The 2014 NFL season is finally nigh upon us, and that means it’s time once again for the Breaking Football edition of the weekly picks. I guess this is technically the first-ever installment of picks considering this site was born like three weeks ago, but you get the point. We’ve done this before with like a million people, but this season we’re taking it down a different road.
Making the picks this season will be me (Lord Taylor Smith) and my trusty yuk monkey, Kevin Roberts. You can find him and his hot sports opinions on Twitter @BreakingKevin, and I’m over at @TaylorBojangles. Follow us. OR ELSE.
Things get rolling with the Packers traveling to Seattle tonight, so we’ll start there, naturally.
Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks
Kevin Roberts: Green Bay Packers – Call it a homer pick all you want, but it’s not easy to defend a title, nor is it easy to beat a healthy Packers team. Green Bay probably needs to be borderline flawless here, but they’re balanced enough to pull off the upset.
Taylor Smith: Seattle Seahawks – Seattle doesn’t really lose at home anymore, and I can’t imagine them losing their first game in that yard after their dominant Super Bowl effort. I’m sure Mike McCarthy will also mismanage his timeouts and bungle some other shit up, so that won’t be helping the Packers’ effort. Also, Aaron Rodgers may get sacked 52 times.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Kevin: Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta is actually healthy entering this game and they’re going to want to get the nasty taste of a horrid 2013 season out of their mouths. Beating a bitter division rival to kickoff 2014 is a great way to do that.
Taylor: New Orleans Saints – The Saints appear to have reloaded during the offseason, and while I’d assume the Falcons will rebound from a down 2013, New Orleans is the class of this division. Should be a shootout, as always, but the Falcons can’t keep up. They may need another wimpy speech from Mike Smith to get them fired-up.
Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis Rams
Kevin: Minnesota Vikings – Shaun Hill. That is all.
Taylor: St. Louis Rams – The Rams may have no quarterback of which to speak, but the Vikings don’t, either. Minnesota will have a tough time dealing with that ferocious Rams front-7, and I guess I’m going on the home-field advantage here. This game will be terrrrrible.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Kevin: Pittsburgh Steelers – Cleveland isn’t winning in Pittsburgh even with Johnny Football, so why would they with Brian Hoyer?
Taylor: Pittsburgh Steelers – Yeah ain’t no way I’m picking no Brian Hoyer team to march into Pittsburgh and win in Week 1. Not that the Steelers are good or anything, but why, exactly, should I be inclined to take the Browns after Hoyer looked like a steaming pile during the preseason?
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles
Kevin: Philadelphia Eagles – Jax will be better but the Eagles are still far superior.
Taylor: Philadelphia Eagles – I’m tempted to go with the Upset Special here, but I’m not sure how the Jags’ defense is supposed to keep up with the Fightin’ Chip Kellys.
Oakland Raiders @ New York Jets
Kevin: New York Jets – Moving to Derek Carr is the right move but a rookie passer vs. a Rex Ryan defense? That won’t end well.
Taylor: New York Jets – I actually think the Raiders may not be as terrible as they usually are, but I also kinda think the same of the Jets. So, Jets it is.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Kevin: Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are better than they were in 2013. Not having a sluggish Ray Rice lumbering around should help the offense, too.
Taylor: Cincinnati Bengals – I’ve seen lots of people picking the Bengals to make the Super Bowl this year, and I’m assuming they’re all high. That said, I do think they’re better than the Ravens, so they get off on the right foot.
Buffalo Bills @ Chicago Bears
Kevin: Chicago Bears – Buffalo is a mess and one-dimensional on offense, while their D may not be the same without Kiko Alonso. Chicago is as underrated as teams come.
Taylor: Chicago Bears – I don’t feel like writing an explanation for this.
Washington Redskins @ Houston Texans
Kevin: Washington Redskins – As much of a mess as RG3 seems to be, the Texans might be worse off with Ryan Fitzpatrick. This is probably a toss up, overall.
Taylor: Houston Texans – The two worst teams from last season! Woohoo! The Texans’ 2-14 record last year was fairly flukey, and I think there’s a chance they rebound enough to snag a Wild Card berth in the shitty AFC this season. So if they’re going to be doing that, they can’t be losing to the freaking Redskins at home.
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Kevin: Kansas City Chiefs – I’m a Jake Locker fan but he won’t be able to dissect the Chiefs. Even if he does, the Titans can’t stop Jamaal Charles.
Taylor: Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are due for a regression after last season, but they’re definitely better than the Titans. Plus Arrowhead is a tough place to play, they tell us.
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
Kevin: New England Patriots – Miami is slightly underrated but they’re not as good as a healthy Patriots team. Even a limited Rob Gronkowski gives the Pats a big advantage.
Taylor: New England Patriots – I’m not particularly high on the Pats this season, but they’re definitely the best thing going in that dumpster fire known as the AFC East. Hopefully the Dolphins have a mid-game mutiny to keep things interesting. FINKLE IS EINHORN.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kevin: Carolina Panthers – Everyone is hating on the Panthers these days, but I still love their defense. Tampa Bay has a ton of new faces that need to mesh yet, too.
Taylor: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carolina was last season’s major surprise team, but they didn’t do much in the offseason to get better. They may have actually gotten worse, plus their QB has a rib injury that’ll surely nag him forever. The Bucs hired a competent coach, for once, so they could be in for a leap.
San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys
Kevin: Dallas Cowboys – Upset! Tony Romo can still work magic against anyone and this Niners D is not what it what a year ago thanks to injuries and suspensions. The Cowboys’ D stinks, too, making this a shootout.
Taylor: San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers looked dreadful during the preseason, but so did the Cowboys. Considering the 49ers have more of a defense in place than Dallas does, I’m thinking they march into the Death Star and have a fairly easy time.
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos
Kevin: Denver Broncos – Indy will give Denver a run for their money and this should be a very entertaining shootout, but look for Peyton to take meeting #2.
Taylor: Denver Broncos – The Broncos should be on a mission after getting their asses handed to them in the Super Bowl, and I can’t imagine them blowing the first game of the season. Even without Mr. Molly in the fold this week.
New York Giants @ Detroit Lions
Kevin: Detroit Lions – Eli Manning has looked dreadful. If he randomly shows up and plays awesome, Giants preseason ticket buyers need their money back.
Taylor: Detroit Lions – What the hell? Who let this game on to Monday Night Football? Didn’t they learn ANYTHING last year? The Giants were a nightmare to watch, and I can’t imagine that being any different this time around. Lions by default, I guess.
San Diego Chargers @ Arizona Cardinals
Kevin: San Diego Chargers – I’m a believer in Philip Rivers and San Diego went out and patched up their defense. On the flip side, I’m not a believe in Palmsy and the Cards have taken hits on defense all summer (Dockett, Washington).
Taylor: Arizona Cardinals – I’m probably more bullish on the Cardinals than I should be coming into the season, especially given the fact that they’ve got Carson Palmer running things. But they’re a salty bunch that should still have enough to take down the Chargers at home on Monday night. PS: I’m picking Philip Rivers to win the MVP this season, so I may or may not be drunk as I write this.