Friday, September 10, 2010

The Attic Fan's Week 1 NFL Picks sponsored by Nothing

This is a one-week only column, but since it is Week 1 of the NFL season, I had to give out my picks in complete column form. Otherwise, my picks will be delegated to a quick end-of-column handout. For me, I have picking games since the fourth grade. And yes, I am know that might be illegal.

It all started in said fourth grade, when I entered a random pool as a one-time thing. I won the overall prize, which was 100 dollars. I promptly spent that money on an iPod mini, which broke after a year and may have been intended for women. I digress. The pool then folded, never to be seen again. So now, my 7 year football picking sabbatical is over. The expert is back. Unless I go 2-14 this week and have to give all my picks with lowercase letters and a sense of shame.

The NFL games in Week 1 can be organized into four categories, getting better as you go down the line. Let's start with the worst level:

NFC West:

Arizona v. St. Louis

As I said in a previous column, I am not sure if the removal of Matt Leinart exactly makes the Cardinals a better football team. I lived for the day as a Steeler fan when Derek Anderson would start for the Browns. That being said, the Rams would be better off signing Leinart as a receiver. This should be an awful game, is what I am basically saying. You'd be better off watching Paid Programming.

San Francsisco v. Seattle

San Fran should dominate this game, but if Alex Smith struggles at QB, I would worry about this team. If Smith can't light up the awful Seahawks defense, the Niners should be very, very concerned. Seattle has no weapons on either side of the ball. And yes, I have two receivers and one tight end from the Seahawks starting on my 20-man Fantasy League. It's going to be a long year.


Cleveland v. Tampa Bay

All right, this one probably could have been in the NFC West category too. Two teams with mediocre quarterbacks and mediocre teams really sounds like a classic NFC West matchup. Instead, this game will settle for being the worst of the Stinkers. I do feel like Cleveland is a little bit more talented (Which is not saying much. That is like saying Nick Cannon is more talented than Bow Wow). Tampa Bay has two quarterbacks named Josh, and zero quarterbacks who will be anywhere near decent this season.

Denver v. Jacksonville

Quick! Ask an average sports fan to name 5 players combined from both teams. I would say you maybe find one person who can name four. Denver has no explosive power from any of the skill positions (Knowshon Moreno? Come on. You're telling me you would rather have him than Jacksonville's running back? Don't kid yourself Denver's imaginary fans I am talking to). Maurice Jones-Drew should have a field day, which is good because David Garrard lost the ability to throw a spiral in 2007.

Detroit v. Chicago

Although I kind of like Detroit, they have to put in the stinkers category because they are playing the Bears. Maybe if the Colts were playing the Bears, it would move up to the next category. But they are not, and the Lions are not the Colts. I am expecting Jay Cutler to have an average game at best, which for him means he'll only throw 3 interceptions on 45 pass attempts. I think Stafford has a good opening day, and the Lions will get some buzz from this game.

San Diego v. Kansas City

Probably the best stinker game, and is really only down here because I ran out of room on the next level. But when you have two AFC West teams "going" at it, it is a pretty easy choice to remove that game. This game should be pretty close, with Kansas City running everywhere and San Diego passing everywhere. Look for no defense and a lot of offense.

Question Marks:

Miami v. Buffalo

An almost stinker, but Miami's talent really intrigues me, as I had them picked to win the AFC East (A pick that I feel I might regret by October). I want to see if Miami can live up to the (my) hype. The only question Buffalo has this season is that if they will win more than two games. They won't win one of them here.

Cincinnati v. New England

Big game for both teams, as both have playoff aspirations. These are the two teams I feel, out of those with playoff hopes, that are most likely to go 8-8. The defining trend for both teams is that they are filled with young and old guys, but no guys in between who are ready to breakout. Come on, is Terrell Owens really that big of an improvement for Cincy? Owens has not been relevant in 3 years, in football or in pop culture. You have no idea what is going on with Carson Palmer, and Cedric Benson became my sworn enemy after the end of last season's fantasy football year. New England has a pissed off Brady and Moss, and a resurgent Welker should make that passing attack flow.

Oakland v. Tennessee

We are going to get a good idea from their first four games. We will determine whether win as underdogs (Tennessee, Houston), and see if they can win as favorites (St. Louis, Arizona). Now this sounds like an obvious statement, and it is. But Oakland had trouble last year winning as a favorite, while beating teams they had no business playing with. I don't think Oakland wins this game, as Tennessee is way too strong for them, but if Oakland can hang in there and win those games against St. Louis and Arizona, they should be a team to look out for.

Carolina v. New York

I have Carolina only winning 4 games in my original NFC preview. But the more I think about it, the better I think they will be. Now, I don't think they'll win anymore than 7, but they will not be the doormats I expected them to be. I am not even certain New York is a better team. But New York remembers that 41-9 thrashing Carolina handed them last year, and it is the opening game in the New Giants Meadowland Stadium sponsored by Metlife. The Giants will be playing pissed off (Eli may not look it, but he will be. I think. Damn it, Eli, show some emotion!), and I think New York wins a close one.

Dallas v. Washington

Dallas should win this game, and pretty easily too. And that is because it is being played in September. Washington is not really sure what kind of team it wants to be, and the whole Haynesworth situation is really putting a damper of Mike Shanahan's first year as Head Coach. The Cowboys are way more talented than the Redskins, and that alone puts them over the hump in this game.

Games You Should Care About:

Indianapolis v. Houston

Huge 1 o'clock game right here. It is time for Houston to decide what it wants to be, because they have been perennial 8-8's and 9-7's each year. It kind of looks like they will be doing that again this year, but a win against Indy would definitely change everyone's perceptions. That won't happen. To me, Houston's last few seasons have been like the Austin Powers trilogy. All of them have had so much hype and people saying how awesome they will be. In reality, they end up being average movies. But they are just average enough so that they give people hope for the next movie. I don't like Austin Powers.

Atlanta v. Pittsburgh

Atlanta will win this. Let's move on. Thanks a lot Big Ben. (Although I do feel like Pitt has a good chance to go 3-1 in his 4 game absence. You have to figure they probably split their two difficult games with Tennessee and Atlanta, so this game could go either way. Although I have a sicking feeling that it will go Atlanta's way.)

Green Bay v. Philadelphia

Bigger game for Green Bay than Philly. Green Bay is everyone's hot pick to win this NFC, due to their unbelievable play in the preseason. If they can put up big numbers against the good Philly D, I will feel a lot better about my Super Bowl (Non-Homer) pick. This should be a high scoring game, as Green Bay and Philly have 2 of the 5 best receiving corps in the NFL. I think Green Bay wins this, as teams are going to have trouble outscoring Green Bay.

Baltimore v. New York

I am hating Jets right now. You guys went 9-7 last season! Your quarterback had a TD-INT ratio of 12-20! You "upgraded" your defense by picking up a washed-up defensive end who has bashed your team and city in the past, and you picked up a cornerback who is more concerned with picking fights with HBO then he is with not getting burnt deep three times a game. Shut up! I think this game quites the Jets fans and the team, as Baltimore will deliver some harsh reality for the Jets.

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