*Actually, no, don't bet the farm. For the love of Durga, don't bet the farm on my picks. Don't bet anything on my picks! No matter what I say in this post.
First off, if you have not yet signed up for Battle Red Blog's Unofficial Pick 'Em and Survival Leagues, you really should. I'll be updating everyone each week on who nailed it and who failed it.
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Pro Football Pick 'Em
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Get ready to double your kids' college funds because these stone cold LOCKS are also blazin' hot. That's right. In this blog we do not, in fact, obey the laws of thermodynamics... unlike some people:
Truthfully, the first week of the season is probably the most difficult to pick. With roster turnover, non-guaranteed contracts, and rookie wage scales, every team seemingly has a chance-- however minuscule-- to go to the big game in February. It's hard to filter all the hype, wishful thinking, and baseless assumptions until we actually see them on the field, but filter we must.
For instance, what do I make of Cincinnati and their away game in Chicago? I see a lot of parallels between the Bengals and the Texans from a few years ago. Much like the Texans, they've been stockpiling talent and seem primed for a big season. But their head coach is literally Marvin Lewis, with his zero playoff wins and 79-80-1 record over 10 years.
They certainly have the talent to go into Soldier Field and pull out a win, but it takes a good coach to keep a team focused on the road against another playoff contender. So you'll excuse me if I'm hesitant to name the Bengals as the new AFC North champions, and you'll also excuse me if I pick them to lose this week against the Bears.
Thursday - 7:30 pm CDT
This seems like a no-brainer. Two things: (1) There's not much a defense can do to stop Peyton Manning during the regular season, and (2) conversely, a defense doesn't have to do much to stop Joe Flacco during the regular season. Winner: Broncos
Sunday - 12:00 pm CDT
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills - Tom Brady could trot out on the field with today's versions of Deion Branch, Troy Brown and Ben Watson, and I would still pick them to beat the Bills. Since the year 2000, New England is sporting a staggering 23-3 record versus Buffalo. Winner: Patriots
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions - Two offenses that couldn't be any more different. The Vikings would run every down if they could, while the Lions seem to try their hardest to avoid running the ball. Adrian Peterson is a beastly man, but Detroit's stout defensive line should give them an edge. Winner: Lions
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints - I like the Saints and am a fan of Drew Brees. I'm not a fan of that defense. Cameron Jordan was disruptive against the Texans two weeks ago, but I don't think he'll do enough to slow down a stacked Falcons defense. Falcons win on the road. Winner: Falcons
Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh Steelers - I'm feeling good about the Titans against their old rival, but I'm not comfortable picking them to win. I'd pick the Titans with the 7-point spread,. Straight up? Give me the Steelers.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers - The Panthers will trot out a very stout front seven to pair with an offense that can move the ball. If Carolina can stop the run, I think they can steal this one at home. Feel free to laugh at me later. Winner: Panthers
Sunday - 3:25 pm CDT
Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams - Losing first round pick Jonathan Cooper puts the Cardinals' offensive line pretty close to where it was last year. That is to say, it will be bad. I do love the Cardinals' defense, though. I'll give the edge to the home team. Winner: Rams
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers - San Francisco is oozing talent out of nearly every pore of football. Green Bay has a great quarterback, but there are quite a few flaws that that can and will be exposed by the 49ers, especially at home. Winner: 49ers
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys - I don't have the slightest clue what to expect. Dallas is fun to laugh at but when that offense is clicking, big things can happen. I just don't think that offensive line will hold up for long against New York's fearsome defensive line. Last year, they traded wins at each other's stadiums. I'm thinking that trend continues. Winner: Giants
Monday Night Football, starting at 6:10 pm CDT
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins - This will be a lot of fun to watch if both quarterbacks are clicking. Two college-inspired offenses going at it on Monday night should put up quite a few highlights. Ultimately, Washington has the more complete team and is at home. Winner: Redskins
The last time these two teams played on Monday night? This happened:
So, so good. Please watch this if you haven't already.
Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers - Lastly, our Houston Texans travel westward and shall return as conquering heroes. The team is healthy, talented and hungry. Meanwhile, there's question marks all over the Chargers' roster. Winner: Texans
Survivor League Pick: Indianapolis Colts
I did this last year for the first time, and I was eliminated by Week 2. I'm not going to over-think it this year. Just choosing the lopsided games.
There you have it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and make sure to turn in your picks to our two leagues listed above. Last year, the artist formerly known as UprootedTexan went 154-102 in his weekly pick'em. I aim to do better.
See you next week. I'll give a rundown on who knows their stuff and who's probably flipping coins.