NFL GAMES OF THE WEEK – 2016 – WEEK ONE

10Sep16

I’ve decided to bring back a weekly post this season, after putting it on hold last season. Okay let’s be real, I put the entire blog on hold for the last year or so. But I’m back with new energy, and so is the “Games of the Week”.

Each week I will pick one game in three categories – Lock of the Week, Upset of the Week and Game of the Week. My goal is to pick correctly at least three out of four times each in the Lock and Game categories. If I hit .500 or better in the Upset category, I’ll be thrilled. After all, I will be going against the expert’s choices every time in that category!

Feel free to let me know when you disagree with me. But for now, let’s get to it!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week.

There were a couple of games to choose from this week, but one stands out above all others.

Miami at Seattle.

Being a Cardinals fan, I would love to be able to look at this matchup and come up with some way for the Dolphins to leave the great northwest with a victory.

Maybe Arian Foster will return to his old form and put up 150 rushing yards and a couple of TDs. Or maybe Ryan Tannehill will discover that he has an elite receiving corps and throw for 300-plus yards and a few TDs. Or maybe Ndamukong Suh will become an inspirational leader and motivate his fellow defenders to shut down Russell Wilson and partners.

Or maybe …… okay, let’s get real. None of those things are going to happen. And while everyone is pointing to Seattle’s offensive line as their big weakness, they are still loaded for bear (or dolphin) everywhere else.

This is not only a lock for a Seahawk victory, but look for PETA to stage a postgame protest, due to the mass slaughter of dolphins that is sure to take place. This should be over by halftime.

Final score – Seattle 41, Miami 13.

Seahawks Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week.

Week one upsets are very difficult to identify, let alone pick. How many times have you identified a week one victory as an upset, only to realize six weeks later that it actually was nothing of the sort. This game may very well end up falling into that category.

Buffalo at Baltimore.

This is a tale of two teams trying to become relevant again. The Bills always seem to start the season looking strong, only to crash and burn by week ten. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999. If Rex Ryan is going to turn the corner with the Bills, he needs to do it this season.

The Ravens, Super Bowl champs from as recent as four seasons ago, fell on hard times last season. Injuries were the main reason, finishing with twenty players on the injured reserve list, including eight starters from week one. Among the injured were QB Joe Flacco, RB Justin Forsett and nearly the entire receiving corps, not to mention outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.

This season begins with everyone healthy, but age has become a factor. The top two receivers, Steve Smith Sr. and Mike Wallace, are both past their prime and no longer represent the deep threat that they once did. 30-year old Justin Forsett (an old man in running back years), was cut, resigned and is once again the starting running back.

As with most week one matchups, this one is not an easy one to pick. But with the younger and healthier Bills only three point underdogs, I’m picking them for this week’s upset.

Final Score – Buffalo 27, Baltimore 20.

buffalo

This week’s Game of the Week.

Since I can’t go back and pick Thursday night’s Panther-Bronco matchup, I had to pick one from the remaining games. I tried everything I could to avoid picking this game so that I didn’t have to hear all of the “Cardinals Homer” jokes. But after scouring the entire schedule for week one, I would challenge anyone to come up with a better matchup for this category.

New England at Arizona.

Look at all of the story lines that come with this one. Brady’s absence due to his controversial suspension. The offseason trade that sent underachieving (Card’s argument) right guard Jonathan Cooper to the Patriots and hit-and-miss (Patriot’s argument) defensive end Chandler Jones to the Cardinals. Both teams lost last year’s conference championship games. New England’s season opener stellar record. And we haven’t even talked about the actual game yet!

The bottom line is Arizona should win this one going away. They are at home. They are relatively healthy. They are an improved version of last year’s team. Brady is out. Gronk is out. How can they possible lose, right?

Riiiiiight! (A little Dr. Evil humor there!)

Dr. Evil

Let’s not forget one minor detail. Bill Belichick is still making the calls on the Patriot’s sideline. Many have overlooked this in the past, and most have gone down in flames. If there is any way to neutralize the big red scoring machine, he will figure it out.

Having said all of that, I think this will be a close game for three quarters. But by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, the Patriots will be worn down, due to the depth of the Cardinals on both sides of the ball, allowing Arizona to pull away.

Final Score – Arizona 34, New England 20.

Cardinals Helmet

There you have it. Week one’s picks are now officially in the books. It’s all downhill from here!

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