Our panel of experts is unanimous in its faith that the Cardinals will get back in the win column this week. They’re more divided over the Cowboys and a few others.
It’s hard to pick games for the opening week of the season. You don’t have anything to go on other than the depth chart and whatever precedent carried over from the year before. Plus, it takes some teams more time than others to shake off the offseason rust (looking at you, Arizona Cardinals).
So major props to our panel of experts here. Nobody finished the week with a losing record, even the computer came in at a healthy 9-7. The big winner was Joel “The Blog Father” Thorman. I’m not sure what his secret is, but he wiped the floor with the rest of us, going 12-4 with his Week 1 picks. What really set him apart was that he was the ONLY person on the panel to pick the Patriots to beat the Cardinals last week.
Joel broke with the pack again this week, making the Colts his underdog team, while everyone else is going with the Broncos. Most sportsbooks have the Broncos as six-point favorites. And our picks are straight up, not against the spread. Joel’s really going out on a limb here, but maybe he’s onto something.
There’s not a lot of consensus among the picks for Week 2. Everyone is taking the Raiders to beat the Falcons, the Cardinals to beat the Bucs and the Panthers to prevail over the 49ers. All of those look like very reasonable, very safe choices for your survivor pool. If there’s an upset in that bunch it might be the Buccaneers, albeit a longshot.
The toughest game to pick when you compare the two teams side-by-side is Cincinnati at Pittsburgh. Both teams are very complete from top to bottom, both can score a ton of points, and they also have a knack for beating the living hell out of each other.
As a reminder, because we do our picks so early in the week, our panel gets the chance to make a couple re-picks on Thursday, based on late developments. Last week, we only had one person re-pick a game: Fooch flipping from the Titans to the Vikings, very prescient.
I suspect everyone will be watching the status of Russell Wilson. Pete Carroll has said that the Seahawks starting quarterback wasn’t dealing with anything serious, but that was a painful ankle injury he suffered last week.