This year, though, the goal is 154 wins, which would give me a winning percentage of .600. It won’t be easy, and I’ll likely fall well short and hate myself for trying it, but hey, it’s football season. If the Houston Texans can be optimistic today, why can’t I?
Now for this week’s picks!
Mac’s Picks – Week 1Miami at Pittsburgh - With Roethlisberger (appendectomy) out this week (and likely next week), we’re now only one big hit on Culpepper away from a Joey Harrington-Chaz Batch showdown on opening night. That’s not exactly the “Super Bowl atmosphere” NBC was hoping for, is it? Pick: Dolphins +1
Philadelphia at Houston - Why is it so easy to get a seat on the Eagles bandwagon? Last year’s injuries were a fluke, the head case is long gone, and of all the teams in the NFC East, they’ve got the easiest schedule to start the season. Pick: Eagles -4
(I should talk. I actually picked Washington to win the NFC East, which is a decision I’m regretting more and more as we inch closer to the start of the regular season.)
Denver at St. Louis - Scott Linehan’s vow to stick with the running game more than Mike Martz likely eased the minds of Rams fans. At least until they realize that Martz didn’t set the bar real high. Pick: Broncos -4
New York Jets at Tennessee -There’s been a lot of talk lately about NFL teams using a “running back by committee” approach. Well, the Jets and Titans are at the forefront of the “QB by committee” offense. The over/under for total number of QBs playing in this one is 3.5…and I’d take the over. Pick: Titans -3
New Orleans at Cleveland - When Reggie Bush dropped into their lap, the Saints knew they’d more entertaining in 2006. They’ll still lose a lot of games, but at least they’ll have someone worth watching. Pick: Browns -3
Buffalo at New England - I wouldn’t expect JP Losman to lead the Bills in an upset over the Patriots in Gillette Stadium, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one goes down to the wire. Pick: Bills +9
Atlanta at Carolina - As much as I’m going to miss Steve Smith’s end zone celebrations (which were always hilarious), it’ll be good to see one of the game best player’s flip the ball to the official after scoring a touchdown. There’s something to be said about acting like you’ve been there before. Pick: Panthers -6
Seattle at Detroit - A few writers have tabbed Detroit to be the “sleeper” team in the NFC North. Not since 1999 has Mike Martz (the offensive coordinator) and Jon Kitna (a QB) generated this much buzz. A good start for new head coach Rod Marinelli would be keeping his defensive line coach clothed for the entire game. Pick: Seahawks -6
Baltimore at Tampa Bay - Count me as one of the believers in the Baltimore Ravens. If McNair can stay healthy, the Ravens should make the playoffs. However, when evenly matched teams meet in season openers, you’ve got to pick the home team. Pick: Buccaneers -3
Chicago at Green Bay - With Green Bay starting two rookies at the guard position this week against Chicago, Brett Favre will quickly see that there are worse things to do on a Sunday than riding a lawnmower. Pick: Bears -3 ½
San Francisco at Arizona - Arizona ’s new stadium has been described as a giant spaceship. Fitting, since winning football games is an alien concept in Arizona . Nanu-Nanu, Dennis Green! Pick: Cardinals -7 ½
Dallas at Jacksonville - It’s hard to believe that Jacksonville could win 12 games one year, yet have so many holes entering the following season. As for Dallas, I’m still puzzled why so many smart people pick them to get to the Super Bowl. Between Terrell Owens and the brewing QB controversy, this team has enough potential for dysfunction that they might as well be headquartered at Southfork Ranch. Pick: Cowboys +2 ½
Indianapolis at New York Giants – It’s a good thing the NFL schedule makers put this “Manning v. Manning” match-up in Week 1, when the stakes aren’t as high. If both teams needed a Manning to lead them to a big win, the universe might collapse on itself. Pick: Colts -3 ½
Minnesota at Washington - Ok, this one is directed at ESPN’s Sean Salisbury. He never misses an opportunity to knock the Seahawks for failing to re-sign Steve Hutchinson, even citing it as a reason why Seattle won’t repeat as NFC Champions. Yet, he doesn’t have Minnesota, the team who signed Hutchinson, improving enough to win a very winnable NFC North. What gives, Sean? If Hutchinson is as irreplaceable as you say he is, and his absence will result in more losses for Seattle, wouldn’t his addition result in more wins for a Minnesota team that won 9 games and flirted with the playoffs in 2005? Pick: Redskins -5
San Diego at Oakland - Ok, since it’s not life-threatening, I won’t feel like a jerk for saying it. With the Chargers opening up in the Black Hole in Oakland, weren’t the odds already pretty good that Steve Foley would’ve been shot this weekend? Pick: Chargers -3
Brian McIntyre refers to Shaun Alexander as "Seamus McTouchdown", and writes about football from all angles. You can contact him here.