Matt: 1-0-0 (vs. Spread 0-1-0)
Dolphins Fan, we got Tua, LETS GOOOOOO
Fleet: F-Dawg Johnston – 1 – 0 – 0
Browns fan – And we are back. If only picking every game was as easy as guessing against one Bill O’Brien v. Kansas, my life would be… easier.
Some general season thoughts before I begin my picks:
- The Browns are going to let me down
- The colour brown never lets me down
- All it will take is one player riddled with co-vid to see how well the NFL can reschedule shit!
- Why don’t they sell larger versions of the Pillsbury pizza pocket?
Philadelphia (-7) @ Washington
Matt’s Pick: Philadelphia to win and cover -7
Fleet: Get your cheese-steaks ready Washington fans, because your team is going to lose. While philly does look weak on offense due to injury, I like Philly’s defense more than Washington’s offense.
Fleet’s Pick: Philadelphia
Miami @ New England (-7)
Fleet: You gotta show Flores some love. He appears to be a great coach and did end the Brady era, which my colleague Matt will happily explain if you have a minute or two. Maybe the ex-Belichek-er has his old teams #. New England’s defense is good though, and Cam should be serviceable.
Fleet’s Pick: New England
Matt: Thank you, Fleetwood. First of all, let’s get one thing clear. Tennessee didn’t end the Tom Brady era in New England. The Miami Dolphins ended the Tom Brady era in New England. Am I a huge Miami Dolphins fan? Do I own a Jay Ajayi T-shirt? Never you mind! Miami beat New England in Week 17 last year — a far superior team to this Pats squad, causing New England to lose their first round bye and their status as NFL Power Team.
There has been a lot of talk about Tom Brady leaving the Pats, which is understandable. He’s the most famous football player alive, he’s the GOAT, it is what it is. But Tom Brady is far from the most impactful loss the Patriots suffered in the 2020 offseason. New England lost Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton and Duron Harmon on defense, along with Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung, who opted out of the season due to COVID-19. They did add an excellent safety in Adrian Phillips, but it won’t be nearly enough to offset the huge losses on defense.
The “revenge” factor is a big concern, as Bill Belichick is an excellent coach who is not going to take this Miami team lightly. Cam Newton is still a talented quarterback, and it’s possible Belicheck will unlock something in Newton that we haven’t seen since his MVP season.
But here’s a thing I haven’t said earnestly in 20+ years: Miami’s team is just…better? They’re at least even. If you look at these two rosters as currently constructed, opt-outs and all, you can’t tell me the Pats are better. I do not accept it. They’re about the same: two teams with a lot of question marks up and down the roster. Billy B is a great coach, but guess what? Brian Fucking Flores is a pretty good football coach as well.
7 points is way too much for these teams. I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Patriots will be awful this season. I think they will make the playoffs, and finish above Miami in the AFC East. But they’re losing week 1.
Matt’s Pick: Miami to win, Miami +7
Green Bay @ Minnesota (-2)
Matt: I do not like Green Bay at all this year. As a general rule, I like to stay away from coaches and players who hate each other in public. Rodgers does not seem to have faith in his coaching staff, and vice versa, as is evidenced by their first round pick this season.
This feels closer to Aaron Rodgers’ last year in Green Bay than it does to 10-6 and a playoff birth.
Matt’s Pick: Minnesota to win and cover -2
Fleet: I will go anti-Kirk today. Kirk lost Stefon Diggs and his co-ordinator from last year. Their both teams’ defense appear to be the same overall to me. So I guess I am taking some cheese and putting it on my head.
Fleet’s Pick: Green Bay
Indianapolis (-9) @ Jacksonville
Fleet: Do you think real jaguars everywhere are ashamed of their connection with this team? Cause this team bad.
Fleet’s Pick: Indianapolis
Matt: The Jaguars are terrible. It would take a pretty sizeable collapse from Phillip Rivers to keep this game close at all. Don’t get me wrong, a monumental Phillip Rivers collapse is certainly possible. In fact I would predict that think he will collapse a little bit. Few picks and a rough first game, but not enough for the Jags to keep it close.
Matt’s Pick: Indianapolis to win and cover -9
Chicago @ Detroit (-3)
Possibly the worst bit in South Park history.
Matt’s Pick: Detroit to win and cover -3
Fleet: I wanted to pick the Lions. Then I remembered my staunch hatred for Matt Patricia. It is so staunch in fact you might as well grab your favourite veg, little bit of spice, some stock, some beef and we’ll let it stew.
Fleet’s Pick: Chicago
Las Vegas (-2.5) @ Carolina
Fleet: Gimme da Raid-as! Fighting out of Las Vegas.
Fleet’s Pick: Las Vegas
Matt: I think this Carolina team could surprise a few people this year. Namely, John Gruden. The Raiders had an atrocious pass defense last year. Carolina have a highly underrated pass-catching corps, featuring D.J. Moore, the newly-acquired Robbie Anderson from the Jets, and the intriguing Ian Thomas at TE.
Vegas are probably the better team, but it’s not by much. I love the matchup of Teddy Bridgewater and his accurate short passing vs Oakland’s dogshit pass defense. Give me Carolina to win a 21-20 ish kind of game and ruin a lot of tickets this weekend.
Matt’s Pick: Carolina to win, Carolina +2.5
NY Jets @ Buffalo (-7.5)
Matt: In order for this game to be even close, Sam Darnold needs to take a massive leap. This needs to be a Sam Darnold Holy Shit game, a Must-Add In All Formats type of performance from Sam. I do not expect it, but hey, stranger things have happened in this bullshit year of 2020.
Matt’s Pick: Buffalo to win and cover -7.5
Fleet: The Jets are bad, and for those paying attention to the coaches I dislike list, chalk up one Adam Gase. I mean they added to their o-line, but lost their best WR from last year. They also appear to hate the RB they signed last year.
Fleet’s Pick: Buffalo
Cleveland @ Baltimore (-8.5)
Fleet: “This is the part that the thugs skip!” – J. Cole
And I’m going all Browns for another year. So if you ever took my picks seriously you now know to not… do that.
Fleet’s Pick: Cleveland
Matt: I’m gonna go ahead and take the Ravens until further notice, although the Browns could very easily keep this game close. OBJ is healthy (he was quoted by the NFL Network as saying “I can run now” and that last year “I couldn’t even lift my leg up to put it on a table”, which is both crazy impressive and fucking alarming, lol) they have a full season of Kareem Hunt, and Baker Mayfield can’t possibly play worse than he did last season and keep his job. Having said that,
Matt’s Pick: Baltimore to win and cover 8.5
Seattle (-2.5) @ Atlanta
Matt: Probably the toughest game to call this week. Atlanta’s team has a lot to like, with hometown boy Todd Gurley, Julio, Matty Ice and some legitimate studs on defense, such as safety Keanu Neal (who should be healthy and ready to go after missing most of last year).
I like the Falcons to win a close one here, and surprise a good Seattle team. I think we are looking at two playoff teams here. I expect this will go down to the wire.
Matt’s Pick: Atlanta to win, Atlanta +2.5
Fleet: Feathers will fly. Seahawks will win.
Fleet’s Pick: Seattle
LA Chargers (-3) @ Cincinnati
Fleet: Why did I pick the awful Bengals? Well pull up a chair and I will tell you why. You see, Tyrod Taylor was once a Brown. He went 1-1-1 as a starter in his stint as a Brown. Watching the games, and maybe this was in part due to Hue Jackson being awful, I was treated to the worst offense I have seen in a while. He had a 49.4 completion percentage over those games and a 64.5 QBR. Yikes.
Fleet’s Pick: Cincinatti
Matt: This is a tough one to call as well. The Chargers should be pretty bad this year with Tyrod Taylor at QB, who might be the least accurate passer in the NFL. Having said that, the Bengals were the league’s worst team in 2020, and have probably the worst O-line in all of football, going against a tremendous Chargers’ D-line. Also, it’s not like LA/San Diego is used to having a surgeon back there at QB. They had Phillip Rivers last year, with his 20 picks and 9 children.
I’m going to take Cincy on the back of Joe Burrow, who has a massive game that people overreact to like crazy. It’s possible Burrow gets sacked 10 times in this game and is well on his way to becoming the new David Carr.
Matt’s Pick: Cincinatti to win, Cincinatti +3
Arizona @ San Francisco (-7)
Matt: It’s highly possible that this game doesn’t even happen, because the entire west coast of the United States is on fire. I don’t think they should play this game, but player safety has not ever been the NFL’s concern.
Matt’s Pick: Planet Earth will be completely ruined by the year 2200. San Francisco to win and cover +7, if they play. Which they should not.
Fleet: Niners win. I would have picked the Cardinals but there’s a bun in the oven so I gotta go.
Fleet’s Pick: San Francisco
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-3.5)
Fleet: The battle of the 40yr old QB.
Fleet’s Pick: New Orleans
Matt: Tom Brady was terrible last year. It looked like he could no longer throw the ball comfortably over 15 yards, and New England won a lot of games in spite of him, and not because of him. New Orleans has a great secondary, and I think they will win this game by a safe margain. It won’t be a blowout, but we’re looking at something like 34-21 Saints here.
Matt’s Pick: New Orleans to win and cover -3.5
Dallas (-3) @ LA Rams
Matt’s Pick: Dallas to win and cover -3
Fleet: Have the Cowboys signed Earl Thomas yet?
Fleet’s Pick: Dallas