There are times when NFL coverage becomes overwhelming. You get tired of listening to a story about Tim Tebow in late March or the 15th feature on whether Tony Romo can win the big game. Right now, however, we’ll take whatever we can get. It’s been seven months since we’ve seen an NFL game that counts and fans are ready to fire on all cylinders. Cue the beer, wings, cheerleaders, and big screen TVs. We’re ready to gamble on survivor pools, fantasy football, and a Thursday night game between Carolina and Arizona because we can’t get enough. On that note, here’s the first survivor pick of the season, a call on tonight’s game, and my opinion on the 32 NFL team win totals.
Survivor Pick of the Week:
INDIANAPOLIS over Oakland
I'll first reiterate my survivor pool philosophy: win now and worry about everything else later. It doesn't pay to get too fancy with your picks. Upsets happen on occasion, but these survivor pools generally don't last long enough for you to worry about saving teams. (Plus, there's the mental mind fuck of being upset that you took a chance with a team that wasn't so good and ended up losing. You can live with yourself better if a good team loses.) I also like to pick home teams because life on the road is tougher than you think.
With all that said, I think the Colts are the obvious choice this week. They're at home (check), they haven't changed much from last year's playoff team (check) and they're facing one of the three worst teams in the league (check). Oakland's quarterback situation is laughable. Terrell Pryor won the job by sucking less than Matt Flynn, which is saying something considering Pryor only completed 53 percent of his passes in the preseason while throwing more interceptions (2) than touchdowns (1). The Colts may struggle at times this year, but it won’t be this week.
Thursday Night Pick:
Baltimore +8.5 over DENVER
Revenge is a dish best served cold, but it’s going to be 85 degrees at kickoff in Denver tonight. I still can’t get over the blunder Rahim Moore made that allowed Baltimore to win last year’s game. It’s the worst safety play I’ve ever seen and somehow he’s not only still in Denver, but he’s their starting safety tonight. The shame is Baltimore is missing two of their major weapons from last year in Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta. They’re also missing that Ray Lewis guy on defense. Thankfully, they took advantage of Denver’s brain fart and picked up Elvis Dumervil to enhance their pass rush.
Denver, on the other hand, will have no pass rush in this game. They not only lost Dumervil, but they lost Von Miller to a suspension for the first four games. Not that Joe Flacco needs to look good after locking in one of the most ridiculous contracts in NFL history, but this definitely helps. (The Super Bowl is nice, but he’s still never thrown for 4,000 yards or more than 25 touchdowns in a season.) Denver’s offense should hum along, but their defense isn’t good enough to make this a blowout. Baltimore’s no pushover.
NFL Team Win Total Predictions:
Arizona Cardinals: 5.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Over
Carson Palmer isn't great, but he's good enough to stabilize the offense while the defense holds its own.
Atlanta Falcons: 9.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Under
Everything went right for the Falcons last year and the schedule is much tougher this year.
Baltimore Ravens: 8.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Over
The Ravens lost Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin, and Dennis Pitta (injury), but they've added Elvis Dumervil and the defense is more mature.
Buffalo Bills: 6 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Push
I'm interested in E.J. Manuel from a fantasy perspective, but he'll have his struggles and the defense isn't exactly a force.
Carolina Panthers: 7.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Under
It's more of the same in Carolina as the team continues to not make the necessary offseason improvements.
Chicago Bears: 8.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Under
I'm on board with Marc Trestman as coach, but the defense will lack leadership without Brian Urlacher.
Cincinnati Bengals: 8.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Over
The Bengals could be the first team to overcome the Hard Knocks curse because they're making the right moves on both sides of the ball.
Cleveland Browns: 6.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Over
The offense should improve and the defense is still there, so this could be a team that is quite frisky.
Dallas Cowboys: 8.5 Wins - Mr. T's Pick: Over
The Cowboys always seem to win you over with talent and not execution, but I'm buying what they're selling since everyone's healthy this year.