on the sidelines! This should be fun. Maybe not this week though.
Los Angeles Rams 45, Oakland 13.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 0-1
Season (straight up): 0-1
As promised (threatened?), we will provide a snapshot of the New England Patriots roster as it stands now. Of course, there will be plenty of informative comments following each position group. Define the word “informative” as you may, but I’ll feel good about them anyway.
For the record, we will say where the player came from if they are an addition and where they went if they jumped ship. We will also note if they finished last season on the Patriots injured list (IR) or on the Patriot practice squad (PS). Just cuz I want to be informative, as I said…yup…
Enough of the nonsense, let’s get to it:
Holdovers: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer
In limbo: None
Comments: Everyone knows that Brady will be 41, Jimmy Football was traded for a bag of footballs and a tackling sled and that Hoyer stinks. Not to mention that Jacoby Brissett was also traded last year for probably something less than Garoppolo. Even though I keep hearing from some talking heads recently that Phillip Dorsett actually had a pretty good year “…when he played…he was actually open a lot, Brady either didn’t see him or just didn’t throw it to him…” Ok, if you say so. In any event…an obvious need at some point…and soon.
I’d take a QB fairly high in the draft. Someone who the team thinks has potential to be that proverbial “next guy”. Not taking one just to take one. Brady (and his wife) were doing some whining on his little Facebook thing and some people took that to maybe mean he doesn’t plan on playing until he’s 125 like he has always said. I don’t buy it. It’ll all work out and he will be around for a while. If they draft a dude now, they will have time to groom him. It’s supposed to be a deep quarterback draft, but what do I know?
And no, I would pass on signing Matt Cassel or Matt Moore or any other Matt that is a veteran stiff…in case you were wondering.
Bottom line? Still in pretty good shape here, wouldn’t you say?
Holdovers: Rex Burkhead (re-signed), James Develin (FB), Mike Gillislee, James White
Arrivals: Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati)
Departures: Dion Lewis (Tennessee)
In limbo: None
Comments: We talked enough about Lewis yesterday. Hill has regressed from his fantastic rookie year in 2014 for the Bengals. But from what I understand, the Pats are on the hook for very little if he doesn’t pan out. I feel like Gillislee deserves another shot and I want to see more Rex. I feel ok with this collection…especially in this offense…and especially if they all keep Brandon Bolden off of the field. Moving on…
Holdovers: Kenny Britt, Brandin Cooks, Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman (IR), Chris Hogan, Cody Hollister (PS), Riley McCarron (PS), Malcolm Mitchell (IR)
Arrivals: Cordarrelle Patterson (Oakland)
Departures: Danny Amendola (Miami), Bernard Reedy (released)
In limbo: None
Comments: I’m not going to deny they will miss Amendola to some degree, especially when the chips are down. But again, we went through all that yesterday. I will also add that I am not sure that throwing multiple mediocre bodies at the end of the depth chart will help that cause. But that’s me.
If the depth chart shows Cooks, Edelman, Hogan and Mitchell, assuming good health of course (a BIG assumption), do we really need Britt, Dorsett or Patterson? Plus, McCarron has been getting a lot of love recently. How many receivers can you carry? What exactly are the first three bringing you anyway…especially if they are the 5th receiver on the depth chart?
That’s just it I suppose…depth. Who knows where Edelman and Mitchell will be health-wise going forward? I know, there appears to be little risk with the aforementioned three veterans, financially or otherwise. And I know, Patterson is a dynamic kick returner. Though I will agree with the talk radio chatter on Monday where it was pointed out that kick returns are a very small part of the game these days.
I have no inside info on the situation. But I have a feeling there may be another shoe to drop here before camp opens. There has been some smoke revolving around Cooks’ status for a couple of weeks now. Cooks was up and down last year and my feeling is that he will improve in his second year in the system. And none of those three vets mentioned appear to have the ability of Cooks. But I suppose you never know…
Holdovers: Dwayne Allen, Rob Gronkowski (we think?), Jacob Hollister, Will Tye (PS)
Departures: Martellus Bennett (IR, released)
In limbo: None
Comments: I do believe we have to take Gronks’ retirement “threats” seriously. Despite being a monster, he has taken quite a beating over his NFL career. And despite all the back surgeries, there is no doubt that the back will always hang over his head at least a little. I’m betting that throwing a little money at him will get him back into the fold mentally though. Isn’t that always the case?
Speaking of money, I am absolutely stunned that Allen is still here. 5 mil against the cap next season. Was he that good a blocker? Is he just hanging around in case Gronk does retire? I don’t see it. That’s money better spent elsewhere. I know Hollister and Tye aren’t appealing backup options if Allen departs. But there has to be someone else out there that is.
Let’s make Gronk happy and find a young tight end somewhere. Not an extremely pressing area of need (unless Gronk walks of course), but definitely a position to keep an eye on.
Holdovers: David Andrews (C), Marcus Cannon (T), Cole Croston (T), James Ferentz (C, PS), Antonio Garcia (T, IR), Andrew Jelks (T, IR), Ted Karras (G/C), Jason King (G, PS), Shaq Mason (G), Joe Thuney (G)
Arrivals: Matt Tobin (T) (Seattle)
Departures: Nate Solder (T) (New York Giants)
In limbo: Cameron Fleming (T), LaAdrian Waddle (T)
Comments: We ranted on Solder yesterday and I’m done talking about it. The other four members of the line return. It’s a solid, if unspectacular, group. So obviously the focus is on finding a new left tackle. And once again, I am not going to get worked up about it. Dante Scarnecchia and the team should be able to figure it out. Maybe it’s one of these guys above. Maybe it’s a draft pick. Maybe it’s someone released over the summer or early in camp. Who knows? Maybe I am being naive (or just plain stupid), but I am simply not concerned about it.
People are also seemingly terrified of losing Waddle and/or Fleming. Seriously? These guys were released in recent years. Now they are all of a sudden irreplaceable? Mystifying.
These guys are going to be alright next season without Solder. I feel like that isn’t even going out on much of a limb, to be honest…
Next: The Defense.
…and cruising at about a 46% success rate. Welp, it’s better than 36% I guess. Let’s see if doing the picks a couple of days early makes any difference. Week Nine, here we go…
Baltimore at Tennessee (-3.5)
I don’t like either of these teams. So I flipped a coin. We are off to a great start!
Tennessee 24, Baltimore 20.
Cincinnati at Jacksonville (-4.5)
As noted in previous weeks, Jacksonville is alternating wins and losses this year. This is the Jags week to lose, according to the schedule. But I am going against the grain. Kind of because they are playing the Bungles. We’ll see.
Jacksonville 30, Cincinnati 20.
Atlanta at Carolina (-1.5)
Not in love with the Panthers, but I think the Falcons are done.
Carolina 20, Atlanta 17.
Denver at Philadelphia (-7.5)
Brock Osweiler? Yikes! The Broncos D is still very legit. But with the Brockster back in the saddle, does that inspire confidence in Denver? Doubtful. Though Bronco Nation has lived through Trevor Siemian this year. So maybe they love the fact Brock has taken the reins. What I do know is that the Eagles are on fire. The Bronco D may actually have some trouble stopping them. I’m riding the Eagles in this one. Not to mention that I will be rooting for Denver to lose as well…even though of course that is irrelevant when picking games.
Philadelphia 33, Denver 20.
Indianapolis at Houston (-12.5)
I initially had Houston covering the huge spread. Then Deshaun Watson blew out his knee on Thursday. The Colts are putrid. But the Texans with Tommy Savage under center are not much better. Especially when you factor in the other injuries the Texans have had this year…J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, etc. This one could be ugly. (Side note: I know the line will go down due to the Watson injury, but it’s locked in at this number on the site I use every week. Need to be consistent!).
Houston 17, Indianapolis 13.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-7.5)
I’m not sure what happened to the Bucs this year, but it’s not going in the right direction. The Saints are a surprising 5-2. And there seems to be some semblance of a defense there. When’s the last time anyone thought that?
New Orleans 34, Tampa Bay 24.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at New York Giants
Both teams are coming off a bye, but I don’t think it will help the G-Men one iota.
Los Angeles Rams 27, New York Giants 17.
Washington at Seattle (-7.5)
The Seahawks have won 4 straight and the ‘Skins have lost 3 of 4, with the one win coming by 2 points over the 0-8 49ers. This one seems too easy. Of course it won’t turn out that way, but…
Seattle 38, Washington 27.
Arizona (-2.5) at San Francisco
Drew Stanton versus Jimmy Garopp…er, I mean C.J. Beathard. Sign me up!
Arizona 13, San Francisco 10.
Kansas City (-1.5) at Dallas
Cowboys seem to have their mojo back, Zeke or no Zeke. The Chiefs have lost 2 of 3 since their 5-0 start. Even though KC is still a pretty good team, going with the ‘Boys at home.
Dallas 31, Kansas City 27.
Oakland (-2.5) at Miami
The Raiders got hammered out East last week in Buffalo. I’d be surprised if it happened again in Miami this week. I have no idea how the Dolphins are over .500.
Oakland 30, Miami 13.
Detroit (-2.5) at Green Bay
I hate to take the Lions here…especially at Lambeau. But I kind of feel like I have to. Both teams are reeling. But the Aaron Rodgers injury just overshadows everything.
Detroit 21, Green Bay 17.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 55-65
Season (straight up): 74-46