Finally, the NFL is back, and what a game Saints vs. Packers was.
Will any games be able to top that great Thursday night game? I doubt it. But I'll still try to pick who's going to win.
And away we go (HOME TEAM IN BOLD CAPS):
Pittsburgh (+1.5) over BALTIMORE: Steelers 17, Ravens 14
Flacco won't get over the Steelers' block that has kept Baltimore out of the Super Bowl two out of the last three years.
TAMPA BAY (-1.5) over Detroit: Buccaneers 23, Lions 17
Josh Freeman is the best quarterback in the state of Florida. I expect big things from him this season.
CHICAGO (+2) over Atlanta: Bears 24, Falcons 21
Cutler will be sacked at least four times, but I'm not as strong on the Falcons as I was earlier this season.
Buffalo (+5.5) over KANSAS CITY: Bills 27, Chiefs 10
Just smells like an upset to me.
Indianapolis (+8.5) over HOUSTON: Texans 28, Colts 23
Look, Kerry Collins is competent. Plus, a couple of years ago, he lead a Titans team that wasn't as talented as this Colts team to a 13-3 record. He'll be fine. Texans will eke one out and get everyone excited before losing to the Dolphins next week in Miami and have everyone say, "Look at that, same old Texans."
ST. LOUIS (+4) over Philadelphia: Eagles 32, Rams 29
Rams are going 11-5 due to weak division. Will give Philly a fight.
CLEVELAND (-6.5) over Cincinnati: Browns 31, Bengals 3
If you're going to bet on the Bengals this year, I have a better idea: send me that money. The results are the same, but who would you rather make rich, shady, off-shore online casinos, or a struggling writer?
Tennessee (+2) over JACKSONVILLE: Titans 23, Jaguars 3
I'm still waiting for the Jags to move to Los Angeles, but now that I think about it, I can't blame the good people of Jacksonville for the team's failures at drawing fans. Garrard could've possibly won them the division this year considering how weak the AFC South is (I'll get to that in a second). But instead, it's Luke McCown starting. Maurice Jones-Drew will be out with an "injury" by Week 6. I now see why fans stay away from the Jaguars: They're truly the Florida Marlins of the NFL. Despite the money they get from revenue sharing, they don't like spending money, which I'd understand if it was like in baseball where there is no salary cap, but there is one. Moving to Los Angeles won't help this team one bit unless the team is sold. The problem here is a cheap owner.
As for the AFC South, Tennessee will win it this year, not Houston. No matter who's on the Texans, they're always going to be an 8-8 team.
New York Giants (-3) over WASHINGTON: Giants 27, Redskins 10
People are saying the Redskins will be surprisingly good. If they're good, it would be a surprise: They have a QB battle between Rex Grossman and John Beck. (Grossman won the battle, but Redskins fans lost the war. Scratch that, Redskins fans already lost the war.)
Sad thing is, there's talent in Washington; they'd be good if they actually had a good quarterback and good running back.
Carolina (+6.5) over ARIZONA: Panthers 24, Cardinals 17
Carolina is halfway decent. I couldn't have thought of a better situation for Cam Newton, since he has good teammates around him (especially the tight ends), a good coach (I'm still shocked it took this long for Ron Rivera to get a head-coaching gig), a decent defense and he's also someone who could win games by himself. Unfortunately, their division is murder having to deal with Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. Switch them with the Jags, who will do nothing this year, and the Panthers would win the AFC South. Panthers will likely go 1-5 against the NFC South, but then go 6-4 against everyone else. Their non-division schedule is cupcake material. Green Bay in Week 2 is the only non-divisional game that I don't think is winnable for them.
In fact, give Carolina Jacksonville's schedule and the Panthers would be 10-6. I have Tennessee winning the division at 9-7. I'm sure you can do the math.
Seattle (+5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO: 49ers 17, Seahawks 16
Yuck, let's move on.
Minnesota (+8.5) over SAN DIEGO: Chargers 35, Vikings 28
San Diego always struggles in September, but their offense looks great. However, I could easily see Adrian Peterson doing his thing and rushing for about 145 yards and two touchdowns.
NEW YORK JETS (-5.5) over Dallas: Jets 17, Cowboys 10
At first I was thinking Dallas could come in and get the upset, however, I see this being a defensive game where Romo throws about three picks. This sucks. Full disclosure: I hate the Jets. Just wanted to get that out of the way. But respect them, of course I do.
Oakland (+3) over DENVER: Raiders 21, Broncos 10
What am I missing here with the whole Kyle Orton thing? Dolphins fans wanted him badly, the Broncos considered dealing him and now you have some "experts" who think this guy is going to have Denver be competitive this year? Sorry, but I said that Orton would be nothing more than a band-aid for the Dolphins, which is exactly what he was for the Bears, and exactly what he is now for Denver. He'll put up good numbers and might make you respectable, but he won't lead you to the playoffs. Remember, he lost the starting job to Rex Grossman. Rex EFFING Grossman, someone who barely beat out John Beck!
Tebow will be better for Denver long term, and I don't understand why the Broncos don't seem to think so. Everyone called his preseason a failure, but I saw the numbers—not failure numbers at all. Ugh, this is making me pissed off.
MIAMI (+7) over New England: Patriots 32, Dolphins 28
I predicted this game already. Just read why I think the score will be what I think it will be.
Thomas Galicia is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist. Follow him on twitter @thomasgalicia. For more of his opinions, visit www.thomasgalicia.com, nominated by CBSMiami.com for "Miami's Most Valuable Blogger" in the sports division.
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