Ahh, football. That most aesthetically pleasing of all sports. Nothing quite like the first game of the new season. Dusting off the football viewing seating arrangements, dipping your toes back into the endless sea of snacks and drinks that accompany primetime games, basking in the glow of the new season and the return of high flying football action. At least, that’s what I assume last night was like. I chose to #boycott the game to show solidarity with the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, who were robbed of yet another opportunity to kick the season off in style because of the petty grudge Roger Goodell holds against them. Will the slights ever end? If any other team wins the title, they get to play on the opening Thursday night and get their banner and rings in everyone’s face. But not the Pats. They win their 10,000th Super Bowl and they get thrown to the side because, stop me if you’ve heard this before, everyone is so desperate to get rid of them and crown the new Team. Guess what, folks. It’s never gonna happen. Especially if the two putrid teams that took the field last night are the supposed measuring sticks of the NFC. But keep telling me about how the Packers defense is the best unit in football history and that Aaron Rodgers finally has help now (insert fart noise and extended eye roll here) while pretending you’ve never followed an NFL season and think that the season ends after week 1. That’s not to say week 1 is useless. On the contrary, the bad teams are almost always bad from the start. And, uhh, yeah. Bears might be toast already. That’s your hot new coach? I’ll keep my crusty old man that everyone hates, thank you very much. How many times during the last 20 years have we done “here’s the hot young coach/QB, how many titles will they win?” thing? A million? More? What’s the success rate on them? 0%? I’m sorry, that was mean to Andrew Luck. He retired on his own terms, we all can understand that’s as good as a championship. Why do we even have a championship anymore? It’s just another way to dehumanize the athletes and boil their careers down to accomplishments and accolades they earn through their work. What a cruel society we live in. I’m fired up today, might as well get to the picks. All lines from Bovada unless otherwise noted.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings (-4)
Listen, if I know anything at all, I know this: the Vikings are going to STINK this year. The wheels might come off the Cousins-mobile sooner rather than later, and starting the season off against a good team (also known as Kirk Cousins’ weakness) means they’re starting 0-1. I sort of like the Falcons this year and I think they might win by a lot. Cousins 21-39, 278 yd, 1 TD-3INT game incoming. Expect boos.
Pick: Falcons +4
Baltimore Ravens (-7) at Miami Dolphins
Allow me to be the 40,000th person to say the Dolphins are likely the worst team in the league. Jury’s still out on if they’ll be fun bad or depressing bad. Wait, who am I kidding? Fitzmagic is starting week 1! I can’t believe everyone’s burying the ‘Phins during the first three weeks. This game won’t really say much about the Ravens, they’re just getting caught in the “Fitzpatrick’s first start with a new team” wave. Don’t let your heads drop too far.
Pick: Dolphins +7
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-3)
There’s some sneaky, super-under-the-radar, if-we-don’t-talk-about-it-maybe-it’ll-go-away hype surrounding the Jets this year. Fancy new jerseys, plenty of Sam Darnold buzz, they acquired a former Steelers superstar who isn’t insane, good draft. Things are looking up in the Meadowlands for the first time in years. That means they’ll lose this game. Sorry, but the only person who knows Jets life more than hardened Jets fans is someone who’s spent a lifetime laughing at their expense. They might finish strong, but a week 1 loss is written in the stars.
Pick: Bills +3
Kansas City Chiefs (-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars
This game has been canceled. In its stead, both teams will meet at midfield and see who can complain about the Patriots beating them cleanly in the AFC Championship game louder. I feel like I’m extra salty about Pats sour grapes h8rs today, maybe I should take a deep breath or something. Also not to be this guy but the Chiefs just extended Tyreek Hill so I think karma is probably on the Jags’ side. I’m also anticipating a bit of a bounce-back in Jacksonville.
Pick: Jags +4
Los Angeles Rams (-2) at Carolina Panthers
I don’t know, man. If Cam’s super hurt (which it appears he is), I don’t know if I want him going out there to get mauled by Aaron Donald all day. Every year I have a gut feeling that it’s the Panthers year but then I think about it for like three seconds and I’m out. I think this one gets ugly and another lost season (due to never-ending injury) for Cam.
Pick: Rams -2
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns (-6)
When trying to predict the fate of the year’s most hyped team, there are two ways week 1 can go: crushing loss that leaves everyone wondering what we were thinking (anytime the Jets have the lowest level of raised expectations possible), or they win big, sending everyone into a fever pitch, only to come crashing down later. The Browns would typically fall into the first category, since they’re the Browns and all, but they’ve gone so far over the top this offseason that they’ve put themselves in the not-sad-sack-organization group, meaning they’ll win this week by a million and put the hype train into overdrive. And still be 2-5 after seven games, because they’re still the Browns. Titans stink.
Pick: Browns -6
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-10)
Eagles good. Redkins bad.
Pick: Eagles -10
Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5)
If the Seahawks weren’t the Seahawks, they’d win this game by a thousand. But since they’re the Seahawks playing at 4pm, this game will inevitably finish 17-14 after a last-second Russell Wilson TD pass.
Pick: Bengals +9.5
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
Might have been a good game three weeks ago, but it no longer is. Two dead teams, one murdered by Andrew Luck, the other by the Patriots, meet in the least relevant NFL stadium in history. Should be great! But hey, this is the Chargers’ year, believe me. Brissett MVP.
Pick: Colts +6.5
Detroit Lions (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray’s first game. Yeah.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
Wait, hold on. This game isn’t on primetime. This is an outrage! How dare the NFL deprive us of yet another NFC East division game on Sunday night? What am I supposed to do without a boring 24-14 game where nothing happens except one tiny coaching mistake/bad call that leads to a completely manufactured controversy? Why is the NFL choosing to highlight good teams instead of teams in big markets? What the hell?
Pick: Cowboys -7.5
San Fransisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1)
My sources are confirming that this is, in fact, a professional football game being played under National Football League regulations. Strange.
Pick: Bucs -1
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-6)
Sorry, everyone. Pats are better this year than they were last year. Josh Gordon’s back. The defense is stacked. A thousand good running backs. Best coach ever. Best QB ever. And they get to open the season against their eternal whipping boys. Yes, please. H8rs look away.
Pick: Pats -6
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints (-7)
I’m out on the Saints. Drew Brees is done. Their collective spirit is broken after back-to-back devastating playoff losses. They secretly don’t have more than two reliable offensive weapons. Saints stink again. Texans are the same harmless 10-win team they always are.
Pick: Texans +7
Denver Broncos (-1.5) at Oakland Raiders
Hey, it’s me from right before training camp started. Did you see that the Raiders traded for Antonio Brown? What a move! Can’t see this backfiring on them in any way. Raiders to the moon!
Pick: Raiders +1.5