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Preston's NFL Pick 'Em: Week 1

Alright boys, It's time for football. Week 1 typically throws you a few curves. Who knows how it all will pan out? I do. I finished the regular season in first place in CSC's yearly pick 'em league, and I'll be your guide this year. You know any other guy in first place who shares his picks and confidence points before the games are played with the very people he is playing against?

Each week, I present these picks ranked in order of confidence. If you play Straight-Up, you need not pay attention to the point value. If you play "best bet" my 5 picks with the highest numbers are my best bets. I use Yahoo's pick 'em page (where I actually have my picks saved) when I write this, so if a team is listed as the underdog there, and I pick them to win, I refer to the pick as an "upset." I don't care what Vegas says, I work 12 hours a day and spend two additional hours in commute. So I apologize in advance if anyone doesn't consider my upsets and actual upset.

Season Total: 0 wins, 0 losses

Last Week: N/A wins, N/A losses

Average: N/A wins, N/A losses

Last Year: 173 wins, 83 losses

Best Year: 173 wins, 83 losses

Yahoo Rank: ?

Sirius Rank: ?

This Week's Picks:

Chiefs over Falcons: **Upset Special** - Let me start by saying that I hate Atlanta so much, saying or hearing the words Atlanta and Falcons back to back causes vomit to rise in the back of my throat. In fact, I think I threw up a little in my mouth just typing this. I may very well be a teeny bit biased to pick against the Fail-Clowns right out the gate... or maybe not. Atlanta started slow last year, and once again, they showed their true colors in the post-season. This game is in Arrowhead, and KC has a way of beating teams at home out the gate. Better yet, Jamaal Charles is healthy, along with the rest of the offense, Cassel included. Kansas City is going to hit Atlanta in the mouth, slow the game down, and pound it out with Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles, letting D-Bowe and Baldwin get open on play-action. Atlanta might be more explosive, but I'll take the Chiefs pass rush and pass protection over Atlanta's. Confidence - 1.

Raiders over Chargers: - Upset 2 - The Raiders always have a way of doing the opposite of what I choose, so take this pick with a grain of salt. San Diego is notorious for starting slow, and this game is in Oakland. I don't think the Chargers pull their head out of their rectum this year. I believe Norv Turner is a damn good coordinator, but a not so good head coach-kind of like Wade Philips. I think Carson Palmer, with a healthy McFadden and an off-season to actually get to know his WR's, will do enough to build a quick lead and protect Oakland's LB's. I think the Chargers will stumble enough on offense to make up for Oakland's holes. I do like the Chargers pass rush though. Confidence - 2.

Jaguars over Vikings: - Upset 3 - I thought for sure the Vikings would be able to win their first two games (before starting a long 0-fer run). "Don't pay attention to the pre-season" should be ingrained in every fan's mind, but I can't help but remember: 1) how good the Jaguars offensive line looked and 2) how much better Blaine Gabbert looked with an offseason to learn. I think Mularky does so much with motions, shifts, alignments, and personnel packages that half of Gabbert's work is done before he snaps the ball. Said another way, his offense fits the players he has. He doesn't try to force a square peg into a round hole like Mike Martz. Add to that Jacksonville's stout defense, take away Adrian Peterson, and what you get is a defensive struggle where by design Jacksonville has the better offense and a true play-maker. Looks like Vikings fans will have to suffer some more this year. Confidence - 3.

Broncos over Steelers: - Call it divine intervention, or call it a fluke, but that Tebow throw that won the game against Pittsburgh wasn't the main thing that stuck out in my book. Denver's defense matched up well against the Steelers. The still do. Pittsburgh tried to upgrade their offensive line in a big way with Mike Adams and probably a future pro-bowl player in David DeCastro. Only problem is that Adams is slow in his learning curve and isn't ready, and DeCastro is likely out for the season. In addition, Mike Wallace definitely won't be up to speed after overestimating his leverage and forgetting how the Rooneys operate. Did I mention their top RB is still hurt? So, the Steelers are actually a little worse on the offensive line, lack their main RB, lack the best effort of their top WR, are a little older on defense, and once again don't have Ryan Clarke. Did I mention Denver has Peyton Manning? It might be a good idea to have Thomas, Decker, and Tamme on your fantasy team. McGahee may look as if he's drinking from the fountain of youth with the 7-man box he'll be facing; Hillman will help with the load as well. Confidence - 4.

Seahawks over Cardinals: - This is a home game for Arizona. They have a nice looking WR group, two formidable RB's, a stout defense, and a starting QB who won something like 6 of the last 8 games to close out the season. Yet, the Seahawks, with a rookie 3rd round QB, a rookie RB named Robert Turbin who'll be filling in for back spasm Marshawn Lynch, are favored on the road to win. Why? Arizona's offensive line has looked horrible, especially after losing a couple of tackles. In addition, so has starter John Skelton, who only has the job because he looked less horrible than Kevin Kolb. The Cardinals defense and rushing attack keep this close going into the 4th quarter. Wilson will make mistakes, but he'll look good in flashes too. Many will want to add Turbin to their fantasy teams after this game. Confidence - 5.

Ravens over Bengals: The Benglas went 0-8 against play-off teams last year, scoring only 16 points per game on average in those contests. As much as I'd like to pick the Bengals, I can't. I believe they have the ability to beat the Ravens, but not in week 1 minus 2 interior linemen. Not with Jeff Faine coming off the couch missing last year with a torn triceps starting at center across for Ngata and Mt. Cody. I love the addition of BenJarvis Green-Ellis; I think he has a nose for the goal line, and is a fine late round fantasy RB. I love the addition of Sanu via the draft. The Ravens are without their game-changer Suggs, and they are older in some spots on defense, but they will be able to exploit the Bengals interior offensive line with ease. It's just a bad break for Cinci, who surely was looking to make a statement here. Confidence - 6.

Bills over Jets: - Upset 4 - I'm not sure how Yahoo (or Vegas?) views this as an upset. I'll take Ryan Fitzpatrick every day over Sanchez in fantasy and real life. I don't believe that Jets defense is a great as they do, and I have zero faith in their rushing and passing offense. I think the Bills will make the post-season and finish second in the AFC East, and I think it starts on the road in New York. I don't think the Jets did anything to improve their offense. Do you think the Saints or Patriots would take Brees or Brady out of the game near the goal-line to put Tebow in the game? The only team that fools with a wild-cat is a team that doesn't have a real offense. I know the Bills have a wild-cat package, but part of that was because Fitzpatrick played the last 8 games with cracked ribs and was less effective down the stretch once he and his line became less effective and more injured (especially minus Fred Jackson), so that was an exception to the rule. Confidence - 7.

Panthers over Bucs: I may have been agnostic at the start of last season, but after the first two weeks I quickly became a Cam Newton believer. This guy has had an actual offseason to get better, and that is scary. Carolina still needs help at WR, and they could use help in the secondary. Defenses have had an off-season to scheme for Newton, but Tampa's defense is young and not playing well as a group. Their offensive line is hurting some, but they did add a few weapons on offense. I like their new head coach and I think his methods will help turn this team around quickly, but I don't believe they'll be ready to take on the Panthers. The Panthers were top 5 in explosive plays last year (plays resulting in 20+ yard gains), and I'm not sure that will change much. Carolina is too much too soon for Tampa. Confidence - 8.

Patriots over Titans: For starters, I don't think this will be a cake walk for New England. CJ2K will look like he did two years ago, and Locker just makes things happen. Kenny Britt will be sitting this one out, so I expect Nate Washington to have a nice fantasy output. That said, who can match up with the Pats TE's and WR's. Looks like the Patriots will go 14-2 or 13-3 again, but expect a gritty performance from Tennessee. Confidence - 9.

Packers over Niners: The Niners will take a step back this year. Not a giant step, but maybe 10-6 as opposed to 13-3. I think Alex Smith will actually improve and start to open it up more, and I think their defense is nasty as ever, but I also believe they have an inflated opinion of themselves. Green Bay has a very legit and very durable RB for the first time in quite a while, and Aaron Rodgers may have his bell rung, but he'll be less one-dimensional and more able to exploit play-action. I think the Packers win this by two scores. Confidence - 10.

Saints over Redskins: I'd be a lot more confident if we were coming out the gate with Sean Payton. It's so very important to get off to a fast start in this game. We'll discuss it more in depth later this week. Suffice to say, I think a Saints team with an axe to grind, a unified purpose fueled by anger and vengeance, will blow out teams by large margins this year. Not having Will Smith this game might not be so bad with a speedy Gallette and Wilson versus Robert Griffin. Griffin is an unknown quantity right now, and although unlikely, he may start as fast as Newton did last year. I'm just as interested in how rookie RB Alfred Morris will look. As long as Drew Brees can create match-up problems with Sproles and Graham in the game at the same time, I'm not worried. As long as the Saints can run as well as pass, I'm not worried. I think the Saints come out swinging, and don't stop when they knock their opponent out. They will swing and swing and swing until the game is over. Payton was the one who showed restraint. Goodell done messed up. Confidence - 11.

Giants over Cowboys: In the last 3 years (6 games), the Cowboys have only sacked Eli 4.5 times or something close to that number. The Cowboys are banged up at WR and missing TE Jason Witten. Does anyone have much faith in their offensive line? The Giants might play musical chairs with theirs, but it's the same players switching chairs over the last few years. Want a fantasy surprise? His name is David Wilson. I have high hopes for this guy, and I think they're well grounded. In addition to Nicks and Cruz, the Giants are looking good with their 3rd and 4thWR. Their secondary may be without depth, though Dallas won't be able to exploit it. The Giants D-line may be beat up, but they have plenty of depth there. Dallas upgraded the CB position in a huge way, but look for Eli to make Claiborne look like a rookie who's missed most of the off-season and pre-season. I think the Giants start slow but win by double digits. Confidence - 12.

Lions over Rams: I think SpagNOLA got a raw deal in St. Louis. I also think Jeff Fisher is a very good coach. The Rams may be turning over a new leaf, but I don't believe their secondary can compete with Detroit's passing attack, and I don't think their passing attack can exploit Detroit's weak secondary. Simple as that. I'm looking forward to seeing Isaiah Pead spell Stephen Jackson. Confidence - 13.

Eagles over Browns: This is the year Andy Reid's selection for Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo is validated. This team may very well lead the NFL in sacks and turnovers. I don't believe Vick will stay healthy for more than 13 games. Cleveland has potentially the next bell cow RB in Trent Richardson. Greg Little will start to become a bonafide #1 WR, but what about the rest of the passing game? Josh Gordon looked really good in a short time, but he's very raw. Weeden has a few growing pains to go through, and the Browns, like the Redskins, are in the wrong division to have a quick turnaround. Confidence - 14.

Bears over Colts: Fire Mike Martz, promote Mike Tice, add Michael Bush and what do you get? An offensive team with a scheme and philosophy that fits. Brilliant. They didn't stop there. They added Jefferies and Marshall to the WR group and finally became legit. Too bad they no longer have Greg Olsen. Idiots. I like the additions the Colts made in their youth movement on offense, but I hate the switch to a 3-4 when they still have Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. This game will be fun to watch, but the Bears should win easily enough. Good Luck Indy. Confidence - 15.

Texans over Dolphins: Last year I picked the Dolphins to be the worst team in the NFL. They certainly started that way at 0-7. I don't believe you'll see much of a difference this year. What the hell are they doing? Why trade away the best playmakers they have on offense AND defense? Doesn't make sense. I think this will be the most lop-sided game of the week. Confidence - 16.