Week 1 is upon us. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the White Sox have faded down the stretch or the unusual optimism coming out of Green Bay, but I’m more excited about this football season than I have been in a long time.
Here’s how my predictions are going to work. I’m going to pick the winners of each game this week (duh). I will also be remarking on games I am gambling on and why. Additionally, I am in a “Losers Pool” and will be remarking on which team I am picking for my loser pool each week.
Finally, I’ll have fantasy insight (particularly for those in my leagues to read), along with the normal bitching and moaning). That won’t be in this week, but will start up after week one.
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
As strong as my hatred for the Vikings goes, I don’t hate them this week, mainly because it’s Brett Favre in week one, with the national spotlight on him, against a defense he’s become all too familiar with. Still, I just don’t see the Saints losing on opening night, on national television, on the night their Super Bowl banner is unveiled. Pick: Saints
Gambling Note: The Saints are five point favorites in this one, which is definitely attainable, but given the unpredictability of opening night and all the hoopla surrounding it, I’m staying away from it.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Another one of those “hatred” games for me, and I’m going to be ridiculed by my Bear fan friends if I pick against them and they win big, which is a good possibility. Having said that, I think Detroit is going to come out fired up against a division rival with all the weapons there and clicking. I also think the Bears are going to start the season in disarray, and are going to have trouble picking up the new system. Pick: Lions.
Gambling Note: While I won’t be wagering on this game, I like the Lions at 6.5 point underdogs. Even if the Bears do win this game, it won’t be a blowout.
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I feel stupid for having to write more than one sentence about this game. Two miserable franchises who make it difficult to bet on, because who knows what’s going to happen? I will say this, I think the Bucs ultimately finish the season better than the Browns, but the Browns will be better early in the season, if that makes any sense. Pick: Browns.
Gambling Note: Stay away. Stay far, far away.
Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers
I said the Steelers would go 2-2 without Ben Roethlisberger and I think this is one of their two losses. As you know if you read my season preview, I’m very high on the Falcons and I think their defense causes fits for Dennis Dixon. You never know, with home field going to Pittsburgh, how things might shape up, but this looks like a very winnable game for the Falcons. Pick: Falcons.
Gambling Note: Vegas has the Steelers as 2.5 point favorites. Liking the Falcons, I obviously like this bet, but I’m hesitant because of Pittsburgh being at home.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
Week one upset special: I think this is a really bad matchup for the Titans. For a team that likes to pound the ball with the run, they don’t match up well against the Raiders. As you might now, I think the Raiders will be a better team in 2010 and optimism will be at an all-time high with an opening week victory on the road, which they will get. Pick: Raiders
Gambling Note: The Raiders are 6.5 point underdogs, and while I’m picking them to pull off the upset, I wouldn’t put money on it. (Except in my pool, which I am picking them in, so I guess, technically, I’m putting money on them. Just not directly. Shut up).
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is why this post is titled “Where have all the favorites gone?” With this game, the Bucs-Browns game, and the Lions, Raiders and Rams all playing winnable games, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to pick a sure thing victory this week. The Broncos and Jaguars are both supposed to be bad this year. But how bad? Who will be worse? I guess we’re about to find out. Pick: Broncos
Gambling Note: See Browns-Bucs.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans
Another game that’s driving me crazy. Sure, it’s easy to pick the Colts. They’re the freaking Colts. How could they lose in week one? But with the Texans being a “trendy” pick yet again, and being at home, an upset isn’t totally out of the question. Sure, I expect the Colts to win, as do most people, but there definitely isn’t a sure thing here. Pick: Colts
Gambling Note: The Colts are only giving three points here, making this a very likable game to bet on, and I just may do that.
Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
I sense down years from both of these teams, but I also think the Giants are slightly better, and in week one you have to pick which team you think is going to have a better season in 90 percent of the cases. (I went against that theory with Oakland and Detroit). Pick: Giants.
Gambling Note: Giants are getting WAY too much respect by being favored by seven points here, the biggest line of the week. I like New York in this game, but not THAT much.
Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
This seems like a no-brainer, but again, we don’t know how good the Bengals or Patriots can be. Could you see the Pats losing a week one game at home? I don’t. But I’m not confident enough in that to bet on them against a team a lot of people are picking to win the AFC North. Pick: Patriots.
Gambling Note: The Pats are 4.5 point favorites and I like them to win, but am not confident enough to bet on it.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Here’s a game I love. I don’t care that Buffalo’s at home. I don’t care about any intangibles. The Bills will be the worst team in the NFL and I love Miami in this one. It’s a must-bet game. Pick: Dolphins.
Gambling Note: As I mentioned before, I love the Dolphins and I love even more the fact that they’re only giving three points here. If there’s one game I have to bet on this week, it’s this one.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
See what I mean? The Rams have a new quarterback and looked good in the preseason. The Cardinals have a new quarterback, only because one retired and the other one sucked. I think both of these teams will be miserable, but again, it’s week one so nothing is certain, so I’m going with the home upset. Pick: Rams.
Gambling Note: Arizona is giving four points. I like St. Louis, but they may crap the bed as they’ve been known to do, so I wouldn’t rule out an Arizona blowout, meaning I’m staying away from this game for gambling purposes.
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
I think the Eagles are way down this year, and I don’t see Aaron Rodgers & Co. laying an egg in week one. I also think Dom Capers will scheme to kill against Kevin Kolb, and the first-year starter won’t know what hit him. Pick: Packers
Gambling Note: I like this game quite a bit as well. I compare it to the Colts-Texans game in that the Packers are only giving three points, but could win big. It’s definitely a bet-able game.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
I love the Niners and hate the Seahawks. It’s about as simple as that. I don’t think Seattle’s homefield will matter in the slightest bit while Pete Carroll is running that franchise into the ground. Pick: 49ers
Gambling Note: Another frustrating game in that we have yet another road favorite. Still, I like the 49ers at -3. I won’t be betting on any road game that Alex Smith is starting… yet.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
This game will be closer than expected, mainly because I love Washington and they’re at home. I have no idea what direction to go in this game, but can’t imagine a team as loaded as Dallas will lose in week one. Pick: Cowboys.
Gambling Note: As noted above, I’m clueless about this game. Dallas is 3.5 point favorites, and that scares the crap out of me.
Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
I like the Ravens a lot this year (obviously, Super Bowl pick), but another road game for a team I like, and the national television aspect throws things for a loop and scares me. Still, I’m confident in the Ravens and think they will expose the Jets quite a bit in week one. Pick: Ravens
Gambling Note: Staying away from this one, as well. Line is Jets -2.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs – loser pool pick
For those of you who don’t know what a loser pool is, how it works is you pick a team you are sure is going to lose each week, if that team loses, you keep playing next week. If that team wins, you’re out. That continues until only one person is left and that person gets all the money. This week, I’m picking the Chiefs. I’m not incredibly confident about it, but it was between the Chiefs and Bills this week, and it came down to me liking the Chargers more than I like the Dolphins. But I won’t be surprised if Norv Turner screws me over. Pick: Chargers.
Gambling Note: I like San Diego at -4.5. Obviously, I like them enough to pick KC if the losers pool. But still, Norv Turner is a wild card and I won’t be betting directly on this game for that specific reason.