Cold Hard Locks is back!
Boy does it feel good having football back. After a great college football opening weekend that saw season-shattering upsets, the Panthers and Broncos treated us to a smash-mouth, nail-biting showdown to start off America’s most popular sport. Heck, the NFL owns Sundays after wrestling it away for some small thing called Christianity. So without further ado, here are the Week 1 guaranteed winners.
Week 1 Cold Hard Locks
(G-Man and Matty D have same picks unless otherwise noted.)
Thursday Night Football
Carolina at Denver
Well we both took the Panthers. I mean THAT defense against a 7th round QB who had never thrown a single pass in the NFL? Honestly Gano should have made that field goal but that aside, Siemian showed that he is the calm in the storm. Impressed by the kid and that offense even after a few early turnovers. The Panthers will be just fine although I don’t love their running back stable at the moment (Ray Rice is eager and waiting…).
Minnesota at Tennessee
With Bridgewater, this would have been my lock of the week. But I still like Hill/Bradford enough here to feel confident taking the Vikings on the road. Both teams will pound the rock all game, I just expect the Top-5 Vikings defense to be the difference here. Look for Anthony Barr and company to make rookie tackle Jack Conklin and aging tackle Taylor Lewan look silly enough times.
Prediction – Vikings over Titans 17-10
G-Man is going Power Run and the Titans here. Guess he forgot who the Ground Pound aka All Day Adrian Peterson is. (G-MAN’S NOTE: I never discount AD, but I do discount Bradford/Hill. Like you’ll mention for the Falcons, I think the Titans are getting forgotten in a weird AFC South.)
Chicago at Houston
This is a statement game for Bill O’Brien and Houston. Show us that Brock and Co. can play at a competent level and we will believe you are playoff-bound. It will be fun to watch Cutler break in his new weapon Kevin White but I like Hopkins and Lamar Miller to outshine them and rake against a still-building Bears’ D.
Prediction – Texans over Bears 24-10
Cleveland at Philadelphia
Carson City time! As a Philly resident, I can say that we are abuzz with Wentz fever. And what a team to break into the league against. Cleveland may be home to the league’s worse defense which is exactly what the doctor ordered for the rookie signal caller. Look for a ferocious defensive pass rush to keep RGIII and an underrated receiving core at bay enough to give Mr. Wentz a perfect record (for now).
Prediction – Eagles over Browns – 20-13
Buffalo at Baltimore
Don’t buy the Bills hype, not at all. They have more holes than most realize, especially with all the suspensions. Meanwhile the Ravens are flying in under the radar with a whole bunch of really talented players returning from injury on both sides of the ball. Look for Baltimore to get it done and put the AFC North on notice. Cool Joe Flacco and fiery Steve Smith are back for one last joyride.
Prediction – Ravens over Bills 24-21
San Diego at Kansas City
Defense beats offense. That’s what this game is about. Now the Chiefs will be without ace pass rusher Justin Houston but they are loaded across the field. Philip Rivers simply doesn’t have enough help on either side of the ball to help him out. Maybe he should head to LA but leave the Chargers behind.
Prediction – Chiefs over Chargers 20-14
Oakland at New Orleans
The sexy pick coming into the old guard’s liar. People may want to side with a rising Raiders squad and they have good reason to. Young players are about to take steps forward, the offensive line looks stellar, oh and that Khalil Mack guy can straight up ball. But Drew and the boys have a few tricks up their sleeves. Yeah the Raiders will score but the magic of Bourbon Street matters. Who dat?
Prediction – Saints over Raiders 31-28
G-Man is thinking the upstart kids will dethrone the Saint himself in the Superdome and is taking the Raiders. (G-MAN’s NOTE: All-in on Oakland, I’m taking them to win the AFC West.)
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
I want to like the Bucs. Winston looks great and has some great weapons in Martin, Evans, and Jackson. But they just aren’t there yet and need to learn how to win. I think the Falcons are being forgotten. Matty Ice to Julio Jones is one of the most dangerous connections on the planet and Dan Quinn keeps pushing that defense forward. In what should be a shootout, I favor the home squad taking the cake.
Prediction – Falcons over Buccaneers 28-24
G-Man is siding with the Bucs here. Doesn’t he remember the hype surrounding them last year? Tell me how they improved? (G-MAN’S NOTE: Oh I remember MPD, had to pick a fun upset to start the season. Jamo gets it done like he did when he was at FSU.)
Cincinnati at New York
Cincy is not as strong as it has been. The receiving core has taken hits, the defense is getting older, and even A.J. Green is limping around. But they still have boatloads of talent and Andy Dalton is a fine quarterback. Much like the Bills, I’m not sold on this Jets squad. Love Coach Bowles but not Ryan Fitzpatrick. Has a more mediocre quarterback ever held out (ok maybe Bradford)? Revis-Island is looking more like Australia than Bermuda and can this team be more than a collection of its parts? Not in Week 1.
Prediction – Bengals over Jets 20-17
Green Bay at Jacksonville
Don’t let the off-season trick you, Green Bay is still better than Jacksonville. Way too many unknowns with the Jags, most of all the defense. Will all the young draftees actually be good? You know who is good? Aaron goddamn Rodgers who has his best man, Jordy Nelson, back in the fold. Go Pack Go!
Prediction – Packers over Jaguars 28-20
This is G-Man’s Survival Pool Pick of the Week.
Miami at Seattle
Adam Gase may be the quarterback whisperer (see Manning, P & Cutler, J) but not even he can save Tannehill from the Legion of Boom and the raucous 12th Man. What I am most interested in seeing is how the patchwork offensive line of Seattle holds up against the big-money rush of Miami. That’s the only chance the Dolphins have in this one.
Prediction – Seahawks over Dolphins 24-13
This is Matty D’s Survival Pool Pick of the Week. The 12th Man rides on!
New York at Dallas
The Giants have a terrible offensive line. The only unit that may be worse in football is the Cowboy’s sorry excuse for a pass rush. I’m sure watching DeMarcus Ware last night had to hurt Jerry. It’ll be a tight one and Dak Prescott will impress but Eli has enough weapons including Odell to steal this one in Jerry World.
Prediction – Giants over Cowboys 21-20
G-Man is going Dallas here. Honestly I hope they tie but I will never route for the Cowboys, EVER.
Detroit at Indianapolis
If you like defense, don’t watch this game. Andrew Luck begins his redemption tour by torching the Lions and finding his little slot receiver Phillip Dorsett for 2 scores. Sorry Stafford, Megatron isn’t around to help. But Indy, keep Ziggy Ansah off your $140 million QB.
Prediction – Colts over Lions 38-28
Sunday Night Football
New England at Arizona
I almost still took New England here. No Brady, in Arizona, against a loaded Cardinals team; seems like the kinda game Bill wins. But that offense is really good and the defense may be better. Bet you Chandler Jones embarrassing Nate Solder a few times makes the New England brain-trust rethink that off-season trade. Both the teams may very well meet up in the Big One so it should be a fun game. The real question is who has a better jawline, Brady or Garoppolo?
Prediction – Cardinals over Patriots 27-23
Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh at Washington
“You like that? You like that?” Well Kirk, Big Ben does like the lack of a defense your team possesses. Fun fact, Washington is the most expensive NFL ticket at over $270. Fun fact, that makes no sense to go see a mediocre team. I will say that they have a nice receiving core but then again so does Baylor and they aren’t winning National Titles. Daniel Snyder still sucks as an owner and the Redskins still sit in their own mediocrity.
Prediction – Steelers over Redskins 31-17
Los Angeles at San Francisco
Hard Knocks vs Side-Show Kelly. I just hope there’s a mermaid at the game for my man Will Hayes. Gabbert gets harassed all day but that savage Rams’ defensive line while Todd Gurley escapes NaVorro Bowman just enough to give LA their first win back in the National Football League. Also most of America will be asleep for this one so whatever.
Prediction – Rams over 49ers 13-6