PFT’s Week One picks

Getty Images

Last year, I prevailed over MDS in the regular season picks contest.  MDS takes solace in winning the postseason edition of the head-to-head battle.

With 256 regular-season games and 11 playoff games, I’ll leave it to others to decide which victory was more significant.

Meanwhile, it’s time to defend the crown, like the Ravens.  And I have to get it started not at my home but in Denver, like the Ravens.  And tonight, neither of us like the Ravens.

We disagree on several games, we agree on most, and we state our cases below.

Ravens at Broncos

MDS’s take: The defending champions aren’t happy about having to open the season on the road, and I think they’ll be even less happy on their plane ride home. Peyton Manning is healthier than he was a year ago, he has a new weapon in Wes Welker, and the Broncos are going to put plenty of points on the board against the Ravens.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Ravens 20.

Florio’s take:  A shot at redemption comes early for the Broncos.  Real redemption won’t comes until January.  They’ll take what they can get to open the season against the defending champions — as long as they play the safeties deep in the fourth quarter.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 24, Ravens 20.

Patriots at Bills

MDS’s take: This is the easiest game to pick of Week One. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is going to have a great game plan in place to frustrate Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should carve up the Bills’ secondary. I’ll be shocked if the Bills win this game, and very surprised if it’s even close.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 35, Bills 10.

Florio’s take:  Buffalo receiver Stevie Johnson doesn’t believe the New England defense can cover him.  He may be right.  But it won’t matter if the quarterback can’t get him the ball.  Or if the Bills offense can’t keep pace with the Pats.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 28, Bills 17.

Seahawks at Panthers

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the upset here: I’m excited to see what Panthers quarterback Cam Newton does with new coordinator Mike Shula running the offense, and I’m wondering if maybe we all overhyped the Seahawks a bit. But I also believe that Russell Wilson can be even better in his second season than he was in his first, and I expect him to lead the Seahawks to a close win.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Panthers 27.

Florio’s take:  We know there will be upsets, but we don’t quite know when and where they’ll happen — which is one of the ingredients in a true upset.  Folks who pay for tickets to Bank of America Stadium on Sunday won’t be upset when the Panthers control the clock on offense, and when Ron Rivera (who historically did a nice job of shutting down Peyton Manning while in San Diego) finds a way to at least contain Russell Wilson, with the help of middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 20, Seahawks 17.

Bengals at Bears

MDS’s take: I think the Bears are one of the most intriguing teams to watch in Week One because I’m fascinated to see what new coach Marc Trestman will do with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. Unfortunately for Chicago fans, I expect Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins to show he’s worth every penny of that big new contract and get in Cutler’s face all day, as the Bengals take a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 13, Bears 10.

Florio’s take:  Everyone loves the Bengals, and everyone is down on the Bears.  Those assessments may be accurate, but it doesn’t mean the Bengals will go 16-0 and the Bears will be 0-16.  Chicago gets a chance to prove the doubters wrong for at least a day, and Cincinnati will have some early doubt creep into their brains.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 24, Bengals 21.

Dolphins at Browns

MDS’s take: Some say the Dolphins overpaid for receiver Mike Wallace in free agency, but I see Wallace making an instant impact as Joe Philbin takes advantage of his deep speed by getting the ball to him down the field often. A big day from Wallace will be the difference in Cleveland.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Browns 20.

Florio’s take:  Old school goes out the window in Cleveland, when a couple of franchises that want to throw the ball throw down the field at the Factory of Sadness.  For at least one day, the assembly line will crank out a little happiness.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 35, Dolphins 31.

Vikings at Lions

MDS’s take: Detroit was maybe the most disappointing team in the NFL last year, slipping from the playoffs in 2011 to 4-12 in 2012. A slow start to this season will lead to calls for coach Jim Schwartz’s head, but I think Schwartz will have his players ready on Sunday. The Lions’ defensive line will give Christian Ponder trouble and hold Adrian Peterson relatively in check as Detroit starts the season 1-0.

MDS’s pick: Lions 20, Vikings 13.

Florio’s take:  Both teams had much different experiences in 2012 than in 2011, for opposite reasons.  Many assume that both teams will revert to their 2011 form in 2013.  The process gets started with the Vikings trying to unleash a passing game against a team that has one of the best in the league.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 24, Vikings 20.

Raiders at Colts

MDS’s take: I’m expecting the Colts to take a step back from their breakout 2012 season, but Oakland might be the worst team in the NFL. Terrelle Pryor will make a few plays but also make a lot of mistakes, and the Colts should win this one without too much trouble.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take:  An unlikely playoff team in 2012, Indy has gone all in in the hopes of returning to the AFC’s elite.  They draw in Week One a team that hasn’t been elite in years.  The decision to go with Terrelle Pryor makes this one more interesting, but Oakland simply doesn’t have the talent to overcome the Colts in their own building.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Raiders 13.

Chiefs at Jaguars

MDS’s take: In a canny move by the schedule-makers in the league office, the NFL has ensured that one of the two teams that tied for the league’s worst record last season will start this season 1-0. I expect new Chiefs coach Andy Reid to build an effective offense in Kansas City, and we’ll get a preview of what that offense can do in Jacksonville.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 17.

Florio’s take:  Have two 2-14 teams ever been more different?  The Chiefs have six Pro Bowlers, a coach who consistently took the Eagles to the playoffs, and a quarterback who was having a Pro Bowl season until he suffered a concussion that opened the door for a guy who some already think will be a Hall of Famer.  The Jaguars have an energetic coach and an improved front office but not enough horses to contend, for now.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 20, Jaguars 13.

Falcons at Saints

MDS’s take: In what may be the best game of opening Sunday, I’m looking for the Saints to exorcise the demons of last season and come out ready to make a statement that they’re the team to beat in the NFC South.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Falcons 27.

Florio’s take:  Last year, when the Falcons soared to 13-3 and the Saints sank to 7-9, New Orleans held serve at home against Atlanta.  With Sean Payton making his official return, the Superdome will be a rockin’.  The Falcons will wish they hadn’t come a-knockin’.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 31, Falcons 21.

Buccaneers at Jets

MDS’s take: Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis will return to his old stomping grounds and intercept Jets quarterback Geno Smith at least once. Jets coach Rex Ryan always knows how to get his defense ready, but the Jets’ offense will be a mess, and Tampa Bay will win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 16, Jets 6.

Florio’s take:  Bucs coach Greg Schiano returns to New Jersey, facing a team that would have a hard time beating Schiano’s Scarlet Knights.  Tampa has too much for the Jets; the only question is whether Darrelle Revis will be the home team’s leading receiver.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 20, Jets 7.

Titans at Steelers

MDS’s take: I’m higher on the Steelers than most people, so it’s no surprise that I’m picking them to get their season started with a big win. Ben Roethlisberger will have a big game, Chris Johnson will be held under 50 yards, and the Steelers will win going away.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Titans 10.

Florio’s take:  Old-school Steelers football returns, with hard hits and plenty of running the ball and a score that won’t look like today’s NFL, which is for most teams seven-on-seven in pads.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 13, Titans 9.

Cardinals at Rams

MDS’s take: The 49ers and Seahawks look so good that we might as well call this the battle for third place in the NFC West. I don’t see either of these teams contending for the playoffs, but I do think the Rams are building a good young defense that should win them some close games.

MDS’s pick: Rams 17, Cardinals 12.

Florio’s take:  Both teams have improved, even though it may not be enough to contend with the Seahawks and 49ers.  For now, the Rams are better at more positions than Arizona — with an offense that can be prolific and a defense that is underrated.  St. Louis went 4-1-1 in the division last year.  They start 2013 at 1-0 in the NFC West.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 30, Cardinals 20.

Packers at 49ers

MDS’s take: I don’t think San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is going to do to the Packers what he did in the playoffs, but I do think the 49ers will have another big offensive game, making it hard for Aaron Rodgers & Co. to keep up.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Packers 24.

Florio’s take:  The Packers will perform better against San Fran quarterback Colin Kaepernick than they did the last time these teams played.  Green Bay can’t do much worse.  The improvement won’t be enough to outscore an offense that could be even better with a full offseason and preseason with Kaepernick as the starter.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 28, Packers 24.

Giants at Cowboys

MDS’s take: As the pressure mounts on Cowboys coach Jason Garrett following another 8-8 season, I see the Cowboys getting off to a strong start, with new offensive coordinator Bill Callahan bringing a different approach and Dallas opening the season with a win over a division rival.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Giants 20.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Cowboys ended the streak of Super Bowl champs winning their first game of the next season.  This year, the Cowboys get a chance to end a streak that has far more relevance to owner Jerry Jones.  Dallas never has beaten the Giants in its four-year-old home stadium.  While the Cowboys may not be better enough to win the division, they’re good enough to outscore a banged up Giants team.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 27, Giants 23.

Eagles at Redskins

MDS’s take: The first game of the Monday night doubleheader is an intriguing one: The return of Robert Griffin III vs. the debut of Chip Kelly. The Eagles are going to be a fascinating team to watch all season, as Kelly’s approach to coaching is unlike anything the NFL has seen before. But players win games more than coaches do, and Philadelphia’s personnel just isn’t as good from top to bottom as Washington’s.

MDS’s pick: Redskins 27, Eagles 20.

Florio’s take:  If Chip Kelly had stayed at Oregon, he would have opened the season against Nicholls State.  He’ll face a slightly more significant challenge at FedEx Field against the defending NFC East champions.  No matter how high-powered the offense, the defense will have a hard time stopping Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, and the other weapons the Redskins possess.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 30, Eagles 24.

Texans at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Texans are AFC championship contenders, while the Chargers will be fighting with the Raiders to stay out of last place in the AFC West. I don’t think this one will be close.

MDS’s pick: Texans 31, Chargers 12.

Florio’s take:  Philip Rivers doesn’t need to be fixed.  He needs help.  And he doesn’t have much of it.  And it won’t be more obvious than it will be against the Texans, who are the better team on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 28, Chargers 17.

57 responses to “PFT’s Week One picks

  1. Taking Ravens over Broncos. There was some serious offensive line shuffling for the QB with the repaired neck, and he’s facing a vicious pass rush and a vengeful OLB. Not good.

  2. Based on past experiences with the guys who make these picks, I would run out and bet on every team they pick to lose, you will not be disapointed.

  3. Joe Flacco will have extra time to throw the football thanks to the Broncos’ lack of pass rush and weakened secondary. The Broncos’ offensive line will also deal with a replacement center and an aggressive Ravens’ pass rush.

    Ravens 27
    Broncos 21

  4. My upset pick is Panthers over Seahawks. The Hawks are a GREAT team, but the Panthers are underestimated. It also helps that the Seahawks are on the road and injured. Either way, Seahawks still make a deep run in the playoffs.

  5. Broncos o-line is a mess at the moment. Ramirez is a veteran so he’s seen these looks before, but as the guy calling out the protections for the one QB in the league that demands perfect play from his center? I’m sure he’ll be fine later in the season with some exp running the o-line under his belt but with maybe a month of doing it and Haloti Ngata in his face all night? Clady we know is a all-pro tackle but he just returned to practice a few weeks ago and got zero playing time in the preseason. He’s going to be a little rusty and its not like he fared the best against Suggs and company in January. Add proven pass rushers like Dumervil and Canty to the mix and it could be hard for Peyton to get the chance to hit all of those great receivers he has. Its why they play the games though, who knows what will happen, football is back baby!

  6. Patriots at Bills

    EJ Manuel will show flashes of brilliance, putting himself on the right track heading to Franchise Town, But Tom Brady will carve up the Buffalo secondary cleaner than my Uncle’s carving of the yearly Thanksgiving Turkey.

    EJ’s pick: Patriots 42, Bills 24.

  7. I can think of 10 reasons the Ravens will beat the Broncos. I can only think of 1 reason the Broncos will win. Home field, that’s it.

  8. Did you just pick Cleveland to score 35 points on Miami’s defense?
    Do you guys even watch football?
    Miami is a top 10 defense, and the Browns QB is Brandon Weeden.
    I would love to bet you everything I own the browns won’t score 28

  9. Look I’m no Ravens fan but I think they’re getting wildly disrespected by the media and Vegas. This team is catching Denver at the right time (no Miller, Bailey, etc.) and I think they’re going to be able to frustrate Manning’s timing with his targets by controlling the line of scrimmage with their talented front seven.

    I’ve got the Ravens winning a game that isn’t as close as the final score indicates.

    Ravens 28 Broncos 24.

  10. Hawks know they have to get home field throughout to make the Super Bowl – they are not taking this game lightly – Tough game, but Hawks win.

    Hawks 26
    Panthers 20

  11. Man are there some awful opening games this weekend.

    The only ones worth watching:

    I haven’t checked the schedule but if GB-SF is the early Sunday game and Atl-NO is the Sunday afternoon game (or vice versa), we can LUCKILY watch football straight through from tonight through Monday night without having to be subjected to complete snoozefests like Cle-Mia, Jax-KC, NE-Buff, etc.

  12. I’m an Eagles fan, so I’m biased…but I think the media is really overhyping Washington’s strength. I’m not sure the Birds will win, but I also know RGKnee can’t be 100% given that he’s not played at all in the preseason. Even if he’s 100% with the knee, he’s going to wear a brace and is going to have some rust. I’ve also seen a LOT of Philly’s problems fixed, including the offensive line, play calling, in-game management, special teams, and no more Wide 9. Add to that Kelly’s dynamic offense, and I think this could be an upset win. What really concerns me is the defense. We’ll see!

  13. mancave001 says:
    Sep 5, 2013 2:05 PM

    I’m an Eagles fan, so I’m biased…but I think the media is really overhyping Washington’s strength…


    Number one rushing team IN THE NFL last season and we’re being overhyped…spoken like a true, brilliant Philly fan.

    Philly’s problems are fixed?! BWAAAHAHAHA!!!Vick is still your QB…



  14. Glad to see Florio still hates the bengals. C’mon man you know they’ll put it to Chicago! Why do have to lie to everyone?

  15. @MDS: “Hold A.P. relatively in check?” What’s your definition of “in check?” I don’t think the toothless Lions have ever held A.P. under 100 yards in a game, let alone “in check” as you put it.

  16. The Broncos lost their 3 best defensive players from last season’s matchup with Baltimore and they will not have them for this game in Von Miller,Dumervill and Champ Bailey. Elvis left the building, re enters it tonight and is on the other team.

    The Ravens o-line is back and intact from last years powerful playoff performance. Denver has a mediocre defense at best without Miller and Bailey. Watch the Ravens grind the football and control the line of scrimmage.

  17. I was going there myself. Denver might have that “revenge” thing for the first game. But, I think they (Denver) are soft and if Baltimore withstands that first few minutes they might win this game. Manning is awesome but has problems when they’re at his feet.
    Ravens have to attack and not sit back. (that’s not their demeanor; they’ll come after Manning).

  18. My Vikes always do better when we’re underdogs, can’t count out Megatron, definitely can’t sleep on Bush. Not gonna be easy, but certainly do-able.

  19. lrm1980 says: Sep 5, 2013 2:55 PM

    “Welcome back meaningful NFL football! I missed you!”

    Great comment, was NOT trying to report it…Please disregard that.

  20. The Dickens you say:

    mancave001 says:
    Sep 5, 2013 2:05 PM
    I’m an Eagles fan, so I’m biased…but I think the media is really overhyping Washington’s strength. I’m not sure the Birds will win, but I also know RGKnee can’t be 100% given that he’s not played at all in the preseason. Even if he’s 100% with the knee, he’s going to wear a brace and is going to have some rust. I’ve also seen a LOT of Philly’s problems fixed, including the offensive line, play calling, in-game management, special teams, and no more Wide 9. Add to that Kelly’s dynamic offense, and I think this could be an upset win. What really concerns me is the defense. We’ll see!


    Well dear sir, if I recall even in the second game on a bum/braced knee he did pretty good against said Iggles? And the brace he’s wearing now isn’t as intrusive as the one he wore last year, and finally the offense is and has gotten better and more talent as does the defense…

  21. Chicago-Cinci is a good game though. I could see any outcome. Cinci’s D or better QB in Cutler (although erratic). My guess would be 16-13 type game. I’ll go CHI being at home. Late FG

  22. I think it’s easy to pick some games (NE vs Buff, Oak-Ind, Hou-SD), the rest are unpredictable, (maybe Tennessee, they won’t score much with Locker at Pitt). Good games everywhere.

  23. Miami is one of the most overrated teams coming into this season. I dont see how they are going to be good. They lost two of their top 5 offensive players from last year in Jake Long and Reggie Bush. Added Mike Wallace, who is going to be a bust for them, he was nothing more than a system guy in Pitt, which is why the Steelers just let him walk without a fight. Added Lamar Miller in the draft, he may be a good starting RB someday, but he is still not on the level of Reggie Bush. Cleveland’s new defense with their depth on the D-Line will be making Tannehill’s life miserable come Sunday. But as a browns fan, I dont see the Browns putting up 35 this week either. Browns 24 Phins 14

  24. There is no way the Browns offense will score 35 points against the Dolphins defense. The only way they can approach that number is through defensive and special teams score.

    Dolphins 27, Browns 19.

  25. Broncos Patriots Panthers Bears

    Dolphins Lions Colts Chiefs

    Saints Bucs Titans Cardinals

    49ers Cowboys Redskins Texans

  26. Here are my picks. Sorry I’m late in getting them up. I didn’t do the Broncos/Ravens game since it is obviously over. Good luck everyone!

    Phootballphanatic’s picks

    Patriots at Bills: Patriots 35, Bills 13.
    Seahawks at Panthers: Panthers 14, Seahawks 24.
    Bengals at Bears: Bears 17, Bengals 14.
    Dolphins at Browns: Browns 13, Dolphins 28.
    Vikings at Lions: Lions 21, Vikings 35.
    Raiders at Colts: Colts 30, Raiders 13.
    Chiefs at Jaguars: Chiefs 21, Jaguars 13.
    Falcons at Saints: Saints 24, Falcons 21.
    Buccaneers at Jets: Buccaneers 24, Jets 6.
    Titans at Steelers: Steelers 20, Titans 9.
    Cardinals at Rams: Rams 28, Cardinals 24.
    Packers at 49ers: 49ers 34, Packers 35
    Giants at Cowboys: Cowboys 17, Giants 14.
    Eagles at Redskins: Redskins 30, Eagles 28.
    Texans at Chargers: Texans 17, Chargers 21.

  27. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says:
    Sep 5, 2013 10:59 AM
    Based on past experiences with the guys who make these picks, I would run out and bet on every team they pick to lose, you will not be disapointed.


    So you’re telling me you’re betting on the Colts to lose to Oakland…?

  28. phootballphanatic3000 says:
    Sep 6, 2013 1:54 PM

    Texans at Chargers: Texans 17, Chargers 21.


    Interested to hear why you think the Chargers will beat the Texans? Honestly…

  29. Can you please differentiate the games from your picks please, for the love of God!!!! Just put the games in Red, it’s not difficult. Every time I come back to the page looking for a particular game, I leave with a headache.

  30. The media is so stupid when it comes to the Cowboys. I’ve been a Cowboy fan since 1960.

    They’ve got some good skill position players if they can stay healthy, but they’re signing offensive and defensive linemen off the street. Games are won and lost up front.

    Giants win again.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!