Week Ones are tough. Teams look better than you’d thought—J-E-T-S—or worse—the Ain’ts—and it happens right away; then, we’re all shovel ready, inches away from burying a team, or using one week of play, we’re ready to anoint them.
But like Neil Young said—for some strange reason I hear him in the background—“Everybody knows this is nowhere.” Think about it: One week down; sixteen to play. You can downgrade a team or put them on a pedestal; me, I’m sitting on my preseason prognostications, adjusted for inflation and deflation, of course, yet this thing is far from over.
Not a great week for this writer picking games with a 6-10 record overall to go along with the four-out-of-five wrong that I gave last week in my first “Money for Nothing” column.
No matter…Even if it would take ten correct plays to hit .500, I’ve been doing this for far too long to let one bad opening week get my confidence down.
Oakland (-3) @ Miami. Oakland’s trip to Miami last season didn’t go so well. This time, however, should yield different results. Both teams are coming in from loses, yet the way the Dolphins lost last week makes the Raiders’ short week an advantage. Why?—because within the Oakland loss had a glimmer of hope, and they cannot wait to get back on the field; Miami’s lose?—not so much. Oakland may even win this thing by double digits.
Arizona @ New England (-14). No one would want to be the Cards in this spot, and that’s why the number is so big. The Patriots put up 34 points in Tennessee, but I’d imagine more than that happening in Foxboro. Also, Arizona let off a lot of steam to emerge victorious in last week’s contest; it’d be impressive, therefore, if anything resembling a football team shows up in New England after the plane ride.
Baltimore (+3) @ Philadelphia. What the odds makers are telling you with that number is that this game is even. A field goal for the home team would make sense if the Eggles didn’t nearly lose to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. Did the sportsbooks even watch the game? Of course they did, because this line hasn’t moved, so they’ll break even. You do the same by watching the road dog take this one outright.
Houston (-7 ½) @ Jacksonville. The Jags lost a heartbreaker in Minnesota in overtime, so coming home after that has to be tough. On the other hand, the Texans got their season kicked off with an easy victory in a home opener. The Houston Texans may take every divisional game they play this season, and this is the start of that run. Run is a good word, too, because the visiting team may post north of 200 yards in that category.
Detroit @ San Francisco (-7). Everyone knows the Lions are taking a step back this year, but this is just bad timing. A prime-time game by the bay, the home team just made a tremendous statement on the road, a team in the 49ers coming together on both sides of the ball in such a way that should scare all of football—it just doesn’t add up for the team from the Motor City. Last Sunday’s night game wasn’t very close (and I’d know; it was one of the few things I got right), so expect more of the same. There aren’t many instances about which I feel this confident.
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