By Scott Taylor and Dave Petrishen
We certainly had Game 1 of the National Football League season pegged. Thursday night in Denver, Peyton Manning tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes as the Denver Broncos blasted the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens 49-27.
Manning became the sixth NFL quarterback to throw seven TD passes in a single 60-minute contest and the first since Joe Kapp of the Minnesota Vikings in 1969.
That’s an odd one considering how the game has become the domain of passers over the last 40 years. Before that, the four-down game belonged to the likes of Jim Brown, John Henry Johnson, Hopalong Cassidy, Leroy Kelly, Mel Farr, Paul Hornung, John David Crow and Jim Taylor. From the mid-1970s, the passers started to take over the NFL and yet no one had matched seven TD passes since Kapp did it against the Baltimore Colts (interesting) on Sept. 28, 1969.
It was a remarkable performance and it made Dr. Football and The Coach look like geniuses. This year, the plan is to make you considerably wealthier in January than you were in August, just like we did last year.
In 2012, The Doc went 173-94 straight up and 135-132 against the spread. The Coach went 176-91 straight up and 138-129 against the spread.
So let’s go. It’s a new season and a new opportunity to make big dough. As always, Dr. Football writes our reasoned opinions while the Coach eats Cheezies and throws in the occasional snarky comment.
New England Patriots (0-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-0) Line: Patriots by 9.
Off-field drama and the Tebow distraction aside, the Patriots will win the AFC East. The Bills will remain a joke. The Coach says: The Doc does not believe in the magic of EJ Manuel. Ahh, neither do I. Although C.J. Spiller should have a good game.
The Doc: PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Tennessee Titans (0-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) Line: Steelers by 7.
Jake Locker vs. Big Ben? Puh-leeze. The Coach says: Who is Jake Locker?
The Doc: STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER
The Coach: STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at New Orleans Saints (0-0) Line: Saints by 3.
Intriguing match-up. Sean Payton is back with something to prove. The Falcons will win the NFC South, but their backs are against the wall here. This one will be won by emotion. The Coach says: The NFL would prefer the Saints don’t rip it up. It’s not the narrative. However, I agree. Drew Brees will throw for miles not yards. 66-58 final.
The Doc: SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) at New York Jets (0-0) Line: Buccaneers by 3.5.
Two teams with quarterbacks that wouldn’t be able to make a CFL team. Geno Smith? However, the Bucs will take the Jets too lightly and it will cost them. The Coach says: The Bucs are favored? They couldn’t beat St. Mary’s School for Wayward Girls.
The Doc: TAKE THE JETS TO WIN.
The Coach: JETS TO WIN.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0) Line: Chiefs by 3.5.
The Chiefs Andy Reid and his QB Alex Smith have a lot to prove this year and it starts here. In fact, expect the Chiefs to capture a wildcard playoff spot this year. I can’t see any improvement in Jacksonville on paper and for sure not on the field. The Coach says: Andy Reid is that toxic combination of huge ego and paranoia. If the Jags win a game this season, this will be it.
The Doc: CHIEFS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: JAGS TO WIN.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at Chicago Bears (0-0) Line: Bears by 3.
The Marc Trestman era in the windy city begins with a match up against a team that I believe will win the AFC North. The Bears have made a few changes on the field, but the best one may be overlooked by most, Brian Urlacher has “retired” and will be replaced with rookie Jon Bostic. Urlacher could barely move last year so I feel that is an upgrade. The Bengals Andy Dalton struggles against the better defenses, but the Bears D will take time to gel. The Coach says: Without an aging Urlacher, the Bears are better. Too bad they still have Jay Cutler.
The Doc: TAKE THE BENGALS TO WIN.
The Coach: BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0) Line: Browns by 1.
Expect a better year from the Browns Brandon Weeden as the new coaching regime has shown him some off-season love. The Dolphins run game will be better this year, but not enough to win this one. The Coach says: Brandon Weeden vs. Ryan Tannehill. Can’t wait for my nap.
The Doc: BROWNS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: BROWNS TO WIN AND COVER.
Seattle Seahawks (0-0) at Carolina Panthers (0-0) Line: Seahawks by 3.5.
Cam Newton should have a better year than last; at times he seemed lost and lacked some leadership ability last season. He’ll have a tough go of it in this one, the Seahawks secondary will make his life miserable. The Seattle O-line is a concern this season…they’ll hold back Russell Wilson at times. The Coach says: Every year the experts tell me Seattle is going to win and every year they don’t.
The Doc: SEAHAWKS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: PANTHERS TO WIN.
Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Detroit Lions (0-0) Line: Lions by 5.5.
Despite a terrible preseason, look for the Vikings Adrian Peterson (who saw next to no action) to pick up where he left off…running the ball down his opponents throat. The Lions have added Reggie Bush, but the always sloppy Matthew Stafford will struggle with little protection from his O-line. The Coach says: It took Peyton Manning one week to throw seven TD passes. It will take Christian Ponder half the season.
The Doc: TAKE THE VIKINGS IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Oakland Raiders (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0) Line: Colts by 9.5.
While I’m not on board with the “experts” raving about how the Colts will be so much better this year, one thing is for certain; the Raiders might just be the worst team in the history of football. This one will be done in the first quarter. The Coach says: Dennis Allen is the 18th coach in Raiders history. Who will be the 19th?
The Doc: TAKE THE COLTS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: COLTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Arizona Cardinals (0-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-0) Line: Rams by 4.5.
Cardinals fans may be excited about the arrival of Carson Palmer, but I doubt he’ll make any kind of an impact unless every play is a toss to Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer will be running for his life as the Rams have a ferocious pass rush. The Rams by no means will be playoff bound, but they should win this one…barely. The Coach says: Look up “stinky” in the dictionary and Webster will give you the YouTube link to “high”lights of this game.
The Doc: TAKE THE RAMS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: RAMS TO WIN AND COVER.
Green Bay Packers (0-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-0) Line: 49ers by 4.5.
This huge NFC match-up probably is the “game of the week”. The Packers coaching staff have probably spent the past seven months rehashing the NFC Final where they allowed Colin Kaepernick to run wild and cost them their Super Bowl shot. The 49ers basically are intact from the team that should of won it all last year, but they’ll be tested. The Coach says: Can’t wait to see if Clay Matthews is as good as his hair and his TV commercials think he is.
The Doc: TAKE THE 49ERS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: 49ERS TO WIN AND COVER.
New York Giants (0-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-0) Line: Cowboys by 3.5.
The Giants have beaten the Cowboys 8 out of the last 11 times the two teams have met. Despite the Giants weak defense, I can’t see Tony Romo and company fast out of the gate this year. The Coach says: If the Cowboys are going to be around in December, they’d better win this one at home.
The Doc: TAKE THE GIANTS IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER.
Philadelphia Eagles (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0) Line: Redskins by 3.5.
RG111 should have a tremendous game as he is out to prove he is fully recovered from his injuries/surgeries, and what a way to do it against a horrible Eagles defense. He might not even have to break a sweat; the Eagles lack any kind of a pass rush. The Coach says: Not even close.
The Doc: TAKE THE REDSKINS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: WASHINGTON TO WIN AND COVER.
Houston Texans (0-0) at San Diego Chargers (0-0) Line: Texans by 4.
I don’t expect the Texans to be as potent as last season, but their running game will be terrific as Arian Foster will split touches with Ben Tate who looked outstanding in the preseason. Expect more of the “same old same old” with the Chargers this year, as in Phillip Rivers not being able to get it done. The Coach says: Mike McCoy is the 15th head coach in Chargers history. Who will be the 16th?
The Doc: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
Listen to The Coach Scott Taylor every Thursday at 10:25 a.m. CT with Dean (Boomer) Molberg on SportsNet 960 The FAN in Calgary as they pick the Pools and Props for Sport Select and Western Canada Lotteries. You can listen live at: http://www.sportsnet.ca/960/