PFT’s Week One picks

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It’s a new year; everyone is 0-0.  That includes MDS and yours truly.  Which is good since he whipped my butt in 2013.

But this could be my year to do the whipping in the 256-game PFT Picks showdown.  We disagree on four of the first 16 games, so there’s a chance I’ll establish an early lead.

There’s probably an even better chance I’ll land in a pothole.

For all the picks, keep doing what you’ve been doing for the last four paragraphs.

Packers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Seahawks have been so dominant at home that the NFL tries not to schedule prime time games in Seattle because the Seahawks jump out to such big leads that viewers turn off the games early and go to bed. I think the Packers’ offense is good enough to prevent that from happening and keep Green Bay in the game, but Seattle will win it.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 27, Packers 20.

Florio’s take:  After the Super Bowl champion won every Thursday night opener since the format was adopted, the last two have lost.  The trend ends at CenturyLink Field.  Getcha Richter scale read; the Seahawks may be even better this year.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 27, Packers 20.

Saints at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Saints are my pick to win the NFC South, and they’ll take a big step toward that title by starting the season with a divisional road win.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take:  Losing the first game of the season doesn’t create a major problem unless the loss comes at home to a division rival.  The Falcons need to hold serve if they hope to rebound from a disastrous 2013.  But the Saints may be even better than last year.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 30, Falcons 24.

Vikings at Rams

MDS’s take: Shaun Hill is going to surprise a lot of people and turn in a solid season in place of Sam Bradford this year. I’m not picking another Kurt Warner/Trent Green situation, but I am picking the Rams to be better than anyone thinks, and to get it started with a win over a rebuilding Vikings team.

MDS’s pick: Rams 24, Vikings 20.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings finally will have balance on offense.  The Rams suddenly won’t.  Sometimes, it’s that simple.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 16, Rams 10.

Browns at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers are preparing to see both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel on Sunday. I think Pittsburgh’s defense will do just fine against both of them.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Browns 10.

Florio’s take:  Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Bernie Kosar, Brian Sipe, Otto Graham.  It won’t matter on Week One in the year the Steelers are honoring the late Chuck Noll.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, Browns 7.

Jaguars at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Jaguars have taken a bigger step forward this offseason than most people realize, and they won’t be pushovers anymore. But Philadelphia will be a tough place to play this year, and the Eagles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Jaguars 23.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles ended the 2013 season with a disappointing loss at home.  They’ll start 2014 with one of their easier home dates, especially since the Jaguars have the wrong guy at quarterback.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Jaguars 20.

Raiders at Jets

MDS’s take: The Raiders made the right call by starting rookie Derek Carr at quarterback, and the Jets’ cornerback situation is bad enough that Carr should hit on some big plays in his first NFL game. However, Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes will pressure Carr into at least three turnovers, and that will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Jets 20, Raiders 17.

Florio’s take:  The Raiders haven’t won a game on the East Coast since December 2009.  Coming to town a few days early likely won’t change that.  Especially since the Raiders are breaking in a rookie quarterback and are featuring a bunch of veterans who were available this offseason for a reason.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 17, Raiders 10.

Bengals at Ravens

MDS’s take: All the offseason talk has been about Andy Dalton, but I expect the Bengals to have one of the NFL’s best defenses this season, and that’s why they’ll be the best team in the division, starting Sunday in Baltimore.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 17, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take:  Cincinnati is breaking in a pair of new offensive coordinators.  Baltimore is breaking in a new offense.  Steve Smith may break someone’s jaw.  Advantage home team.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 20, Bengals 17.

Bills at Bears

MDS’s take: In Marc Trestman’s second year as head coach, the Bears will have one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. The Bills just won’t be able to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Bills 13.

Florio’s take:  EJ Manuel won’t be wearing a “C” on his jersey.  But he will be wearing a Jared Allen.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 28, Bills 13.

Washington at Texans

MDS’s take: J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will be chasing Robert Griffin III all over the field, and the Texans will get off to a 1-0 start after losing their last 14 games in 2013.

MDS’s pick: Texans 20, Washington 10.

Florio’s take:  A couple of new coaches of teams that combined for five wins last year square off.  Somehow, one of these two squads will emerge with a “W”.  While Washngton could have the better season, Houston will have the better day.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 17, Washington 10.

Titans at Chiefs

MDS’s take: I think the Chiefs will take a step backward this season after their surprising playoff berth last year, but starting at home against the Titans should be one of the easiest games on their schedule.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Titans 13.

Florio’s take:  While the Chiefs likely will take a step back in 2014, it won’t begin against a team that has all the sizzle of a bowl of unflavored gelatin.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Titans 17.

Patriots at Dolphins

MDS’s take: We’ve heard a lot about how the Dolphins have changed their offense to run at a faster pace, but I just don’t think Miami has the personnel to match up with New England, which remains the best team in the AFC East.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take:  With a much better defense and a still-potent offense, the Patriots launch the 10-year anniversary of their last Super Bowl-winning season with a performance that could put them back there, again.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 34, Dolphins 24.

Panthers at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Carolina got worse this offseason and Tampa Bay got better. The Lovie Smith era will start with a win that provides Tampa with some optimism, which was sorely lacking during the Greg Schiano era.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Panthers 20.

Florio’s take:  Of all the divisions in the NFL, the NFC South has featured the most bottom-to-top turmoil.  It starts early this year, with last year’s basement dweller topping last year’s champion in a showdown between Panthers coach Ron Rivera and the guy who fired him in Chicago.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 21, Panthers 17

49ers at Cowboys

MDS’s take: I think the Cowboys are going to be better than most people expect this year, with DeMarco Murray running behind a good offensive line and giving them a balanced attack on offense. And I think the 49ers are going to be worse than most people expect this year, with the absence of NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith at the start of the season hurting their defense. So I’m picking Dallas.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, 49ers 24.

Florio’s take:  It’s been a long time since these were the best two teams in the NFC.  The Cowboys could take a major step back from their perpetual 8-8 record, and the 49ers may be unable to get close to another NFC title game.  In fact, there’s a chance that the Cowboys could win this one.  I thought about making that pick.  And then I remembered how bad the defense is.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Cowboys 20.

Colts at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos’ offense won’t be quite as good this year as it was last year, but it will still be plenty good. And I see big holes on the Colts’ defense. Indianapolis won’t be able to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 30, Colts 20.

Florio’s take:  Last year, former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning returned to Indy and lost.  This year, the Colts travel to Denver and Manning gets a measure of revenge.  Along with a lot of yards and touchdowns.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 34, Colts 21.

Giants at Lions

MDS’s take: There are major concerns about the Lions’ secondary, and Eli Manning may be able to take advantage of Detroit’s cornerback situation. But Matthew Stafford has so many weapons that he’ll put up even bigger numbers than Manning, and the Lions will win a high-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Lions 35, Giants 31.

Florio’s take:  New York’s new offense is a work in progress.  But it’s not making much progress, and it isn’t really working.  The Lions have the talent to score a lot more points than whatever the Giants can muster against a Detroit defense that still has plenty of question marks.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 30, Giants 20.

Chargers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Carson Palmer is going to have a better season than most people expect, and it starts in the late Monday night game against a Chargers defense that is going to have a rough year.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 33, Chargers 27.

Florio’s take:  Arizona has become a trendy pick for those willing to forget that Karlos Dansby, Darryl Washington, and Darnell Dockett are gone for the year.  The Chargers flew under radar for most of 2013.  They won’t in 2014.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Cardinals 23.

69 responses to “PFT’s Week One picks

  1. These picks may be all well and good, but the 1st 2 weeks of a season always has its good share of upsets. We are not talking mid-season games.

  2. In the four where you guys differ I’d have picked Florio’s direction on all four. Florio up by 4 after week one.

    Vikings 0ver Rams – AP, Patterson, and Cassel are better than most think. Jennings can catch if something decent throws.

    Ravens over Bengals – Its a home game, they will likely split but play tough at home

    49ers over Cowboys – Kaep’s regular season last year won’t be the same this year and Cowboys defense is hurting too much

    Chargers over Cardinals – Its close because they are away but Chargers have a better offense and Rivers can handle the Monday night stage

  3. Steelers v Browns. Steelers are honoring Noll this year, but it’s forgotten that he was born and raised in Cleveland, attended Dayton and played for the Browns. Another part of the unique connection between the two teams.

  4. Respect to Florio on the pick this Sunday. We’ll see what Ravens team will show up on Sunday.

  5. Good picks for the most part. Cardinals pick will be wrong for Florio.

    They also added Bucannon, got Mathieu back, Minter developing, added Cromartie. Second year in the system, this team will thrive.

  6. Cincinnati will be breaking in two new offensive coordinators Sunday? Huh?

    I assume you mean they will be breaking in two new coordinators since Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer both got head coaching gigs.

    Anyway, on to more important matters….

    Ravens 27
    Bengals 20

  7. The Bears will have a good offense… But not great Trestman took a lot of teams by surprise with their offensive style of play. But the film is out there now and teams know whats coming. I can’t say I’m sure the Bills will win, but the game will be much closer then people are predicting. Not to mention the Bills dominant front four against a decent bears line.
    Keep pretending the preseason is everything and that 16 games last year where the Bills D was dominant at times doesn’t matter. And are you really pumping up old Jared Allen who will be facing Glenn all day one of the best young tackles in the league. The bears D was mediocre at best last season.
    I hope the Bears are underestimating the Bills too, if they do this could be a big upset to start the season.

  8. There are at least FIVE games where the both of you are heading down the crapper, along with your picks…

    And it starts with picking the Steelers over the Browns.

    I don’t think so.

  9. Not going off the preseason, I’m going off last year’s record of 6-10, minus one of their most important defenders in Alonso. Chris Williams on the O-line, not exactly encouraging.

  10. The 2 “new” coordinators for the Bengals are hardly new. They were promoted within and they are very familiar with the old systems. If anything, the Bengals offense will improve under Hue Jackson.

    Bengals 21
    Ravens 17

  11. Arena Ball left with Jay Gruden. Hue Jackson is an upgrade. We will miss Zim, but his right hand man has all the players he needs to have a top 5 defense. Dont be suprised to see an upset in Baltimore. BTW – Andy keep doing what you ve been doing all preseason so I dont look stupid

  12. As a Jags fan, I respect that prediction for us. We are currently 10.5 point underdogs. We won’t lose by double digits unless we’re down by 5 or 6 in the last minute, driving for a TD and Henne throws a pick 6. A scenario like that I can see, which would cause it to be double digits. Otherwise, I somewhat agree with that prediction.

  13. Not going off the preseason, I’m going off last year’s record of 6-10, minus one of their most important defenders in Alonso. Chris Williams on the O-line, not exactly encouraging.

    So you may want to consider that the bears Run-D which was the worst in the NFL last season, playing the number 2 rushing offense from last season. Don’t be shocked if the game is close or if the Bills pull an upset.

    Also the Cowboys? Beating the 49ers? That is laughable. There may be a ton if scoring but the Boys D is horrendous and may be the worst in the NFL. I don’t even see this game being close.

  14. Chargers got even better after having a top five offense last year. Defensively, the Cards have the edge, although the Chargers D improved. (There was nowhere to go but up.)

    Most teams will try some version of a quick offense this year including the Cardinals. Chargers will do just the opposite. Look for the Bolts to score on ball control, clock-eating, time of possession drives. Look for the Cards to play and score fast against the Chargers defense. Problem with that is, the Cardinals defense gets back on the field quicker. By mid third quarter, look to see a gassed Card defense.

    Chargers 34
    Cardinals 24

  15. The wait is over… WHO’S READY TO GET THEIR HEARTS BROKEN! (Unless you’re a fan of one very lucky team.)

  16. Shouldn’t complain that both are picking the Jets…but how do you call it for the Jets by 3 points when you are forecasting Raiders turning the ball over 3 times!

  17. The Seahawks will win because “After the Super Bowl champion won every Thursday night opener since the format was adopted, the last two have lost.” Lol! You are borderline mentally challenged.

  18. Texans over the skins?! Lmao with what qb?! The skins defense and ST will be much improved and the skins qb situation and offense is muchhhhh better anything the texans have. Skins will win this game by at least 10 points.

    And the cowboys over the 9ers?!?! You guys make it hard to respect you..

  19. We were worse last year, had nothing to play for and still shut down the Lions in their house with their playoff lives on the line. What makes everyone think that they’re this juggernaut? Same ol’ Lions.

    We’ll run the ball all over them and force Stafford to throw into a stout secondary.

    Giants 24
    Loins 19

  20. I did not even notice the Washington thing until I read it in someone’s comment. Why? It really did not mean anything to me. What is important is the fact that they are a football team, and I enjoy watching them play. No matter what their nick name is.

  21. Theroofishere,

    That cowboys team got worse than last year, not better, so what’s your point?

    You think losing Ware,Sean lee,scandrick,hatcher,and the rookie that was supposed to replace ware is on IR is going to make the cowboys better??!! Lmao… Let me guess..Addition by subtraction eh? I’m not even mentioning romo’s bum back. Cowboys will be lucky to win 6 this year. Their roster looks pretty rough.

    On a bright note, at least the boys are signing Michael Sam, who I think can play and was a good pick up.

  22. Bengals devour the Rat Birds at home. I mean who picks a damn bird for a mascot anyway? (The Baltimore Browns, that’s who!) Pacman whips Steve Smith’s ass in the end zone after “Shorty” gets a sure fire catch broken up! Jumpball Joe gets out played by the Dalton gang! That is all…..

  23. Why is it kosher to say Chiefs, but not Redskins?I thought the Native Americans were also offended by that name? Oh, that bandwagon hasn’t been hitched up yet. Gotcha.

  24. Skins will whoop the Texans! If Clowney is going up against Trent Williams I guarantee you that he will be a nonfactor!!!! Besides The Texans qb situation. Is the worst!!!!

  25. You forgot Brady Quinn.
    Quinn was the last QB to “lead” the Browns to a win (13-6, 2009) over the Roethlisberger-quarterbacked Steelers.

  26. Braves, Chiefs, Indians, Utes, etc. Oh, and I believe they can still do the “Tomahawk Chop”. But by golly don’t you dare say the Redskins

  27. I can see the Bears/Bills game being a lot closer than that. The Bears don’t seem to have it all together at this point.

  28. Microsoft’s Cortana, the Windows phone virtual assistant that correctly predicted 15 of 16 World Cup knockout stage games, is back for the NFL season.

    The predictions come from a model by Bing Predicts that takes into account 2013 results, offensive and defensive stats, margin of victory, location, weather, and public sentiment (which is meant to help identify real-time factors, like injuries).

    Since the model just picks a winner and doesn’t predict a score against the spread, the hit rate should be well over 50%.

    Cortana did well at the World Cup, and even picked Germany over Brazil in the semifinal when other statistical models had Brazil as the heavy favorite. So if you’re the gambling sort, it might be wise to take these picks into account.

    Here are the Bing Predicts odds for Week 1:

    Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks — Seahawks win (74.2% chance)
    New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons — Falcons win (61.4% chance)
    Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams — Rams win (67.4% chance)
    Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers — Steelers win (70.2% chance)
    Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles — Eagles win (75.4% chance)
    Oakland Raiders at New York Jets — Jets win (62.9% chance)
    Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens — Ravens win (59.8% chance)
    Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears — Bears win (64.4% chance)
    Washington Redskins at Houston Texans — Texans win (51% chance)
    Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs — Chiefs win (64.4% chance)
    New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins — Patriots win (61.4% chance)
    Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Buccaneers win (56.6% chance)
    San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys — 49ers win (68.8% chance)
    Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos — Broncos win (77.8% chance)
    New York Giants at Detroit Lions — Lions win (61.4%% chance)
    San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals — Cardinals win (58.2% chance)

  29. Judging by the above, the Microsoft Cortana method seems to be, “pick the home team unless the visitor is one of the top 5 or so teams in the league”.

  30. So if you’re the gambling sort, it might be wise to take these picks into account.

    This would be pretty helpful if we were betting retroactively on last season’s games, considering all the data it uses is from 2013.

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