NFL Week One Picks: Farewell, Bandit; Hello, Saints

Posted by admin - 09/09/18 at 12:09 am

Welcome back to another NFL season of my discontent, my friends.

For the last four years I’ve written this column, an offshoot of my old Fistful of Sports column and blog, where I crack wise about the NFL and show off my intrinsic lack-of-knowledge about the game. By the way, my record? I’ve checked with my bookie Formerly Fat Tony, and I am 142-89 picking games, and 228-226-15 against the Vegas point spreads.

As a side note, that’s pretty close to 50%. Anyone thinking of going to Vegas and parlaying their football acumen into a quick retirement account should probably consider that and invest instead in a 401(k), or an ice cream truck.

Also, for those of you wanting a quick update on the state of media in our world, last year this column ran in four different places on the internet and in print. This year, three are out of business and the other has cut their budget so badly, they could only print my column if I agreed to throw a newspaper route for them and beg for spare change along the way.

So for now, it’ll be right here. Here we go.

HAIL TO THE BANDIT

I’m going full-on Bill Simmons, and not even pretending to start this one with my chosen sport.

— Reid’s All-Sarcasm Super Bowl 52 Timeline: Philly Philly

Burt Reynolds died this week at 82. Lovely Wife Kimberly thought that was a young age, but we both agreed that 82 Burt Reynolds years were worth 140 years to anyone else.

Reynolds was one of those guys who wasn’t an actor, as much as he was just a cool guy. Every movie he acted in during his prime, he was Burt Reynolds, kind of in the same way that James Garner always seemed to be James Garner.

That’s not an indictment of his acting, rather it’s just a testament to the force of his personality. Many of his films had scripts you could put on a Post-It note, but he still seemed cool in them. “Gator” wasn’t a masterpiece, but I’ve watched it probably five times.

Of course, there’s a football connection there. He was not only a player at Florida State, where he famously roomed with ESPN’s Lee Corso, he also was a part-owner of the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits, even though he didn’t actually invest any money in the team. And he starred in the best football movie ever.

Because seriously, pro football doesn’t really make for good movies. Baseball and boxing are much better, and for every “Rudy” and “Remember The Titans” college football classic, there’s a “The Replacements” floating there at the bottom of the bowl.

I like that movie. I’ve given the Keanu Reeves “Pain heals” speech many many times, including recently to a friend who broke his leg. But it’s not exactly a movie submitted for our Oscar consideration.

“Smokey and the Bandit” was his first major comedy, but “The Longest Yard” had humor and heart. Give it a chance when you see it rerun on the weekends.

And pass on the remake. Hard pass.

NFL 2018 PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

It’s been a very strange run-up to this season. If I had told you last week the Cleveland Browns were more likely to be indicted for insider trading than they were to go to the playoffs, you would have though it was a good line.

 — NFL Draft 2018 All-Sarcasm Timeline: The Fabulous Baker Boy 

By the way, that Cleveland Browns Vegas win total over/under of 5.5? That’s a sucker’s bet. From zero to six wins with their best player (Joe Thomas) retired? There’s about as much chance of that as me showing back up on TV again. I bet the under and put my house on it. And by “house” I mean “trailer.”

For the season picks, I’ll take the Saints in the NFC South, the Rams in the West, and the Vikings in the North with the Packers as a Wild Card.

In the NFC East, the Eagles are the favorites, which means there’s no way I can pick them. It’s tradition, a team comes out of nowhere to make the Super Bowl, more often than not they return to their regularly-scheduled nowhere soon after. I’ll take the Giants to win it and the Eagles to make a wild card.

In the AFC, I’ll go Patriots, Steelers, Chargers, and Texans to win the divisions, with Wild Cards to the Chiefs and the Jaguars.

Super Bowl, give me the Saints over the Patriots. And I am definitely, absolutely, mostly positive about those picks.

AND NOW, THE PICKS

Two years ago, I started the season by going 6-0 against the Vegas spread, which was astounding. That’s roughly the same odds as you meeting Scarlett Johansson at a garage sale, and convincing her to come back to your place to play Scattergories.

I bring that up because I always do, and also to remind everyone how things went south very soon after that. I was hoping for another perfect sheet to start the year, but Thursday kept that dream at bay.

If there one thing I know more than any other, it’s that the Texas Longhorns should never be ranked to start a season. But if there’s one other thing I know, it’s that the Atlanta Falcons will always let me down. Always. And so, I start the season at 0-1 against the spread, and also 0-1 straight up after that Atlanta Red Zone debacle.

Here’s the picks for the first weekend of the NFL season. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only, as always, no wagering.

Houston (+6) at New England: This is a first-week matchup of two teams who could go either way, in the biggest of ways. The Patriots again have no receivers and questions on defense, and the Texans have an all-star team that’s made of paper mache.
Pick: Patriots to win, but Texans to cover, which means I think the Patriots win by less than six.

Dallas (+3) at Carolina: For the first time in quite a while I’m not picking against the Cowboys because of their defense. I’m picking against them because they have a receiving corps that would be overmatched in your average junior college intramural league.
Pick: Panthers to win and cover.

LA Rams (-4.5) at Oakland: Jon Gruden is playing a fascinating long game here, trading Khalil Mack for draft picks in the next two years. The Raiders are to high draft picks like the Kardashians are to talent. Don’t try and over think it, there’s no correlation there.
Pick: Rams to win and cover.

Tennessee (-1) at Miami: This game should be a real slug-fest. Which means I think it’ll be about as interesting as a festival of slugs.
Pick: I’ll take the Titans to win and cover, as long as you don’t make me watch this one.

Pittsburgh (-4.0 at Cleveland): Le’veon Bell hasn’t shown up for the Steelers. No one has shown up for the Browns in almost twenty years.
Pick: Steelers to win and cover.

Chicago (+7) at Green Bay: Khalil Mack changes this Bears team completely, although not as much as if he was a guy who could catch the football.
Pick: Packers to win, Bears to cover.

I’ll also take the Avengers over Thanos. “Ozark” season two over the first season, and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” over “This is Us.” Good luck, everybody.

– Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

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