Oakland (+ 7 ½) at
New England, 9:00 p.m
Well The Show is back picking winners baby!! Football is
upon us and Big Mike has asked The Show to start off the season
breaking down the first regular season game. No more one-quarter
work for the starters. This is going to be live not a test. Oakland
made some great strides in the off-season on the offensive side
of the ball. Oakland was dead last in rushing last year (1295 yards).
So they went out and got the best back on the market in Lamont Jordan.
He has been Curtis Martin’s caddy for a couple of years and
now gets a shot at the big time. With that big offensive line he
should do well. This week will be a challenge however I think the
Pats defense will be a little suspect the first part of the year.
Of course the Raiders made the biggest off-season splash by trading
for the best receiver in the game in Moss. This offense will be
something special to watch. Look for a high scoring game in this
one. Go with Collins, Moss, Jordan.
As I said in my last article the Pats are a team of destiny.
They beat the Eagles but not as much as I thought they would.
They lost some key members of that famed coaching team with both
Romeo and Charlie taking the first trains out. Bruschi is gone
and we all hope he gets better. He is a class act that guy. They
will feel some pain to begin with but will take it up a notch
as the season goes on. Bottom line is they still have Brady, Branch,
Dillon, Givens, Seymour, and a whole heck of a lot of other guys.
Deep, Deep, Deep. I don’t think they will make it three
but they will win this one. Go with most of their front-line starters
as Oakland’s D is horrible. Watch for TE Ben Watson he could
be a sleeper.
Final Score: Pats 30, Raiders
Chicago at Washington (-5
1/2), 1:00 p.m
The Bears caught some more bad luck when Grossman took a
nosedive again and will be out the majority of the year if not all
year. In walks Hutchinson out walks Hutchinson. In comes some dude
named Orton and he will be the starter this week. Too much “in
walks” for my taste. Benson holds out Jones will start. Poor
Lovie Smith I think the guy is a good coach but has pitiful luck.
Muhammad will take a hit with production. I think it will tough
to start anyone from this team against the skins. I am just not
sold they can produce against a pretty good D for the entire game.
But if you must, start Muhsin, Jones and the Chicago D.
Well here we are. Those folks that had mini-orgasms when Gibbs
was hired aren’t quite as excited as last year. Fact is
that times have changed. It was easier when you had a sold out
stadium every week and could put all that money to having the
deepest team in the league. No matter how much money you make
now you can only spend so much. A little harder that way. In any
event, Gibbs will win this one because he finally wised up and
put in Ramsey, which he should have started with last year. Portis
will be looking for redemption but it won’t happen on this
day. Chicago D is too good. Avoid anyone not named Portis.
Final Score: Skins 20, Chicago
Cincinnati (-3 1/2) at
Cleveland, 1:00 p.m.
Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou. He is in Cleveland. Hope everything
works out for him. Now enter the great Trent Dilfer. Antonio Bryant
is now the 2nd coming of Reggie Wayne. Whatever. Pre-season is
always the time to be the optimist but I am not sold…at
all not this year. The Browns are really going to have a tough
time scoring. Lee Suggs will be the next Curtis Enis and Droughns
is the next option. I think he has something about him that I
would like to have starting in the backfield. I just think Dilfer
will have a tough time in this one. The Bengals still have defense
problems as they were watching Owens do some end zone dancing
a couple of weeks ago. But Bryant is no Owens. It would be tough
to start either back because they will be sharing time. Other
than that I would leave this team alone for week 1.
This should be a fun team to watch. Palmer will come of age this
year. He is looking pretty good in pre-season. This offense is
a good one. R. Johnson is the back and Chad Johnson is the man!!
He has a Michael Irvin type swagger to him. I like what he brings
to the table. On the other side is an up-and-coming guy in T.J.
He has a lot of upside and will see primarily all single coverage
all year. You can really start any of these guys this week and
should do ok. I think they will put up some points and win this
Final Score: Bengals 28, Browns
Denver (-4.5) at Miami,
What can you say? Miami has got a new coach in Saban and a new
tailback, QB, old tailback, defensive scheme, and a new punch
that a lot of media people are drinking. Saban may be a good coach
(remains to be seen at the NFL level) but talent wins and the
Dolphins are missing a little. Especially on the offensive line
where most people in Miami have no idea what their names are.
Receivers are either has-beens are never was. The best part of
this team was the defense and they changed that too. Ricky is
back but with whom? Ronnie Brown will not make $10 million and
sit on the bench. Anyway, they will struggle to score all year
and wide up with Matt Lineart. Start the backs if you want. But
don’t expect them to have a great day.
Has Shanny lost his mind? Drafted Clarett and signing the worst
defensive line in football last year. Not quite easy to do things
when you don’t have Elway bombing footballs 40 yards. Plummer
is still the QB so that means another 22/22 year. He makes his
standard bonehead mistake that puts the team’s hopes in
the drainpipe. Tatum Bell should eventually start but he has shown
nothing so far. Anderson has really looked great and probably
deserves it right now. Rod Smith is back with Lelie. Lelie could
be the man this year. One thing that Plummer does is throw for
yards. He isn’t afraid to pull the string to anyone. The
other team…whoever. They will do well in this one. Put up
point and put a pretty big stomping at the aqua colored Division
II-A football team. Play Plummer, Anderson, Smith, and Lelie.
Final Score: Broncos 27, Fins
Houston at Buffalo (-5.5),
The Texans looked a little lost so far in PS. Carr needs to make
some things work this year. He is looking more like Harrington
now. You have to make strides at some point. He has the weapons
in Davis and Johnson. Two of the best young offensive guys in
the league. This will be a tough day at the office on Sunday.
Buffalo is a fast, hungry, defensive machine that has its sites
on being one of the best in the league. It will be hard to make
much progress. They should be just praying they get out of up
state with a win. But that is not going to happen. Start Johnson
The Bills are a very underrated team coming into this year and
if Losman plays better then they have a real shot at making some
noise. That defense is all that and a bag of chips. Lee Evans
is a star waiting to happen and Moulds is the veteran. The big
news is Willis. McGahee is just a monster with the ball in his
hands and with some help may be Thurman Thomas like at some point.
He has the tools and might be bigger and faster than Thomas. He
is definitely a start in this one along with Evans.
Final Score: Bills 30, Texans
N.Y. Jets (+3) at Kansas
City 1:00 p.m.
The Jets aren’t exactly what I would call the luckiest team
in professional football, losing last year in the playoffs as
a result of a faulty kicker, but they have always had resolve,
and certainly aren’t the pushovers they once were. I think
Curtis Martin and Chad Pennington are both strong plays this week,
although the Chiefs made some major moves in the off-season on
defense, picking up Kendrell Bell and Sammy Knight. Look for some
ball movement from both offenses, and the Jets new offensive scheme
working out well in its infancy.
The Chiefs need more big plays than the Jets — which they
should get, since Pennington’s shoulder won’t likely
be testing its limits downfield with Coles and McCareins. Look
for KC to get big games from Holmes, Green (if he stays healthy)
Kennison and Gonzalez.
Final Score: Jets 27, Chiefs
Seattle (+3) at Jacksonville
The Seahawks, still looking for a first trip to the Super
Bowl, have a good shot this year, but won’t be going anywhere
if they can’t dispatch the Jags and get off to a good start.
With Seattle, confidence is the
supreme factor. I like the running back matchup of Alexander versus
Taylor, and if it’s a question of durability, Alexander
is the man. The Jaguars will have some issues if either Taylor
or Leftwich goes down, but they should contend this year as well.
In this matchup, I think the Jags will need to come from behind,
so look for Reggie Williams and Jimmy Smith to post good numbers.
Final Score: Seahawks 23, Jags
Tampa Bay (+6) at Minnesota
The Buccaneers and Vikings should both provide some fireworks
in this one. For the Bucs, I’d start Cadillac and Griese,
as well as Clayton. Where’s Randy Moss? He’s in Oakland,
where Al Davis is hoping for the second coming of the Mad Bomber
Daryl Lamonica in Kerry Collins. But Daunte Culpepper will now
have to look more often for Troy Williamson, Burleson, Marcus
“Underachiever” Robinson and Jermaine Wiggins. Go
with the Burleson and Culpepper combo if you’ve got it,
but stay away from the Vikings running backs.
Final Score: Vikes 24, Bucs
Tennessee (+7) at Pittsburgh
Remember when Tennessee was a favorite every week? Neither
do I, and neither do the Steelers. Look for the Titans to fall
behind and get big numbers from their WRs, but nothing more. For
the Steelers, almost everybody on offense should be a good play,
at least for the first half. Don’t think the Steelers aren’t
still a little ticked about last year.
Final Score: Steelers 37, Titans
Bay (+3) at Detroit 4:15 p.m.
The Packers getting points against Detroit? Times have
certainly changed. Don’t believe the hype until you see
some results from the Lions. I’d go with Favre and all the
usual suspects in Green Bay and throw
in Roy Williams for Detroit. Kevin Jones is also solid, but he’s
not what he’s cracked up to be.
Final Score: Packers 30, Lions
Louis (-6) at San Francisco 4:15 p.m.
Marc Bulger, Bruce, Holt and both Faulk and Steven Jackson should
take it to the 49ers, and the Niners will be lucky to scrape together
a score. I don’t anticipate anything from the 49ers offense,
especially with the horrendous attitudes that still abound. He’s
over the line — mark it zero, dude.
Final Score: Rams 31, Niners
Dallas (+4.5) at San
Diego 4:15 p.m.
Great first game test for both teams. They both could be for real,
but this will set the tone for the season. I think we’ll
see some moderate to good performances from just about all the
main starters, but expect big things from Cowboys RB Julius Jones
and, of course, Chargers stud LT. Witten should be a good play
and look out for Gates fill-in Justin Peele. Both TEs could possibly
leading their teams in catches and yardage in this one. I have
a feeling, however, that the Cowboys revamped pass rush will get
the better of San Diego and force a few turnovers.
Final Score: Cowboys 20, Chargers
Orleans at Carolina (-7), 4:15 p.m
You have to feel for the Saints players. It has to be difficult
for them. At least I heard that all of the players have gotten
their own families with them. That is good. New Orleans will be
playing on much emotion and that will last for about the first
half of a quarter. I think you have to know that their energy
will diminish and the emotional toll with eventually overcome
them. Brooks is going to be same unpredictable QB. But he will
put up fantasy points. McAllister should have a good year along
with Horn. Play those guys but the Panthers defense will some
at them at some point.
The Panthers are the trendy pick for the NFC grown. I don’t
know if I agree. I like Jake and Steve Smith. But Muhsin leaving
has to impact them. Davis is back and will start but Foster should
be the man. He has more upside and the ability to take it to the
house at anytime. I think the Saints D will get slashed up pretty
good in this one and that defense will be foaming at the mouth.
This is the best D in the league not named the Ravens. Go with
Jake, Steve Smith, and Stephen Davis if you have to.
Final Score: Panthers 28, Saints
Arizona (+3) at NY Giants,
I like what Arizona has done. I would say especially on defense.
They are young, fast, aggressive, and they have a good leader.
The offense is a little suspect. Warner is not the Warner of 2000.
He should be serviceable for bye weeks and such but I doubt he
will be able to stay healthy and productive all year. I know he
is a big pick with experts but I just don’t think he is
worth the risk. He has the tools to throw to. He has Fitz and
Boldin. Two of the best bookends in the business. But I see an
offensive line with holes and a RB that is not used to the speed
of the pro game. So be careful starting some of these guys by
the WR should be worth a spot in this game. Try Warner out and
see what he does.
The NY football Giants got a little scare when Eli had elbow
problems. The QB of the future looks to be ok and will start this
game. However I think this offense has some work to do. Burress
is an upgrade and Toomer will benefit from a healthy Manning but
I think the O-Line is like a faucet and will get trampled by this
defense. It is a good match up for the Cardinals and they will
want to prove they are not the same old Cardinals. Burress and
Barber will be pretty good starts.
Final Score: Arizona 20, Giants
Indy (-3) at Baltimore,
Classic match up here. You have the best offense in the league
against the best D. This will be a thing of beauty and kudos to
the NFL for the scheduling. The Colts almost lost their “Edge”
this off-season but wound up ponying the dough and kept him for
at least this year. This may be the last. Manning through for
a million TDs last year and basically has the same offense in
tact. They have added Simon and Calmus on the defensive side of
the ball so they will be a little bigger up front. They might
be the favorite in the AFC at this point. In this game and will
be a little more challenging. I would say Manning, James, Harrison,
and Wayne would be the usual suspects. They will get theirs regardless
of whom they play.
The defense has a chance to be special. Better than 2000 you
say? Probably not but they have a chance in the old Bear 46 system.
The offense should be better with Mason and Clayton. Boller is
the key to this season. If he struggles he could get the hook
sometime this season. Lewis looks like he is ready to roll. It
remains to be seen if he can handle an entire season. I think
the Colts are just too much for them at this point and they will
struggle to score. Start Lewis and Mason. Heap might get some
catches as well.
Final Score: Colts 27, Ravens
Philadelphia (-1) at
Atlanta 9:00 p.m.
Good thing Terrell Owens has decided to ignore his quarterback.
That should bode very well for Philly fans, who might now learn
their lesson and know their role as perennial bridesmaids. All
the smack that was directed my way last year has been squashed
and I have been vindicated by Owens and his piehole. What did
I say about this team. It can’t last, it won’t last
and the long, tragic fall will start in Week 1. Sure, the fantasy
numbers from Owens, Westbrook and McNabb will be decent, but Vick
and TE Alge Crumpler should make mincemeat of a team with no heart
remaining — since T.O. took a big bit out of it in the off-season.
Final Score: Falcons 23, Eagles