Let us just say that the first week of football picks was good for me – and I hope it was good for you too. I didn’t have everything go my way, but there was a lot of lucky stuff that luckily helped out my free football picks. I started with a big win Thursday Night, then busted out 9 more wins on Sunday, getting me into double digits before Monday Night’s double header. Where did I go right or steer you wrong? Follow me…
Tennessee Titans (+6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: (WINNER) “a hard nosed game, that promises to be an ugly smash mouth defensive battle, has me thinking 6 is just too much. Last year’s Super Bowl winners usually aren’t very good beginners – write that down. Their offensive line isn’t great, and that’s enough for me to take Tennessee on opening night.” I read this game pretty well. I think the Titans outplayed the Steelers big time early, but they didn’t score enough on the chances they got as Rob Bironas’s missed field goals killed the. Still, the Steelers didn’t do enough early to capitalize on Tennessee’s missed chances, putting this game into overtime, and guaranteeing me, at the very least, a push. A short field goal for Pittsburgh won the game, and gave me a victory to start off the season as well.
Denver Broncos (+4) @ Cincinnati Bengals: (WINNER) Basically everything I said I thought about this game was right on the dot except for Knowshon being dynamic from the get go. Moreno looked like a college running back out there, not trusting holes and being a little rusty. But the Broncos defense was very good, much tougher and more aggressive than last season. Carson Palmer was healthy enough to play, but just as I said, not quite back to his old touchdown slinging self. A couple more weeks and I might be leading that bandwagon, but not quite yet. The Broncos got a late miracle to get a win in this one, but they were never in the covering question. Their stellar defensive performance locked that up.
Minnesota Vikings (-4) @ Cleveland Browns: (WINNER!) Despite the public loving this bet, I believed as well. I didn’t bet the house, but felt pretty good going in despite the line feeling too good to be true. Like the rest of you, I got a win in this one.
New York Jets (+5) @ Houston Texans: (WINNER) “Mark Sanchez is the real deal. He has great feet, watch him, his confidence in the pocket is awesome. That offensive line is one of the top 5 units in football, and I haven’t even gotten to talking about the Jets defense yet. They may be missing Calvin Pace, but with David Harris and Bart Scott at linebacker, and Kris Jenkins protecting them, I think this team has plenty of playmakers and ball hawks to make some big plays happen. The Texans won’t be able to run, and the Jets will. That’s why I’m taking the points.” Well the Texans couldn’t run, the Jets could, and Mark had great poise, confidence, and strength in the pocket. I think Pete Carrol was wrong, Mark made a good decision coming out of college.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts (-7): (LOSS) I thought this line was too good to be true in favor of the improved Jaguars – so I picked the Colts, basically over-thinking the entire thing. I had one too many thoughts on this one. The Colts as a big favorite in a game that was usually close – what was I thinking? Took my first L of the week in Indy.
Dallas Cowboys (-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (WINNER) I liked Dallas to win by double digits on the road here, and they did – but watching this game was a different story. I thought the Bucs played really well, much closer than the final score signified, and Leftwich was pretty solid as well. Caddy Williams was awesome, and there’s no single player I root for more than Carnell. The Cowboys used some really big plays to down the Bucs, but some luck easily could have turned this game around, and I can only imagine this being a tough loss for those that took the Bucs. That being said, I’ve lost my fair share of those ones, and I can’t feel too bad about getting the win here. Romo’s numbers were awesome, and this Cowboys team definitely has a lot of game breaking ability.
Miami Dolphins (+4) @ Atlanta Falcons: (LOSS) “I’m such a baby, the Dolphins make me cry…” This game wasn’t very close, it was very weird. Neither team looked good doing what they do. Atlanta didn’t run it that well, and Miami just couldn’t get anything going. It was a pretty ugly game, but Tony Gonzalez definitely made his presence felt. I thought all along that his “not going to be a big part of the offense, but whatever is best for the team” quotes during camp were a little ridiculous, and he was the leading offensive asset for the Falcons on Sunday. I didn’t get a very good feel for either of these teams on Sunday, so I’m back to the drawing board for both.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens (-13): (WINNER) I’m really, really lucky to get a win in this one. There’s not much else to say about it. Todd Haley knows what he’s doing. His team is going to be a good one in the next couple years, no doubt in my mind. A late touchdown and another late add-on put the Ravens two scores up, but KC played better than that, and I know I could write a tear-filled Bad Beats column about this one if I were on the Chiefs side of the fence. But like I said, I’ll take a win, as ugly as a win can be.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers (+1.5): (LOSS) I love the Eagles this season, really, I do. But I won’t love them against one of the best rushing attacks in the league until they do something or prove something with that front seven. They couldn’t stop the run this pre-season as I watched opponents run freely over the Eagles. Philly should put up a lot of points, and I fully understand that the Panthers have no interior defensive line either – but the Panthers will fully take advantage of that while the Eagles instead decide to throw the ball 4 out of every 5 downs… Just in this match-up, I like the underdog, hometown, returning best record in the NFC. Call me crazy. The Eagles just have too much hype for me.
Detroit Lions (+13) @ New Orleans Saints: (LOSS) This is another game that was a heck of a lot closer than people might think. If Stafford doesn’t toss a million interceptions, the Lions cover easily. New Orleans toyed with the rookie, and maybe, just possibly, showed me they might have enough defense to make some noise this season. Or maybe it was just the rookie? We’ll see. All I know is that Drew Brees has amazingly quick feet in the pocket. The way he evades the rush, resets his feet, and fires all at the same time is very impressive. So many times, that one extra move bought him just enough time to get a TD throw off. Impressive. I still like the Lions as a double digit dog, but maybe I’m giving Stafford too much credit. He has yet to impress me as an NFL player, but I still like the Lions to cover their fair share of games this year.
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) @ Arizona Cardinals: (WINNER) The Niners dominated a lot of this game, and were never really in a situation where I was worried about covering. Anything can happen any time, don’t get me wrong, but I liked the 49ers for lots of reason, one of which was their toughness and will. The Cardinals defense was much better than I thought they’d be, and looking back at it, that makes sense. Dockett is a beast in the middle, Dansby is elite at LB, and they have a pretty strong secondary as well, not to mention plenty of other good defensive players. However, just like I said, the offensive timing and production was bad most of this game. Where was the gun-slinger deep throws and chances? Warner spent more time throwing crappy short passes than anything else. If it was SF’s scheme, then kudos to them – whatever it was, the Niners pulled a nice upset and gave me another W.
Washington Redskins (+6.5) @ New York Giants: (WINNER) I don’t think the Giants are scary enough offensively to bust the Skins through the air. Washington will get more pressure on opposing offenses this season as Haynesworth really is that good. Al will also help ease the pain against one of the best offensive lines in the league, and I think Washington stacks the line against the Giants in this game. I think 6.5 is too much in a game that looks to have very few scoring opportunities.
St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-8.5): (WINNER) “Its hard for me to be too excited about the Rams, I called them the worst team in football last season, and despite the Lions hideous record, I stand by that claim. There was no team that was more pathetic than this Rams team a year ago. They no longer have Orlando Pace, but Alex Barron and Adam Goldberg at the edges instead. They don’t have Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce, but Laurent Robinson and Donnie Avery. Steven Jackson is still there, but unfortunately still is Marc Bulger. The guy kills more drives by hanging onto the ball than any QB I know. The defense is aging and hurting (like Leonard Little) and failed draft picks over the last couple years are coming back to haunt the new regime. That being said, it’s still 8.5 in Week 1 against a Hawks team that hasn’t proven to be beastly quite yet. I’m going on record and saying this spread is too high. It’s bad value, and I don’t know what I’m thinking by taking the Hawks anyway. It’s one of those times where I just have that feeling…” Hey, I went with my feeling despite reading a bad value. The Hawks are back, and looked very good after a shaky start to the game. I expect Housh to me more involved as the season moves forward, and I even think Julius will continue to put up solid numbers, especially as the offensive line gets healthy. I didn’t expect this big of a win, but the Hawks defense absolutely shut down the Rams. A big Hawks win made me undefeated in afternoon games. Lets keep that going!
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-3.5): (WINNER) This game was just plain weird. Cutler and Rodgers were off, Jay more than Aaron, their were lots of drops, neither running game looked good, and while both these teams have talented defenses, I’m not sure they’re that good. Still, the Packers had more balls – that’s right, they took more chances, played the smarter game, and in the end beat the Bears, something they haven’t done all that much over the last five seasons. A close cover, might have gone either way, luckily Jay Cutler did a lot of Jay Cutler type things. Going into Monday Night, I rocked double digit wins.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-10.5): (LOSER) I was pretty impressed with just about everything the Bills did. Even the last play, Leodis just gave too much effort. He was stupid to take the ball out of the end-zone anyway, but once he got it out, he took a big hit, stayed on his feet, and just got stripped barely by the 3rd guy that hit him. His extra effort probably lost the Bills the game. One thing is certain, Richard Seymour’s going to be missed on that defensive front. He was a beast in the Raiders game, one of the best players on the field. Jerrod Mayo is injured as well, and I’m not sure Pats fans will like the diagnosis tomorrow. The Bills should have won this game, but Tom Brady is a winner. Nothing was more perfect than Tom walking up the field with 1:18 on the clock and ticking: he was just relaxed as could be, looking like a guy walking on the beach. He knew. The Pats obviously didn’t cover, and I take my 5th and final loss of the week.
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (+9): (WINNER) “This line will likely move to 10 if you wait. Oh well, I still like the underdogs in this divisional match-up. I know, the Chargers get to show up and win, they can sleep through the season and easily take the division, and they have more talent in 5 positions than the Raiders have all over the field. I don’t care. What I care about is that the Raiders will be able to run enough to keep themselves in it.” The Raiders are going to win some games this year. They gave the Chargers all they could handle and more. JaMarcus Russell needs to be a lot more accurate if the Raiders want to get out of the cellar, but there’s lots of talent on this Oakland team. Zach Miller played like a stud, and McFadden/Michael Bush looked good as a powerful 1-2 punch in the backfield. Oakland pulled ahead with a ballsy 4th and 15 TD pass late in the 4th, but Phillip Rivers and company drove down the field and Darren Sproles polished off the victory for San Diego. It was much tougher than many expected. Just about how I thought it would be, but then again, that’s why I call ’em! 11-5 this week, folks. Lets keep it going in Week 2!!!