NFL Office Pool Picks - Week 1
by Trevor Whenham - 9/8/2009
Another NFL season means that there are office pools just begging to be won. Winning your office pool gets you almost endless bragging rights, and it's a recession so you could probably use the cash prize as well. To help you in your pursuit I'll do what I did last year and offer up my suggestions for every game this year (for what that's worth). These picks are all straight up, not against the spread, so they obviously don't convert into any kind of betting advice.
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Tennessee at Pittsburgh - The Titans were a big success, and a bit of a surprise, last year. I find it hard to believe that they will be able to sustain it this year. Pittsburgh is the defending Super Bowl champ, and they will be eager to start the season with a strong start in front of their adoring fans. Take the Steelers.
Miami at Atlanta - I think that the Dolphins will take a step forward offensively this year, and I am a bit nervous about what Matt Ryan will look like in his second year. That being said, the Falcons match up fairly well here, and I can't find a reason to go against the home team. Take the Falcons.
Kansas City at Baltimore - Baltimore is a team I really like. Kansas City is a team I really like to laugh at. This one should be a mismatch, and a rough way for Todd Haley to enter the world of NFL head coaching. This one will be ugly. Take the Ravens.
Philadelphia at Carolina - I am not at all confident in the Philly defense as of yet, but I'm also not confident in Carolina's ability to exploit that. The Eagles come into the season with high hopes, so this will be a chance to prove that they deserve the hype. Take the Eagles.
Denver at Cincinnati - I hate the Bengals, and I think that Marvin Lewis is the worst head coach in all of football. That being said, they have all sorts of offensive talent, and it is all finally healthy at the same time. Denver is bound for some growing pains under a new coach with a new quarterback. Cincinnati should be able to take advantage of their home field. Take the Bengals.
Minnesota at Cleveland - I am skeptical about the great Brett Favre experiment, but the Vikings have such an advantage on both sides of the ball in this case that I don't think it matters. New Cleveland coach Eric Mangini has delayed naming a starting quarterback for far longer than makes sense, and that's not a good omen for a team that needs all the omens it can get. Take the Vikings.
New York Jets at Houston - Mark Sanchez has had a decent spring, but he's still a rookie quarterback who left school as a junior making his first start. It's almost guaranteed that he is going to struggle at some time, and this seems like a good time with Mario Williams looking to eat him for lunch. Take the Texans.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis - Last year this was a matchup I couldn't wait for. Jacksonville was incredibly disappointing, though, so the anticipation fizzled. I don't have much higher hopes for this year. The Colts are experiencing some changes, but they are still the better team. Take the Colts.
Detroit at New Orleans - I can't remember the last time the Lions won a regular season game. Detroit's defense is still a long way from excellent, and the Saints can travel up and down the field almost at will. This one is a mismatch, and the losing streak will sadly continue. Take the Saints.
Dallas at Tampa Bay - The circus is in town in Tampa. They fired their offensive coordinator at the end of the preseason because he apparently couldn't run a practice, install an offense, or call plays. Other than that he was pretty good, though. They had talent issues even without this mess, but this takes it to a whole new level. Take the Cowboys.
San Francisco at Arizona - This is the hardest game for me to call this week. I like both teams, and I am reasonably optimistic about both. I lean towards Arizona because they are at home and their fans will be giddy about welcoming them home after the playoff run last year. Take the Cardinals.
Washington at N.Y. Giants - I have questions about the Giants on offense, but not nearly as many as I have about the Redskins pretty much everywhere on the field. Washington had some big offseason signings, but their preseason was less than confidence inspiring. The home team will rule here. Take the Giants.
St. Louis at Seattle - The Rams were lousy last year, and it's hard to see how they are going to take a dramatic step forward here. Seattle was uninspiring last year, but better health and a new coach should help them take a step back towards where they are used to being. Take the Seahwaks.
Chicago at Green Bay - The Bears are going to be better offensively this year than they have been in a long while. That's what happens when you finally get a real quarterback. I'm not convinced that that will be enough, though. Green Bay has loads of talent on both sides of the ball, and they were easily the best team in the league in the preseason. Take the Packers.
Buffalo at New England - The Bills have been incredibly incompetent on offense in the preseason, and they fired their offensive coordinator just last week. In other words, chaos. New England never experiences chaos, and they are far more talented. Take the Patriots.
San Diego at Oakland - The Chargers are quite possibly the best team in the AFC, and maybe the best team in the league. The Raiders are a pathetic punchline - their coaches get in fist fights, their young quarterback apparently can't play football, and no team makes worse personnel decisions. Total, ugly mismatch. Take the Chargers.