Mike Ivcic’s Week 1 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 1 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>


By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

Atlanta Falcons @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Falcons by 3
Opening in Arrowhead isn’t exactly a nice way to start the season, but the Falcons are clearly the better team. If they want any shot at sneaking through the window opened by Bounty-gate to capture the AFC South crown, these are the games Atlanta absolutely has to win.
Pick: Atlanta 20, Kansas City 13

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Jets by 3
If the Jets are ever favored by more than 3, then stop believing anything Vegas ever says. This is a team with a whopping zero preseason touchdowns from their top two QB’s, who both apparently are content to be more celebrity than football player. Only in New York. A once promising nucleus may have seen their best days pass them by.
Pick: Buffalo 27, New York 12

Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Bears by 9.5
Apparently I’m a little higher on Andrew Luck and the Colts than Vegas is, because this isn’t a Bears team that has ever really blown anyone out. True, it is at home and the wind shouldn’t be too terrible just yet, but I just don’t see a double-digit win for a Lovie Smith-coached team.
Pick: Chicago 21, Indianapolis 14

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Vikings by 4
The loser of this game should immediately become the leader in the clubhouse for next year’s number one overall pick, because these are two of the five worst teams in football. When in doubt, go with the best player on the field, which in this case is clearly Adrian Peterson – thanks to the extensive holdout from Maurice Jones-Drew.
Pick: Minnesota 17, Jacksonville 10

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Texans by 13
Hmm… a potential Super Bowl-caliber with the second-best wide receiver in football and a smothering defense that made a rookie look silly in start number 17 in last year’s playoffs against a rookie who’s barely started 17 games at any level ever? Yes, please – and then some!
Pick: Houston 31, Miami 3


New England Patriots @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Patriots by 6
The last time the Patriots lost a Super Bowl to the Giants, they opened the following season on the road in Kansas City – and promptly lost Tom Brady for the season a quarter and a half into the game. Good thing for Brady and company Bernard Pollard isn’t playing for Tennessee this season.
Pick: New England 34, Tennessee 16

Philadelphia Eagles @ Cleveland Browns
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Eagles by 9
Dear Mr. Brandon Wheaton, You may be 28 years old but we’re about to devour you for four quarters because we have six defensive ends that are better than your second-best offensive lineman. Sincerely, the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line.
Pick: Philadelphia 28, Cleveland 6

St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Lions by 7.5
Could it really be possible that we are now living in a world where the Detroit Lions are in a position to make the playoffs for the second straight season at the same time that both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles are battling to make the MLB playoffs? Thank God the Cubs and Browns still stink or then I’d really believe in that whole “Mayan 2012 apocalypse” thing.
Pick: Detroit 24, St. Louis 10

Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Saints by 7.5
Robert Griffin III will eventually be really good. Drew Brees already is good. Done and done.
Pick: New Orleans 38, Washington 17

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX
Line: Panthers by 3
Now that Cam Newton has a year under his belt, pundits seem to think he’s poised to lead this team to the playoffs. The problem is he’s still the third best quarterback in the NFC South. He is better than Josh Freeman, though, so this is one matchup Carolina should win.
Pick: Carolina 23, Tampa Bay 13

San Francisco 49’ers @ Green Bay Packers
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 5
The unstoppable force (Green Bay’s offense) meets the immovable object (San Fran’s defense), so let’s call that a wash. That leaves us with the inverse to determine the winner, and I know he had a good year last year, but do you really want to find yourself hoping Alex Smith can lead a game-winning, fourth-quarter drive at Lambeau Field? I know I don’t.
Pick: Green Bay 28, San Francisco 20

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
Sun, 4:25pm, FOX
Line: Seahawks by 3
Talk about depressed sports cities – the Sonics left Seattle, no one’s really quite sure what’s happening with the Coyotes (despite their deep playoff run), the Mariners and Diamondbacks are both under .500, and the Suns just traded away their best player and face of the franchise to a division rival. When the Seahawks are the best thing either of these towns has to offer, that’s when you know it’s bad.
Pick: Seattle 20, Arizona 7


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: Broncos by 1.5
The Steelers season ended here last year with an 80-yard Tim Tebow TD pass, and this year it begins with the return of Peyton Manning. Talk about polar opposite QB’s. Something tells me that the Denver wide receivers are quite happy with the swap. It may take a while for the Broncos offense to really click, but I’m a bit down on the Steelers this year.
Pick: Denver 21, Pittsburgh 17

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Mon, 7pm, ESPN
Line: Ravens by 6
The Bengals were one of the surprises of 2011, which means they won’t be catching anyone off guard this year. Couple that with the Ravens defense having everyone healthy outside of Terrell Suggs, and it could be a long night for Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and the rest of the Cincy offense.
Pick: Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 13

San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
Mon, 10:15pm, ESPN
Line: Raiders by 1
A virtual push here, and I’m really not a Chargers fan this year. How Norv Turner still has a job is beyond me, and the roster outside of Phillip Rivers is really quite bare. Oakland usually plays well at home and has a solid defense that should rule the day here.
Pick: Oakland 17, San Diego 10

Straight-Up: 0-1
Against Spread: 0-1

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