Deflategate? More like 'deflectgate,' am I right? But this isn't about the NFL and media deflecting attention away from far more serious issues and going after the New England Patriots with the zeal of scientists trying to cure diseases or Lions fans just trying to eat. I'm talking about taking all that energy and honing it in on FOOTBALL. Because football is back, baby. And so are the picks against the spread. Footballgate. Picksgate.
Let's 'gate' after it, as they say in the south.
Steelers (+7) over PATRIOTS
Go ahead and mute your TV. The NFL and the media has managed to distract New England into not winning Week 1 by more than a touchdown and one of those longer extra point things. Good job, NFL! (Patriots will not be stopped.)
Colts (-2.5) over BILLS
The Colts pulled a 2002 Detroit Red Wings and gobbled up some old stars to bolster an already very good team. They're going to look like world beaters at times this season. Rex Ryan's first game as head coach of the Bills and Tyrod Taylor's first NFL start is probably going to be one of those times. Important update on this game: Taylor will not wear a diamond-studded mouthpiece.
Packers (-6.5) over BEARS
I think the Bears will be (at least one win) better this season, but it will take a little time under new head coach John Fox. It will help when all of Jay Cutler's wide receivers are not injured. The Packers are the (sigh) Packers and they've won five straight on the road in Chicago. I think they make it six rather easily.
Seahawks (-4.5) over RAMS
There will be no Kam Chancellor for the Seahawks, who is holding out because he wants to re-work his contract. Lame. Nick Foles is the new quarterback for the Rams. Seahawks bounce back from bad Super Bowl loss and road loss to the Rams last season.
JETS (-3) over Browns
Week 1 Puke Game of the Week. I think I'd rather get punched in the face by a big NFL player over $600 than watch this game. No sense wasting anymore words over it here.
Dolphins (-3.5) over REDSKINS
The Redskins are a mess times III and their latest bad pub doesn't even revolve around their still derogatory team name. Yikes. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have turned themselves into one of the more interesting teams in the league with some young up and comers, including undervalued fantasy quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and the additions of Jordan Cameron and [this is where I start to cry uncontrollably].
JAGUARS (+3) over Panthers
The Jaguars are another interesting Florida football team due its young talent. While they lost their first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr. for the season, their offense sports an improving Blake Bortles and rookie running back T.J. Yeldon, who beat out Denard 'shoelace' Robinson and Toby 'not the hated guy in The Office' Gerhart. The Jags' defense will be a bit shaky again this year, but I'm not sure Cam Newton can name his starting wide receivers, so they should be all right in their home opener.
Chiefs (+1) over TEXANS
The Texans' defense would be fierce if you only uttered J.J. Watt's name. They are loaded, though, so the Chiefs will have their work cut out for them. Alex Smith might have to pass to a wide receiver. I just don't think the Texans have enough offensively to get the Brian Hoyer era off to a 1-0 start.
CARDINALS (-2.5) over Saints
No C.J. Spiller for the Saints. That hurts an offense that also lost Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills during the offseason. Drew Brees could jump out of an airplane and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but I like the Cardinals in this one.
CHARGERS (-3) over Lions
Ravens (+4.5) over BRONCOS
I went back and forth on this one like a fluttering old-man Peyton Manning deep ball. Dare I say that Joe Flacco will look-- no, I won't say it, but the Ravens will cover.
Bengals (-3) over RAIDERS
The Bengals have a now or never mindset (or Jeremy Hill does), so I think they'll start the season off on the right foot in perhaps the final opener in Oakland ever.
BUCCANEERS (-3) over Titans
It's the battle between the 1st and 2nd overall draft picks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. I like Mariota better of the two, but I like the Doug Martin renaissance to lead the Bucs in their home opener.
COWBOYS (-6) over Giants
I don't think the fact that Jason Paul Pierre only has four fingers on his right hand now is getting enough attention. Coincidentally, that's the number of running backs the Cowboys have that could get carries on Sunday. Tony Romo plays like he has DirecTV in this one; Eli Manning definitely has cable.
Eagles (-3) over FALCONS
Sam Bradford looks funny in shoulder pads, but there's nothing funny about Chip Kelly turning any quarterback not named Tim Tebow into something successful. Some people like the Falcons in an upset, but the only thing upset will be Matt Ryan's tummy from all the helmet hits. I think the Eagles will roll here.
49ERS (+2.5) over Vikings
Don't "switch" the channel after the Eagles-Falcons game, because there's a second Monday Night Football game in Week 1. Welcome back, Adrian Peterson. I actually like the Vikings more than the 49ers this year, but Week 1 on the road in San Fran is difficult, similar to how I feel about the Lions-Chargers game.
LAST SEASON: 140-113 (RIP TO DA COMPETITION)
LAST 4 SEASONS: 554-453 (right 55% of the time ... every time)
Once again, if you're not in the POD Pick 'Em League, well, you snoozed and you lost. But we can still start a midseason FourPlay Football league or you can get in on this action by putting your picks in the comments below and I'll give you your glory if you can stay in the Top 25.