by Ryan Meehan
We’ve been clawing our skin off trying to figure out what to do with all of our precious free time since the opening play of Super Bowl 48, but now the waiting is finally over. The NFL is here and the withdrawals have finally ceased. It’s about goddamn time.
You’ll notice there are no records next to the names of all thirty-two teams that all playing in week one. You can look at this one of two ways: 1) That all 32 of these teams are starting with a clean slate and anything can happen, or 2) For the most part we’re well aware of which teams are going to be solid, and which ones will spend January in Cozumel where they can’t get real DUIs.
I think this year it’ll be more of the latter. With the exception of maybe one or two surprise teams (think last year’s Panthers) I think we’ll see a lot of chalk picks hanging around come playoff time. But nonetheless, it’s going to be exciting as hell and it starts right now. This is what I’ve got for Week One.
Thursday, September 4th: Green Bay Packers +5.5 at Seattle Seahawks (46)
So much for the NFL’s year long campaign to keep the Seahawks and their annoying ass fan base off of TV, Seattle won the championship and fair is fair. Therefore, they will host the first game of the NFL season and will get to celebrate their franchise’s first championship with seventy thousand baristas screaming at the top of their lungs. This game will be a rematch of the “Fail Mary” game in which Seattle was wrongfully awarded a victory against Green Bay during a Monday Night game when Golden Tate didn’t come down with the ball. If my memory serves me correctly a deal was reached with the replacement refs the next day, and we started to comprehend that just because refs don’t sell jerseys doesn’t mean they aren’t important. The Seahawks are going to have to produce more offense before they can even consider becoming a dynasty, and look for Pete Carroll to try and use a few guys that might not be on your radar as tailbacks to try and throw Clay Matthews’ mullet in a knot. I still have questions about Seattle’s offense because the Bears’ preseason unit was hardly a test, so I wouldn’t recommend taking the over on the point total.
Seahawks 24, Packers 15
New Orleans Saints -2.5 at Atlanta Falcons (51.5)
What everybody wants to know about this game is which Atlanta Falcons team we’re going to see this year. Is it going to be the one who came very close to advancing to Super Bowl XLVII, or the one that curled up and died after week three last season? We know what we’re going to see from Brees here…a lot of good fantasy lines and solid play. But that being said, Matt Ryan could easily come out swinging and outduel him. I don’t think that will happen because New Orleans is going to be a lot better on defense, and although what we’ll see in this game is more impressive than our last recollection of the Falcons I still don’t think it’ll be enough. I’m expecting New Orleans to cover, although I don’t say that with as much confidence as I exhibit when exposing my genitals at the bus station.
Saints 30, Falcons 23
Minnesota Vikings +3.5 at St. Louis Rams (43.5)
If you’re in the market for some quality football, you’ve come to the wrong place. The Vikings’ five year plan is starting to look more and more like maybe they should have just packed up and moved to Los Angeles instead of building a new stadium. No matter how many ridiculous stories ESPN can come up with about Michael Sam’s showering tendencies when he was with the team, they can’t change the fact that this is a game between two teams that are a lock for last place in their respective divisions. It’s looking a lot like Adrian Peterson will be headed to Dallas at some point, and the Rams aren’t getting out of the NFC West without the help of whichever jihadist terror group is the hot commodity in Syria come the end of November. But even without the help of those who are threatening to destroy the infidels, I still like the Rams to win a bad game that I won’t watch.
Rams 20, Vikings 16
Cleveland Browns +7 at Pittsburgh Steelers (43.5)
I’m picking Cleveland for no other reason than the fact that I think the Big Ben era Steelers are completely toast, and that Cleveland is headed in the right direction…even though it’s going to seem like an eternity for Browns fans. Pittsburgh actually doesn’t have the worst roster in the league, but the odds that they will be too stoned or suspended to run the football remains to be seen. And as far as how they will fare in the air, let’s just put it this way…How many of you own Antonio Brown in your fantasy league? I have no idea what the fuck the seven point spread is about; other than the fact that as long as Roethlisberger is still in the league there will be this group of odds makers who believes he can make the same plays he made six years ago. If we’re going to sit here and talk about how Eli Manning’s window is closing, I think the argument that Ben’s window has been nailed shut is more than valid. This pick might be out of spite, but that’s fine.
Browns 28, Steelers 13
Jacksonville Jaguars +11.5 at Philadelphia Eagles (53)
Fantasy alert: I’m not big on fantasy football and how it works, but if throwing for over three touchdowns puts you in great shape you’re going to probably want to start Nick Foles this week. He’s going to torch that defense so poorly that new logo is going to fall off their helmets, which is fine with me because it’s uglier than sin if sin’s mother was one of the Williams sisters. Jacksonville will somehow be able to find the end zone twice, but the game will be well out of reach by the time they finally do. I’m taking Philly to cover easily at home.
Eagles 37, Jaguars 17
Oakland Raiders +5.5 at New York Jets (39.5)
The Jets are a very puzzling team to me. At any moment, they could very well become the Oakland Raiders and I wouldn’t feel sorry for them. They start the season at home against a team that has no identity, no passing game, and no pass defense. Not that the Jets are very impressive either… They averaged less than 184 yards in the air last year, and when it comes to defending the pass they might as well be in the XFL. To make a long story short this game might end up being over in an hour and fifteen minutes, and look for Darren McFadden to get about twenty-nine carries in this very passable television broadcast. Oakland is looking to start David Carr’s little brother, and although he’s got a new home in the Bay Area Matt Schaub might not start another game for the rest of his life. Bottom line: Jets cover.
Jets 20, Raiders 10
Cincinnati Bengals (EVEN) at Baltimore Ravens (43)
Look, we’re not going to pussyfoot around this: Andy Dalton just got paid. He just signed a six year extension that could be worth up $115 million dollars, the most by any quarterback in NFL history that looks like Alfred E. Newman from MAD Magazine. But at the same time, he’s lost every single playoff game he’s ever started – the polar opposite of his AFC North nemesis Joe Flacco. Uncle Unibrow and the Ravens will be hosting this one in the same town where “The Wire” is filmed, and the crowd is going to be very hungry because their team did not make the 2013-2014 postseason after winning the Super Bowl the year before. I don’t expect a lot of earth shattering plays to take place here, and this one could get bloody. If you’re looking for finesse, you might want to skip this game and head on over to the hair care aisle.
Ravens 26, Bengals 16
Buffalo Bills +7.5 at Chicago Bears (47)
If you can’t stand Bears fans and are put off by their early season proclamations about how they are locks to win the Super Bowl, by Sunday night you’d better delete your Facebook account if you live anywhere near the Quad Cities. It seems like Chicago’s schedule is full of games like this: Non-challenging match-ups that they host which appear to be one of what seems like at least eleven annual home games. I want to believe that the Bills will be better, but doesn’t it seem like we go through this every year? It seems like every season is supposed to be the one where they breakout and take that division from the Patriots since New York can’t finish the job anymore, and every season they bite it. That’s why I understand the spread here. I still can’t trust the Bears defense any farther than I can throw them, but stay away from the over on the point total – You could very well lose your ass. And then what will I masturbate to?
Bears 24, Bills 10
Washington Redskins +2.5 at Houston Texans (45)
Two of the biggest disappointments in the league last year were found in Houston and the Districts of Columbia. Both teams went from making the playoffs to drowning in a sea of teams that were almost unrecognizable. The Redskins have the potential to be the worst team in the league this year. And while analysts should have spent most of the offseason criticizing their poor play and dealing with the fact that Robert Griffin is looking more and more like he’s going to have an Andre Ware type of career, instead the only thing we’re heard about the Redskins is that they’re probably going to be called the Warriors soon and that all of the broadcast networks plan to avoid using their current moniker when calling three hour football games. (Editor’s Note: I want to apologize for using the term moniker, as it may be considered offensive to the following: Monikers, Monks, Monkeys, The surviving members of the Monkees, Montel Williams, residents of Montgomery, Alabama, Mongoloids, anybody named Monique, Mocha Lattes, Lawn Mowers, and Stuffed Mushrooms…) I like the Texans to “bounce back”, but it won’t last longer than half of a month. As soon as they step to a real team they’ll end up looking a lot like…Well, the Redskins. I don’t get where 5Dimes came up with 45 here, but taking the under should be an easy bet.
Texans 20, Redskins 16
Tennessee Titans +3.5 at Kansas City Chiefs (43.5)
As I said in the AFC preview piece, there were times when I thought that the Tennessee Titans were the best team in that conference which failed to make the postseason. I also thought the Chiefs were probably the one team that made the playoffs and didn’t really deserve to. They will be decent and they do play well at home, but I still don’t see that they’ll be able to rip off 30 to 35 points against good defenses if need be. I can’t believe in Kansas City. Also, look at the line: You have to figure that you get three points in your favor for being at home, so what they’re really telling us here is the Titans are pretty much even with the Chiefs at a neutral site. The Titans are going to be so much better this year, and even though they are on the road this week I like them to win this game to make a statement. And hopefully for the rest of us, that statement will be “The Chiefs aren’t really that great after all”. Upset Special.
Titans 19, Chiefs 16
New England Patriots -5 at Miami Dolphins (47)
Although we found out last week that I have New England as my Super Bowl pick, selecting a winner for even this game was a tough one. I have to go with my instincts, but felt myself second guessing everything here. Do the Patriots have enough defensive firepower to shut down long drives where Tannehill grinds the clock to death? Will Tom Brady be sharp out of the box, or struggle right away to play an entire game with focus now that he just celebrated his 37th birthday? I have to believe that they’ll find a way, but this was probably the hardest game I had to pick all week. I also have this bizarre feeling that there’s going to be a safety in this one. Going to be a great game to watch, but awful to put money on. Steer clear, you’ve been warned.
Patriots 27, Dolphins 23
Carolina Panthers +1 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (39)
I was over at my father’s house the other day, and for some unbeknownst reason the fine folks at Sports Illustrated have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the NFC South and Team CamShaft finishing last. While I do believe the Panthers won’t be as good as last year, I also believe that 1) Sometimes Peter King and his cronies are batshit crazy; and 2) he’s got a point that the Panthers may be closer to the bottom than we might think. They are definitely closer to the bottom than the Bucs are to the top, but the season hasn’t even started yet so who knows what’s going to happen. If the Panthers are going to win at least five or six games a year, matchups like this one are going to be where they pick them up. I’m sure it’ll be a different story when they head into Seattle week eight. I like the Panthers to cover here (Who wouldn’t at plus one) but for them to slide about midway through the season.
Panthers 26, Buccaneers 18
San Francisco 49ers -4.5 at Dallas Cowboys (51)
This is the exact type of game that shows me the NFL will always have a hard time reaching fans of sports like the NHL. There is no reason that Dallas should be hosting this game at all. I don’t care how much money Jerrytown/world/diaper has in his bank account, the 49ers were one play away from going to a Super Bowl they (apparently) would have easily won yet this game is in Dallas. It figures, but I think the joke will be on Big D here. Although they’ll play well in some of the games that follow and eventually reach the postseason, Romo is going to be confused by one hell of a defensive roster that the Cowboys’ practice squad simply won’t be able to replicate. I like the 49ers to cover here.
49ers 24, Cowboys 19
Sunday Night Football: Indianapolis Colts +9 at Denver Broncos (55)
Speaking of teams that are getting rewarded for getting housed in key games…The NFL and the fine folks at NBC have decided that because they never know when Peyton Manning is going to go down for good, they will be milking as many of his performances they can possibly squeeze into prime time television until that moment comes. I get that this game was in Indy last year…I really do. But I also understand that the our last memory of the Broncos was them getting butthoused in the Super Bowl by five touchdowns after they couldn’t get the first snap correct. Indianapolis is coming off of their second straight year where they were able to get into the postseason, and their first postseason win with Luck as QB. But Vegas has this at nine, so I have to wonder if they know something I don’t. Both wagers are too close to call, but I can’t imagine Peyton just blowing it two games in a row. There’s something to be said for playing in weak divisions, and these two teams are living proof that people are listening. Insert stale Wes Welker joke here.
Broncos 31, Colts 23
Monday Night Football Doubleheader
Game One: New York Giants +5.5 at Detroit Lions (47)
Game one of the Monday Night doubleheader means they’re putting you on at 6:10 Central time. For those of you who don’t know what that translates to, it means it starts while most people on the West Coast are still at work – and nobody gives a hot high fuck about who’s playing. Everybody that called in sick that morning because they are too hungover to make it to the bathroom so they’ve just urinated in the empty Gatorade bottle next to their bed will be just waking up by the time this game is starting. By halftime, they will have fallen asleep again, and will still be a rough night’s sleep away from noticing they attempted to microwave a hot pocket before they opened up another window to surf YouPorn the night before. You know what I take from the Giants going 5-0 in the preseason? Nothing, as Tom Coughlin left most of his starters in the game for extra drives while their opponents didn’t. He didn’t trust them at all, and I don’t blame him. You know how many teams that have gone 5-0 in the preseason have actually won fewer games than that once the regular season comes to a close? If you didn’t look up that stat and instead chose to drive into oncoming traffic, congratulations as at least you won’t have to watch the end of this game.
Speaking of not needing to care, Matthew Stafford must have the easiest job in the world. He knows no matter what he does, he’ll be right back here next year seeing as how he’s the only remaining Detroit resident that pays taxes. Even if they lose this game by four touchdowns, he’ll probably be at Joey Harrington’s house after the game laughing his ass off, ripping bongs and drawing googly eyes on the zeroes at the end of his paycheck. He could still earn up to 34 million completely undeserved dollars over the next two seasons, but at least his offensive line reads at a higher level than Floyd Mayweather and that’s more than I can say for the Giants at this point. 5.5 is total bullshit here, but the Giants will still lose. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Lions will win, so keep your eyes on both of these divisions in the coming weeks.
Lions 23, Giants 19
Game Two: San Diego Chargers +3 at Arizona Cardinals (45)
I never thought in all my life I’d be excited by a Chargers / Cardinals game, but here we are and I’m thrilled. I can’t wait for this game, and I hope it goes into overtime so it’s still on at 1AM. It is funny as hell that they are paring these two teams together for the last game of the week, because last year when the regular season ended I thought that Cardinals fans must hate the Chargers because Arizona had a better record. If they were in the AFC, they would have made the postseason. But they aren’t so they didn’t, and I liked what I saw of the Chargers before they bowed out. I like them to win on the road here if they can contain Arizona’s passing game. The spread and the point total are exactly where they should be here.
Chargers 24, Cardinals 21
It’s great to be back at it, and this year’s going to be a blast. As a wise man once said, come visit us in the pen. Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.