…off to yet another bad start, what with the ‘Skins getting their arse handed to them on the most recent edition of Thursday Night Football. But Sunday is another day…
San Francisco at Chicago (-3.5)
JIMMY FOOTBALL!! Finally!! Not sure what the Niners were waiting for. Playbook? Please. Seattle? Please. Get him in there. Get it done. And?
San Francisco 24, Chicago 13.
Minnesota at Atlanta (-2.5)
This is a tough one. Atlanta is rejuvenated. The Vikings seem to be waiting for Case Keenum to crumble. This may be the week. Let’s face it…it’s Case F’ng Keenum!!
Atlanta 31, Minnesota 21.
Houston at Tennessee (-7.5)
I’m honestly not sure the Titans should be favored by this much over anyone…well, except Cleveland. But Tom Savage really is terrible.
Tennesse 27, Houston 17.
Tampa Bay (-1.5) at Green Bay
Tampa is really favored AT Green Bay? Seriously? Brett Hundley notwithstanding, seems like a stupid idea.
Green Bay 23, Tampa Bay 21.
Denver at Miami (-0.5)
Brutal. How does anyone pick this game? Shot in the dark here.
Denver 20, Miami 14.
New England (-8.5) at Buffalo
I shouldn’t do it, but I’m going to. Pats on the road. Divisional foe. Bills hanging on to playoff hopes. Pats banged up. Blah, Blah, Blah. But I am doing it…
New England 38, Buffalo 17.
Detroit at Baltimore (-2.5)
The Ravens seem rejuvenated as well. Yes, I already used this word to describe the Falcons. So be it. Either way, can’t trust the Lions.
Baltimore 24, Detroit 21.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (-9.5)
Jacksonville lost to the Arizona Cardinals last week. Let that sink in for a while. And yet, I’m doing it against my better judgement this week with the Jags.
Jacksonville 31, Indianapolis 17.
Kansas City (-3.5) at New York Jets
KC has plummeted since their Opening Day win over the Pats. Good for them. Then they lost at home to a mediocre Bills team last week. This week? At least the Jets won’t be the New York team starting Geno Smith this weekend.
Kansas City 23, New York Jets 13.
Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers (-13.5)
Josh Gordon is back! I guess you can still make it back to the NFL after ingesting all kinds of drugs for several years. If Aaron Hernandez was still alive, maybe he would have a chance to get back. Wait, he (allegedly) murdered several people as well, so maybe not…
Los Angeles Chargers 34, Cleveland 20.
New York Giants at Oakland (-6.5)
Oakland is miraculously only a game out now in the AFC West. The G-Men just turned to…Geno Smith. I hate Eli Manning of course. But Smith simply cannot play in the NFL. And the way the team handled the whole benching was absolutely atrocious. Realistically, I could have just said “GEEEEEEEENNNNNNN-OOOOOOOOOOO” here and that would have been all that needed to be said.
Oakland 23, New York Giants 7.
Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) at Arizona
Still not in on the Rams? Not sure I am either. BUT…I think I am this week.
Los Angeles Rams 38, Arizona 20.
Carolina at New Orleans (-3.5)
Matchup between a pair of 8-3 teams. Who saw this one coming? No one. Yup. No one.
New Orleans 30, Carolina 23.
Philadelphia (-5.5) at Seattle
I say it every week, Philly is on a roll. The Seahawks are believe it or not a pedestrian 3-2 at home. Plus they are ravaged by injuries. But you know what? Seattle is getting it done this week. Another hunch. But a legit one this time, I will promise you.
Seattle 33, Philadelphia 30.
Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cincinnati
Speaking of hunches, I am going against myself this time. The Steelers play down to their competition. Seems like 5.5 is too high, especially on the road. Even against the Bungles. So, we shall see…
Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 20.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 92-85
Season (straight up): 116-61
Sssssoooo…because the picks I have proffered here thus far have been absolutely laughable, I’ve decided to get hammered and see what we come up with then. And no, I am not ripped on a Sunday morning…yet. I’m making the picks between Friday and Saturday night. Like…literally ripped up. Can they really be any worse? To add to the mix, I am listening to some really bad tunes. Maybe that helps…
Philadelphia at Kansas City (-4.5)
I’m not sure either of these teams are as good as they showed in their first games. But KC is at home. Kareem Hunt does look frickin’ kinda special…for one game anyway. KC has had 10 days to make sure they are ready. Andy Reid has finally figured out how to use the clock. Ok, most of those things are true. Not that I’m on the Reid/Alex Smith/Chief bandwagon, but…
Kansas City 27, Philadephia 20.
Tennessee (-1.5) at Jacksonville
I don’t care what Jacksonville did last week. And neither should you.
Tennessee 31, Jacksonville 23.
Minnesota at Pittsburgh (-6.5)
Sam Bradford looked like…er, Tom Brady last week. But now apparently he has yet another boo-boo. And…he faced a perennially horrific defense in the Saints. Pitt had some trouble against the Browns. Think Pitt starts getting it together here. After all, Le’veon didn’t show up to camp…
Pittsburgh 34, Minnesota 20.
Arizona (-7.5) at Indianapolis
I have a lot of love for Jacoby Brissett. Impressed with what he did for the Pats last year when he had no business even playing. Not sure why they were so eager to unload him when they really do have an aging QB and backup that will be a free agent after this year. I mean, Phillip Dorsett notwithstanding. Phillip Dorsett??! Anyway, combine that with the fact that David Johnson got hurt last week. Carson Palmer was putrid. And Arizona caved down the stretch against Detroit. So you think I am taking the Colts at home? Ummmmmm…
Arizona 31, Indianapolis 13.
New England (-6.5) at New Orleans
Does anyone seriously think the Pats are going 0-2? The Saints got lit up by Sam Bradford Monday night. And don’t give me the “well, Sammy has now been in the offense for a year and is more acclimated and…” crap. I don’t even care if people think this 2017 Pats team reminds them of the somewhat dysfunctional 2009 Pats team. They are NOT losing this game.
New England 45, New Orleans 24.
Chicago at Tampa Bay (-6.5)
Chicago gave the defending NFC champions a game last week. And honestly, they should have won. That may be the highlight of their season though. Love to see what that little dude Tarik Cohen will do this week though. Was Week 1 a fluke? Does anyone care?
Tampa Bay 27, Chicago 17.
Cleveland at Baltimore (-7.5)
I really want to take Cleveland here. In fact, I did take them in a picks pool I am in. Division games are generally close. Baltimore’s shutout win against Cincinnati in Week 1 now seems like it wasn’t a big deal…after the Bengals were awful against Houston Thursday night. Baltimore really isn’t any great shakes. Cleveland is improving. And all that. But…I changed my mind…
Baltimore 24, Cleveland 13.
Buffalo at Carolina (-7.5)
The Bills only beat the Jets by 9. In Buffalo. The Jets should go no more than 1-15 (FU Matty Ice!). Carolina looks primed for a rebound from last year, where they had the “Super Bowl Hangover”. Seems easy to me.
Carolina 38, Buffalo 17.
New York Jets at Oakland (-13.5)
Suicide pool pick of the week. Every week against the Jets will probably do that. Especially when the J-E-T-S fly across to the other coast. (FU Matty Ice…again!!).
Oakland 48, New York Jets 10.
Miami at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5)
The Chargers showed me something Monday night. They should have been blown out of the stadium against the Broncos last Monday at Denver. They fought back and should’ve at least taken it to OT. Kickers…sigh…oh well. I used to hate Phil Rivers. I can’t say I love him now, but I have learned to respect him. But Miami has presumably been champing at the bit to get their season started. And in reality, the Chargers ain’t that good.
Miami 24, Los Angeles Chargers 13.
Dallas (-1.5) at Denver
Have to do it. Broncos at home. I know the ‘Boys beat the G-Men handily. But I am still not sold. But as you know, I’ve been wrong multiple times. Just another hunch…
Denver 27, Dallas 24.
San Francisco at Seattle (-12.5)
Seattle lost a tough one to open the season against the Packers. Had some bad calls, but…still lost. Hard to open the season on the road versus another top NFC contender. This week will not be the same.
Seattle 41, San Francisco 10.
Washington at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
Wow, did the Rams throw just about everyone for a loop in Week One. Jared Goff looked like…and I am sorry to repeat this…Tom Brady. The Colts are putrid. But the Rams scored 224 points in 2016. They scored 46 last week. Over 20% of their previous years’ total, with 15 weeks to go. Even with year to year marginal improvement, 46 is a little high…against anyone. The Skins are no juggernaut. But should provide a little more opposition than the Colts.
Washington 31, Los Angeles Rams 17.
Green Bay at Atlanta (-2.5)
Again, even though the Falcons made the Super Bowl last year, they weren’t as good as that. Sorry. I know, they dominated for three quarters in the Big Game too. Well, not “dominated”, but still were in control. Either way, was never sold on them. And I’m not now. So they are back at home after barely beating the lowly Bears in Chicago last weekend. But the Pack are their opponent. I’d say that’s a tougher test.
Green Bay 31, Atlanta 27.
Detroit at New York Giants (-4.5)
God, it pains me to no end to support the New York Giants in any way, shape or form. But sometimes you have to. Eli may be done. He has sucked for quite some time. Ok, he’s not done, though I wish he was. And there is no Ryan Nassib or Jared Lorenzen to take over. The G-Men have absolutely no running game to speak of. I think everyone on God’s Green Earth is sick of hearing whether Odell Beckham Jr. will play or not. But then I look at Jimmy Caldwell. And I have no choice.
New York Giants 24, Detroit 21.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 6-10
Season (straight up): 9-7
…mercifully. Everyone knows Week 1 of any NFL season can be unpredictable. No one knows anything about the teams yet, sometimes not even the coaches of the teams themselves. I know, sounded kind of silly. But the point is, coaches are still tinkering around with things even after the preseason is over. New players are being integrated into systems. Starters are finally playing real snaps. Rookies are getting their first real action. And all that.
And of course the injuries. Happens to every team every year. Some are bigger than others. For instance, not only did David Johnson’s wrist kill a ton of fantasy football seasons, it seriously put a dent into the Arizona Cardinals prospects for the season. One player can do that? In this case, yes, quite possibly. I think we’d have to say it had some effect on their game on Sunday for sure. Johnson was exactly lighting the Lions up, as he is certainly capable of doing. But the Cards collapsed after he left the game.
Going back to not knowing who a team actually is in Week 1, you saw all the results. We’ve been through the Chiefs beating the Patriots. But the Steelers and Falcons barely beating the Browns and Bears, respectively? The Giants not even showing up at Dallas? The Colts we knew would not be great, but getting hammered by the Rams, a team that had an anemic offense last year? Jared Goff looked like…er, Tom Brady out there or something.
There were two other somewhat alarming results from last weekend. We will get to those in a second.
So, the Blowhard took it on the chin in Week 1, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! There was one genuinely stupid pick (Saints on the road, what was I thinking??). There was some bad luck (Denver missing a cover by a point when they allowed the Chargers to get back into the game in the fourth quarter). A couple of road team gambles that didn’t pan out (Giants, Seahawks and I guess we can say the Falcons here too). But overall about .500 was what I expected out of the gate. I guess we will have to live with .400 though. Cuz…that’s what happened.
Let’s hope for some better results in Week Two. But we of course have this beauty to lead us off:
Houston at Cincinnati (-4.5)
I said above that there were two other somewhat alarming results from last weekend. After further review, I am taking away the word “somewhat”. The losses by the Bengals and Texans were borderline shocking. The Bengals were shut out at home by the average Baltimore Ravens. The Texans were embarrassed at home by the still putrid (we think) Jacksonville Jaguars. I am not changing my mind on the Jags…yet, anyway.
Listen, I am no Marvin Lewis fan. This is probably at least the 5th consecutive year I have uttered at some point during the season, “why is this guy still coaching the Bengals?” Well, we know why he is, because the owner is cheap. But you know what I am saying. But even though they were 6-9-1 last year, they usually are fairly competitive under Lewis. They do have some talented players on offense. I believe they have some skilled guys on D too…though admittedly they were missing 2 guys due to suspension…Pac-Man Jones and that certifiably insane Vontaze Burfict.
Anyway, they should have had enough on the field, at home, to at least be competitive with the Ravens. Maybe it was all Andy Dalton’s fault. Could be. 4 interceptions and 5 sacks taken can kind of present that image.
The Texans? Wow. Their defense is supposed to be what wins games for them this year. And they got torched by the Jags. Jacksonville allegedly improved their roster this offseason. They canned a historically bad coach in Gus Bradley…though one can only wonder if Doug Marrone is an upgrade. But their QB is still named “Blake Bortles” and they lost top wideout Allen Robinson during the game. That the Texans gave up 29 points to this offense is laughable. OK, 22 points, as there was one defensive TD. But my point still stands.
Let’s not even talk about their QB fiasco. Nah, let’s talk about it. You think Blake Bortles is bad, I present you…Tommy Savage! Yeah, I have no idea if Savage can play or not. But he was atrocious in the first half. Sssssoooo…that is why he got yanked. But from the parts of the game I saw, he wasn’t exactly getting a ton of time to throw. I am actually kind of on board with Savage’s agent ripping the team for their handling of him (“31 snaps…31 snaps!! How can you tell anything from that…” or something like that).
I can see why Billy O’Brien benched Savage though. Team was lackluster and needed a spark. QB is where to start. Especially when you have a first round draft pick ready to go. But since Deshaun Watson didn’t really light it up either, you may as well go back to Savage. Since, you know, you went all offseason and preseason saying the job was his. Then Savage loses it halfway through the first game? I know, Watson was going to get the job at some point in the season anyway. But to panic like this right away seems like a bad sign.
I can’t believe I talked this much about both of these teams. Gotta fill space I guess. Anyway, this week? Pac-Man is back. I think the Texans are sticking with Watson. Dalton can’t be that bad…he’s better than Bortles anyway. Houston lost its top THREE tight ends to concussions last week. Cincy is at home. Someone has to win.
Cincinnati 23, Houston 13.
Week (against the spread): 6-9
Week (straight up): 9-6
Season (against the spread): 6-9
Season (straight up): 9-6