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Week One Picks

September 4th, 2019

There’s a part of me that really likes picking week one games. It’s the part that should be in control throughout the season, the one that says, “Dude, you know exactly nothing. Stop thinking. Take your best guess and move on.”

This is the one week I’m smart enough to listen. Or where I make it look like I’m smart enough to listen by virtue of having nothing I can pretend to base my inaccurate picks on.

For whatever little it’s worth, I wrapped up the 2018 regular season 163-91-2 (.641) straight up and 124-122-10 (.504) with the points. I went 5-6 in the postseason both picking straight and picking against the spread, which landed me at an aggregate 168-97-2 (.631) straight up, 129-128-10 (.502). But, you know, I totally nailed Super Bowl LIII (yes, I am going to keep pointing that out; you would, too). So I’m going into this year riding high.

Here’s what not to expect (or maybe what you should expect; I don’t know) as the 2019 NFL season gets underway.

Green Bay (+3) at Chicago
The line on this game amounts to Vegas saying, “Yeah, we don’t know either.” Which I suppose is kind of comforting. Now watch me hedge: Bears by a point.

Atlanta (+4) at Minnesota
I’ve got both of these teams making the playoffs this season. So that’s a little bit of a thing. Entirely beside the point in week one, of course. But a bit of a thing just the same. In any meeting of evenly matched squads you take the home team. So I’m taking the home team. Vikings by three.

Washington (+9.5) at Philadelphia
The Eagles should be the better team here by quite a lot. And maybe they really are that much better than the Racists. But nine and a half in a division game? It’s just too much. Philadelphia by a touchdown.

Buffalo (+3) at NY Jets
It’s almost a given that one of these teams won’t lose this week. I’ll just figure it works out to be the home team. Jets by two.

Baltimore (-7) at Miami
If I weren’t expecting the Ravens to get off to a bit of a slow start (what with the whole new offense thing) I might be tempted to give the points. The Ravens still should win this game (unless they don’t), but I’m thinking it’s by something more like four.

Kansas City (-3.5) at Jacksonville
I’d love to feel good about picking the Jaguars. I really would. I mean, look, the Chiefs have no defense. Nick Foles ought to be able to do something with that, right? And Jacksonville should once again have a very good D, so maybe they can limit the much ballyhooed Kansas City O. But I don’t know. A loss by everybody’s Super Bowl LIV favorites on opening weekend would be just too perfect, wouldn’t it? Too perfect indeed. I’m gonna call a close (one-point) victory by Kansas City, and mischievously hope for an outright upset by the home dogs.

Tennessee (+5.5) at Cleveland
If this game were being played in Nashville, I’m pretty sure I’d take the Titans. I know the Browns are everybody’s pet pick this season, but I’m not entirely sold. Cleveland has some O line issues. And Tennessee has the personnel on the defensive front to expose those. I don’t think it will be enough to earn the Titans a win in Cleveland on opening day. But I do think it will keep things close. Browns by a field goal.

LA Rams (-3) at Carolina
The Rams are just the better team. Los Angeles by six.

Cincinnati (+9.5) at Seattle
Don’t even think about putting money on this game. Nine and a half points in week one. Are you kidding? Yeah, the Seahawks win. And they probably cover. But one weird bounce and it’s a late field-goal to cut the lead to 7 or extend it to 10 and you’re shaking your head and muttering about how you should have known better. And you should have. Since there’s no money on the line for me, I’ll say Seattle by 10.

Indianapolis (+6.5) at LA Chargers
Can you belive the team in this game scrambling to replace a retired QB is the Colts? Chargers by a touchdown.

NY Giants (+7) at Dallas
Seven’s a lot to give in a divisional game. But the Giants are not a good football team. And the Cowboys should at least sustain the illusion that they’re a good football team through the early part of this season. Dallas by nine.

Detroit (-2.5) at Arizona
Better line play wins the day. Detroit by four.

San Francisco (pick ’em) at Tampa Bay
Neither of these teams is going far this season. But the Niners come into the campaign in slightly better shape than the Bucs. San Francisco by three.

Pittsburgh (+5.5) at New England
You’ve no doubt heard or read about Tom Brady‘s career success in home games against the Steelers. And, yeah 5-0 with 18 TDs, 0 INTs, and a passer rating of 130.8 is … well, it’s pretty damned good. But it’s meaningless in terms of forecasting this game. Every season is different. Every game is different. And the Patriots and Steelers teams that will meet on Sunday night are different from the Patriots and Steelers who have met in the past. Don’t get me wrong. This looks to me like a New England win. I just think it’s likely to be a defensive victory. Maybe 16-10. Something like that. So, yeah, I guess I’m still giving the points.

Houston (+7) at New Orleans
The Texans are going to win a few games this season. But this won’t be one of them. Saints by 10.

Denver (pick ’em) at Oakland
… Not with a bang but a whimper. Oakland (I guess). By a field goal (probably.)

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