by Eight Thirty Seven with guest picks courtesy of Dubsism and Jason from Indiana
It’s finally here. It feels like forever ago when the Seahawks basically threw away the Super Bowl, and if you’re like me you’ve about had it with all of the political discourse that has taken place since that day. I’m in the mood for some feel good news, and I’m trusting that the NFL will provide me with just that in 2015. Trades have been made, free agents have switched uniforms, and several of the teams in the league look very different this year. Although everyone starts 0-0 all over again, I’m posting last season’s records because they are worth noting. I don’t see any perennial bottom feeders making any serious headway, and – be honest with me Titans fans – you don’t either. Let’s take a look at what I think will go down in week one of the NFL season this year. Thanks to Dubsism yet again for coming in with bets at the buzzer.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) +7 at New England Patriots (12-4) (51)
Now that Tom Brady’s bullshit suspension has been overturned, the Patriots can go back to the business of football instead of worrying about having to show up in court for no reason every three days. They have a great opportunity to make an example out of one of last year’s playoff teams in the opener, as they’ll be hosting a much different looking Pittsburgh Steelers team. I wouldn’t be the least bit stunned if they come out and just exploit the hell out of a secondary that no longer includes Troy Polamalu and go for the throat right away. They’ve got all year to work that running game, but in this one that will only do so much good and you just know the hoodie wants to show Commissioner Donkeypunch McMonsterfelch he’s not fucking around. The line on this game jumped from two and a half points to seven, as if you weren’t already aware of how important Tom Brady was to the Patriots offense. I thought it was set too low to begin with, and I’m not a big fan of these lofty expectations everyone is setting for the Steelers. I like New England to cover – seriously people, this is free money – but I think Bill will get conservative once he gets a comfortable fourth quarter lead so I still like the under on the point total. That being said I don’t see why it’s necessary to place an additional bet when the other is such a sure thing.
837’s Prediction: Patriots 31, Steelers 18
J-Dub: $20 Patriots cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: New England -7 over Pittsburgh
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) -2.5 at Buffalo Bills (9-7) (46)
Rex Ryan is really rolling the dice this season, putting all of his chips on Tyrod Taylor. Which is weird, because usually Rex doesn’t usually share his chips with anybody. This year he has the defense to get away with making a bold choice like that, while Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel sit on the sidelines and wonder what the hell happened. The Colts are coming off of an AFC Championship game in which they got rolled by the Pats, but I still think they are an elite team. Luck is going to see a lot of different looks and a few of them may catch him off-guard, but as long as he can get out of this one without throwing an interception he should be fine. I’m more concerned about Indy’s defense, just not this game in particular. I think they’ll be able to rattle the new guy plenty, and they play on a synthetic field already. Plus, it’s not like it will be cold in Buffalo so they should be fine here. I like Indy to cover a small spread but I wouldn’t tamper with the total.
837’s Prediction: Colts 27, Bills 19
J-Dub: $25 Colts cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Indianapolis-2.5 over Buffalo
Cleveland Browns (7-9) +2.5 at New York Jets (4-12) (40)
The Browns finishing a game under .500 last year was actually a hell of an achievement when you consider how difficult their schedule was. Every other team in that division made the AFC postseason, so a 7-9 finish was pretty damn impressive if you ask me. But this year, they won’t be able to rely on Brian Hoyer to put up what were respectable but not playoff-worthy performances such as those. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to beat the Jets, who look like they’re ready for yet another disastrous season. New York is trusting Chan Gailey to fix all of their offensive issues, which is sort of like hiring a donkey to paint your living room…but it’s not like he can do any worse with what he’s got, which isn’t much. What a complete and utter mess. I’m not expecting that much out of the Browns this year, and apparently Vegas isn’t either as they have Cleveland as a two and a half point underdog here which is a little shocking. I’d stay away from this one on both ends, but if I had a knife to my throat I’d take the Browns by seven in a bad game where I’d throw a dart with a blindfold on and take the under. Please don’t watch this game on television. Thanks.
837’s Prediction: Browns 23, Jets 16
J-Dub: $20 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: Cleveland +2.5 over New York Jets
Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) -3 at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) (41)
Back in May of 2015 the NFL denied former Jags wide receiver Justin Blackmon reinstatement, and on September 1st it was announced that the rights to his services were acquired by the Toronto Argonauts. Why does this matter? Well, he’s most recent example of anything the Jaguars have had going for them…and he didn’t even suit up last year. Carolina won a bad division by having a tie on their resume, and there’s not a whole lot that their strong linebacking corps can do to score points. So that burden falls on the shoulders of Cam Newton, who despite having strong shoulders isn’t somebody you’d want to have take your grandmother to bridge club. The NFC South is still up in the air this year as you never know how the Saints and the Falcons are going to do year to year, but even then I’d say this is still a must win for the Panthers because they have to be able to beat a team like the Jags in the season opener otherwise no one is going to take them seriously. I have nothing to say about Jacksonville until they give me a reason to do so. The under is a solid lock – neither one of these teams is an offensive juggernaut – and if there is solace in anything it’s that it would technically be impossible for you to watch the Jets/Browns game and this one all at the same time. Carolina covers, but not as easily as one might expect and that’s precisely why this line is as small as it is to begin with.
837’s Prediction: Panthers 17, Jaguars 13
J-Dub: I can’t bring myself to put money on this turd-fest, but if you put a gun to my head, I’d say Panthers cover the spread.
Jason from Indiana: Carolina -3 over Jacksonville
Green Bay Packers (12-4) -7 at Chicago Bears (5-11) (50)
This ought to be hilarious. Bears fans are going to be shitting themselves when they win the coin toss, and Jay Cutler leads that joke of an offense down the field for a touchdown on the first drive of the game. At every dump of a watering hole anywhere in the Quad Cities area, you’ll be informed that the Monsters of the Midway are back and this is the beginning of what’s sure to be an undefeated season for smokin’ Jay and his legions of bandwagon followers. But then Aaron Rodgers will slowly find his groove and by the end of the second quarter, you’ll see exactly why this is consistently the most overrated and irrelevant rivalry in football. The Bears could very well be beyond terrible this season, and I would have to believe after collapsing in the NFC Championship game last year Green Bay is going to come out pretty angry on the offensive side of the ball. Packers cover with no issue, and perhaps hell will freeze over and Bears fans will shut up for a week. I said “perhaps”. It might be overthinking things, but I even like the under on this one as well.
837’s Prediction: Packers 33, Bears 16
J-Dub: $50 Packers cover the spread, $25 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: Green Bay -7 over Chicago
Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) EVEN at Houston Texans (9-7) (40.5)
This interesting: Two teams that finished with the same record that I couldn’t possibly have different opinions of. I really think that Houston could surprise a lot of people this year and win ten games, whereas I’d be shocked if Kansas City hit .500. Alex Smith looked great in preseason, but we all know how irrelevant that is and starting out on the road in Houston against that defense won’t be easy. We’re going to find out just how effective Jeremy Maclin is in this game, and I’m guessing that it’s going to take a couple of weeks to figure that out but I’d be shocked if he could post a hundred yards against the Texans. Houston will look much different on offense, but they need a breakout season from both Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins in order to get to that elusive ten win mark by the end of the regular season. Hoyer can succeed for a while in the game manager role, but eventually they’ll need more out of him. They won’t here, and I like the Texans to win at home. I’ll take the over but just barely, and as Heath Ledger’s doctor once famously said after writing an Ambien prescription “Be careful with that shit”.
837’s Prediction: Texans 23, Chiefs 20
J-Dub: Betting on this game would be a sure sign you have a problem
Jason from Indiana: Houston even over Kansas City
Miami Dolphins (8-8) -4 at Washington Redskins (4-12) (43)
This is one of the many games in the fiftieth NFL season in which a previous Super Bowl matchup will take place to commemorate the SB era. In this case, it’s a rematch of Super Bowls XVII and VII – the latter being the source of one of the most hilarious moments in all Super Bowl history when Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian was intercepted and the Dolphins’ perfect season was put on hold for one more year. Miami picked up Brandon Marshall from the Bears this offseason, which should be a great addition for Ryan Tannehill to break his trend of NFL mediocrity. On paper this looks like it should be a total blowout, but be careful because this might be a potential trap game that could go either way. Kirk Cousins might come out and prove that maybe it was more than just the offensive line that was making RG3 look as bad as he really is during the preseason, although sure as I probably couldn’t get a used tampon to stick to my Facebook wall…it’s not bloody likely. I’m going to say the Dolphins do cover here, but I’m very leery about how it will all go down and this one could be closer than you think. I have the same lack of confidence in the point total bet because I have it hitting that number dead on, so I guess what I’m really saying here is don’t touch this game period – It’s not worth it.
837’s Prediction: Dolphins 26, Redskins 17
J-Dub: $100 Dolphins cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Miami -4 over Washington
Seattle Seahawks (12-4) -4 at St. Louis Rams (6-10) (41)
If Pete Carroll hadn’t tempted fate by sticking his dick in the paper cutter on the one yard line of Super Bowl 49, the Seahawks would be two time Super Bowl champions and likely hosting this game which would probably feature a different opponent that they didn’t lose to at this same site last year. But Carroll and Bevell just had to tempt fate, and now Russell Wilson is stuck facing a defensive line that is going to be up in his face all afternoon long. This will be our first chance to see how well Jimmy Graham fits into Seattle’s offensive scheme, and our first look at Nick Foles wearing a Rams uniform in a meaningful game. Remember it took the Seahawks until week ten against the Giants to really get rolling last year, so they have a tendency to start slow. Color me crazy (Realistically, I’d prefer if you’d didn’t color me at all or report me to the local insane asylum. Thanks.) but I’m calling the upset of the week here. I even like the over on the total, but if I’m wrong you didn’t read it on this website!
837’s Prediction: Rams 24, Seahawks 20
Jason from Indiana: St. Louis +4 over Seattle
Detroit Lions (11-5) +2.5 at San Diego Chargers (9-7) (45.5)
I’m expecting a slide in productivity this year for the Lions and for the Chargers to have a very good season so it’s hard for me to take Detroit on the road in this one. Plus the Lions play like shit in the sun, and they don’t currently have a very strong running game at all. The over is a lock, and I’m not quite sure why it’s set so low to begin with. I mean, the Lions don’t have Suh plugging up the middle anymore and you have to figure that Stafford is going to throw the ball at least forty times here. So combine that with the fact that this is a home game for San Diego and I’m puzzled as to why the oddsmakers thing these two teams will produce less than 46 points. I’ll select the Chargers to cover, but it’s shaky and I’m way more intrigued by the point total for sure. I wish I had more to say about this one because it should be a great match-up.
837’s Prediction: Chargers 27, Lions 24
J-Dub: $50 on the Chargers
Jason from Indiana: San Diego -2.5 over Detroit
New Orleans Saints (7-9) +2.5 at Arizona Cardinals (11-5) (47.5)
This one is difficult for me because all truth be told, I expect nothing big out of either one of these teams this season. Our last look at Arizona was in that playoff game where Carolina ate what little was left of a very poor offense alive, while horrified zoo goers looked on and scampered to cover the eyes of their ugly children who couldn’t believe what was happening to a team that started 9-1. I don’t know what to think about the Saints. They have a guy who could win the passing crown easily every year if Aaron Rodgers was a professional male escort, but as it stands right now they don’t have anybody for him to throw to other than Marques Colston. Arizona plays very well at home, so I think I’m going to take them to cover and for Drew Brees to struggle a lot in this one. He won’t struggle in every game, but opening up against the Cardinals on the road is going to suck for him because no matter how unproductive their offense is their D is for real. I like the Cardinals to actually score a defensive or special teams touchdown that will be a total morale killer for New Orleans and keep them on top for good. Arizona covers and I’m taking the under on the point total even though I don’t feel great about it.
837’s Prediction: Cardinals 26, Saints 19
J-Dub: $75 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: Arizona -2.5 over New Orleans
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) +5 at Denver Broncos (12-4) (49)
This one is tricky. Baltimore isn’t going to be the same on defense without Ngata, so you would think the Broncos should win easily here. But upon further examination, think about what would happen if they don’t: If the Ravens can go into Denver and take this one at the end of the game the way they did three years ago en route to the Super Bowl, this would essentially be the second game in a row that they’ve lost at home to two playoff teams that the media has convinced us that the Broncos are better than. Now that the Ravens have seen what the Colts went in and did in the divisional round, they probably want in on a little of the respect they feel they haven’t received even though they are – in my mind – an elite team. This is going to be a very mental matchup, and those don’t typically farewell for a guy who is almost a lock to blow it in the postseason every single year. Taking the over on the point total is a pretty solid bet, and even though I realize I look like a dipshit having contradicting all I just said, I’ll still take Denver to win and to cover.
837’s Prediction: Broncos 30, Ravens 21
J-Dub: $25 on the Ravens
Jason from Indiana: Denver -5 over Baltimore
Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) -3 at Oakland Raiders (3-13) (43.5)
In a very tough 2015 AFC North, I am expecting the Bengals to take a serious step backwards this season. There’s no better place for them to learn how to lick that shitter than in Oakland, where the Raiders have been making front office decisions that assures they will pick in the top five until long after everybody reading this has been buried in a shallow grave. The oddsmakers don’t have much faith in the Bengals, as they were a playoff team and they’re only getting three against Oakland here. But in all fairness, Cincinnati is a garbage road team and as I stated in the preview piece I don’t see them making the playoffs this year. They do however get AJ Green back, and the good news there is a toe injury is hardly coming back from a torn ACL. And it is the Raiders, so although part of me wants to pick upset here I’d say taking the Bengals to cover is pretty much a lock. Stay away from the point total, as “43.5” generally means “this shit could technically go either way”.
837’s Prediction: Bengals 26, Raiders 17
J-Dub: LOCK OF THE WEEK – $200 on the Bengals to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Cincinnati -3 over Oakland
Tennessee Titans (2-14) +3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) (42)
Since you know how disinterested I am in college football, you probably won’t be surprised to know that I have no interest in watching a game featuring the league’s top two draft picks. Between the two teams last year they don’t even have as many combined wins as the number of times Dubsism has seen his toes this year, there isn’t going to be a lot of pro-caliber football being played on either side here. This game is going to be sloppy as fuck and even though I think Mariotta will have the better pro career, I can’t really attribute that to any true regular season experience and this is a road game for them. Not that home field advantage means much to the Bucs, who were 0-8 at Raymond James Stadium last year which included a 48 to 17 drubbing at the hands of the Ravens right before their bye week. By that same time in week nine of last year, the Titans were already three full games back of the first place Indianapolis Colts – who had a rough start as well – at 2-6 and wouldn’t win a single game the rest of the year. Load up the clown car and cue the Benny Hill theme song, because this isn’t going to be your Sportscenter lead story no matter what happens. I’m not even going to pretend like you’re willing to put money on this piece of shit, because I know you’re not so I don’t really care about the lines. But for consistency’s purpose, let’s just say that Tampa doesn’t cover but still wins and we’re going under on the point total.
837’s Prediction: Bucs 18, Titans 17
J-Dub: Betting this game would be a GUARANTEE you have a problem.
Jason from Indiana: Tampa Bay -3 over Tennessee
New York Giants (6-10) +5.5 at Dallas Cowboys (12-4) (51.5)
There’s no question my lack of faith in the New York Giants is hereditary, as it wouldn’t be a summer in our family without my father uttering the phrase “The Giants are going to be a disaster this year” at least seven to ten times during any one sitting of a Sports Illustrated binge. The only off the field move they made this season was losing Jason Pierre-Paul’s right index finger, and their defense is so poor this one could easily be a blowout. Dallas may have lost DeMarco Murray to division rival Philadelphia, but they are still a very dangerous offensive squad so this one is a no-brainer for me. Eli has historically played well in Dallas, but he’ll need a miracle to pull this one out and I have a feeling even the Lord himself doesn’t have the power to do it. Cowpokes cover, but the point total is too much of a risk to gamble on.
837’s Prediction: Cowboys 31, Giants 17
J-Dub: $20 on the Giants
Jason from Indiana: New York Giants +5.5 over Dallas
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) -3 at Atlanta Falcons (6-10) (55)
I may have jumped the gun on all of the reports about Matt Ryan killing it in training camp, but then again can’t we say the same thing about all of this senseless media hype surrounding Sam Bradford and the Eagles? Aside from DeMarco Murray, an average receiving corps, and a solid defense, I simply can’t see why everybody and their grandmother is banging their head against the bottom of the steering wheel the whole way up to Lincoln Financial while sitting in the passenger seat. But this game won’t be taking place there, and I’ve invested a lot of stock in the Falcons. However, I just can’t bring myself to take them in what’s supposed to be a fantastic season for Philadelphia. Unless someone gets injured, this game will not be a good indicator for how either one of these teams do for the rest of the year. So as much as it kills me to do so, I’ll take the Eagles to cover. I have this strange premonition that one of these teams is going to bite it hard on the offensive side of the ball, so if you don’t take Philly to cover or choose the points I’m saying put your money on the under for overall point total.
837’s Prediction: Eagles 30, Falcons 20
J-Dub: $25 on the Eagles to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Philadelphia -3 over Atlanta
Minnesota Vikings (7-9) -2.5 at San Francisco 49ers (8-8) (41.5)
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it makes me to report that the Vikings head into Santa Clara as two and a half point favorites over a San Francisco team that going to have to work very hard in order to keep pace with any NFC team. If I had one do-over from my season predictions, I might switch these two teams and Minnesota would make the playoffs. The Vikings have a great secondary, and they won’t need much offensively this year if Peterson stays healthy and they can get about three to four big plays per game from Mike Wallace. He’s gonna be double teamed a lot, but the Niners’ secondary is so decimated I’m not sure it makes much of a difference at this point. I like Kaepernick to lead several decent drives, but struggle in the red zone on most of them so I feel safe telling you to take Minnesota to cover. Avoid the point total bet like Hillary Clinton is dodging questions about her current email scandal, as it’s simply too close to call. The game, not the email scandal. She’s toast.
837’s Prediction: Vikings 23, 49ers 19
J-Dub: $20 on the Vikings to cover the spread; $25 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: Minnesota +2.5 over San Francisco
Have a great week one everybody, and we’ll see you back here next Thursday with all of the injury reports and substance abuse suspensions!
Editor’s Note: J-Dub’s bets are purely of the mythical variety, as gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir…
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.
Eight Thirty Seven