Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages…Welcome to the official start of the 2011-2012 NFL football season! It was looking rather bleak there for awhile, with that dark, looming lockout milling about. But we’ve hit the ground running, punched through the line, and are working our way towards the big dance – Super Bowl XLVI. So, let’s get things started!
Last season I chimed in with the experts (and robots) over at ESPN to bring you, our readers, a personalized perspective on football forecasting. This season, we jump in right where we left off. The panelists at ESPN have their picks in for this week and the general consensus looks favorable on the Big Blue Wrecking Crew. My picks are burning a virtual hole on the next page and the ratio clock starts now! Did I wax my crystal ball up more so than the other guys during the offseason? Turn the page and keep score!
Saints @ Packers:
Falcons @ Bears:
The Falcons finished last season with the second best record of the year. To make matters worse for the opposition, Hotlanta improved their team at the NFL Draft by picking up Julio Jones. Atlanta will be a force to be reckoned with this year. The Bears have done some great things in the draft and offseason as well. I just don’t see Jay Cutler being able to handle the pressure of a season opener against one of the best teams in the NFL on the road. Falcons win.
- Bengals @ Browns:
Folks, I am all alone on this one. The pundits and bots at ESPN have unanimously picked the Browns. Well, I don’t see it happening. Sure, Cincy lost a player or two that helped them finish at the…ahem..bottom of their division. But they still have the necessary lack of fire power to take down their division rivals. The Browns and Bengals competed against each other with great tenacity for the coveted basement spot last season. The Bengals grabbed that bottom rung by one game. However, they’ve taken the last 10 out of 13 games. The rivalry record is 39-36-0. Look for the Bengals to make it 40-36. Bengals win.
Bills @ Chiefs:
OK…how do I put this lightly? They’re the Bills! Chiefs win.
Eagles @ Rams:
You won’t hear me use the catchy little, ripped off name from the 1992 US Olympic Men’s Basketball team to describe the trash talking team from Philadelphia. Is Philly all they hype themselves up to be? Definitely not. But in this case, the Rams do not have the defensive weapons to contain the birds. Eagles win.
Lions @ Buccaneers:
Detroit finished 6-10 last season. The Bucs mirrored that record at 10-6. Beating Tampa at home is no small task…especially for a team that hasn’t had a winning season in over a decade. But the tides are turning and the Lions are about to roar! OK…maybe they’ll just make some noise. Don’t count the Lions out this year or underestimate them. With the addition of Nick Fairley and some offseason moves, they just might surprise you. Lions win.
Titans @ Jaguars:
These two teams match up pretty well. The acquisition of Matt Hasslebeck will make the Titans more competitive. But we are still talking about a QB who threw more interceptions than TD’s last year. In the end, the Jaguars running game will be too much for Tennessee to keep limited. Jags win.
Steelers @ Ravens:
This will be one heck of a game! Bitter rivals will face each other on the grid iron to hash out last season’s divisional playoff game. The Ravens will be out for blood. The Steelers look to start their journey back to the Super Bowl and put another Lombardi Trophy in their display case. With the addition of Mike Pouncey, they just might get it. Steelers win.
Colts @ Texans:
No Peyton? No home game? No win! Texans victorious.
Panthers @ Cardinals:
We’re all aware of Cam Newton and what he has done in college. Yes, he won the starting QB job in Carolina…as if there were any question he wouldn’t. Not to say that he doesn’t have what it takes to step up and be an elite QB in the NFL right at this moment but…he does not have what it takes to step up and be an elite QB in the NFL right at THIS moment..not against a team full of marquis veterans like the Cards have…not at THIS moment…maybe a little later in the season. Cards win.
Giants @ Redskins:
Big Blue has seen its share of drama this offseason. We’ve certainly witnessed one of the most confusing and mind boggling free agency periods in recent memory. My microscope is all over Jerry Reese right now, and I’ll be reporting more on that as the season progresses. The front office of the New York Giants have let some of the best players on their 2010 roster slip through their fingers. Have they blatantly mishandled things or do they have super powers unlike any that the Justice League posses? We’ll know for sure come season’s end as the moves made…and not made this offseason will undoubtedly cost a coach or two their jobs. Yet, New York has always had a great deal of pride and have found a way to win, in recent years, when the chips were down. Well, the chips aren’t exactly down but there is a great deal of pride to play for…bringing a win home for New York on 9/11. Giants win.
Cowboys @ Jets:
Rex Ryan has done some outstanding things in the offseason. He did great things with his team last year too. The Cowboys? Not so much. We usually hear how the Boys are the team to beat at the start of each year. Thankfully, that is not the case in 2011. I think it has been well established that Tony Romo is WAY overrated. There is tremendous talent on that Dallas team. But they will never go to the big buffet with Romo twirling the plates. It will be the season opener in GIANTS STADIUM on 9/11? The Jets will most definitely win.
Patriots @ Dolphins:
Do I really have to break this down? Must I mention what Bill Belichik has done in the Draft and offseason? Is it really necessary that I point out that Tom Brady looks like Justin Beiber’s illegitimate father? Patriots win.
Raiders @ Broncos:
What’s worse than finishing .500 at season’s end? Finishing at .250. The battle for last place in the AFC West begins this Sunday. Kevin Boss or not, my prediction…Broncos win.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Your thoughts?
Topics: 2010 NFL Draft, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, ESPN, Giants, Giants/National Football League, Green Bay Packers, Jerry Reese, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Sean Kerr, Washington Redskins