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NFL TACKLE 2015: Week One Picks

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Week One, let's have some...fun?

Week One, let’s have some…fun?

 

D.T.: Am I crazy, or did this off-season go by very quickly? Maybe the NFL was smart to drag out Deflategate (something I plan on not referring to ever again, this year), and fill up the last six months with endless drama and speculation. All I know is, it certainly wasn’t fuckin’ baseball that made the time go by.

So, we come to the 2015-16 NFL season. The NFL has – in their brilliant, anything-but-subtle manipulation of the media and public at large – scheduled the Patriots to play in the season opener. Let’s just get right into it, rather than talk about the small army of players once again sidelined by knee injuries, that ridiculous bit of bullshit between the Patriots and the Shield (which again, shall henceforth not be mentioned).

BMK: For me, this off-season dragged.  I live in the Bay Area, so I had to put up with the Golden State Warriors winning a title (good Lord, is there a stupider nickname than “The Splash Brothers?”), and then all the goddamn baseball talk up here.  Seriously, the only thing worse than listening to people break down baseball games is watching them, and the only worse than watching baseball games is finding a rabid wombat in your shorts. F baseball.

As far as Deflategate goes (and please, please, please, can we drop the –gate suffix for any generic controversy), I was happy talking about it. A) because it wasn’t baseball, and B) I love it when football guys complain about Goodell. But more on that later this season…

ON TO THE PICKS!
———-

STEELERS at PATRIOTS

D.T.: The Patriots have their golden boy under center, but they come in with a heavily reduced defense. Revis Island went off to chase money in New York (and he probably won’t have to punch anyone on his team to get it). I love the fact that his wikipedia page says “currently plays for the New York Jets”, because who the hell knows where he’ll chase the money next. Vince Wilfork went off to chase barbecue in Houston, leaving a sizeable gap in the New England defensive line.

 

And he's left, er, made no bones about it.

 And he’s left, er, made no bones about it.

Still, they’re up against a weakened Steelers offense. Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will keep the Patriots’ backfield busy, but with Le’Veon Bell and LeGarette Blount serving their annual early-season suspension (and joined by Martavius Bryant, this year), it’s going to leave them wanting. Gillette Stadium is going to be electric, full of devout Patriots fans elated that their idol has escaped persecution, and the team will have a large chip on their shoulders this season in trying to shed their cheater reputation. I expect them to take a home win.

PATRIOTS
BMK: I’m picking the Patriots. Brady at home, with key players missing from the Steelers, makes the Patriots an obvious pick.

PATRIOTS
———-

PACKERS at BEARS

D.T.: Even without Jordy Nelson, the Packers shouldn’t find any real difficulty in taking a win, here. Randall Cobb is capable of stepping up, and Eddie Lacy is projected to have a massive year. Seriously, playing with him in the new Madden is like using a cheat code.

Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Fuck Your Shit Up

   Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Fuck Your Shit Up

The Bears will continue to be a dumpster fire this year, and even the most devoted of fans have resigned themselves to a quiet year and a high draft pick next April. John Fox is a very conservative choice after firing Marc Tressman, and I expect only the defense will benefit from the shake-up.  Even their one glimmer of hope in freak athlete Kevin White (WR) was dashed when he suffered a shin injury that’ll keep him sidelined for half the season, if not more. Cheeseheads, enjoy your Sunday.

PACKERS

BMK: The Packers – again—are the sexy pick to get to the NFC Title game.  I’m not quite as sold on them as some (see injury to Nelson, Jordy), but they’ll be in the mix at the end.  With Rodgers at QB how can you not be? I’m not sure I’m ready to put them into the Superbowl yet (their defense still leaves a lot to be desired), but there’s more than enough firepower to get by the Midgets of the Midway.

PACKERS

———-

CHIEFS at TEXANS

D.T.: The Texans come into the new season with another new quarterback taking snaps: former Patriots/Steelers/Cardinals/Browns quarterback, Brian Hoyer. Houston saw him in the shelter at a low price and with all his shots, and hopefully the guy has found his forever home. Andre Johnson might argue this, but Houston has got to be a step up from the indecipherable mess that is the Browns organization, and I expect Hoyer to make a strong effort to give them something in return. Jadaveon Clowney is also returning, which should – if he can keep his legs in one piece – make their defense fucking terrifying. And against a Chiefs offense that failed to complete a single passing touchdown last year, I think they’ll have themselves a feast.

TEXANS

BMK: The cult of JJ Watt is starting to really irritate me.  Yeah, he’s a great player. Yeah, we all saw the Hard Knocks where he kept some poor kids at the facility late so he could practice more. He’s got a great work ethic. Hurray.  But, unless JJ Watt is going to throw the ball to JJ Watt while JJ Watt pass protects, I don’t see the Texans getting past the Colts to win the division.   9-7 could get them a Wild Card in the weak AFC, but we’ll see.

That said, they’ll beat the Chiefs.

———-

BROWNS at JETS

D.T.: It’s the Jets here. There’s no two ways about it. Todd Bowles should have waited for a better head coaching job to come along, but he’s a defensive genius and he’s inheriting a decent unit with plenty of room to improve. Darrelle Revis will protect the skies from what little threat the Browns’ passing game offers, and on the flipside, the Jets dominant running game will play well, even without their third wheel runner, Chris Johnson (formerly of 2,000 rushing yards fame).

Ryan Fitzpatrick is probably a step up from Geno Smith (formerly of eating solid foods fame)…

"Grr frrk yrsrrf..."

   “Grr frrk yrsrrf…”

…and he’s got Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker receiving. You could do much worse for wide outs.

JETS
BMK: Um…Jets?

Seriously, no one outside of Cleveland cares about this game. And who cares about Cleveland?  Not me, that’s for sure. F Cleveland.

I'll never pass up a chance to make a sleazy joke...or to oogle late 90s era Rose McGowan

I’ll never pass up a chance to make a sleazy joke…or to ogle late 90s era Rose McGowan

———-

COLTS at BILLS

D.T.: I make no bones about thinking Rex Ryan is a joke, and not a funny one. Okay, sometimes a funny one.

 

Better off just getting that tat removed, rather than changing it each time you get fired.

 Better off just getting that tat removed, rather than changing it each time you get fired.

 

The Bills are in for another season of hurt, and Shady McCoy is going to be hard-pressed to find a way to make something happen on the ground. Because it ain’t happening in the passing game. I couldn’t even tell you who ended up as their starting QB after the preseason ended, and I watched nearly every game. The Colts, on the other hand, are poised to take the AFC South once again. Frank Gore is a huge addition to their offense, and if their running game is able to take some of the stress off Andrew Luck, Indy could be even more of a force this year.

COLTS

BMK: Thanks, DT, for putting a shirtless picture of Rex Ryan into this column.  Excuse me while I go scrub my eyes out with bleach.

And no, it’s not because Rex Ryan is fat.  It’s because he’s a Ryan brother.

Later Krol...even I can't help erase shirtless Rex Ryan.

   Later Krol…even I can’t help erase shirtless Rex Ryan.

COLTS
———-

DOLPHINS at REDSKINS

D.T.: In the bizarre exodus of players from an okay Eagles team to horrible teams in dire straits, DeSean Jackson split and went to Washington. Even if I’m playing for a possible racist and definite social pariah like Chip Kelly, I still wouldn’t leave for fucking Washington. That’s jumping off a sinking boat and into a shark’s mouth. That’s dropping the One Ring down on the ground and jumping into the fires of Mount Doom. It’s like finding out you’re going to lose your foot to diabetes, and deciding to have both arms removed.

DOLPHINS

No, not those Dire Straits

No, not those Dire Straits

BMK: For my money, Dan Synder has to be the least sympathetic owner in professional sports.  And that, my friends, is a high bar to cross. Especially when Jerry Jones and Mark Davis’s hair still walk the Earth.  I think Dan Snyder secretly hates his team. That’s the only explanation that can account for all of his actions since buying the team.  This cat can’t even do the right thing cut RGIII from his squad.  No, he’s going to force Gruden to keep him on and let the poor kid suffer the indignity of sitting on the bench behind Cousins and McCoy. RGIII might be a complete tool, but what happened to him isn’t exactly his fault. He doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him down there.

Of course, if they cut him, he’ll just end up as Derek Carr’s back up in Oakland.  But hey, the weather’s nicer here than in Virginia.  Anyway…

DOLPHINS

———-

PANTHERS at JAGUARS

D.T.: The Panthers’ situation going into 2015 would be precarious and scary for any team outside the NFC South. Wide Receiver and break-out star Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season with an ACL injury. Oft-suspended Defensive End Greg Hardy has gone off to Dallas. Cam Newton has been outed as a sociopath.

Dude's in the middle of a fight and he looks like he's at a job interview. Unnerving.

  Dude’s in the middle of a fight and he looks like he’s at a job interview. Unnerving.

But, unless the Falcons can get their shit together, the Panthers will still be the forerunner in that division. As for the Jaguars, I actually think they’ll improve and turn some heads. I like Bortles for the team, and the addition of Tight End Julius Thomas (without the pressure of operating with Peyton Manning) should be a solid offensive combination. You know what? I’m going to call the first upset of the season.

JAGUARS

 

BMK: Cam Newton is a nutball. But he’s a nutball that’s more talented than Bortles.

PANTHERS

———-

SEAHAWKS at RAMS

D.T.: To say nothing of being haunted by that last play in Super Bowl 49, the Seahawks had a rough offseason. Their quarterback went off the deep end, firing off claims that a sports drink protected his brain for a concussion and decided to abstain from sex before marriage with his new girlfriend.

Because not fucking has definitely helped this guy's playing.

 Because not fucking has definitely helped this guy’s playing.

Safety (and anchor member of their stellar defense) Kam Chancellor continues to hold out and is likely to start missing regular season games. The Seahawks have prepared for him to stupidly and selfishly miss the entire season. So, a Seattle team that’s lost its way is coming up against a Rams squad on the brink of possibly finding themselves. I’m making this my Game of the Week, because it has the potential for the most legitimate drama and ugliness. I’m eager to see how Foles operates behind that Rams offensive line, and I’m eager to see how Russell Wilson’s energy drink will protect his brain from the Rams’ stout defense. I think Seattle walks out of STL with a win, but a difficult and tiring win.

SEAHAWKS

BMK: The Seahawks are the easy pick here, but I’m not taking them.  DT must be drinking Wilson’s recovery water if he thinks they’re going to beat the Rams at home, with both of their starting Safeties either missing or hobbled.  The Rams always play their NFC West rivals tough, and they beat Seattle at home last year.  So, no, Mr. Carel, the Seahawks aint winning.

But this is the game of the week.

RAMS

———-

SAINTS at CARDINALS

D.T.: Two of the Arizona Cardinals’ biggest weaknesses are both defending Tight Ends and finding a good one for their system. It remains to be seen whether the latter is solved, but the Saints have taken the guessing game out of former, shipping Jimmy Graham off to Seattle for a first round draft pick. Brees will continue to throw like a stud this season, and Brandin Cooks will make him look good doing it. But the Cardinals defense won’t have a tough time containing the Saints’ ground game, and with Carson Palmer allegedly back in Heisman shape (and with a receiving corps full of sleepers ready to go off), I see a win for my boys in red in their season opener.

CARDINALS

BMK:  Our long time reader will remember that I never picked the Cardinals last year. I did this because they’re my favorite team and if I pick them I’ll end up jinxing them.

So I’m torn here. It’s a new year, and on-paper the Saints are a winnable game for the Cardinals.  That said, it’s Drew Brees, and the Cardinals don’t really have a good pass rush and their secondary is missing Cromartie, so leaving the corners in single coverage while the defense blitzes the fuck out of the offensive line is probably not a good idea.

Crap.  F it.

CARDINALS.

"Great...Krol picked us..."

“Great…Krol picked us…”

———-

LIONS at CHARGERS

D.T.: A healthy Megatron is some scary shit, even against San Diego’s decent defensive backs. Now that he’s healthy and comfortable again, we can expect him to come off “decoy” status, and be a massively-productive part of the Detroit offense again. The Chargers will be without star tight-end Antonio Gates, and that takes away a strong San Diego advantage, as the Lions struggle against Tight Ends. To compensate for that gap in their offense, I’m eager to see how San Diego uses rookie Running Back Melvin Gordon, and how he performs from behind that San Diego O-line. Call me crazy, but I prefer Gordon over Todd Gurley.

"You're crazy..."

“You’re crazy…”

I see the Lions pulling a win out of their first week match-up, as long as Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford connect.

LIONS

BMK: Normally, I’d take the Chargers here, since the Lions defense sucks and no one in the league can cover a decent Tight End, but Gates aint playing and I looked up who the starting running back is for the Chargers and my first thought was “Who?”

But hey, it’s time for some, hashtag, Real Talk on the Lions. This season, the Lions will be to football what Rocky was to boxing. The only hope these cats have is to pour on the points and hope that opposing teams can’t stop them or keep up.

Crap. I just talked myself into taking the Chargers.  Oh well… c’est la vie.

CHARGERS

———-

TITANS at BUCCANEERS

D.T.: Think the NFL did this on purpose? The two high-profile rookie quarterbacks, taken first and second in this year’s draft, squaring off in the first week of the new season. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston comes in with an advantage though, with a stronger defense, a veteran pro-bowler wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, and a head coach that doesn’t kill rookie quarterbacks’ careers for sport. I just feel bad for Marcus Mariota — I like the kid, and he did some great things with Oregon. But until his rookie contract is up or a miraculous change occurs in Tennessee, he runs a very high risk of joining the ranks of Matt Leinart and fellow Titan Zach Mettenberger as first-year quarterbacks trampled on by Whisenhunt’s ineptness.

BUCCANEERS

BMK: This is another tough one for me to call.  DT gets all the serious analysis right, and I’m probably taking the Buccaneers, but Winston is such a Grade A Tool I have a hard time wanting to pick them to win.

Maybe when he plays his first regular season game on the road, people will throw fake crab at him or something. That’ll make me sleep better at night.

BUCCANEERS

———-

BENGALS at RAIDERS

D.T.: The Raiders will surprise people this year. They still won’t be a good team, but they won’t be the unmitigated disaster they were last year. Derek Carr looks decent under center, Amari Cooper is explosive, and Khalil Mack is just a fucking beast. Andy Dalton will remember the smell of Mack’s aftershave for the rest of his life, but the Bengals will still pull out a road win against a Raiders squad that’s putting all the pieces together, but are still another couple of years  away from making it all work as a unit.

BENGALS

BMK: I agree with my Phoenician friend above. I think the Raiders will surprise people, especially after adding Aldon Smith to their linebacker corps. Normally, you just pencil in the Raiders at the bottom of the AFC West, but with a clearly waning Peyton Manning, Denver’s stranglehold at the top of the division is not guaranteed.  Now, don’t misread me. I’m not suggesting that the Raiders will win the AFC West, but I think they’re much more in the mix than normal. 9-7 could get a wild card berth in the AFC, and every year some team rockets from the cellar into the playoffs.  Why wouldn’t it be the Raiders this year?

RAIDERS

———-

RAVENS at BRONCOS

D.T.: As a Broncos fan, this season makes me nervous. I’m no fan of John Fox, but bringing in Gary Kubiak, who had himself a heart attack a couple of years ago under the stress of coaching the Texans and got himself fired, doesn’t seem like a smart move. Even less intelligent is the idea of installing a brand new offense, when you have an all-time great quarterback who has already mastered the current scheme. Especially when said quarterback has announced that he can’t feel his fucking fingers.

"I can still feel my foot in your ass, D.T."

“I can still feel my foot in your ass, D.T.”

Still, the one advantage Kubiak brings to the Broncos (this week, anyway) is the fact that he was the offensive coordinator for the Ravens last season. That helps an already tough Denver defense anticipate and adjust. Despite their quarterback being on his farewell tour, and a running game in real question this season, I see the Broncos taking a home win.

BRONCOS

BMK: The Ravens are another sexy pick this season that I’m not sure I buy into. I think they’ll win the AFC North this year, but that’s about it.

BRONCOS

———-

GIANTS at COWBOYS

D.T.: The Giants recently announced that Defensive End and former fireworks enthusiast Jason Pierre-Paul “isn’t quite ready” to return to the field. When asked to elaborate, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin explained that his great, great grandchildren told him about a documentary called The Amazing Spider-Man, where a one-armed scientist uses lizard DNA to regrow his missing limb. Coughlin believes the same medical procedure could work for JPP’s missing finger, but they’re nervous about him possibly mutating and turning into a large reptilian beast.

"We certainly don't want Lizardgate", Coughlin concluded before heading back to the home for a tuna melt, strawberry Jell-o, and of Wheel of Fortune.

“We certainly don’t want Lizardgate”, Coughlin concluded before heading back to the home for a tuna melt, strawberry Jell-o, and of Wheel of Fortune.

Despite themselves, the Giants are in a position for a decent comeback. The offense now has both Odell Beckham, Jr. and a returning Victor Cruz lining up to catch passes, and even Eli can’t fuck that up. The Cowboys have lost last season’s highest rated running back to the Eagles, but even I could run the ball from behind that Dallas offensive line. This… could turn into a really fun game, actually. I think Dallas holds down the home turf, though.
COWBOYS
BMK: The Giants are a mess and the Cowboys are at home.
COWBOYS

———-
EAGLES at FALCONS
D.T.: A bird game kicks off the Monday Night double feature. As you’ll remember, dear readers, Dan Quinn left his post as Seattle’s defensive coordinator to take on head coaching duties for Atlanta. That’s a pretty big step up for the franchise, whose defense in the last few years could be classified as “existing” at best. Matt Ryan is the goods at quarterback, and there’s no reason he can’t excel if that team can find balance.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have mixed things up quite a bit. Chip Kelly managed to scare off several of his star players from last season, but that freed the Eagles up to acquire DeMarco Murray. If Murray returns in top form, that’ll take some of the stress off new Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford, who already suffered a scare this past off-season, after coming back from yet another knee injury. The big question here though, is that Atlanta defense. If Dan Quinn has worked some kind of magic, the Falcons have a shot. If not, that multi-faceted Philly offense will have themselves a day.
EAGLES
BMK: Oh Christ, really? The Bird Bowl? The NFL is trolling us.
Now, who the hell am I supposed to pick here? Again, the Eagles are a sexy pick this year. Why? Because they have Bradford at QB. Does this scream success to you? The only reason Bradford is still in the NFL is because he got the last big rookie contract (and man, how that must Burn Mr. Newton, when he thinks about it…), and cutting bait on this stinky fish would mean some billionaire owner would lose millions, so that aint happening.
But Falcons are a mess too. Yeah, Julio Jones is back, and that’s good for Matt Ryan, but that’s it. So I think I’m going with the Eagles on this game, but don’t you think for one second—NOT ONE GODDAMN SECOND—it’s because I buy into the Grand Wizard’s system.
EAGLES

———-
VIKINGS at NINERS
D.T.: Kaepernick should have taken a pay day, like his contemporary, Russell Wilson. Wilson fought for a huge new contract and set off a chain reaction of greed that’s left Seattle’s defense hurting. Kaep on the other hand, had to be the good guy and take a contract structured to allow the team to pursue talent and improve.

That sure fucking worked out for all parties, didn't it?

That sure fucking worked out for all parties, didn’t it?

It’s gonna be rough for the Niners. Prepare for it. Harbaugh’s left to fail cleaning up the mess that is University of Michigan’s football team. Crabtree swam across the bay to Oakland. Frank Gore went off to improve Indy’s offense. And there’s no way that patchwork defense is going to contain Adrian Peterson in his return to the field.

VIKINGS

BMK:

49ers

That’s what I think of this game.

VIKINGS

———-

D.T.: And that’s week one, in the books! It’s going to be a weird, fun season. There’s a ton of mix-ups across the board, and all kinds of wacky shit is set to start happening in each division (except the NFC South, which will still be a depressing mess). Here’s to fewer injuries on teams, lighter hangovers on Monday mornings, and the Cardinals winning their first Super Bowl. Cheers!

 

BMK: Cardinals in the Superbowl?  I hope so, since it’ll really piss off the Niners fans, but I think DT is a little drunk here.   But hey, another column in the books!  That’s good! Right?

Kat does not approve of this column...or the use of her image therein.

Kat does not approve of this column…or the use of her image therein.

This post was written and compiled while listening to Moby, Huser Du, and millions of voices crying out in terror and suddenly being silenced.
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Written by B. Michael Krol

September 11, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Posted in NFL Picks

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