I've noticed that a lot of other SBNation bloggers have started doing picks for the football games this week. So, hey, why not? The point spreads that I'm using come from ETVal over at Big Blue View. Oh, and I won't be putting the Vikings' games on here from week to week, as I put my Vikings' predictions in the Open Thread for the game that week.
Standard Disclaimer: These picks are intended to be used for entertainment purposes only. If you take Gonzo's picks, use them for gambling purposes and proceed to lose a bunch of money, you really have nobody to blame but yourself. Of course, if you win, it's because Gonzo is a freaking genius, and as a result you owe half of any profit made to Gonzo. Mailing address for cashiers checks and money orders will be provided at a later time.
New Orleans at Indianapolis (-6.0): The NFL kicks off their season tonight with a matchup between what might be the two best offenses in football. It's going to be entertaining, to say the least, and I certainly wouldn't expect a whole lot of defense to be played. While I think the Saints have a very good chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year, they're going to start out in a 0-1 hole as Peyton and the boys begin their title defense.
Colts 34, Saints 27
Denver (-3.0) at Buffalo: I'm not sure if Travis Henry is going to be ready to go for this one or not, but it hasn't REALLY mattered who Denver's running back is for a long time. They're going to run the ball, and Jay Cutler is going to get the ball downfield. Conversely, I don't see J.P. Losman getting a lot generated against a very good Denver back seven.
Broncos 24, Bills 16
Miami at Washington (-3.0): Miami's offense is just in all kinds of shambles right now. Trent Green is 206 years old, and they're starting three first-year guys on the O-line. Cam Cameron gets a rude welcome to the NFL's head coaching ranks in this one in a game that good ol' JR would describe as "bowling shoe ugly."
Redskins 17, Dolphins 7
Pittsburgh (-4.5) at Cleveland: One of the NFL's longest and most bitter rivalries. . .unfortunately for the Browns, on paper it doesn't look like they're quite up to the Steelers' level. Charlie Frye gets the start at quarterback, and Mike Tomlin's new defense will show everyone why the Browns gave up their first-round pick this year to get Brady Quinn in the first place.
Steelers 27, Browns 10
Tennessee at Jacksonville (-6.5): I think Vince Young is a heck of an athlete, and could develop into a heck of a quarterback. Right now, he's throwing to the only WR corps that might be worse than Minnesota's and going against one of the best defenses in the NFL. I think the Jags cutting Byron Leftwich was a stupid move, but David Garrard should be able to get the job done this week.
Jaguars 24, Titans 16
Kansas City at Houston (-3.0): Herm Edwards has said that Larry Johnson will start out the season slowly after his extended holdout. That really doesn't leave the Chiefs with a heck of a lot on offense. The Texans? They really don't have a whole lot on offense, either. If I were a gambling man. . .there's absolutely no way I'd put so much as one red cent on this game.
Texans 13, Chiefs 10
Philadelphia (-3.0) at Green Bay: Conversely, if I were a betting man, I'd contemplate betting my house, my car, my re-enlistment bonus, and possibly my first born child on this one. The Eagles' defense is very good against the pass and very vulnerable to the run. Fortunately for them, they're playing the team that might have the worst rush offense in football. I don't understand why Philly is only favored by 3 points here.
Eagles 27, Packers 13
Carolina at St. Louis (-1.0): Marc Bulger is one of the NFL's truly underrated players, and Steven Jackson might be the best running back in the league not named LaDanian Tomlinson. Carolina, on the other hand, will have a QB controversy on their hands by Week 5, and their defense (save for Julius Peppers) isn't quite what it used to be. The Rams should be able to win this one at the St. Louis Speedway (thank you, Dr. Z.)
Rams 27, Panthers 14
New England (-6.5) at New York Jets: Speaking of teams that are going to have QB controversies sooner rather than later, I give you the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. I only saw Chad Pennington once this pre-season, and he looked terrible. . .and the Jets didn't draft Kellen Clemens to have him sit. We're going to get a pretty good look at New England's revamped passing game this weekend, as they shouldn't have much problem moving the ball.
Patriots 34, Jets 20
Tampa Bay at Seattle (-6.0): Seattle is a VERY good home team (unless they're playing Minnesota. . .ha ha), and Tampa Bay is. . .well, with apologies to the folks over at Buc 'Em, the Bucs really aren't that good. They've got 4 quarterbacks on their roster. . .and I'm not sure if any of them would be good enough to beat the Seahawks this weekend.
Seahawks 24, Bucs 13
Detroit at Oakland (-1.5): Who's starting for Oakland at QB? Culpepper? McNown? Ken Stabler? Daryle Lamonica? I don't think it matters. . .Oakland's defense was probably the most underrated unit in the NFL last year (largely because they were completely overshadowed by their team's terrible offense), and their offense should be helped by playing a Detroit defense that can charitably be described as "below average."
Raiders 20, Lions 14
Chicago at San Diego (-6.0): For all the hype that Chicago's defense gets, and rightfully so, they're much more vulnerable to the run than you might think. And hey, take a look at who they get to play in Week 1. . .an offense led by a guy that's on the short list of names for "best running back of all time." Tomlinson will have his usual game, and so will Rex Grossman. . .and even the Bears' defense can't overcome Rex Grossman's "usual" game.
Chargers 27, Chicago 17
New York Football Giants at Dallas (-5.5): I'm not a huge believer in Eli Manning or Brandon Jacobs. Granted, I'm not buying into the Tony Romo hype yet, either, but I believe he'll be able to do significantly more damage against a Giants' defense that may have the worst secondary in football than Manning will be able to do against a very good Dallas defense. But with this being a division rivalry, the final score will be closer than it probably should be.
Cowboys 20, Giants 16
Baltimore (-2.5) at Cincinnati: An intriguing matchup from what might be the most intriguing division in football, the AFC North. The Bengals are outstanding on offense, and the Ravens are outstanding on defense. The Bengals' defense and the Ravens' offense? Not so much. In the end, however, I have a sneaky suspicion that defense is going to win out.
Baltimore 17, Cincinnati 14
Arizona at San Francisco (-3.0): I've seen both of these teams bandied about as sexy "sleeper" type picks. The Niners' defense was pretty bad last year (except when they played Minnesota. . .ha ha), but they took steps to improve it. . .and it will have to be improved to stand up to Ken Whisenhunt's newly revamped offense. People might think I'm crazy, but I'm going to go with the mild upset here. . .and I say that because while the AFC North might be the best division in football, the NFC West might be the most evenly matched. It wouldn't surprise me to see any of the 4 teams in the NFC West win the division, so none of their division games should really be considered "major" upsets, in my opinion.
Cardinals 27, Niners 24
And there you have it, folks. . .enjoy! More to come later on, including some big news about the biggest Viking.