When prognosticating as regards to the NFL, you tend to learn a lot after the first week of games. After all, your picks are based primarily on last year’s performance, leavened with a bit of training camp and preseason knowledge that may or may not be applicable. Overall, I’m pleased with last week’s record, but learned a lot. To wit:
- Peyton Manning looks…old. Kind of like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the latest Terminator flick. Lots of balls hit the dirt. The zing on throws wasn’t there. Only a stout defense and a kicker who could likely target Boulder from Mile High saved them against the Ravens.
- Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain looks like it’s made of steel wool. This is a serious problem. See also: defenses in Indianapolis and Houston. Not exactly the Watchers on the Wall, you guys.
- If Marcus Mariota can build on his impressive debut, the Titans will be contenders. He threw between defenders like bullseye-ing womp rats in his T-16 back home.
Here we go with this week’s picks. Winners in italics.
Denver at Kansas City: The Broncos need to do better on offense, something the Chiefs did quite well against another Tenacious D. (Cue Jack Black.)
Houston at Carolina: This is kind of a home-field-by-default pick. Both are roughly equal. Could go either way, kind of like whether Jon Snow survived at the end of season 5.
San Francisco at Pittsburgh: The Steelers are better than they showed last week, but if they drop this one, the Enterprise-style klaxons will sound throughout the land.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans: If you can’t beat the padawan, how are you gonna stand up to the master?
Detroit at Minnesota: Even with Adrian Peterson back, the Vikings are a long way from Valhalla.
Arizona at Chicago: Bruce Arians will win this only because he’s just that cool. He’s the cool dad of head coaches.
New England at Buffalo: When’s the last time this was a meaningful game? Or a good one to watch? Pause your binge-watch of last seasons Doctor Who for this one.
San Diego at Cincinnati: Another home-field pick. The Bengals are fine in the regular season — it’s the playoffs where they enter their Serenity Valley.
Tennessee at Cleveland: Speaking of Browncoats…the Browns are gonna be in trouble this year. Again.
Atlanta at N.Y. Giants: You know, Eli, the stadium has play clocks and time-out markers all over the darn place. Right next to the ads for Budweiser. *shudder* I hate Budweiser.
St. Louis at Washington: You know how Ronan the Destroyer chewed the scenery in Guardians of the Galaxy? Dan Snyder wishes he could be that class of villain.
Miami at Jacksonville: So long and thanks for all the fish, Jags.
Baltimore at Oakland: Captain Phasma is trying to bring competence back to the silver-and-black look, but Oakland’s not having it.
Dallas at Philadelphia: With Dez out and Philly burning from a loss to Atlanta, the Cowboys bebop to a loss.
Seattle at Green Bay: Vengeance for the playoff whiff. Aaron Rodgers is my new nominee for Terminator-like competence.
N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis: I don’t yet have faith in a Jets resurgence, though there’s promise — or at least a stronger competency level than your average Stormtrooper.
Last week’s record: 11-5. And out of 13 experts here, I beat nine of ’em.