NFL Kickoff night was really nice to be a part of as a spectator. It was really amazing to feel the vibe in the city. Usually at night, downtown Indy is a little on the quiet side. Bars do have patrons, the symphony might be playing, and with good weather, people might be walking the canal or downtown memorial areas. During a weeknight, this is not going to happen. Not on the level the NFL Kickoff brought the city to on Thursday.
Picks are coming, and honestly I have not thought too much about week 1, as I have been looking inward and outward about my concepts of God, philosophy, ethics, etc. I find similarities between the religion I was raised to believe (Catholicism) and Eastern religions I have learned about in recent years (since college). I also find huge differences. It's a innerspace quest. I have devoted time to it, and feel on the verge of making a rather large step in a new direction. I will always enjoy sports, especially the NFL, and no matter what I may be on the verge of understanding, I will always take time to watch my Cowboys.
Broncos -3 over BILLS
The Bills defense is a shabby reflection of what it has been in recent years. They just have lost too many guys. Facing the Broncos rushing attack, you need to have a front 7 that can fight the zone blocking scheme and hit RBs at the line. Buffalo lacks that. I always feel for the people of Buffalo, whether it is the evaporation of employers int he area or the heartbreak they experience in their sports fandom experience. Another year of heartache is ahead of them.
TEXANS -3 over Chiefs
I am low on the Chiefs this year. Too many quality players have left their offense in the last few years. The Texans are on the upswing offensively, not to mention a D-line that is getting bigger and better. Matt Schaub is a QB I believe in despit what my college roommate always says about him "drunk loser douche". Ian went to high school with Schaub. Not the best of buddies.
Steelers -4.5 over BROWNS
Steelers offense, meet crappy Browns defense. Steelers D, meet Charlie Frye. The Browns will be starting Brady Quinn by week 6.
Dolphins +3 over REDSKINS
In AFC-NFC matchups, I am going with AFC teams for the third straight year. There's too much of a talent imbalance between the conferences to do otherwise. The Dolphins should have drafted Brady Quinn with the 9 pick last year, but passed him. It will be a huge what if for South Florida fans over the next decade. I like the Dolphins, they just have no trustworthy QB for the umpteenth straight year since Marino retired.
Eagles -3 over PACKERS
The Packers defense is a huge question mark. They are still very very young, and their development will determine how they do this year. They could not stop passing attacks that were based on the short game, and McNabb does that well. This is not a good match-up for them.
Titans +6.5 over JAGUARS
I am only choosing this because the Jags are starting David Garrard. This has 17-13 written all over it. A way the Jags could break it open is if they rush Fred Taylor and Mojo Drew 20 times each. This is what the Jags offense will consist of this year if they do not use Byron Leftwich.
Falcons +3 over VIKINGS
The Vikings had a chance to grab David Carr, Byron Leftwich, Jeff Garcia, Chris Simms and maybe sacrificing 1st round picks and a 2nd, Matt Schaub. They instead chose to go with Tavaris Jackson. I watched Jackson during last year's Thursday night game vs. the Packers, and he was awful. No timing, not much accuracy, and shaky pocket presence. Minnesota is wasting their offensive line, a good RB tandem, and a decent crop of speedy receivers on this putz in thw weaker conference. The Vikes even took a flyer on Drew Henson who has conned Steinbrenner and Jerry Jones out of millions of dollars. David Carr was the safer bet.
RAMS -1 over Panthers
This is where the Rams NFC West title begins. They will take care of business at home and split road games (6-2 @ home, 4-4 on the road). That is a 10 win season, which is doable with their schedule.
CHARGERS -6 over Bears
The Bears will win their division by default, but not beat the most talented team in the NFL on the road. Not going to happen, and with the Chargers offense, it will not be close.
RAIDERS -2 over Lions
This is another AFC-NFC match up, and I am going with the AFC. Both teams are awful, but I will go with the better defense. The Lions should score points this year. It's stopping the other team that is there problem.
SEAHAWKS -6 over Buccaneers
Seattle at home is as close to a sure thing with gambling on the NFL. They have a tremendous home field advantage, and more teams should take lessons from their stadium design. Artifically pumping in noise through the PA system during the snap count helps, too.
COWBOYS -5.5 over Giants
The long season for the Giants starts this sunday with a big loss. Their defense is awful. They match up horribly versus the Cowboys offensive attack. The Cowboys offense has not been this stacked since Novacheck's last season with the Boys. The Boys have two reliable backs, TO-Glenn-Crayton to throw to, Witten over the middle, and the 2nd TE Fasano is a decent receiver.
Pats -6 over JETS
The Patriots are too improved on the offensive side of the ball to let a team like the Jets stay close with them. The Jets relied on trickery for their offense last year, and even with Thomas Jones, they still have a chick winged QB behind center.
BENGALS -2.5 over Ravens
The Bengals are not afraid of the Ravens. They have a system for playing them, which does work. Willis McGahee should have a big game vs. the Bengals run defense. Like the Ravens problems since the dawn of their franchise: what do they do when the game rests on their QBs shoulders?
49ERS -3 over Cardinals
Reverse the home-away teams, and I would pick the Cards. I'm not going to go with the Cards on the road. The Cards do look to be a year or so away with the coaching changes. Russ Grimm was a good addition to the staff for Coach Whisenhunt. It's only a matter of time before the line can open holes for RBs and give Leinart enough time to do his 3 reads.
Good luck out there, peace!