Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 1 NFL picks (part 3?)

Continuing the preview of this weekends games, it's time to look at the final 6, starting with: Cardinals @ Rams -- Tricky, simply because neither of these teams is the team they were last season. If that makes any sense at all. Both have undergone an over haul at the QB position, which is good for the Rams and bad for the Cardinals. Arizona lost Kurt Warner to the allure of TV football punditry and gardening, while the Rams finally made a move at the QB spot and brought in highly rated Sam Bradford. For the Cardinals it was also a watershed moment in a way when they released Matt Leinart. With the Raiders high profile release of JaMarcus Russell also coming this season, it seems like teams are taking advantage of the uncapped year to dump their wasters and begin rebuilding for the new decade. Unfortunately for Arizona they're rebuilding with Derek Anderson. There's been a lot of talk about things he's done in the past with the Browns etc, but let's get it straight; Anderson had trouble fighting off Brady Quinn in Cleveland. Ok, Brady Quinn. Any optimism held out by Cardinals fans may evaporate rather rapidly this season. Arizona's best shot is the RB combo of Tim Hightower and Chris "Beanie" Wells being able to draw some attention away from the passing game. Difficult, considering Larry Fitzgerald is still out there. The Rams have more reason to smile. Sam Bradford has been good so far, albeit in the pre-season. Their defense has finally started to produce some sacks. Albeit in the pre-season. Even their receivers have stepped up their game a notch. Albeit, in the pre-season. Arizona presents the first test for a team and a city that has a noticeable bounce back in it's step. Albeit, in the pre-season. I'm going to go on a limb here and take the positive attitude and renewed enthusiasm of the Rams for a win. Did I really just take the Rams over the Cardinals? Packers @ Eagles -- The Packers are perfectly set, like the Jets and the Ravens, for the most amazing of downfalls. Everywhere you turn, the Packers are being pushed as the number one pick for the Super Bowl, a sure fire choice that cant possibly fail. Personally I have them down for the NFC North, but a lot can change between now and February. Not tonight though. I like Kevin Kolb, but I worry it's going to be more of the same for the Eagles. More bad challenges, more bad play calls. A stark inability to score once in the red zone etc. The Eagles really need their defense to come alive for them this year. More pressure and more picks, trying to ease the load on an offense that can best be described as 'inconsistent'. The Packers are poised to unleash their offensive and defensive fury, but as with all highly hyped teams (re: the Dallas Cowboys) the trouble is pushing past the hype and actually getting it done on the field. Week 1 I think they do. Packers win. 49ers @ Seahawks -- The revolving door in Seattle has barely finished spinning when someone else walks in and someone else leaves. It's getting almost ridiculous. And having thrown away their leading receiver from last year in a bid to start a youth movement, I think Seattle is actually looking a lot weaker than people think. With Matt Hasselbeck at QB and Seneca Wallace gone to Cleveland you also know they're just one injury away from it all going down the pan. The 49ers meanwhile have just chucked a new contract at Vernon Davis and are preparing for a season that could see them finally return to the playoffs. Certainly with the division the way it is now, this might be their best shot. Their defense was up there among the best last year for generating sacks and offensively Alex Smith will be settling in to another season with Jimmy Raye as his offensive coordinator. Smith has shown he can he can make the full range of passes now and tight end Vernon Davis lead the league last year in regular season TD catches. Given the balance of the two sides, I'm going to have to side with very own 49ers. Cowboys @ Redskins -- Adam Schein of FOXSports has tipped the Redskins to go 10-6 this season. I would be surprised if they even manage the reverse of that at 6-10. Seriously? The Redskins? This is a team that thought it was on top of the world in the off season. They landed one of the biggest coaching 'names' out there in Mike Shanahan, then scooped up Donovan McNabb to QB the team. Since then they've completely mishandled the situation with their premier defensive tackle (if you don't agree talent wise, then at least in salary). And the saga continues even to this day with almost daily talk regarding whether Haynesworth will work with the number twos or whether he'll be starting etc. The mood coming from Redskins camp seems to be very much unbalanced. Some of the players have spoken out against Haynesworth, some just seem to want it all resolved and to get the best players out there on the field. It's the perfect time for Dallas to strike their first blow in the NFC East. And let's not forget, Dallas still has one of the best collections of talented football players in the league. They have a pro bowl QB, a pro bowl TE, a pro bowl WR, a pro bowl tackle and linebackers, some pro bowl secondary players. It's just nuts how good of a team the Cowboys actually are. On paper. The trouble is bringing it all together. Which I see them doing tonight in Washington. Cowboys win. Ravens @ Jets -- The Jets have been the subject of more media attention than I can ever remember being directed at one team. And on such a grand stage it's only fitting that the main actors fall flat on their face for our amusement. The Jets have lost pass rush specialist Calvin Pace. Their offense is still a mess, after dumping one of the best backs in football right now. Sanchez is still young and looks a little shaky at times. Braylon Edwards still hasn't learnt to take his hands away from his face mask on deep balls. Santonio Holmes starts on a suspension. The Ravens on the other hand are missing Ed Reed but have more than able back ups for him. Their special teams unit is well fitted and the rest of their defense is strong. They've added two great receivers in the off season and still have a butt kicking run game. I just can't look past the Ravens for this one. Chargers @ Chiefs -- It's been a week of suspicious picks, one that I will potentially look back on with much regret. It is only right then, that I end on another suspicious call. I'm taking the Chiefs. Honestly, I think throughout pre-season we didn't see the best the Chiefs had to offer. Thomas Jones barely played a few downs. By comparison I think the Chargers have gone all out to make their pre-season a good one and dispel rumours that without Marcus McNeil at LT and Vincent Jackson at WR they will fail. And they failed. Scary as it might sound, I'm looking at the Chiefs secondary and although I'm not falling over with sheer admiration for them, I do see potential and I see Eric Berry having a good game. I'm confident in the rushing attack of Jones and Jamaal Charles and I think Chris Chambers and Dwayne Bowe are not receiving the credit they deserve. The question is whether Romeo Crennel can knock this defense into shape, especially the shape needed to take on the Chargers high flying offense. I'm going to take a leap of faith with Kansas and say yes, yes they can. Chiefs win. I'll be back later, at some point to recap the games. I should point out here that I've just grabbed a new job with new hours, so I'm not sure how all this is going to fit together yet and it might take a week or two to settle into a comfortable routine. I'll do my best to keep things flowing smoothly. Have a great day everyone.

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