OK, thanks for coming back and reading my picks again for the third year, but before you read any further just stop. I want you to take a deep breath – I’ll wait … … …
Can you smell that? It’s football! And it’s back!!
The 2014 NFL season is finally upon us with the defending champion Seahawks to kick things off against the Packers this Thursday. The great thing about the NFL is that things really do reset every year. Seattle is an obvious choice to repeat, but not a definite one. It is always anybody’s game.
Which makes my job pretty hard in week 1! After an off-season of changes, we really don’t have a complete idea of what these 32 teams have to offer for 2014. Week 1 is always the most difficult week in a confidence pool. Stick with me though and you’ll be on your way to weekly and cumulative success!
Week 1…2014…HERE WE GO!!!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
16 – PHILADELPHIA over Jacksonville – I actually like the foundation the Jaguars seem to be laying. Blake Bortles could be a top quarterback at some point. That point just isn’t right now, mainly because he’s not starting yet, and the Jags are still the Jags.
15 – CHICAGO over Buffalo – It’s a little odd to think the Monsters of the Midway moniker now seems to be more fitting of the blue and orange offense. Even with a healthy Sammy Watkins, the Bills wouldn’t be able to match the fire power of the Bears.
14 – KANSAS CITY over Tennessee – The Chiefs were the big “Worst to First” story of last season and should be able to carry that momentum into the new season. Hopefully, for their sake, they can forget about blowing a huge lead in the playoffs. Playing the Titans should be able to help them quickly forget.
13 – PITTSBURGH over Cleveland – The Browns ended up as the answer for one of the biggest questions of the 2014 NFL Draft - who will draft Johnny Manziel. So for that, and really several reasons, Cleveland does not deserve to win this week.
12 – New England over MIAMI – I think we may be seeing the end of the Patriots dominance of the AFC East soon. It’s just not going to be this year.
11 – DENVER over Indianapolis – I’m still pretty proud of the fact that I called the Colts handing the Broncos first loss last season on a Sunday Night Football game. The two are back on Sunday Night again, but this time it’s in Denver and I’m pretty sure the Broncos still have the taste of the Super Bowl still in their minds.
10 – DETROIT over New York Giants – The Monday Night schedule starts in Motown this year. The Lions still have one of the biggest offenses with all-everything receiver Calvin Johnson. The Giants are going to be a confusing team this year – and I don’t mean that in a good way at all.
9 – ARIZONA over San Diego – The second half of the opening week Monday Night double header takes place in Arizona. I think the Cardinals offense will surprise many this year. If Carson Palmer can stay healthy, Bruce Arians will want to air it out and Palmer has the options to do so.
8 – HOUSTON over Washington – I don’t have any faith in RGIII. He still needs to prove something to me in order to be considered a top quarterback. With JJ Watt on one side of the Houston defensive line and Jadeveon Clowney now on the other side, Griffin should be able to be contained enough for the Texans to end their 14 game skid.
7 – DALLAS over San Francisco – Suspensions and injuries will catch up to the 49ers this year weakening the once dominant unit. A strong offense will help out the Cowboy’s weak defense which leads to Jerry’s boys being the subject of the first ever BOLD PREDICTION OF THE WEEK – THE COWBOYS WILL WIN THE NFC EAST THIS SEASON. (see, it’s a bold prediction because, well, the letters are in bold type…see what I did there?)
6 – Cincinnati over BALTIMORE – The road to a repeat in the AFC North won’t be as smooth as it was for Cincy last year. However an offense with so many options should help the Bengals get past this first big road test.
5 – SEATTLE over Green Bay – A game that Packer fans have been waiting for since two replacement refs had absolutely no idea what was going on in the end zone. Green Bay should give the Seahawks a run in the NFC this year, but the 12th man celebrating the city’s first championship since the 70’s will prove to be a bit too much to handle.
4 – ATLANTA over New Orleans – The NFC South might be the most entertaining division this year. You can make a claim that all four teams could finish on top, including the league’s basement dwellers a year ago the Falcons. Look for Atlanta to rebound in a big way this year. There’s no better way to start than knocking off the Saints.
3 – Carolina over TAMPA BAY – Staying in the division, the defending champs have a tough start defending their crown. Simply put, this game, and really the Panther’s season, relies on the health of Cam Newton. It looks like he should be a go, but if not, keep this game on the same line put the Bucs as the winner.
2 – Minnesota over ST. LOUIS – While doing your fantasy football research over the summer, you saw that the Rams were set to be a team to watch on the defensive end. They get a tough test to prove themselves right off the bat with Adrian Peterson. I don’t think they can pass this test.
1 – Oakland over NEW YORK JETS – The future for the Raiders has come a little earlier than expected. Second round pick Derek Carr ends up being the first quarterback in the 2014 Draft to start a game. Carr looked solid in the pre-season and a revamped defense may be able to contain the Jets enough to help Carr keep his composure on the road.
While week 1 is the week of the unknown, week 2 could be classified as the week of the, well, do we really know?
We saw a lot of surprises in week 1 – the Bills went to Chicago and beat the Bears, the Titans did the same in Kansas City, the Patriots are currently alone in last place in their division to name a few. Now we have to go through and determine what was a one week thing or will we see the same for the next 16 weeks.
Things may also just become a little cloudier. The Pats have another tough road test. The Bears will go up against one of the top defenses in the league. The Chiefs, who made the playoffs last year, are more than likely now going to start 0-2.
That’s…why they play the games!
Week 2 – HERE WE GO!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
16 – GREEN BAY over New York Jets – The Packers got the 2014 season off to a slow start. But really, on that night in that stadium in Seattle, who wouldn’t? Look for Aaron Rodgers to air it out all over the Jets.
15 – DENVER over Kansas City – The Chiefs lost multiple defenders to injury last week. Not what you want to have happen one week before traveling to Denver.
14 – New Orleans over CLEVELAND – New Orleans came out on the short-end of a shootout in Atlanta last week. As a consolation prize, they get to play the Browns.
13 – TAMPA BAY over St. Louis – The Rams appeared to have zero offense after last week and now the defense is starting to hurt with the news of Chris Long being out for half the year. Not a good time to take a road trip.
12 – SAN FRANCISCO over Chicago – Remember people having questions about the 49ers defense this year? Well, questions answered! Now they get to showcase said defense in the unveiling of the brand new Levis Stadium – just too much for the Bears to handle.
11 – INDIANAPOLIS over Philadelphia – Week 2 ends in the Midwest with what could be a shootout. The Colts almost got out of Denver with an upset win which should give them the momentum to beat the Eagles this Monday.
10 – CINCINNATI over Atlanta – The Bengals come home after a big road divisional win last week. The Falcons had a hard time stopping the pass last week which should make for a big game for the Dalton to Green connection – so much so that this week’s BOLD PREDICTION is that Andy Dalton will throw for over 400 yards for the first time in his career.
9 – TENNESSEE over Dallas – The Cowboys’ defense was exposed last week by the 49ers. That could be just what a young offense like Tennessee’s could need in their home opener.
8 – CAROLINA over Detroit – The proverbial irresistible force meeting an immovable object when the Lions offense meets the Panthers defense. This could end up being the game of the week
7 – Seattle over SAN DIEGO – The champs showed last week that they aren’t going anywhere. The Chargers offense looks like it may have taken a step back from last season, which has the Seahawks defense chomping at the bit.
6 – BALTIMORE over Pittsburgh – I really don’t think that the Ravens players, coaches and staff have waited for a game more in their existence. Nothing to do with the implications of the game, but just something to take their minds off of the Ray Rice situation. The Steelers almost blew a lead to the Browns which makes me question them this season.
5 – Miami over BUFFALO – Both teams are coming off of what should be considered big upsets in week 1, the Dolphins and Bills meet for the top spot in the AFC East for the first time since probably the early 90s. Granted it’s only week 2, but it could go a long way towards a division title upset, especially if the Pats lose again this week. Miami took out the kings last week so look for them to continue their divisional dominance.
4 – Arizona over NEW YORK GIANTS – What has happened to the Giants? In just a few years they have gone from Super Bowl champions to jokes of the league. Just brutal. They need to get their top receivers involved in their new offense or its going to be another long season.
3 – MINNESOTA over New England – The Vikings took advantage of a depleted Rams team last week, but they looked good. Being able to score over 30 points without a touchdown from AP is pretty impressive. The Patriots defense isn’t what it used to be so look for Peterson to have a big day and lead the Vikings to a 2-0 start.
2 – Houston over OAKLAND – Houston took a blow last week losing Jadeveon Clowney for over a month. On the flip side Derek Carr’s debut wasn’t amazing, but it was good. However the Texans just have too many other weapons on defense to allow Carr to put up the needed big numbers for a Raiders win.
1 – Jacksonville over WASHINGTON – The Jaguars actually made a good showing in Philadelphia last week – at least in the first half. The Redskins are really looking out of sync. Look for Jacksonville to get a rare road win.
The only thing that is for sure is that nothing is for sure! Isn’t the NFL great?
This past week just proved how topsy-turvy the NFL season can be. The Bears ruined the opening of the 49ers new stadium a week after losing at home to the Bills. The Cowboys were humbled at home by the same 49ers in week 1 and went to Nashville to beat the Titans. The Cardinals are first in the NFC West ahead of the champs. The Patriots are sitting behind the Bills in the AFC East. The Raiders – ok, some things have gone as predicted.
It’s time to get back on track now!
Week 3 – HERE WE GO!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
16 – NEW ENGLAND over Oakland – The Patriots got off to a slow start but took advantage of an odd situation in Minnesota last week. Look for them to take advantage of another extremely odd situation – that being the Oakland Raiders.
15 – ATLANTA over Tampa Bay – The week kicks off in Tampa with a solid divisional match up. I do think this will be a good game, but there is no way Matt Ryan will allow this game to get away from the Falcons.
14 – NEW ORLEANS over Minnesota – The Saints finally come home to the friendly confines of the Superdome after an unexpected 0-2 start. Look for Drew Brees to have his way with the Vikings who, well, will probably have other things on their minds.
13 – CINCINNATI over Tennessee – Tennessee is another one of those teams that has had an up and down start to the season. After winning in Kansas City, the Titans forgot to show up for their home opener against Dallas. It doesn’t get any easier for the Titans as they go up against what I consider to be a dark horse contender for the AFC this year.
12 – PHILADELPHIA over Washington – Possibly the most interesting stat of the week is the fact that the Eagles are 2-0 while taking just six offensive snaps with the lead. It shouldn’t be that difficult this week though as they take on a much depleted Redskins team.
11 – CAROLINA over Pittsburgh – After escaping with a win against the Browns, the Steelers laid an egg in Baltimore. Not exactly the momentum you want to take into a game against a defense like the Panthers.
10 – Indianapolis over JACKSONVILLE – After their collapse Monday against the Eagles, the Colts could really use a week off to recuperate. A game against the Jaguars is the next best thing.
9 – MIAMI over Kansas City – The Chiefs were hit hard by the injury bug in week 1, but nothing as hard as losing Jamaal Charles last week. While Knile Davis picked up the slack last week, it should be too much to overcome in Miami this week.
8 – SEATTLE over Denver – The obvious cliché thing to do would be to mention how this is the Super Bowl rematch. But honestly, that’s not really the case. I mean, the Broncos didn’t show up in that game and I don’t expect them to show up in Seattle this week either.
7 – Baltimore over CLEVELAND – It’s the old Browns vs the new Browns. But even after an upset win last week, don’t be fooled – the new Browns are still the old Browns. (I’ll pause a second to let you get caught up).
6 – Dallas over ST. LOUIS – The Cowboys just love to keep things confusing for everyone. Look for the confusion to continue with a road win this week. The Dallas defense is weak, but the Rams offense appears to be weaker. JJ Watt currently has more receiving touchdowns than the Rams do!
5 – DETROIT over Green Bay – This game could go a long way in deciding who takes the NFC North this season. Right now all four teams are 1-1. The Packers defense has had their share of issues so far this season, which the high-powered Lions offense should be able to feast on.
4 – BUFFALO over San Diego – The Bills are still out to prove their doubters wrong. A win over the Chargers, who are coming off an impressive win against Seattle, should help Buffalo’s case. This week’s BOLD PREDICTION is that with the AFC as wide open as it seems now, THE BILL WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS SEASON.
3 – San Francisco over ARIZONA – It’s going to be fun to watch NFC West games this year. I had the Cardinals winning this one, but Carson Plamer looks like he will be on the shelf again and now the Cardinals have to deal with their own PR issues thanks to Jonathan Dwyer. The 49ers should be able to rebound after last week’s disappointment.
2 – Chicago over NEW YORK JETS – Week 3 ends in Jersey with an intriguing matchup with two teams that are looking to cement their place as legit teams. The Jets are still hurting on defense and if the full Bears’ offense shows up they should be able to squeak out a road win.
1 – NEW YORK GIANTS over Houston – There is no other reason to pick the Giants to win this one other than it’s a home game. Arian Foster should be able to run all over the New York defense but if Eli is able to remember he as the likes of Victor Cruz to throw to, the G-Men should be able to get their first win of the season.
Simply put, a confidence pool is a love-hate relationship!
In week 2, well, it was pretty hateful! So many upsets and so many points lost on games that the majority of the country could not have predicted! In week 3, however, the pool saw the error of its ways and gave us a more loving result. After the early Sunday games, we were still rocking a perfect board!
It’s a good thing, too. Now we have bye weeks to deal with. With a solid week 3, that puts us at a good spot as most confidence pools will be losing lines 14, 15 and 16 this week with six teams on a bye. With the number of possible points decreased starting this week, it’s good that we got them when we could!
On to week 4! HERE WE GO!!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
13 – INDIANAPOLIS over Tennessee – The Colts have given me nothing but reasons to have nothing but confidence in them this season – especially when playing a team that seems to be as confused as the Titans. This shouldn’t be close.
12 – SAN DIEGO over Jacksonville – After being down 30-0 at halftime, the Jaguars turned to their future and brought Blake Bortles into the game. While it’s a great move for the future, their present is still pretty bleak.
11 – PITTSBURGH over Tampa Bay – The Steelers run game exploded last week against one of the top defenses in the league. The Bucs, well they imploded in Atlanta. A switch back to Mike Glennon at quarterback might help, but the Steelers are just too much to leave much doubt that they’ll lose this game.
10 – WASHINGTON over New York Giants – The Redskins lost a shootout last week. Lucky for them they now have an offense that can produce a shootout every week. The Giants on the other hand cannot. Kirk Cousins has seemingly lit a fire in the nation’s capital so much so that this week’s BOLD PREDICTION is that Kirk Cousins will be a starting quarterback in week 1 of 2015 … and that will be with the Redskins.
9 – Miami over OAKLAND – Yes the Raiders are the “home” team this week, but this home team has to travel across the country…and THEN across the pond to London. The Dolphins would be higher if they knew what they were doing at quarterback but either way they should be able to handle the Raiders.
8 – KANSAS CITY over New England – The Patriots were only able to put the ball in the end zone ONCE against the Raiders at home last week and just squeaked out the win. The Chiefs on the other hand finally found their offense groove last week. It’s hard to see the Pats stopping the Chiefs on a Monday night in Arrowhead this week.
7 – SAN FRANCISCO over Philadelphia – I’m still not throwing the towel in on the 9ers. They have started with a tough schedule with games against an undefeated Cardinals team (in Glendale) and games against the Bears and Cowboys. The Eagles rely heavily on their high-powered offense which San Fran should be able to contain.
6 – Detroit over NEW YORK JETS – Detroit looked pretty bad last week in beating the Packers, but I believe that was just a bad game. I’m confident that the Lions will bounce back for a road win, just not too confident.
5 – CHICAGO over Green Bay – The league’s fiercest rivalry is renewed in Soldier Field this week. The Bears’ injury questions leave me questioning them a bit, but the Packers haven’t seemed to find their groove yet this year so Chicago should be able to take this one. I have a feeling that the home team will be winning both games this season.
4 – HOUSTON over Buffalo – This game depends on the health of Arian Foster. If he plays, then keep the Texans here. If not, then slide them down a bit – maybe even put the Bills on the 1-2 line.
3 – Carolina over BALTIMORE – After last week's debacle, the Panthers will have a big point to prove. I’m not confident on a road team in Baltimore, but the Carolina D will look to return to form and shut down the Ravens.
2 – Atlanta over MINNESOTA – A new era has begun in Minnesota with Teddy Bridgewater now under center. Couple that with the fact that the game is being played in Minnesota and that gives me SOME reason to question the outcome, but the Vikings just have too many injury and legal issues to keep up with the Falcons.
1 – DALLAS over New Orleans – Sunday Night’s matchup is a good one. The fact that the game is in Jerry’s house makes it a toss-up. I think the ‘Boys will use the momentum from their comeback in St. Louis last week to propel them to a big win.
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