Jazz: Let’s just get this out of the way right up front. Can we just end the regular season right now, move on to the playoffs and end the Hot Air NFL pool as well? Unlike most of last year (let’s just face it… most of the last several seasons), this beleaguered Jets fan had a great time on Monday night. Gang Green started off the season with a pick 6 from our new wunderkind QB, but after that, he settled down and the Jets gave a beating to the Lions they won’t soon forget. It wasn’t just the rookie, either. The whole team looked great. And to top it off, I started off our game here going 6-1. The only thing that kept me from a perfect score was the Steelers’ amazing ability to somehow end their game in a draw. But I’m ready and hoping for another great week.
Ed: How about we just call last week the preseason and start this week instead? I guess we’re calling ties losses, which is exactly how the Steelers should think about tying the Cleveland Browns and their eleventy-eight turnovers. My season kicked off with a 3-4 record, thanks in part to that tie, but mostly because my picks stunk. Good thing I don’t put money on these things!
Jazz: The Jets welcome the Miami Dolphins to New Jersey this week (1:00 pm, CBS) to see if they can prove that Monday wasn’t a fluke. Their history against Miami at home has been terrible over the past few years and they’re coming off a short week. The Vegas line has them up by a field goal, but I’m still ready to believe that the boys are for real. I’ll stick with my team and pick New York to take it in a shootout, 34-27. In our second game, the Steelers are still smarting from that tie last week, but now face the Kansas City Chiefs in Pittsburgh (1:00 pm, CBS). Kansas City is being praised in the sports press for one of the best special teams performances in week one, and that will help them. But not enough. They’re still light on the line on both sides of the ball and Pittsburgh should be able to manage the pass rush while being able to run the ball effectively. While I’m a little leery, I’ll still pick the Steelers 24-13. In our third feature game, the Vikings visit Lambeau Field to take on the Packers (1:00 pm, FOX). In the past, I would generally pick the Pack without even looking much further into the tea leaves, but the Vikings defense looked very tough last week and Aaron Rodgers is nursing a bum knee so he may or may not even play. Without the power of the Fully Functional Rogers Death Star, I’m going with the Vikings for a road win 27-22.
Ed: The Jets looked as dominant as I’ve ever seen them in Detroit last week, and Sam Darnold shook off that first-NFL-pass-for-a-pick-6 like a champ. Miami handled Tennessee at home, but after seeing how the Jets played last week on the road, they should dominate at home this week with a 27-17 win over the Dolphins. The Chiefs are coming off a win on the road in Pittsburgh’s home opener, so they can’t be taken lightly. If the Steelers keep taking ball possession lightly, they’re going to have another long day. However, I’ll pick the Steelers to win 24-19 as they fix their turnover problem. (Buy stock in whatever company produces Stickum.) In Green Bay, Packer fans are waiting to see if Aaron Rodgers will play, but with an injured knee against the Minnesota defense, it might not matter. Normally I wouldn’t pick against the Pack at home, but I’ll go with the Vikings this time, 27-23.
Jazz: We’ll spread out four more games from the various time slots so there will always be one of the ones we’re picking to watch.
- Eagles at Buccaneers (1:00 pm, FOX) – The defending Super Bowl champs are a three point favorite, but they looked really shaky coming out of the gate against the Falcons. Maybe I just still feel some sympathy for Ryan Fitzpatrick (now known as “Fitzmagic”) from his days with the Jets. Either way, I’ll go with the upset and pick the Buccaneers to squeak one out 21-20.
- Patrots at Jaguars (4:25 pm, CBS) – I hate picking New England’s games, but this week they’re facing a team with enough tools on defense to keep Gronkowski in check… maybe. The Patriots are a one-point favorite, but I’m going to do Ed a favor, take a flier here and pick Jacksonville to pull off this one at home 20-13.
- Giants at Cowboys (8:20 pm, NBC) – This game probably looks closer on paper than it’s going to be. The Giants offense looked terrible last week, though that was admittedly against a tough Jaguars defense. Also, Eli Manning’s record playing the Cowboys in Dallas stinks. (And the guy’s not getting any younger.) Give me the Cowboys in a fairly lopsided match, 31-14.
- Seahawks at Bears (Monday 8:15, ESPN) – The MNF game looks like a good one this week. The Bears went on a rebuilding binge recently, including picking up Khalil Mack. They very nearly pulled one out against the Packers last week and with a bit more experience under their belts they’ll get the job done at home against an aging Seattle team 24-16.
- Eagles at Buccaneers (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Eagles didn’t exactly soar last week against the Falcons at home, but the Bucs raided the Superdome last week in a shootout with the Saints on the road. Still, I think the Eagles find a way to get back to their championship form this week on the road, especially with Philly’s defense. Eagles over Bucs, 21-14.
- Patrots at Jaguars (4:25 pm, CBS) – I’d love to pick the Jags here, but while the two defenses are about equal, the Pats’ offense is just too much. I’ll take New England in a 27-20 win.
- Giants at Cowboys (8:20 pm, NBC) – Neither Dallas or NY looked impressive last week, but at least the Giants demonstrated some offense. I’ll take a flier on Eli this week and pick the Giants to win on the road, 20-12.
- Seahawks at Bears (Monday 8:15, ESPN) – Both Seattle and Chicago lost on the road last week, but the Bears really should have won that game against the Packers — and one has to wonder how they’ll react to that loss. They looked utterly moribund against the Pack in the second half, while Seattle at least was consistently competitive. However, it’s a close enough call to rely on home-field advantage, so I’ll also pick Da Bears in a 23-20 squeaker.