I hope everyone’s sitting down, because I’ve got some startling news. The Bengals, the Cincinnati Bengals, mind you, just won a game against a divisional opponent who looked good the previous week….at night. More than anything that’s happened over the past however many months (Capitals winning the Cup, Eagles winning the Super Bowl, the Warriors somehow winning the title), this is the biggest sign that the end times are looming. Rejoice, for we may not have to spend much longer in these husks we call bodies on this spinning rock we’ve worked so hard to destroy. The hour of the beast is nigh, and its emissary has fiery red hair. If the Bengals win a playoff game, you should probably take that trip you’ve been wanting to, because there’ll be like a week left until Armageddon. About time, if you ask me.
Anyway, lots of crazy stuff happened in week 1, leading to the unfortunate cancelation of this NFL season. A panel of experts decided that the New York Jets had already won the Super Bowl, thus rendering the remainder of this season completely pointless. It’s sad and a little unprecedented, but it’s the NFL’s decision. Who am I to argue with such proclamations made on high? But, even though there aren’t any more games this season, I’m still going to make my picks as if the NFL was still going strong. Why? I’ve got to keep my skills sharp for next season. Who knows if the league will institute the “Week 1 Super Bowl” rule again next year, so I need to totally nail week 1. Can’t do that without practice. All lines from Bovada except the first one.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-1.5 via BetOnline)
Aaron Rodgers, he of the miraculous comeback last week, theoretically might not play in this game. And, even if he does play, will surely be hobbled against what might be the best defense in the league. The Packers are favored. Please explain. This is such a reactionary line that I can’t wrap my mind around it. The Packers needed a signature performance to beat the Bears, and the Vikings are better at literally every phase of the game than the Bears. Rodgers could barely move at the end of the game. You’re telling me he’s avoiding Danielle Hunter and Sheldon Richardson and everyone else the Vikings have on one leg and what might be a shaky offensive line? Someone’s gonna have to explain to me how the Packers are favored.
Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins (-5.5)
Pretty random game. Can’t really think of the last time these two teams played, but something tells me it was four years ago and I’ve chosen not to remember it. I’m all the way out on the Colts so I think the Redskins will win by default. Have a feeling that’s gonna happen a lot this year for Washington. A. Smith has that ability to inspire confidence.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5)
This is easy to overthink, so I did. Chiefs looked great in week 1 as usual, but take (essentially) a rookie QB on the road to one of the toughest places to play. Steelers looked awful in week 1 but are now at home where they never lose and have something to prove. So that points to the Steelers. But then you remember that the Chiefs looked great and the Steelers looked like poop and not much could have possibly changed over the course of one week. I’ve decided to flip the Cosmic Coin of Football Knowledge and it came up Chiefs.
Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints (-9)
For the first time since 2004 the Browns aren’t 0-1. Progress, baby! As much as I want to dislike anyone so embraced by the Internet, and as much as I hate Cleveland, I’ll always have a soft spot for the Browns. I want them to be good, I really do. But if Tyrod “The Messiah” Taylor can’t complete more than 38% of his passes against a defense that was just shredded by Ryan Fitzpatrick? Baker time might be on the horizon. As for the Saints, I’ll admit I didn’t see last week coming. Their defense was pretty good last year, even though it’s hard to remember now. Until they give up 40+ to another middling opponent, I’m going to consider last week a fluke. Besides, it’s still the Browns coming off a quasi-emotional high point. It’ll take more than one tie to shake years of getting blown out by more than 10 on the road.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Bucs
Little fun fact for all of you out there- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback, actually went to Harvard. Just something for the ol’ trivia file. Can he repeat last week’s absurd performance against a defense that we actually know is good? Gonna go out on a limb and say no. Nick Foles starting again, not that it’s really hurt them much so far. Tampa’s D is stinky and the Eagles should be able to move the ball well enough to cover.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-5.5)
Am I missing something here? Why the hell are the Falcons favored by so much? I realize they probably have more talent on paper, but they’ve been stuck in a serious funk for the past year plus. Wonder if something traumatic happened to them. Can’t really think of any franchise-killing losses, or anything. Must be all on the loss of Kyle Shanahan. But I feel like the Panthers never lose by more than four points to anyone, much less a divisional opponent. Panthers are just mentally tougher and I see them battering the Falcons into submission. Falcons were a hot Super Bowl pick, but I see them starting 0-2. Also, stay safe Carolina.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-3)
Wait, are the Dolphins the second best team in the league, or something? How can someone be less than a 100 point underdog against the Jets? Didn’t Vegas get the memo that the Jets are the greatest team in pro sports history? Apparently not. Jet fans have long been my mortal enemy, but now that I live in New York and they might be halfway decent? It might be a brutal fall. Every time I see Fireman Ed’s stupid face I want to jump off a bridge. Hey, Ed, remember when you quit because the Pats beat you so badly? I remember. What happened? It’s okay to come back now that the Jets have hope? Get out of here with that. Dolphins are trash but I’m picking them out of spite.
Houston Texans (-2.5) at Tennessee Titans
Good news for the Texans: they can’t play much worse than they did last week. Bad news for the Titans: Marcus Mariota is hurt and I’m finally willing to admit he might not be that good. Texans by a million.
Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) at Buffalo Bills
R.I.P. Nathan Peterman. Gone, but not forgotten. I’ve come to realize that being pro-Pat Mahomes while being anti-Josh Allen is a little hypocritical, so I’m going to try and be a little nicer to the Bills’ new starting QB. The best thing the Bills have going for them is that the Chargers are a West Coast team coming east to play a 1 o’clock game. Other than that, I don’t know. Unless something changes, there might not be a number big enough for me to pick the Bills this season.
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
49ers, I think, are going to wind up being much better than what they showed last week. They just had a rough game against a superior opponent. They’ll be fine. Lions, meanwhile? Yikes. Really bad look for my guy Matt Patricia who, somehow, may already be on his way out. I mean they quit against the Jets. Can’t have that in week 1. Maybe they’ll bounce back, but this could be another long afternoon for the boys in Honolulu blue.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-13)
Just thinking about the Cardinals offense makes me want to puke. That’s really all I got on this. Blowout city.
New England Patriots (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Stop me if you’ve heard this scenario before. An up-and-coming team has circled the Patriots on the calendar as their end-all, be-all game. They’re hyping it up and saying it’s the “most important game of (their lives).” They’re going to come out firing, get an early lead, then make one mental mistake and everything will fall apart. Anyone who thinks the Jags are winning this game please raise your hand. If you raised your hand you’re an idiot.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-6)
This game is why RedZone was invented. Imagine not having RedZone and living in an area where this is the only late game you have? I can’t think of a worse fate. This game STINKS. Broncos may win by 40.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3)
When I first saw this week’s schedule and I saw this game, I had a moment of panic when I thought that it wasn’t going to be the Sunday night game. Thankfully, I was mistaken. The NFL knows what America wants, and we want the same boring NFC East matchup for the 10,000,000th year in a row. Seriously, this is the same game every year. It’s gonna finish 23-17, it’s gonna end with some fake controversy or overly analyzed coaching decision, or something stupid that going to be talked about ad nauseam by all the talk show hosts because the NFL wants to fool everyone into thinking that the Giants and Cowboys are relevant in 2018. This game is going to be terrible. Again.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-3.5)
I hate being week 1 overreaction guy as much as the next person, but the Bears’ season is already over. You just can’t come back from a loss like that. Defense looked good, and once Khalil Mack is in game shape they’ll be a problem. But Mitch is kind of…..ehhhhh? Young QBs are very impressionable. Lose a game like that in your first or second season and it can derail your career. I don’t want to say the Bears are going 0-16, but I’m not not saying that, either. Seahawks aren’t even that good, but Russell Wilson can win this singlehandedly.