I was hoping for an epic start to the office pool season in the opener. Instead, I got something that was... pretty good. Thanks to being on the right side of more of the crazy, close finishes than I was on the wrong side, we wound up with 12 correct. I don't have a lot of regrets about the four I got wrong, either. The Panthers could easily have won if Cam Newton wasn't seeing in triple after getting his head beaten in. I can't explain the Colts' loss to the Lions, but I don't think it is because Detroit is a good team. I don't regret picking against the Patriots on the road with all those absences, but you can't help but respect them even more now - or hate them more depending upon your perspective. And the Niners - well the only way to win on that game was to skip watching it. So, a decent start, and now it's time to do even better:
New York Jets at Buffalo: I don't much like New York, but they played the Bengals tougher than expected. Buffalo meanwhile just managed 176 yards of offense - total. It was an absolute debacle. The Rex Ryan deathwatch is intensified. Take the Jets.
San Francisco at Carolina: San Francisco dominated the Rams on Monday, but don't think for a second that is because they were dominant. They were awful - just less awful than the Rams. Take the Panthers.
Baltimore at Cleveland: I don't feel particularly comforted by the offensive showing the Ravens put up against the Bills. This is Cleveland, though. Take the Ravens.
Tennessee at Detroit: Detroit won a game that few gave them a chance in. Now they are at home against a team that got beaten handily by Shaun Hill. Tennessee faces an easier defense this time, but we have to take the Lions.
Kansas City at Houston: The Chiefs played only 20 minutes on Sunday, but what a 20 minute stretch it was. They learned from that and will play better for longer, and that will be enough here for a big road win. Take the Chiefs.
Miami at New England: With their two most important players gone, and big absences on the offensive line, the team went on the road and beat an elite NFC team with a QB making his first start. Now they go home. You can't possibly pick against them here. Take the Patriots.
New Orleans at New York Giants: The Saints scored at will last weekend but didn't play a lick of defense. I don't trust them to score quite as much, and don't expect to see much more defense. Take the Giants.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: Great game for the AFC North here. Pittsburgh looked angry and effective on Monday night. The Bengals tried hard to lose to the Jets. And this one is in Pittsburgh. Take the Steelers.
Dallas at Washington: There was a lot to like about Dak Prescott in the opener, but whether it was him or his coaches or both, there are real issues with clock management. Still, I really didn't like what we saw from Washington, so will take a flyer with the rookie here. Take the Cowboys.
Tampa Bay at Arizona: Arizona opened with a surprising loss. The Bucs rolled in their opener. It's tempting to pick an upset here - at least until you think about it for a second. Arizona lost by two points to the best team in the AFC. Now they are home again and angry. They will win handily. Take the Cardinals.
Seattle at L.A.: Seattle was very concerning in several ways in their opener - and that was at home. This is the Rams, though. Did you see that Monday night debacle? Take the Seahawks.
Indianapolis at Denver: I had faith in the Colts and lacked it in the Broncos. That didn't go well for me. I don't learn easily, though, so I am going to stick with the same approach and pick an upset here. You need to take a risk once in awhile to make a splash in these pools. Take the Colts.
Atlanta at Oakland: Coming into the season I was concerned that the Falcons weren't going to have their mental game where it needs to be and would struggle yet again as a result. That opening game didn't change my mind. Oakland has swagger after going for two on the last play to win the game. That will carry over. Take the Raiders.
Jacksonville at San Diego: The Chargers played really well - until they played really, really badly. The Jaguars traded punches with the Packers. I was high on Jacksonville heading into the season, and that still holds. Take the Jaguars.
Green Bay at Minnesota: Sure, Minnesota scored 25 points and won, but they didn't score an offensive touchdown. Ugh. Now they face a dramatically better team than the Titans. It isn't going to go well for them. Take the Packers.
Philadelphia at Chicago: I don't think the Eagles are as good as they looked in the opener. It was only barely against an NFL team after all. Of course, their opponent here is only barely an NFL team as well. Take the Eagles.
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