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Week 1 NFL Picks

The Vikings added Kirk Cousins with their sights on the Super Bowl.  (Photo by Kyle Emery/Icon Sportswire)

I had high hopes of going through each matchup thoroughly and posting this on Thursday. Instead, my computer died and it took forever to get Microsoft Office installed on my new laptop (dumb product key). So my apologies for starting the season off by blowing through the picks. My goal is to be better this season. Last year was a disaster.

Last Week:     0 – 0 – 0
Last Season:  166 – 90 – 0

Thursday Recap

Falcons 12 Eagles 18
More on this one next week. Before we move on, there was plenty of talk about Matt Ryan’s worth after this one, and rightfully so. What about Julio Jones though? He dropped a 50 yard pass that was right in his hands. He either ran the wrong route or gave up on a pass that resulted in a red zone interception. Finally, he looked like it was Week 15, not Week 1. Is he just always banged up at this point of his career or was it a Week 1 conditioning issue that appeared to be an issue for several Falcons? Let’s not forget Jones let the game winning touchdown fly right through his hands in last year’s Divisional Round against the Eagles. He’s unquestionably great, but let’s not absolve him from this loss.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Steelers at Browns
Hard Knocks hype is real. Sure, the Browns have talent but Hue Jackson does not strike me as a great leader, and I was a big fan of his hire a few years ago. Regardless, I expect the Browns to be competitive this season. Bless ‘em. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +4

Bengals at Colts
Andrew Luck is finally back. Assuming he resembles Andrew Luck from two years ago, that’s great news for the NFL and obviously the Colts, too. There’s a lot of buzz for the Bengals to sneak into the AFC playoffs. Consider me intrigued. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals +2

Titans at Dolphins
I’m not entirely sure why everyone abandoned the Dolphins for 2018. A year ago they were coming off a playoff berth with hopes of competing with New England for the division. Ryan Tannehill was supposed to take a leap before he blew out his knee. Now, with Tannehill back, they’re supposed to finish in the bottom five of the entire league just because they lost Ndamukong Suh and an overrated possession receiver? I’m not buying. DOLPHINS If I were Charles Barkley; Dolphins +1

49ers at Vikings
Despite accomplishing very little as a Redskin, I always had an irrational belief in Kirk Cousins. I really liked Minnesota bringing him aboard. I’d be lying if I said I hope it goes swimmingly. Dalvin Cook will prove to be the bigger addition anyway. VIKINGS If I were Charles Barkley; Vikings -7

Texans at Patriots
Tom Brady is still playing football. Incredible. Also, just once can we have an NFL season not completely decimated by injuries? The Texans could have been so fun last season if not for devastating injuries to several players, including three of their stars. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans +6.5

Buccaneers at Saints
The Buccaneers were last season’s Hard Knocks darlings. They were supposed to surge into the postseason. Instead, Tampa Bay went 5-11 and nothing went right. Even Mike Evans was bad. Expect more of that this season, albeit not from Mike. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -10

Jaguars at Giants
Despite a great defense, the Jaguars are my “crashing back to earth” team of 2018. A year ago they avoided Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson. That’s four games against high-level offense they didn’t have last season. Remember what Ben Roethlisberger did to them in the playoffs? Or Brady’s final drives in the AFC title game? GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants +3

Bills at Ravens
Joe Flacco! Nate Peterman! Who’s in?!?! Buffalo is making the NFL’s first run at a Trust the Proccess-ish rebuilding. It’s not off to a great start. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens -8

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Chiefs at Chargers
Best game of the afternoon. I hope Patrick Mahomes doesn’t fall on his face this season because I am pumped about this offense. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs +3

Seahawks at Broncos
I was willing to write off Seattle as playoff contenders until I read all the articles about the discord in the locker room over recent seasons. With the discord mostly removed, and Russell Wilson supposedly having a capable offensive line, what’s stopping the Seahawks from shocking some folks? SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks +3

Redskins at Cardinals
I like the Redskins this season but not enough to believe they’ll beat out the NFC North or South for a Wildcard spot. Also, the Cardinals will be the 4th team in 5 years trying to win with Sam Bradford under center. Good luck. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins +1.5

Cowboys at Panthers
Man, I’ve picked five road dogs already and two more home dogs thrown on top of that. This is not going to end well. (My apologies in advance.) I love Carolina this year. That offense is quietly stocked with talent, and too many people have forgotten how good Cam Newton is at winning football games. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers -3

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Bears at Packers
If Mitchell Trubisky can play, the Bears could be onto something. By “play” I mean if he’s remotely good. A year ago he finished with over 200 passing yards just three times in 12 games. Furthermore, of those nine games under 200 yards, five didn’t surpass 150. I’m not ready to crown the Bears just because they had a nice offseason. Quarterbacks matter too much. Just ask the Packers. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -7

Monday Night (7:10PM ET and 10:15PM ET)

Jets at Lions
For my money, Matthew Stafford is the best NFL quarterback no one talks about. He just turned 30 and has thrown for 4,200+ yards each of the past seven seasons. A talented receiving corps. and an exciting rookie running back should give Stafford plenty of options. His offensive coordinator of the last three seasons also returns despite a head coaching change. Essentially, the excuses for Stafford are gone. It’s now or never if he wants to join the elite. LIONS If I were Charles Barkley; Lions -7

Rams at Raiders
It’s easy and lazy, but the Rams smell like that 2011 Eagles Dream Team that started the season 4-8 and missed the playoffs. Granted, the Rams won’t do that, but I think Los Angeles will struggle with blending all their acquisitions this summer. Luckily for them they’ll have plenty of time to gel because I’m quite certain the division won’t be running too far ahead. RAMS If I were Charles Barkley; Rams -4.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley;
Last Week:    0 – 0 – 0
Last Season: 123 – 121 – 12

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