I got busy with high school stuff and forgot to pick the Redskins-Giants game, so it will be a shortened slate this week. The first week is always one of the toughest to handicap, so here we go.
Cincinnati (-1.5) at Baltimore
I personally can’t wait for the debut of Chad Ocho Cinco. The fact that we have to refer to him in stories as that gives me a lot of joy. Seriously. I guess the Joe Flacco era in Baltimore is premiering too, but I’m not nearly as stoked about that.
Bengals 21, Ravens 13
N.Y. Jets (-3) at Miami
ESPN’s Mark Schlereth actually picked the Jets as a Super Bowl sleeper because of Brett Favre. I almost threw up in my mouth. Favre is a Hall of Fame and top 10 all-time QB, but I’m sick of hearing about him. Picking a minor upset here.
Dolphins 20, Jets 16
Kansas City (+15.5) at New England
Yep, the Patriots looked awful in the preseason. Yeah, apparently Brady has a sore foot. No, I don’t think the Chiefs have any shot to win. No, the fact that Upland graduate Tyron Brackenridge is on the team doesn’t change my mind.
Patriots 34, Chiefs 17
Houston (+6) at Pittsburgh
It’s too bad the Texans are in the brutal AFC South, because they are a playoff sleeper in any other division. Their defense is going to be a borderline killer. However, I can’t see the Steelers losing their home opener. Houston will cover though.
Steelers 23, Texans 21
Jacksonville (-3) at Tennessee
Two years ago, Vince Young was the hottest thing since sliced bread. Now, he looks barely able to run an NFL offense. However, VY was good enough to get the Titans to the playoffs last year and should be good enough to beat a distracted Jags team.
Titans 19, Jaguars 13
Detroit (-3) at Atlanta
It’s boggling to me that the Lions could ever be favored on the road. But for the second straight year, it’s happened. Of course, it helps when you are playing terrible teams like the Falcons in Week 1. Detroit covers this nicely.
Lions 24, Falcons 13
Seattle (+1) at Buffalo
At first, this line threw me for a loop. All I’ve heard about the Bills lately is their desire to move to Toronto at a later date. But Buffalo has been extremely scrappy (ask the Cowboys) and Seattle has every receiver but Nate Burleson nicked up. I’m going with Vegas on this.
Bills 21, Seahawks 17
Tampa Bay (+3) at New Orleans
Really tough game to call. On one hand, the Saints were forced to spend the entire week in Indianapolis because of Hurricane Gustav. However, the Saints tend to rock out in NO after returning from natural disasters. I think Tampa takes this, though I wouldn’t put money on this game unless my life depended on it.
Buccaneers 24, Saints 23
St. Louis (+8) at Philadelphia
The non-Cowboys hype out of the NFC East has been directed toward the Eagles, and for good reason. Donovan McNabb is 100 percent and the Eagles were one of the tougher outs during the last half of last season. St. Louis is kind of a mess, which is what this game will be.
Eagles 27, Rams 13
Dallas (-5.5) at Cleveland
This game should be the most entertaining of the weekend. Both the Cowboys and Browns can pass and score with the best of them, so expect the scoreboard at Cleveland Browns Stadium to get a workout. I have more faith in the Dallas D than the Dawg Pound though.
Cowboys 35, Browns 24
Carolina (+8.5) at San Diego
This was a tough matchup for the Panthers away. Without Steve Smith and with a still shaky Jake Delhomme, its near impossible. I can’t see any way the Panthers win this.
Chargers 28, Panthers 10
Arizona (-2.5) at San Francisco
I don’t know what it is, but the 49ers have some sort of hex on the Cardinals. San Francisco was putrid last year, but still grinded out two wins against an Arizona team that otherwise would have likely gone to the playoffs. You see where I’m going with this.
49ers 17, Cardinals 16
Chicago (+9.5) at Indianapolis
This rematch of Super Bowl XLI could be pretty boring. Who knows how healthy Peyton Manning really is and who knows if the Bears are capable of scoring on any defense in the NFL. I say the Colts grind out an ugly one.
Colts 20, Bears 10
Minnesota (+2.5) at Green Bay
Guess what the storyline here is going to be? If you guessed “Where’s Brett?”, you win. I’m not sure what you win besides my respect, but really, what more do you need? I’m guessing the Packers take this.
Packers 20, Vikings 14
Denver (-3) at Oakland
Both of these teams should be better than Kansas City. Besides that, I don’t know what to expect. Jay Cutler looks ready to roll, but has no one to throw to with the absence of Brandon Marshall. Even if Marshall was there, the Raiders’ 1-2 CB combo of Nnamdi Asomugha and DeAngelo Hall are fierce. I’m going with the home team.
Raiders 23, Broncos 20