Last weeks picks resulted in a 7-9 overall record. Before we discuss this week's choices, I should discuss a few of my hard-wired rules.
The first rule is that I never pick against the Saints. If you are a Saints fan, you should turn in you fan card if you pick against them. I don't care if the Saints have a season like 2005 and you have money in the weekly office pick 'em pool. It's sacrilege, and it's bad ju-ju. How can you root for the Saints while rooting against them? Don't justify it with "I win if they lose and I win if they win" or "getting my pick right is consolation for enduring a tough loss." It's not right.
The second rule I abide by deals with the other NFC south teams. If I see a realistic chance that the Falcons, Bucs, or Panthers may lose to a team outside the division, I'll pick against them - unless my gut says otherwise. I extend this rule to the top NFC team. My third and final self-imposed rule is that I choose at least two upsets.
Week 2 will feature a few standings that are new to this series. Along with my record, I'll list the record of home teams and the record of favored teams. I have friends who swear by choosing the favorites religiously each week.
For whatever reason, I've opened up the last two seasons with terrible week ones. Last year I started the season 6-10 only to follow up with a 14-2 week 2. Typically, whenever the Saints win, I have a good week, and whenever the Saints lose, I don't. 2012 started with a first effort of 7-9.
Last Week: 7 wins, 9 losses
Season Total: 7 wins, 9 losses
Season Average: N/A
Home Teams: 9 wins, 7 losses
Favored Teams: 13 wins, 3 losses
Best Season (2011): 173 wins, 83 losses
Canal Street Chronicles Rank (confidence points): 19 out of 25 (37 points out of 1st place)
This Week's Picks:
Broncos over Falcons: Upset 1 - See Rule #2. Better yet, see Peyton Manning. I like Denver's pass rush over Atlanta's. I like Denver's running game over Atlanta's. I like Denver's LB's and DB's over Atlanta's. I like the head coach and QB better. Yes, Ryan and Jones looked dynamic - but it came against a Chiefs defense that was missing their best pass rusher, best CB, and two more defensive starters. If I had known that, I wouldn't have picked the Chiefs last week. That happens when you make your picks before the injury reports come out thanks to a Wednesday night game. I think it's time for Atlanta to come back down to earth while Manning shows Ryan what a real QB looks like-consistent under pressure. It will be interesting to watch Manning and Peterson duel it out for comeback player of the year. If both have vintage seasons, I think it should go to Peterson because his injury happened very late in the year and therefore is a more remarkable recovery. Confidence of 1.
Bears over Packers: Upset 2 - Sure, Chicago's Week 1 performance came against a Colt defense that was stripped down for overhaul (I always hate it when a coach changes scheme without personnel to ease the transition). The Packers loss came against perhaps the scariest team in football. However, the Packers are without their top WR, their offensive line has left a lot to be desired, as well as their defense that was supposed to be improved. Their running game is non-existent, and like the Saints, it looked as if Green Bay was pressing too much. I like Chicago because I think they're due for a win in Lambeau, and it's not inconceivable that the Packers start 0-2. I like Randall Cobb in my fantasy league for this one. Confidence of 2.
Vikings over Colts: This is probably the pick I will regret the most. Andrew Luck put up 21 points and 300 yards against the Bears defense. I think Jared Allen gets a few sacks, but I also think Luck continues to move the ball well. I never thought Peterson would be effective in week 1 (which was why I chose the Jaguars), but because he did look good and the Vikings aren't starting fresh, I'm picking them with a Confidence of 3.
Chiefs over Bills: Upset 3 - If I had faith in the Buffalo WR's not named Steve Johnson, I'd pick the Bills. I love that C.J. Spiller is finally starting to live up to his potential (after what looked like a very nasty injury to Fred Jackson). The Chiefs defense isn't on the same level as the Jets, so Buffalo won't start as slow. What pulls this in favor of the Chiefs for me is Bowe, Breaston, and Baldwin to go along with Charles and Hillis. I can see how the Chiefs can move the ball, but after their defense takes Stevie Johnson out of the game-plan, I don't see how the Bills are anything but one-dimensional nickel and dime. Confidence of 4.
Bengals over Browns: I don't know if Weeden could have been any more pathetic in his NFL debut. Or Richardson. I do know that the "Law Firm" looked impressive enough against a Ravens defense. I do know that the Green to Dalton combo looks well, and newcomer Andrew Hawkins looks like someone fantasy players might could use in a pinch on a future bye week. I'll take the Bengals with a Confidence of 5.
Raiders over Dolphins: This would be a tough game to choose if Matt Moore was behind center. Miami has a solid defense and a respectable running game. Their QB and WR's look about as remarkable as Cleveland's. At least Palmer will give you a solid 300 with a confidence of 6.
Chargers over Titans: I'm picking San Diego because they have a nasty front seven. More to the point, Chris Johnson struggled against the Patriots defensive line so I don't believe he'll have much more success against the Chargers. I like the Titans passing game with Kenny Britt stretching the field, and I love Jake Locker. The Chargers weren't that impressive against Oakland, but they had the fortitude to pull out a win in the kind of game they've lost in the past. So I'll take a flier, against my gut, and go with the Bolts. Confidence of 7.
Steelers over Jets: I don't like the Jets. I think they'll get so much pressure on Big Ben that this pick comes with much risk. I don't like the rushing game for either team, and while I don't believe the Steelers will make the post-season, I hate the Jets too much to pick them. I can trust Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, and Mike Wallace. I can't trust Sanchez and whoever he's throwing it to. Confidence of 8.
49ers over Lions: All I can say is that the Saints better loosen up because it looks like San Fran will once again be very good, very physical, and flat-out old school. They scare me the same way a Raven defense in its prime did. If you don't think they're for real, watch them punch Detroit in the mouth, pull the Lion's head back, and run it down their throat. Stafford might throw for a ton of yards again, but I expect him to get sacked and throw numerous interceptions for the second consecutive week. Then again, the NIners can eat the cheese and think they've arrived when they've just barely started the journey. Confidence of 9.
Ravens over Eagles: Upset 4 - Baltimore's defense took a step back, but their offense put a big foot forward. The year I thought Flacco would have last year is coming into fruition this season. The Eagles escaped Cleveland with a W, but I don't like a Vick offense (never did) and don't trust the Eagles to play balanced enough to not let Vick put himself in harm's way. I'll take the Ravens and Flacco to prove it wasn't a fluke with a Confidence of 10.
Giants over Bucs: It looks as if Tampa's new coach is a no-nonsense leader who has the team bought in to his philosophy (except for maybe Blount). They have a rushing attack the Giants currently lack. I think the G-Men got a nice kick in the butt, and David Wilson redeems himself against the RB he'll use as a measuring stick for being selected ahead of him in the draft. I like the Giants pass defense, but I also like Tampa's secondary (Barber looks great at S and Barron is the real deal). I give the edge to the Giants thanks to their defensive line, with a confidence of 11.
Saints over Panthers: The loser will be 0-2. I think the Saints are more prepared to handle success (and failure) than Carolina. New Orleans got a great warm-up for this game when facing RG3, while the Panthers have an axe to grind because they're butt-hurt from last year's record breaking performance and bounty on Fig. Sounds to me like their coach is grasping at straws for motivation. I think the Saints stop trying to force the issue, relax, and resume giving the Panthers the ass whipping they got last year, because while the Panthers cried, they forgot to improve their secondary. Confidence of 12.
Redskins over Rams: Jeff Fisher's impact was very noticeable in week 1. The Lions barely won. The Rams have a secondary full of rookies, including a few UDFA's, yet Matthew Stafford had a very rough day. Fisher always gets the most out of sub-par talent. He'll even have the benefit of actual game-film to help craft a defense of RG3. On the other hand, Washington's defense and Griffin's poise are yet to be tested. It's too hard to pick against the Redskins after that shocking performance (which is exactly why I'll lose this pick), but I'm taking the Skins with a Confidence of 13.
Texans over Jaguars: The only thing that gives me pause in this pick is that it is a divisional game. These teams know each other too well for conventional wisdom to always prevail. If Jacksonville did what they were supposed to do against the Vikings, I'd give them more consideration, Lame Gabbert and all. The Texans look to take this game by double digits with a Confidence of 14.
Dallas over Seahawks: By all accounts, Dallas should win this easily. They finally got a secondary that makes their defense versatile, and that #3 WR question looks to be answer, while the offensive line and RB position look to be solidified. I do like the Seahawks for keeping this closer than most might think. I only wonder when Dallas starts to buy into their own hype and begins to feel entitled. I roll with them now with a Confidence of 15.
Patriots over Cardinals: I'm glad Kevin Kolb saved some face last week. He's a good guy who has struggled for whatever reason, and for the next month or so he'll get to prove himself all over again. Arizona has an underrated defense, two capable RB's, and a duo of stud WR's. Yet they lack an offensive line. The Patriots don't seem to be lacking anything other than two balls to distribute on every play. I love Ridley (go Tigers) and the TE combo along with Welker and Lloyd on the field all at once and think it will be too much for most teams and certainly Arizona. Confidence of 16.