It’s quite possible that this could be a gigantic mistake, but I’ve asked nine of my co-workers to join me in a season-long NFL picks contest.
And by mistake, it’s not because we could look like a bunch of dummies — which we probably will — but more so because I’ll be chasing them down every week to choose three games, against the spread, for the next four months. That alone is the reason we’re doing three games instead of five, which is what you normally see in a super contest.
We’ll keep track as we go, with each win gaining a point and each push as a half point. As for the prize of first place and the punishment of last place? We’re open to suggestions.
Week 1 Trends
Nobody likes the Patriots
Six of us are taking PHI -4 and no one is backing the Patriots. It’s square. It’s the public side. But it’s hard to unsee what’s been seen this offseason.
The Pros, who are on NE +4, will point out that the Patriots made a major upgrade at offensive coordinator. And that over the last decade, teams coming off a Super Bowl loss are just 3-7 against the spread in Week 1. And that New England still has Bill Belichick, who surely has been planning a way to slow down Jalen Hurts over the last four months.
But us Joes? It’s hard to imagine Mac Jones getting enough time to throw the ball behind an offensive line that has — optimistically — had limited time together. Especially going up against an Eagles defensive front that even Belichick admitted was probably the best in football. Personally, the Eagles just don’t fit the bill for a Super Bowl hangover. They have a young, ascending quarterback. A dominant defensive front. Excellent pass-catching weapons. And Matt Patricia (just kidding).
Packers backers (3-0) and Viking quests (3-0)
The early-season optimism for the Chicago Bears completely missed this group. We’ve got three bets on the Packers to cover +1 on the road. They’re one of the bigger mysteries on the board as they turn to Jordan Love with a win total of 7.5 — their lowest in 16 years.
Minnesota was also quite popular this week at -5.5. We’ve got three bets on the Vikings, or more appropriately, three bets against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are once again without a franchise quarterback and destined to return to the bottom of the NFC. Baker Mayfield (TB) is just 29-41-1 ATS since entering the league, according to the Action Network.
Are we overrating the Steelers (3-1)?
NFC runner-up San Francisco is a 2-point favorite in Pittsburgh. Although they’ve been good as road underdogs under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are just 1-5 ATS in season openers.
Even as Kenny Pickett enters his second season, the biggest difference for the Steelers might be T.J. Watt. Pittsburgh was 8-2 with Watt last year and just 1-6 without him. He’s healthy and sits at +800 to win DPOY.
Four games we were too afraid to touch
- CAR +3.5 at ATL
- TEN +3 at NO
- LV +3.5 at DEN
- BUF -2.5 at NYJ