So here it is, the first week of picks and having dropped a point to Dan already let’s see if I can pick some points back up again!
Before we get going though there’s the small matter of this year’s trivia competition so here’s a reminder of the week one question:
‘All teams aspire to finish as high as they can so we kick off the new season with a question about the Highest Altitude of NFL Stadia. At 5280 feet the Broncos Mile High Stadium is way too easy as a question but, at 1070 feet, who comes in second?’
So my first thought was that Dan’s dad is just too good at this and I’m betting that I can’t have the Raiders when they play in Mexico City. I mentally went through the NFL divisions and had a couple of thoughts, although my knowledge of American geography is not that strong, and in the end I’m going to plump for the Buffalo Bills. Now I get to check what Dan thought and feel like an idiot…
‘So, I don’t know the answer to this, but to guess I’m between two – one with an element of Logic (Chicago – it’s windy, makes sense that it’s high up) and one because I just have a feeling (Detroit). I’ll go for Chicago I think!’
Remember the actual answer will be revealed in The Wrong Football Newsletter that is sent out Wednesday nights so sign up here.
Bills @ Ravens (-5.5)
I am worried about the Bills’ offensive line and the effect it will have on their young quarterbacks and the Ravens look to be competitive this year with better receivers than they’ve had in recent seasons so I’m going with the Ravens in this one.
Gee’s Pick: Ravens
Dan’s Pick: Ravens
‘While this could go either way, the Bills are already a bit banged up going into week one, so I’m going for Baltimore’
Bengals @ Colts (-3.5)
I’m feeling good about how the Bengals looked in pre-season and I come into this game relatively confident about how they are going to play. Yes the Colts beat them in pre-season but Andrew Luck has been out for a long time with his shoulder injury and they are still in the process of rebuilding a roster that sorely lacked talent. I think the Bengals are the better team (please don’t let me be wrong!) and so with an extra half point I’m taking the road underdog Bengals.
Gee’s Pick: Bengals
Dan’s Pick: Bengals
‘Almost everything wants me to go for the Colts here, especially with Andrew Luck being back, but something’s telling me the Bengals are going to do it! Hopefully that doesn’t jinx you mate!’
Steelers @ Browns (+6.5)
This is a bit of a tricky one for me as I think the Steelers are the better team, but they have a nasty habit of playing down to their opposition and they will be without Le’Veon Bell who still hasn’t signed back with his team. I’m wary of the Hard Knocks curse but I thought watching the pre-season games that the Browns were more competitive and this point total means the Browns only have to stay within a touchdown. This game would be a lot easier to pick in a week or two but I think Myles Garrett is going to a real menace to quarterbacks and I’m going to give the Browns a go. Watch Antonio Brown make me look like a fool!
Gee’s Pick: Browns
Dan’s Pick: Steelers
‘If Hard Knocks has taught me anything it’s that the Browns will win a game this year. Not this one though. Away Win.’
Titans @ Dolphins (+1.5)
There are so many unknown variables in this one. For the Titans what effect will Mike Vrabel have on his team and will new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur be able to unlock Marcus Mariota’s full potential. Meanwhile, the Dolphins traded or cut their best players on defence and offence whilst quarterback Ryan Tannehill is coming back from a year off with a knee injury and I trust Adam Gase as a head coach. The Titans may well end the season with the better record but in a game I’m not sure of I’m going to grab the points for the home team.
Gee’s Pick: Dolphins
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins
49ers @ Vikings (-5.5)
This should be a really fascinating game given that it features the unbeaten Jimmy Garoppolo (it’s just fun to type that so I’m going to enjoy it until it stops being a thing) and the improving 49ers taking on the Vikings with their new quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Vikings had a real home advantage in their new stadium last year and I expect it to be the same this year. The loss of the Jerick Mckinnon to a torn ACL is a cruel blow for the 49ers and so despite the points and my nervousness about the streak, I’m picking the Vikings to cover this one.
Gee’s Pick: Vikings
Dan’s Pick: Vikings
‘I think this is going to be a good year for the modern day Purple People Eaters this year, and I think they’ll start with a home win. Minnesota.’
Texans @ Patriots (-6.5)
There are enough warning signs in New England that I think this game could be competitive, but the problem is that it is a big could. The Texans defence has all the pieces you could want whilst their offence sees the return of Deshaun Watson who set the league alight last year before his injury. The Patriots come into the season with questions at the skills position and a forty-one year old quarterback but you just know that we can’t discount Belichick and Brady until we actually see it go wrong. However, this is enough points for me to take the Texans and I just hope that I’m not reading too much into the Texans keeping the game within three last season.
Gee’s Pick: Texans
Dan’s Pick: Patriots
‘New England are going to have another very New England year. I’ll put them down for a win by a TD.’
Buccaneers @ Saints (-9.5)
This number of points should worry me in an opening game but the fact is that Saints are at home and have everything setup to follow last year’s season with another good one and I’m not at all convinced by the Buccaneers. There’s plenty of potential for the Bucs to make me eat my words but in week one I’m just swinging with my convictions and that says the Saints cover this and win.
Gee’s Pick: Saints
Dan’s Pick: Saints
‘The 9.5 point spread on this one makes it the most difficult line of the week. I think I’ll go with New Orleans but won’t be surprised if I get this one wrong!’
Jaguars @ Giants (+2.5)
This is a trick game for me as the Jaguars look set to continue to have an amazing defence but their offence could still continue to struggle to move the ball through the air given the receiving options available. However, just how much of a turnaround are the Giants capable off and specifically how well can Eli Manning play. This game represents a five-and-a-half-point swing and I’m so tempted by the points but the Jaguars only have to win by a field goal to cover this. I could really regret this but I’m not quite ready to call this one for the Giants just yet as I haven’t seen them.
Gee’s Pick: Jaguars
Dan’s Pick: Jaguars
‘Jags for me. They’re going to have another good year this year. I’d like to see them at least make the playoffs again.’
Chiefs @ Chargers (-3.5)
The Chargers have all the players you could need but might have a home disadvantage thanks to their status as LA’s other team and the Chiefs are going to have the offensive capacity to stay in most games. This feels like a real toss up pick and should be a great game but the half point just has me backing the Chiefs to keep this one to at least a field goal, particularly when Andy Reid has time to prepare.
Gee’s Pick: Chiefs
Dan’s Pick: Chargers
‘Struggling to call this one as I could see it going either way. I’ll go Chargers with the home advantage.’
Cowboys @ Panthers (-2.5)
I’m not sure about the Cowboys given the strength of the offence has been shaken by injuries and whilst I feel like in the long run they could be okay, a road game against a Panthers team who are strong at home is not an easy start to the season. The Panthers have their own questions on the offensive line but with them only having to win by field goal to cover then I’m going with the Panthers.
Gee’s Pick: Panthers
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys
‘Road win, but I’ve changed my mind on this line twice since I started looking at it!’
Seahawks @ Broncos (-2.5)
This is a tricky pick for me given that I think that the Seahawks will be more competitive than most seem to think, but they start the season on the road in Denver, which is not an easy place to play. The Broncos have another offensive line that I’m not convince by and this could hamper Case Keenum who had a career year in Minnesota but who also benefitted by having one of the best pairs of receivers in the league so there are big questions about whether he can repeat or improve on that performance. This could turn into a real slug fest and I don’t have a strong opinion either way so given the Broncos home advantage and that they only need a field goal to win I’m reluctantly going with them.
Gee’s Pick: Broncos
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks
‘I could do with the Seahawks having a good year this year, especially with Russell Wilson under centre for our Fantasy team! I’ll back them for week one.’
Washington @ Cardinals (-0.5)
I’m really not sure what to expect from the Cardinals with the change in the coaching staff and them starting Sam Bradford at quarterback but the same basically goes for Washington so who knows? This game is basically a pick’em and given that Washington have not started fast in recent years and are on the road I’ll back the Cardinals and the return of David Johnson but I don’t feel strongly about it.
Gee’s Pick: Cardinals
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals
‘Another one that could go either way so is only being called on the basis of Arizona being at home!’
Bears @ Packers (-8.5)
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers back and a new defensive coordinator as they welcome a Bears team that have just acquired Khalil Mack and will be radically different on offence this season. The Bears have generated a lot of buzz this offseason but it is unclear how much Mack will play in this game. This is a lot of points and Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy has a tendency to play conservative with a lead so whilst I’m not saying the Bears will win this game, I do think they can keep it to within nine points.
Gee’s Pick: Bears
Dan’s Pick: Bears
‘Packers are going to win this one, but not by more than a touchdown so I’m going for the Bears to cover.’
Jets @ Lions (-6.5)
I am really not sure about this game as there are lot of changing factors in this game. Todd Bowles kept the Jets competitive despite a roster depleted of talent but they start this season with a rookie quarterback whilst the Lions may have looked bad in the pre-season game I saw them but it was the final game where no starters played. A touchdown win seems too rich for me at first look but I can’t bring myself to pick a rookie quarterback with questionable receivers on the road in his debut so Lions it is…
Gee’s Pick: Lions
Dan’s Pick: Lions
‘J-E-T-S – Lose, Lose, Lose!’
Rams @ Raiders (+2.5)
The Raiders may be at home and getting points but they have a head coach who hasn’t actually coached in nine years and who has just traded away their best player. In the long run it might be a good salary cap move but it is not a move you can look your current team in the eye and say you made them better for this game. This is a tough start for the Raiders and whilst we haven’t seen what tricks Sean McVay has prepared for this season, he has catapulted himself into the discussion of best head coaches in the league after one season and so this is still not enough points for me to pick the Raiders.
Gee’s Pick: Rams
Dan’s Pick: Rams
‘LA win in Monday Night’s game, followed by everyone copying me and jumping on the bandwagon and the odds dropping!!’