Thursday, September 9

NFL Picks: Week 1

We're back!

The NFL season can't get here too soon, as far as the members of FCF are concerned. Naturally, this means it's time for us to start making our weekly picks against the spread. This year, we'll have Bucko and Gopo joining us for a full season, in addition to stalwarts Andy, Nick, and Figgs. Let's take a look at the final results from 2009, where Andy edged out the competitors for the second straight season despite Nick "assur[ing]" FCF's readership that such a thing wouldn't happen again.

Nick's edit: I'd like to note that I was ruler of the playoffs, where we separate the men from the boys. I'd also like to take this opportunity to guarantee victory over Francis in '10-'11.

Andy's reply: You can bet just as much on a regular-season game as a playoff game, and we've seen how valuable your guarantees are.

2009 Regular Season
Andy: 133-119-4
Figgs: 128-124-4
Nick: 129-123-4
Bucko: 42-36-2
Gopo: 33-28-3
Nick's Money Picks ($): 33-27

2009 Playoffs
Andy: 3-8
Figgs: 4-7
Nick: 6-5
Bucko: 4-7
Gopo: 4-7
Nick's Money Picks ($): 6-4

Thursday game

SAINTS (-4.5) vs Vikings
Andy: I found this one at -4.5, but this line is OK too. I'm taking the Saints. They'll be fired up, that home crowd is tremendous, they still have the look of being the class of the NFC, and I'm not sold on the Vikings being able to score enough with Favre having not played much and their receiving corps a question mark.
Figgs: Saints. I like the defending champs to start strong at home, but wouldn't touch this game with real money.
Nick: Saints. The champs usually win this game, so I'm going with the Saints at less than a touchdown. I'm not wild about it, but I'm going with it.
Bucko: Saints. Because of what the wise Francis said.
Gopo: Saints. Andy's analysis was pretty good, so I won't add too much color. Instead, let me just say that I hate Favre more than any non-Raven and I hope his ankle snaps off during the game.

Sunday games

BUCS (-3) vs Browns
Andy: BROWNS. We've won precisely one opener out of ten since returning to the NFL, and it's time to right that ship against a sloppy Tampa Bay team. No reason this Cleveland club can't ride last year's late-season success to a fast 2-0 start. Plus, I can't believe I'm getting a field goal to make this pick. Man, I'm ready for some NFL!
Figgs: BROWNS! ($ - straight up)
Nick: Love us in this game, can't believe this line has actually moved up in the last month or two. Lock of the week. LET'S GO BROWNS! ($)
Bucko: Browns. It's going to be a good game. However, if the line was more than 3 I might have to go with the Bucs.
Gopo: Browns. The Bucs are a mess all over the place - can't think of a single thing they do well.

GIANTS (-6.5) vs Panthers
Andy: Giants. Ha, I was all excited about getting back into NFL picks, until I remembered how diabolical the bookmakers are with these point spreads. My interest in taking the Panthers with 6.5 is way, way lower than it would have been if I was getting a TD, so I'm backing NY.
Figgs: Carolina keeps it close.
Nick: Giants. Saturday night switch for me. I'm just not convinced the Panthers can run on NYG, and that means Matt Moore has to win the game. Not sold.
Bucko: Giants. The spread is a half point too low for me. I also think the Giants are going to be a great team this year.
Gopo: Giants. I think the Panthers will be decent this year, but the g-men should win this by a TD.

STEELERS (+1.5) vs Falcons
Andy: Falcons. If I'm not mistaken, injuries to the League's Most Outstanding Gentleman and Byron Sandwich have left former Maryland basketball standout Juan Dixon to start at QB for Pittsburgh, and that doesn't bode well. Plus, honestly, I'll take any excuse to pick against the Steelers. Hey Gopo, remember the time you went to your first NFL game ever, and it was Steelers vs Falcons at Heinz Field?
Figgs: Falcons.
Nick: Falcons. I think people are overrating what Dennis Dixon did in one game for Pittsburgh last year. What he did was avoid fu*&$#@ up too badly. I'll take my chances with the Falcons, who should at least be able to move the ball sporadically.
Bucko: Falcons. I just don't think they can do it without Ben. I also think the Falcons will have a much improved defense this year.
Gopo: Steelers. Andy - thanks for reminding me; that game sucked - fucking ties. Double D will step up and win the home opener.

JAGS (-2) vs Broncos
Andy: Jags. I don't think either of these teams are particularly good, but the Broncos seem more liable to go on the road and play lousy. One of my least favorite games on the board.
Figgs: Jax. Not a fan of either team, I'll go with the home team.
Nick: Jags. The Broncos could really be awful this year, so I'll bank on that plus a home game for JAX. Like Andy said, no way would I ever bet this game.
Bucko: Broncos. Tebow! Tebow!, just joking on that one, at least for now. I'm wondering if Jones-Drew is really healthy enough.
Gopo: Jags. I have no idea on this one since I think both of these teams suck, but I'm leaning towards the home team here.

TEXANS (+1) vs Colts
Andy: Colts. This game always, always seems to be close, and Houston never, never seems to win it.
Figgs: Colts.
Nick: Colts. Houston may win this one, but don't you think that Indy wins it 7 or 8 times out of 10? I'll play it safe.
Bucko: Colts. Peyton will pull out a last second TD to win the game.
Gopo: Colts. Can't believe this line is so low - thought the Texans would be getting more than one.

BUFFALOES (+3) vs Dolphins
Andy: Dolphins. The NFL's schedule-making robot didn't do the Buffaloes any favor by giving them a September home game against a warm-weather club. Play this in December and I might give you a different answer. Bucko, are you aware that Henne is on my fantasy team? Can't say I'm too excited about that.
Figgs: Dolphins. ($)
Nick: Friend of FCF Sean informs me that the Fish haven't won at The Ralph since 2003. Time to reset the counter. ($)
Bucko: Dolphins. Andy's favorite QB (Henne) will have a big game.
Gopo: Dolphins. I don't think the Bills can score on anyone and the Dolphins actually have a pretty good defense.

BEARS (-7) vs Lions
Andy: Lions. I just don't think the Bears are good this year, and I don't quite know why. I do know that I don't feel comfortable taking Jay Cutler and giving seven points against anyone.
Figgs: Lions. ($)
Nick: Lions. The Bears could be really awful this season.
Bucko: Bears. This is hard one for me to pick. I think the Lions will be much improved, but need more time.
Gopo: Lions. If it was 5 or less I would have taken the Bears, but this one is just too high for me.

TITANS (-6) vs Raiders
Andy: Titans. I look for the Raiders to be an improved team this year...just not in Week 1. Explain to me how they're going to stop Crispus Johnson and we can discuss the Raiders' chances. That's what I thought.
Figgs: Titans.
Nick: Titans, though not quite enough to bet on them. With a spread like this, I need to see them control the clock and add on before I'm totally sold on the fighting Vinces.
Bucko: TIT-ans. Enough said.
Gopo: Titans. Improved D or not, the Titties are going to run all over the Raiders.

PATS (-4.5) vs Bengals
Andy: Bengals. This might be the most interesting matchup of the weekend, especially to see if T.O. and Randy Moss ovulate simultaneously. Speaking of whiny wideouts, how about Antonio Bryant filing a grievance for $3.1 million against the Bengals, the team who paid him $8 million guaranteed and who never played a down for the club? Unreal.
Figgs: Pats.
Nick: Bengals also, although I'd believe just about any outcome in this one.
Bucko: Bengals. The Pats D is just not there anymore.
Gopo: Pats. I think people are underestimating how good the Pats are and overestimating how good the Bengals are.

RAMS (+4) vs Cardinals
Andy: Rams. I feel like I've seen this before - new kid comes in, leads downtrodden team to unexpected victory over hyped opponent, opponents features starting quarterback Derek Anderson, fans and media get excited over team's rebirth, team finishes 3-13.
Figgs: Cards.
Nick: Cards. The Cardinals are too far ahead of the Rams in talent, and as much as I hate D.A., I think he can be competent with a decent running game and Larry Fitzgerald making circus catches.
Bucko: Rams. Cardinals are going to take a big step back this year. Wells appears to be hurt and the QB's name is Anderson.
Gopo: Rams. I think the Cardinals are going to blow this year. Derek Anderson? Really?

SEAHAWKS (+3) vs 49ers
Andy: 49ers. Wow, what a dog of a game. Originally I had the Seahawks, writing "without any strong feelings other than a general desire not to have to watch this game, I suppose I'll take the home team and the points." Since then I've reevaluated and am backing San Fran, a team that won me a lot of close covers last season.
Figgs: Niners.
Nick: Niners. Basically, if you believe in the Niners, you bet this game. I'm not totally sold, but I'm close. The Hawks are possibly the worst team in the league. ($)
Bucko: 49ers. I don't think this will even be close. Welcome to the NFL Pete!
Gopo: Niners. I don't think I can name more than 3 Seahawks, and I'm including their coach - this team is going to be bad.

EAGLES (+3) vs Packers
Andy: Pack. I think they've got a really strong club up there in Green Bay, and I'm still frightened by what I saw Rodgers do to my Brownies in the preseason.
Figgs: Packers.
Nick: For the reasons others have outlined, it's tough not to love the Pack. I really couldn't have a bigger fantasy football mancrush on Jermichael Finley this year. ($)
Bucko: Packers! Kevin Kolb's first game, and against Aaron Rodgers = Not A Chance.
Gopo: Packers. Kolb will struggle out of the gates - it's going to be hard to play catchup to the Packers all day.

REDSKINS (+3.5) vs Cowboys
Andy: Cowboys. Count me OUT on the Redskins this year.
Figgs: Cowboys.
Nick: Cowboys. I want to pick the Skins so badly, but I'd need a touchdown.
Bucko: Cowboys. There has been too much drama going on in D.C.
Gopo: Redskins. There is going to be one upset opening weekend and I think this is it.

Monday Night Games

JETS (-1.5) vs Ravens
Andy: Ravens, and I hope I'm wrong. Even without Ed Reed, the Ravens D might well feast on the INT-prone Mark Sanchez. Hey, I've been calling the J-E-T-S overrated all off-season, so I may as well take this opportunity to pick against them and grab a point and a half.
Figgs: Ravens.
Nick: Ravens. I really have no idea what's going to happen in this one, but I trust Flacco way more than Sanchez.
Bucko: Ravens. I agree with Francis, the Jets are overrated, and I feel the Ravens are underrated.
Gopo: Ravens. Remind me why people think the Dirty Sanchez is going to be any good? That's right, you can't. Why is everyone so high on a team that went 9-7 last year?

CHIEVES (+4.5) vs Chargers
Andy: Chargers. I really only have to give 4.5? Honestly, is there something that people aren't telling me about the 2010 KC Chieves? It's not funny to pull pranks on people, you know. Did we make Rivers the all-time QB for both teams this game? Does San Diego have to play a man short? I'm confused.
Figgs: Chargers ($)
Nick: Chargers. This line would be 9 if it wasn't week 1. I flip-flopped on betting this game, but decided to do so after I went 2-1-1 in the earlier games, and figured that I might not get a game this good next week. Worst case is I push for the week. ($)
Bucko: Chieves. I think the Chargers will only edge out a win by a FG.
Gopo: Chargers. No confidence in the Chiefs at all.

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