Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. I love the NFL. The word “love” gets thrown around a lot to describe such silly things as cars or baseball teams or women, but I have an inexhaustible interest and passion for the National Football League. I can only think of one thing that comes close to relating how I feel about this. You know that one Chappelle Show where Tyrone Biggums is on “Fear Factor,” and he says,“I’ll tell you something you might not know about me, Joe Rogan, I smoke rocks,”? Well, just like that, I’ll tell you something you might not know about me, world, I
smoke rocks love me some football.
I love watching it. I love talking about it. I love making the occasional wager on games. I love my completely unhealthy attachment I have to the Washington Redskins. I love playing fantasy football. And I love picking games. So I decided to do something that takes some courage if not a lot of originality. I’ll be briefly previewing and picking each game against the spread every week right here as a DaoDeSam exclusive. Enjoy
LAST WEEK n/a SEASON 0-0
Lines from bodog.com or the espn pigskin pick-em game if not available on bodog
My pick in bold.
Thursday 8:30 EST
Saints +4.5 @ Packers
The season kicks off tonight with the two past Super Bowl champs squaring up. With the lockout taking out almost the entire off-season, it seems like the Packers big win back in the early days of 2011 was a million years ago. They almost never had a chance to buy into their own hype, the usual hangover curse of Super Bowl winners. Both teams have elite offenses, but I don’t feel great about either teams’ defense. The Saints’ D should be better this year, but that will always be perceived as the team’s weakness until they do something significant to change that. The Packers defense was great last year, but Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett are a year older, injuries have started to hurt them there already, and they will again have to call on unproven guys to fill big roles. I say this game is a shoot-out as both defenses will have trouble shutting down their opponent's pass attack. I say Green Bay wins, but in a close one. I think it will come down to a field goal and if you take the Saints you get the win no matter who wins by 3.
Sunday 1:00 EST
Steelers +2 @ Ravens
The Steelers offensive line has questions to answer going into this year, and my first instinct was to jump on the Ravens to take this huge game as their dominant pass rushers take over once they smell the blood in the water. Then I read Bill Barnwell’s NFL Preview Part II http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6934823/grantland-mega-nfl-preview-part-ii Barnwell notes that the Ravens actually finished last in sack rate (sacks divided by quarterback dropbacks) last year. The Ravens last in sack rate? It’s true. It gets worse for the Ravens in the defensive backfield. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are back, but, again, a year older, and they lost their best corner, Josh Wilson, to my ‘skins. If they struggle to put pressure on Roethlisberger, he could have a field day. Love Mike Wallace for fantasy purposes as well, likely to get matched up with rookie Jimmy Smith. Welcome to the NFL. (Sorry Chas)
Lions +1 @ Buccaneers
The Bucco’s are your classic team that overachieved the previous year doomed to come crashing back down to Earth. Last year they rode a weak schedule and relatively light injuries to ten wins but still missed the playoffs. The Lions have a healthy Matthew Stafford and Megatron and the nastiest D-line in football. Expect the Lions to make noise this year.
Atlanta -3 @ Bears I think both of these teams overachieved last year, but the Bears definitely more so. They won a slew of close games (7-3 in games decided by a TD or less), stayed very injury free, and have had a legitimate weapon in Devin Hester’s return ability largely neutralized due to rule changes. Atlanta has more talent, and from their off-season activity (like mortaging the near future by trading their whole draft to get Julio Jones), seem to be all in for this season. I’m not worried about giving that 3 points at all.
Bills @ Chiefs -6.5
This line is dependent on Matt Cassell playing, but I’ll still take the Chiefs in any scenario. Lots of people like the Bills chances to be a frisky team this year, but I don’t see it. They largely have the same team as last year, and although they have some exciting talent and will participate in some entertaining games, I don’t see it translating to wins this year. The hate for the Chiefs has gone too far. They are in that group of teams like the Bucs likely to backslide this year, but they still made the playoffs last year by beating up on bad teams, and are always tough to beat at Arrowhead. Look for Jamaal Charles to run wild on the Bills D.
Bengals +7 @ Browns
I don’t want to spend too much time on these teams. I would never bet on the Browns to beat anyone by more than a touchdown. That’s enough.
Titans +3 @ Jaguars
This was the line before Gerrard was cut, so it will change. Still, I like the Titans in this game. Matt Hassellbeck won’t be great, but will still be an upgrade over the Vince Young/ Rusty Smith shit sandwich from last year. This will be good for Chris Johnson, and potentially very good for Kenny Britt. Jags are a mess and will be one of the worst teams in the league this year.
Eagles @ Rams +5.5
It’s your first *Insert Sponsor Here* Upset of the Week! The self-proclaimed Dream Team has issues on the offensive line and a heavy armor suit of expectations. This may be another high scoring affair but I like the Rams to win, or at least, keep it close, and panic to start in Philly.
Colts @ Texans -2.5
Texans love starting out hot. No Manning for the Colts. Take the Texans to get everyone all excited about them again by stomping the Colts in Week 1 for the second year in a row.
Sunday 4:15 EST
Giants @ Redskins +3
Yes, I’m a homer. I’m such a big ‘skins homer, people call me Homer Skins-son. But there’s a lot about the Giants not too like: Lots of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, player turnover on the offensive line, and just Eli Manning, in general. I just don't like him. Peyton at least makes me laugh in his commercials. Eli has no redeeming qualities to me, except, of course, ruining the Pats undefeated season. Redskins seem healthy, focused, and were sharp in the preseason so I’ll take them as the home underdog, and if I’m wrong, I’ll be in a bad mood all next week, SO DON’T FUCK WITH ME!
Carolina +7 @ Cardinals
Yuck. I think the Panthers D will be much better than people think, and I think Kevin Kolb is a Kevin Fraud. I don’t know how the Eagles keep hypnotizing the rest of the league into thinking their back-up QBs are awesome. Panthers just because I’m not sure either team can score seven points.
Seahawks +6 @ 49ers
Every year people try to convince us the 49ers are going to win the NFC West and it hasn’t happened yet. And Alex Smith is still the quarterback. How are they favored by 6 over the team that won the division last year? I’ll take the Seahawks despite the fact that taking any team with Tavaris Jackson at QB makes me throw up a little in my mouth.
Vikings @ Charger -9
That’s a big line, but I think the Chargers will come out the gates Charging for a change this year after losing the AFC West to the Chiefs. Add in the fact that their biggest weakness from last year, their dreadful special teams, will be much less of a problem with the new kick-off rules.
Sunday 8:25 EST
Cowboys +4 @ Jets
As much as it pains me to say it, I think the Cowboys will come out strong early in the season as well. Jason Garret has been groomed for the head coaching job for years and this year is his first full shot. Their offense was much better after Wade Phillips was fired last year, some would say, once Garrett started calling the real plays, and that was with Jon Kitna at QB. Romo will have a big come back year, and I’m not quite convinced the Jets are as elite as everyone says they are. Their defense will keep them competitive, but I don’t trust Sanchez to be able to put up enough points to make this a bad bet.
Patriots @ Dolphins +7
On paper, this game is easy to pick. The Pats will win over ten games again this year and I think the only thing the Dolphins will be in the hunt for is Andrew Luck. However, the Pats always struggle at Miami, and the Dolphins love doing weird things to get under their skin. Plus, they’re calling for thunderstorms Monday night in Miami, so I say the Dolphins keep it close in an ugly, sloppy affair, highlighted possibly by a Reggie Bush trick play or wild cat, or return touchdown.
Raiders +3 @ Broncos
Fact you may not know. The Raiders finished 8-8 last year and 6-0 against their AFC West rivals. Despite losing Nnamdi, not even going to try to spell his last name, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery, they locked up a lot of their own young talent and I think they are still on the upswing. The Broncos were pretty bad last year, especially the defense, and I haven’t seen them do anything last year to convince me they’ll be better.
So there’s Week 1. Feel free to voice your differences in opinion in the comments, or tell me afterward how bad I suck. Enjoy this weekend, I know I will.