Thursday, September 5, 2013

5 NFL Picks - Week 1

Sean Coffey (formerly Angry Andy, but trying to be taking seriously now...kinda like when Andy Cole wanted to be known as Andrew Cole) is back in the hotseat for another season of NFL pick 'ems, accumulator tips, 49ers-based heartbreaks and Raiders jokes. Here are his 5 picks for Week 1...


If I was to write a blog on the only thing filling my head this week, you would be left with a full page of me reiterating that one word. The summer is over, football is back. It’s the time of year that brings so much joy to my heart...

And also despair. For something I love so much, it can make me feel like complete crap. If you were to ask me about last season, I can’t help but think about February 3rd, 2013. My Niners' dramatic comeback, only for new star quarterback Colin Kaepernick to overthrow a pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree that would have given us the lead inside 2 minutes. A game that I still can't bring myself to re-watch highlights of.

Actually, screw being diplomatic! As Jesse from Breaking Bad would yell (if he were a 49ers fan for some reason): “Holding, BITCH!”

Ya see the arrow right? Don’t be doubting...

I had over half the playoff teams getting to the Superbowl over the Ravens. I've picked the Niners since I was in nappies (they’re favorites in my eyes every year without fail. EVERY YEAR!). So, were the signs there from the first couple of weeks that this could have been our Superbowl match up?

Oh you doubted! Jersey tugged and clearly not playing ball. That is all.

The NFL begins with a 16-game regular season. It is preached that every game matters due to the short season. Teams are ruled out if they perform badly in the first few games. Is this justified?

Let’s recap the first 3 weeks of last season:

Week 1:
Week 1 highlights included the Redskins putting up 40 points, being led by rookie QBRobert Griffin III. All four teams who went on to the Championship Games had impressive victories, including the 49ers who beat a Packers team that were -5.5 favourites. The Cowboys also beat the Superbowl Champions, the New York Giants.

Week 2:
In week 2, both the Patriots and Ravens slipped with close losses to the Cardinals and Eagles respectively. That previous sentence definitely pleases @AMTRick (who was way ahead of the curve in denouncing the Redskins name. At least I think that's why he refers to them as the Wizards ALL the time) to recall the Eagles beating the eventual Superbowl Champions. The Packers beat their divisional rivals, Chicago, in the Thursday night Game. The Niners, Falcons and Texans all had comfortable victories. The Giants rebounded with a W while the Cowboys seemed to take a step back with a loss to the lowly Seahawks.

Week 3:
It was the Niners turn to slip this week as they lost to the Vikings, led by a resurgent Adrian Peterson. The Ravens beat the Patriots 31-30 while the Falcons and Texans continued their respective winning streaks.

However the defining moment of week 3 was, without doubt, the Seahawks upsetting the Packers.

After the game, this was hailed as a fluke win by the Seahawks (which is true) and the Packers were predicted to rebound. Yet they never looked like the dominating 15-1 force they were the year before while Seattle would only improve. Yes there were slip-ups along the way but they were ready by the time the playoffs rolled around.

Every year, a team will fall off its high horse. My pick for that team this year is the Atlanta Falcons. I think they had their shot last year. The Saints are reemerging in that division with the return of Sean Payton as head coach. They’ve added RB Steven Jackson but with the years of him single handedly carrying the Rams' offense, you have to wonder if there is much left in the tank. Too many times last year they allowed teams back to the game. In some games they got lucky (vs Seattle in the playoffs) and others they weren’t (vs the Niners the following week). They remind me of the Packers; scary offense one year, figured out the next. Matt Ryan will still be a good player and put up good numbers, just like Rodgers was last year. I don’t think that is going to be enough though.

Each year a new team will rise. That team could be the Carolina Panthers (the Saints will be much better than last year, but that is expected). Over the past few years a number of players have been known to get the “second year blues.” That may explained what happened to Cam Newton last year. A QB sometimes overlooked in this next generation of quarterbacks, Newton has more experience than RGIII, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. He has already dealt with the highs of season one and the lows of last year. This year could be a career defining season for him. The Panthers were bad at times last year, unlucky in others, and down right stupid also, e.g. punting the ball against the Falcons on a fourth and inches play where converting would have won them the game.
There are clear signs from the first three weeks, including Week 1, how your team is going to fair this year. We all heard the name RGIII after the opening game. We all got the feeling that the Niners were not a flash in the pan. The Ravens were 2-1 and looked impressive in victory. The Texans and Falcons were going to make the playoffs but we questioned if they were Superbowl-ready. And the Raiders still sucked!

It’s also a long winter. Great coaches adjust. Belichick adjusted his defense as the season progressed whereas the Packers Mike McCarthy never really got those adjustments right in time for January.

This week’s 5 picks: 

(HOME TEAM in Caps) 

Patriots -9.5 Over BILLS

With all the off-season troubles the Pats have had (like former star tight end Aaron Hernandez being currently on-trial for MURDER), they’re going to want to make a statement in this game. I see Tom Brady and co having a similar start to the season as last year (defeated Titans 34-13). Belichick has had four pre-season games to prepare a team for this. The Bills, on the other hand are forced to start rookie QB EJ Manuel after Kevin Kolb was put on injury reserve, ending his season with another concussion.

SAINTS (-3.0) Over Falcons

Looks like I’m not the only one seeing the Falcons drop this year, as the bookies have put them as 3 point underdogs. New Orleans has waited for this game for over a year now. They knew their season was in huge trouble last year with all the suspensions from bountygate. (And, by the way, if all Americans insist on putting a 'gate' after every massive controversy that happen, an we call last year’s Superbowl ‘Holding Gate’? Okay, I’ll stop now). Brees and Payton working together again should bring back an explosive Saints team that were always fun to watch. They are rejuvenated and should have some tricks up their sleeve against the Falcons

Chiefs (-3.5) over JAGS

I never thought I’d be picking the Chiefs. The Jags are horrible and this could be the year Maurice Jones-Drew hits the wall. Can they just hire Tim Tebow already? (It would really make no difference but I can’t see myself finding a good reason to ever mention his name in this blog again, unfortunately) I like this combination of Alex Smith and Andy Reid. They’re in the worst division in football that will be won by the Broncos, but they can still pick up a few W’s and get close to an 8-8 season. Jamaal Charles rushed for over 1500 yards last year. A good running game by him should open up Dwayne Bowe for the passing game.

Tampa Bay (-3.5) over JETS

The short version: The Jets are shit, go with the Bucs.

As stated, the New York Jets are a mess. They’ve drafted in Geno Smith as a potential 'solution' to their many ailments, a QB head coach Rex Ryan seemingly didn’t want to begin with. Starter Mark Sanchez got injured when they brought him in in the fourth quarter of a meaningless pre-season they could try and win. They’re making Oakland look good people! Tampa are on the up and up and you gotta believe that ex corner back Derrell Revis would love to get a pick 6 in this one!

49ERS (-4.5) over Packers

I have to do it! The Niners are at home and have a full pre-season under the belt of Colin Kaepernick at starter. I don’t expect Kaepernick to put up his rushing numbers against Green Bay like he did in their playoff game, but with the Packers trying to stop that happening again, the door should be open for Anquan Boldin (and maybe Vernon Davis) to make a big impact in this game. Frank Gore and LaMichael James are healthy and ready to go at running back. Aaron Rodgers is going to want this one, but the Niners defense is arguably the best in the league.

I’ve been right 3 out of 25 years when I have believed the Niners will win the Superbowl. Mark my words, I will be right 4 out of 26 in February.

And those are probably the odds you are going to consider before you think about the guy who is talking you into backing the Chiefs for week 1.

Enough talk! Football is back! 

Happy Football People!! 

Sean Coffey (formerly Angry Andy) is a former pro-wrestler, turned radio host/podcaster, turned sports gambling addict. He's a die-hard San Francisco 49ers and Miami Heat fan, is dying hard being a Villa fan this season and his favourite film is also, unsurprisingly, Die Hard. Follow him on Twitter @Coffey_23.

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