Yes, I have been invited by the folks from The Curly R to join a group of bloggers. . .some from SBNation, some not. . .in what they like to call Blogger Deathsport. Basically, there's ten of us, including myself. We're going to pick all of the NFL games against the spread every week, with the winner getting the opportunity to tell everybody just how freaking awesome they are at picking football games at the end of the year.
No, I'm not sure how I'm going to find the time to write posts on nine other blogs in addition to this one. I'm sure I'll manage somehow. The other nine blogs and bloggers are as follows:
-Ben Folsom, The Curly R
-Will Allensworth, Hogs Haven
-TexSkins, Hogs Haven
-Dagger, Post Game Heroes
-Brian Hunter, Common Prejudice NFL
-Michael Bean, Behind the Steel Curtain
-Derek, Iggles Blog
-River City Rage, Big Cat Country
-Gamecocker, Horseshoe Digest
The point spreads are taken from Yahoo! on Wednesday afternoon, so everyone is basing their picks on the same thing. With that, here are my picks for the first week of the 2008 NFL regular season. Winners will be in bold. I'll also be editing this post so that I can include the rest of my picks before the weekend. By our rules, the only one that HAS to be up tonight is for the season opener.
Thursday, 4 September
Washington at New York Football Giants (-3.5)
--Gonzo's Take: To be honest, I think that the 'Skins will win this game outright. . .the 3.5 points is just a gift.
--Result: Giants 16, Redskins 7. . .and I apologize to Redskins fans, who I no doubt cursed by getting my pick in early.
Sunday, 7 September
Arizona (-2.5) at San Francisco
--Gonzo's Take: Do these teams open the season against each other every year? Anyway, I think that Arizona is pretty clearly the better team, and while the Niners might keep it close, I think the Cards can win this one by at least a FG.
Seattle at Buffalo (-1)
--Gonzo's Take: Seattle's WR corps is pretty banged up, and the Buffalo defense should be able to take advantage of that. It will be a close game, but I think the Bills squeak it out at home.
Cincinnati (-1) at Baltimore
--Gonzo's Take: I'd anticipate an ugly, ugly football game here. On every possession, you'll see two units that are either quite good (when Cincy is on offense) or quite bad (when Baltimore has the ball). This is pretty much a coin-flip, I think, and in that case I'll lean with the home team.
Dallas (-5.5) at Cleveland
--Gonzo's Take: As I said in my season predictions, I'm not buying the Cleveland hype quite yet. They have a lot of talent, but Dallas has more.
Detroit (-3) at Atlanta
--Gonzo's Take: Detroit's the only NFC North team that opens its season on Sunday afternoon, and they should be able to take advantage and grab sole possession of first place in the NFC North for. . .oh. . .a good 24 hours.
Chicago at Indianapolis (-9.5)
--Gonzo's Take: With the Jim Sorgi-led Colts opening Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night, look for the Bears to keep this one cl. . .what's that? Peyton Manning will be back at QB? Oh. Colts by two touchdowns.
Jacksonville (-3) at Tennessee
--Gonzo's Take: I like the Jags a lot this year. The Titans? Not so much, no. Unless the Tennessee offense has found a spark that they managed to not show all pre-season, I have no reason to take them over Jacksonville here.
Kansas City at New England (off the board - pick 'em)
--Gonzo's Take: Pick 'em? Really? Seriously? Look, folks, I don't normally advocate gambling here. . .but if you can actually find this game as a pick 'em at any casino on the planet, bet your house, your car, your children's college fund, your pets, and your 401K on the Patriots. (Incidentally, the DN Pick 'Em Pool has New England +16.5. I'd take New England there, too, but for a significantly lower amount.)
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-3)
--Gonzo's Take: I think that the Saints are the best team in their division, and that we'll see more of the Saints team that we thought we were going to see last year. The jury is still out on their defense, but their offense should be able to put up enough points for them to win and cover.
New York Jets (-3) at Miami
--Gonzo's Take: That's right, folks. . .it's going to take the Miami Dolphins all of ONE WEEK to match their 2007 win total. The spread is 3 points, but the Dolphins will not only cover. . .they will win the game outright. Chad Pennington has enough knowledge of his old team to give the 'Phins the advantage, in my opinion.
St. Louis at Philadelphia (-7.5)
--Gonzo's Take: Straight-up, I'd take the Eagles here, because I think they'll win the football game. But with the current injury reports, Philly's top receivers this Sunday will be a combination of rookie DeSean Jackson, Hank Baskett, and Jason Avant. That's enough for me to think that the Rams can at least keep this one close.
Houston at Pittsburgh (-6.5)
--Gonzo's Take: This is the start of a brutal road schedule for the Texans, and Heinz Field is a heck of a place to have to open the season. I'd look for a relatively low-scoring game here, but I think the Steelers can get the win by a TD.
Carolina at San Diego (-9)
--Gonzo's Take: No Steve Smith for Carolina, which severely limits what they're going to be able to do offensively. Against a team that's as talented as the Chargers are on both sides of the ball, that's a recipe for disaster. Look for the Bolts to win and win big.
Monday, 8 September
Denver (-3) at Oakland
--Gonzo's Take: Before you think me crazy for actually picking the Raiders to win. . .ever. . .keep in mind that these two teams split last year, and the Raiders were a missed FG away from sweeping the Broncos. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the Raiders pull this one out.
Minnesota at Green Bay (-2.5)
--Gonzo's Take: Duh. Final score for tie-breaker purposes: Vikings 24, Packers 20
If you'd like to throw your results in here and compare as the season goes along, feel free to do so. I won't be tracking anyone else's results, but if you want to track your own stuff, that's cool.
I'll be back with more later on this evening, probably during tonight's football game. Yes, there's football tonight. Isn't it freaking great?