We're back and better than ever!
Are you ready for some football? SCO definitely is. With Pratik gone to who-knows-which-super-smart-college, we bring back two experts in Abe Schwadron and myself, Josh Zipin to analyze all the games on Sundays. I take pride in introducing to you our newest recruit, Pia Nargundkar"don't hate, she knows her stuff. We also bring back one lesser talent in the form of Phillip Allen (sorry, Phil). This season we will do our best to predict the Redskins all the way to the Super Bowl, and along the way hopefully win some bragging rights. I sit on the throne as last season's pick 'em champion, and I'll be there until one of these so-called "experts" knocks me off. Here are our passionate picks for the first week of NFL games.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Josh says: If Michael Vick ever learned how to throw the ball, the Falcons would be a different team. Unfortunately, that looks doubtful, and thus my pick.
Abe says: If Steve Smith misses the Panthers' opener due to a nagging hamstring injury, Carolina is in big trouble. Smith's gamebreaking ability gives the Cats a chance to win in tight games. Atlanta is a tricky team"they have the potential to make the playoffs this year, but Michael Vick has to be more consistent than he was last year. The Panthers' sick defense makes this pick easy, though. Look for Julius Peppers to disrupt things for Vick and the Falcons.
Pia says: With #1 wide receiver Steve Smith, QB Jake Delhomme and an outstanding defense, Carolina is looking sharp this year. Atlanta, and QB Michael Vick, is rebounding from a disappointing last season. RB Warrick Dunn and TE Alge Crumpler should give the Falcons a chance against lesser teams, but Carolina is too strong.
Phil says: The Falcons and Panthers face off in an opening week battle that may be the prelude of the bout for the division title. Julius Peppers and the Carolina front seven have proved time and again that they can and will contain Michel Vick. The Falcons only hope is Vick can settle in the pocket avoiding the temptation to run and start be coming a legitimate passing threat.
Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay||Baltimore||Baltimore|
Josh says: I'm riding low in my Cadillac in week one.
Abe says: Although this game has the potential to be one of the best of the week, it likely will be the ugliest. The Ravens and Bucs hold to a similar style of play, sticking to the run game and playing tough defense. But Tampa Bay is the pick because I have absolutely no faith in Jamal Lewis' durability. Can J-Lew last a series against the Bucs?
Pia says: A battle of two great defenses. The Ravens have MLB Ray Lewis, CB Chris McAllister, and FS Ed Reed. The Bucs have CB Ronde Barber and LBs Shelton Quarles and Derrick Brooks. Both teams also have decent offenses, QB Steve "Air" McNair and RB Jamal Lewis for the Ravens and QB Chris Simms and RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams for the Buccaneers. This should be the game of the week.
Phil says: The Ravens defense is aging but still have near the level of talents that led them to a Super bowl. The real excitement in Baltimore is the possibility that with the addition of Steve McNair the offense might even actually score some point. I'm banking on that week one.
Buffalo at New England
|New England||New England||New England||New England|
Josh says: Buffalo should be in the minor leagues of the NFL. The league could consist of Buffalo, the Jets, the Titans, Houston and Detroit. A few of these teams could actually have winning records if this was a real league.
Abe says: The Bills' starting quarterback is a guy named J.P. The Patriots have the best (yes, I said the best) quarterback in the NFL in Tom Brady. Game Over.
Pia says: New England fans must have been pretty disappointed that their "dynasty" team didn't make the AFC Championships last year. While the Patriots are working to fix that this year, the Bills are looking to make over .500 with second-year QB J.P. Losman.
Phil says: Buffalo seems to have given up before the season even started. Let's see how that strategy works out for them.
Cincinnati at Kansas City
Josh says: Carson Palmer is going to play, and that tips the scales in the Bengals' favor. Chad Johnson is the most creative player in the league, and I can't wait for him to get into the endzone.
Abe says: I don't buy in to the Larry Johnson hype. Tony Richardson, the game's most underrated fullback and lead blocker, left the Chiefs in the offseason, and big O-lineman Wilie Roaf retired. I like Cincy and their high-powered offense. I got a brainbuster for ya, How do you stop #85? You can't stop #85, baby.
Pia says: Carson Palmer looks back in business and ready to throw touchdowns to his favorite receiver Chad Johnson. Kansas City has plenty of talent, but will make a slow start as they adjust to new coach Herm Edward's style of coaching. While they have QB Trent Green, RB Larry Johnson, and TE Tony Gonzalez, Edwards likes to focus more on the defense. That transition might cost KC a few early games.
Phil says: I have no doubt that if it wasn't for Carson Palmer's fateful injury Cincinnati would have claimed the Lombardi Trophy. Look for a repeat of their regular season success again.
Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams
Josh says: Whoever the featured back in Denver is this year, they will rush for a thousand yards like usual. It starts week one against and inferior run defense.
Abe says: The Broncos are led by running back tandem the Bell boys, Tatum and Mike. St. Louis doesn't have an answer for Mike Shanahan's run-blocking scheme. Javon Walker goes for 100 yards and 2 TDs, minimum.
Pia says: The Rams have gone on a long journey downhill since their Super Bowl runs of '99 and '01. Their defense is inexperienced and full of holes. Denver is coming off a great season and a playoff berth, and entering this year with a strong defense and an improved receiving corps. Yet even so, Bronco's QB Jake Plummer has to prove to coach Mike Shanahan that he can still play, and the Rams have WR Torry Holt and QB Marc Bulger. This game could be close enough to make interesting.
Phil says: I'll take this moment to make my year's boldest prediction. Write it down boys and girls the Broncos will be the last standing come February. The Broncs will mop the floor with the worst show on turf week one.
New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns
|Cleveland||Cleveland||New Orleans||New Orleans|
Josh says: I wish I could pick New Orleans because Reggie Bush is The Truth, but Drew Brees has to prove that his arm isn't as soft as Deuce McAllister.
Abe says: Reggie Bush looked good in the presesason, but his lateral running won't get him very far against an NFL defense pulling out all the stops. Expect Deuce McAllister to handle he bulk of the carries for the Saints. Browns running back Reuben Droughns has been disrespected for too long. He takes his anger out on the Saints, who couldn't stop a team whose roster consisted of Josh, Phil, Pia and myself.
Pia says: A year after Hurricane Katrina hit, the Saints are back in their home stadium, rearing to go. They start the show on the road, but that isn't going to hamper their spirits. They have quarterback Drew Brees, who was released by San Diego in the offseason, as well as Heisman trophy winner Reggie Bush. The Browns, on the other hand, are full of holes, injuries, and conflicts with management.
Phil says: With Katrina's still lurking in the back of the Saint's fans memories, Reggie Bush and the gang delver a victory to start the season off right.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans
|New York||New York||Tennessee||Tennessee|
Josh says: I'll start picking the Titans when they stop sucking, which means I'll start picking them in about three years when Vince Young is the best quarterback in the league.
Abe says: In the snoozefest of the week, the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets pull out a win that makes New York fans remember the days when their team made the playoffs. Unfortunately, this may be the only win the Jets get this year.
Pia says: Wow. What a boring game. Chad Pennington and the Jets versus Kerry Collins/Billy Volek/Vince Young and the Titans. Both teams have/had quarterback controversies surrounding no-name or unproven players, both teams have holes in the running back area, and both teams will be happy to get over .500 this season"Tennessee because they're at home. Ho hum. I think I'll do my math homework during this game.
Phil says: Here comes a prelude to the NFL's ultimate consolation prize. One of these teams will with a little luck and a few injuries receive the right for the first overall pick in this years coming draft.
Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans
Josh says: How stupid does Houston feel with Domanick Davis on injured reserve and a Bush-less backfield. If Mario Williams really is better than Reggie Bush, he better carry for over 100 yards this weekend.
Abe says: In my upset special of the week, I like Houston to knock off the Eagles. Why? Call it a gut feeling. I envision David Carr having one of the best games of his career this weekend, reassuring the Texans in their decision to retain the young QB. However, this week will also begin the Texans' long years of lamenting their #1 overall pick of Mario Williams in favor of Reggie Bush. But for this week Houston can bask in a rare win.
Pia says: T.O. is out of town and Donovan McNabb is healthy and ready to go. The Texans are still struggling with David Carr and beating themselves up about not getting Reggie Bush. Enough said.
Phil says: I hate the Eagles and think they will fall to the bottom of the NFC East, but Houston's terrible.
Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions
Josh says: Seattle brought back pretty much their whole team, and added to their already stout defense by adding Julian Peterson. Meanwhile, the Lions were in the headlines for having their offensive line coach arrested for driving nude, twice. The Seahawks are the real deal.
Abe says: Madden07 coverboy Shaun Alexander will absolutely shred the Lions defense. Detroit's D will be shredded more than Enron's financial records. Did I mention the Lions will get shredded? Like cheese.
Pia says: The revamped Detroit Lions face the NFC champions on their home turf. Unfortunately, a new coach, new discipline, and a handful of new players aren't going to be enough to tackle Shaun Alexander and the rest of the Seahawks.
Phil says: The runner-ups last year will avoid the "follower's flop" and Shaun Alexander finds the end zone four times in an opener rout.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Josh says: Brett Favre mistakenly called this years Packers squad his most talented in his tenure, but he'll have to wait a week before the offense gets on track against the best defense in the league.
Abe says: I've been hiding it inside so long, I just have to come out and say it: I love Thomas Jones. The guy has been shoved aside and buried on the depth chart in favor of players like Cedric Benson his whole career, but whenever he is given the chance to start, he performs like one of the top 10 backs in the NFL. The Packers have no chance of stopping him. Or winning this game, despite being at home.
Pia says: Chicago improved their defense over the offseason, with most critics placing them as number one in the league. Green Bay, however, got older with Favre, and more inexperienced with the rest of their offense. Green Bay's traditional advantage, the freezing cold temperatures at Lambeau Field, doesn't really figure in here with the "Windy City" team in the start of September.
Phil says: No sense disagreeing with the others on this one.
Dallas Cowboys at Jacksonville Jaguars
Josh says: This might not happen, I just really hate the Cowboys and T.O.
Abe says: As you may know by now, I am picking the Jags to win the Super Bowl. Outlandish, maybe, but I'm convinced that Byron Leftwich can lead this team to the promised land. Matt Jones and Ernest Wilford are big targets. Oh, and I can't wait for T.O. to get lit up over the middle by Donovan Darius. That will be special.
Pia says: Everything else that these two teams have done over the offseason will be overshadowed by T.O. Will he play? Was he worth it? What's the next stunt up his sleeve? Too much hype is never a good thing, and that'll hamper his and his team's performance. Jacksonville wants a repeat of its 12-4 season, but with a questionably healthy quarterback, the going looks tough. This should be another close, exciting game.
Phil says: Who? Matt Jones!
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Josh says: I think I'm going to pick against the 49ers all season. Plus, Arizona has one of the most balanced offenses in the whole league. With a rushing attack this year, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin could punish some defenses.
Abe says: Edgerrin James is 'bouta blow up. Or at least I hope so, because he's on one of my several fantasy teams. If San Francisco wins this game, I will consider picking them a few times for the rest of the season. Otherwise, the Niners are a no-no for me all year.
Pia says: Last year's first round first pick, quarterback Alex Smith, meets this year's first round and #10 overall pick, quarterback Matt Leinart (if he plays in the season opener). The Cardinals certainly hope he's not as underwhelming as Smith was in his first season, as they look to put last year's 5-11 season well behind them. With the 49ers dismal lack of a defensive line, The Edge might just give the Cardinals the edge.
Phil says: The Cards are going to be a fun team to watch their year with one of the most dynamic offense in the league. That being said they'll have to score 30 points to stand a chance, exactly what they will do week one.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants
|New York||New York||Indianapolis||Indianapolis|
Josh says: Even though the Colts are my preseason Super Bowl pick, the Giants' best player is named Tiki so I had to go with New York. "Freaky" Tiki Barber runs all over the Colts in week one.
Abe says: This game has been built as the clash of the Manning brothers, but the key to the game will be each side's rushing attack. Indy has suffered too much in the running game with the loss of The Edge, while Freaky Tiki Barber is an elite back. The verdict? New York.
Pia says: The NFL schedulers know how to pick the interesting match-ups. For the first time, brothers Eli and Peyton will be playing each other. And it will get down and dirty. But unfortunately for the younger Eli, he hasn't had as much experience or as much consistency as big bro Peyton, nor does he have Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, or Adam Vinatieri on his side.
Phil says: Still the league's best team; I still can't figure out why they crumbled last year.
Monday, Sept. 11, 2006
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins
Josh says: Just as I said I was picking whoever is playing the 49ers this year, I'm also going to pick the Redskins every week of the season. Clinton Portis better play (I'm praying to god as we speak), and the Redskins should get their first win of the season.
Abe says: How could I pick against the 'Skins? Even without Clinton Portis, Washington has too stifling a defense to be beaten by Brad Johnson and the Vikings. Keep an eye on the Redskins receivers on Monday night, along with Mark Brunell they will be the key to this team's success in '06.
Pia says: I know, I know. The 'Skins are the home team! And the preseason means nothing. And Joe Gibbs has led them to three Super Bowl titles. And my dog ate my homework. I've heard all the excuses. But how many more are there going to be from ol' Danny Snyder. Since he took over the team in 1999, they've gone through four head coaches (remember Norv Turner, Terry Robiskie, Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Spurrier?) and quite a few big-buck players (Deion Sanders, Jeremiah Trotter), all the while producing hardly anything.
Phil says: Hail to the redskins, hail victory, braves on the warpath who fight for all DC!
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
|Oakland||Oakland||San Diego||San Diego|
Josh says: There's no way I was going to pick Phillip Rivers to win his first career start in the NFL.
Abe says: In his first career start, Philip Rivers goes to one of the NFL's toughest stadiums to play at in Oakland. RaiderNation is ready for Rivers and the Chargers, as Oakland will roll.
Pia says: What's with all the hating on Phillip Rivers? Of course he looked a little shaky in preseason, he's been sitting on the bench for two years. But that's what the preseason is for"to work out the kinks. San Diego also has star running back LaDainian Tomlinson to save them if their passing game goes a little awry. The Raiders on the other hand have the same struggling offense as last year, and lost some proven players on defense.
Phil says: Phillip Rivers, good name, great QB. He and LT will put on a show, dominating the Raiders' dismal D.
Pia Nargundkar. Pia Nargundkar was Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2007-2008 school year. More »
Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »
Josh Zipin. Josh Zipin has trouble paying attention for more than three seconds at a time... More »