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Week 1 picks

It's that time of the year again. That means FOOTBALL and more importantly, picking who wins at football (on that note don't forget to submit your first weeks' picks for the Stampede Blue Prediction Contest). Link here for everyone's submitted picks.

Last year I went a respectable Straight Up 170-85-1 (66.7%)  and ATS 134-122 (52.3%), but I want better.

To this years picks

Titans @ Steelers, well this one is long over, but there's my entry in the prediction contest (and having announced by picks in the open thread) to keep me honest. Steelers straight up and -5

Dolphins @ Falcons, The Outsiders expect a massive regression in the Falcons offense. Matt Ryan had an unprecedented year for a rookie QB and Michael Turner surpassed the dreaded 370 carry mark. I think the biggest TE upgrade in league history will be help Ryan avoid a slump and the Falcons should be able to squeeze a bit more production from Turner before he breaks down from the abuse. Atlanta straight up and -4

Chiefs @ Ravens, I like the Ravens this year. Very strong OL (I'd kill for Gaither, Oher or even Yanda in Indy), competent set of backs. Derrick Mason is ancient, but still productive and the Todd Heap, L.J. Smith combo gives Flacco a little bit to work with. Baltimore straight up. On the other hand 9.5 is a BIG number for me, and the Outsiders like the Chiefs to attain mediocrity, even with a skeptical view of Matt Cassel (hey he is better than Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard and old concussed Trent Green). Chiefs +9.5

Eagles @ Panthers, the Panthers have really built up the running game, but the passing game is a big question mark. Which Jake Delhomme is the real Jake Delhomme. The competent QB with excellent air yards numbers in the regular season, or the utter disaster of the playoffs. I'm a fan of big sample sizes over small, but that disaster is concerning. A good running game doesn't get you far (even with good defense) if you can't throw the ball (Just ask the 08 Vikings). The Eagles on the other hand have offensive weapons on top of offensive weapons and a very good D. McNabb's inconsistency and the gambles of a blitz heavy D will cost them some games, but they'll average out to be a pretty good team. Eagles SU and -1

Broncos @ Bengals, the Broncos are not a good team. A defensive overhaul after season saved from being the worst defensive season of the last 15+ years only by the '08 Lions, is a good idea. An offensive overhaul after the O dragged that wretched D through 17 weeks of playoff contention, is not. The Bengals have OL issues and aren't anything special on D. They aren't going anywhere fast, but they are leaps and bounds ahead of the Broncos now that they have Carson Palmer back. Bengals SU and -4.5

Vikings @ Browns, I had to scroll down past over 70 entries (28 of them ATS) to find someone taking the Browns. Since Vegas isn't in the business of handing out free money I suddenly feel much worse about taking Vikings SU and -3.5

Jets @ Texans, The Texans are a bandwagon "sleeper" pick. Obviously that means they won't live up to the hype, but it doesn't mean they won't be able to handle a team without quarterback with any experience. Texans SU and -4.5

Jags @ Colts, Go horse. Colts SU and -7

Lions @ Saints, The Lions have to be better than last year right??? Without an epically bad defense that O should take them places, like all the way out of the top 3 of the draft. Saints SU. 13 is too big to give even with a high scoring O against the Lions. Lions +13

Cowboys @ Bucs, Yeah they are QB'ed by Fatty McButterpants, but people are comparing this team to last year's Lions. The difference being the Bucs have a semblance of an OL and a defense that is actually good as opposed to historically putrid. Cowboys SU, Bucs +4.5

Niners @ Cardinals, Another ATS pick I wish I'd gone the other way with last week. The Niners have the Shaun Hill magic and those genius outsiders back up the suspicion (which I didn't have the balls to go with) that the Cards were flukey and won't be any good this year. Oh well. First instinct is often better than second guessing for subjective judgments.Cards SU and -6.5

Redskins @ Giants, Eli and his cast of targets is worrying, but that OL, RB tandem and especially that D have me really sold on the Giants. The Redskins I'm lukewarm on. I think we'll see the Albert Haynesworth of 3-4 years ago, rather than the All-Pro the Titans got while he was playing for a big new shiny contract. Giants SU and -6.5

Rams @ Seahawks, both teams looked ready to put up a solid season, but have been hit with injuries that would be a serious blow to their playoff hopes if they weren't in such a terrible division. The Seahawks line is beat up again, already and the Rams lost the centerpiece of their D Chris Long Seahawks SU, Rams +7.5

Bears @ Packers,  I really like this pick. I don't buy that Packers D staying in the top half of the league while making a major scheme change. On the other side the Bears have a solid upgrade at QB and their D is back healthy. First underdog I'm taking straight up (because chalk is yummy) Bears SU and +3.5

Bills @ Patriots,  I don't think the Bills are any good (OL young and shuffled, TO old and overrated, Beef Moe suspended for a while, D doesn't seem like it'll do any of the heavy lifting for them) and the Pats are a legit contender, but it takes homerism to get me to give over 10 points. Pats SU, Bills +10.5

Chargers @ Raiders, The Raiders are very bad, the Chargers are probably very good. Are the Raiders odds SU lower than that of Tom Cable punching out Norv Turner at midfield after the Raiders lose?   Chargers SU, Raiders +9