|Why?! Why must you make me believe, every single year?!|
For those who did not get a chance to listen to the podcast, here's the deal. Prince and I are going head to head on the year. We are picking games and lines, and we'll have some sort of wager on the combined result (Please, send your suggestions for what the bet should be). Here's what we picked for Week 1.
Note: All lines are from bodog.com and are the current lines at the time we picked.
New Orleans at Green Bay (GB -4)
Jon: New Orleans (NO +4)
Prince: New Orleans (NO +4)
Somehow, Prince talked me into this one. It's true that I'm all about the Packers this year, but I'm also all about the Saints. Obviously, if this game was held in December, I'd pick the Packers hands down. In September though, the home field advantage isn't quite as advantageous. After a tough playoff loss last postseason, I'm guessing the Saints will be fired up and ready to establish themselves. The Packers? On a well coached team, I'd discount any Super Bowl hangover. On a Mike McCarthy team, I won't discount anything. Saints in a 'shocker.'
Pittsburgh at Baltimore (BAL -3)
Jon: Baltimore (BAL -3)
Prince: Pittsburgh (PIT +3)
Our first disagreement! First of all, I'd like to thank the NFL for giving us an awesome matchup to start the season. Wonderful work guys! Second of all, I'd like to thank DirecTV for giving me NFL Sunday Ticket so I can watch this instead of Cincinnati at Cleveland. Anyways, these two teams have split their season series 6 of the last 8 seasons and have a dead even 8-8 regular season record against each other since 2003. This year, I think they're as evenly matched as ever. Ray Rice has a nice game against a tough Steelers front seven, and 'Checkdown' Joe finally looks downfield a couple of times to give Baltimore a victory at home.
Detroit at Tampa Bay (TB -1.5)
Jon: Tampa Bay (TB -1.5)
Prince: Tampa Bay (TB -1.5)
I'm picking the Bucs, but my pick comes with plenty of anxiety. Detroit, without Matt Stafford, took down Tampa Bay, at Tampa Bay, in Week 15 last season. That game went to overtime, so you can see why the line on this game is so small. While I was very tempted to pick Detroit, they have a history of being slow starters. Even with Stafford playing well early last season, the Lions still started off 0-4 before the amazing Shaun Hill led the charge. I like Tampa Bay's young talent, and I think they pull this one off.
Atlanta at Chicago (ATL -3)
Jon: Atlanta (ATL -3)
Prince: Atlanta (ATL -3)
Two teams I don't like this year...great. After the luckiest season in the history of football, the Bears are primed for a major downfall this season. Not only has their precious kick return game been made archaic, but they have awkward contract situations with two of their stars, Lance Briggs and Matt Forte. Who knows if that will play a factor, but I guess it doesn't really matter when 6 pass rushers are bulldozing through the line with almost no resistance. In the end, my dislike for Atlanta is far less, therefore, I must pick them.
Buffalo at Kansas City (No line)
Jon: Kansas City
Prince: Kansas City
I'm assuming that Matt Cassell is playing in this game, because there's no way I'm picking Tyler Palko over 'Mighty' Ryan Fitzpatrick and his Harvard education. A lot of people are really down on Kansas City so far, and I have to admit that I'm starting to get sucked in. Still, there's plenty of talent in Kansas City, and I have a hard time envisioning a total collapse. Banged up Matt Cassell or no, Buffalo isn't coming in to Arrowhead and stealing a win.
Indianapolis at Houston (No line)
Kerry Collins. Bad offensive line. Sacks. Interceptions. More Kerry Collins. Houston wins by 100. Not even Wade Phillips could blow this...(or could he?)
Philadelphia at St. Louis (PHI -5)
Jon: STL (STL +5)
Prince: PHI (STL +5)
I am illogically excited about this game! Honestly, there's a good chance I'll be watching this over the Ravens-Steelers game. Seriously! My awkward man love for Sam Bradford notwithstanding, I think a -5 line for Philly on the road is ridiculous. Given the Rams added year of maturity and personnel upgrades, I think they could be a formidable opponent in the Edward Jones Dome. The Eagles have a lot of new parts to integrate, and not a lot of training camp to do so. And, of course, there's the matter of how crappy Vick looked in the preseason. Again, those games mean nothing, but Vick's previous history makes him a bit of a wild card. I know it's a risky pick, but I think Bradford torches the linebacker-less Eagles underneath and over the middle, and Vick struggles against constant pressure from the Rams front line.
Cincinnati at Cleveland (CLE -7)
Jon: Cleveland (CIN +7)
Prince: Cleveland (CIN +7)
Look, I'm all about Colt McCoy and the Browns as a potential sleeper team this year. I think they're much improved, and I think they actually have a shot at the last playoff spot. That having been said, under what set of circumstances is Cleveland a 7 point favorite? Even at home?! It's still the Browns! The Browns are definitely better than the Bengals (hats off to you Andy Dalton), but this game could/will be ugly.
Tennessee at Jacksonville (JAX -3)
Jon: Tennessee (TEN +3)
Prince: Tennessee (TEN +3)
LOCK OF THE WEEK!!! This line has since been pulled, so there's no reason to rush over to Bodog. At the time, I thought this was a pretty easy pick...now, I think it's an AMAZING pick. Even at home, a Luke McCown led Jaguars team has no prayer against anybody better than a lower tier MAC school.
New York Giants at Washington (NYG -3)
Jon: New York (NYG -3)
Prince: New York (NYG -3)
Since the Tennessee-Jacksonville line has been pulled, I'll make this my official LOCK OF THE WEEK!!! There is literally zero explanation for why certain ESPN "experts" are on board with the Redskins. Haven't they seen Grossman before? He's....well, Rex Grossman! I don't like the Giants in 2011, especially after they lost half their team to injury, but I like them a whole heck of a lot more than Rex Grossman! Giants win by a ton.
Carolina at Arizona (ARI -7)
Jon: Arizona (ARI -7)
Prince: Arizona (ARI -7)
I usually make it a point to not take huge lines like -7, but there's no way I'm betting on Cam Newton. Not a chance. This line could be ARI -50 and I'd probably still take them, just to prove a point. I don't particularly care for either of these teams, but you can bet I'll have this game on my TV at 4:15 sharp.
Seattle at San Francisco (SF -6)
Jon: San Francisco (SEA +6)
Prince: San Francisco (SEA +6)
Are we really betting on Tarvaris Jackson here? Isn't that against the rules or something? Geez, I don't feel good about this at all, but how can I honestly take SF -6? The combination of Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick is almost as scary as Tarvaris Jackson! Also, if T-Jax gets bad enough, then Charlie Whitehurst might come be inserted, immediately making him the best QB in the game. Yes, I just said that. And no, I want no part of watching this crap-fest.
Minnesota at San Diego (SD -9)
Jon: San Diego (MIN +9)
Prince: San Diego (MIN +9)
San Diego -9? NORV!!! No matter what the kickoff rules are, I'm not taking Norv -9. No way, no how. Look, I know Minnesota was horrible last year, but the hatred has gone way too far. There are still plenty of weapons on both offense and defense, and I think McNabb has one last good season left in him. They'll be hard pressed to beat the Fighting Philip Rivers', but I think they'll make a game out of it.
Dallas at New York Jets (NYJ -4)
Jon: Dallas (DAL +4)
Prince: New York (NYJ -4)
Yep, I'm already getting sucked into this endless cycle of anger and self-loathing. Thanks a lot Cowboys! Look, I know this appears to be a homer pick, but I really am optimistic about this one. Dallas' biggest defensive weakness is their secondary...and the Jets have Mark Sanchez. Not only that, but I'm starting to think the Jets just might not be that good. They lost key players at key positions, and many of their defensive "stars" are aging quickly. My guess is that the Jets will be forced to rely on heavy blitzing to produce pressure, leaving them susceptible to underneath routes by Witten and short slants by Austin. I know I'm probably going to have my heart broken again, but I like the matchup! GO COWBOYS!
New England at Miami (NE -7)
Jon: New England (NE -7)
Prince: New England (NE -7)
Great decision to put this one on MNF, guys! I can't wait to watch the Patriots beat Miami by 40. Then again, the impending 'HENNE SUCKS' chants from crowd should be endless entertaining.
Oakland at Denver (DEN -3)
Jon: Denver (DEN -3)
Prince: Denver (DEN -3)
Has a Week 1 MNF game ever been flexed out? Just checking...