NFL Picks, Week 1: Listen To Us And Beat The Spread
The SportsGrid Bacchanal is a weekly NFL picks column that will drain your bank account with a smile. Floyd Mayweather approves this message.
The 2012 season should be exciting because football, but also because football. And all hope has yet to be extinguished for every fan base, though teams with John Skelton, Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert (to name a few) are only 15 minutes of game action from realizing that they're stuck with John Skelton, Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert.
Anyway, NFL picks. Home team in bold. Off we go.
New York Giants (-4) over Dallas Cowboys
Do Tom Coughlin's cheeks turn bright red even when it's 75 degrees outside? I think so, since he's probably still furious at Matt Dodge. But more importantly, the NFL season hasn't started until Coughlin gives us one of these. Most people picked the Cowboys to finish ahead of the Giants in the NFC East because Tony Romo is so reliable late in the season and nothing could ever go wrong with giving your star receiver a breakable bed time. And only in Dallas is a running back with FIVE CAREER GOOD GAMES considered a franchise savior.
(Editor's note: Whoops. We're just gonna go ahead and pretend that last paragraph never happened.)
Indianapolis Colts (+9.5) over Chicago Bears
Only Jim Irsay could manage to build one of the worst teams in history around one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and then luck (ha!) into a future one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. I forsee the Colts jumping aboard the backdoor cover train quite a lot this year, if only because they'll will continue to throw the ball to give Andrew Luck maximum experience while Jim Irsay doesn't improve the roster for future years.
Is Jay Cutler a good quarterback? The world has no idea. He weaseled his way out of Denver because of a case of the boo-hoo-YOU-DIDN'T-ACTUALLY-TRADE-ME, and in the interim he's had a grass stain permanently imprinted on his ass thanks to the Bears' nonexistent offensive line. If he can remain upright, the Bears offense could be pretty good. Matt Forte has been fantastic in that disgruntled player sort of way the last few years, and his latest contract extension probably didn't put out the fire because he's only the 9th highest-paid running back.
Philadelphia Eagles (-8) over Cleveland Browns
Cleveland has a a 28-year-old rookie quarterback. This is not a lie. Chris Weinke was the last old geezer rookie QB, and he led the Panthers to a 1-15 season. Even if Brandon Weeden turns out to be an above average quarterback, he'll be over 30 years old before Cleveland turns it around. Any number of 12-year-old Madden GMs would have passed on Weeden, but not in Cleveland. Future planning!
Philadelphia's season will ultimately come down to whether Michael Vick can stay healthy, or more specifically, whether or not he can recover from a trio of broken ribs suffered in Week 14. The Eagles will then reel off four straight wins and enter the playoffs as "the team no one wants to face," only to lose in the second round when Andy Reid wastes all his timeouts challenging a two, four and seven-yard completion, preventing Philly from stopping the clock when they're down four points with two minutes to go. Oh, and they gave up possession because Reid decided to punt on fourth and one from the 50. Though maybe that mustache muffed the real call, which was to kick a field goal and cut the deficit to one. Because that's like almost winning, amirite?
Buffalo Bills (+3) over New York Jets
This line has moved three points since it opened at -6. Vegas probably expected the Jets' first team offense to score a preseason touchdown, but that was a bit presumptive. Buffalo is everyone's favorite wild card surprise, which of course signals their imminent demise. (Cue gut-wrenching Week 17 loss to miss the playoffs.) Although I'm not sure why people are putting their faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick the quarterback. You're better off with Ryan Fitzpatrick the economic advisor, who parlayed half a season of excellence into an undeserved long-term contract with his HAHVAD business skills.
But despite all this overconfidence, despite Ryan Fitzpatrick not-so-secretly having below average arm strength and accuracy, you can't pick ESPN's traveling circus in good conscience. You don't put sprinkles and whipped cream on an omelette, despite it's massive food porn potential. You just don't. The New York Post rarely does anything right, but this front page cartoon sums it all up pretty well. Clown shoes.
New Orleans Saints (-9) over Washington Redskins
RG3 is tempting. He really is. But Mike Shanahan's ability to not name a starting running back and destroy their confidence while encouraging RG3 to pull off the John Elway helicopter is more tempting. If Michael Vick is a shoe-in to break some ribs, RG3 is a mortal LOCK to throw seven picks and stay in the pocket to get walloped because MIKE SHANAHAN KNOWS BEST.
Also, don't underestimate Drew Brees and the Saints' offense. Sean Peyton definitely implanted a microscopic audio device in Brees' face mole, so don't expect their play calling to suffer. And remember, they're good at that illicit audio spying thing. Plus they could also just revive the bounty program and assassinate opposing quarterbacks with reckless abandon. And now they've got EXPERIENCE, so they can totally get away with it this time. KILL THE...uh, pride? (Note: HEAD.)
New England Patriots (-6) over Tennessee Titans
You can always count on the Patriots to go for it on fourth down when up 27 in the fourth quarter because Bill Belichick is a
self-important asshole victory-driven perfectionist unwilling to take his foot off the gas because he's a great coach. But you can also count on his asshattery to guarantee that the spread is covered, because if the Pats win they win by 58. Jake Locker is essentially a starting rookie QB, so the lack of Pats defense is a non-issue. And, do you really expect the Pats to win by less than six? (They will definitely lose this game because Vegas entices you with its bacon wrapped scallop spreads, which also happen to be filled with A POUND OF TABASCO ready to burn your face off.)
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) over Minnesota Vikings
Picking between Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder is like picking four pieces of ravioli for $39 or three scallops for $42 at a fancy restaurant. Lose lose. So you might as well take the points and pray that MJD disproves the "holdout players suck" rule and Justin Blackmon doesn't get arrested for DUI on a fly pattern.
Miami Dolphins (+12) over Houston Texans
Vegas is BEGGING you to pick Miami. 95 percent of bettors favor Houston, despite the line moving SIX POINTS since it opened at -6. I mean, how can you not trust a rookie quarterback that just traded away it's best defensive player? This one just seems too easy, and that's always a sign of danger. More importantly, I'm looking forward to Joe Philbin's first referee encounter: "Well, uh, you know, I'm just not feeling comfortable with that call, it's just not, you know what I mean, the right FIT, for our organization, and we kinda just definitely, uh, well, don't feel like it's going to work, uh, work out, sort of, FOR BOTH SIDES at this time, alright?
/Handshake, encouraging back pat
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) over Arizona Cardinals
Russell Wilson singlehandedly moved this line from +2.5 to -2.5. An impressive feat for a rookie, though it seemed Vegas was looking for any excuse not to favor the Arizona Cardinals. My favorite 2011 NFL season stat was that the Cardinals went 8-8 thanks to the pesky peskiness of John Skelton. My favorite 2012 NFL offseason stat was that the Seattle Seahawks signed Matt Flynn to a big deal, then proceeded to destroy his confidence by calling the quarterback spot an open competition. Nevermind that he lost that competition, but give a guy some confidence, no? What happens when Wilson goes down (as QBs of his type invariably do) and Flynn has to be thrown into the mix? "We totally believe in you, buddy! Just ignore losing your starting role to a third round rookie. Everyone TRUSTS you."
Denver Broncos (-1) over Pittsburgh Steelers
Bold prediction: Ben Roethlisberger will escape the pocket and make a difficult throw on the run across his body, sending Cris Collinsworth into an orgasmic tailspin of effusive praise. "Gee whiz, look at that kid go, just doing things you're NOT supposed to do as a QB!. Golly! Let me break that play down for all you viewers who mistakenly followed the ball and didn't watch the left tackle, the MOST IMPORTANT MAN on the bootleg right!
There must have been something seriously wrong with San Francisco for Peyton Manning to choose the Broncos over the 49ers. He's walked into pseudo-Indianapolis, a team with offensive weapons but no semblance of a defense, when he could have a taken a near-Super Bowl participant. Ron Jaworksi will chalk that one up to his COMPETITIVE DRIVE and his desire TO WATCH FILM, but there has to be something more that's going on. Maybe the money wasn't good enough (Everyone severely underestimates Peyton's money-grubbing proclivities via commercials.), or maybe the NFC West was just too talented.
Kansas City Chiefs (+3) over Atlanta Falcons
Detroit Lions (-8.5) over Saint Louis Rams
Green Bay Packers (-5) over San Francisco 49ers
Carolina Panthers (-2.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens (-6) over Cincinnati Bengals
Oakland Raiders (+1) over San Diego Chargers
This Week: PERFECT
Last Week: NOTHING INCORRECT
(Editor's note: there have been no actual NFL games yet, which is why Dylan is perfect.)
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