Week 1 of the season is here, y’all, and I have no idea what is going to happen. Neither do you, but you won’t admit it. WHY WON’T YOU ADMIT IT?
I hate making picks in the NFL, because it’s just an excuse to make myself look foolish. Despite what the commercials say on sports talk radio, no one is good at making NFL picks. There is no secret formula. There is no picking guru. Vegas always wins and you’re always left the loser.
But y’all know me enough by now that there’s little I can do to truly embarrass myself any more. So here are some picks that are bound to be wrong.
(Home teams in all caps)
Chiefs +8.5 vs. PATRIOTS
The Chiefs are one of those teams that I feel some sort of inherent love for as a Lions fan. Like Detroit, the Chiefs went over 20 year without a playoff win, until they finally broke the streak in 2015. The next week, they were wiped out by the Patriots.
But Kansas City has quietly been one of the most consistently good franchises recently. They’ve posted winning records in four straight years, including three 11+ win seasons. 8.5 points is way too high, even if this may be the best Patriots team we’ve seen in some time.
BILLS -11 vs. Jets
There’s nothing I like about the Jets this year. Absolutely nothing. They’ve traded or cut their best players and they didn’t even have the decency to show the world what a season would look like with Christian Hackenberg as their starting quarterback.
Tyrod Taylor has cleared concussion protocol, which should be enough to hang 30 on the Jets.
BEARS + 7 vs. Falcons
I hate to admit this, but I think the Bears are going to be better than some think and the Falcons will be a little worse. Without Kyle Shanahan calling the plays for the Falcons offense, Atlanta may struggle against a better-than-average Bears defense.
Let’s hope I’m extremely wrong and the Bears get embarrassed at home.
Ravens +2.5 vs. BENGALS
I don’t think the Bengals are going to be very good this year. But I’ve got a prediction that may get Cincy fans more excited than an AFC Championship appearance: I think this is the year Marvin Lewis finally gets canned.
Steelers -10 vs. BROWNS
A disgruntled Le’Veon Bell won’t be enough to stop this impressive Steelers offense.
I really like what the Browns are doing over there in Cleveland, but it’s going to take some time for this team to develop, and more importantly, rid themselves of their snake-bitten curse. First overall pick Myles Garrett suffering an ankle injury during game week was just too predictable.
LIONS vs. Cardinals - TBD
Nope. You’re going to have to wait until Friday’s “On Paper” like a good boy or girl.
Raiders +1 vs. TITANS
The Raiders are a legit Super Bowl candidate this year, and that has me all sorts of excited. The NFL benefits from an excellent Raiders team, and if that Raiders team also happens to have Marshawn Lynch, I’m in NFL heaven. I’m with you, Greg Moore, give me a Raiders-Lions Super Bowl.
WASHINGTON (even) vs. Eagles
The NFC East is always a complete coin toss. A Week 1 matchup between two NFC East teams is literally the least predictable thing in the world. You’re better off trying to guess who will be on the next Lions injury report.
TEXANS (-5.5) vs. Jaguars
This will be an emotional game nearly on the scale of the Saints’ home game after Katrina. Houston is going to be an unbelievable sight Sunday afternoon, but don’t sleep on the Texans without all the emotional boost. J.J. Watt is back, and even if they still don’t have a quarterback, this is a 10-win team.
RAMS (-3) vs. Colts
If you’re a fan of the PODcast, you’ve probably heard me call Jared Goff a goober no less than a dozen times. I stand by that. But we saw what the Colts offense looks like with Scott Tolzien behind center. I would think about picking the Jets against the Rams right now, especially if Aaron Donald is still holding out.
Seahawks (+3) vs. PACKERS
It’s Week 1. I don’t need a better rationalization for a pick than “I hate the Packers.”
Panthers (-5.0) vs. 49ERS
The 49ers are in complete rebuild. The Panthers are due to bounce back after a humbling 2016 season. Get ready for Cam Newton to start handing out touchdowns again.
COWBOYS (-4) vs. Giants
Two NFC East matchups in Week 1 of the NFL? What did we do to deserve this kind of Hell?
You know when Tom Brady plays angry and destroys everything in his path? That’s what Ezekiel Elliott is going to do in what could be his last game for the next six weeks. Giants, you’re the cherry to Zeke’s Pacman. He gonna eat.
VIKINGS (-3) vs. Saints
I’m scared of the Vikings, y’all, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I think this could be a blowout. You’ve been warned.
BRONCOS (-3) vs. Chargers
The Chargers are a team that I think could surprise people this year, but I just can’t shake the image of them being the biggest chokers in the league. Also, I hate them for moving to LA. I will spite-pick in Week 1 and not apologize for it.