Over the past few years, I’ve had plans to do weekly predictions for the NFL season. I’ve never even made it to Week 1. Since my schtick here is that I’m completely ignorant when it comes to the NFL, part of what I’m trying to do is expose the fraudulent business of NFL predictors by showing that someone who knows almost nothing about the sport can perform just as well as they can. I’ve wanted to do that by picking one of these guys and comparing my record to them. While I haven’t done that this year, at least I’ve gotten as far as making my picks for the first week on time. Baby Steps.
Who is George?
While my picks aren’t completely random, as you’ll see from the article that follows, I also had the idea to further drive home the point that these chuckleheads don’t know any more than you or me by pitting them against a coin. 100 coins actually. A simulation of 100 coins actually. Quarters. Hence, George, because, well I’m sure you get it.
A Note on Atlanta/Philly
At the end of my NFC Preview, I picked the Hall of Fame game. Is that what they’re calling it? Whatever, that first Thursday night game that screws fantasy players because everyone forgets about Thursday night football. I forgot about Thursday night football until I got a text from the comanager of our fantasy football team about setting the line up for the night. I replied, “I hate Thursday Night football”.
Now I have more of a reason to hate it. I picked the Falcons to win because I figured that Nick Foles deal with Satan has to be running out soon. What I forgot is that the Iggs have a pretty good defense, these Thursday games are always weird, especially this first one, and the road team almost never wins. So, we start the season 0-1.
Week 1 Picks
Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Cleveland: As a football fan, I should be shocked that Cleveland is getting any respectability this year. As a Steelers fan, I should be appalled that Cleveland is within a touchdown of the Steelers. Then, I accidentally heard some stats this weekend that pertain to the game. When these two teams played in Week 1 last year, it was the only game that Cleveland was within 6 points of the opponent. Also, Pittsburgh is only 15-12 when one of their “Big 3” doesn’t play. This is like Cleveland’s Super Bowl. They’ll keep it close and might even cover, but the Steelers win. George has the Steelers, 52-48.
San Francisco at Minnesota (-6.5): If Minnesota’s defense is even close to as good as they were last year, they’re going to be really good. Other that Jimmy G-sus, I can’t name a single 49ers player. Even so, last year the kid seemed to have a horseshoe around his neck. I think Minnesota wins, but the 49ers should be able to keep it close at least. George isn’t sure, 50-50.
Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-3): Indianapolis is “favored”, but we all know that the home team generally gets three points on the line. So, Vegas isn’t sure what to do with this game. To be honest, neither am I. I don’t want to pick Cincinnati because a win could jump start a surprise season for them and I don’t want that. However, there’s no reason to pick Indy other than they are at home. Cincy it is. I need a shower. George has Cincy at a slight edge 51-49.
Buffalo at Baltimore (-7.5): Either people think Baltimore is that good, Buffalo is that bad, or both. I’m somewhere in the middle. I think both of these teams stink, but Baltimore is home. Enjoy it while you can, Rats fans. George picks the Bills, 53-47.
Jacksonville (-3) at New York Giants: It feels weird to have to give the Jags respect. Look, I know that they beat my Steelers last year in the playoffs to make it to the AFC Championship. However, my enduring memory of Jacksonville will forever be that I memed my way to a fantasy football championship with Blake Bortles as my starting quarterback. I guess I can sell this one as disrespect for the Giants. There’s no problem there. George picks his first home team, 47-53.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-9.5): This is the largest line of the weekend. I won’t say that I’m shocked, but I am a bit surprised. Sure, New Orleans was a miracle play away from winning against the Vikings in the playoffs last year and Tampa Bay…is a nice city to visit, from what I hear. Still, almost double digits in Week 1? That’s crazy. What else is crazy? I’m picking New Orleans to cover. George likes New Orleans pretty big, 45-55.
Tennessee (-1.5) at Miami: If I wasn’t shocked by that last line, I certainly am by this one. What about Miami makes anyone think that they can stay within a field goal of Tennessee? This seems like a no brainer, which means usually means that I probably should have used my brain. George likes Tennessee, 56-44.
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5): Another slightly perplexing number on this one. I understand not having much respect for the Chefs because of Andy Reid, but he’s a decent to good regular season coach. Initially, because I was thinking about the Rams, I was going to choose them across the board, but the Chefs seem a lock in this one. George has KC, 53-47.
Seattle at Denver (-3): Cliche alert: This is a rematch of a recent Super Bowl. Two? Three? Years ago. That just goes to show how crazy the NFL is these days. You’d never know by watching this game that these teams were recently in the Super Bowl. I have more faith in Seattle than many do this year and this game will go a long way in seeing if that faith is misguided. George says Seattle, 55-45.
Dallas at Carolina (-3): Okay, either we are overestimating Dallas (and when has that ever happened) or underestimating Carolina (for some reason, I can’t imagine why, oh maybe random Cam Newton hate) or both. I have always liked Cam Newton and hated the Cowboys, so I think the Panthers are going to roll them. George doesn’t think blowout, but still Panthers, 45-55.
Washington at Arizona (-1): As much as I hold an irrational hatred for Washington due to their racist nickname and the stubborn refusal of their owner to change it, I have no reason to believe that this game will even be close. George goes against the racists, 45-55.
Chicago at Green Bay (-7.5): Honestly, I think this should be the line that is pushing double digits. Sure, Chicago picked up Khalil Mack, but what’s that going to do for them? This team has been a train wreck for the better part of the last two years. Green Bay rolls. George’s most sure pick so far, 35-65 for GB.
New York Jets at Detroit (-6.5): The Jets are starting a rookie at quarterback. I guess that can’t be any worse than they’ve done recently. Still, this makes me think what happened to Teddy Bridgewater. Once upon a time, he was the future and then he was tossed from both the Vikes and the Jets. Yikes. Um, oh, Detroit wins. Maybe the Jets cover. George goes with Detroit, 46-54
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Oakland Raiders: Two words: Rams win. Oh, you want more words? Rubber baby buggy bumpers. Seriously. Why only 4? Home game? Okay, but they’re leaving for Vegas. Jon Gruden? Remember Art Shell? Probably not, but I do. We’ve seen this show before. Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t end well for the Raiders. George thinks the Rams roll, 60-40
The Verdict (and Early Super Bowl Picks)
Overall, Week 1 looks like a decent week of football for anyone who is actually going to watch the NFL. I think we are going to be out at a fair with our youngest to start the autumn fun for our family. There will be checking of my fantasy football team at some point, so I’ll also update my Excel spreadsheet to keep track of how George and I are doing for the week. I include my Super Bowl picks here as well because I had a fairly strong premonition that it could be Iggles/Steelers. It’s been at least a couple of years since I picked and all PA Super Bowl, so why not.