Is it just me, or did Week 1 of the NFL season feel incredibly familiar? I had questions about whether or not it would seem like the real thing in a bunch of empty stadiums, but the broadcasts did such an excellent job of playing sound that you really couldn't tell the difference. It felt like a typical NFL game whenever you watched. So much so that when you did see the shots of empty seats, it was something of an "oh yeah" moment.
That said, there is a part of me that misses seeing adults with children and jobs as an accountant somewhere wearing face paint and animal fur. Maybe that's the next step for the league and its networks -- plant team employees in the stands dressed as weirdos.
Anyway, as for last week's picks, it's hard to complain about the results. I went 2-1, and I hope you got the Bengals when it was still +3.5, or at least +3. For those of you who got them at +2.5, my condolences. Hopefully, I can help you win some of that cash back this weekend.
1. Panthers at Buccaneers: Under 48.5
Did anybody else get a little depressed watching the Saints and Bucs last weekend? I suppose we could blame Tom Brady's slow start on the lack of preseason, but I think that ignores the fact that he didn't look especially magnificent last season, either. I know there was a lot of hype about the Tampa offense coming into the season, but it didn't look great last week, and now it has Mike Evans still dealing with a hamstring issue and Chris Godwin entering the concussion protocol on Wednesday. It's hard to be optimistic about a breakthrough this week, but I'm not ready to pounce on the Panthers here. Instead, I'm going to trust both defenses to limit the opposing offenses as best they can. I'd like this line a whole lot more if it crept up to 49, but I'm still comfortable enough at 48.5 to take it here.
Week 2 is finally here, so who should you pick? Pete Prisco, R.J. White and SportsLine's Kenny White join Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to breakdown their best bets, gambling advice and more; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Yes, that's right, I saw the Jets play last weekend and thought, "oh man, I can't wait to bet on them next week." It's true! Not because of the Jets, but the overreaction and belief in a 49ers team coming off a Super Bowl. I took the Cardinals +7 against the Niners last week, and the Cardinals won. I don't expect the Jets to win here, but I'm not ruling it out. San Francisco has been hit hard by injuries and just added Richard Sherman to the IR. Also, let's not forget what life is like on the West Coast right now. The air quality is terrible due to wildfires across the coast, and that's got to be having an impact on the Niners ability to practice. Then toss in a trip across the country to face the Jets in an early kick, and, well, the Jets are starting to look a little more appealing, aren't they?
3. Saints at Raiders: Saints Under 27.5 points
Back to that Bucs-Saints game. While I don't know if Brady is any worse this year, Drew Brees sure looks to be. The thing that always separated Brees from other QBs is his ability to move in the pocket with some kind of preternatural sense of where the rush is coming from. That sense, mixed with pristine footwork, has led to some magical moments. Well, I didn't see any of that against Tampa. Maybe it's rust, or maybe being 41 has caught up to him. I don't know, but I know that he's not going to have Michael Thomas available to him and that handicaps the Saints offense a lot. Still, I'm not ready to trust the Raiders here, but I think taking the under on the Saints' team total is a fantastic option.