RE-PICKS: We only had one member of the panel switch their pick this week. Fooch, aka David Fucillo, changed from the Titans to the Vikings in that game. A wise move, in my opinion, but not one shared by the majority of the panel, which is still 6-4 in favor of Tennessee winning that game.
Real, meaningful professional football is finally upon us. The slate has been wiped clean for all 32 teams, and if you go by the tangible optimism of each fan base, every team has an equal shot at winning the Super Bowl this year. You hear, that Bears fans? This could be the year!*
If there's a silver lining to this terrible fact that very few of these teams can legitimately be thought of as contenders, it's that they all have a fairly decent shot at winning in Week 1 because it's the toughest week of the season to predict a winner. Injuries haven't taken a heavy toll on most teams at this point in the year. Last year, the Vikings and Seahawks both lost in Week 1, to the 49ers and Rams no less, but finished the year as two of the best teams in the NFC.
What I'm driving at here is that the opening week of the season is also the toughest week of the year to predict.
Well, except for maybe the Bears. Sorry, Chicago.
Our panel is convinced the Chiefs, Packers, Seahawks and Texans are all locks this week. And when you look at who those four teams are playing, it makes sense, except for maybe one.
Green Bay opens the season against Jacksonville. No team did more to improve during the offseason than the Jaguars, spending big to fill holes in free agency and landing the two biggest fish in the draft with their first two picks. Our picks here are for straight up winners, not against the spread, but the line for this game is worth mentioning. The Packers are favored anywhere from 6 to 4.5 points. I'm looking forward to seeing if Jacksonville's moves this spring have formed a cohesive team and whether or not Gus Bradley can live up to the promise on his roster.
The toughest games to pick are always the ones with two teams at the bottom of the barrel. This week that's the Browns and Eagles. We know that neither one of these teams is outwardly contending for a Super Bowl. The Browns have what could be an explosive offense. The Eagles have a decent defensive line, but the rest of the roster is currently being rebuilt. Oh, and the Browns have an added incentive to win because it helps push the first-round pick they got from the Eagles higher up the board.
A new twist
We're doing something a little different with our panel picks this year, too. Because we're one of the first major outlets to post our picks (these folks are turning their picks in on Tuesday), it leaves us a little exposed to new developments in the latter half of the week, like, say, changes to the injury report.
In order to counter that and add a new wrinkle to our little contest, we're giving our experts the chance to re-pick two games on Thursday, excluding the Thursday night game. We'll have the updated picks for you on Friday morning.
OK, enough copy! Here are this week's picks.
|Game||RVB||Stephen White||Thomas George||Jeanna Thomas||Adam Stites||Tyler Tynes||Louis Bien||Joel Thorman||Fooch||OddsShark computer|
|CAR vs DEN||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||DEN||DEN||DEN|
|GB vs JAX||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB|
|CHI vs HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU||HOU|
|CLE vs PHI||CLE||PHI||PHI||CLE||CLE||PHI||CLE||PHI||CLE||PHI|
|TB vs ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||TB||ATL||ATL||TB||ATL||ATL|
|BUF vs BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BUF||BUF||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL|
|MIN vs TEN||MIN||TEN||TEN||TEN||MIN||TEN||MIN||TEN||MIN*||TEN|
|CIN vs NYJ||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||NYJ||NYJ||NYJ||CIN||CIN||CIN|
|OAK vs NO||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||NO||NO||NO|
|SD vs KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC|
|MIA vs SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA|
|DET vs IND||IND||DET||DET||IND||DET||IND||IND||IND||IND||IND|
|NYG vs DAL||DAL||NYG||NYG||NYG||DAL||NYG||NYG||NYG||NYG||DAL|
|NE vs ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||NE||ARZ||ARZ|
|PIT vs WAS||WAS||WAS||WAS||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||WAS||WAS|
|LAR vs SF||SF||LAR||LAR||SF||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||SF||SF|
Congrats to last year's champion, Stephen White. He finished the regular season with a 159-97 mark.
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