The real NFL season always begins in November.
Just ask the San Diego Chargers. They've made a living off of waiting until November to show up.
But in all seriousness, this is when we find out which teams are pretenders, and which ones are contenders.
For example, the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs are contenders. Kansas City is more of a contender because of the fact that I see them as a team that can go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Jets, Ravens, Steelers and Patriots and actually win.
The Rams are contenders because of their division, but in the next few years, look out.
Meanwhile Cincinnati, thanks for coming. Same with San Francisco, Denver, Dallas and Minnesota.
The jury is still out on Tampa Bay, Miami, Seattle, Arizona, Houston, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Diego and Oakland.
However, New England and Indianapolis remain the class of the NFL, the Jets vacillate between top tier and second tier status (I think they're top tier), Tennessee might make the leap into top tier territory thanks to the Randy Moss pick up. Atlanta, New Orleans and the Giants are rounding themselves into shape.
But enough mindless chitchat...LET'S MOVE ONTO THE PICKS!
HOME TEAMS IN CAPS
New Orleans (-6.5) over CAROLINA
I know Buffalo might be winless, however Carolina truly is the beat team in the NFL. I'm sure the Saints can beat them by at least a touchdown. I see it being by two actually.
Saints 27 Panthers 13
HOUSTON (+3) over San Diego
I know, this is when the Chargers start playing. However in a shootout, which this game will be, go with the home team, especially at home.
Texans 39 Chargers 35
New York Jets (-4) over DETROIT
Last week I went against better judgement and recent stats by picking the Lions to lose at home even though they were the favorites. One week later, Detroit is 6-1 vs. the spread, and now finally getting respect from Vegas.
But I don't see how Tomlinson doesn't unleash a classic LT game against a bad running defense and I don't see how a Super Bowl contender who played a bad game the week before could lose to a team that is still rebuilding.
Jets 20 Lions 13
Arizona (+8) over MINNESOTA
This is some kind of cruel joke right? The Cardinals, who aren't bad, are eight-point underdogs to the sinking ship known as the Vikings? I expect the Cards to pull this one out outright.
Cardinals 27 Vikings 20
Tampa Bay (+8.5) over ATLANTA
Tampa's better than I thought. Not a statement against Atlanta, but rather for the Bucs. No win for Tampa, but a cover in a good game to watch.
Falcons 23 Buccaneers 20
New England (-4) over CLEVELAND
Good spread for this game. Cleveland is better than you think and the Patriots bend, but don't break. I'm having bad memories of the 2003 Patriots watching this team. I'm now expecting the Dolphins to get slaughtered when they go into Foxborough hoping for a wild card berth.
Patriots 28 Browns 20
BUFFALO (+3) over Chicago (In Toronto)
I'm also expecting the Bills to come down here to Miami and beat the Dolphins, making the Dolphins-Patriots game irrelevant anyways.
Bills 27 Bears 20
SEATTLE (+7) over New York Giants
The Seahawks are very good at home. It will be close.
Giants 27 Seahawks 24
Indianapolis (+3) over PHILADELPHIA
This is a tough one to peg, but I'll go with Peyton, even in Philly.
Colts 28 Eagles 20
GREEN BAY (-7.5) over Dallas
Why does this feel like one of those "overhyped teams get blown out on national television" games that the NFL always seems to get stuck with? They should start Flex Scheduling in November because both the Tampa Bay-Atlanta and my game of the week will be better and more competitive games than this one.
Packers 41 Cowboys 10
Pittsburgh (-4.5) over CINCINNATI
Show me where the Bengals are exactly good? Had it not been for a lucky bounce last week, they would've gotten blown out by the Dolphins. Yeah, the same Dolphins that think that field goals are better than touchdowns.
Steelers 38 Bengals 20
Game of the week you wouldn't have expected in August
OAKLAND (-2.5) over Kansas City
This is football. This is the type of game I grew up with. It will play out like that. I take the Raiders at home even though Kansas City is the better overall team.
Raiders 27 Chiefs 26
BORING MIAMI DOLPHINS GAME OF THE WEEK THAT WILL MAKE YOU WISH THE HEAT WERE PLAYING AT THE SAME TIME AGAIN
Miami (+5) over BALTIMORE
Is it just me, or do the Ravens seem just a bit complacent at this point and could be knocked off here? Screw it, I'm throwing caution to the wind and getting my hopes up. Besides, they're 4-0 on the road!
Dolphins 19 Ravens 16
BYE: Denver, Tennessee, St. Louis, San Francisco, Washington, Jacksonville.
Last week (vs. spread): 7-6 (7-6)
Overall (vs. spread): 65-52 (60-55-2)