Quarterback Tony Romo is an interesting study. There are days when he does nothing. He doesn’t get enough time to throw, panics and turtles. In those games, he and his Dallas Cowboys will get ripped.
And then there is the Good Tony Romo, the guy who showed up Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That Tony Romo was spectacular.
Just check the numbers: 22-for-29 for 307 yards and three touchdowns. He did toss one interception, but considering he got very little protection, it was one of the best performances Romo has turned in since the late 2000s.
So our apologies go out to everyone, Romo included, for taking the Giants to rip the Cowboys in Wednesday night’s season opener. After all, Dallas won 24-17 and Romo was the best player on the field. In fact, we liked him so much, we’ll have an entire feature on the Cowboys QB coming up tomorrow here at www.thehuddle.co.
Meanwhile, it’s time to take a run at the 15 other games in Week 1. There are still plenty of opportunities to make big money this week.
So without further adieu, The Coach and The Doc dive right into Week 1 with our Fearless Picks. The Doc does the writing while the Coach throws in his weekly pithy comments. And remember, please, no gambling:
Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears
Line: Bears by 9.5.
It’s a battle of last year’s co-winners of the “Damn, I lost my Quarterback” Award and it should be a good one. Andrew Luck won’t disappoint in his NFL debut because the Colts should be at least competitive in this one, even though the Bears offense which is now bolstered by Jay Cutler’s buddy Brandon Marshall, should be able to run wild on an Indianapolis defense that’s still a work in progress. The Coach loves Luck and believes he will put up his share of points, but he can’t imagine the Colts D stopping the local Salvation Army Band.
THE DOC: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN, BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN, BUT NOT COVER.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
Line: Eagles by 8.
The Browns don’t seem to have much going for them. They have 28 year old rookie Brandon Weeden starting at quarterback, a banged up rookie running back in Trent Richardson, and their best defensive player Scott Fujita is still out tangled up in the Saints bounty scandal. Not looking good for Cleveland’s home opener. Or the entire season. This one should even empty out the Dog Pound early. The Coach says, “Poor Cleveland.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE EAGLES TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE EAGLES TO WIN AND COVER.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Line: Jets by 3.
Last season the Bills got off to a 4-1 start to shock the NFL. They ended up fading to a 6-10 record but they made some of us believe that they were on the right track. Buffalo had a great off-season. Their defense is going to be much better with Mario Williams and Mark Anderson at DE plus they re-signed star WR Steve Johnson. The Jets on paper look strong…but look for the quarterback controversy to rear its ugly head — and rear it early. Rex Ryan’s squad will have enough to win this one, but barely. The Coach says the Jets are dysfunctional.
THE DOC: TAKE THE JETS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BILLS TO WIN.
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints
Line: Saints by 7.
Two of the NFL’s biggest offseason stories “Bounty-Gate” and “RG3” collide in New Orleans and I believe that the Saints will come out with something to prove to the world in this one. I also believe that RG3 is the real deal and he and the ‘Skins should be able to run the ball and find open receivers. A tough spot for the rookie QB, and Drew Brees will show him how it’s done.
THE DOC: TAKE THE SAINTS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER.
New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans
Line: Patriots by 6.
Tom Brady vs. Jake Locker should be an easy decision to make but I don’t think this one is as obvious as one might think. The fact is that Super Bowl losers — like the Pats — are 3-15 against the spread in Week 1 over the last 18 years. That should give you a sense of how teams react after losing the big one. Besides, Locker has been solid in the preseason and Chris Johnson is eager to prove that 2011 was a season he’d like to forget. With that being said, I think New England has too many weapons to lose this game, but it’ll be closer than most think.
THE DOC: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings
Line: Vikings by 3.5.
Neither team’s star running back will be a factor. Instead, the outcome will come down to which of the two young quarterbacks shows more improvement. The feeling here is it will be Christian Ponder who benefits from better continuity from his offense and, of course, the great Percy Harvin who seems to have his head screwed on straight now. Jags’ Blaine Gabbert wouldn’t be a starter on any other team in the NFL and will be exposed as a fraud this season. Coach says, this might be the only time this year we take the Vikings to win AND cover.
THE DOC: TAKE THE VIKINGS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE VIKINGS TO WIN AND COVER.
Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans
Line: Texans by 12.5.
America’s train wreck was on display for the whole world to see on this season’s edition of ‘Hard Knocks’. (And people complain about how the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are run?) The Dolphins will be less than dismal this year while the Texans will run wild in the AFC South. The Coach, sure the Dolphins might be lousy, but QB Ryan Tannehill’s wife will be great. As long the networks give her plenty of face time.
THE DOC: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER AND SHOULD BE YOUR “SURVIVOR POOL” PICK THIS WEEK.
THE COACH: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
Line: Lions by 7.
The Lions were one of the more entertaining teams to watch last season mainly because of Calvin Johnson. I expect a lot of fireworks from him and Matthew Stafford. The Rams begin yet another rebuilding season and their O-Line won’t be able to deal with Detroit’s pass rush and Sam Bradford will spend the whole game running for his life. Coach says, Here’s Sam Bradford in Week 1: “Block that guy! No, block that guy! Ahhhhhhhh!!!”
THE DOC: TAKE THE LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
Line: Falcons by 2.5.
The Chiefs won’t be the pushovers they were last season and they always play tough at home. The Falcons who have looked strong in the preseason, never play that well on the road or outdoors for that matter. The Chiefs have Jamaal Charles back from a knee injury and they added power back Peyton Hillis to complete a strong 1-2 punch. Dwayne Bowe has, at times, shown flashes of brilliance in his career. If all goes well, he’ll stay healthy and put it all together this season.
THE DOC: TAKE THE CHIEFS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE CHIEFS TO WIN.
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
Line: Packers by 5.
High profile Week 1 matchup between the top two seeds of last season’s NFC Playoffs that features a pair of quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2005 draft. San Francisco’s Alex Smith (No. 1 overall) and Green Bay’s 2011 MVP Aaron Rodgers (No. 24) should come together for a high-scoring game. Green Bay (the Coach’s Super Bowl winner pick) has a 13 game home winning streak on the line while the 49ers haven’t won at Lambeau since 1990. Green Bay’s offense seemed to get it together late in the preseason, but even an out of sync Aaron Rodgers is better than anything the 49ers can put together. The Coach says: Green Bay has the best team in the NFL.
THE DOC: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Panthers by 2.5.
Look for last year’s sensation, Cam Newton to be even better this season. The Panthers are a team that a lot of people believe will have a big year and they should win this one on the road. Carolina ran all over the Bucs in last year’s two meetings, and should be able to do it again with Tampa’s always-wonky defense still in a state of flux. Josh Freeman doesn’t have the weapons nor the confidence that he needs to move the team to the next level.
THE DOC: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Line: Seahawks by 3.
Seattle on the road is a scary proposition, but the Cardinals are still a weak team in my mind. The Cardinals, like the Dolphins, seem to be doing everything wrong. Take Larry Fitzgerald off the team and there isn’t much to be hope to be had – and neither John Skelton or Kevin Kolb has what it takes to change that. I think Russell Wilson can ride the Seahawks preseason momentum into this one. The Coach says: I love Russell Wilson, but not enough to pick him to win his first NFL game on the road.
THE DOC: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE CARDINALS TO WIN.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
Line: Broncos by 2.
This is the game that most fans will find the most intriguing. Peyton Manning is making his return to the game after missing all of last season with a career-threatening neck injury. Manning will make a difference, but chemistry takes awhile to develop. The Steelers were always difficult for Manning to beat during his tenure in Indianapolis and I believe that they will have his number in this one. The Coach says: Peyton Manning has waited 20 months for this win and he won’t lose at home.
THE DOC: TAKE THE STEELERS IN THE UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Line: Ravens by 6.
Although the Bengals played some pretty good football last season with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green leading the way, the Ravens truly believe that they should have been in the Super Bowl and this one will set the tone as they work towards dominating the AFC. The Coach says: The Bengals were a flash in the pan. The Ravens are the real deal and this has now become Joe Flacco’s team.
THE DOC: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Line: Chargers by 1.
Oakland doesn’t do many things well, but the Raiders can put pressure on the quarterback and are far more difficult to defend against with a healthy Darren McFadden at running back. Carson Palmer might not have enough in the tank at this point in his career, but the Chargers still won’t do much at all this year with all the injury issues they have. Go with the home team. The Coach says: The Chargers probably have better talent but Norv Turner will find a way to lose.
THE DOC: TAKE THE RAIDERS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE RAIDERS TO WIN.