Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery – Week #1

For the SEVENTH consecutive year, I'm teaming up with my good friend Joe Reid to pick NFL games. After the first three years, I was 3-0 against him. Honestly, you guys, I don't know why he even bothers to show up. He barely even beat me the past three years. And, his cheating was more rampant than ever.

Dallas at N.Y. Giants

Joe: It simultaneously feels way too long since we last had football and yet also I don't feel adequately prepared for it. It's yet another season with the Giants as our non-dominant defending Super Bowl champions. And yet, if the defense stays healthy and they can grow something of a running game, there's no reason they couldn't win again. As for Dallas ... where's the offseason controversy, 'Boys? Oh, Dez Bryant misbehaved a little -- that's it?! No QB controversy ginned-up by your tight-faced owner? No courting of an unobtainable head coach? Have they installed that rollercoaster in the new stadium yet? Snooze. Pick: NY Giants

Aaron: While America very much remains a nation divided by our ideologies, I hope we can all agree to assign meaningless "meanings" and lose our collective sh*t when this game trounces the second night of the Democratic National Convention in the overnight ratings. No? Then, can we all agree that the defending Super Bowl champion NEVER loses these mid-week season-opening coronations?  Don't look it up!  I'm right! I think!  Pick: NY Giants 

Indianapolis at Chicago

Aaron: The annual season-opening narratives get more far-fetched every year.  Sportswriters' keyboards were collectively climaxing all over Andrew Luck in August, anointing him "the best QB prospect in [chronological hyperbole]!".  Meanwhile, Brandon Marshall's climb up the fantasy football WR rankings belies the fact that, psychologically, he's better suited to "case study" or  "Batman's Rogues Gallery".  Pick: Chicago

 Joe: I'm all for holding off on the Luck hyperbole until he gets a year or two under his belt, but call me a sucker for believing in this Jay Cutler/Brandon Marshall reunion stuff. The fact that wideouts are, on balance, the most overrated players in football is precisely because so much of their value lies in chemistry with a given quarterback. These two have it. Pick: Chicago

New England at Tennessee

Aaron: The Titans are young on defense, but they match up well with the Patriots' short-pass preference.  The Patriots, on the other hand, are rolling out a refurbished defense that'll be tasked with stopping RB Chris Johnson.  You might remember him as the guy who torpedoed your 2011 fantasy football season.  I do, too.  I wanna pick the inexplicable upset, but my last image of Titans QB Jake Locker was in the 2010 Holiday Bowl.  Where he played really, really bad!  Recency effect, FTW.  Pick: New England 

Joe: I think the Titans will be a tough out for teams this season, but probably not capable of the huge upset this early on. Meanwhile, the Patriots remain the default AFC favorites despite having a bad defense and unproven running game. I know how this story ends and I LIKE IT. Pick: New England

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets 

Aaron: Injuries obliterated the promise of Buffalo's 5-2 start last year and may have been directly responsible for Joe's broken heart during the holidays.  With good health, I like this Bills squad a lot.  The Jets, meanwhile, have been positioned by the media as New York's most unlikeable franchise since the 1992 Mets.  I imagine the *not-at-all* self-serving fulfillment of those sportswriters' prophecies are coming next summer to a bookstore near you.  Pick: Buffalo 

Joe: My Bills are the trendy pick to make the playoffs this year, and that all sounds nice, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't battening down the hatches for failure. This pick isn't reverse psychology. The Jets had all the same question marks last season when they beat Buffalo twice. Sadly, they'll do it again. Pick: NY Jets

Washington at New Orleans 

Aaron:  Look, I'm just saying I'd have a lot more faith in rookie Redskins QB Robert Griffin III if he didn't remind me of Kel Mitchell -- the LESS talented half of the "Kenan & Kel" kiddie comedy team from the 1990s. Yes... Kenan Thompson is considered the funnier one.  I know!  It's good to be back, you guys.  Pick: New Orleans 

Joe: I have to say, and maybe this is going against the grain of popular opinion, but I've had more than my fill of the weeping laments for the Saints and how the NFL is being oh so hard on them for their bounty program. These same people are all over the league for its concussion policies. The only way we turn this ship around from its collision course with something truly horrific (every Sunday I quietly hope this isn't the week someone dies on the field) is to change the league's mentality on aggression. So I'm really QUITE fine with throwing the hammer down on overt sanctioning of on-field violence. Call me a pussy. Pick: Washington

Jacksonville at Minnesota 

Aaron: It's kind of hard to take the NFL's highly-publicized player safety prioritization seriously when Vikings RB Adrian Peterson -- eight months removed from surgery to repair his torn left anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments -- is listed as a "game time decision" to play on Sunday.  A similarly gruesome injury ended Alvin Mack's collegiate football career in 1993's The Program.  Remember?!  Pick: Minnesota 

Joe: I picked up Maurice Jones Drew at a bargain in one of my fantasy leagues, mere days before he reported back to camp. I declined to pick up Adrian Peterson at a similar bargain. Time to start making me look foolish, NFL players! Pick: Minnesota

Atlanta at Kansas City 

Aaron: There sure seems to be an inexplicable number of believers in the Chiefs this season. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I believe Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel is more likely to be featured in one of those Coors Light press conference commercials come January, rather than roaming a playoff sideline.  I do like 'em at home, though.  Pick: Kansas City 

Joe: I like the ones where Cam makes my case for me and then goes the other way. Good to be back! Pick: Atlanta

Philadelphia at Cleveland 

Aaron:  I picked against the Eagles in their season-opener last year. On the road. They played the Rams...a squad that ultimately finished with a 2-14 record.  I learned a valuable lesson that day.  Pick: Philadelphia 

Joe: I have to believe it'll be nice for the Eagles to go through a season without that "Dream Team" nonsense hanging over their heads. Getting some good year-after vibes from them. Pick: Philadelphia

St. Louis at Detroit

Aaron: Well, I guess I learned TWO valuable lessons that Eagles v. Rams game last year.  Pick: Detroit  

Joe: Detroit is BACK, baby! Any city that can get the same sentiment out of Clint Eastwood AND Barack Obama these days has got to be born under a good sign. Pick: Detroit

Miami at Houston 

Aaron:  The Texans were looking like one of the AFC's elite teams last season before QB Matt Schaub went down with a season-ending injury.  The bigger surprise, though, might've been in Miami where running back Reggie Bush learned how  Whatever.  There are no winners in the battle for smothering humidity supremacy.  Pick: Houston 

Joe: The Dolphins are one of about five teams starting their seasons with a quarterback under center whom NOBODY believes in. If you ask certain sports media moguls, lack of belief from others is the #1 ingredient for success, so I guess Miami has this locked up then? Pick: Houston

San Francisco at Green Bay 

Aaron: Which version of 49ers QB Alex Smith are you buying?  The career-long mediocre QB who last year feasted on a weak regular season schedule and played great in one playoff game or the career-long mediocre QB who was so awful in his other playoff game that the team overtly flirted with signing Peyton Manning during the offseason?  Pick: Green Bay 

Joe: Here's hoping Jim Harbaugh's camera-hogging diva antics continue alllll season. Pick: Green Bay 

Seattle at Arizona 

Aaron: And, right on cue, it's the stars of Alex Smith's 2011 regular season feast!  This is not an endorsement of fictitious domestic terrorism, but I'll be pulling for an appearance by Bane.  Pick: Seattle 

Joe: Every time I hear people whining about how Lebron James is an evil bastard who abandoned Cleveland, I think of Larry Fitzgerald. I salute your noble failure, sir! Pick: Seattle

Carolina at Tampa Bay 

Aaron:  The stifling weather could be an equalizer here, as some terrible Bucs teams of recent vintage have still occasionally shown up at home in September.  I talked myself into it!  Pick: Tampa Bay 

Joe: I mean ... it's not like Charlotte in summertime is a picnic either. I kind of like the Panthers as a threat to take what I suspect could be a downwardly mobile AFC South this year. Pick: Carolina

Pittsburgh at Denver 

Aaron: More likely scenario for Broncos QB Peyton Manning -- his team wins 12 games or he starts 12 games?  You had to think about it for a second or two, right?  Oh, of course you did.  And, that's precisely my point!  Pick: Pittsburgh 

Joe: So glad everybody's piling on Peyton Manning's aching neck. I missed the days when I got to watch Manning prove the haters wrong. Why they gotta HATE??? Pick: Denver

Cincinnati at Baltimore 

Aaron: One of these seasons, the Ravens defense is going to play well enough to turn this team into a legitimate Super Bowl threat and -- by proxy -- make a household name out of their so-so quarterback.  Just like they did for whatshisface.  Remember?  Back in 2001 or something. Pick: Baltimore 

Joe: See, I was going to go with "one of these seasons, the bottom's going to fall out on the Ravens." Probably not this week, but still. Pick: Baltimore

San Diego at Oakland 

Aaron: Hard to believe I'm THIS excited about a team that might win six games this season, but here we are.  My Raiders are rebuilding, but it actually feels like they have a plan.  Oakland looked awful in the preseason, but I like 'em here with a healthy -- albeit thin -- running game and a Chargers team that is beat up on the offensive line.  Pick: Oakland 

Joe: Okay, how many times will do these two teams have to play in the wee hours of the first Monday night of the season before this game gets the branding it deserves? Ladies and gentlemen, settle in for the Cameron Bowl! Pick: San Diego

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I'm so happy you guys are back at it this year. Reading your NFL Pickery (and your pointed bitchery) is one of my favourite parts of the football season.