Finally, the NFL offseason is over and I have some chance at redemption after doing worse than a thousand monkeys chained to a thousand typewriters last year. I went 114-135-9. However, I’m confident I will show marked improvement this year (really I’m just playing the numbers here; I have to do better, right? Right?).
It looks like 2009 could be the year of the awful team. There are a lot of bad teams – betting against the Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Browns, Lions and Rams every game will probably turn out enough winners to earn you money on the year.
Regardless of how my picks go, the far more important thing is that NFL football is back. No longer will I waste precious brainpower by having to think, “What do I want to do with my Sunday?”
On to the picks.
Home team in CAPS
STEELERS (-6) over Titans
Is anyone else supremely concerned that everything for the Titans hinges on Kerry Collins having back-to-back good seasons? As much as I like Chris Johnson and the defense, I’m not seeing the Titans going anywhere near 13-3 again.
FALCONS (-4) over Dolphins
It seems everyone in the world thinks the Dolphins’ performance last year was a fluke. I won’t say I 100% agree, but I’m certainly wary of them.
RAVENS (-13) over Chiefs
Firing your offensive coordinator right before the start of the season is a good way to have no one bet on you in Week 1. In addition, Cassel is banged up and hasn’t looked good all preseason, and who knows what’s going on at running back in KC. Yes, 13 points is a ton to give a team, but I don’t see the Chiefs scoring one point, so I’ll take my chances with Baltimore. Interesting related betting fact: the Ravens won eight games by 13+ points last year.
PANTHERS (+1.5) over Eagles
Oh God, please let the Eagles lose their first two games so the entire city of Philadelphia can start demanding Michael Vick come in and start at QB. Fun note from watching Vick this preseason in Philly: after he would throw an inaccurate pass, the home announcers would like say things like, “He’s just working off the rust. You gotta remember, he’s been away from the game for two years.” Completely ignoring the fact that Vick never threw accurate passes. Also oblivious to that fact: seemingly 90% of Philadelphians.
Worth noting, Philadelphia is favored at Carolina, where the Panthers were undefeated in the regular season last year.
BENGALS (-4) over Broncos
This is much more a condemnation of the Broncos than support of the Bengals. Although, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying Hard Knocks has given me higher than realistic expectations for the Bengals. I’m thinking things like, “man, Ochocinco really looks motivated. AND Marvin Lewis really wants to win.” But is Cincinnati really going to be good this year? Child, please.
Vikings (-4) over CLEVELAND
Eric Mangini has not officially announced his starting QB yet (it’s Brady Quinn). I guess the thought here was to keep the Vikings guessing (hey, it’s Brady Quinn), but did he think that people weren’t going to figure it out by seeing who took the most snaps at practice? (It was Brady Quinn) Also, do you really gameplan for Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson that differently? “Oh no guys, we’re facing the Sucktastrophe, not the Bucket of Suck, change everything!” LOCK OF THE WEEK.
TEXANS (-4.5) over Jets
Last year, rookie quarterbacks did great. This year the world corrects its past mistakes.
Jaguars (+7) over COLTS
The Jags always seem to play the Colts close and don’t forget, just two years ago the Jags were looking like a force to be reckoned with for years to come, it’s possible 2008 was just an aberration.
SAINTS (-13) over Lions
You may be unaware that the Lions went 0-16 last year and have lost 17 straight games. I’m not bringing this up to share any specific points about what that means for the team’s outlook this season, simply to make myself feel better about my own record last year.
BUCCANEERS (+6) over Cowboys
As I said earlier, firing your offensive coordinator right before the start of the season makes it hard for people to bet on your team. That said, the Cowboys have shown me nothing to believe they should be a 6-point favorite on the road.
49ers (+6.5) over CARDINALS
Look for Alex Smith and Matt Leinart to be crying in each other’s arms from across the sideline. The #1 pick of the 2005 draft and the guy who would have been the #1 pick had he came out that year both are not starting QBs in 2009, and look as if they won’t be anytime soon.
Redskins (+6.5) over GIANTS
I have no real basis for this decision. I think the spread is too high despite how the Giants manhandled the Redskins twice last year. The Giants have no wide receivers; that’s gotta be a problem somewhere down the line.
Rams (+8.5) over SEAHAWKS
It’s tough to make the Seahawks 8.5-point favorites against anyone.
PACKERS (-3.5) over Bears
Like lots of people, I’m high on the Packers and I’m not sure why. They were a huge disappointment last year, particularly on defense. Will the switch to a 3-4 really make them all that much better?
PATRIOTS (-11) over Bills
The Patriots weakness (if it exists) will be their defense. But that is not a problem because Buffalo’s offense might be horrid - and we all know how T.O. reacts on teams that are bad. Could be a fun season in Buffalo.
Chargers (-9.5) over RAIDERS
Tila Tequila tried to mess with the Chargers and Shawn Merriman this week. But she is dumb as a post, and an absolute train wreck. Hey, maybe she works for the Raiders.