The NFL season is officially underway, and for the purposes of these picks the timing couldn’t be better. After a stellar opening week schedule the college lineup falls off dramatically, with a gimmicky Tennesee-Virginia Tech matchup at Bristol Motor Speedway getting most of the attention. Despite that fact we’ll forge ahead. Neither of us began the season as well as we’d hoped, with Zach going 2-5 and myself limping to a 4-3 record in Week 1. The trick to all of this is picking the right upsets, and neither of us chose Houston over Oklahoma or Wisconsin over LSU. Both of us did get Texas over Notre Dame right, but that is small comfort in light of the overall results. At any rate, we move forward as the season now gets into full swing. As a summer kind of guy it pains me to admit it, but autumn has arrived. Thankfully football makes the transition much easier.
Texas Tech at Arizona St. (-3.5)
The Red Raiders are 1-0 after beating up on 1-AA Stephen F. Austin last week, while the Sun Devils began the season with a 4th quarter surge to beat small fish Northern Arizona. Virtually nothing can be learned from those wins, so we’re kind of flying blind on this one. This is another one of those late games that I’ll miss because of my job, which makes me want to find a new job. Arizona St. has the home field advantage, but The Voices are telling me to go against the grain and pick the upset. Zach concurs.
My Pick: Texas Tech
Z’s Pick: Texas Tech
Virginia at Oregon (-24)
The Cavaliers beat in-state “rival” Richmond in Week 1, while the Ducks knocked the snot out of some school called UC-Davis, which is about 15 miles outside of Sacramento. Again, no real intel is to be gained from such meaningless games. The interesting thing here is the 3TD+ spread. I am always a bit uncomfortable with such large margins, yet am always impressed by how accurate the oddsmakers tend to be. Oregon will probably win easily, and I am sure it’ll be by about three TDs…but I’m going to roll the dice and say the Virginia will keep it just close enough to cover. Zach agrees because he forsees Oregon having their scrubs in during the second half and taking their foot off the gas.
My Pick: Virginia
Z’s Pick: Virginia
NY Giants at Dallas (-1)
The Cowboys begin life without Tony Romo, atleast for now…although it’s really nothing new since it seems like Romo has been injured a lot the last couple of years. The difference this time is that rookie Dak Prescott, a rookie 4th round pick from Mississippi St., is filling in. Whether or not that is a good thing is the unknown factor. Prescott apparently had body parts of Dallas fans all tingly in the pre-season, but we all know that the real thing is much different. The Giants have a new head coach and a lot of unknowns as well, but we do know QB Eli Manning pretty well. He’s decent enough, but he’s no Peyton. Anyway, Dallas has the nominal home field advantage, but it is essentially a pick ‘em. I think the Giants defense will smell blood in the water and give the rookie a memorable welcome to the NFL. Conversely, Zach believes in young Prescott and doesn’t think Romo will be missed all that much.
My Pick: NY Giants
Z’s Pick: Dallas
New England at Arizona (-6)
The Patriots are without Tom Brady for a few weeks for reasons with which we are all familiar. The Cardinals are a popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and they have the home field advantage. I have no doubt that New England will win their division and make a decent run at another title, but I don’t believe that their season will get off to a successful start. Zach, on the other hand, believes that this will come down to coaching and that the Pats will do enough to get the job done.
My Pick: Arizona
Z’s Pick: New England
Cincinnati (-2.5) at NY Jets
We may look back at this game a few months from now and realize that it had playoff implications. The Jets probably aren’t winning their division, but they should be in the thick of the wildcard conversation when December rolls around. The Bengals might have a little better chance to win their division, but could also be forced to rely on snagging a wildcard spot. I am not enamored with New York’s QB situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t decide to return until the end of July, and Jets’ fans spent the first 2/3 of summer awaiting his decision as if he is the second coming of Johnny Unitas, which is laughable. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has become surprisingly stable. It’s amazing what can happen when half the team isn’t in jail. As much as it pains me to do it I have to pick the favorites. Zach agrees, noting that the Bengals’ defense tips things in their favor.
My Pick: Cincinnati
Z’s Pick: Cincinnati