Poore's Picks: Week One

Patriots Insider's Jim Poore shares his thoughts on each game during this week one of the NFL. Jim makes his picks against the spread. Be sure to let him know what you think.

For those of you who thought I'm sorry to disappoint you. I am very much back, and likely better than ever. I had a pretty good year last year making the weekly selections, and I thoroughly enjoyed comments and emails from fellow readers and fans. Once again, I welcome your emails, good and bad, and hope that this year is as enjoyable as the last one. Of course, I will always be right and that will likely never change.

Last year ended with an exciting Super Bowl, and this year will likely bring some surprises. I don't think either of last year's Super Bowl teams will be there this year, but it is a long season and stranger things have happened. In the AFC, the Patriots will certainly be in contention, as well as the usual Colts and Chargers. The AFC as a whole is a very good conference, and I don't see that changing this year. The NFC looks like a Cowboys runaway, but they should be challenged by New Orleans and possibly Seattle and may be Green Bay. There always seems to be a team that comes out of nowhere ( see Cleveland last year ) so it will be interesting to see which surprise team emerges this year.

The column will be the same format, as I will pick every game against the spread and keep track of my record in those games. I will also keep track of my record without the spread. There will be a Game of the Week, and a Stinker of the Week. Enjoy the upcoming 2008-2009 NFL season. And I hope you enjoy the columns as well.

As always, home team in CAPS.

WEEK ONE

NEW YORK GIANTS 4 Washington
The Giants don't seem to be a very popular pick after last year's shocking Super Bowl victory. But there is a good reason why. Michael Strahan retired, and they lost Osi Umenyiora for the season. Their offense should still be ok, but the defense is a question mark. The Redskins entire team is likely a question mark. They did trade for Jason Taylor, but he can't do everything. I am still not sold on Jason Campbell at quarterback. I am sold on the Giants winning this opening division game though. Take the Giants at home in week one.
Giants 23-12


Cincinnati 1 BALTIMORE
I don't think either one of these teams are going to go too far this year, though the Bengals are likely to go further. Their offense should still be explosive, with Chad Ocho Cinco Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh catching the ball. As always, their defense won't be very good, which is why they can never get very far in the playoffs. The Ravens won't be very good either, but their defense should keep them in some games. They have a lot of issues at quarterback, where veteran Kyle Boller will likely start for now. I guess I will go with the Bengals even though they are on the road.
Bengals 26-23


New York Jets 3 MIAMI
Both teams here are improved, but that isn't saying much. The Jets did get Brett Favre, but that isn't saying much either. He hasn't been that good for several years, and he isn't going to be this year either. But the Jets should be better as a whole. Key free agent signings will definitely help, but the playoffs are only a dream. Speaking of dreaming, Bill Parcells must have been when he decided to take over the Dolphins. They will be better, but it is hard not to be after a 1-15 season. They still need at least three years to be competitive again. Take the Jets here.
Jets 20-10


NEW ENGLAND 16 1/2 Kansas City
The big mystery right now is Tom Brady and his injured foot. Right now he is expecting to play, but there are some rumors floating out there that his injury is worse than is being led on. If he doesn't play, the Patriots might score three points. But I have to base my pick on his starting. New England looked really bad in the preseason, but that likely doesn't mean anything. Likely. They will not go undefeated this year, and I think they have lost a step or two on each side of the ball. The Chiefs might be the worst team in the AFC, as they decided to go a lot younger this year, and it is going to show. The points are awfully high, but I have no reason to believe the Patriots won't cover here.
Patriots 31-10


PITTSBURGH 7 Houston
The Steelers will once again be good, but simply not good enough. That seems to be the story of their franchise over the last few years. I like Houston this year, a lot actually. That doesn't mean they are going to go to the playoffs because of a tough AFC, but I will not be shocked if they do. Next year is more likely. Matt Schaub should be pretty good this year, and Andre Johnson will be very good. The Steelers should win this game, but I think the Texans will keep it close enough to cover.
Steelers 24-20


Jacksonville 3 TENNESSEE
This is a real good game between two teams in arguably the league's toughest division. David Garrard looks more and more comfortable running the show for the Jags, and Vince Young better start to look more comfortable for the Titans. I think both teams will be able to score some points, but like a lot of teams, their defense is going to be key. Both are playoff contenders, but Jacksonville will likely have the better season. And they will have more points this game. Take the Jags away from home.
Jaguars 26-20


Seattle PK BUFFALO
Some "experts" are sold on Buffalo. I am not one of them. Their QB is very shaky, though Marshawn Lynch could have a big year running the ball. He might be the only one though. The Bills won't be a bad team, but marginal at best. Seattle will always be near their the top of their division, but that's because their division usually stinks. It won't stink this year, but it still won't be very good. Seattle will likely make the playoffs only to be a first round loser. Same old, same old up there in Seattle. I'll take the Bills here just by being at home.
Bills 24-21


NEW ORLEANS 3 Tampa Bay
The Saints could have a very, very good season. Drew Brees and Marques Colston should be one of the better combinations in the league. Their defensive line will be an issue, and it needs to improve this year if the Saints want to have any chance. The Bucs really have little chance to do much this year, though they won't be that bad. It remains to be seen how long Jeff Garcia will last. He got hurt in the preseason, and it isn't clear when he will be able to play again. I'll take the Saints here. I actually think the points are low.
Saints 34-17


PHILADELPHIA 7 1/2 St. Louis
The Eagles could be a playoff team this year as long as Donovan McNabb is healthy. They do play in the tough NFC East, but they should still be fighting for the post season. McNabb does have Bryant Westbrook back, but his receivers are only mediocre at best. As for St. Louis, well they are another story. They do have Steven Jackson, though he missed some preseason games with a contract squabble. The rest of their offense is weak, and Jackson can't do it all. They don't exactly have a first rate defense either. The Eagles will win this game fairly easily.
Eagles 27-10


SAN DIEGO 9 1/2 Carolina
A lot of people like the Chargers this year, but they can never seem to finish the job. This just might be the year. They have all world LaDainian Tomlinson, and a very good defense. They defense likely will lose a step with Shawne Merriman's injury, and I have a feeling he isn't going to last that long on a bum knee. The Panthers will be about average, but they need to be better than that. Steve Smith got suspended by the team for disciplinary reasons, so that isn't going to help in the early going. And he is the only decent receiver they have. The Chargers will have no problems getting off to a good start here.
Chargers 30-13


Arizona 2 1/2 SAN FRANCISCO
The Cardinals are a team to watch this year, and the 49ers are a team to watch if nothing else is on. Arizona is a playoff contender, and their offense should be very good. Anquan Boldin has asked to be traded, so that isn't going to help things unless he changes his mind. He might if the Cardinals start winning. Their defense should be better, but not great. The 49ers just won't be very good, but they could have a pretty good offense. Alex Smith needs to step up this year or he could be out of a job. Even on the road I like Arizona here.
Cardinals 28-17


INDIANAPOLIS 9 1/2 Chicago
The Colts are once again one of the favorites to return to the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning's health might be a concern, but he should be ready to go for the opener. Marvin Harrison will need to be in top form, and hopefully his off field issues are held in check. Their defense will once again be very good, but Bob Sanders needs to stay on the field. The Bears are an enigma once again, but Kyle Orton did get the starting job. Their defense will keep them in games, but they won't be good enough for the Bears to contend. The Colts will have no problems here.
Colts 36-16


GREEN BAY 3 Minnesota
The Packers are happy the Brett Favre saga is over, and they hope Aaron Rodgers can step right in. I think he can. Their offense should be pretty good, with Greg Jennings catching the ball and Ryan Grant running it. The Packers should compete for the division title, but we all know how bad the NFC North is. Their main competition should be the Vikings. Adrian Peterson will be world class, but I don't think he is going to have much help. I like Green Bay here to open with a win in the Aaron Rodgers era.
Packers 29-21


Denver 3 OAKLAND
It is pretty easy to tell how bad the Raiders will be when they are desperately counting on a rookie to perform. Darren McFadden is likely going to be very good, but cut him some slack. Oakland might be mediocre, but that isn't going to get them anywhere. The Broncos aren't going to be much better. They will be ok on both sides of the ball, but nothing special. Nothing special is good enough to win this game though. This is really a battle of two marginal teams.
Broncos 23-17


GAME OF THE WEEK

Dallas 5 CLEVELAND
A lot of people like these two teams, especially the Cowboys. The Browns really should have made the playoffs last year, and they are a pretty good shot to make it this year. The Cowboys are virtually a lock. This should be a pretty high scoring game, but both teams do have a pretty decent defense to go along with high powered offenses. I actually like Cleveland here. I am not sure if they are going to win the game, but they will cover.
Cowboys 31-28


STINKER OF THE WEEK

Detroit 3 ATLANTA
I don't think anybody is shocked to see these two teams in the first Stinker of the Week. That's because both teams stink, especially the Falcons, who were a disaster last year for various reasons. The Lions might not be that bad, but they can never get it together on defense. The Falcons are getting a fresh start, and they need it. Fortunately, the Lions are in a lousy division, which will help. I'll pick them here.
Lions 23-16


Record for Last Year: I have no idea, but it was great


Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:


Patriots Insider Top Stories

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For those of you who thought I'm sorry to disappoint you. I am very much back, and likely better than ever. I had a pretty good year last year making the weekly selections, and I thoroughly enjoyed comments and emails from fellow readers and fans. Once again, I welcome your emails, good and bad, and hope that this year is as enjoyable as the last one. Of course, I will always be right and that will likely never change.

Last year ended with an exciting Super Bowl, and this year will likely bring some surprises. I don't think either of last year's Super Bowl teams will be there this year, but it is a long season and stranger things have happened. In the AFC, the Patriots will certainly be in contention, as well as the usual Colts and Chargers. The AFC as a whole is a very good conference, and I don't see that changing this year. The NFC looks like a Cowboys runaway, but they should be challenged by New Orleans and possibly Seattle and may be Green Bay. There always seems to be a team that comes out of nowhere ( see Cleveland last year ) so it will be interesting to see which surprise team emerges this year.

The column will be the same format, as I will pick every game against the spread and keep track of my record in those games. I will also keep track of my record without the spread. There will be a Game of the Week, and a Stinker of the Week. Enjoy the upcoming 2008-2009 NFL season. And I hope you enjoy the columns as well.

As always, home team in CAPS.


The Giants don't seem to be a very popular pick after last year's shocking Super Bowl victory. But there is a good reason why. Michael Strahan retired, and they lost Osi Umenyiora for the season. Their offense should still be ok, but the defense is a question mark. The Redskins entire team is likely a question mark. They did trade for Jason Taylor, but he can't do everything. I am still not sold on Jason Campbell at quarterback. I am sold on the Giants winning this opening division game though. Take the Giants at home in week one.



I don't think either one of these teams are going to go too far this year, though the Bengals are likely to go further. Their offense should still be explosive, with Chad Ocho Cinco Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh catching the ball. As always, their defense won't be very good, which is why they can never get very far in the playoffs. The Ravens won't be very good either, but their defense should keep them in some games. They have a lot of issues at quarterback, where veteran Kyle Boller will likely start for now. I guess I will go with the Bengals even though they are on the road.



Both teams here are improved, but that isn't saying much. The Jets did get Brett Favre, but that isn't saying much either. He hasn't been that good for several years, and he isn't going to be this year either. But the Jets should be better as a whole. Key free agent signings will definitely help, but the playoffs are only a dream. Speaking of dreaming, Bill Parcells must have been when he decided to take over the Dolphins. They will be better, but it is hard not to be after a 1-15 season. They still need at least three years to be competitive again. Take the Jets here.



The big mystery right now is Tom Brady and his injured foot. Right now he is expecting to play, but there are some rumors floating out there that his injury is worse than is being led on. If he doesn't play, the Patriots might score three points. But I have to base my pick on his starting. New England looked really bad in the preseason, but that likely doesn't mean anything. Likely. They will not go undefeated this year, and I think they have lost a step or two on each side of the ball. The Chiefs might be the worst team in the AFC, as they decided to go a lot younger this year, and it is going to show. The points are awfully high, but I have no reason to believe the Patriots won't cover here.



The Steelers will once again be good, but simply not good enough. That seems to be the story of their franchise over the last few years. I like Houston this year, a lot actually. That doesn't mean they are going to go to the playoffs because of a tough AFC, but I will not be shocked if they do. Next year is more likely. Matt Schaub should be pretty good this year, and Andre Johnson will be very good. The Steelers should win this game, but I think the Texans will keep it close enough to cover.



This is a real good game between two teams in arguably the league's toughest division. David Garrard looks more and more comfortable running the show for the Jags, and Vince Young better start to look more comfortable for the Titans. I think both teams will be able to score some points, but like a lot of teams, their defense is going to be key. Both are playoff contenders, but Jacksonville will likely have the better season. And they will have more points this game. Take the Jags away from home.



Some "experts" are sold on Buffalo. I am not one of them. Their QB is very shaky, though Marshawn Lynch could have a big year running the ball. He might be the only one though. The Bills won't be a bad team, but marginal at best. Seattle will always be near their the top of their division, but that's because their division usually stinks. It won't stink this year, but it still won't be very good. Seattle will likely make the playoffs only to be a first round loser. Same old, same old up there in Seattle. I'll take the Bills here just by being at home.



The Saints could have a very, very good season. Drew Brees and Marques Colston should be one of the better combinations in the league. Their defensive line will be an issue, and it needs to improve this year if the Saints want to have any chance. The Bucs really have little chance to do much this year, though they won't be that bad. It remains to be seen how long Jeff Garcia will last. He got hurt in the preseason, and it isn't clear when he will be able to play again. I'll take the Saints here. I actually think the points are low.
Saints 34-17


PHILADELPHIA 7 1/2 St. Louis
The Eagles could be a playoff team this year as long as Donovan McNabb is healthy. They do play in the tough NFC East, but they should still be fighting for the post season. McNabb does have Bryant Westbrook back, but his receivers are only mediocre at best. As for St. Louis, well they are another story. They do have Steven Jackson, though he missed some preseason games with a contract squabble. The rest of their offense is weak, and Jackson can't do it all. They don't exactly have a first rate defense either. The Eagles will win this game fairly easily.



A lot of people like the Chargers this year, but they can never seem to finish the job. This just might be the year. They have all world LaDainian Tomlinson, and a very good defense. They defense likely will lose a step with Shawne Merriman's injury, and I have a feeling he isn't going to last that long on a bum knee. The Panthers will be about average, but they need to be better than that. Steve Smith got suspended by the team for disciplinary reasons, so that isn't going to help in the early going. And he is the only decent receiver they have. The Chargers will have no problems getting off to a good start here.



The Cardinals are a team to watch this year, and the 49ers are a team to watch if nothing else is on. Arizona is a playoff contender, and their offense should be very good. Anquan Boldin has asked to be traded, so that isn't going to help things unless he changes his mind. He might if the Cardinals start winning. Their defense should be better, but not great. The 49ers just won't be very good, but they could have a pretty good offense. Alex Smith needs to step up this year or he could be out of a job. Even on the road I like Arizona here.



The Colts are once again one of the favorites to return to the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning's health might be a concern, but he should be ready to go for the opener. Marvin Harrison will need to be in top form, and hopefully his off field issues are held in check. Their defense will once again be very good, but Bob Sanders needs to stay on the field. The Bears are an enigma once again, but Kyle Orton did get the starting job. Their defense will keep them in games, but they won't be good enough for the Bears to contend. The Colts will have no problems here.



The Packers are happy the Brett Favre saga is over, and they hope Aaron Rodgers can step right in. I think he can. Their offense should be pretty good, with Greg Jennings catching the ball and Ryan Grant running it. The Packers should compete for the division title, but we all know how bad the NFC North is. Their main competition should be the Vikings. Adrian Peterson will be world class, but I don't think he is going to have much help. I like Green Bay here to open with a win in the Aaron Rodgers era.



It is pretty easy to tell how bad the Raiders will be when they are desperately counting on a rookie to perform. Darren McFadden is likely going to be very good, but cut him some slack. Oakland might be mediocre, but that isn't going to get them anywhere. The Broncos aren't going to be much better. They will be ok on both sides of the ball, but nothing special. Nothing special is good enough to win this game though. This is really a battle of two marginal teams.



A lot of people like these two teams, especially the Cowboys. The Browns really should have made the playoffs last year, and they are a pretty good shot to make it this year. The Cowboys are virtually a lock. This should be a pretty high scoring game, but both teams do have a pretty decent defense to go along with high powered offenses. I actually like Cleveland here. I am not sure if they are going to win the game, but they will cover.



I don't think anybody is shocked to see these two teams in the first Stinker of the Week. That's because both teams stink, especially the Falcons, who were a disaster last year for various reasons. The Lions might not be that bad, but they can never get it together on defense. The Falcons are getting a fresh start, and they need it. Fortunately, the Lions are in a lousy division, which will help. I'll pick them here.


Record for Last Year: I have no idea, but it was great


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