RossCode Picks - NFL Style - Week I

posted on 2005-09-08 at 16:57:25 by Joel Ross

It's that time of year again! I'm back with my first set of picks, and even though Tuesday night I said I wasn't going to pick the over/under, I'm going to (my pick is in bold). Anyway, I'm ready to watch some football - I've been looking forward to it for six months now! So let's get on with the picks!

  • Oakland* vs. New England (-7.5) (50 O/U): I think New England will win this one, but not by more than a touchdown. With the Raiders adding Randy Moss, it should help their offense quite a bit - not just receiving, but also the run game. LaMont Jordan should have a decent year. Here's a stat. While Randy Moss is playing, every running back he's ever played with has averaged more than 5 yards a carry. See? He provides relief for the rest of the offense. And indirectly, this will help the defense, if for no other reason than the offense will be on the field more. Now, they won't have what it takes to beat the Patriots - they are just too good again this year.
  • Chicago vs. Washington (-6) (33 O/U):?Chicago is in a bad situation this year. Their quarterback of the future has gone down with a serious injury for the second time in two years - not what the Bears were hoping for. This was supposed to be the year for Chicago to develop Rex Grossman, but that's not going to happen. They added Muhammad, but that's not going to work out as well as hoped. Cedric Benson is too new to have an impact, and no one knows how Thomas Jones will play. All this adds up to a loss to the Redskins this week, regardless of what's going on in Washington.
  • Cincinnati (-4) vs. Cleveland?(44 O/U): I haven't followed either of these teams during the offseason really, so this is?a pure guess on my part. I'm taking Cincy because Palmer will only get better.
  • Denver (-4.5) vs. Miami (38.5 O/U): Will Nick Saban be one of only a few coaches who can transition from college football to the pros? He was a great coach in college (we had him at MSU for a while and he was turning that program around when he bailed), but that doesn't translate into success in the pros, unless you have a young team. Veterans don't need (or want) the same type of coaching college kids (or rookies) need. And let's not forget that Miami wasn't very good last year. Quarterback struggles have been common place there recently, and Ricky Williams is out for a few weeks. Denver, on the other hand, looks pretty solid.
  • Houston vs. Buffalo (-5.5) (38.5 O/U): Houston is just about to lose their expansion team protection shell. That means it's time for them to step up, but I don't think they're quite ready. They've had some bad luck with draft picks, and they have problems protecting their quarterback. The fact that David Carr hasn't had a significant injury yet is miraculous. Buffalo, on the other hand, seems to be pulling things together, and should have a decent season. With Willis McGahee showing lots of promise at the end of last year, he'll have some expectations to live up to. Their quarterback situation is questionable, but having McGahee should help there too.
  • New York Jets vs. Kansas City (-3) (47.5 O/U): This is a great match up to start the season with. Will Priest Holmes be the same back he was before his injury? How will Larry Johnson affect Holmes' playing time? Can Chad Pennington come out of his funk? Can Curtis Martin continue where he left off last year, when he lead the league in rushing yards? Can Kansas City's defense stop anyone? This should be a high scoring game, but I think we'll see an upset here, although I think it's a minor upset.
  • New Orleans vs. Carolina (-7) (45 O/U): New Orleans may have their mind on other things this week. And Carolina is focused - their defense is awesome, and Jake Delhomme is a good quarterback. Yes, he lost Muhsin, but he's basically replacing him with Steve Smith, who missed most of last season. Combine their tough defense with a decent offense, and I think they'll have a good season this year.
  • Seattle vs. Jacksonville (-3) (39.5 O/U): Seattle just doesn't seem to have what it takes. Their offense is getting better, with Hasselback playing well in the past couple of seasons, and Shaun Alexander is always a rock. The receiving core is less than spectacular, but not horrible either. So why am I down on them? They always have promise, but never live up to expectations. I'd say it was Mike Holmgren's fault for demanding to have GM control as well as coaching control, which he's since seen the errors of his ways. But the problems existed before Holmgren arrived. I think Mike can turn it around, but it's a longer term proposition. Oh yeah. Jacksonville can be pretty good this year too.
  • Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota (-6) (43 O/U): Tampa Bay had one good year under Jon Gruden, and they won the Super Bowl. But remember what they gave up. Four top draft picks. That's a lot to make up for. Yes, they got the Super Bowl, but what have they done since? Not a lot. Minnesota, on the other hand, is anxious to prove that Randy Moss was not the only reason they were good. There's two opposing schools of thoughts on their offense this year. One says they won't be as good without Moss, who (as previously mentioned) made every running back he played with better, as well as boosting the passing offense. The other says they will be better now that they don't have to revolve the offense around Moss. Culpepper is hot to prove that he can succeed without Moss, and this will be a chance to show that.
  • Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh (-7) (40 O/U): Pittsburgh was right there contending for the Super Bowl last year, and if not for the poor late season and playoff performance of Rothlisberger, they maybe could have made it. This year, their running game is suspect, with both The Bus and Staley injured. Word is that Willie Parker could be good, but inconsistent. Tennessee, however, is on a downward slide. Remember, it was just two years ago that Steve McNair shared MVP honors with Payton Manning, and the teams fought for the division title. Now, Tennessee is trying to rebuild.
  • Arizona vs. New York Giants (-2.5) (37.5 O/U): Word around the league is that Arizona has a chance to be decent now that Dennis Green has had a year to adjust the team and Kurt Warner has joined the team. Which Warner will we see though? The recent Warner, who can't tell the difference between his teams' and the other teams' jerseys, or the Warner from '99 who took the league by storm? He's got two young dynamic receivers in Anquin Boldin and Larry Fitgerald. Their running game is half way decent too. They could be a surprise this year. For New York, it's the official start of the Eli Manning era. Maybe. He's hurt, but who knows. He's going to be expected to play - remember, he was ushered in on a red carpet, not to mention he chose to go there with his antics last year. Now, we'll see how he handles pressure! He has a great receiving core in Burress and Toomer, and Barber is a very good running back to take pressure off of him. The Giants should be ok this year.
  • Dallas vs. San Diego (-4.5) (40.5 O/U): Talk about a turn around. During the '90s, Dallas was a premeire team in the league, and San Diego was the bottom feeders. Now, San Diego has one of the best young tandems in L.T. and Drew Brees - assuming Brees continues where he left off last year, which isn't a given at all. It'll be interesting to see if Antonio Gates has any ill side affects from his hold out - remember, he's young, and training camp is much more important to the younger players than it is to the vets. Dallas is rebuilding, and even bringing in Drew Bledsoe isn't going to help. He was horrible last year with Buffalo, but maybe Tuna can bring out the best in him. Their running back situation is promising, and their receiving core is made up of rejects - Terry Glenn, Keyshaun Johnson, and Peerless Price. According to Tuesday Morning Quarterback, that translates into wins. Maybe, but not this week.
  • Green Bay vs. Detroit (-3) (46 O/U): Ok. Who came up with Detroit as a favorite? Yes, they have an awesome WR core, but Harrington isn't convincing yet. Kevin Jones could be awesome, but then again, so was Barry Sanders, and that didn't translate into a lot of wins. Yes, they have potential, and Harrington looked good in the first two pre-season games, but he hasn't looked sharp in the last two. Green Bay, well, they still have Favre. And he looks to me to be better than he was last year - he's in better shape at least. I think the past couple of seasons we've seen Favre get tired towards the end of the season - we won't see that this year.
  • St. Louis (-6) vs. San Francisco (46.5 O/U): Barring two come back wins over Arizona (that they probably should have lost), the 49ers would have been 0-16 last year. They got Alex Smith, yes, but quarterbacks typically take 2-3 years to develop, and only in rare situations do they develop into great quarterbacks when thrown into the lineup early. Expect Rattay to continue to start, but here's the problem. Most QBs develop because they are watching veterans do it right. Smith can watch the other team, but that will only get you so far. St. Louis still has a great receiving core and a solid running game, and should have a pretty good year again.
  • Indianapolis (-3) vs. Baltimore (46.5 O/U): Can Manning have as good of a year as he had last year? I doubt it. Those kinds of seasons only come around every so often. Now, having said that, he's still going to be the top quarterback in the league this year. They have a solid running game, and their receivers are top notch. Their defense is questionable again, but that's why Dungy is coaching - to make the defense better than it really is. Baltimore doesn't have a great quarterback, but their defense is great. Remember, Trent Dilfer "lead" this team to a Super Bowl, and then didn't start the next season, so they don't need a good quarterback (or offense) to?be good. If Jamal Lewis can stay out of jail, then they'll at least have a running game too.
  • Philadelphia (-1) vs. Atlanta (41.5 O/U): Philly has some big questions to answer - all involving two initials: T.O. Can Owens and McNabb be professional enough to get along? Everyone compares them to Shaq and Kobe, but no one mentions which Shaq/Kobe combo. Will it be the tandem that won 3 titles, or the pair that got blown away by Detroit in 2004, which eventually brought down the mini-dyansty? For Atlanta, this'll be?a big year for Vick. He needs to show that he's more than a running quarterback - he needs to prove he can pass too. The problem is that he doesn't have great receivers. He has good running backs, but you can only throw the screen so many times before the defense catches on. Philly's defense will let Vick get yards, but not enough to get the win.

I'm glad this is out of the way. I'll try to post picks every Thursday, and then review them the following Tuesday. With my new way to publish this, it should be easier to get them out in a timely fashion too.

Andrew, can you top this?

Categories: Football