Picks!

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?  Doesn’t matter.  Kazzy is.  Here are his Week 1 picks… guaranteed to lose or your money back.

(All lines current as of Sunday morning.)

Falcons (-2.5) vs Bucs

Both these teams are in the mushy middle that seems to make up most of the NFC.  The line is implying that these teams are more or less equals, with Atlanta getting the home field edge.  I think that is probably the case as of now though wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucs end up having the better season.  That said, in Week 1, I’m taking the home team in what will probably be a high scoring but poorly played affair.

Titans (+2.5) vs Vikings

The Bridgewater injury was truly devastating… not just because he seemed poised to take a leap but also since he seemed like a truly beloved leader by his teammates.  Then you have the Bradford trade, literally adding insult to injury.  And they aren’t even starting him Week 1!  Shaun Hill gets the nod.  Expect LOTS of running in this game.  And while the Vikes have the edge there, they have nothing in the passing game to keep the defense honest, allowing the Titans to game plan around stopping ADP.  Give me the points.

Eagles (-3.5) vs Browns

The Eagles are bad.  The Browns are worse.  There are a few units on the Eagles that are above average, particularly the D-line.  The Browns have some potential up-and-coming talent — and did well to stockpile draft picks going forward — but none of that helps them on the field this Sunday.  I’d feel MUCH more comfortable with an even 3, but even the half point won’t entice me to take what is probably the worst team in football.

Jets (+1.5) vs Bengals

I think the Bengals end up one of the 3 or 4 best teams in the AFC, which well surpasses the Jets’ ceiling.  And yet… they have some adjustments to make after losing two of their top three receivers (though AJ “Alien” Green remains).  This feels like the kind of game where Todd Bowles pulls out all the tricks and manages an upset… making Jets fans entirely too excited for their eventual 8-8 finish courtesy of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Saints (-2) vs Raiders

The Raiders are many prognosticators’ sleeper darlings.  And while I share their optimism about the talent on this team, I think some of that is predicated on weakness at the top of their division.  Yes, they’re likely to take a step forward and, yes, that might result in an AFC West title… but an elite team they are not.  Not yet.  The Saints aren’t either.  But they’re home, with an early start as Oakland travels, and still have Drew Brees and his weapons healthy.  Expect lots of points but in the end I’m taking the veteran QB to pull it out.

Chargers (+6.5) @ Chiefs

The Chiefs are missing their two best players in Jamaal Charles and Justin Houston.  That’s enough for me to take the points even for a shaky road team traveling east for an early game.

Bills (+3) @ Ravens

Everyone — including me! — often seems to give the Ravens too much credit because of their organizational stability, consistency, and ultimate success.  But I just don’t think they are a very good team this year.  I don’t think the Bills are either.  I’ll take the points.

Bears (+4.5) @ Texans

I’m already having nightmares of this pick going south after JJ Watt breaks Jay Cutler in half.  Actually, hold on…

Texans (-4.5) vs Bears

Okay… that feels much better.

Packers (-5) vs Jaguars

When I looked at this line earlier in the week, it was at 6.5.  The Jaguars are getting lots of sleeper love, especially because of their emerging offensive weapons.  But Vegas is usually pretty willing to move the line around between key numbers so they don’t see much difference between 6.5 and 5.  I personally do.  I think the Packers are the vastly superior team and that people are overrating the Jaguars’ raw offensive numbers from last year (many of which were compiled in garbage time), so 5 points doesn’t scare me.  If I was getting the line closer to a touchdown, I might be inclined to take the points.

Dolphins (+10.5) @ Seahawks

Everything is pointing towards the Seahawks.  And I think they win comfortably.  But that is A LOT of points, even in this matchup, and could see the waterfowl easing off the gas in the second half.

Giants (-1) @ Cowboys

Eli always plays well in Dallas.  More importantly, we really have no idea how Zach Jack Dax Dak Prescott will fare in his first NFL action.  Also, the Dallas defense sucks which might allow ODB to run wild through the secondary.

Lions (+3) @ Colts

Are the Colts good?  Why?  Even when they were good in recent years under Luck, they never felt THAT good… with advanced stats never supporting their W-L record and unconvincing ousters from the playoffs.  Luck might have already peaked as a QB and, after him, who else does this team have?  The Lions will miss Calvin Johnson, but might be a more balanced team this year that surprises some people.

Cardinals (-7) @ Patriots

Somehow, this game only seems to have moved half a point after learning Gronk was out.  But to me, his absence really changes things.  Jimmy G is more prepared than most other first time starters, having spent not one but TWO off-seasons getting starter reps in the preseason owing to Brady’s suspension.  But without his best weapon, traveling against a blitz-heavy defense (Jimmy G has seen only 8 blitzes in his NFL career), and the power of the Kangol hat, I’m taking the Cards.

Washington (+3) vs Steelers

The Steelers are one of the best teams in football and I think we’ll see that by the end of the year.  But as it stands, they are missing their starting RB and are still making sense of their WR corps behind Antonio “Super Alien” Brown.  I think they start a little slow, get Bell back, round in to form, and rip through the end of the season.  But none of that matters this week.

49ers (+2.5) vs Rams

The Rams mortgaged their future for Jared Goff and don’t feel ready to start him in Week 1.  And while that may be prudent in the long term, it doesn’t look good.  Gurley will probably have a good game versus a bad 49ers defense, but I think Chip pulls some crap out of his ass in his first official game with the Niners and they keep it close enough to cover (if not win outright).

Think you can do better?  Say so in the comments…

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