NFL Picks - Week 3

Before we get started I'd just like to acknowledge what happened last week. I correctly picked two straight up winners in sixteen games. It was the worst thing I've ever done. I'm sure some would argue to the contrary, but it's like I've always said, "Manslaughter ain't murder." I've spent the last few days taking a long, hard look at myself in an effort to make sure something like this never happens again. At first I figured I needed to do more analysis, but then I reconsidered. After all, I could have flipped a coin and done better. So maybe the answer is to do even less analysis ... And that's exactly what I'm going to do!

Sunday Morning

Atlanta @ Dallas

With a rash of injuries to their skill position players it might be time to see if the Cowboys' superb offensive line can truly win a game on their own. They will simply snap the ball onto the ground a yard behind the line of scrimmage then form a protective circle around it and slowly move down the field in unison with military-like precision. The refs will then inform them that this is illegal. Then they'll lose, because they don't have a plan B.

Falcons 21-13

Indianapolis @ Tennessee

Is it officially time for the people of Indianapolis to start worrying? Yes, those potholes aren't going to fix themselves. When are the politicians in that town going to step up and do something about it? I'll tell ya when, just as soon as the people demand it. In a democracy such as ours, we have only ourselves to blame. As for their football team, whoa boy do they look like a steamy pile. I figure they have to win this one, right? Who knows? I'm no longer pretending to.

Colts 27-20

Oakland @ Cleveland

It's a rematch of the NBA Finals, except this time it's being played between two entirely different teams, in a different sport. So in reality, there's not much weight to that comparison ... or this game. Derek Carr has to get his first road win sometime, right? I mean it would be ridiculous (hilarious) if he went his whole career without one.

Raiders 30-24

Cincinnati @ Baltimore

The Ravens will be out for revenge on Sunday because, as we all know, they were swept by the Bengals last season. Oh, you didn't know that? Well neither did I, I had to look it up. But I'll bet the Ravens remember. Though, there are most likely a handful of new players on the team that wouldn't remember it; but I have to imagine they were informed of the situation. And if that's the case I expect their emotion to carry them.

Ravens 28-24

Jacksonville @ New England

I now realize I can't trust the Jaguars. And I'm not just talking about that ill-fated safari I took! But seriously folks, I don't really know what to make of this team. I should probably watch one of their games at some point. I joked about it last week, but I'm going to make it a goal of mine to actually catch a few plays this time around. I'll definitely watch some of this game if it's close down the stretch ... which I don't expect it to be. So see ya next week Jags?

Patriots 35-21 

New Orleans @ Carolina

Will Drew Brees play? Does it matter? Brees has not been as effective this season. However, the Saints' back-up is Luke McCown, who has not been effective since Louisiana Tech. Even if Brees does play I feel like he'll be a shell of his former self, meaning that if he's hit hard he'll crack immediately.

Panthers 23-17

Philadelphia @ New York Jets

DeMarco Murray currently has 11 yards rushing on the season. I almost rushed for 11 yards from my bed to my bathroom when I woke up today. That might seem like an unfair comparison until you consider that I broke three tackles on my way there.

Jets 17-13

Tampa Bay @ Houston

Another week and another lackluster performance from the Texans' offense. At some point after flip-flopping his starting quarterback for the tenth time or so Bill O'Brien will realize that neither of them is a true QB1, and that either way he won't be getting much out of that position. Will one of them be good enough to get the job done at home against Tampa? Sure, why not? Like I said earlier, I have no idea anymore.

Texans 20-17

San Diego @ Minnesota

This is the second consecutive 10am game for the Chargers, a tough task for most West coast squads. They have to be pretty bummed to be waking up this early. They're like the doofus in college who schedules early classes every day of the week. At a certain point you stop feeling bad for them. They can claim all they want that it frees up the rest of their day to whatever they feel, but I'll tell you what it doesn't free up, and that's your nights for partying. Quit being lame Chargers, just blow off this game and come to the kegger with us.

Vikings 24-21 

Pittsburgh @ St. Louis

For some this game will conjure up images of the Super Bowl XIV match-up between these two teams. Not for me though, I've never watched it. In fact, I've never watched anything that was filmed or took place before I was born. Godfather? Never seen it. Citizen Kane? Closed my eyes during film school. The moon landing? I'll believe it when I see it ... which I won't because it was 1969. Look, if I were meant to see any of this stuff I would have been born earlier. I expect this one to get a little wild.

Rams 30-28

Sunday Afternoon

San Francisco @ Arizona

Two old foes meet in a showdown in the desert, just like the Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote. I suppose in this scenario Kaepernick would be the roadrunner, because he looks almost exactly like him. Then again that would imply that Kaepernick is clever, so maybe it isn't the most accurate comparison. All I know is that someone is going to fall and poof into a cloud of dust, because the field outside the numbers at University of Phoenix Stadium is mostly dirt. 

Cardinals 23-13

Buffalo @ Miami

Over the last three meetings between these teams Bills kicker Dan Carpenter has made 12 field goals. So if you're deciding between kickers for your fantasy team, start Dan Carpenter! Also, if you have more than one kicker, stop playing fantasy football! The other people in the league are laughing at you behind your back. Do the honorable thing and just get out now. 

Bills 19-16

Chicago @ Seattle

This one has the makings of a squash match, so let's move on to a more pressing issue. Sleepless in Seattle the movie was released in 1993, which means that sports headline writers have been using that phrase for 22 years now in reference to anything involving a Seattle sports team; sometimes with no context whatsoever. I saw it just this week on NFL Network. STOP IT! It's not clever. Even attempting to make a pun out of it is well worn territory at this point. No more "Sweepless in Seattle" or "Jeepless in Seattle" (though I would be slightly interested to see what that article was about). I won't stand for it, and neither should any of you. If you see it happening take action. Snap a picture and tweet it at the guilty party with a plea or demand for them to stop (or send it my way: @erikandersen_ and I'll see to it that someone is shamed). Once we get this solved we can delve into the Pike Place Market fish throwing B-roll that has been seen coming back from break during every Hawks game ever.

Seahawks 38-6

Sunday Night

Denver @ Detroit

Guess who's back, back again, CriColl's back, tell a friend (seriously, please tell a friend, he could use more views). He's still having trouble with his web-cam. Not to throw the guy under the bus, but he doesn't seem to be too tech savvy. Please bear with us as we try to get this straightened out. CC, take it away:
Suggestion noted CriColl, we'll see what we can do. I agree that Manning and the Broncos will once again find a way to win.

Broncos 28-18

Monday Night

Kansas City @ Green Bay

You thinking what I'm thinking? If you said Super Bowl I rematch then you're wrong, that wasn't what I was thinking. Look guy, don't get me started on this again. If it happened pre-'86 I don't give a rip (until I decide this gimmick has run its course; so probably next week)

Packers 30-20


NFL Picks - Week 3 Thursday

Washington @ New York Giants

The Giants have blown double-digit fourth quarter leads in each of their first two games. Some would say this shows that New York is a team that doesn't know how to close. I would say that it shows that New York is a team that loves twist endings. They're the M. Night Shyamalans of the NFL. This week I expect them to flip the script in classic Shyamalan fashion and comeback to win in the fourth. After the game we'll find out that Tom Coughlin actually died during that '07 NFC Championship Game when his nose turned purple, and Eli is the only one who can see him.

Giants 27-23


NFL Picks - Week 2

Sunday Morning

Houston @ Carolina

Time to do some quick deductive reasoning. The Texans lost their opener at home, while the Panthers won on the road. Naturally this means that the Panthers should be victorious when these two meet in Carolina. Yeah, naturally ... But there ain't nothing natural about me baby! For instance, did you see that last sentence? Terrible grammar! deal with it! One thing I have in common with Dennis Rodman is that I'm bad as I want to be. Also, neither of us have ever really gotten over Carmen Electra.

Texans 19-16

San Francisco @ Pittsburgh

The 49ers' Monday night win over Minnesota was hard to watch. Not so much because of the sloppy play, or the fact that the Niners won, the real issue was the unholy announcing alliance of Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer. And really, Berman wasn't even that bad. Sure he attempted to squeeze in a few of his cliched quips, but he barely had time to speak in between Dilfer's orgasms. I legitimately think there's a chance that Dilfer is Colin Kaepernick's birth father. Luckily, we as a nation won't have to deal with this booth of nightmares for another year; until then we'll prepare as best we can.

Steelers 21-17

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans

Jameis Winston? More like Lame-is Winston! That's what I would yell if I were in the Superdome this Sunday. Really rattle his cage to see how the rook handles the heat. My guess is he'd start to cry, and possibly even soil himself a bit. Then again, he might not even hear me, because it would probably be pretty loud in there, not to mention my imaginary seats aren't that close to the field. Even without my cutting remark I'll guess that the Saints snap their 5 game home losing streak and get their first win in the Superdome since last October.

Saints 31-20

Detroit @ Minnesota

After watching the Vikings play on Monday night I'm starting to think I made a huge mistake by picking them to make the playoffs. Obviously one game isn't much to judge a team on, but boy oh boy did their offensive game plan leave much to be desired. They looked like a Madden opponent on Easy. I'm not going to fully jump off their bandwagon just yet, but let's just say that we've stopped for the bandwagon for the night and I'm walking around the camp to see if anybody else has better pelts.

Lions 24-21

Arizona @ Chicago

The Bears looked competent for long stretches of last Sunday's game against the Packers. Sadly, for Chicago, this is news. Unsurprisingly, they ended up blowing it in the end, which was to be expected. Of course, I always expect the unexpected, so for me it wasn't expected, which I guess would make it unexpected ... Which is what I always expect. Uhhhh ... Now I don't know what to expect.

Bears 23-19

New England @ Buffalo

Rex Ryan joked in a press conference that only King Kong could cover Rob Gronkowski one-on-one. But I wonder, if King Kong were actually available would Rex really want to put him in a one-on-one coverage situation? For a minute let's set aside semantics, like the custom uniform/helmet that would need to be created, and focus on what he'd actually be like on the field. First of all, it would be nearly impossible for the rest of the defense to communicate with him, unless they taught Kong sign language, a la Koko. Secondly, I have to imagine Kong would be far too physical with Gronk, incurring multiple, if not countless, penalties. And finally, how do you beat a 30 foot tall ape? The play-action fake. It's well known around the league that Kong let's his eyes wander into the backfield too much, resulting in him being easily baited by misdirection. Just be sure that you combo that with a crossing route and not a deep ball because, well, he's 30 feet tall, you're not going to get the ball over the top on him.

Bills 23-20  

San Diego @ Cincinnati

The Bengals cruised to an easy Week 1 victory last Sunday. Sure it was against the Raiders, but it still counts, right? Checking ... Yes, it still counts. The last couple of seasons I haven't expected much from Cincinnati, yet they've ended up doing pretty well and making he playoffs. I realize now that the reason I underestimate them is because of their performance once they get to the playoffs. Their lackluster losses leave a bad taste in my mouth. It's almost like when you get sick and you never again want to eat whatever you ate just beforehand. It's not that that food is bad, you just don't want it near you for a while because of the sense memory. So in other words, Andy Dalton makes me violently ill.

Bengals 27-23

Tennessee @ Cleveland

Off the field Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel are seemingly polar opposites. The former a soft-spoken, straight-laced square; the latter a wild child party boy. And while on the field they're both athletic Heisman winners who are prone to scramble if the situation calls for it, or even sometimes when it doesn't, in Johnny's case, it's clear that Manziel is still the more volatile of the two. Even one game in Mariota already seems more composed. I imagine that the interesting dynamic between the two would make for a fantastic sitcom. Though most of the show would take place away from the field, of course, for budgetary reasons, the guys would still be in full uniform throughout. Give it a funny name like The Odd Couple and I think we've really got something here. I'm not sure we can fully believe what we saw from these teams in Week 1, but Tennessee looked so good and Cleveland looked so bad that I really have no choice.

Titans 26-21

Atlanta @ New York Giants

Rashad Jennings was pretty upset that Eli Manning told him not to score on a 2nd & Goal late in the Giants' Week 1 loss to Dallas. Yet I think the important thing for Jennings to remember is that he had no chance of scoring on the play regardless of whether or not he wanted to due to heavy penetration from the Cowboys. It's an interesting tactic though; if I were Jennings I'd blame all of my non TD-yielding carries on the fact that no one told me to score. Both of these teams scored 26 points in their opening contest, with only one being victorious. Alas, football is a fickle beast. It brings to mind the classic Vince Lombardi quote: "Sometimes 26 points is enough, sometimes it ain't. Ya never know. Dat's why I love dis game!"

Giants 30-27

St. Louis @ Washington

This trip to our nation's capital will be a big one for the Rams. Not so much because of the game, but more so because these fresh faced youngsters will get to see first hand how democracy works when they tour the floor of the Senate. Not to mention the chance to see some of our most inspirational national landmarks. I hope these boys appreciate and take advantage of this special opportunity.

Rams 26-17

Sunday Afternoon

Miami @ Jacksonville

Well it turns out I should have let you talk me out of my Jaguars pick last week. For some reason I always give them too much credit. Maybe it's because I assume they'll have a chip on their collective shoulder as a result of being forced to play in the league's worst uniforms. On the bright side their defense didn't look awful (And keep in mind, when I say "look" I'm not trying to imply that I watched one snap of their game, because I didn't, hopefully we're clear on that). From what I've seen of this team (again, literally nothing) they are moving, albeit slowly, in the right direction. They most likely won't get a win this week, but I'll be watching closely (definitely not) to see what progress they've made.

Dolphins 24-13

Baltimore @ Oakland

Last week when Derek Carr went down the Raiders were forced to turn, once again, to Matt McGloin. Look, I'm not one to root for injuries, but whenever McGloin gets to see the field it gives me the chance to shout "McGloin!" a la George C. Scott from The Simpsons. So if Carr feels like he needs to rest that bruised thumb a little longer I'm all for it. For his health and for more McGloin!

Ravens 31-17

Dallas @ Philadelphia

There was much grumbling over the fact that DeMarco Murray only had 9 yards rushing in his Eagles debut. But hey, he had two touchdowns, and all he needed was 9 yards. That's efficiency folks. That's the Chip Kelly system (that fact that one of the TDs was a reception is of no matter). Now Murray gets a chance to keep his insane yards per TD rate under 5 when he faces his old team. You know I'm talking about the Cowboys when I say "his old team," right? I mean I didn't feel it necessary to waste time and space by typing that out, it's pretty obvious. It says Dallas @ Philadelphia right above this, so it should be clear. Also, Murray has only played on one other NFL team before this. Or did you think that the Eagles were going to be playing the Oklahoma Sooners this Sunday? Is that what you thought? That the NFL and the NCAA got together and decided to play a historical cross promotional game and that this is the first you're hearing about it?!? That's not what you thought, right? Ok good, because that would be ridiculous. I'm glad we cleared this up. Anyway, I'll take the home team.

Eagles 30-23

Sunday Night

Seattle @ Green Bay

It's that time of the week again folks! Let's hear from Sunday Night Football's own Cris Collinsworth (quick note: We still weren't able to get video of Mr. Collinsworth because of continued webcam issues.)

While I value your opinion CC, I disagree with it vehemently. Also, I should point out that he said the Seahawks haven't given up 34 points in a game since 2010. Really they haven't given up more than 34 in a game since 2010. Don't sweat it CriColl, we all make mistakes!

Seahawks 28-25

Monday Night

New York Jets @ Indianapolis

After watching their Week 1 performance you might be thinking it's time for me to pump the brakes on my Colts Super Bowl prediction. Well guess what? I already made the pick! Ain't no brakes on this one! We're hurdling unrestrained and inevitably toward the future. As for an Indy team looking for its first win, there's no time like the present.

Colts 24-14


NFL Picks - Week 2 Thursday

Denver @ Kansas City

Coming into the season I was pretty sure Peyton Manning was going to have trouble being Peyton Manning. After seeing him play against the Ravens, I'm not sure Peyton Manning could be Cooper Manning at this point. I mean that in terms of football prowess of course, if we're talking about energy trading, well then it's no-brainer that Cooper would be the Manning of choice. Peyton and the Broncos managed to get by Baltimore in Week 1 with a timely pick six, a mistake that would be unusual from their Week 2 opponent. I expect the Chiefs to carry the momentum from their road win over the Texans into their home opener and knock off Denver.

Chiefs 23-20


NFL Picks - Week 1

Sunday Morning

Seattle @ St. Louis

The Seahawks open their season with what could be their final trip to St. Louis ever. With the looming possibility of the Rams moving to LA you'll no doubt see many of the Hawks snatch a few blades of turf on their way out of the illustrious Edward Jones Dome just in case, so that they can prove to their grandchildren that they set foot inside the legendary building that gave birth to Ram Rules. Expect a slug fest.

Seahawks 16-9

Green Bay @ Chicago

Many expert prognosticators, including myself, are expecting the Bears to stumble this year, and it makes sense when you really look at the logic. The old adage is that when you're being chased by a bear you should run downhill because the bear's own momentum will cause it to tumble over itself. This applies to the NFL as well. When trying to beat the Bears, run downhill. Or you could also pass on them too; their entire defense will probably be lousy. 

Packers 38-22

Kansas City @ Houston

I'm highly anticipating this match-up because it features one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. Sure JJ Watt is great, but the guy I'm talking about is Justin Houston. Though, my excitement has little to do with his actual play on the field, it's more more about the fact that during this game Justin Houston will be just in Houston. How serendipitous! I'll give the edge to the Chiefs in this one because of that pun and my lack of faith in the Texans' offense.

Chiefs 17-16

Cleveland @ New York Jets

IK Enemkpali, the man who punched Geno Smith in the face, breaking his jaw and rendering him a useless smoothie-drinker for the foreseeable future, is currently on the Bills practice squad, meaning he doesn't actually have to attend Buffalo's games. If I were IK I'd a buy a front row seat to every Jets game in an effort to intimidate the sidelined Smith like so many a pro wrestler before him. (NOTE: After some quick research, and really just thinking about it for a while, I'm pretty sure that practice squad players do have to be on the sidelines for games; but does IK Enemkpali seem like a guy who cares about the rules to you? Exactly.) In what should be a real stinker I'll take the home team.

Jets 16-13

Indianapolis @ Buffalo

Here's one of the more interesting match-ups in Week 1, featuring the high-powered Colts' offense clashing with a stout Bills' defense, and a questionable Colts' defense going up against a stout Bills' offense (not a compliment). I'm expecting a classic Andrew Luck performance, meaning he'll throw a couple of interceptions early, but ultimately rally his team for the win.

Colts 24-20

Miami @ Washington

It's pretty clear at this point that Redskins' coach Jay Gruden just hates Robert Griffin III. I'm not saying I have much confidence in him either, but Gruden seems to relish the opportunity to bench him on a yearly (if not weekly) basis. I wouldn't be surprised if Gruden purposefully sent RG3 out to the field as the 12th man multiple times throughout the game just to incur a penalty and make Griffin look like an idiot. Then again, nothing surprises me in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.

Dolphins 27-17

Carolina @ Jacksonville

Get ready loyal reader for one of your favorite features: Mild Upset Alert! I have little faith in the Panthers; then again, I don't have much faith in the Jaguars either. So if they're both lame let's make this one interesting and take the underdogs playing at home. Yes, I know those underdogs are the Jaguars. Yes, I know that the Jaguars have sucked for years. Ok, yes, sucked hard. Yes, I ... quit trying to talk me out of this!

Jaguars 14-13  

Sunday Afternoon

New Orleans @ Arizona

If last season was any indicator, this will be one of the few games all year in which half the Cardinals' roster isn't injured. That should be enough to put Arizona over the top. Not to mention that the humidity-prone Saints figure to be confused the dry desert heat of Glendale. While it will do wonders for those players with tuberculosis it will take at least two and a half quarters to acclimate, at which point it will be too late.

Cardinals 23-21

Detroit @ San Diego

Once more into the breach old friends! It's another chapter in one of the NFL's greatest rivalries: Lions vs. Chargers. And fear not, the personification of this classic match-up, the rivalry's very own mascot, Leo Boltman, the electric, dancing lion will surely be in attendance. Whether it's your first Detroit/SD game or your last, this one should be a real treat. Unless it's your last, that means you're going to die soon.

Chargers 23-17

Tennessee @ Tampa Bay

It's the #1 pick in the draft going up against #2 when Jameis Winston takes on Marcus Mariota, with the simple stipulation that whoever loses must go back to college after the game is done, choose a new major, and complete their eligibility, forfeiting millions of dollars in the process, of course. Why would either player agree to this you ask? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can tell you for certain that it's not made up, in case that's what you're intimating.

Buccaneers 20-17

Cincinnati @ Oakland

With every new season comes the chance to turn it all around. For Andy Dalton and the Bengals that means actually winning a playoff game. For the Raiders it means finishing the season with a winning record. Do I think either of these things will happen? No. But September is a time for dreamers, so why not let them believe? Unfortunately I can't count myself among those folks. I haven't had a dream in six years. It's to the point now where I'm wondering if this is actually the opposite, and in reality just one six year long dream that I haven't woken up from. You guys would tell me if that were the case, right?

Bengals 28-17

Baltimore @ Denver

These two teams faced off in the opening week of 2013 as well. In that contest Peyton Manning tied an NFL record by throwing 7 touchdown passes. It seemed like a remarkable achievement at the time until later in that very same season when Nick Foles matched it. If you ask me, Peyton's never been the same again. He's constantly haunted by the idea that he's no better than Nick Foles. Perhaps this rematch will jog Manning from his funk, or perhaps he will devolve deeper into his existential nightmare with nary an end in sight. So in other words there's quite a bit riding on this one. Peyton and co. usually start the season hot, which makes them the pick here.

Broncos 34-28

Sunday Night

New York Giants @ Dallas

As I mentioned in the season preview, we have managed to land a premiere NFL mind to contribute guest analysis for the Sunday night games this season. In fact, it's the man who provides the color commentary for Sunday Night Football himself. That's right, Mr. Cris Collinsworth! Now, we only have audio from him due to some webcam issues, that we will hopefully have ironed out by next week. But, we've ingeniously provided a charming photo of him in the clip below to make things easier on you. Let's hear his thoughts on this match-up:

Dynamite stuff CC. I'll ride his wave of excitement and take Dallas.

Cowboys 27-20

Monday Night

Philadelphia @ Atlanta

The biggest question coming into this match up is how long will Sam Bradford be able to remain on the field? Despite what some may think, I just don't see him staying out there the whole game. It's crazy to think that the Falcons won't possess the ball for at least a few minutes. And if they do it would require Bradford to play both ways, something I'm not sure he's capable of. Also, he's probably going to blow out both of his knees on the first snap.

Eagles 38-31

Minnesota @ San Francisco

After the mass exodus of players and coaches this offseason the 49ers cupboard is quite bare. So bare, in fact, that new head coach Jim Tomsula will also be starting at middle linebacker alongside Navarro Bowman. I realize he's a fiery little guy, but putting him out on the field at this point in his life is unwise and downright dangerous. In all honesty though, the rapid demise of the Niners has almost  inspired sympathy from me. It's kind of sad ... Kind of. But in the end I'm not losing sleep over it. If there's a silver lining for them it's that San Francisco doesn't have much to lose, because their expectations are so low ... because they look shitty.

Vikings 24-17


NFL Picks - Week 1 Thursday

Pittsburgh @ New England

Football is officially back ... and I want to barf. No, it has nothing to do with the teams involved in this game it's just my yearly ritual. Before the first game of each season I purge myself in a symbolic expelling of past successes and failures, leaving me refreshed, spry, and prepared to start the season anew. It's worked wonders for me, and I recommend the players in this game follow suit immediately before kickoff by just unloading wherever they are on the field. I guarantee it would improve the quality of play. As for this game, ugh, Patriots will probably win.

Patriots 31-23


2015 NFL Preview

Before we embark upon a new season, it only makes since to look at how the last one ended. Russell Wilson's game-winning 35 yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse in overtime of the NFC Championship game will certainly go down in history as one of the NFL's most memorable plays of all time. While I'm not sure I agree with the league's decision to cancel the Super Bowl, I do understand where they were coming from. Once those dogs got loose on the field they just wouldn't leave; really Commissioner Goodell was left with no choice. But that was last season, and we shall dwell on it no further (NO FURTHER!). Let's move on to 2015 with a look at my projected (exactly correct) records for all 32 teams (playoff teams in ITALICS):

AFC East
New England 10-6
Buffalo 9-7
Miami 6-10
New York Jets 5-11

AFC North
Baltimore 11-5
Pittsburgh 10-6
Cincinnati 8-8
Cleveland 6-10

AFC South
Indianapolis 12-4
Houston 8-8
Tennessee 6-10
Jacksonville 5-11

AFC West
Denver 11-5
Kansas City 10-6
San Diego 8-8
Oakland 4-12

NFC East
Dallas 10-6
Philadelphia 10-6
New York Giants 7-9
Washington 3-13

NFC North
Green Bay 12-4
Minnesota 10-6
Detroit 8-8
Chicago 4-12

NFC South
New Orleans 9-7
Atlanta 8-8
Carolina 6-10
Tampa Bay 4-12

NFC West
Seattle 16-0
Arizona 8-8
St. Louis 7-9
San Francisco 5-11

As you can see, I'm expecting traditional AFC powers Denver and New England to take a bit of a step back this season, mainly because of Tom Brady's suspension and the fact that Peyton Manning apparently has no feeling in his fingertips. Also, Gary Kubiak is the Broncos' coach. I won't say that he was a bad hire, just uninspired ... and bad. In the NFC I actually had trouble cobbling together six teams that I could confidently put in the playoffs. Expecting big things from the Hawks, but who else is looking solid? I'm not sure how I feel about Dallas or Philadelphia, so let's just call them both 10-6 and let them go at it in the Wild Card round. Speaking of the playoffs, here's how they're going to shake out:

Wild Card Round
New England over Kansas City
Pittsburgh over Denver

Divisional Round
Baltimore over New England
Indianapolis over Pittsburgh

Conference Championship
Indianapolis over Baltimore


Wild Card Round
Dallas over Philadelphia
New Orleans over Minnesota

Divisional Round
Green Bay over Dallas
Seattle over New Orleans

Conference Championship
Seattle over Green Bay

Super Bowl 50
Seattle over Indianapolis

Place your bets accordingly.

Now I know what you're thinking, "Erik, you think you're a real hot shot, and rightfully so. I mean you did win a world championship picking scores, and you have the gaudy trophy to prove it. And don't get me started on your good looks. But sometimes I disagree with you, and being the ungrateful punk that I am, I think I can do a better job picking games." Well now you're in luck! I've started a pick 'em league on Yahoo called HCM Challenge. Here's the info:

League ID: 27697
Password: picks

Join up and see if you can best a World Champion. You won't be able to, but it should be a real thrill for you to try.

As usual, check back here every Friday for weekly picks (Thursday games are posted on Thursday, otherwise that would be cheating). As a bonus, I've managed to land a special guest analyst who will be lending his expertise to the Sunday night game every week; not that I need the help, but it should be interesting regardless.

Well alright, I don't know about you, but I'm ready to rock. Let's do this! What's that? One more week? Hmm. Well what are you guys up to for the next eight days? Wanna hang out, er ..? Hey, wh-where ya going? If you're trying to leave there's no door over there. In fact, now that I look around there are no doors at all. Where are we? How do we get out? .....