I don’t know how long it’s been. It feels like a long time. I built this site in 2007 and sometime thereafter I started blogging my NFL picks on a week-to-week basis. Last year was a succes in terms of how well I was picking games. I went a cool 135-83 (61.9 percent) and 6-4 in the postseason. This year, there is no goal of a certain percentage or anything of that sort. Instead, I want to make sure my picks continue to be a staple of this site and one of the reasons why folks continue to visit. Of course, I’ll be attempting to remain consistent in the midst of another exhaustive football season. I’ll be producing, hosting, editing and writing quite a bit. It’s tough to come back here, to the labor of love, while putting so much energy into my work and my personal life. But the show must go on. I’m no quitter and I’m glad you haven’t quit on me either.
The one difference you’ll see this year, compared to years past, is I won’t be picking on the spread. I’m just picking winners. It’s less time-consuming.
Anyways, here we go:
Cowboys at Giants — With Jason Witten doubtful for Wednesday’s game, and Austin Miles and Dez Bryant hobbled with knee and hamstring injuries, Cowboys fans should worry about this team’s passing game. If the Giants are anything like they were in 2012, they’ll make it tough on the ‘Boys to run the ball and force Tony Romo to make the best of what he’s got. I like Eli Manning and the Super Bowl champs here.
My pick: Giants
Colts at Bears — I like the idea of Andrew Luck. But I don’t think he comes out on top in his first game. Somehow, I believe the odds aren’t in his favor.
My pick: Bears
Falcons at Chiefs — Matt Ryan and the Falcons are going to be a playoff team this year again and teams like the Chiefs are exactly the kind of team they need to beat: unheralded and unexpected. With Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis to complement Matt Cassel and the passing game for the Chiefs, it’s going to be an interesting test for both squads. I’m going upset here.
My pick: Chiefs
Eagles at Browns — This is not the Eagles of ’11. And despite some bruised ribs and a limited preseason for quarterback Michael Vick, this team will be much improved in 2012.
My pick: Eagles
Redskins at Saints — The Redskins are going to have to make a gigantic leap before I start picking them. Adding RG3 is just a start.
My pick: Saints
Rams at Lions — Too easy. The Lions are only going to get better. The Rams seemingly have no shot at anything in my eyes.
My pick: Lions
Patriots at Titans — The Patriots are re-tooled on offense (more tight ends and Brandon Lloyd to help at WR) and healthy on defense. Last season’s Super Bowl runnerups are primed for another February run.
My pick: Patriots
Jaguars at Vikings — Christian Ponder has got to make a leap this year, as does Blaine Gabbert. Unfortunately for Gabbert, Ponder has more talent around him. I expect Adrian Peterson to run rampant.
My pick: Jaguars
Bills at Jets — The Bills got better on defense. The offense definitely needed the help. On the other hand the Jets seem to have a muddied offensive philosophy and continue to age on defense. A couple of years ago, this would’ve seemed crazy, but I’m going with the team from Western New York.
My pick: Bills
Dolphins at Texans — I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know coach Joe Philbin on Hard Knocks. However, I think his team lacks quite a bit of talent outside of Reggie Bush and young Ryan Tannehill. But that’s really where the fascination with the Dolphins ends. Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and a fearsome Texans defense will make run at the Super Bowl, barring any injuries. That run starts with an easy win.
My pick: Texans
Seahawks at Cardinals — All we’ve heard about is Russell Wilson and this revamped Seahawks team. And conversely, all we’ve heard about is the Cardinals’ quarterback competition. I see both positive and a negative energy here. I’m going to let the positive energy guide me.
My pick: Seahawks
49ers at Packers — This is the game of the week. High-powered offense vs. a hard-hitting defense. I like that Randy Moss has got the start for the 49ers and I think as long as the 49ers have a stable of running backs, the offense will at the very least be decent — even with Alex Smith at quarterback. The upside here is for the 49ers. Let’s see if the Packers defense has gotten better.
My pick: 49ers
Panthers at Buccaneers — I just really like the direction the Panthers are going in with Cam Newton at quarterback. Tampa Bay is moving in the right direction too, but I think they’re running into a brick wall this week.
My pick: Panthers
Steelers at Broncos — Peyton Manning vs. Ben Roethlisberger. This is going to be fun. And we finally get to evaluate the Broncos with a legitimate quarterback.
My pick: Broncos
Bengals at Ravens — I think the Ravens are going to be tough this year. The Bengals’ Andy Dalton is going to have to play perfect to win this one. I don’t see that happening.
My pick: Ravens
Chargers at Raiders — Carson Palmer has to be better this season. There’s no excuses.
My pick: Raiders
Last week: 0-0