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Week One NFL Picks

YES! FOOTBAW IS BACK! I’m hoping this picks post is a regular feature around here. I get all my lines from Bodog because they still have all my online poker money and so to make myself feel better about that I like to consider myself an “investor” and check in on the website from time to time to have a peek at how my “investment” is doing. Okay! Picks!

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Saints (+5) over PACKERS: The Saints’ strength on defense last year was their secondary. They allowed the fourth fewest yards through the air and the fewest passing touchdowns (13) of any team. The Packers’ strength on offense last year was their passing attack. After losing Ryan Grant early in the season Aaron Rogers turned the traditionally grind-it-out Packers into a top-five passing outfit. This matchup is strength vs. strength. I think the Packers will win the game outright — I don’t think the Saints pass rush can disrupt Rogers enough to force him into mistakes, but the Packer blitz will disrupt Brees a good amount — but the Saints are a superb team and I have a hard time envisioning them losing this thing by 5 or more points.

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BUCCANEERS (-1) over Lions: I really, really like the Tampa Bay this year. I have three Buccaneers on my fantasy team (Blount, Williams, and Freeman as a backup QB). Put them in the NFC West and they win 12 games and cruise to a playoff berth. Unfortunately for them they get the Falcons and Saints twice each.

As for the Lions, they have the pieces in place to turn some heads this year. Megatron, Suh, Fairley, and Stafford is a terrific core. But with Fairley injured and likely to miss this game and Stafford coming off another short, injury-plagued season, I don’t seem them being quite at the same level as the Bucs.

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Falcons (-3) over BEARS: For gambling purposes, I never EVER trust Sad Jay Cutler. Or Lovie Smith, who looks mostly like he’s got smooth jazz being pumped into his headset.

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RAMS (+5) over Heat Eagles: Maybe my indiscriminate hatred for all things west of the Appalachians is getting the best of me, but I think this game has upset written all over it. The Eagles clearly are loaded with top-level talent, but I’m not confident in Andy Reid’s ability to get them to play as a team. There’s no guarantee that all these dudes are going to be able to jell and figure out how to keep their egos in check for the sake of the greater good. Meanwhile the Rams get the home-dome advantage, an up-and-coming offense, and an underrated defensive line. Eventually the Eagles will be great, but I think they’re a bit vulnerable early in the year while they sort out how all those new faces will work together.

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BROWNS (-7) over Bengals: The Bengals may be historically bad. As in, they might challenge the 2008 Lions record for single-season futility. Andy Dalton is NOT NFL ready, their #1 receiver is listed as something called a Jerome Simpson, and their running back is in jail. Every week the Bengals get less than ten points it’s easy money.

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REDSKINS (+3) over Giants: If you would have told me before the preseason that the Giants would be giving the ‘Skins only three points in week one I would have gasped in disbelief and dropped my monocle into my glass of Perrier-Jouet. The Giants, however, have been bitten by a plague of injury bugs (which is much less hilarious than it sounds) and they find themselves scrambling for replacements. Their injury report is full of key players, and this isn’t even mentioning all the guys already on IR. And Eli Manning might be as bad as Rex Grossman. I’ll take the home team getting the points.

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CARDINALS (-7) over Panthers: I am not a Cam Newton believer. I think he’s a ridiculous athlete with a cannon for an arm, but his accuracy needs a ton of work, he makes lousy decisions, and he doesn’t seem like he’s particularly cerebral. I have yet to hear anyone praise Newton for anything other than being a terrific raw athlete. That’s great if you’re a running back or a wide receiver, but if you want to quarterback in the NFL you’ve got to be willing to spend as much time in the film room as on the practice field. Maybe he’ll become more of a student as his career progresses, but until then I’m not going to have any problem betting against him.

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Seahawks (+6) over 49ERS: ALEX SMITH vs. TAVARIS JACKSON: CAN YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT? The only thing about this game that is remotely exciting for me is the postgame handshake between Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. Anyway, I don’t have any idea how Bodog set this line but I’m just going to take the points and hope for a close game.

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CHARGERS (-9) over Vikings: It’s kind of sad to see Donovan McNabb flame out while searching for extra lives on really awful teams. I always thought Eagles fans were way too hard on him and should have directed more of their vitriol at Andy “How Many Time-Outs Do We Get” Reid. That said, the Vikes are definitely an upgrade over the Redskins — the Williams bros in the middle, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, and Purple Jesus is a decent core to work with — but they have zero depth. The Chargers are a notoriously slow-starting team, but this is a pretty cushy home matchup with which to start the year.

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JETS (-5) over Cowboys: Hey did you know Rob Ryan and Rex Ryan are brothers? And Rob is an assistant coach for the Cowboys and Rex is the head coach of the Jets? Man how crazy! How come nobody’s talking about that?!

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Patriots (-7) over DOLPHINS: The Fins suck, bottom line. The are only two things about this game that are even moderately intriguing.

  1. How does Brady integrate Ochocinco? Chad says he wants a ring more than anything else. Child, please. The first game when he feels like Brady looks him off a couple of times he’ll say something stupid post game and get chewed out proper by The Hoodie. He is who he’s always been. People thinking that Belichick is going to somehow reign in his childlike behavior are dreaming. I won’t argue that he is super talented and can totally take over a game (especially with Brady throwing him the ball), but he’s too much of a clown to fit in with the Pats.
  2. Can Fat Albert stay in the game for more than four consecutive plays. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he found himself  on waivers by week three.
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BRONCOS (-3) over Raiders: Goodell likes to tell people what to do, so I have an idea for him. He should tell the Broncos they have to start Tebow and the Raiders they have to start Pryor. Why? Because these teams are stupid and nobody wants to watch them.
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Note: Bodog doesn’t have lines posted for Bills/Chiefs, Colts/Texans, and Titans/Jaguars has -3 crossed out. Anyhoo, I used the lines at ESPN for these three games
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CHIEFS (-6.5) over Bills: The Bills lost linebacker Paul Pozlusny this offseason and thus their defense is devoid of all talent. The Chiefs, meanwhile, won 10 games and a division title last year. Specifically to this game, the Chiefs have Jamal Charles, and the Bills don’t have anyone who can tackle him.
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TEXANS (-2.5) over Colts: Peyton Manning underwent another procedure on his neck today and will be out for at least eight weeks. Every year the Texans are the sexy pick to win the AFC South. Finally it appears as though the stars aligned enough for this to happen. I think it’s awesome the the Texans have this opportunity, but it really sucks that it takes these kinds of circumstances for it to happen.
Peyton is 35 and this is his second neck operation in five months. This is undoubtedly the beginning of the end for him. At this point a full recovery still leaves him worse off physically than he was two seasons ago when he lost super bowl 44. He isn’t going to come back from this stronger or better, just older and working with a couple more spare lawnmower parts.
As a Steeler fan I have always disliked the Colts, but only because I respect them so much. Peyton was a huge reason for that, and I’m sorry to see this happen to him.
Anyway, the Texans are absolutely loaded on offense. As long as Arian Foster can keep his hammy healthy and the secondary can find a way to not be the worst in football, they’re good for double-digit wins and a playoff berth.
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Titans (+3.5) over JAGUARS: I can only assume David Garrard smacked Jack Del Rio’s wife on the ass at some point on Tuesday because how the hell you release the only quarterback you’ve used in three years two days before a new season begins is beyond me. But now that I think about it I can’t tell you off the top of my head who the Quarterback for the Titans is right now.
Holy shit it’s Matt Hasselbeck.
Welp. I like Chris Johnson more than Maurice Jones-Drew. Give me the POINTS.
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Steelers (+1.5) over RAVENS: This line has gone from +3 to +1.5 in the last 36 hours. I have yet to find an injury for the Ravens to affect the line so dramatically. The Steelers are mostly healthy. Their biggest concerns will be Ike Taylor’s hand and Maurkice Pouncey’s ankle. The Ravens are fairly healthy, but they are old in some places and rebuilding in others. It’s a strange time for them, and I can’t help but think they would rather play this game in week four or five as opposed to week one.
The Steelers looked like a juggernaut in the preseason. I’m not referring to their 3-1 record as much as their overall performance. Roethlisberger’s throws were crisp and accurate. The receiving corps looks to be the best Big Ben has ever had at his disposal. Mendenhall proved last season that he can be a top-level back. The linebackers are probably the best combination of four in the game. There are a lot of reasons to like the Steelers this season.
I think the Ravens will win this one outright. I expect more of an air-it-out sort of game than we’re used to with these teams because 1) both team’s secondarys are lacking, 2) both team’s quarterbacks are capable of putting on an air show and they have the receivers to do it, and 3) it’s more or less impossible to run on either team. I think a 24-23 game is a definite possibility.
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