Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 NFL Pickery -- Week #1 (Updated)

For the fifth consecutive season, m'man Movie Joe Reid and I are picking NFL games straight up in our ongoing war to determine guessing-supremacy. Also along for the ride is Nickname-Pending Tom Daniels – for space considerations, his picks will always run here.

If you're a new reader, I cannot recommend Joe and Tom's writing highly enough. Joe's
Low Resolution blog is your one-stop-shop for analysis of television, movies…and never-ending TV/movies award show predictions. Tom's One New York Life blog is written from the viewpoint of an unlikeable silver-haired man who enjoys over-easy eggs, craft beer and traveling abroad – because he's better than you.

Thanks again to 2009 Cincinnati Bengals for
openly tanking the final game of last year's regular season and handing Joe the prognosticating crown for the first time.

Minnesota at New Orleans

Aaron: Most of the complex, esoteric metrics show that last year's Saints defense overachieved like few other units have during the so-called modern era. The prevailing notion is that there's no way they can repeat that performance. Personally, I see no reason why the Saints won't be scraping Brett Favre's spleen off their feet. Again. Pick: New Orleans

Joe: My long-running hatred for the Minnesota Vikings has always been the least understandable of my sports hatreds. No local rivalry to speak of, they never handed the Bills a crushing defeat, they've never won a championship -- and yet, I've always had this weird antipathy towards them. Of course, with Favre on the team, my hatred is finally backed up, which is nice in an existential/philosophical way. But it doesn't help me figure out whether I think the Vikes will be awful this year because of sound rational thinking or because I hate them so very much. The Sidney Rice/Percy Harvin injury concerns are overrated (a good QB makes the WR, not the other way around), but at some point, Favre age and lack of off-season conditioning (he still needs surgery, right?) will catch up with him. Pick: New Orleans

Carolina at NY Giants

Joe: I have a feeling this year's Giants could take the Jacksonville Jaguars/Cleveland Browns memorial Slippery When Wet: Impossible to Predict award. They're talented, and their defense is almost guaranteed to rebound from last season, but I can't trust them. Meanwhile, who in Carolina thinks Matt Moore is a good idea? Pick: NY Giants

Aaron: Me thinks the Giants' season-long dysfunction on defense in 2009 (plus a pair of ineffectual offensive efforts to end the season) has created a sort of bizarro-blowback against Eli Manning. Last year's 8-8 effort wasn't his fault, kids. But, props to New Yorkers for finding a worse local scapegoat than Omar Minaya. Pick: NY Giants

Atlanta at Pittsburgh

Joe: Atlanta's getting a lot of bandwagon support for a turnaround season, but on the road facing a rejuvenated Pittsburgh defense is no way to start the year. I think the Steelers are starting Bubby Brister at quarterback, but I still think this is a low-scoring battle they can win. Pick: Pittsburgh

Aaron: My favorite part of Ben Roethlisberger's unseemly offseason shenanigans? The ridiculous notion that Steelers fans turned on him and wouldn't welcome him back to their laughably naive vision of a blue-collar, family-owned, small-town team...owned by a billionaire...who employs millionaires...and, at least one rapist. Pick: Atlanta

Cleveland at Tampa Bay

Joe: Jake Delhomme isn't going to make Cleveland a playoff team, but in this case, I don't think he'll need to be half that good. But wait! What of the oh-so-demoralized Cleveland fans? ...You know. Cuz of LeBron? Are you saying one sport has absolutely no bearing on the other? Don't you read the internet? Pick: Cleveland

Aaron: 25 years ago, the Browns brought in a new, mediocre quarterback -- instilling false hope in their fanbase -- while the Bucs were abominable. This Sunday, Jake Delhomme assumes the role of Bernie Kosar. Also starring the 1985 themselves. Pick: Cleveland

Denver at Jacksonville

Joe: The two worst teams in the AFC? If you ignore my Beloved and Beleaguered Buffalo Bills then...maybe. Pick: Jacksonville

Aaron: Lots of mixed signals surrounding the health of Jags RB/Franchise Maurice Jones-Drew and his (allegedly) ailing knee. Should I make the "Tim Tebow will heal him" reference now or save it for later in the season? You're right, let's save it. Pick: Jacksonville

Indianapolis at Houston

Joe: This is a bad time of the year for Houston -- notoriously slow-starters under Gary Kubiak -- to get their home game against the Goliath-y Colts. No chance at a Peyton Manning injury or anything. Pick: Indianapolis

Aaron: The Colts have had to scratch and claw hoof their way to victory in the last few meetings between these teams. With a new offensive coordinator in Indy, a raucous Houston crowd and Peyton Manning on TWO of my fantasy teams...I have a bad feeling about this. Still can't pull the trigger, though. Pick: Indianapolis

Miami at Buffalo

Joe: It's weird, Buffalo was the popular pick for basement of the NFL pretty much all summer, until the last few weeks, when the stat-heads started talking about injury-regression and one or two intrepid souls were actually predicting a miracle 8-8 season. Ha ha! You can't fool me, jerks! Pick: Miami

Aaron: Fun with Pro-Football In the past 10 years, the Bills have either won outright or lost by no more than six points in all but one of their season openers. So, Joe...there's that. Pick: Miami

Detroit at Chicago

Joe: Are we actually going to be forced to issue a "Calm down, kiddo" to Lions fans? LIONS fans? How can this be possible? How can they allow their enthusiasm to creep up to unrealistic levels like this? 9-7? Playoff sleepers? You poor bastards. Pick: Chicago

Aaron: Notwithstanding any residual schadenfreude I may be enjoying at the expense of Jay Cutler's 2009 struggles, I'm not subscribing to the simmering notion that the Lions are on the rise. Not that I wouldn't mind them proving me wrong here. Pick: Chicago

Oakland at Tennessee

Joe: I could sort of be talked into a Raiders resurgence. Crappy division. Have shown sparks of scrappy play last season. It's something that takes some time to build, though. And Tennessee has that Chris Johnson guy. Pick: Tennessee

Aaron: Seven wins. I'd been saying my Raiders will win eight games to friends and co-workers, but (1) they're still coached by the real-life carbon blob from Sector 7G; (2) they don't have any roster depth and (3) the nagging injuries are already starting to pile up. I'll take all these things in exchange for excising the metric-ton tumor that was JaMarcus Russell. Pick: Tennessee

Cincinnati at New England

Joe: I don't know about you all, but I'm really looking forward to this allegedly terrible New England defense. Meanwhile, everybody needs to step off of Tom Brady and his haircut. What guy wouldn't want to sport the hair love-child of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo? Pick: New England

Aaron: Unless the Bengals have access to a time machine set to 2005, I doubt Carson Palmer, Chad OchoBojangle and Terrell Owens are gonna make that much of an impact, yo. Pick: New England

Arizona at St. Louis

Joe: Rookie #1 draft pick Sam Bradford? Meet Darnell Dockett. Again and again. Pick: Arizona

Aaron: Aaaand, Cardinals' QB Derek Anderson? Meet...uhh, four guys in the Lions' secondary. Wow, this game's harder than it looks. Pick: Arizona

San Francisco at Seattle

Joe: Poor Matt Hasselbeck, man. He'd be a perfectly adequate stopgap QB for a middling contender. Seattle is several levels below that. Pick: San Francisco

Aaron: You don't see too many of them anymore and they're NEVER mentioned alongside Cowboys, Steelers and Patriots fans, but 49ers fans are -- collectively -- some of the more underrated jerk-faces in sports. "Five Super Bowls!" "Team of the '80s!" "We're BACK!" This year, San Francisco might win nine games and still take the division. Pick: San Francisco

Green Bay at Philadelphia

Joe: With Brent Celek and Jeremy Maclin, I've placed a good bit of my fantasy football season on Kevin Kolb's arm. I'm not entirely sold yet. Meanwhile, Post-Favre Green Bay making the Super Bowl is going into its third season as the nation's #1 feel-good story. I'm not sure if we're willing to give it a fourth, so make it happen, cheese-folk. Pick: Green Bay

Aaron: I had a brief Twitter discussion with m'man Hansen over Kevin Kolb's rollercoaster preseason. In early August, Kolb was being called a fantasy football sleeper. By the third week of exhibition games, Kolb had established residency on every expert's fantasy "stay-away" list. I'm not ready to crap on Kolb (who'll be wrapped within the protective cocoon of Philadelphia's frightening, profane home crowd) based on a few weeks of fake football and I'm not anointing Aaron Rodgers as the
ch-ch-chosen one for the exact same reason. Pick: Philadelphia

Dallas at Washington

Joe: Week 1 is a total crapshoot, but there has to be one outcome that makes no sense on paper. Better roll with Donovan McNabb now before his body officially falls apart later. Pick: Washington

Aaron: For all of his perceived shortcomings as a "clutch" quarterback, Tony Romo has been a lot better than his indifferent, celebrity-dating public persona would have you believe. You want a sleeper MVP pick? Nah, I won't go that far. Of course, if I'm right, I'll come back and erase these last two sentences. Pick: Dallas

Baltimore at NY Jets

Joe: Two bandwagon teams I actually do believe in, and two fairly evenly-matched ones at that. Go with the home team, I guess, though watch out for the Mark Sanchez concern trolls to swarm if he shows even a hint of vulnerability. Pick: NY Jets

Aaron: It's not that I'm underwhelmed with Mark Sanchez (and, yes, I am) it's that I've been waving the Joe Flacco flag since everyone turned on him for not taking a quantum leap forward after his solid rookie season in 2008. Instead, he made small gains in the all the right areas last year and I like Flacco's chances in front the quiet
corporate crowd that'll be filling the Jets' new home on opening week. Pick: Baltimore

San Diego at Kansas City

Joe: Here's what I don't entirely understand: San Diego went 13-3 last season despite LaDanian Tomlinson dragging ass pretty much the whole way. This year, everybody's picking the Chargers for a catastrophic collapse because ... they lost LaDanian Tomlinson? I get the Vincent Jackson thing, but WR is easily the most overvalued position in football, and the AFC West is still the AFC West. KC is going to be competitive this season -- and probably in this game -- but San Diego isn't dead yet. Pick: San Diego

Aaron: In defense of the haters, Joe, the doom n' gloom is based more on the continued holdout of LT Marcus McNeill -- who played at an All-Pro level in protecting Philip Rivers' blindside last year. Agreed that the Chargers are still the class of a crappy division, but the Chiefs have a fighting chance in front of a home crowd that will have been drinking for 12 straight hours in preparation of a 9:00 PM (local) start time. Oh, and Norv Turner's still the Chargers coach, right? Pick: San Diego


Lew B said...

I didn't read the post, as sports are not my thing.

But I couldn't help noticing the time stamp. Must be rough being "acting manager" ;)

Aaron C. said...

Even "acting managers" need to eat lunch, yo. That machaca plate wasn't going to annihilate itself.

Tom said...

unlikeable silver-haired man who enjoys over-easy eggs, craft beer and traveling abroad – because he's better than you.

How dare you. Over-easy eggs are an abomination.

Aaron C. said...

Sorry, but from MY seat in the booth at the local greasy spoon, anything not "scrambled" or "omlette" is over-easy.