By The Coach and Dr. Football
OK, so let’s get this straight. Tim Tebow is out of the NFL, Deflategate was never really ‘A Thing,’ Roger Goodell is still commissioner, Adrian Peterson is back and Ray Rice isn’t. Got it? OK, let’s start a new season.
Thursday night, the National Football League and every fantasy player on the planet returns to Nirvana as the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots play host to the ever-popular Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening game of the 2015 regular season.
No more preseason, no more deflated balls, no more watching third-string quarterbacks play against second-string defenses. Real football starts on Thursday and in Week 1, we have some exceptional battles. Besides the Steelers at New England, New Orleans is at Arizona, Baltimore is at Denver, the Giants play at Dallas and Philadelphia is at Atlanta. There are at least five first-rate arguments this week and the league’s best players will take a lead role in every outcome.
In fact, if your fantasy team has Drew Brees, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, C.J. Anderson, DeMarco Murray and/or Rob Gronkowski, you’re players will see a lot of the football and should do a lot of good things with it. You should also win going away this week. Then again, if the rest of the players in your league let you have those six guys, they should be barred from ever participating again.
Anyway, Week 1 will be very interesting. We’ll learn if the Pats survived that deflated football comedy extravaganza, if Andrew Luck can throw four of five TDs and get a jump start toward 50, and if Jamaal Charles is really the best runningback in the game.
In the meantime, Doc Football and the beloved ol’ Coach are back to pick your weekly winners. Last year the Doc went 174-81-1 while The Coach finished a close second at 169-86-1. This year, we start a fresh game on Thursday.
The Doc writes our brilliant observations while the coach eats Slim Jims and complains about the officiating.
Let’s take a close look at Week 1 in the NFL:
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)
Line: Patriots by 7.
If you don’t think Tom Brady and the Patriots have something to prove after all the BS that happened after their Super Bowl win, you obviously have been living on another planet. I feel bad for the Steelers. The Coach says: I’m just happy that it counts.
Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
Early Sunday Afternoon
Green Bay Packers (0-0) at Chicago Bears (0-0)
Line: Packers by 6.5.
Both teams are suffering, Green Bay with some key talent missing due to injuries, and the Bears just missing talent. Division rivalries usually make for a great game as do season openers. The Coach says: Matt Forte must produce 300 yards of offence every game or the Bears won’t win a game in the division this season.
Dr. Football: Take the Packers to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Packers to win and cover.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) at Houston Texans (0-0)
Line: Texans by 1.
This is a tough game to figure out with both teams going in the wrong direction. Go with the home team in these situations. The Coach says: This might be the most important game of the year for the Chiefs. A road win and they gain some confidence. Another tough start and it could be a long year.
Dr. Football: Take the Texans to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Texans to win and cover
Cleveland Browns (0-0) at New York Jets (0-0)
Line: Jets by 3.
See above. The Coach says: I have an idea. Let Ohio State’s backup quarterback suit up for the Browns and we might have a game. But Josh McCown? Please.
Dr. Football: Take the Jets to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Jets to win and cover.
Indianapolis Colts (0-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-0)
Line: Colts by 2.5.
The Bills will be better this season, but Tyrod Taylor vs. Andrew Luck? Good grief. The Coach says: Hey! I like Tyrod Taylor. But yeah, against Andrew Luck? It could be all messed up.
Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Colts to win and cover.
Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0)
Line: Dolphins by 4.
The oddsmakers obviously have little faith in the “new look” Redskins, but the unknown is, well, the unknown. Won’t be a “game of the week” that’s for sure. The Coach says: The Washingtons are not very good.
Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.
Carolina Panthers (0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
Line: Panthers by 3.
Jacksonville can’t get any worse can they? I don’t have much faith in the Panthers, so let’s go with an upset shall we? The Coach says: Let’s not and say we did.
Dr. Football: Take the Jaguars in an upset.
The Coach: Take Carolina to win and cover.
Seattle Seahawks (0-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-0)
Line: Seahawks by 4.
The Rams might just be this year’s surprise team, although they will be in tough against a team that is out to avenge a disappointing end to their season last year. Close game. The Coach says: Huh? Nick Foles is the Rams quarterback.
Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
Late Sunday Afternoon
New Orleans Saints (0-0) at Arizona Cardinals (0-0)
Line: Cardinals by 2.5.
Early scoop is that the Cardinals defense will be even more ferocious this season while the Saints will be anything but that. The Coach says: Carson Palmer with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd plus a beast of a D.
Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.
Detroit Lions (0-0) at San Diego Chargers (0-0)
Line: Chargers by 3.
Both teams are always tough to figure out; I doubt anyone can say with certainty that either one can be considered playoff bound. This will be an exception to my “when in doubt take the home team” rule. The Coach says: Matthew Stafford vs. Phillip Rivers. Two young man who carry on fierce love affairs with their own right arms. Brace for 100 passes.
Dr. Football: Take the Lions in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Lions and the points.
Tennessee Titans (0-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)
Line: Buccaneers by 3.
The Buccaneers at least on paper look to be much improved while one can expect the same mediocrity from Tennessee. The Coach says: It’s the debut of Marcus Mariota in the Titans blue. Did you know that Tennessee’s third-string quarterback, Charlie (Clipboard Jesus) Whitehurst, makes $2 million guaranteed this season? That’s gotta be the best job in the world.
Dr. Football: Take the Buccaneers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Titans and the points.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at Oakland Raiders (0-0)
Line: Bengals by 3.5.
Both teams seem to be poised to have a better season than last, and it is tough for those Eastern based teams to play in Oakland. Despite having 10 wins last season, the Bengals will stumble in their season opener. The Coach says: The Raiders? Bwahahahahaha!!!!
Dr. Football: Take the Raiders in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Bengals to win and cover.
Baltimore Ravens (0-0) at Denver Broncos (0-0)
Line: Broncos by 4.5.
Can Marc Trestman extend Joe Flacco’s career in Baltimore? Can Peyton keep his usually early season momentum right up until January? Tough opener for the Ravens. The Coach says: The Doc is right. It’s a tough opener for Baltimore. How old is Peyton? Just sayin’. Who knows? Maybe he’s the next George Blanda.
Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Broncos and hold your breath.
New York Giants (0-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
Line: Cowboys by 6.
These two teams usually put on a great Sunday night show, but I’m thinking this one will be all Tony Romo. The Coach says: I’m a Romo believer… until such time as the game really matters
Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (0-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-0)
Line: Eagles by 3.
For years Atlanta was one of the toughest places to play, but now the odds makers don’t even think so. Could 2015 be the Falcons Dan Quinn’s “farewell tour?” The Coach says: Will Matt Ryan with Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tevin Coleman be as bad as this team was last year? I’m not so sure.
Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win and cover.
The Coach: Take Atlanta and the points.
Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-0)
Line: Vikings by 2.5
NESN’s Mike Cole summed it up; “Even the Titanic was impressed by how fast the 49ers’ ship sunk.” The Coach says: This is where we find out if all the Minnesota hype is real.
Dr. Football: Take the Vikings to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.