NFL Picks. Week 1, 2013
Week one picks are hard.
I'm bulls-ing all of these picks, basing them on last years teams, off-season additions, and old film.
I could be 0-16 on these picks (I'd like them to be, I picked my Raiders to lose), and it wouldn't surprise me. So...
Baltimore at Denver- Baltimore.
Okay folks! We're back! A whole new season of me making wild assumptions and taking chances.
And that starts with me picking the Baltimore Ravens to beat the Denver Broncos.
One thing that I'm really sick of hearing is how the Ravens defense has gotten so much worse than it was last year.
"We can't get over the losses of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis! We're doomed!"
I hate hearing that, not just because it's incredibly over-dramatic, but because both of those players got entirely too much hype over the last few years of their careers.
Ray Lewis couldn't keep up with tight ends in coverage, and whiffed on elusive rushers, and while Ed Reed was making the occasional big play, he could tackle NFL athletes about as well as you or I could.
And I definitely don't want to hear about Dannell Ellerbe. He barely made the Ravens roster last year, and the tape never showed anything to prove he was worth the hilarious contract that Miami gave him.
While not as flashy, linebacker Daryl Smith and safety Michael Huff are both solid improvements to their position. Faster, more durable, and younger.
Now. I'm sure that Denver fans want to tell me all about how unstoppable their offense will be with the addition of Wes Welker.
And hey, I'm right there with you.
Your offense will be incredible this season.
However. There is only one ball on offense, and Peyton was going to move it anyway.
But what is happening on defense?
The safety situation doesn't have a proven answer.
Don't feed me any pre-season film, you guys went after Charles Woodson haarrrrrd and it didn't work out. Champ Bailey is out for who knows how long, and Von Miller won't be playing this week.
There's a reason that Shaun Phillips was a free agent this long you guys.
The Ravens are gonna run-run-run the ball gently down the middle of the field and limit Joe Flaccos passing game until he finds a groove with his receivers or Dennis Pitta comes back. Long, conservative drives by Baltimore will limit possessions by Manning and the Broncos and I think the Ravens win a close game in the 20's.
New England at Buffalo- New England.
Come on. Do I really have to explain this?
I don't know who the Bills plan on starting at Quarterback.
I don't know if Manuel will be healthy, or if Tuel will be the first undrafted rookie free agent to open the season at QB, but what I do know that neither of them are really pro-ready.
And I don't care if Ronald Curry is out there catching passes, Tom Brady is going to score some points vs the most expensive mistakes in the NFL.
Patriots win big.
Seattle at Carolina- Seattle.
There's a lot of hype for the Hawks this season, and I'm buying it.
The defense is incredible, the run game is strong, and Russell Wilson is developing.
We'll see how long Mr. Wilson stays healthy *ahem*, but I have high expectations for them this season.
The same is not true for the Panthers. I don't see any mental maturation for Cam Newton, and with the exception of a truly underrated front 7, the team just lacks explosive play-making.
I don't think it will be a blowout. The Panther front seven should be able to hold the Hawks running game in check and force Wilson to throw from the pocket more, which he does well, but... we'll see how well.
Cincinnati at Chicago- Chicago.
I know that the Bengals are the pre-season darling and that I'm supposed to ramble about how much I like them, but the reality is that I don't.
I see where all of the potential is, but I haven't seen it on tape yet.
(By the way, I've gotten a couple questions about my tape, for a small monthly price, you can get the all-22 camera through NFL.com. It allows you to watch any individual on the field. Makes everything else sooo easy)
However. I like Chicago a lot this year.
Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, Jay Cuter, and Matt Forte are going to be a fun offense to watch in Trestman's offense, and I still think the Bears defense is going to be good. At Chicago, with a healthy Jay Cutler, I think the Bears win big.
Miami at Cleveland- Miami.
The "who wasted more money" bowl.
I don't think that either of these teams are as good as everyone says they are, and I don't understand why they think that to begin with.
If spending a lot of money meant a team was good, the Redskins and Raiders would've been dominating the NFL for the last 15 years...
In case you're wondering... They haven't been.
However, I guess Miami has more talent on defense. That front seven is pretty solid, and the Browns can't seriously expect to win with Brandon Weeden throwing the ball around.
The guy barely beat Jason Campbell out for the job this year, and Josh Gordon isn't enough of a gamebreaker to make him look good like Justin Blackmon did in college.
Minnesota at Detroit- Detroit.
This game actually looks fun.
While I still have my doubts about every quarterback on the Vikings roster, they still have Adrian Peterson and a gaggle of new rookies who are ready to see the field in a game that matters.
Meanwhile the Lions added versatile weapon, Reggie Bush to their roster, providing a much needed running game as well as a new target for Matt Stafford.
It's going to be so much fun to watch both of these teams grow.
In the meantime, AP can only do so much, while Matt Stafford still has the best wide receiver in the NFL to throw passes too, and we all know that Air beats Ground every time.
Oakland at Indianapolis- Indianapolis.
I don't expect to be picking the Raiders very often this year, and I won't start in week one.
The roster lacks talent all over the board due to Reggie McKenzie's cleansing and rebuilding process.
On the other hand, the Colts look primed to make a run at the AFC South title. The addition of Darrius Heyward-Bey gives Andrew Luck another weapon, and against a pathetic Raiders pass rush, he should have a huge game.
Kansas City at Jacksonville- Kansas City
KC improved a little bit this off-season and Jacksonville didn't.
It's that simple.
The Jaguars still look awful, and like the Raiders, it makes picking a winner too simple.
Atlanta at New Orleans- New Orleans.
The Saints have such an easy road in 2013.
They get to play all of the 4th place teams in the NFC, as well as the pathetic AFC East.
I mean... Talk about an automatic 7 wins.
Meanwhile... The Falcons window is beginning to close.
I know that sounds crazy, but with the emergence of young teams like Tampa Bay and Seattle in the NFC, the inability of Matt Ryan to play even acceptable football in the post-season, question marks on defense, and aging "stars" like Steven Jackson and Tony Gonzales on offense... I don't see this team winning a Super Bowl in the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era.
This is always a good game, and Julio Jones is still a beast, but I think the Saints return to 2009 form with the reunion of Sean Payton and Drew Brees on offense and without all of the bounty distractions.
Tampa Bay at New York (Jets)- Tampa Bay.
The Revis Bowl!
Just kidding. Revis might not even play.
Not that he needs to.
The Jets don't have an offense.
The GM packed things up, left Rex Ryan out as a scapegoat, and are thinking about Clowney.
The Bucs have tons of offensive and defensive firepower, they're going to be a fun team to watch, and Cromartie can't do everything for the Jets.
The QB situation in New Jersey is the same as the one in Buffalo.
It doesn't matter who starts, it won't be pretty.
Tennessee at Pittsburgh- Pittsburgh.
These two teams are confusing.
I want to like the TItans, with their big offensive line and the combination of CJ2K and Shonne Green, but... Jake Locker?... Still?
And I want to like Pittsburgh, but... Age? Is it really a factor?
I don't know. I am drawing blanks for pros and cons.
It's going to be interesting to see how both teams work.
However, I'll take the Steelers with their rookie runningback and savvy veteran QB.
Green Bay at San Francisco- San Francisco
I really wanted to pick Green Bay.
It's hard to pick against Aaron Rodgers.
But they are so soft.
They can't run the ball, protect Aaron Rodgers, or seemingly hit anybody in a Red and Gold jersey.
The Packers haven't played anybody since the 49ers beat them senseless in the playoffs last year, and until they show that they can stop the run, I'm not picking them to win anything crazy.
They have had all summer to plan for the read option and study the pistol...
They better make it work or else.
Also- It will be interesting to see how Rodgers adapts without Donald Driver or Greg Jennings.
Arizona at St. Louis- St. Louis.
Dear NFL Media,
I appreciate that you need to discuss every team, whether it be negative or positive, equally to achieve your goals, and that you can't just talk about Patrick Peterson all the time.
Stop trying to make Carson Palmer the second coming of Kurt Warner.
Stop labeling him as "the savior of the franchise" or "a gunslinger who throws the ball deep better than anybody else"
Ahem. Excuse me, if you look at the stats, you'll see that Carson Palmer completed only 19 percent of passes over 15 yards, and that 9 of his 14 interceptions came from said passes.
You can blame the team, the Raiders weren't very good and when you're always having to play from behind, its easy to try and force things, but A. Drew Brees in 2012, and B. the film shows that he can't focus on multiple defenders at once and has an awful case of happy feet, even when he has protection.
Everyone who isn't pretending that Cardinals will be good this year.
I really like the Rams, this is the year that Sam Bradford needs to step up and prove that he wasn't a bust. He has a solid defense and a couple weapons, he needs to make it happen, and it starts here versus the worst team in the NFC.
New York (Giants) at Dallas- Dallas
I'm sick of this.
Every year, we pour over the Cowboys roster and just say "Wow, that is a talented roster", and then they never deliver.
Tony Romo, Demarco Murray. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Sean Lee.
I mean. Come on! Get it together.
So this is it.
This is the last time that I pick the Cowboys to be big.
If they let me down again, I will pick Jacksonville over them next year.
I like the Giants too, but not until December. They aren't a team that tries to go undefeated, they're a team that wins enough games to be in the right position to get hot.
Philadelphia at Washington- Philadelphia.
Ya know, a month ago, eh, even a few weeks ago, I probably would have picked Washington.
I'm actually a little high on Philadelphia.
As a team, they are just as, if not a little more talented than Washington altogether.
As meaningless as pre-season tape is, Michael Vick has looked awesome. I don't know if he'll stay healthy for very long, but with a healthy LeSean McCoy versus the shaky Redskins secondary? I think they can score some points.
And rushing RG3 back before he should be to run an offense that has been proven to be very dangerous for him... I don't know. I don't like it.
Teams will be aiming for that leg, and nobody has more film than the Eagles.
Houston at San Diego- Houston.
Conveniently, the night game is a real snoozer.
San Diego with their truck full of unanswered questions face off against one of the few elite teams in the AFC.
Can Philip Rivers win anymore?
Will Ryan Matthews ever live up to his hype?
Was hiring Mike McCoy a good call?
I don't think so.
Meanwhile, Houston finally got a solid #2 for Andre Johnson, Arian Foster is healthy, and oh. yeah.
Mandatory Girlfriend Joke- Hype machine Manti Te'o will be doing a wonderful impression of his girlfriend on the field Monday night.