Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants (-4) – I’m a Giants fan and was at this game, I was confident that the champs would come out strong and beat their division rivals. I was wrong. Drops by Victor Cruz, terrible play in the secondary and quick passes from Tony Romo doomed the champs. Final Score was 24-17 Dallas, I picked 31-20 Giants.
The pick – Giants (-4) LOSS
Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears (-10) – The Bears finally have some pass catchers for Jay Cutler and are a trendy pick to win the NFC if they can stay healthy and their offensive line can give Cutler some time. The Colts are in rebuilding mode with rookie Andrew Luck under center and they are also switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. I think that Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will make Cutler uncomfortable in the pocket early and Luck will make some plays, but the Bears are the better team and pull away late.
The Pick – Bears (-10) FINAL SCORE: Bears 27 Colts 13
***Sportsmasher Best Bet*** Bears (-10)
Philadelphia Eagles @ Cleveland Browns (+9.5) – I think that the Eagles are overrated and that Michael Vick will miss significant time with an injury that will end up costing them, however, I think the Browns will be one of the four worst teams in the NFL in 2012. Cleveland is starting a banged up rookie running back and a 28 year old rookie quarterback, plus the best player on the team, cornerback Joe Haden may be suspended for this game (though he might play). The Eagles are simply too talented and will blow out the browns in the opener.
The Pick – Eagles (-9.5) FINAL SCORE: Eagles 38 Browns 17
***Sportsmasher Best Bet*** Eagles (-9.5)
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-3) – The Jets are at home and should be loaded on defense, it is their offense that has major question marks, starting with their Mark Sanchez vs. Tim Tebow quarterback controversy. The Bills enter this game with a much improved team, but can quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick move the ball against a stingy Jets defense? I expect this game to be low scoring and think the best play may be the under.
The Pick – Bills (+3) FINAL SCORE: Bills 17 Jets 14
**REX RATED BEST BET** Jets (-3)
Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints (-7.5) – All of the buzz around the Redskins revolves around their talented new quarterback, Robert Griffin III, however they also have a solid defensive unit which is not getting any credit. The Saints still have Drew Brees at the helm, but are missing several players and coaches due to several suspensions resulting from Bountygate. I think RGIII and the Redskins defense do enough to keep this game tight and cover.
The Pick – Redskins (+7.5) FINAL SCORE: Saints 24 Redskins 20
New England Patriots @ Tennessee Titans (+6) – The Patriots are loaded on offense and much improved on the defensive side of the ball. I think of the Titans as a middle of the road team in the worst division in football. I think the Patriots take this one easy, lead by their passing game, and I do not think it’s close.
The Pick – Patriots (-6) FINAL SCORE: Patriots 41 Titans 17
**REX RATED BEST BET** Patriots (-6)
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings (-4) – And the award for the worst game in week one goes to…this game is horrible and features two of the worst teams in the entire league. It also features two star running backs who may be used in reduced roles, the Vikings Adrian Peterson is still recovering from a knee injury and the Jags Maurice Jones-Drew held out for most of the offseason due to a contract dispute. I’ll take the points I guess.
The Pick – Jags (+4) FINAL SCORE: Jaguars 17 Vikings 13
Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans (-12) – If you watched HBO’s Hard Knocks, you know just how bad this Dolphins team has looked during the preseason, meanwhile the Texans are a trendy Super Bowl pick and should cruise through the worst division in football. Blowout alert here.
The Pick – Houston (-12) FINAL SCORE: Texans 38 Dolphins 6
St Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions (-7) – I think that the Lions are overrated, and still have major issues in the secondary, and they will be counting on their pass rush in a major way on defense. Still, the offense should be excellent, even with a lack of a number one tailback. The Rams will be better under Jeff Fisher, but they lack playmakers on offense, and will struggle early.
The Pick – Lions (-7) FINAL SCORE: Lions 27 Rams 13
***Sportsmasher Best Bet*** Lions (-7)
Atlanta Falcons @ Kansas City Chiefs (+3) – I think the Falcons are a little overhyped right now, however, they have excellent weapons on offense lead by receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. The Chiefs are finally healthy after losing several star players for the season in 2012 due to injuries, however their best pass rusher, Tamba Hali is suspended for this game and KC will miss him.
The Pick – Falcons (-3) FINAL SCORE: Falcons 27 Chiefs 20
**REX RATED BEST BET** Falcons (-3)
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers (-5) – The game of the weekend features two of the NFC’s top teams and the NFL’s best offense (Green Bay) taking on the NFL’s best defense (San Fran) in what should be quite the battle. I think this line is slightly high, I think even if Green Bay can win this one, it’s a three point game.
The Pick – 49ers (+5) Final Score: Packers 27 49ers 24
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) – I like Cam Newton and think he will have a great year, I just do not see the other playmakers on the Panthers roster, and think their defense is very suspect. Meanwhile, the Bucs are a much improved team with a new coach (Greg Schiano) and several new players in key spots (wide receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks, running back Doug Martin). I think a better Bucs team does enough to hold on their home turf.
The Pick – Bucs (+3) Final Score: Bucs 24 Panthers 21
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (+3) – The Arizona Cardinals are going to need to bottom out one of these years and finally select their quarterback of the future in the draft, because they have a talented team, which is plagued by the worst quarterback situation in the NFL. I think the Seahawks are underrated, they have a fantastic young defense and a talented offense, which should help rookie quarterback Russell Wilson succeed. I hate taking this many road favorites, but here it goes.
The Pick – Seahawks (-3) FINAL SCORE: Seahawks 23 Cardinals 17
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (-2) – A great matchup pitting two of the favorites to win the AFC against each other, which doubles as Peyton Manning’s Broncos debut, which should have the Mile High City buzzing. Pittsburgh will be without safety Ryan Clark, who never plays in Denver due to sickle cell anemia, and Big Ben will again have to buy time behind a shaky offensive line.
The Pick – Broncos (-2) FINAL SCORE: Broncos 27 Steelers 24
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) – I am drinking the Ravens Kool Aid, they should finally have an explosive offense, and will trust Joe Flacco’s big arm to finally make some plays downfield. However, I also like the Bengals, and think they should be solid this season. Ravens win a tight one between two fierce divisional rivals.
The Pick – Bengals (+6.5) FINAL SCORE: Ravens 24 Bengals 20
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (-1) – The Chargers are one team that I think is much worse than a year ago, and will be without offensive tackle Jared Gaither and running back Ryan Matthews in this one, making things difficult for quarterback Phillip Rivers. I think that the Raiders, who have been bad for a while, are a little underrated this season. They will not be great, but could take advantage of an easy schedule to be a surprising team this season, lead by quarterback Carson Palmer.
The Pick – Raiders (-1) FINAL SCORE: Raiders 27 Chargers 23
2012 Season (0-1)