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NFL Picks for Week 1
by John Canton (NFL)
Posted on September 9, 2006, 11:36 PM

This is pretty straightforward right here. A couple of buddies are banding together to drop some knowledge with their weekly NFL picks. I am your host, the world's hairiest Rams fan John Canton (or John C.), and with me this week as well as every week is the president of the Jim Sorgi fan club, Drqshadow. Next week we might have a third person. The reason we don't yet is because this was a last minute thing we decided to do a couple of days ago. So there might be a third party here come next week.

What we're going to do here is pick every game of every week. We'll give you a reason why we make the pick and the score. It's straight up only. At the end of the column I will give four picks against the spread because I like to bet against the spread, so I might as well use that in the weekly column. So without further Apu (yes, I can't stop saying that), here we go...

Note: For the first game of the week, played on Thursday, we're going to just post who we picked. We know this is legit because we posted it on our forums.

Drq: MIA 20 PIT 10

John: Steelers 20-13

So I got it right, Q got it wrong and now we move on to the other 15 games this week. All game times listed are Eastern.

Atlanta at Carolina 1:00 p.m.
Drq: ATL 14 - CAR 17
Atlanta covers the spread, but can't completely overcome the NFC South front runners. Even without Steve Smith, Carolina is scary. It'll be interesting to see how Ashley Lelie meshes with Michael Vick.

John: These teams always seem to play close. No Steve Smith for Carolina means the Panthers offense isn't going to be as sharp as it was to end last year. Since the Panthers seem to be everybody's top NFC team (not me) they got a lot of pressure here against a team that's playoff quality. I think Atlanta shuts them down when they need to and pulls out the close, upset victory thanks to the legs of Vick and Dunn. Falcons 24-23

Baltimore at Tampa Bay 1:00 p.m.
Drq: BAL 10 TB 21
Tampa's been playing around a lot with their receivers this off-season, so I'll be keeping an eye on their playcalling here. With Cadillac in the backfield, they've got an underrated offense, while the Ravens' D is on the decline.

John: I don't really like Baltimore this year. Maybe later in the year they'll be better, but I think the running game is poor and it's going to take some time for McNair to get settled in that offense. I like Tampa to win comfortably here. Bucs 23-13

Buffalo at New England 1:00 p.m.
Drq: BUF 6 NE 35
The Pats in a home opener against JP Losman and the Bills? Even though New England doesn't have receivers or a defense worth talking about, I can't help but think blowout. I pity Willis McGahee.

John: If you're in a Survivor League then this is the game you're probably picking. Pats at home versus a Bills team with a shaky QB situation, no offensive line and a pissed off Tom Brady on the other side of the ball. This is a blowout waiting to happen. Pats 34-7

Cincinnati at Kansas City 1:00 p.m.
Drq: CIN 21 KC 19
Carson Palmer returns to form, and a late two point conversion fails for the Chiefs. Larry Johnson's fantasy value drops.

John: The Chiefs aren't as good as most think. The offensive is going to be worse due to coaching and linemen retiring, so if you think LJ is going to run for 2000 yards I think you're too optimistic. The Bengals are a well oiled machine that is pissed off by how last year ended. The Chiefs should be able to contain the pass, but it's Rudi Johnson who they won't be able to slow down. Bengals 31-21

Denver at St. Louis 1:00 p.m.
Drq: DEN 10 STL 3
Sorry, John. I think the Rams are an above average team this season, but I think the Broncos are better on both sides of the ball.

John: I think that score is crazy, Q. You're giving WAY too much credit to the defense of my Rams. I think this one will be high scoring with Denver pulling it out...ah screw it. Denver will get the early lead, the Rams will come back and my beloved Saint Louis Rams will find a way to pull out this game. Steven Jackson might explode here. Rams 28-24

New Orleans at Cleveland 1:00 p.m.
Drq: NO 17 CLE 10
Bush and the Deuce (sounds like a scat porn duo) combine for two TDs. The Saints' D keeps them in the game for the win. Both teams are on the upswing, but the Browns' journey looks to be a bit longer.

John: I like Cleveland at home. Not really sure why, but I'm a big fan of taking home teams in week one simply because they're usually so excited for this game, especially the fans. The Saints have a lot of new parts that need to mesh before they become good (great second half team right there) while the Browns played tough to end last year and I see them starting this year on a winning note. Browns 20-14

N.Y. Jets at Tennessee 1:00 p.m.
Drq: NYJ 6 TEN 12
Neither team scores a touchdown. This'll be ugly. Maybe it'll rain...

John: Worst game of the week, no doubt. Take the home team I guess. Titans 14-10

Philadelphia at Houston 1:00 p.m.
Drq: PHI 21 HOU 13
The Texans are going to miss Dominic Davis this week, because I think Philadelphia is taking this game for granted and he could have been a difference-maker. McNabb runs for a TD to prove he's healthy.

John: Houston has no run game at this point and a shaky defense. Give me the pissed off playoff caliber team to win handily here. Lots of Westbrook all over the place in this one. Eagles 29-13

Seattle at Detroit 1:00 p.m.
Drq: SEA 31 DET 7
I'm suspecting a mild letdown this season from Shaun Alexander, but you wouldn't know it after watching this game. I suspect the Seahawks are going to be hurting without Joe Jurevicius and Jerramy Stevens in the very near future.

John: I think this game will be closer than most think. Detroit's going to be a lot more disciplined on both sides of the ball this year and I think they will have a potent offense. It's just that it may be a few weeks until that happens. Seattle is too good on both sides of the ball to lose this game. They win by seven, but it's a competitive game. Seahawks 27-20

Chicago at Green Bay 4:15 p.m.
Drq: CHI 13 GB 10
Will be a lot closer than you'd think from looking at the teams' 2005 records. I'm not convinced Chicago has an offense, and Green Bay is less than two years removed from their last playoff appearance.

John: I think the Pack will be tough here. I just like the Bears D too much to not pick them to win. Low scoring, boring game from these two rivals. Bears 16-13

Dallas at Jacksonville 4:15 p.m.
Drq: DAL 24 - JAX 14
I don't get all the Jacksonville love this year. This team lost their #1 receiver to retirement in the off-season, has a much tougher schedule this year than last, and has a lot to prove about the stamina of their remaining offensive starters. They're lucky to have Tennessee and Houston in their division.

John: I don't like the Cowboys running game because it seems to me like Bill Parcells hates the running game. Is it Julius Jones or Marion Barber? Who knows? I don't even know if Parcells knows. Everybody talks about Bledsoe/Owens, but if you can't run you will have a tough time winning. The Jags are the kind of physical team that will rattle Bledsoe, as well as the running game. I see them forcing turnovers, taking advantage and pulling out the victory in the end. Jags 20-17

San Francisco at Arizona 4:15 p.m.
Drq: SF 24 ARI 27
I've got a feeling the Arizona games will be the high-water marks for the 49er offense this season. And, potentially, vice versa.

John: San Fran is as bad as you think, but to their credit Mike Nolan always has them playing hard. They just lack quality players in a lot of areas. I'm not a Cards fan at all. Their OL sucks and the defense is shaky. However, they should have enough to win this.

Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants 8:15 p.m.
Drq: IND 31 NYG 21
Tough game to predict, especially considering the personnel changes on both teams. The real struggle here will be between the two defensive lines, not the sibling QBs. The team with the most sacks wins.

John: I like the Giants to win here because I see them being able to run over the Colts all game long. I can't begin to imagine how much Manning talk there will be, but at the end of the night, after 254 shots of Archie in the crowd, it will be Tiki Barber's 175 yards rushing that has people saying, "Oh yeah that guy's good too." Giants 30-27

Minnesota at Washington 7:00 p.m.
Drq: MIN 17 WAS 21
Late last season, Minnesota was like the New England of the NFC. They kept winning close games, despite having almost no standout individual players and a strong QB with a high-completion percentage. I don't know what to think of them this year, but I can see the Skins pulling something out in the last second again, a'la most of their 2005 season.

John: The Skins will miss Clinton Portis a lot more than they seem to think. You can't tell me that Ladell Betts is going to replace 1500 rushing yards. The Vikings are balanced all over the place with no stars on either side of the ball, but consistent play everywhere. I like Minny to pull off the mild upset here in a game between even teams. Vikings 26-23

San Diego at Oakland 10:15 p.m.
Drq: SD 24 OAK 3
I debated calling this one a shutout. San Diego's getting a lot of disrespect this year, based solely around their QB situation, but a lot of people have overlooked just how freakish their defense could be. Call this a wake up call.

John: I think the only team worse than the Raiders this year are the 49ers. If you didn't think fans could boo a team at home on an opener on Monday night then you haven't seen Raider fans. Should be fun to hear the boos after Aaron Brooks throws his fourth pick. Chargers 27-6

JC vs. The Spread
I'll use the line that Yahoo provides and I'll pick four games that I think you should bet on for the week. I'll also throw in a reason why. They're not listed in any order, just random.

New England (-9) over Buffalo
I know it's a big spread, but the Bills are going to be horrible this year. Brady's going to kill them, Losman will do nothing and the game will be over by halftime.

Tampa Bay (-3) over Baltimore
I touched on it above. Baltimore's not going to start the year on a good note. I like Tampa at home that's going to build on a good year last year.

Cincinnati (+2.5) over Kansas City
It's going to be fun to bet against the Chiefs in the first few weeks of this year because the oddsmakers seem to love them like the media does.

San Diego (-3) over Oakland
This is more a faith in how bad Oakland is rather than how good San Diego is.

Next week we'll have some more organization in here, we promise. As mentioned in the open, this was a last minute thing that could have used some better planning. It'll likely be posted on Friday morning, so look out for it. I may have a mid-week column as well.

Enjoy the games.

JC and the Q-Ball

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