So the NFL season has officially begun, with your author's beloved Titans falling in OT to the reigning champ Steelers 13-10.
Obviously, each NFL season has its quirks and surprises: last year the Dolphins and Falcons shocked everyone by rebounding from a sucky '07 to make the playoffs, for example. Thus, predicting the results of the first week's games would seem an impossible exercise. But not at PaP. We think ourselves savvy enough to predict an entire week's matchups correctly.
And it is with this idea in mind that we introduce our first round of Intuition or Idiocy predictions, wherein we will try and correctly guess each game's result. Now, NFL scoring makes exact predictions a mite tricker than, say, soccer forecasts, so we'll simply give you the winner and a points differential to follow, plus a few tidbits of (probably hokey) information.
In addition, each week we will choose the BORE (Brain-numbingly Obvious REsult) game of the week and the YAWN (Yeah, All We Need) low-scoring matchup of the week, as well as the AWE (Amazing Weekly End-result) shock result of the week. As regular readers will know, we are masters of the acronym, so hopefully this latest batch will live up to expectations.
BORE game of the week, sponsored by John Beck's Mormon Childhood: Buffalo @ New England
The first week normally offers a lot of surprises, but not here. The Bills are in disarray, without a good left tackle, a(nother) brand new O-coordinator and an anemic preseason offensive display. By contrast, New England looked fierce and have a point to prove. Brady has just sired a child - no doubt also a future Hall-of-Famer - so he'll enjoy playing with Buffalo's defense like a kiddie rattle.
New England by a lot 21+
Both these teams were incredibad last year, and both figure to be finding their stride. Both have new head coaches and new systems, so this will be a barometer game where the Rams and 'Hawks start to fully grasp a new style of play. Boooooooring.
Seattle by 7+
AWE game of the week, sponsored by Joe Flacco's Eyebrows: San Diego @ Oakland
OK bear with me on this. We are not a blog who thinks the Raiders team-build well. Between stupid draft picks and coaches punching coaches, they're not a team many like in '09. However, the Bolts are usually very slow out of the gate and the Raiders are going to run the ball like nobody's business, so I'm going with the Silver 'n' Black to pull one out of the bag here and shock everyone.
Raiders by 3
The leftovers, sponsored by The Undrafted Rookie Association
Miami @ Atlanta: Last year's two surprise teams meet in Week One. Miami will look to recreate last year's Cinderella run, but it won't start here. The Dirty Birds' offensive quartet of Ryan, Turner, White, and Gonzalez will be too much for any Wildcat to overcome. Atlanta by 10.
Philadelphia @ Carolina: The Panthers inexplicably gave Jake "6 turnover" Delhomme the kind of moon-on-a-stick contract usually reserved for overrated free-agents in Washington, and Philly are this year's chic Super Bowl pick. Philly to edge it in a minor shootout. Philadelphia by 10.
Minnesota @ Cleveland: The Brett Favre inevitable failure of a season Show starts here, and chances are it'll start well. With the Williams Wall to play at least this game, don't expect much from the Browns; they won't be able to run it and Brady Quinn didn't exactly set the world on fire in preseason. Minnesota by 14.
New York Jets @ Houston: Rex Ryan's first game in charge, but don't expect a win. With Glass-Bones Schaub healthy enough to start, the Texans have a good defense and the unstoppable Andre Johnson. That will be enough to squeak out a W here. Houston by three.
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis: After stinking it up last year, the Jags get the joys of playing Peyton Manning in Week One. New coaching staff or not, Manning is still Manning, and expect him to tear it up with TDs to Wayne, Clark et al. Jags will put up a fight, but it's Indy's to lose. Indianapolis by 10.
Detroit @ New Orleans: So obvious it almost eeked New England for the BORE game, the Saints are going to run amok against a Lions D that was horrible last year. Jim Schwartz is a defensive mastermind, but this job will take time. Expect Drew Brees to show Matt Stafford how it's done. New Orleans by 21+.
Dallas @ Tampa Bay: The Bucs seem to have no idea what's going on these days, changing starting QBs and RBs at will, and the 'Boys should win this one. Plus, it's September so Romo will actually be good. Dallas by 14.
San Francisco @ Arizona: The Niners are in transition, and the Cards are coming off one of the best offensive years outside of New Orleans. Fitzgerald to dominate, Arizona to walk it. Arizona by 17.
Washington @ New York Giants: Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell need the 'Skins to do well this year to keep their jobs. However, a tough Week One matchup won't help. Even without Burress and Ward, the Giants' steady offense and brutal defense will be too much here. New York by 10.
Chicago @ Green Bay: Big early pace-setter in the NFC North here, with Da Bears on the shoulders of Forte and Cutler against the Pack on the shoulders of a 3-4 defense and Aaron Rodgers. I like the latter here, the Pack to win it in a physical affair with a big day for Rodgers to banish any lingering Favre memories. Green Bay by 13.
We'll be keeping track of our overall prediction record as the season progresses, so check back next week for new predictions and to see how badly we messed these ones up.