Wow, what an off-season. I can’t remember the last time I’d seen so many players taken out of service before the season even started. And I’m only talking about the arrests and suspensions!

Add in all of the trades and injuries, and you’d be hard pressed to find any team with the same starting lineup as last season. Only one comes to mind for me, and they just blew Green Bay away a couple of nights ago.

I should have taken them as my Lock of the Week, but since I usually leave Thursday night games out of the mix, I decided to leave that one alone, leaving me with the usual first-week jitters.

You know how I feel about the first week. You really have nothing to go on except the overblown hype that the “experts” have been spewing since late February. Most of that belongs in the garbage can, so you can only go with what you yourself have been paying attention to during the spring and summer months.

And so here I go, jumping right in with my choices for the usual three categories – Game of the Week, Lock of the Week and Upset of the Week.

Last season I did very well in one of those categories, finishing with a 16-2 record for Lock of the Week. I was merely average for the Game of the Week, finishing 10-8, while embarrassing myself in the Upset of the Week category, finishing at 6-12. But then again, it is the Upset category, so I can live with that (for one season).

Let’s see what the opening week for 2014 looks like!

NFL Football


This week’s Lock of the Week.

I have two games on my radar for this one. One of them is Philadelphia over Jacksonville. At first glance, that should be the only game to consider for this category, especially since the Eagles won the NFC East last season and Jacksonville finished in their usual spot – last place in the AFC South.

My concern is that I’m not convinced that the Eagles have improved as much as all of the sports gurus say they have and that I don’t think the Jags are going to be doormats this year. That doesn’t mean that I think they will overtake Indy by any means, just that they might be under rated enough to surprise Philly in week one.

Therefore, I’m taking the other choice. The Chicago Bears over the Buffalo Bills. There are too many reasons to believe the Bills have absolutely no chance in this game.

First, look at the offensive lineup for da’ Bears. Two stud receivers, a stud running back, a very good tight end and a quarterback that has shown he can light it up (just not consistently). With an improved defense over last year’s bunch, they are going to be a tough opponent at home.

Then we have the Bills, a team that begins every year talking about their improved running game, which never really amounts to anything scary, and a passing game that always includes more interceptions than touchdowns. (Well, at least it seems that way!)

Now add in the fact that they are on the road in a hostile environment and you have a recipe for disaster for Buffalo fans everywhere.

This one should be over by halftime, with Chicago chalking up a home victory in week one!

Bears Helmet


This week’s Upset of the Week.

Okay, in week one, it’s difficult to decipher what truly is an upset, since we don’t really know the actual personality of any team until the regular season is finally under way. So I have to simply choose one of my picks that went against the Vegas pros.

This week, I had two. With Cam Newton questionable with a cracked rib, I’m not feeling very warm and fuzzy with my Panthers over Bucs pick, so I’m going with my other upset.

The Cincinnati Bengals over the Baltimore Ravens.

You probably think I’m nuts, picking against the Ravens at home. However, I remember last season’s team didn’t have nearly the offensive threat due to a mediocre passing game (c’mon folks, Torey Smith is a #2, not a #1). Now that Ray Rice is serving his whopping two game suspension (don’t get me started on that topic!), don’t look for them to put up many points at all, even at home.

Meanwhile, the Bengals offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders. I know I’m judging that solely on pre-season games, but looking at the talent on that offense, they may be a top-three threat in the AFC for scoring points.

As usual in this division, this will be a brutal game, but in the end, I think talent will win out and the Bengals with leave the city of Baltimore with win number one under their belt.

Bengals Helmet


This week’s Game of the Week.

This is a no-brainer. The Indianapolis Colts at the Denver Broncos.

How can anyone even consider another game? We have the future star QB of the NFL bringing his ever-improving Colts to Denver to take on the future hall-of-fame QB that led his team to last season’s Super Bowl.

Not to mention the fact that Manning was in Luck’s shoes in Indianapolis just a few short years ago.

We will see the two best offenses in the AFC squaring off against each other in the thin air of Denver. The fireworks should last the entire game. Both teams have an arsenal of receivers and a pretty decent running game to keep the defenses honest.

Although this will be an entertaining game throughout, I think the difference will be on the other side of the ball, where Denver clearly has the edge.

I think there will be plenty of points scored, but ultimately, the Broncos will score more of them.

Denver wins by double digits, pulling away in the fourth quarter.

Broncos Helmet


Okay, so now you have my first week’s projections. Take them for what they’re worth. An educated guess at best. A flip of the coin at worst!

Either way, it’s time to get ready for some football!


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