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Monday, July 16 2018

NFL Predictions 2006 Week 1: Norcalfella's return!

SportI know I haven't been the blog producing machine I once was here on small.to. However, you didn't think I would abandon the people seeking my opinion on NFL picks did you?

Miami @ Pittsburgh: pick PIT -1/under 34

This is an intriguing game for who will and will not start at quarterback for each team. When the scheduled season opener was announced, many thought a former Detroit Lion signal caller would be taking snaps. However, that player was Joey Harrington who expected to be playing in place of Daunte Culpepper because of his devastating knee injury. Now the trade acquisition from the Minnesota Vikings is ready to go, but emergency surgery to Ben Roethlisberger has forced Charlie Batch into action for the defending champs.

Too much is being made out of the quarterback situations for both teams. Early in the season defenses are way ahead of offenses anyway. This is why exhibition football is about as exciting as ice dancing even to the most diehard fans. Pittsburgh has a superior defense and is playing at home. The so-called momentum of Miami winning their final six meaningless games to close 2005 is about as useless in this game as Elizabeth Hasselbeck's opinion on The View.

The winner is decided on the ground. Willie Parker is ready to go. He is the lead rusher now and after what I feel was a Super Bowl winning touchdown run has the confidence to carry the load. Ronnie Brown might turn out to be a fine workhorse, but on this night he is not ready to put this Dolphin team on his back. When last seen in Minnesota Daunte Culpepper was throwing interceptions, not touchdowns. What makes anyone think he will turn that around overnight?

Pittsburgh 20, Miami 13

Denver @ St. Louis: pick DEN -3.5/over 45.5

 

The Broncos fell on their face to open the 2005 season, blown out in the Miami heat. Fortunately for them they debut a new offensive look in the comfortable confines of a dome this season. Against a porous defense no less. The Rams have a new attitude this season, but it will take time for them to round into form. At this point take the team with the more established defense and running game.

 

Denver 30, St. Louis 22

 

NY Jets @ Tennessee: pick TEN -2.5/over 35.5

 

Kerry Collins was unemployed most of the summer and now the Titans want him to start the season opener? This is the kind of conflict that makes me nervous to pick a bad team over a bad team simply based on home field advantage. However, their ground game behind Chris Brown is probably going to be the difference against a shoddy defensive line for the Jets.

 

Tennessee 27, NY Jets 17

 

Atlanta @ Carolina: pick CAR -5/under 39

 

The Panthers owned the Falcons last year, and probably improved more. Steve Smith is questionable, putting a lot of pressure on the running game to take over. It could turn into a defensive struggle and favor the more clutch quarterback, which is clearly Jake Delhomme. I donít like Atlantaís chances on the road much this season.

 

Carolina 20, Atlanta 10

 

Cincinnati @ Kansas City: pick KC -0/over 47.5

 

The Bengals arenít hitting on all cylinders offensively with Houshmandzadeh and Perry hurt while Palmer tries to prove he is ready for full speed game action. This is bad news against a team that always brings the heat offensively. Larry Johnson suffered a trio of hits to his blocking staff, but Arrowhead Stadium is always a huge advantage in the opening week. It is too tough to pick against the Chiefs under these circumstances, even if they arenít the better team.

 

Kansas City 34, Cincinnati 27

 

Seattle @ Detroit: pick SEA -4/under 45

 

The Seahawks are on a mission to break any number of curses this season. Chunky Soup, Madden, NFC Champion, bald quarterbacks, whatever it is they are up against it. The Lions have a new head coach and offensive coordinator, but nowhere close to the defense or running game that Seattle brings into their stadium.

 

Seattle 26, Detroit 17

 

Philadelphia @ Houston: pick PHI -3.5/over 37

 

Donovan McNabb looks relieved to not have Terrell Owens giving him headaches. David Carr wishes he had a playmaker whether or not they disrupt team unity. I question Houstonís ability to score whatsoever in this game with a suspect running game. This could turn into one of those statement games that has everyone remember how good the Eagles can be.

 

Philadelphia 28, Houston 13

 

Baltimore @ Tampa Bay: pick BAL +3/under 34

 

This would have been a great game if it matched up their recent Super Bowl winning squads. As it stands, both still have good defenses and improving offenses. Steve McNair debuts at quarterback for the Ravens while Chris Simms officially has the Bucs at his command from the start. Something tells me to smell upset, and in a close game I have to take the veteran quarterback to pull it out.

 

Baltimore 16, Tampa Bay 13 (OT)

 

New Orleans @ Cleveland: pick NO +3/over 36

 

Everyone is rooting for the Saints in a way because of Katrina. The Browns have a lot of uncertainty on offense while their opponent comes in with Drew Brees and explosive rookie Reggie Bush ready to make a big splash. Cleveland has veterans McGinest and Washington trying to help Romeo Crennel solidify the defense, but itís not happening yet.

 

New Orleans 20, Cleveland 17

 

Buffalo @ New England: pick NE -10/under 41

 

Even if the Patriots continue to lose personnel, they still have Tom Brady. Their defense also retains plenty of talent to ruin J.P. Losman and company. Unless Willis McGahee plays completely out of his mind, the Bills wonít score much. In the meantime, the Pats will cruise.

 

New England 22, Buffalo 7

 

Chicago @ Green Bay: pick CHI -3/under 35

 

The Bears took care of their quarterback depth problem by signing Brian Griese, but more importantly their defense is flat out nasty. Favre seems content to toss the ball wherever he thinks it might be caught, and this group is more than likely to make him pay. Green Bayís defense is nowhere close to capable of keeping them in this game.

 

Chicago 19, Green Bay 14

 

San Francisco @ Arizona: pick AZ -7.5/over 42.5

 

Expectations are actually high for the Cardinals this season, and opening up a stadium only makes this game more important for them. Kurt Warner isnít hurt yet so I anticipate a great offensive effort against a bad 49er defense. On the other side, Alex Smith probably wishes he could buy some success with his millions.

 

Arizona 34, San Francisco 13

 

Dallas @ Jacksonville: pick DAL +2.5/under 36.5

 

Defense is bound to rule the day when these teams hook up. Terrell Owens should be able to break a big touchdown and I expect that to be the difference. Dallas has a deeper set of running backs capable of grinding the ball down the field. It is going to be a battle, but I like the Cowboys to steal it late.

 

Dallas 14, Jacksonville 13

Indianapolis @ NY Giants: pick IND -3/under 48

 

The Manning brothers hook up with the nation watching. Forget about that though because the real question is which defense can keep the opposing offense down consistently. Even without James the Colts have more weapons, and needless to say superior experience. Little brother never wins.

 

Indianapolis 26, NY Giants 20

 

Minnesota @ Washington: pick WAS -4.5/under 36

 

This year the Vikings are preaching team play. The Redskins are shooting for all the marbles. Brad Johnson had his best season as a pro after he left Minnesota for Washington as a free agent following the 1998 season. Now he is back with the Vikings and firmly entrenched as the starter. Within a week he will turn 38, and his opposite number Mark Brunell will be 36. As much as I believe the Vikings will come together nicely this season, it isnít going to happen against this defense on the road in week 1.

 

Washington 23, Minnesota 10

 

San Diego @ Oakland: pick OAK +3/over 43

 

This game has been bothering me since the schedule came out. The Rivers era opens in the Black Hole, but without Brees can the Chargers still work over the Raiders? Aaron Brooks might have had a shaky exhibition season, but the receiving corps is strong enough to bench Porter and trade Gabriel. Generally I look for defense to rule the opening week. Something tells me a shootout is imminent. If that is the case, any team with Randy Moss has to be the winner.

 

Oakland 27, San Diego 24

 

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