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Super Bowl…

…did everyone enjoy the Pro Bowl in the meantime?

Yup, I actually watched some of it…must have been bored.

This year they must have added a new feature.  Two hand touch.  There were actually plays in the game that the player wasn’t actually tackled.  The whistle blew when a guy got wrapped up…and pretty quickly, I may add.

So it was useless as usual, pretty much like any sports’ All-Star Game.  Though in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game it looks like the players actually try.  The NHL one last week was equally as brutal to watch I have to say.

And in the Pro Bowl, Matthew Slater didn’t even get in the box score.  I think we should all be colossally disappointed in that…

As for what we are actually here for, the Super Bowl pick between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, welp, no, I did not forget that I had to make a pick.

Maybe I got a little sad about football season being over.  Maybe I got caught up in all of the “will he go or will he stay” Tom Brady talk, when there is at least a month and a half to go to get the answer on that.  Maybe I just didn’t want to make another erroneous pick in a season full of mediocre picks.  Maybe I felt like that since the New England Patriots aren’t actually in the game, I didn’t care.  Or…maybe I just got lazy.

Whichever one you choose, we are going to skip right to it.

This one is going to be short and sweet.  So if you were expecting a 10,000 word column on the game and all of its matchups and all the minutiae that we could talk about if we wanted to, I suggest you go check out Bill Barnwell’s column on ESPN.

HOLY CRAP!!!

I’m sure the piece is awesome.  It looks extremely detailed with a ton of thought put into it.  Any questions you had about the game could probably be answered just by reading the article.

But I don’t have a week to read that book.  I did skim it, however, so go check it out if you are so inclined.  By the way, looks like 10,462 words by my count.  Not including the pictures and charts and their captions.  Or the ads and links sandwiched in between.  And no, I didn’t actually count the words (thanks Microsoft Word!).  So give or take 100 words, it’s still over 10,000 words.

Barnwell gets paid to write and research all that, so good for him.  I do not.

You’re welcome.

Ok, so enough of all that nonsense…

San Francisco “at” Kansas City (-1.5)

I have not listened to as much of the hype, or read much of it, the last two weeks as I have in past years.  Yes, the big reason is that the Patriots are not in it.  But then again, I don’t care much about what a lot of the “experts” have to say about the game.

Championship Sunday was relatively uneventful.  The Tennessee Titans stayed with the Chiefs, but KC pulled away late…as most expected.  One of the better Blowhard picks of the year, by the way.  We predicted KC 34-24.  It was 35-24.  Just sayin’.  The 49ers ran over the Green Bay Packers in a game that was never in doubt.  The Blowhard pick there?  Let’s move on…

In any event, the hype that I have heard this week has been about how great the SF defense is.  Ummmmmm…don’t we know how great the KC offense is?  And do we already forget about how the New Orleans Saints rolled up 46 points against the Niners in Week 14?  Or the Rams with 31 in Week 16?  Or even the Falcons with 29 in Week 15?

This SF D can be exposed.  And who better to do it than Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense?

I’ve heard a lot about how the Chief defense is atrocious as well.  And that may be somewhat true.  But they have improved as the year went on.  And the 31 the Houston Texans scored against them in the Divisional Round were aided by Houston getting good field position a few times on some KC mistakes.  The Chiefs D was good enough to hold down the NFL’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry in the AFC Championship Game though, no?  Did you know that the Chiefs actually gave up 2 fewer points than the Niners this season?  Me neither.

It’s hard to believe the 49ers will roll up almost 300 yards rushing again.  Raheem Mostert has apparently turned into a legitimate weapon, but will he duplicate his Championship Game performance?  Doubtful.  Tevin Coleman is supposedly “healthy”, but that may be a stretch after seeing what he looked like laying on the field two weeks ago.  And the team is afraid to use Matt Breida all of a sudden because apparently has fumbled too much lately.

This means Niner QB Jimmy Garoppolo will have to throw way more than the EIGHT passes he attempted against the Packers.  Can he be productive?  Sure, he absolutely can.  But I’d rather be the team that has Mahomes throwing a boatload of passes, not Garoppolo.

Not to mention that the Niners and coach Kyle Shanahan feel Jimmy Football can get a little loose with the football when asked to do too much.  So they’d rather have him take a back seat if they could.  I just don’t believe the Chiefs offense will give San Francisco a chance to gain control of the game by getting a nice lead and then running it on just about every play.

Now, I’ve been wrong plenty, as you know.  But the feeling here is that there will be a lot of points scored in this one.  Yeah, I know, I picked the Pats over the Rams last year, 34-30.  And we know it was 13-3.  But the year before I picked 51 total points and it was 74.  And the year before I had NE over Atlanta 38-27, which ended up 34-28.  So there is that.

And I picked against San Fran last week.  Considered doing the same the week before against Minnesota, when I foolishly started believing in Kirk Cousins.  In the end, I took SF, but only by 4, when they demolished the Vikings in the actual game.

So what the hell do I know?

I think Andy Reid finally gets over the hump here.  KC gets the lead early and doesn’t let SF use its ground game to run the clock.  Jimmy G has to throw a lot and while he will have success, it won’t be enough.

Unless Reid has clock management issues yet again…then all bets are off…

Kansas City 38, San Francisco 34.  

Week (against the spread):  1-1

Week (straight up):  1-1

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  10-7

Season (against the spread):  135-131

Season (straight up):  170-96

Off To A Good Start…

…well, not for Week Two.  Not only was that game horrific to watch, but the Carolina Panthers really blew that game at the end.  What kind of crappy play call was that?  Still would have lost here, but not in my two entries for them as a part of two different knockout pools.  I suppose that’s what you get for trying to be cute…and for playing and putting in too many separate entries into waaaaaay too many of those pools…but I digress…

Two timeouts in a row called by Tampa Bay during that last stand?  Yikes!  Even an elementary school kid knows you can’t do that.  And the officials…yuck.  Just the whole thing.

Last year there were some entertaining Thursday Night Football games…for pretty much the first time.  Looks like we are reverting to what was the norm before that.  And that’s not a good thing.

I knew picking a Thursday Night division game is not a smart thing to do.  But I did it anyway…shame on me.  But maybe now I will learn?

In any event, the title refers to us not having a bad first week.  The picks against the spread could have been a smidge better.  But not too bad considering the first week is always tough to figure…I think anyway…

And no, I have nothing more to say on Antonio Brown.  I don’t think.

On to it…

Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) at Detroit

Matty Patricia can’t be too happy about his Lions blowing an 18 point 4th quarter lead last week.  But the Chargers may not be too happy needing overtime to beat an Indianapolis Colts team, who probably should be taking a step back this year after the sudden retirement of QB Andrew Luck.  Not to mention that the Chargers should have lost the game.  The normally reliable Adam Vinatieri missed a few kicks or else the Colts would have taken the game.  I expect Adam to bounce back ok, even though he is 127 years old.  He can’t be any worse than some of these stiff kickers floating around the league.  And I guarantee if he got cut, some other team would sign him if he still wanted to play.  But this isn’t the Indy game to pick here.  So back to the Chargers, who should be a pretty good team this season.  Detroit should not.

Los Angeles Chargers 27, Detroit 18.  

Indianapolis at Tennessee (-3.5)

We’ve covered Vinatieri already above.  And the Colts kind of.  This is the Titans’ first home game of the year.  No one expected Tennessee to blast Cleveland last week.  On the road.  Sure, I picked the Titans to win, but not by that landslide.  Cleveland is in for a dose of reality this year, I think.  But again, this isn’t the Browns pick.  The Titans may not be a Super Bowl contender, but they appear to be a solid team from top to bottom.  Especially if they get anything at all from quarterback Marcus Mariota.  Mariota hasn’t been anything special since he entered the league as a #2 overall pick.  Though he has been hurt…or at least banged up…a lot.  Even so, one would expect more from someone drafted that high.  Is the 5th year the charm?  Won’t know for sure for a while.  But it looks like he has some support.  As for more on Indy, quarterback Jacoby Brissett hasn’t embarrassed himself as a starting QB in the league when he’s been out there thus far in his career.  But it remains to be seen if he can take them to the next level like Luck was supposed to this year.  There is still some talent on this team, however.

Tennessee 24, Indianapolis 17.

Jacksonville at Houston (-8.5)

Nick Foles, we hardly knew ye!  Yeah, he will be back, but not for a while.  So that’s reason enough to take the Texans here.  Maybe Gardner Minshew (who??!) can get it done.  His numbers were actually pretty good when he came on in relief of Foles last week.  But who is going to count on that for a second week?  Not me.  Though some bad coaching decisions by the Texans play callers down the stretch against the Saints left a lot to be desired.  The Texans are the more talented team all around, division game be damned.

Houston 31, Jacksonville 13.

San Francisco at Cincinnati (-0.5) 

The Bungles actually played Seattle close last week, much to everyone’s surprise.  Maybe this new Zac Taylor cat is a vast improvement over the dearly departed Marvin Lewis.  That wouldn’t take much though.  We will see what happens in Week Two.  I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon yet.  I have more faith in the Niners at this point, for really no good reason at all honestly.

San Francisco 27, Cincinnati 24.

Buffalo (-2.5) at New York Giants

The Giants were putrid last week.  The Bills won, but they played the Jets.  I’m not sure anyone in New York state even cares about this game.  That’s all I have on this one Pete, sorry…

New York Giants 20, Buffalo 17.

New England (-18.5) at Miami 

Normally I get a little nervous about the Pats going to Miami, especially in the September heat.  This is not one of those years though.  Miami has just about gutted its team and is in full blown tank mode…as everyone knows.  The Patriots could score 60 in this game…Antonio Brown or no Antonio Brown…but they won’t.  They will pile on points early but will let up on former Bill Belichick assistant Brian Flores.  Start running the ball a ton.  Then again, the ‘Phins gave up a lot of yards on the ground last week as well.

New England 38, Miami 7.  Lock of the week…how can it not be??

Dallas (-4.5) at Washington 

Another game last week that was closer than expected…the ‘Skins losing to the Eagles only by five.  After leading 20-7 at the half, to boot.  The ‘Boys were stout…albeit against the G-Men.  Adrian Peterson should be back in the saddle for Washington.  But I don’t know if that should be considered a good thing.  I’m feeling more of the same for Dallas this week.  And Zeke will be a little more up to speed.  That can’t hurt.

Dallas 41, Washington 20.

Minnesota at Green Bay (-2.5) 

The Vikes threw 10 passes last week in their easy win over Atlanta.  TEN?!  The Packers scored 10 points in their opener against the Bears.  Minny will have to throw more than 10 passes in this game.  But I also expect the Pack to score more than 10 points as well.  They will have had a week and a half to prepare for this one.  That alone may give them the edge.

Green Bay 27, Minnesota 24.

Seattle at Pittsburgh (-3.5)

The Steelers looked wretched last week against the Patriots.  Seattle barely beat what is usually a very average Bengal squad…at home  So what the hell to do here?  Welp, the Seahawks going cross country doesn’t help them here.  And Pittsburgh cannot be THAT bad, can they?  As average as Mike Tomlin is as a coach, one thing he is supposedly good at is firing up the troops.  Hard for me to believe Pitt. falls to 0-2 to start the year.  Especially with this being their home opener.

Pittsburgh 34, Seattle 27. 

Arizona at Baltimore (-13.5)

Helluva comeback by the Cards last week, albeit against the Lions.  Baltimore isn’t going to score 59 points every week either.  Lamar Jackson sure as hell ain’t gonna throw for 5 TD’s every week either.  But the Ravens can run the ball as well.  In the Ravens home opener, I expect another blowout is at hand.  Even if they run the ball 80% of the time.

Baltimore 34, Arizona 14.

Kansas City (-8.5) at Oakland 

THE RAIDERS!!  Nice win for them in their opener on the baseball field.  Maybe they don’t need Antonio Brown?  Well, let’s not get carried away.  They still need a lot of help.  And their opponent was the Denver Broncos last week.  No powerhouse for sure.  Now they get an actual powerhouse in the Chiefs.  The Chiefs D gave up 22-25, 275 yards and 2 TD’s to the aforementioned Minshaw, so I guess the defense is still less than impressive.  But the offense, even without Tyreek Hill, should be still pretty tough to stop.

Kansas City 38, Oakland 27.  

Chicago (-1.5) at Denver

Yaaaaaaaawn.  Mitchell Trubisky and Joseph Flacco.  No thanks.  The Bears have had a week and a half to improve upon the three points they scored in that scintillating NFL opener.  And their D is legit.  That’s enough right there.

Chicago 24, Denver 10. 

New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)

Looking forward to this one.  Both teams squeaked out wins in their opening games.  The Saints undoubtedly want some revenge on that abhorrent noncall in the NFC Championship game that may very well have cost them the game…although they did have the ball to start overtime, so realistically could have overcome that call with a TD drive there.  Just sayin’.  But still, it was a bad no call.  “Revenge” is also said here very loosely.  I mean Week Two vs a trip to the Super Bowl last year?  Far different circumstances of course.  That all being said, this tilt should be a pretty good one.  Per usual, I am going against the previous Monday Night Football winner and also with the home team here.  The game should pretty close, so these two things are kind of enough to tip the scales for me.

Los Angeles Rams 37, New Orleans 34.

Philadelphia (-0.5) at Atlanta 

The Falcons laid an egg in their opener.  As mentioned earlier, Philly had to come back against the ‘Skins.  The Falcons should be better, despite their coach, Dan Quinn, being on many “first NFL coaches to be fired” lists.  Still, even with Atlanta at home, I’m taking the Eagles.  Think Philly is the better overall squad.  And D-Jax hasn’t seemed to miss a beat in his return to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia 31, Atlanta 21.  

Cleveland (-2.5) at New York Jets

The Browns are up against huge expectations across the league this year…and fell flat on their face in Week One.  I am not on board with those expectations, as you well know.  But they still should be competitive.  Two words for you on this one:  Trevor Siemian.  That’s all.

Cleveland 34, New York Jets 14.  

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Lock Of The Week (season):  1-0

Season (against the spread):  9-8

Season (straight up):  14-3

Week One!

The 1st week of the NFL season is always the hardest to predict.  No one really knows how teams are coming out of the gate anymore.  Add in the fact that a lot of the top players are playing very little in the preseason, if they even play at all.  Especially the quarterbacks.  So that would seem to make even the best players rusty and not necessarily in sync with their units as a whole.

But, per usual, we will give it a shot!

Baltimore (-5.5) at Miami

This spread is only 5.5??  Miami is wretched.  Who do they even have left, as they are firmly entrenched in their tanking process?  Wait…they have FITZMAGIC!!!

Baltimore 24, Miami 10.  Lock Of The Week (new feature, thanks Mike B.!)

Atlanta at Minnesota (-4.5)

Mediocrity at its best.

Minnesota 28, Atlanta 23.

Kansas City (-4.5) at Jacksonville  

Seems as this spread is a little low also.  I’m not as excited about the “Nick Foles era” as many other people are either.

Kansas City 38, Jacksonville 17.

Washington at Philadelphia (-8.5) 

CASE KEENUM!!!  ‘Nuff said.

Philadelphia 31, Washington 13.

Tennessee at Cleveland (-5.5)

The Browns kind of loaded up in the offseason.  But I’m not totally on board with them quite yet.  They will need to show me something at the start of the year.  Now teams will come gunning for them a bit.  There is more tape available to study Baker Mayfield…and teams most assuredly did over the offseason.  Etc., etc., etc.  I’m not saying I love the Titans either.  But at this very moment, I feel better about them until Cleveland plays a few games.

Tennessee 23, Cleveland 20.

Buffalo at New York Jets (-3.5) 

This is a great Opening Day Game…sigh…

Buffalo 17, New York Jets 14.

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at Carolina 

There had been questions about Jared Goff remaining with the Rams past this year.  Sure, he had a good year last year.  And helped take the team to the Super Bowl.  But it sounds like people around the league weren’t all that convinced.  Seemed to give Coach Sean McVay most of the credit for whatever reason.  But now, Jared Goff’s contract tells us otherwise.  Looks like they do think he is the franchise quarterback he is supposed to be, even if other people don’t believe it.  I can’t believe the size of that contract, regardless of what anyone thinks of him.  He’s still Jared Goff.

Los Angeles Rams 33, Carolina 24.

Cincinnati at Seattle (-9.5) 

I don’t even think I gave either of these teams a single thought during the preseason.

Seattle 31, Cincinnati 17.

Indianapolis at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)

As much as I am not into the “Nick Foles era” in Jacksonville, I would say that people are even less excited about the “Jacoby Brissett (or Brian Hoyer?) era” in Indy.

Los Angeles Chargers 27, Indianapolis 16. 

Detroit (-2.5) at Arizona

I guess the beginning of the “Kyler Murray era” will make me more interested in this game than the Jets/Bills.

Arizona 10, Detroit 9.

New York Giants at Dallas (-7.5) 

The end of the “Eli Manning era” can’t come soon enough for me…for a variety of reasons.  But I imagine plenty of Giants fans feel the same way.  Speaking of Goff’s new contract, Ezekiel Elliott got his money too.  Seems silly to pay that kind of dough to a running back.  I purposely did not mention Tyreek Hill’s new deal earlier.  Disgusting.  That dude shouldn’t even be in the league.

Dallas 23, New York Giants 13.  

San Francisco at Tampa Bay (-0.5)

Can Bruce Arians save the “Jameis Winston era” in Tampa?  Will the “Jimmy Garoppolo era” ever take off in San Fran?  Are you sick of all the “era” comments yet??

San Francisco 24, Tampa Bay 21. 

Pittsburgh at New England (-6.5)

I worry about the Patriots offensive line protecting Tom Brady.  But with the question marks at wide receiver, I think the Pats run the ball a ton.  I also think the Pats defense is better out of the gate this year.  Think the spread is a little too high, but it would be hard for me to believe that the Pats will lose on the “unfurling of the championship banner” night.  Though…it has happened before.

New England 27, Pittsburgh 24.

Houston at New Orleans (-7.5) 

New Orleans has kind of been the team that most seem to have penciled in to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl in February.  Houston just made some head-scratching moves, but I suppose should still be a good team in the AFC.  That’s really all I have to say on that.

New Orleans 30, Houston 20.  

Denver at Oakland (-1.5)

Antonio Brown…SMH.  I can’t even…

Denver 23, Oakland 16.  

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Lock Of The Week:  0-0

Season (against the spread):  1-0

Season (straight up):  1-0

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