Jazz: Welcome back for another season of NFL predictions at Hot Air! Once again we will open up the forums for all of you to cheer on your favorites, trash the rest of the field and offer your own predictions for what will happen. Ed and I will prognosticate our way through another painful several months, each offering our own unbiased reasons by the Steelers or the Jets (respectively) will win the whole darned thing. We’re starting with a fresh slate at 0 – 0, but based on my performance the past few years this may be the only time my score is greater than or equal to Ed’s. In terms of the Jersey Boys, my hopes for the Jets remain high even though some of our best defensive players are on the Injured Reserve list and our quarterback had his jaw broken in the locker room by one of his own guys over a matter of a $600 debt. The way I see it, things can only go up from here.
Ed: Jazz actually may have the advantage this season. I’m so busy working on a major project that I barely got a chance to see the Steelers lose to the Cheatriots — er, Patriots, sorry. The word got garbled in my Bill Belichick-signature headphones. I probably won’t get much of an opportunity to watch football until well into October, so Jazz had better make hay while the sun shines. The lack of expertise this season will certainly delight my fellow fantasy league participants, because I’ve only had two looks at my roster and recognized about half of the names on it. I’m here to serve, folks …
Jazz: One of our standard pick games for the week is pretty easy. I’ll take the Steelers to lose in a hard fought game with the Patriots… three days ago. Tough one there, Ed. I was honestly pulling for Pittsburgh (or anyone, for that matter) to beat New England. The Jets meet the Cleveland Browns today in the opener (1:00 PM, CBS) playing in New Jersey. Cleveland’s history on opening day is essentially cursed, having failed to win the first week since George W. Bush was in his first term. Plus, our fill in quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick has a very strong record against Cleveland. I see the Jets pulling it out with a strong defensive game, 24-13. Finally, the Vikings kick things off against San Francisco in the late Monday night game (10:20 PM, ESPN). I know that the 49ers are perennial contenders and the Vikings are often sold short, but I’m going to go out on a limb here. Colin Kaepernick is not in his prime any more and his team is shuffling in a lot of new talent. Add in the return of Adrian Peterson for Minnesota and I think it’s a formula for a Vikings road win in week one in a close one, 27-20.
Ed:Uh … what he said. Seriously, though, this should be a fun season, what with Roger Goodell instilling new respect into … er … okay, it’s still going to be a fun season. The first week is always a crapshoot anyway, but that’s what makes this fun. Until your team gets beaten by the Patriots in Foxboro, of course, and you only get to see the TD scored in garbage time with 2 seconds left. Pittsburgh had better fix its clock management soon. For the Jets-Browns, I’m hardly as sanguine about the Jets’ ability to extent Cleveland’s opening-day losing streak, but for the Steelers’ sake I’ll concur, 17-13. The Vikings may have AP back, but they’re notoriously poor on the road. Kaepernick may be maturing rather than getting worn down, and mature QBs in this league do rather well. I’m going with San Fran and a 33-24 win.
Jazz: Let’s pick four more games, shall we? These are pretty much at random this week.
- Packers at Bears (1:00 pm, FOX) – This is a classic match-up and the fans always get amped up for it. Green Bay has started slow the last few seasons, but the Bears have a new coach in John Fox and he’s been retooling the whole squad. I think the green status of the offensive strategy will show through and the Packers will win it big, 33-17.
- Saints at Cardinals (4:05 pm, FOX) – A match-up between Drew Brees and Carson Palmer is not to be missed, but the Saints are very, very beaten up in terms of injuries. I’d normally take the Cardinals, but under these circumstances I’ll go with New Orleans in a close one 26-23.
- Giants at Cowboys (8:30 pm, NBC) – Another classic NFC battle, but I’m only picking it because it’s the late game and because I want to take an upset to give Ed a chance. I really don’t like Tony Romo or the Cowboys, and even though Dallas is a 6.5 point favorite I’m going with the Giants in a high scoring shootout, 37-31.
- Eagles at Falcons (7:10 pm Monday, ESPN) – The Eagles dumped Tim Tebow after a fairly brilliant pre-season performance, but I think they’ll still have enough firepower to get the job done. Philadelphia over Atlanta 33-28.
- Packers at Bears (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Pack is back, people! They have a solid squad, while the Bears are rebuilding. It should be a fun game, and Aaron Rodgers will go wild. I’ll go with a closer score and more offense, though — 37-30.
- Saints at Cardinals (4:05 pm, FOX) – The Saints have also turned into a mediocre road team. I’m taking the Cardinals on this one, 27-21.
- Giants at Cowboys (8:30 pm, NBC) – I appreciate Jazz’ generosity, and I’m happy to take advantage of it. The Cowboys at home on Opening Day with a healthy line-up, versus the Giants who have notoriously slow starts to seasons? Easy choice. Dallas 35-21 over the Giants.
- Eagles at Falcons (7:10 pm Monday, ESPN) – I don’t get the Tebow move, either, especially since most people thought he’d significantly improved. Look for him to come back when a front-line QB goes down. This should be an interesting game, after a 6-10 season for Atlanta last year and a 10-6 season for Philly. The Eagles ended that season on a 1-3 streak in the last month, though, and they may still be trying to find themselves at QB and in the offense. I’ll pick Atlanta in a close one, 23-20.