Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week 1: The Season Kicks Off

CJ Spiller will need to run for about 250 yards for the Bills
to have a chance against the Patriots. (Sports Illustrated)
We just finished posting our season picks, so there's not a whole lot of banter to cover that wasn't in there.

In general, Week One poses to be a difficult one to predict as we're not quite sure where all these teams stand, and many of the games take place between teams that were similarly matched in 2012.

For those new to the system: we divy up the games based on confidence.  We start with an important eight points and move our way down to the lesser confidence by ending with just a single point.  Whomever earns the most points wins the week and the key is that whichever games you pick wrong, the other OXen collects the points.

Austen's Eight-Point Pick
New England over @Buffalo

Austen: Pats good, Bills bad --- so says caveman Austen.

Stally: This was clearly the easiest pick of the week.

Stally's Eight-Point Pick
@Denver over Baltimore

Stally: You can go ahead and look at my Pick 'Em on the Stubborn OXen Yahoo! group, I put 15 confidence points down on Denver before the game.  The Broncos were a Super Bowl favorite looking to atone for a bad playoff loss at home and the Ravens are just gonna stink this year.

Austen: I didn't have them this high because I'm a little weary of betting against the Ravens, since I did so in every round of the playoffs. I'll never understand this team.

Austen's Seven-Point Pick
@Indianapolis over Oakland

Austen: The Colts are way better at home and the Raiders are terrible whereever they go. And only one of these teams has a quarterback.

Stally: I don't disagree.  There will be few times this season that I'll consider taking Terrelle Pryor for the win.

Stally's Seven-Point Pick
Seattle over @Carolina

Stally: I moved this one up a little during the phone call with Austen.  The Seahawks are a very good football team and the Panthers aren't gonna be very good.  This is the biggest disparity in talent left on the board.

Austen: Seattle is not nearly the same team on the road, but I will not try to convince anyone that this game is going to go well for the Panthers.

Austen's Six-Point Pick
Tampa Bay over @New York Jets

Austen: Darrelle Revis wants payback and he will get it.

Stally: This is too early to take a mediocre Bucs team on the road, but Austen is a Jets fan and has determined that his team is just that bad this year.

Stally's Six-Point Pick
Houston over @San Diego

Stally: My only worry with this one is that San Diego is at home in a late, late Monday night game (due to the traditional Week 1 doubleheader).  If the Texans want to get back to being an elite team like they were in the middle of last season, they'll win this one going away.

Austen: I don't like the Chargers chances of winning many games this year and I'd be pretty surprised if this was one of them.

Austen's Five-Point Pick
@Pittsburgh over Tennessee

Austen: I always get my Titans picks wrong, but with so many toss up games this week, I couldn't say no to the Steelers at home. Taking the better team at home shouldn't be too controversial.

Stally:  Or should it?  I seemed to have a much better beat on the Titans last year than Austen, and I'm taking them for the upset.  Given, I only put one confidence point down on them, but I think Tennessee surprises an underwhelming Pittsburgh team.

Stally's Five-Point Pick
@Chicago over Cincinnati

Stally: The picks really fell off a cliff here as I could see this game and the rest of 'em going either way. The Bengals are a good football team, but I like the Bears at home in this one.

Austen: I almost took the Bengals in this one, but I think the Bears are the slightly better team, and Stally did the same thing I did with my last pick, taking the better team at home.

Austen's Four-Point Pick
@Washington over Philadelphia

Austen: The Redskins are simply a better version of the Eagles right now. LeSean McCoy is the only advantage the Eagles have over the Redskins, and he will not be able to do enough to bring home a win for the road team.

Stally: I can't disagree with taking the better team at home in this rivalry game.

Stally's Four-Point Pick
Atlanta over @New Orleans

Stally: The Falcons will torch the New Orleans defense in the dome.  It's that simple.  The Falcons are a dome team and while it's tough to win in New Orleans, it's a place they play every season.  I see a score somewhere around 41-31 in this one.

Austen: This will be a great game to watch, unless you are a defensive coordinator. I have the Saints in this one for Sean Payton's homecoming. The Saints just don't lose at home with Payton.

Austen's Three-Point Pick
Kansas City over @Jacksonville

Austen: I love the Chiefs talent level and I cannot wait to see them take it to the Jags, who might be starting an injured Blaine Gabbert. That sounds like fun...

Stally: I'm not nearly as high on the Chiefs as Austen, but I am as low as he is on the Jags.  If Jacksonville is going to win some games this season, it will be ones like this at home in a minor upset, but I agree Kansas City is the pick.

Stally's Three-Point Pick
@Detroit over Minnesota

Stally: It seems kind of dumb to take a four-win Lions team at home against a 10-win Vikings team.  Both Austen and I agreed that we put too many confidence points on this one at first, but I don't see any other games that I like more than this one.  I expect some bounce back from the Lions this season, and it needs to start with this type of a game.

Austen: AP would need over 150 yards in this one to bring home a win. That's about what he averaged at the end of last season, so I could see this going either way. That being said, I have the Lions.

Austen's Two-Point Pick
Miami over @Cleveland

Austen: The Dolphins always seem to play better on the road. I'll never understand it, but they are far and away the more talented team in this one.

Stally: I have the Dolphins with two confidence points because I think they're good enough to beat a team like the Browns with regularity.  I certainly wouldn't be surprised if an improving Cleveland team pulled this one out though.

Stally's Two-Point Pick
@Dallas over New York Giants

Stally: You had to know I was going to take this one in the Sunday Night showdown.  I think the Cowboys are the better team and it's kind of sad that they've never beat the Giants in the new Cowboys Stadium.  This is the game.

Austen: I actually have the Cowboys in this one. Still might change that since the Giants are undefeated in the new Cowboys stadium. This game will come down to the fourth quarter.

Austen's One-Point Pick
@San Francisco over Green Bay

Austen: The Packers offensive line is too banged up and shuffled around to pull off a road win against possibly the best team in the league. That being said, if Colin Kaepernick struggles to get off to a fast start, all bets are off.

Stally: I predicted both teams to go an NFC-best 13-3 this season, so believe it or not, I'm putting playoff implications on this one, as I say the winner earns home-field on the tiebreaker.  With that said, I'm giving this one to Green Bay.  Few things have gone wrong for the Niners the past two seasons, and it's about time that an elite team, like the Packers, knock them down a peg.  (Don't fret Niner Faithul, I picked them for redemption at Lambeau in January en route to a Super Bowl win.)

Stally's One-Point Pick
Arizona over @St. Louis

Stally: In the season preview, Austen went on a ramble of why he thought the Rams might be better than the Cardinals this season.  I had already taken the Cards, so clearly I think Arizona is the better team.  This will probably be a three-point game, but I like the team with the better QB and that's Carson Palmer.

Austen: Jeff Fisher has built a tough, hard-nosed team. They only lost one game in the division last year and I don't think they will let this one get away from them at home.

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