The 2016 NFL Season started magnificently last night with a rematch of Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos dashed any chances the Panther had of a perfect season by pulling out a 21-20 win at Mile High Stadium. Of course there were some questionable calls by the refs, and worse some questionable and dangerous hits leveled on Cam Newton by the Broncos defense. Still it was one of the best Thursday night Kick-off games in recent memory – unless you happened to be a Panthers fan. Here’s still a long way to go so #Keeppounding Carolina.
Happy Football Season everyone. There are 31 teams in the NFL with a perfect record. That won’t last for long, for some of you this is the last time this season your team is going to be anywhere near .500 so enjoy it.
I’m still obligated to remind you that these picks are for entertainment purposes only. You can play crazy and lose your rent money if you want, don’t come looking for me to bail you out. I know it’s a new season and it’s a time for new beginnings, but I’m still not discussing Da Bears. There are levels to this. Level 1 if I can’t pick Da Bears to win I don’t pick Da Bears. Level 2 I’m superstitious therefore if I pick Da Bears and then they lose I feel guilty like I jinxed them. And Level 3 I don’t want to and you can’t make me. Now that we’ve gotten all the housekeeping taken care of – Are you ready for some football?
Green Bay Packers (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars There was a time when I wouldn’t be able to sanely justify picking anyone but the Cheese-heads in this game but look how far the Jags have come. Ok, they aren’t a perennial playoff team but they are at home, the have a decent team and week 1, at home, I’ll take the Jags to cover the spread against the Pack.
Beware this is a real shady pick based more on my distaste for that team in Wisconsin than any real football knowledge. Let’s be honest Aaron Rodgers is STILL Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson is back, and Eddie Lacey has slimmed down and looks like he could be the Lacey of yesteryear barring injury. This could be a point bonanza if you’re a fantasy player. In a shootout, take the six points. PICK: Jaguars +6
Chicago Bears at Houston Texans (-6.5) You know you’re on your own with this one. There are 15 other games this weekend. Pick one back rotation. PICK: you decide let me know how it works for you.
Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles (-4) The first weekend of football season can be exhausting. You have to pace yourself. Eat and consume alcohol in smaller increments – at least until you build up your game day tolerance. You also need to remember to get your power naps in. The only thing good I can say about this game is you will have plenty of opportunities for power naps. Just make sure you’re awake for the final 3 minutes.
No, I don’t want to discuss how RGII is going to change the landscape of Cleveland. Look Browns fans don’t get greedy. Just because the Cavs came back from 3-1 to win it all is NO REASON to think the Browns are going to have a charmed season. Maybe once Josh Gordan returns from suspension he and RGIII will be able to recreate the chemistry they shared at Baylor. But that’s a few weeks off – for now nap. If the spread closes to 3 before kick-off, then take the Eagles if it stays at 4 flip a coin. THE PICK: Flip a coin. If your parlay is relying on this game you’re already in too deep.
Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints (-1) Drew Brees just signed a contract extension he can live with. Colby Fleener could be Brees’ new Jimmy Graham things are looking up in the Big Easy. Besides never bet against Brees and the Saints at home THE PICK: Saints (-1)
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-7) Even without Jamaal Charles the Chiefs are out of The Chargers league. They two teams may be in the same division, but that’s where the similarity ends. KC is on its way up San Diego not so much. Kansas City will pick up where they left off in the 2016 regular season and playoffs: Playing sound, mistake-free football and beating up lesser teams. THE PICK: Chiefs (-7)
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-3) The Ravens are looking forward to the return of Joe Flacco and Steve Smith. This will be Smith’s last season and it’s sure to be an emotional one after his retirement tour was cut short last year after succumbing to injury. The Ravens are pretty good at home. THE PICK: Ravens (-3)
Minnesota Vikings (-2) at Tennessee Titans The Vikings have a new stadium for Adrian Peterson to run in. Peterson will carry the load for the Vikings since teddy Bridgewater is out for the season with a torn ACL. Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill will do their best under center to hold it together in his absence. Bradford will do fine behind center as long as he can stay upright and off the injured reserve list. THE PICK: Vikings. (-2)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-3) Nothing says let’s get this NFL season started right like a division game that actually matters. Yes, I know the Chargers / Chiefs is a division game but no one cares. Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta could have an impact on the NFC playoff picture later this season if tie-breakers come into play.
The Falcons and Mattie Ice are hard to beat at home. Remember last year the Falcons’ opening pace matched the Panthers before they spiraled out of control later in the season. The Falcons should win at home but expect it to be a close shoot out where FGs matter. THE PICK: Bucs (+3)
Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at New York Jets, Sunday The Jets are playing at home on 9/11. The Bengals are good, but they are still the Bengals and the will find a way to Bengal. Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte will have enough to cover the 3. Take the points and the home dog. THE PICK: Jets. (+3)
Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks (-10) I’m not sure why this spread is 10 points. On paper the Seahawks are only slightly better than the Dolphins. They are definitely not 10 points better and these are grown men we’re talking about here. Grown men with pride, grown men taking care of their families playing football. The Dolphins are not just going to let the Seahawks and the 12th man roll all over them.
Seattle has won seven consecutive home openers still it’s no reason to get crazy. Yes, I know, in six of those games, they cremated their opponents. But in 6 of those games A. The Seahawks had better teams than they have now. And B. the teams they were playing were subpar to say the least. THE PICK: Dolphins +10 if you just must hedge your bet Seahawks Straight up.
New York Giants (-1) at Dallas Cowboys The Giants do their best work at the end of the season not the beginning. They need a few warmup drills before things get interesting. However, Romo is out again and Dak Prescott is assuming the reigns. Prescott looked great during preseason, but it was preseason, little more than practice.
Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., And Rashad Jennings should be able to go into Dallas and spoil Prescott’s debut These games always turn into nail biters so this is not the time for a power nap. It’s also a division rivalry that game that almost always comes back to haunt the losing team at the end of the season. THE PICK: Giants -1
Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts (-4) Preseason isn’t a big deal except for when preseason is a big deal. The Indianapolis Colts had a lot of problems on with their offensive line last season. Andrew Luck had plenty of bad luck in the injury department last year including a ruptured spleen because the questionable Line let so many defenders get to luck. Detroit may not be a perennial powerhouse, but their defense is good enough to give the Colts and Luck a bad headache. It looks like a long day for Luck and company in their home opener. THE PICK: Lions. +4
New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals (-6), For the most part the Patriots would just like to sleep Tom Brady’s suspension and wake up 2-2. This is one of those games where the hope if they have any is slim. The Cardinals defense, plus 1 Gronk at less than 100% doesn’t bode well for the Patriots starting the season with a W. PICK: Cardinals. -6
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Washington Washington is trying to prove to the naysayers that their success last year wasn’t a fluke. The NFC East is just a sad, sad state of affairs. Washington may be able to make a move in the East this season but those moves will most likely have to wait until week 2 to show themselves. The Steelers have a few key players missing including LeVeon Bell who is suspended, but they still have Ben Roethislisberger and Washington is still exactly who we think they are. PICK: Steelers -3.
Los Angeles Rams (-3) at San Francisco 49ers Sigh by the time the last game of week 1 kicks most of the us will be sleep or well on our way. It’s a good thing too. This is the perfect sleeper to close out the Kick-off weekend. Jeff Fisher is great at coaching his team to 8-8. Chip Kelly on the other hand may have bitten off more than he can chew with this team.
One bright star for the 49ers is Colin Kaepernick. The last time Kaepernick started the season as a backup he lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Somehow I don’t think luck will strike twice but we’ll see. The good news this week is Kaepernick doesn’t have to decide if he will continue his protest or put it on pause for a week because of the 9/11 anniversary festivities. Despite their coach, and QB issues there is some good news for the Rams. The Rams have Todd Gurley so if all else fails they can run. Still all things being equal pick the home team and serve up some home cooking. PICK: 49ers -3