As least that’s a common misconception.
KP and I are here to change all that.
In an effort to entertain you all, and show how little we know about the NFL in the process, my blogging and tomato-throwing partner in crime and I have thrown down the gauntlet: A season-long, against the spread, NFL pick ‘em duel to the death.
Winner takes all because that’s just how we roll.
Prior to each weekend, KP and I will have dueling posts with brief blurbs about the upcoming NFL games. Please do not run off to Vegas based on our advice and if you do, please take us along the ride. Also keep in mind, as KP is married, he’ll need a hall pass and plenty of notice.
In addition to that, we will ask a special guest to pick against us each week. Guest picks will also be compiled all season long. Our first guest of the season is Hanahan, an original Lug-Nut who we’ve known since our days at Fox. Take a bow, Han.
So without further ado, here are your “expert” picks for Week One.
SPORTSCHUMP’S GUARANTEED MAGICALLY WINNING PICKS
SEATTLE -5.5 OVER GREEN BAY
Seattle picks up where they left off last year. And while I do like Green Bay to have a decent year, five-and-a-half points isn’t all that much to lay for a team, in their prime time home opener, that should once again be the best in the NFL.
NEW ORLEANS -3 OVER ATLANTA
Most people are expecting New Orleans to be the same old Saints. Most people are also expecting Atlanta to still suck. Consider me one of those people. Saints win and cover on their road opener.
MINNESOTA +4 AT ST LOUIS
Both these teams are average at best without their starting quarterback, the St Louis Rams should be considerably worse. I hear they put an ad out on Craigslist looking for a new signal caller. A healthy dose of Adrian Peterson, even against a stout, stacked and Michael Sam-less defensive line should be well worth the four points I’m getting. I’m taking Minnesota.
PITTSBURGH -6.5 OVER CLEVELAND
I’m going to try to come up with the first Browns breakdown this pre-season that fails to mention Johnny Manziel. Whoops! Too late. Take the Steelers, lay the points and let the groundswell for Johnny Clipboard begin.
JACKSONVILLE +10 AT PHILADELPHIA
This is going to be my first of many “I really like the Jags this year” predictions until I’m either proven right or dreadfully wrong. I think Philly is overrated and will suffer a sophomore slump as opponents figure out how to stop their offense. I also think Jax is underrated. Take the ten points and if you’re really ballsy and have a Vegas connection, take Jacksonville money line.
NY JETS -4.5 OVER OAKLAND
Let’s just say this is a game I would stay away from but since I’ve now obligated myself to picking every game this season (God, this could end embarrassingly), I have no choice but to take the Jets to cover. Logic dictates that this is their home opener and they’re playing against a team that hasn’t done much the last few years and that is starting a rookie quarterback. That doesn’t mean, however, that I love the pick but I’m taking the Jets anyway.
BALTIMORE -2-OVER CINCINNATI
Baltimore only giving two in this game really lets you know how Las Vegas feels about Cincy this year. Regardless, the Bengals will be starting off this season 0-1. Take Baltimore and lay the deuce.
CHICAGO -6.5 OVER BUFFALO
There are a good number of teams this year that we have absolutely no idea about. The Bears are one of those teams. They could win ten games, they could win six. We do know, however, that the Bills will be bad. I’m taking Chicago and laying the points.
HOUSTON -3 OVER THAT TEAM FROM WASHINGTON
Rookie head coach on the road against a team that is desperately trying to put last year behind them? Houston cannot afford a slow start. That’s why I’m taking them and laying the field goal.
KANSAS CITY -5 OVER TENNESSEE
KC is another one of those “Were they for real last year” cases. I’m going to take KC and lay the points in this one. I have no real reason why other than it’s a feeling I get when I look to the West. And Tennessee hasn’t impressed me in years.
NEW ENGLAND -4.5 AT MIAMI
Pats only laying four-and-a-hook at Miami? There must be something wrong with this line… unless Dan Marino is starting for the Dolphins. Wait! Is Dan Marino starting for the Dolphins? Either way, I’ll take the Pats and bet a DVD copy of Ace Ventura on it. Any takers? LACES OUT!!!
TAMPA BAY +1 OVER CAROLINA
Cam’s got a bruised rib and Lovie is coaching his new team in their home opener. Sure the Bucs still have offensive line problems but the thousands of Buccaneers fans there to cheer on their new coach will be too drunk to notice. For those extremely valid reasons, I’m taking the Bucs and the point.
DALLAS +5.5 OVER SAN FRANCISCO
I’m going with Dallas here. There’s just been too much drama surrounding San Francisco this off-season. I’m surprised they can still field a team with all the arrests and suspensions they’ve had. Plus I don’t think Dallas will be as bad as everyone else does. I’ll take Dallas at home plus the five-and-a-half all day and feel good about it.
DENVER -7 OVER INDIANAPOLIS
You gotta love that Peyton Manning was just fined for taunting an opponent. You also gotta love that the NFL made this game the highlight of their Week One. I hear they’re calling it the Wes Welker Molly Special. I like Andrew Luck and the Colts (who doesn’t?) but I see another season of Denver putting up video game like numbers, even without their diminutive drug taker. All that starts in Week One. I’ll take Denver and lay the seven. Pop the Molly, I’m sweatin’.
NY GIANTS + 5 AT DETROIT
Why does it seem like the Giants play an incredibly difficult opponent every week? I like the G-Men to rebound from a disappointing and dysfunctional 2013. They looked in sync this pre-season and I still feel Detroit has too many holes to be a legit contender. I’ll take the G-Men and the five.
SAN DIEGO +3 AT ARIZONA
I’ll take the Chargers in this one. Haven’t they started out every season strong recently only to fade late? Why would this season be any different?
HANAHAN’S INITIAL GUEST HOST SACRIFICIAL LAMB PICKS
Seahawks (-6) smack the Pack behind that stout defense.
Vikes (+3.5) over the Rams in a game of “who’s the QB?” for both teams.
Saints (-3) march in, and through Atlanta.
Ravens (-1.5) tame the Bengals. Whatever happened to the AFC North?
Chiefs (-3.5) give the Titans their first, of many losses.
Bills (+7) make sure Bears’ fans don’t get their hopes up too soon this year.
Texans (-2.5) tan the Redskins hides. Don’t go calling the PC po-po on me now.
Raiders (+5.5) take down the Jets in NYC. What, too soon?
Jags (+10) stay close at Philly. Didn’t the Eagles get blown out in week one last year?
Steelers (-7) clown the Browns. Hey, you’re starting the wrong QB… and WR… and RB… and, well you get the picture.
Pats (-5) destroy my Dolphins. Someone call PETA for me.
49ers (-4.5) gun down the Cowboys, making Jerry Jones’s botox boil.
Panthers (-2) sink the Bucs, without a Wendy Peffercorn in sight.
Broncos (-7.5) horsewhip the Colts. Hey, Welker let’s party!
Giants (+5.5) tame the Lions in the Lock. Of. The. Week.
Cards (-3) shock the Chargers in a game that no one will watch after halftime.
KEVIN’S FRIGHTFULLY WRONG AND RIGHT ON TIME PICKS
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (-6)
What a great opener! The Packers bolstered its defense during the offseason, while Aaron Rodgers is healthy and ready to push Green Bay’s offense back to elite status. But this is versus the Super Bowl champs, and on Seattle’s home turf. Everyone knows how tough it is to beat the Seahawks in Seattle. Imagine how amped that crowd will be, starting a new season as the returning champions. I love Green Bay this year, but it’s too risky to pick the Pack to win in Seattle. Rodgers should keep it close, though.
Against the Spread: Green Bay Packers
Straight Up: Seattle Seahawks
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (+3)
Atlanta should see a bounce back year offensively, with Roddy White and Julio Jones both healthy. The defense is still a question mark, as is the run game, headlined by the injury prone Steven Jackson. But I like the Saints’ overall talent much more on both sides of the ball. Even though it’s a road game, New Orleans will still feel at home, while playing on turf. Atlanta’s D won’t be able to slow down Drew Brees.
Against the Spread: New Orleans Saints
Straight Up: New Orleans Saints
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams (-3.5)
The Rams will go with Shaun Hill, with Sam Bradford out for the year. St. Louis lacks the offensive firepower and will need a strong game from its talented defensive line, if it hopes to contain Adrian Peterson. The Vikings are a major question mark on defense, especially in its secondary. But Norv Turner should provide a spark to the offense, not only with Peterson, but also with the young and explosive Cordarrelle Patterson. Oh, and by the way, the Rams play on turf, too. Take the Vikes, even with Matt Cassel starting at quarterback.
Against the Spread: Minnesota Vikings
Straight Up: Minnesota Vikings
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Brian Hoyer performed poorly during the preseason, yet still earned the starting nod over the immature and inconsistent Johnny Manziel. Josh Gordon – Cleveland’s best offensive weapon – is also suspended and out for the season. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, made some solid moves during the offseason, and should be primed for an opening week romp over its division rivals. Go with Big Ben and the Steelers.
Against the Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers
Straight Up: Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (-11)
The Jags have some promising young talent, but Week 1 will be featuring Chad Henne and Toby Gerhart. On the other side, we have the Eagles playing at home, headlined by Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense that features LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, Darren Sproles and Jeremy Maclin. This game sure looks like a blowout on paper. Hey, I’m writing this on paper, so…
Against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles
Straight Up: Philadelphia Eagles
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets (-5.5)
This is the ugliest matchup of Week 1. The Raiders will start rookie Derek Carr, and made an interesting offseason signing when they inked Maurice Jones-Drew. Otherwise, the Raiders are the Raiders. The Jets have a QB combo of Geno Smith and Michael Vick, accompanied by an aging Chris Johnson, and Eric Decker, who is out to prove that he can make an impact without Peyton Manning. It’s an ugly matchup, but I expect a close game. Give the slight edge to the home team, in this case, the Jets.
Against the Spread: Oakland Raiders
Straight Up: New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-1.5)
Two of three teams expected to compete for the AFC North division title. The Ravens hope it addressed some of its offensive woes by adding the likes of Gary Kubiak and Steve Smith. Cincinnati returns a lot of its talent, and hopes for additional growth from players like Giovani Bernard. Call this one a tossup, and therefore, I give the slightest edge to the home team. Ravens win on a late field goal.
Against the Spread: Baltimore Ravens
Straight Up: Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears (-7)
The combination of Cutler, Forte, Marshall and Jeffery will be tough for the Bills to handle, especially playing on the road. Rookie Sammy Watkins has been battling through injuries during the preseason, which should be a concern for the Buffalo offense. It’s hard to imagine E.J. Manuel keeping up with Chicago’s overall attack on both sides of the ball. Bears win by double digits.
Against the Spread: Chicago Bears
Straight Up: Chicago Bears
Washington Redskins at Houston Texans (-3)
This is an interesting battle between two rookie head coaches, Bill O’Brien and Jay Gruden. The Redskins have plenty of offensive firepower, but Robert Griffin III was inconsistent in the preseason, and continues to be an injury risk due to a lack of sliding on the field. The Texans have the offensive weapons, but feature an inconsistent Ryan Fitzpatrick at the QB position. My gut tells me that J.J. Watt and the Houston defense will force numerous RGIII mistakes, and defense wins this game.
Against the Spread: Houston Texans
Straight Up: Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-4)
Ken Whisenhunt had a lot of success early in his first head coaching job, and he could again with a solid amount of talent on his young Titans team. Kansas City may see a drop-off this season, after losing three offensive linemen from last year’s squad. The Chiefs, however, always get a solid backing from its home crowd, and Andy Reid will have his team ready. Chefs win by a field goal over the scrappy Titans.
Against the Spread: Tennessee Titans
Straight Up: Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+5.5)
The Patriots added Darrelle Revis on defense, plus a few veteran receivers on offense. Rob Gronkowski claims to be healthy and Vince Wilfork should be, too. Last year’s young receivers have had time to gel more with Tom Brady. All signs point to a big season for the Patriots. The Dolphins are expected to be a middle of the road type team, yet always seem to play New England tough at home. It’s Week 1, and teams are still getting the rust off. Tannehill started strong last year, and I think he keeps it close.
Against the Spread: Miami Dolphins
Straight Up: New England Patriots
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2)
Cam Newton is hurting and the Panthers have a bunch of unproven receivers. The defense should still give teams fits. Lovie Smith as one of the more underrated coaches in the game. He should spark this Tampa team, and I like the Bucs to win its opener at home.
Against the Spread: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Straight Up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (+5)
DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Sean Lee are all absent from this year’s defensive roster in Dallas. The Cowboys were awful on defense last season, so imagine what could happen if no one steps up? There are only so many shootouts that Tony Romo and the Cowboys can win. Expect Colin Kaepernick to have a big day, and the Niners cover on the road.
Against the Spread: San Francisco 49ers
Straight Up: San Francisco 49ers
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-7.5)
Not having Wes Welker might hurt a little bit, but not as much as one would think, considering that Peyton Manning brings the best out of any receiver. The Colts have plenty of offense to stick with Denver for most of the game. Denver has too much talent in the end, and playing at home, takes this one by a touchdown (in a high-scoring affair). Let’s say the absence of Welker keeps Denver from covering.
Against the Spread: Indianapolis Colts
Straight Up: Denver Broncos
New York Giants at Detroit Lions (-6)
The Giants are still adjusting to a new offensive scheme, while Eli Manning is coming off a frustrating 2013 campaign. New York is going to need some time to get its offense going. On the other side, the Lions open at home, with some lofty expectations. Calvin Johnson should have a big night, causing plenty of headaches for an overmatched New York defense. Lions cover at home.
Against the Spread: Detroit Lions
Straight Up: Detroit Lions
San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals (-3)
This should be a fun one. Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and the San Diego offense can score in bunches, while many expect Carson Palmer and Andre Ellington to have productive seasons in Arizona (under Bruce Arians). The line on this game also makes it tough, and since I expect it to be a close game, I’m going more with a gut feeling. Arizona has lost some key players on defense, and therefore, give the slight edge to San Diego. Chargers win this one outright on the road.
Against the Spread: San Diego Chargers
Straight Up: San Diego Chargers