While I was busy watching some of my money disappear on Sunday, I was also enjoying what proved to be quite an interesting first week of NFL football.
Here were my thoughts from Week 1:
Colts @ Bears
Predicted Outcome: Bears 23, Colts 17
Actual Outcome: Bears 41, Colts 21
I didn’t think the Colts’ defense would be as bad as they were. They’re truly a horrendous stop unit. After a sluggish start, the Bears moved the ball with ease. My hard-on for Andrew Luck probably clouded my judgment and made me think this game would be closer than it actually was. Chicago could be poised for a big year.
Eagles @ Browns:
Predicted Outcome: Eagles 27, Browns 13
Actual Outcome: Eagles 17, Browns 16
It only makes sense that Michael Vick struggled in his trip to the “Dog Pound”. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this before the game started. Anyways, Vick stinks, and as usual, the Eagles are way overrated, and the Browns are even more pathetic. They’re probably going to be picking No. 1 in the upcoming draft because Brandon Weeden is a scrub.
Bills @ Jets:
Predicted Outcome: Bills 21, Jets 16
Actual Outcome: Jets 194, Bills 28
OK, so maybe the Actual Outcome listed above is a little exaggerated but that’s what it felt like. The Jets played a great football game, the Bills didn’t. Don’t worry though; the Jets are bound to be overrated after a result like this, and we’ll pick a good spot to bet against them in the coming weeks.
Mark Sanchez still blows. As for the Bills, I’d say a bounce back is in order, but the injury to Fred Jackson could be a big blow.
Redskins @ Saints
Predicted Outcome: Saints 34, Redskins 20
Actual Outcome: Redskins 40, Saints 32
RG III is the real deal. Being a Cowboys fan, it makes me sick, but the Redskins are set at quarterback for the next decade. You’ve probably already heard a million comparisons to Cam Newton, but Griffin really did look like Newton in his first NFL start. I wouldn’t give up on the Saints yet because of their prolific offense, but their secondary was absolutely atrocious. They’ll have a tough time stopping the Falcons this season.
Patriots @ Titans
Predicted Outcome: Patriots 24, Titans 21
Actual Outcome: Patriots 34, Titans 13
In my game preview I wrote that this game “reeks of a trap”. The only thing that reeked here was the Titans’ performance. I’m glad I stayed away from Chris Johnson in my fantasy pools—he looks like a bum. As for the Patriots, they’re still the class of the AFC. At least I wasn’t ballsy enough to pick the Titans to pull off the upset—that would’ve been embarrassing.
Jaguars @ Vikings
Predicted Outcome: Vikings 23, Jaguars 10
Actual Outcome: Vikings 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)
I don’t really know what to make of this game. Both teams are a heaping pile of garbage so it’s tough to determine if Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder are actually going to have decent seasons.
Adrian Peterson looked pretty good. I feel bad for anyone who listened to Chris Mortensen’s advice and put AP on their bench expecting him to be “limited”. Way to go, Mort.
Dolphins @ Texans
Predicted Outcome: Texans 27, Dolphins 9
Actual Outcome: Texans 30, Dolphins 10
Why didn’t I make this game my 10-star lock of the millennium? I don’t know what people see in Ryan Tannehill. This guy went from a second round prospect to the eighth overall pick in a month. It’s going to be a long season for the Dolphins. As for the Texans, they did what they’re supposed to—took care of business against a bad team. Someone other than Andre Johnson needs to catch some balls though.
Rams @ Lions
Predicted Outcome: Lions 26, Rams 24
Actual Outcome: Lions 27, Rams 23
This was my most accurate prediction of the week. The Lions are a fraud. They allowed Sam Bradford to dink and dunk his way up the field all game without putting up much resistance. I don’t know what to make of the Rams. Jeff Fisher is a great coach but his team’s talent level is mediocre at best. The Rams were outgained in yardage, 429-251, and doubled in first downs, 28-14, so it’s quite possible that they’re nowhere near as good as the score indicated. If you’re wondering, Jim Schwartz’s handshake with Jeff Fisher looked firm, but not over the top firm.
Falcons @ Chiefs
Predicted Outcome: Chiefs 23, Falcons 20
Actual Outcome: Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
I’m going to give myself a pass on this one. I write my game previews on Friday and was unaware that Chiefs’ cornerback Brandon Flowers would miss the game (he was probable at the time). Once I learned of the Flowers injury, I immediately took to my Twitter account to discuss the field day that Matt Ryan was about to have.
Ryan then proceeded to have said field day. The Chiefs are still a solid team—they were missing some key personnel in Week 1. They need Tamba Hali and Flowers on the field.
49ers @ Packers
Predicted Outcome: Packers 35, 49ers 13
Actual Outcome: 49ers 30, Packers 22
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong on this one. San Fran dominated this game from start to finish, and I’m fully ready to admit that my 9-7 projected record for them is way too low. This is a double-digit win team and a legit Super Bowl contender.
Green Bay needs to find a way to run the ball. And their defense isn’t as good as I thought it would be—the absence of Desmond Bishop is really felt in their linebacking corps. If the officiating in this game wasn’t so terrible, the score line would have been far more embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as Vernon Davis missing his dunk. I can also now say that I’ve been on the right side and the wrong side of a 63-yard field goal.
Panthers @ Buccaneers
Predicted Outcome: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 19
Actual Outcome: Buccaneers 16, Panthers 10
I switched my pick midweek from Tampa Bay to Carolina. Big mistake.
The absence of Jonathan Stewart was really felt. DeAngelo Williams decided he was going to run parallel to the line of scrimmage on every carry. Cam Newton looked decent, but the Bucs were able to contain him and force him to actually throw the ball. I wouldn’t expect much from Tampa this season. Josh Freeman was ordinary—he hasn’t turned the corner yet.
Seahawks @ Cardinals
Predicted Outcome: Cardinals 23, Seahawks 13
Actual Outcome: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16
The Cardinals probably don’t win this game if John Skelton’s leg doesn’t get blown up, as the Seahawks had no answer for Kevin Kolb in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for Arizona, Kolb sucks. I’m willing to give him a second chance, but I really think Seattle was just caught off guard when he came into the game, but we’ll see. As for the Seahawks, they’re the same old shitbag team on the road.
Steelers @ Broncos
Predicted Outcome: Steelers 20, Broncos 17
Actual Outcome: Broncos 31, Steelers 19
Peyton Manning looked good…really good. I really thought that Manning would face a lot more pressure than he actually did, but the Steelers did a poor job of disguising their blitzes, and Manning picked them apart. I’m not sure if the Broncos are “for real” yet, but it’s definitely a good start. Pittsburgh held their own until Roethlisberger threw a needless pick six late in the game. They’ll rebound.
All in all, my Week 1 predictions were pretty subpar. But luckily for me, tonight brings two shots at redemption.
If you read my AFC North preview a couple of weeks ago, you’ll probably know where I’m going with the first game on tonight’s board. I don’t think the Bengals are ready to take the next step this year. Their 9-7 record from a season ago was completely fraudulent when you consider the fact that they didn’t beat a single team that made it to the postseason, and Cincinnati has a bunch of matchup problems against the Ravens.
The first and most significant problem being is that their starting quarterback, Andy Dalton, isn’t much of a threat to the experienced Ravens defense. In two starts against Baltimore last season, Dalton completed just 52 percent of his passes with only one touchdown and three interceptions. Dalton’s quarterback ratings in those two games were 60.7 and 65.7 respectively. Baltimore returns this season with a defense that is largely unchanged from last year, with the exception of Terrell Suggs who starts the season on the PUP list. Aside from A.J. Green, the Bengals don’t have any significant weapons on offense, which makes me fairly confident that they’re going to struggle to move the ball.
On the other side of things, it’s no secret that Baltimore will want to establish the running game with Ray Rice. He’s one of the premier running backs in the game, and he’ll be able to take advantage of a Bengals defensive line that’s also a little banged up. Carlos Dunlap is listed as doubtful, and although Robert Geathers is listed as probable, he won’t be 100 percent due to his knee injury. The Ravens have an edge on both sides of the ball, and consequently, they should get the season started on the right note. Ravens 27, Bengals 16
The second game of tonight’s double dip features a battle between two AFC West rivals looking to get back to the postseason. The Raiders haven’t been to the playoffs in 10 years, while the Chargers are looking to re-establish the form that saw them win the AFC West crown a couple of years ago. Last time I checked, this game is being played in September. The Chargers suck in September. I’ve made the mistake of backing them early in the season many times in the past, but not this time. I like the Raiders for several reasons tonight.
For starters, Philip Rivers just isn’t the same prolific passer that he used to be. Rivers suffered through a terrible campaign last year, which prompted many “experts” to suggest that he was playing hurt throughout the season. I too believed that something must have been wrong with Rivers for him to have regressed so much over just one season. But after watching him in the preseason, not much has changed.
Rivers has continued with his poor decision making, and to make matters worse, his supporting cast is downright dreadful; especially with Ronnie Brown replacing the injured Ryan Mathews for at least one week. Ultimately, I don’t think the Chargers are going to be able to match points with the Raiders.
San Diego’s pass defense was in the bottom five in the league last season, particularly because they couldn’t get to the quarterback, and the Chargers did nothing to address that need in the offseason. Carson Palmer has plenty of fast, dynamic weapons at his disposal, and heshould be able to stretch the field easily. Unfortunately for Chargers fans, this September game will look all too familiar. Raiders 31, Chargers 23.
Last but not least, the early lines for Week 2 action have been posted.
Here are my quick thoughts:
Chicago @ Green Bay -5 — This would have been Packers -7 a week ago, there’s a little bit of line value with Green Bay. You’ll probably see split action on the game.
Tampa Bay @ NY Giants -7.5 — The Giants have had plenty of time to prepare for this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if the sharps bet the Giants hard.
Arizona @ New England -13.5 — New England is going to take in a lot of action. I thought the number was going to be a little more than two touchdowns.
Minnesota @ Indianapolis +1.5 — Indianapolis shouldn’t be an underdog here, but public perception is that the Vikings are better.
Kansas City @ Buffalo -3.5 — Can’t argue with the line. Looks like a 50/50 action type of game.
Houston @ Jacksonville +7.5 — More than a TD on the road is a lot considering this is Jacksonville’s home opener. Houston will still be a public play.
Dallas @ Seattle +3 — The Cowboys will probably be the most heavily bet team this week, but the Seahawks are dominant at home. Could be a trap.
Washington @ St. Louis +3 — People are lining up to bet on Robert Griffin III, so money will pour in on Washington.
NY Jets @ Pittsburgh -6.5 — The Jets might be one of the few publicly backed underdogs in Week 2. This line looks a little bit high.
Detroit @ San Francisco -6.5 — A rematch of the infamous post-game handshake incident. The 49ers looked great, so they’ll take most of the action on this game.
Denver @ Atlanta -3 — Peyton Manning was outstanding last night, so we’ll probably see split action here. I think the Falcons should be favored by more.
I’ll be back later this week for a breakdown of the Thursday nighter between the Bears and the Packers. Enjoy the action tonight.