The Infallible NFL Week 1 Straight Picks

After a nice long, but sorta obnoxious break from the most popular sport in America we find ourselves on the cusp of a new season. The offseason has been turbulent to say the least, but has been controversial indifferent ways than the last. Tom Brady has managed to skirt the Feds (for now) and the Patriots look reloaded for another run at the Super Bowl. But there are plenty of other contenders looking to get to the promised land. One thing we can say for sure, the first week of the NFL season may or may not mean anything. In the same way that having a fantasy team loaded with players on teams that are still trying at the end of the year is important, you want the best team at the end of the year not the beginning. So with that we bring you the straight picks of Week 1.

178-77. Last season’s record. Not the best. But likely better than you.

I hate you, Tom Brady.
I hate you, Tom Brady.

Pittsburgh at New England. Hate to say it, especially because they’re Cheaters, but the Pats are gonna be on the right trajectory at the end of the season once again. Miami looks tough and the Bills are solid, but there’s still not another very good team in the division. This week will be especially easier with Tom Brady but more so because they don’t have to face Le’Veon Bell. Don’t expect the Steelers to slow down so much that they don’t score a healthy amount of points. Just don’t expect them to score more than the Cheaters. Patriots 31, Steelers 27

Indianapolis at Buffalo. Indy has got arguably the best QB in the league and some solid vets with the ability to contribute still (Gore and Johnson), but how will this defense perform. Defense is what Chuck Pagano knows, too bad the Bills are way better at it than his team. And one team’s strength is another’s weakness. With all the new toys to tinker with on offense (most notably McCoy and Harvin), Rex Ryan still doesn’t have a guy to be the signal caller. Do you really believe that Tyrod Taylor has the chops to lead this team anywhere? They should’ve just played it safe with Cassel or gone with a mediocre version of one of the many mobile QBs in EJ Manuel. Colts 27, Bills 17

Green Bay at Chicago. Losing Brandon Marshall might not be a back breaker, but losing Kevin White might have tipped the scales in the wrong direction. Already needing to lean on a declining run game, Matt Forte will really have to step it up (or at least his offensive line will). Jay Cutler has gotten way too many chances to still be a starting QB. It’s really gotta be sink or swim this year for a franchise that still has something nice pieces to work with. And even without Jordy Nelson the Pack will find a way to make it work. Their defense is slowly getting back to respectable levels. Packers 34, Bears 20

Cleveland at NYJ. Just another of many games that is up in the air. The Jets are at home, but the Browns have the better defense. Will either of these teams have any offense? Can you even name BOTH starting QBs? Seriously, this is the most boring game this week. Looks like lots of running and defense. Talk about two teams that draft the least sexy picks ever. Jets 17, Browns 13

Kansas City at Houston. After watching Hard Knocks on HBO I sort of feel like the Texans could be okay. But they are basically just a different version of the Bills with no playmakers at cornerback. DeAndre Hopkins looks like an All-Pro talent and if Arian Foster ever gets back these guys could be better than average. KC has a proven D and if they can get some scoring from their WRs (provided Jeremy Maclin is stellar) then Jamaal Charles should be enough with a little Travis Kelce sprinkled in. Chiefs 30, Texans 24

Seattle at St. Louis. Mulling over this game several times I couldn’t help but think about how good the Rams were last year with no quarterback and no real running game to speak of. They might not finish second in their division but that doesn’t mean they won’t be good. Meanwhile, the Seahawks got better with Jimmy Graham (in what was the most curious trade in a while) and until Marshawn Lynch shows this wear and tear that everyone has been waiting for it’s tough to bet against them. Which is why you will find it funny that I am. Rams 24, Seahawks 21

Let's hope this is the last we hear of this guy.
Let’s hope this is the last we hear of this guy.

Miami at Washington. Behind all the controversy of RG III and the Redskins’ clown of a coach there’s been one very obvious truth; the Skins aren’t very good. They’ve got a solid running game and a couple playmakers on offense. And hey, Kirk Cousins might not be that bad. But the defense is weak and they are in the wrong division for that to be the case. Toss in an improved Dolphins squad with Suh and few solid receivers and this game could get ugly real quick. Ryan Tannehill might really come into his own this year. Dolphins 31, Redskins 10

Carolina at Jacksonville. Keith Benjamin’s injury was a big hit to an offense that didn’t get much help in the offseason. But the Panthers have a chance with a great defense. Will Cam Newton step up and will his way to a good year? Probably not. But I don’t think we get a great indication of any of that this week against the lowly Jaguars. Blake Bortles is a year better. TJ Yeldon might be a decent pro. And the defense is improving. Losing your first round pick before OTAs even begin is tough though. Panthers 20, Jaguars 16

Detroit at San Diego. In yet another toss-up of a game we have two teams with middle of the pack talent that have seemingly had aspirations for bigger and better things for a while. Even if Calvin Johnson is slowing down (he’s not, he’s just been injured), Golden Tate is a legit secondary receiver and the run game is always okay. But will Haloti Ngata be a difference maker? And Philip Rivers is essentially the Marshawn Lynch of QBs (not as talented but just stick with me here). Rivers is always expected to slow down (especially with no weapons around him) and yet he keeps coming back with well above average numbers. I’d like to see Melvin Gordon break out, but not so sure Danny Woodhead won’t steal a good bit of his touches. Chargers 28, Lions 23

New Orleans at Arizona. Carson Palmer has been awesome when he starts. He hasn’t started enough when it counts and the backups haven’t been very good in Arizona. If the offensive line can pick it up this year (and they did make a few key acquisitions) then maybe last year’s fantasy sleeper Andre Ellington won’t completely shit the bed again. And with two dynamic backs in Ingram and Spiller, all the Saints need is for both of them to actually finish an entire season. Still, New Orleans will be okay on offense with Brees to Cooks over and over. But can they play defense? The Cards can. Cardinals 23, Saints 17

Cincinnati at Oakland. Oakland looks good on paper. After trying to buy out every has-been available on the free agent market last season the Raiders finally have a young nucleus with solid talent. Not saying they will go from 3 wins to 11 or anything crazy like that, but they aren’t as much of a joke anymore. If Derek Carr can cut down on the mistakes he’s got a nice pair of receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. And who thought Gio Bernard would be a backup this time last year? Jeremy Hill just grabbed that spot and never gave it up. Bernard still has some fantasy value but has stepped aside as a bulk back. More importantly, the Bengals still can’t manage to find another receiver opposite AJ Green and can’t fully commit to their “franchise QB” Andy Dalton for some reason. Bengals 34, Raiders 24

Baltimore at Denver. It’s with a heavy heart that I make this pick. The Ravens have a very good team, but aside from the most recent Super Bowl season they haven’t fared too well against Peyton Manning. I completely expect this game to be close. But unfortunately I see Gary Kubiak’s offense working better for Baltimore than Marc Trestman’s. And while Manning is obviously regressing, it’s tough to write him off just yet. If this game were in Baltimore it would be a completely different story. But it’s not. I hope I’m wrong. Broncos 30, Ravens 21

Tennessee at Tampa Bay. In a matchup of first-year QBs, Winston and Mariota go head to head. Who comes out on top tonight might have less to do with who we think will be better long-term and who has the better team surrounding them right now. The Bucs aren’t great, but they have an improving defense and two hulking receivers in Evans and Jackson. Add in a huge TE (Seferian-Jackson) and a serviceable back or two and Tampa Bay looks promising-ish. The Titans have a mobile/intelligent leader in Mariota but not much else to rely on besides a short-route receiver in Kendall Wright and the potential for big plays and taking plays off from Dorial Green-Beckham. Buccaneers 27, Titans 24

NYG at Dallas. Will Amber Rose make Odell Beckham better? Who cares. With Beckham make Eli Manning better? Absolutely. Will Rashad Jennings stay healthy? Who the hell knows. The ‘Boys have just enough to make this silly or really close. Randy Gregory needs to step up at least until Greg Hardy comes back to beat more women….I mean, sack the quarterback. Dez Bryant will earn his money this year and Tony Romo will continue to hush the doubters in the regular season and then fail miserably beyond it. Cowboys 37, Giants 28

Former Oklahoma Sooner and new Philly teammates join a high-scoring squad.
Former Oklahoma Sooner and new Philly teammates join a high-scoring squad.

Philadelphia at Atlanta. After scoring a lot of points in meaningless games, Philly will look to keep the ball rolling and keep Sam Bradford healthy. Snagging DeMarco Murray (like he snagged his ex-friend’s wife/current fiancee) and adding Ryan Mathews along with Byron Marshall and Kiko Alonso has made the Eagles the popular pick for success this year. Don’t sleep on the Falcons. Julio Jones is a beast and the defense has improved. Not sure it will make a different this time around. Eagles 38, Falcons 28

Minnesota at San Francisco. Whether you like Adrian Peterson or not (much like Tom Brady) he’s one hell of a talent. And he will have another great year regardless of age and rust. Teddy Bridgewater actually might be what the Vikings have been looking for all these years. Don’t expect Randall Cunningham/Brad Johnson to put up a shit ton of points, but he’s got talent and good arm. Add in Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, that guy with the memorable name that sucked last year (Patterson), and Stefon Diggs (get ready people, he’s good) and you might be surprised. And who didn’t the 49ers lose from last year? Did everyone retire. Geez, I didn’t think they were that great before they lost Jim Harbaugh. But is a free-fall coming? Vikings 20, 49ers 17

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