September 9, 2016

Were the Broncos targeting Cam? + Week 1 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

The season-opening Super Bowl rematch had everything. In fact, you could argue it was a much better game than February’s Super Bowl.

We had Cam Newton doing Cam Newton things. We had some solid defence on both sides. We had a great running duel between two power-rushing teams. We had new Broncos QB Trevor Siemian throw pick that showed his inexperience. We saw a nice second-half turnaround by the home team. We saw a massive 76-yard punt. And we saw a last-second, potential game-winning field goal go wide left after Graham Gano was iced by a timeout.

Oh, and we saw Cam Newton get hit in the head three times that clearly should have been penalties.

In fact, the one time that a flag was thrown for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Newton, it was negated for intentional grounding call on Newton – who, you know, was throwing while being hit in the head. I’ve never seen a grounding flag thrown for that before and he also looked like he was out of the pocket!

These replays should be shown as an example that yet again the NFL isn’t taking head shots and head trauma seriously and there is clearly still change that needs to happen in North America’s most popular sport.

On to the picks, which, by the way, will be printed in the Sun this year going up against Randall the Handle, Rob Longley and Kirk Penton. For the record, I had a better record than the aforementioned columnists over the past several seasons, so it should be an interesting contest.

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPS.

DENVER +3 over Carolina

At least I know that even if Gano had hit that last-second field goal, the Broncos would’ve still covered for me.

Tampa Bay +3 over ATLANTA

A nice division rivalry game between two teams that have some potential. The Bucs

Minnesota -2.5 over TENNESSEE

The Vikings get a bit of a break in their first game after Teddy Bridgewater’s catastrophic knee injury. The Titans won’t be scaring many this season and the Vikes defence will

PHILADELPHIA -3.5 over Cleveland

Both teams have their sights set on the future and should be among the dredges of the league. But, one of them has to win and the Eagles defence should be able to contain RG3 and the Browns.

Cincinnati -2.5 over NEW YORK JETS

This one should be a slobber-knocker. Both teams can sure play defence and while the Bengals are the much more complete squad, even if there might be a learning curve with a new offensive coordinator and an overhaul in the receiving corps.

Oakland +1 over NEW ORLEANS

If the Raiders really are as good as pundits like myself think they will be this season, they have to get off to a good start and rack up some points against the Saints. This could be a nice shootout if you’re picking games to watch.

San Diego +6.5 over KANSAS CITY

The Chiefs are hurting quite a bit right now and didn’t start the season too well last year. Against a division rival, this one could be a close one or Phil Rivers scores a garbage-time TD for the cover.

BALTIMORE -3 over Buffalo

The Bills are banged-up and have some players missing due to suspension. The Ravens have only recently picked up some sleeper buzz

HOUSTON -6.5 over Chicago

The Bears made some nice additions in the off-season but will be missing their top defender, Pernell McPhee for six games due to injury. Jay Cutler lost his offensive coordinator and top running back, and the offensive line has some holes in it. That last part is a bit concerning considering J.J. Watt looks set to play on Sunday.

JACKSONVILLE +5 over Green Bay

The Jags are another team that’s supposed to finally make the leap this season. Even against a potential Super Bowl contender like the Pack, the Jags have to make good at home and at least cover the spread to inspire some confidence in their everlasting rebuild.

SEATTLE -10.5 over Miami

This one is probably the safest suicide pool pick this week. The Seahawks notoriously start slow, but it’s not like Miami is going to fly out to Seattle and pull off an upset here. I’m not even sure if they’re a good garbage-time TD candidate.

New York Giants +1 over DALLAS

As much as I want Dak Prescott to be the Cowboys’ future right now, it’s going to take some time. New York made some big improvements in the off-season and Odell Beckham will feast on the Cowboys defence.

INDIANAPOLIS -3.5 over Detroit

I think the Colts are a bit overrated and the Lions might be a bit underrated, but when push comes to shove, I’ll take Andrew Luck at home trying to prove he’s over last season’s injury issues.

New England +6 over ARIZONA

Sure, there’s no Tom Brady, but when will you ever get this many points while taking the Pats? Bill Belichick will certainly have something up his sleeve for an incredible Arizona team and will surely be able to keep the game close.

Pittsburgh -3 over WASHINGTON

This one should be a shootout and Washington’s big off-season signing Josh Norman gets thrown in the fire right away having to match up with Antonio Brown. We think the Steelers are the much better team here, though.

Los Angeles -2.5 over SAN FRANCISCO

Thank God this one is the late Monday nighter and the east coast won’t have to tune into this snoozer. The only way you’re watching this game past the national anthem (Thanks for the distraction, Kaep) is if you need Todd Gurley to bail out your fantasy team. He probably will as the Rams take this one.

This week: 1-0

Last season: 136-108-9 (3 NL)

Last playoffs: 4-7

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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