NFL 2014: Week 1

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FOOTBALL'S BACK FOOTBALL'S BACK FOOTBALL'S BACK FOOTBALL'S BACK FOOTBALL'S BACK FOOTBALL'S BACK FOOTBALL'S BACK

And the real stuff, not that silly college nonsense! Look at them, they have one measly thread for the whole year!

Pick 'Ems

San Francisco @ Dallas: The season could not arrive soon enough for the 49ers. With incidents that ranged from real to maybe not real to completely fabricated to surreal to we're-not-certain-yet-but-probably-really-bad, the 49ers have been in the newspaper all offseason for the wrong reasons. Yet, that aside, it has been an excellent offseason for the team, with some key free agent acquisitions and a bounty of draft picks, as well as signing their young QB to a team-friendly long term deal. Dallas is in cap purge mode in 2014 ($25 mil dead money), and made waves in the draft by not selecting the much-hyped QB from their home state. That non-pick comes with a report that Jerry Jones had written Manziel's name on the card, and his son and team executive Stephen Jones snatched the card out of Jerry's hand. That report is disputed, yet Jerry Jones says he's damn mad about missing out on Manziel, despite Manziel's abysmal preseason (don't worry Jerry, you can snatch him up in a couple years, just like Weeden).

Carolina @ Tampa Bay: I liked it better when I thought Cam Newton was phony. He enters 2014 on a team in full-on cap purge ($19 mil dead money), with a depleted receiving corps (save for a rookie WR who has given Carolina every reason to believe their faith was warranted so far), and he is set to play week 1 despite a foot injury and fractured rib that both could have reasonably delayed the start of his season. The sonofabitch is a happy, hard-working army of one, and while the Panthers picking up the option year of his deal has delayed his big payday another year, one should not doubt he will earn that big payday this season, even if the Panthers themselves aren't likely to remain at the level they have been while they get their books right. Tampa Bay enters the year with a big rookie WR of their own, a new (old) QB, a new (old) guard, a new (old) coach, a new (not so old) GM, and a reasonable chance to compete in a fierce division. For the first time in recent memory, thanks to the Mankins trade, the Bucs do not enter this season sitting on a Scrooge McDuckian stack of unused salary cap money.

Indianapolis @ Denver: On the list of headlines I did not expect to read this week, Wes Welker took Molly at the Kentucky Derby would have to rank highly. Welker was already on the fringes of the Denver gameplan after suffering a concussion in preseason. Peyton Manning will still have no lack of targets, with free agent Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Cody Latimer stepping in for Welker and departed free agent Eric Decker. On the defensive side, Von Miller went an entire offseason without a traffic incident. He will be joined by new additions Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward, a group selected in a clear "Win Now" mentality. While the Broncos looked for help from the outside, the Colts largely retained their own, and improvement will have to come from within. With no 1st round pick after the Trent Richardson trade, Indy struggled to improve the roster in the draft, and lost Antoine Bethea to free agency. On top of that, Robert Mathis is suspended for 4 games, and their owner Jim Irsay has been suspended for 6. It has been a rough offseason for Indy, but ultimately they will go where Andrew Luck is able to take them.

NY Giants @ Detroit: The Giants started off 2013 at 0-6, making their eventual 7-9 finish kind of impressive. This offseason, the Giants replaced their cast of underachieving RBs with overachiever Rashad Jennings. They also drafted Odell Beckham to give them another legitimate outside target, although Beckham's injury has kept him on the sidelines, and will continue to do so for the early part of the season. Chris Snee retired, but the Giants gave their interior line some replacement help with free agent Geoff Schwartz and 2nd round center Weston Richburg (although Schwartz will miss time, prompting the Giants to sign recent 49er cut Adam Snyder). Detroit finally acquired a receiver to line up opposite Calvin Johnson, in free agent Golden Tate. They also drafted TE Eric Ebron to give them some juice at a spot Brandon Pettigrew has disappointed at for years. However, the Lions weak point - the secondary - remains as weak as ever.

San Diego @ Arizona: 2013 was a year of revival for the starting QBs of these two teams. Philip Rivers bounced way back under the scheme of the new regime, helped in no small part by the drafting and starting of Keenan Allen. Ryan Mathews played - all year! - and produced, along with utility halfback Danny Woodhead. Their defense, however, remains a concern in a division where they must chase Denver. Arizona is in the same boat, chasing San Francisco and Seattle. Like San Diego, offense gives them hope, particularly with the (soon-to-be?) emergence of Andre Ellington. But defensive concerns, including the season-long suspension of Daryl Washington, free agency loss of Karlos Dansby, and season-ending injury loss of Darnell Dockett, threaten to leave the Cardinals without enough defense to keep up.

Make your Week 1 picks now!

*Legion* wrote:

Carolina @ Tampa Bay

PANTHERS

I think they'll lose, mostly because Cam's not 100 percent and Carolina is retooling its offense (a lot more two TE sets, much like Cam's first year when they had not just Greg Olsen but a not-completely-dead-yet Jeremy Shockey). The Panthers think Ed Dickson (formerly of the Ravens) can catch 40-50 balls a season. And they love Brandon Williams, who's a raw version of Jimmy Graham.

The Bucs, meanwhile, are a lot better, and they're playing at home.

Go Pats!!!

That is all.

Ah, Pick'Em season, I've missed you.

Apparently Derek Carr showed up to the first day of training camp knowing every call in the offensive playbook. He appears to have won over the locker room in a hurry.

San Francisco @ Dallas: I don't like either team right now as SF has been shaky on offense and Dallas is shaky all over (except Bryant and Witten). I think I went with San Fran as their D is less of a question mark, talent-wise.

Carolina @ Tampa Bay: Cam is too beat up right now. Tampa.

Indianapolis @ Denver: Win-now mode rarely works, but Indy's free wheeling with picks and FA money hasn't paid off yet. Hard to bet against Luck, but I'll take the home team in this game and Peyton to continue his regular season excellence. Denver.

NY Giants @ Detroit: Can we start the season with more of a "Who Cares?" than this game? Perhaps it's because I expect Detroit to underperform again and the Giants are stuck in Pie Face mode. I'll bet on Detroit's offense at home though. I really can't help but feel that the Giants are stuck in a rut.

San Diego @ Arizona: I think Arizona's season is over on defense. Legion already explained why. Let's go with San Diego this time because the first week is always stupid and means next to nothing.

Dallas Cowboys signed Michael Sam to practice squad.

One of a diminishing few teams running a traditional 4-3 defense. Glad he found a fit somewhere, and on a roster with much less 4-3 DE depth than the Rams.

*Legion* wrote:

Make your Week 1 picks now!

Quick reminder to everyone. After you submit the form it gives you an address to go back and edit your individual picks if you need to before the games start (big injury, weather concerns, just change your mind). So copy+paste+save that or bookmark that or email it to yourself or whatever in case you need it.

If you do happen to forget, you can PM me pick changes up until the start time of the first game on Sun. and I can manually edit them in for you. But please don't make this a habit.

*Legion* should remember to avoid picking Thur night games, and I will try to double-check him and make sure he doesn't. So I usually shut off the pick 'em form right as the first games kick off at 1pm eastern on Sunday.

I would also like to point out that I did not pick the Jacksonville game this week, so Stele can suck it.

But God help you when Bortlesmania takes over.

Just waiting for Teddy Time in Minnesota.

Write long post, email to webmail account, open app on phone, paste into website. I miss working from home.

San Francisco @ Dallas—I don’t care how rough of an offseason SF has had, Dallas is terrible. For all the criticism of Romo, he’s the reason that team has had success in recent years. I mean, he throws five TDs against Denver, keeps coming back again and again, and, when in the late part of the game he throws a pick because his awful defense couldn’t yet again keep a lead, it’s his fault. I’d stab a friggin’ goat to have had Romo as Tampa’s QB for the past half-dozen years. That being said, he’s getting gimpy, and you still can’t trust that defense. Is there any position on that defense that seems solid these days? They’re going to be awful, and, let’s all remember one thing; we are one Romo injury away from . . .

MORE BRANDON WEEDEN.

I can’t wait.

Carolina @ Tampa Bay—Not just homerism, this is a team that has really improved in the offseason. Depth is still terrible, but this is a team that basically traded Darrelle Revis for Alterraun Verner (a better fit for Lovie’s system), plus a starting DE, LT, and C, plus a backup two-way TE. It’s a net upgrade, just because it allowed so many holes to be filled. Carolina went the other way. Even if Kelvin Benjamin turns out to be good (which seems extraordinarily generous in his rookie year, as rookie WRs rarely make an impact), that is a terrible, gutted offensive line, and, simply put, Gerald McCoy was terrifying in the preseason. I mean, he was good last year, but HE COULD NOT BE STOPPED and I put that in all caps for a reason. PFF’s ranking for him in the preseason was legitimately obscene, and there is a very good chance Cam Newton simply will not survive the first quarter of this game. I don’t know how Josh McCown will turn out or if Mike Evans will be all that at WR (he looked very good in preseason, running actual routes, catching with his hands, doing all the little stuff), but this game for me comes down to Gerald McCoy vs. crappy offensive line.

Indianapolis @ Denver—TRENT RICHARDSON LOL. Indianapolis seems one of the biggest locks to win their division due to AFC South crappiness, but Peyton Manning is still presumably a robot God messiah ninja QB. Also, I can’t get the imagine of Wes Welker with his little head shoved into that giant helmet, eyes shining as he trips out on ecstasy, out of my head. I would pay good money for a league where everybody had to take ecstasy right before kickoff.

NY Giants @ Detroit—Detroit being optimistic before failing later seems like it’s becoming traditional. Nice to know Eli’s getting a new offensive coordinator to make upset with interceptions.

San Diego @ Arizona—Tough year for Arizona’s defense, and Carson Palmer is about the age where he’s headed for that Matt Schaub-esque “What the hell happened” kind of season. Basically, last year San Diego’s offense was their good unit, and Arizona’s defense was their good unit. San Diego is still going to be good, Arizona has free agency defections, injuries, and suspensions screwing them up.

Also, FOOOOOOTBAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL.

I will be picking this year. I will be using a random number generator to make my picks.

Vector wrote:

I will be picking this year. I will be using a random number generator to make my picks.

So a coin? ;P

jowner wrote:
Vector wrote:

I will be picking this year. I will be using a random number generator to make my picks.

So a coin? ;P

I have no coins available!

Kelvin Benjamin OROY.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I would pay good money for a league where everybody had to take ecstasy right before kickoff.

They could call it the XFL.

Vector wrote:
jowner wrote:
Vector wrote:

I will be picking this year. I will be using a random number generator to make my picks.

So a coin? ;P

I have no coins available!

Yeah who carries real money anymore?

*Legion* wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I would pay good money for a league where everybody had to take ecstasy right before kickoff.

They could call it the XFL.

I think they should have to spin a roulette wheel to choose a psychoactive before the game.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Carolina @ Tampa Bay—Not just homerism, this is a team that has really improved in the offseason. Depth is still terrible, but this is a team that basically traded Darrelle Revis for Alterraun Verner (a better fit for Lovie’s system), plus a starting DE, LT, and C, plus a backup two-way TE. It’s a net upgrade, just because it allowed so many holes to be filled. Carolina went the other way. Even if Kelvin Benjamin turns out to be good (which seems extraordinarily generous in his rookie year, as rookie WRs rarely make an impact), that is a terrible, gutted offensive line, and, simply put, Gerald McCoy was terrifying in the preseason. I mean, he was good last year, but HE COULD NOT BE STOPPED and I put that in all caps for a reason. PFF’s ranking for him in the preseason was legitimately obscene, and there is a very good chance Cam Newton simply will not survive the first quarter of this game. I don’t know how Josh McCown will turn out or if Mike Evans will be all that at WR (he looked very good in preseason, running actual routes, catching with his hands, doing all the little stuff), but this game for me comes down to Gerald McCoy vs. crappy offensive line.

Too bad the TB and CAR defenses can't be on the field at the same time. I suspect one of those units (probably TB) will outscore both offenses, maybe combined.

McCoy is truly terrifying. I think he scared Cam into missing practice today.

No, Cam is not 100 percent, not even close. He wasn't at full health toward the end of the season, and his ankle, even post surgery, is a lot worse than anyone in Charlotte is willing to say publicly.

*delurks*

You bastards with your Pick'Em, you made me participate! Long time, first time, I suppose. I don't follow football that closely, I just watch because it's the only thing good on TV when it's on. Even bitching about my hometown Titans is getting old, doesn't help that I'm so far away from "the loop".

My picks, based on little more than intuition and very outdated information:

San Fransisco over Dallas
Carolina over Tampa Bay (I had a hard time on this one, and I lol'd when I saw it's an even 50/50 split as of right now)
Indianapolis over Denver (yeah, yeah, laugh it up, this is a hunch)
Detroit over NY Giants (my gut said Giants, but I defied it)
San Diego over Arizona

I normally hate betting/fantasy/picks/etc., because for a given game that I don't care about, it takes me from "oh, I just hope it's a good game" to "YOU F*CKING MORONS CAN YOUR SH*TTY ASS DEFENSE STOP A F*CKING NOSEBLEED? GAIN MORE THAN FIVE YARDS ON YOUR NEXT POSSESSION, FOR F*CK'S SAKE!" We'll see how many weeks I last in your presence. I'll set the over-under at four.

/emerges from sports hibernation.

FINALLY!!!

On the list of headlines I did not expect to read this week, Wes Welker took Molly at the Kentucky Derby would have to rank highly.

I mean, who doesn't at the Derby??

TheGameguru wrote:

/emerges from sports hibernation.

FINALLY!!!

This! Most definitely this!

Also getting to pick against Dallas and the Giants in the first week, if there was a bears game to pick against them too it would have been perfect.

I was about to post one of the GIFs from that story, but I won't spoil it. Greatest Madden GIF ever though, as far as I'm concerned.

Oh my god, it took everything in me not to burst out laughing hysterically in my office. I'm still wiping little half-tears from the corners of my eyes. That and the Super Bowl article are solid f*cking gold. He did a great one a while back with an NBA 2K game, I forget which, where he takes a Franchise mode and starts injecting draft class after draft class of mooks, then waits to see how long it takes before mooks overrun the entire league and the hilarity which ensues. It's brilliant.

*Legion* wrote:

I was about to post one of the GIFs from that story, but I won't spoil it. Greatest Madden GIF ever though, as far as I'm concerned.

I wish I could tell which one you were referring to, there were so many gems, which thinking back makes me start to snicker uncontrollably again. This made my day, I haven't laughed this "hard" in ages.

Bubs14 wrote:

I normally hate betting/fantasy/picks/etc., because for a given game that I don't care about, it takes me from "oh, I just hope it's a good game" to "YOU F*CKING MORONS CAN YOUR SH*TTY ASS DEFENSE STOP A F*CKING NOSEBLEED? GAIN MORE THAN FIVE YARDS ON YOUR NEXT POSSESSION, FOR F*CK'S SAKE!" We'll see how many weeks I last in your presence. I'll set the over-under at four. ;)

Pick ems are pretty laid back. Personally, the worst sin is quitting mid-season as Legion will continue to list you and it looks stupid when someone sits at the bottom of the list with 4-6 as their record. Stick with it! This is one of those things that random luck works a lot of the time.

garion333 wrote:

Personally, the worst sin is quitting mid-season as Legion will continue to list you and it looks stupid when someone sits at the bottom of the list with 4-6 as their record. Stick with it!

Yeah, Certis. :p

Owner of a mighty 2-3 full-season pick 'em record last year.

Bubs14 wrote:

*delurks*

You bastards with your Pick'Em, you made me participate! Long time, first time, I suppose. I don't follow football that closely, I just watch because it's the only thing good on TV when it's on. Even bitching about my hometown Titans is getting old, doesn't help that I'm so far away from "the loop".

My picks, based on little more than intuition and very outdated information:

San Fransisco over Dallas
Carolina over Tampa Bay (I had a hard time on this one, and I lol'd when I saw it's an even 50/50 split as of right now)
Indianapolis over Denver (yeah, yeah, laugh it up, this is a hunch)
Detroit over NY Giants (my gut said Giants, but I defied it)
San Diego over Arizona

I normally hate betting/fantasy/picks/etc., because for a given game that I don't care about, it takes me from "oh, I just hope it's a good game" to "YOU F*CKING MORONS CAN YOUR SH*TTY ASS DEFENSE STOP A F*CKING NOSEBLEED? GAIN MORE THAN FIVE YARDS ON YOUR NEXT POSSESSION, FOR F*CK'S SAKE!" We'll see how many weeks I last in your presence. I'll set the over-under at four. ;)

This is not a group that takes the picks seriously, it's just fun to rant about football with other knowledgeable people, plus Panthers fans like Enix.

Stele wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Personally, the worst sin is quitting mid-season as Legion will continue to list you and it looks stupid when someone sits at the bottom of the list with 4-6 as their record. Stick with it!

Yeah, Certis. :p

Owner of a mighty 2-3 full-season pick 'em record last year. :lol:

Hey, hey. I beat *Legion* the year before ... I think. I was still celebrating.

I made an utterly pointless season predictions thread.

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