|Don't worry, team! These new kickoff rules are sure to prevent my incompetence from sinking the season!|
I am not that kind of person. I am the type of person who stores up memories and still feels regret for certain things that have happened in the past. For example, I still regret pulling out driver on the 9th hole of a high school golf match that my team won handily. Despite being just +1 heading into the relatively simple par 4 9th, I felt the overwhelming need to hit the ball as far as possible. Predictably, I ended up about 6 feet away from someones back porch...suffice to say, I did not finish +1 for the day.
With the topic of regret on the table, let me share with you what I most regret at this very moment. My Week 1 picks! They were beyond horrible! To be fair, I never claimed to be a football "expert," and I feel like I've proven that time and time again. Still, I like to think that I know something about the NFL! ANYTHING about the NFL!
So yes, I deeply regret my Week 1 picks, most of which were a complete and utter disaster. All I can do at this point is dust myself off and and try to put the pieces back together. In that vein, let's sort through the wreckage and see how much damage Prince and I did last week.
Remember, Prince and I are going head to head with our picks. No prize has been determined yet, but ideas are happily accepted.
Week 1 Results (point spread in parentheses)
Landrum: 6-10 (6-7)
Prince: 7-9 (4-9)
Week 1 Winner: Landrum +1
Overall Leader: Landrum +1
As I said, it's bad. Neither of us got to .500 on either games or spreads. Basically, we're the Kansas City Chiefs of prognostication. Yippee. Thankfully, I emerged from Week 1 with a slight 1 game advantage. Let's get to Week 2.
Oakland at Buffalo (BUF -4)
Jon: Buffalo (BUF -4)
Prince: Buffalo (BUF -4)
For the first time since Flutie Flake's was a big deal, the Bills looked pretty darn impressive. Not that I'm expecting 'Fitzy Fingers' to replace Buffalo Wings in the bar food capital of the world, but I think Buffalo might be a bit more feisty than we gave them credit for. Even if that isn't really the case, they're playing Oakland at home. That usually equals a victory. Also notable is that Al Davis and Ralph Wilson set a record for "Combined Age of Owners in a Game" and "Combined Fewest Number of Heartbeats by Owners in a Game." That last one is greatly aided by the fact that Al Davis doesn't actually have a heart, and that even if he did, it would have stopped beating in 1987.
Kansas City and Detroit (DET -8)
Jon: Detroit (KC +8)
Prince: Detroit (KC +8)
I have a friend who is a huge Lions fan and he insisted that I make note of how wrong I was to pick against Detroit in Week 1. Here goes:
Dear Lions fan,
I deeply apologize for picking against your team in Week 1. After thinking on the matter, I now realize how ridiculous it was for me to pick against a team that has won only one season opener since 2005 (that win coming against the sad-sack Oakland Raiders in '07.) The Lions recent track record of success should have alerted me to my folly and driven me towards a more logical conclusion. Simply put, there is no excuse for not picking a 6 win team who's only won 2 road games the last 2 years to beat a 10 win team on the road.
A sincerely contrite blogger who's excited to get his hands on those Lions Super Bowl tickets that most certainly will be printed soon, since one game apparently puts you in the Super Bowl
There. Happy? Good.
On a serious note, Detroit's win over Tampa Bay was impressive and I absolutely under-sold them with my early 5 win prediction. Minus-8 is a severe overreaction to Kansas City's blowout loss to Buffalo, but I think Detroit should take care of business this week.
Baltimore at Tennessee (BAL -4)
Jon: Baltimore (BAL -4)
Prince: Baltimore (BAL -4)
My Ravens over Steelers pick was literally the only redeeming thing from Week 1. Of course, I think I might have mentioned something about it being a really good game, but let's ignore that part, OK? It's way too early to crown the Ravens in the AFC, but it's not too early to say they're infinitely better than Tennessee. My guess is that Chris Johnson is still working his way into football shape, and playing against the Ravens D is not exactly the best way to get your sea legs. Baltimore rolls in this one, and maybe Jake Locker gets some time after Matt Hasselbeck's ego is injured beyond repair.
Cleveland at Indianapolis (CLE -3)
Jon: Cleveland (CLE -3)
Prince: Cleveland (CLE -3)
I will definitely NOT be watching this game at 1pm, as it promises to be a giant exhibition of fumbles, INT's, and sacks allowed. My gut instinct tells me that Cleveland should murder Indy, but let's not forget that this is Cleveland we're talking about. They ALWAYS find a way to blow it. Last week, they rolled out a defensive scheme I've never, EVER seen before...staying in the huddle while the Bengals lined up and threw a TD! Thing is, I'm not sure Kerry Collins could be successful if the Browns lined up in that "formation" the entire game. It'll be interesting to see how the Browns blow this one, but I simply can't pick the Colts at this juncture.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota (MIN -3)
Jon: Tampa Bay (TB +3)
Prince: Minnesota (MIN -3)
Prince apparently couldn't help himself on this one. He had to go with his beloved Vikings, likely out of blind devotion and nothing else. Honestly, after Donovan McNabb's awe-inspiring debut, I can't think of another reason to pick them! Well, except for maybe Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin...but who's really counting? This should be a fairly interesting game when you really break things down. In a way, Tampa Bay has the younger upstart versions of several key Vikings players. Josh Freeman has been deemed by many as the next Donovan McNabb, and comparisons between LeGarrette Blount and Adrian Peterson have been made. Heck, you could even draw parallels between Kevin Williams and Gerald McCoy! What does all this mean? Absolutely nothing. I just find it interesting. Anyways, I think Freeman and Blount bounce back from a rough first game and pull out a tight contest in the 4th quarter.
Chicago at New Orleans (NO -7)
Jon: New Orleans (NO -7)
Prince: New Orleans (CHI +7)
Don't you find it a bit odd that a team who recently played for the conference championship and just dismantled the NFC's #1 overall seed is a 7 point underdog? Playing at New Orleans is tough and all, but you'd imagine the odds makers would give the Bears a bit more respect. That having been said, I'm not giving the Bears any respect...still. At some point, this insistence on picking against the Bears is just going to appear to be hard-headed stupidity. Seriously though, can you really blame me for not taking a Jay Cutler-led team seriously? New Orleans gave the Packers all they could handle last Thursday (in Green Bay!) and I feel confident they'll take care of business in their home opener. Unfortunately, we've lost Prince to the dark side, as he's picked the Bears to cover. Prince, I hope you and Jay Cutler are very happy together.
Jacksonville at New York Jets (NYJ -10)
Jon: New York (NYJ -10)
Prince: New York (NYJ -10)
I almost always make it a point to not take these big number spreads, but I couldn't force myself to pick Jacksonville to win anything other than the Luck Sweepstakes. I will say this, however - I'm not overly impressed by the Jets performance against my Cowboys last week. Yes, there's a lot of left over bitterness in that statement, but giving the Jets, or any team for that matter, any measurable amount of credit for a big 4th quarter against the Cowboys is like Alabama fans getting excited after a big win over an FCS team. Yes, Mark Sanchez, you did a fantastic job of throwing on our 4th and 5th cornerbacks. Yes, Joe McKnight, you looked like a star while running through our line, totally untouched, to block that punt. And yes, Darrelle Revis, it was totally impressive when you caught the ball that Tony Romo basically placed in your arms. Too bad you all sucked in the first 3 quarters. (I'm still upset...can you tell?)
Seattle at Pittsburgh (PIT -12.5)
Jon: Pittsburgh (SEA +12.5)
Prince: Pittsburgh (PIT -12.5)
Yes, you read that correctly, I'm taking Tarvaris Jackson and the charitable 12.5 points afforded him. Do I feel good about that? Absolutely not. Not at all. Actually, I feel like jumping off a tall building. Please, don't assume I made this pick out of some terrible overreaction to Week 1. Yeah, Baltimore blew the doors off Pittsburgh. So what? It's Week 1 and it means relatively little. The Steelers are still really good and they're almost assuredly going to win this game. But 12.5 points is an awful lot! What if Charlie Whitehurst gets put in? What if Leon Washington returns a kick? What if Roethlisberger dies in the 1st quarter? What if Roethlisberger corners a...well, you know where this is going.
Arizona at Washington (WAS -4)
Jon: Arizona (ARI +4)
Prince: Arizona (ARI +4)
Words can't even begin to describe the shock and horror we all feel after Rex Grossman's random, Peyton Manning-like performance in Week 1. Perhaps the ghost of Manning himself has settled on Sexy Rexy? Or, perhaps the Giants are so utterly depleted after losing nearly their entire secondary to Achilles injuries that even Rex Grossman can throw on them. (And no, I'm not even going to mention that the Arizona secondary is so bad that even Cam Newton can throw on them. I didn't happen, I tell you! IT NEVER HAPPENED!!!) I hate Washington's team to death, and I can't imagine Good Rex coming out to play two weeks in a row.
Green Bay at Carolina (GB -10)
Jon: Green Bay (GB -10)
Prince: Green Bay (GB -10)
After torching the cream puff Arizona secondary in Week 1, Cam Newton will finally get the first real test of his young (and hopefully waning) NFL career. I feel so confident in this game that I'm having several friends over to watch it and calling it the "Cam Newton Sucks Party." I need this! I need it bad! If Newton is somehow able to muster up another strong showing, it will totally break my spirit. At that point, I'll likely shut down the site and retire to a cave somewhere in the mountains.
Dallas at San Francisco (DAL -3)
Jon: Dallas (DAL -3)
Prince: Dallas (DAL -3)
Here we go again! Just when I finally decide to divorce Romo and stop feeling optimistic about the season, the schedule makers straight arm me into picking them again. The worst part is, if the 49ers are able to win, I'll probably never be able to take another phone call from Casey again. Oh well, such is football. In all seriousness, I can't figure anyway that the 'Niners win this game...though I can think of several ways the Cowboys could lose this game. Still, Romo should have a lot of success against San Fran's porous secondary, and, despite the injuries to the Cowboys secondary, I find it hard to imagine Alex Smith taking full advantage.
Cincinnati at Denver (DEN -5.5)
Jon: Denver (CIN +5.5)
Prince: Denver (CIN +5.5)
For the second week in a row I'm taking the Bengals against the spread, and for the second week in a row it's for the same reason. Neither Cleveland or Denver are exactly Super Bowl favorites, giving the Bengals a fighting chance of staying competitive. Much like it was against the Browns, I expect this to be a pretty sloppy game from both sides. Denver proved in Week 1 that you can definitely run against them, and Cedric Benson should be effective at eating up both yards and clock. In the end, I think the Broncos QB advantage wins them the game, but a 20-17 type of outcome seems likely.
Houston at Miami (MIA -3)
Jon: Miami (MIA -3)
Prince: Houston (HOU +3)
I seriously can't believe I'm taking Miami in this game! Call me crazy, but I really liked what I saw from Henne in Week 1. He looked far more poised than last year, and he did a much better job of keeping his eyes down field. Given his track record, it wouldn't be surprising if it was a one game fluke, but I feel good about The Fish heading into Week 2. Of course, part of that is because of their opponent. Seriously, doesn't this just feel like the type of game Houston would blow? Don't they do this every year? They once again came out blazing in Week 1, no doubt winning legions of bandwagon supporters in the process. Now, in typical Houston Texans fashion, it's time to self-destruct in Week 2. Count it!
San Diego at New England (NE -6.5)
Jon: New England (NE -6.5)
Prince: New England (NE -6.5)
While the NFL is certainly a league of constant changes, some things always remain the same. Tom Brady is still a TD machine and Norv Turner's team still sucks on special teams. After all the hoopla of how the Chargers would be infinitely better with the new kickoff rules, they Chargers came out and gave up a kick return TD on the very first play! THE VERY FIRST PLAY! How is that possible? Did they not work on that in the offseason? To top it off, they lost Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding for the year on that very same play. Yep, special teams definitely won't be a problem this year...(Cue the "Fire Norv" chants from Chargers fans)
Philadelphia at Atlanta (PHI -1)
Jon: Philadelphia (PHI -1)
Prince: Philadelphia (PHI -1)
While I think there's a decent chance Philly completely blows out the Falcons, Vick's return to Atlanta should make this game interesting regardless of the score...well, at least for a couple quarters. I've been saying the Falcons are overrated since day 1, so I'm not surprised at all to see them struggle. Apparently everyone else in the sports media world forgot to research the Falcons numbers last year, because there were a number of red flags that clearly indicated a drop-off in 2011. While I think they'll still win 9 or 10 games, the idea of them ascending to the elite of the NFL is ludicrous. Philadelphia, on the other hand, has a real chance at doing that. Their problems on the offensive line can't be ignored, but they have the requisite talent everywhere else to beat anybody. My only concern in this game is Vick's emotions. Despite his renaissance, it's impossible to completely forget the totally un-poised and easily rattled Vick we saw for years in Atlanta. His return should definitely draw out some emotion from him, and the fans reaction should also be interesting. I don't necessarily think this is a big deal, but it's something to consider.
St. Louis at New York Giants (NYG -4.5)
Jon: New York (STL +4.5)
Prince: St. Louis (STL +4.5)
Can someone please explain to me why this is our Monday Night game? St. Louis and the Giants? Really? Whatever. After a devastating Week 1 for the Rams, this game more closely resembles an episode of The Walking Dead than it does a prime-time NFL game. It appears as if Sam Bradford is going to play, but things look much bleaker for Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola. Given the lack of offensive weapons in St. Louis, losing those two is pretty much the equivalent of having an arm cut off. And a foot. Things aren't much better in Giants-land, but the team feels confident star WR Hakeem Nicks will play Monday night. I honestly think this is going to be a pretty bad game. I'll take the Giants by a FG because they have a healthier QB and more impact weapons available.