Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Fantasy Golf Report Week 1 NFL Picks

One of the many early kinks in the PGA Tour's playoff system was that they scheduled the tournaments over four consecutive weeks forgetting that the best players in the world will not play golf for a straight month. I mean come on, what do they look like, World War II shipbuilders? Guys like Phil Mickelson were skipping one of the events and basically saying, "I'll take a week off, still make the Tour Championship, pocket at least a couple million and that's cool." Remember, this is the guy who regularly skips the five day Accenture Match Play and its guaranteed $46,000 paycheck to go on vacation with his family because (a) it's tough to get time-off in his line of work and (b) who knows when they're going to schedule that darned thing every year?

Hey Finchem, the
ocean just called . . .
So at some point, a bunch of guys were sitting around a table in pressed golf shirts snacking on shrimp the size of Twinkies when someone was overheard to say, "hey, why don't we skip the first week of the NFL season when no one is watching our tournament anyway?" I have no idea who that guy was but (a) I bet he got promoted to a seat closer to Tim Finchem's throne and (b) I would like to kiss him right now (in the manliest way possible) because there is no way I'm cranking-out the Week 1 NFL picks and a PGA tournament preview in the same short week (what do I look like, a World War II shipbuilder? . . . nope, still not funny).*

Week 1 is tough to forecast because let's face it, we don't know anything at this point other than the fact that the teams being quaterbacked by Blaine Gabbert, Geno Smith and Terrelle Pryor are going to combine for about 19 points. It is for that reason that I didn't put in quite as much research time as I normally would (that would be none as opposed to some). There is a bit of analysis for the games where I went on more than my gut. You shouldn't have any trouble distinguishing those from the ones where I made my picks by associating teams with people in my office and then based the winner on the first one to walk by my door (the Raiders were a guy we haven't seen in months and frankly we're starting to get a little worried about old Stan from the warehouse). Here we go.

Denver by 7.5 over Baltimore: The Pick - Ravens

I'll be honest, the memory of this
means I really don't care too much
about what happens tonight.
It is a well-known fact that the Ravens have won at least one playoff game in every season of the Harbaugh/Flacco era. A lesser known fact is that the Ravens have won every opening game during that same period including the last two over the Bengals and the Steelers by a combined score of 79-20. Harbaugh and Flacco know how to get ready for Week 1. Combine that with the fact that the Broncos best pass rusher (Von Miller) is currently suspended, their second best pass rusher (Elvis Dumervil) now plays for the Ravens and their Hall of Fame cornerback (Champ Bailey) is out with a bad wheel and I'm having a hard time giving the Broncos more than a touchdown.

New England by 9.5 over Buffalo: The Pick - Patriots

The AFC East has turned into what the WAC** used to be when Brigham Young would ride its weak conference schedule to national championship contention every year. (And just like Brigham Young, the Patriots have an annoying pretty boy quarterback). There is a very good chance the Patriots will play four in division games against rookie quarterbacks who don't remind anyone of Andrew Luck and RG, III and there other two division games are against the Dolphins who appear to be trending back toward the Cam Cameron era. That's all fine because there are few things more satisfying than watching the Patriots lose the AFC Championship Game at home.

Pittsburgh by 7 over Tennessee: The Pick - Titans
"You're betting on Jake Locker?
Well aren't you sweet."

No one is talking about the Steelers this year which has been very pleasant but it makes me nervous. You know Mike Tomlin has been alternately plotting and seething and plotting and seething. With that being said, the Steelers have lost most of the players that once made them great and they're pretty much relying on Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu who look like they've got more mileage on them than the surviving Allman Brothers (if there are any).

New Orleans by 3 over Atlanta: The Pick - Saints

Isn't about time for the Falcons to come out and admit that they're just a mediocre team that found itself in a division that had fallen on hard times? I think this is the year when we discover that they've just looked good by comparison with the likes of the Bucs and Panthers. Remember, waiting tables at Red Lobster is better than washing dishes at Red Lobster but it's still a shitty job.

Tampa Bay by 3 over the N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Bucs

Speaking of the Bucs, I know they're not the '85 Bears but with a now experienced quarterback, a top five running back and a competent defense, how can they be only three point favorites over the low-budget circus*** that is the 2013 New York Jets? Can anyone even name a current Jet other than Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Geno Smith? (There is a sad but funny joke in there somewhere about Antonio Cromartie trying to name his kids).

Kansas City by 3.5 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Chiefs

"How in the hell am I
going to take my halftime
dump in this thing?"
People can laugh at Andy Reid all they want for wearing large down jumpsuits but the fact is that the Eagles went to the playoffs nine times between 2000 and 2010 including four trips to the NFC title game and one trip to the Super Bowl with Donovan McNabb short-hopping his screen passes and throwing-up in the huddle. Look for the Chiefs to be significantly improved in 2013, if for no other reason than they couldn't be much worse than they were in 2012.

Seattle by 3 over Carolina: The Pick - Panthers

I just can't take the Seahawks opening with the 3,000 mile trip 1:00 p.m. road game . . . even if there is significant Adderall involved (BOOM). (This would be one of those minimal analysis games to which I was referring).

Chicago by 3 over Cincinnati: The Pick - Bears

Isn't it about time we nickname Jay Cutler "This is the Year"? If nothing else, he tends to start fast leading everyone to believe that this will in fact be the year until he tweaks a [insert name of joint] and spends the rest of the season on the sideline looking like a really sulky version of 1980's James Spader. As for the Bengals, I tried to get some intel on them by watching Hard Knocks but every time Marvin Lewis started speaking ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . .

Cleveland PK against Miami: The Pick - Browns

Being forced to find a new kicker five days before the opener due to injury could happen to any team but, if I made you guess which one, Cleveland would probably be one of your first two picks and you'd be right. The good news for the Browns is that they're opening at home against a Dolphins team that said to itself in the off season, "you know what, we're getting almost TOO explosive on offense so we should probably cut ties with Reggie Bush."  

Detroit by 5 over Minnesota: The Pick - Lions

This may be the only game of the season where both Reggie Bush and Matthew Stafford are healthy so look for the Lions to strike while the iron's hot.

Indianapolis by 9.5 over Oakland: The Pick - Colts

"I want my rum and coke faster dammit!!!
Oh . . . well get me another one. Argh!!!"
Terrelle Pryor is going to start this game at quarterback for Oakland. For those not familiar with Pryor's work, his career at Ohio St. ended with an NCAA suspension. He then ran a 4.38 forty making himself very attractive to the Raiders who even chose Al Davis' pallbearers based on their forty times.**** What about his passing ability? Well, his accuracy can be ranked somewhere just above Tim Tebow's but just below every kid who ever drilled his dad in the balls on America's Funniest Home Videos (because at least half those kids hit just what they were aiming for . . . "how do you like that for focus dad?").

St. Louis by 5 over Arizona: The Pick - Cardinals

The Cardinals are going 10-6 and taking one of the NFC wild card spots. You heard it here first. Unless they go 5-11 and then we never had this conversation. (I'm running out of gas on these picks).

San Francisco by 4.5 over Green Bay: The Pick - Packers

The Packers have had eight months to figure-out how to keep Colin Kaepernick from running all over them after he went for 181 yards and two touchdowns in last year's playoff game. (I have nothing to add here).

Dallas by 3 over the N.Y. Giants: The Pick - Cowboys

Give me Tony Romo at home in the first Sunday night game of the season every time (and get me the hell out of these picks now).

Washington by 3.5 over Philadelphia: The Pick - Eagles

(OK . . . need to regroup for the Monday night games). We've got RG, III playing after no preseason work against the new Chip Kelly offense. This is the football wagering equivalent of playing on-line blackjack against the casino where the dealer somehow keeps going 9-5-3-2-2 for 21 to beat your 20 (not that I have any experience with that because who would be so foolish? . . . don't answer that).

"Does my neck look long to you?"
Houston by 4 over San Diego: The Pick - Texans

Quick, name the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Nope. Not Norv Turner anymore. It's Mike McCoy and he's already perfected his "Phillip Rivers just threw his second pick six in the first half of the Monday night home opener" face. Still feeling pretty good about that Rivers, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger 2004 draft Charger fans? How about letting Drew Brees walk for nothing? Well, at least you'll always have the Schottenheimer era. Sorry. That was just mean which means it's time to stop writing.

Endnotes

* I have no idea what I'm going to do next week as I have 144 holes of golf scheduled over a seven day span on five different golf courses. The only good thing about that is that the FGW is going to be so busy in my absence that she hopefully won't have time to read this until it's over and then I can pull a Mark McGwire and keep repeating, "I'm not here to discuss the past."

** What in the hell happened to the WAC? The current version includes such football powers as Grand Canyon University and the University of Texas Pan-American. That conference has become the old high school buddy who finally signed-up for Facebook and when you get in there and ask, "hey, what's old Dan Meacham up to?" the answer is, "oh no."

*** You know the one where the Ferris wheel is held down by tent poles, half the clowns are wearing ankle monitors and the lion tamer does the whole show with half a cigarette butt hanging from his lips.

**** Yup. I'm going to Hell for that one.