Many of us have waited since the end of January for this date. Football season is upon us. Every team starts off with a clean slate (except for the Detroit Lions).
Last year, I would post my predictions on various weeks, but I thought this year I would post my picks each week. Writing about it might force me to make better decisions. Probably not, but you never know.
So on to the games:
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers favoured by 5 1/2
The Steelers are Superbowl champions. The Titans went 10-0 to start the season last year, so this should be a good game to start the season, and finished the season 13-3, including a 31-14 thumping of the Steelers. But the Steelers are playing at home, and will have a ceremony to celebrate their championship before the game begins. The team will be pumped, and will take it out on a Albert Haynesworth-less Titans. Steelers to win.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts, Colts favoured by 6 1/2
The Jaguars always play the Colts tough. They lost both games last year to their division rivals by scores of 23-21 and 31-24. The Colts have more questions this year, especially at runningback (no clear-cut #1). Plus, the Colts top defensive player, Bob Sanders is injured and may not be able to play. I think the Colts have enough weapons so they can win a squeaker, but they won’t cover. Take the Jaguars.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints, Saints favoured by 12 1/2
The Lions are my favourite team. I’ve been a fan of them for about 20 years, and I would love to see a game in Detroit at some point. That being said, they suck. Bad. But realistically, there’s only two things they need to improve: offence and defence. The Saints have reportedly gotten better defensively, and could be one of the scariest teams on offence in the league. The Saints will roll out to a big lead, and ruin Matthew Stafford’s debut as Lions QB, but I’m hoping the Lions can keep it close. Lions to cover.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers, Eagles favoured by 1/2
This is a pick ’em game. In these situations, I generally like to go with the home team. So I did. Panthers to win.
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cowboys favoured by 4 1/2
I have no idea what is going on in Tampa. They have a lot of solid players, but don’t have a single star player. The Cowboys are the complete opposite with a lot of flashy star players. I think Tony Romo will be the defence here. Dallas to win.
New York Jets at Houston Texans, Texans favoured by 4 1/2
The Jets will be starting a rookie quarterback, and like the Lions, it won’t mean success right away. Look for the Texans to pound on the Jets. I think it will be close for most of the game, but will the Texans will pull away in the fourth.
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens, Ravens favoured by 9 1/2
The Ravens defence pounds on an opponent and wears them down. That means more turnovers late in a game. And with rumours that Chiefs QB Matt Cassel may not be starting the first game due to an injury, look for the Ravens to win easily.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals, Bengals favoured by 3 1/2
I have never liked the Broncos. Their runningback committee ruins fantasy football. They have a brand new coach. Their #1 receiver is suspended and wants to be traded. And they downgraded at quarterback this year (and said quarterback may not even be ready for the opener). That is too much for opening day. Bengals to win.
Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns, Vikings favoured by 3 1/2
Way too much for the Browns to handle. The Vikings offensive line is outstanding (which means less sacks and more runningback room). They have the top runningback in the league. They have a half-decent quarterback. And their defence is one of the best in the league. Look for domination by the Vikings over the Browns.
Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons, Falcons favoured by 3 1/2
Miami surprised a lot of people last year by winning their division after a horrific 2007 season. The Falcons rebounded from the Michael Vick controversy to playing some exciting football. I think most teams will have the Dolphins figured out this year. Falcons to win.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants, Giants favoured by 6 1/2
The Giants have lost Plaxico Burress, and it will be tougher for them to score because of it. The Redskins always play the Giants tough, but I think the New York defence will be too much for Washington. Giants to win.
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, Cardinals favoured by 6 1/2
The Cardinals have Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Tim Hightower and Anquaan Boldin. The 49ers have … er… Frank Gore? Look for the Cardinals to run up the score in the first half, and cruise to an easy victory.
St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks, Seahawks favoured by 7 1/2
I almost laughed when I saw this. How could the Seahawks be favoured by 7 1/2 over anyone? Unless they were playing the Lions, this is too big a spread. I think Seattle will win, but I expect it to be a much closer game. Rams to cover.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, Packers favoured by 3 1/2
I think the Bears will be an underrated team this season. They have the best quarterback in a Bears uniform since the 1980s. They have their defence healthy. They have a great second-year runningback. All signs point to a Bears victory.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, Patriots favoured by 10 1/2
How is this game not a spread of 20 points? Last year, the Bills scored 10 points in two losses to the Patriots. But Tom Brady never played those games. Brady will have something to prove this year, especially early in the season, as he shows the world that his leg (injured last year) and shoulder (injured in the preseason) are both healthy. Pats by a whole bunch.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders, Chargers favoured by 8 1/2
I’m confused why these two games are the Monday night games. You think you’d want to kick off the season with some exciting games, not two potential blowouts. Chargers are a tough team, and the Raiders are… well, they’re the Raiders. Chargers in a blowout.