Opinion Corner: Picking the NFL weekendPicking NFL games is like trying to figure out how important strength of schedule is for each team. You’d like to assume that everything is neat and tidy on paper, and that there won’t be much of a problem with evaluations. Improvement from team to team has so many variables, it’s hard to get a concise reading on it.
By: Chris Aarhus, Sun Sports Writer, The Jamestown Sun
Picking NFL games is like trying to figure out how important strength of schedule is for each team.
You’d like to assume that everything is neat and tidy on paper, and that there won’t be much of a problem with evaluations. Improvement from team to team has so many variables, it’s hard to get a concise reading on it.
It’d be nice if it were easier, but the game isn’t played on or with paper (for all of us paper football fans in which our buddy’s hands simulated goal posts and we knocked a little triangle paper football through).
And it certainly isn’t played on the computer, though I used to play a game called Mac Football on the old Macintosh computers in school and if we could decide it that way, I may have a better shot. In that game, all you had to do was go to a menu and scroll down and click which play you wanted to run. They were real simple too: Short run, middle run and long run, or short pass, middle pass or long pass.
Maybe the Vikings’ play-callers could revert to this system when their terrible ideas backfire.
Alas, I’m still going to attempt to pick each game and keep track of where I sit by season’s end. With any luck, I’ll not be too far behind the 8-ball by the time the last few weeks come around.
Atlanta at Kansas City: This actually could be a pretty good game, but I’ll go with Atlanta’s offensive firepower winning at Arrowhead Stadium. Falcons 24, Chiefs 13
Philadelphia at Cleveland: Quarterback Michael Vick may not have to throw the ball in this game. He’s got plenty of weapons, but he and LeSean McCoy could have a field day on the ground. Eagles 31, Browns 10
Washington at New Orleans: Rookie signal-caller Robert Griffin III takes the field for the Redskins, but expect All-Pro Drew Brees to try and prove that the Saints are still a force, despite the bounty scandal. Saints 34, Redskins 21
St. Louis at Detroit: The still-terrible Rams won’t find much luck against the Lions, who will likely run the score up to a “Look how good we are, NFL” level. Lions 38, Rams 21
New England at Tennessee: Tennessee is a constant wild card. They’re a tough team to predict because they could win or lose to anybody. New England? They’re a safe bet to win most times out. Patriots 27, Titans 17
Miami at Houston: The Texans are primed for a good season and a playoff run. Miami is starting a rookie QB on opening day for the first time ever. Texans 24, Dolphins 10
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets: The Bills’ high-powered offense vs. the Jets’ defense will be the main matchup. Defense usually wins this battle, and the kicker here is that it’s in New York. Jets 17, Bills 13
Indianapolis at Chicago: I’m sure the annual hype has started about how awesome the Bears’ defense is going to be. Yawn! Fifty percent of the time, the hype is right. The other half is in the toilet. Still, Cutler and Brandon Marshall shouldn’t have much issue at home against a rookie QB. Bears 27, Colts 17
Carolina at Tampa Bay: After having one of the best seasons of all time for any quarterback in his rookie year, Carolina QB Cam Newton faces a road challenge. Only, the Bucs’ defense isn’t what it used to be. Panthers 17, Bucs 6
Seattle at Arizona: Ugh. Do they intend on televising this game? The real winners here are the ones who won’t be able to catch the game because of work. Seahawks 21, Cardinals 17
Jacksonville at Minnesota: See above. Only with more star power. If Adrian Peterson plays, that is. Vikings 24, Jaguars 17
San Francisco at Green Bay: The best game of the opening week. Never has a team (Green Bay) with such a terrible defense (worst in the league in yards allowed) and no running game (sixth worst in the league) been picked so high in preseason magazines. That’s because of one man — QB Aaron Rodgers. Packers 34, 49ers 28
Pittsburgh at Denver: Peyton Manning’s return won’t be amazing, but his headstrong ability will lead the Broncos against a defense that gave up just 14.2 points per game last year, best in the league. Broncos 17, Steelers 14
Cincinnati at Baltimore: The first Monday night game should be better than the second. Don’t sleep on the Bengals this season, but I’ll take the Ravens at home. Ravens 28, Bengals 23
San Diego at Oakland: The opening week is capped by Chargers-Raiders. Oakland will run, San Diego will pass, and the Raiders will win because the Chargers are terrible at the beginning of every year. Raiders 17, Chargers 14
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org