The curtain-raising matchup for the 2012 NFL season between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants could serve as metaphor for the renewal of hostilities between Steven and me as we once again pit our prognosticating prowess against each other. On the one hand, you have an underachiever hoping that 2012 will be different than the disappointing 2011 effort (That would be Steven). On the other, you have a champion (Yours truly).
Before we begin, let's go over the ground rules for our new readers. Our picks are based solely on game outcomes. No point spreads are considered. We also discourage our readers from using our picks for wagering. If you'd like to give your money away, Steven and I are far more worthy recipients than your bookie.
So without further ado:
Dallas at New York Giants- Steven: Cowboys
– "Tony Romo is going to find the Giants a little easier to face without a constant pass rush coming after him. An improved secondary helps seal an opening victory over the defending champs." Chuck: Giants
- "The Cowboys will regret letting Laurent Robinson go all season. Romo will make some big plays, but he'll chuck up a couple of ducks that will put the G-men over the top."
Indianapolis at Chicago- Steven: Colts
– "Why wait to get that first victory? Andrew Luck won’t blow the doors off anything, but he’s facing a defense that has Aaron Rodgers to worry about on short notice in week two. Let the real rookie hype begin." Chuck: Bears
- "As much as I'd love to go with the Colts, that first win will have to wait a week. Luck is ahead of the curve, but Lovie Smith will have a few curves of his own to throw at the rookie. And until the Colts show me they can contain the run, I'm not picking them against a back like Matt Forte."
Jacksonville at Minnesota- Steven: Vikings
– "With no rushing attack to worry about, Minnesota should use its own by pounding Adrian Peterson at will. Sure, he may get hurt by the third quarter, but that was going to happen sooner or later." Chuck: Vikings
- "It's a shame when these key matchups happen so early in the season. This game could decide the next year's number one overall draft pick. Later in the season would be more dramatic. Vikings win simply because they're at home."
Buffalo at New York Jets- Steven: Jets
– "I do believe the Jets are better than the preseason showed, and this week that will be good enough. Tim Tebow also scores a goal line touchdown and all seems right with the world." Chuck: Jets
- "I think the Bills will be better than the Jets by the end of the season, but not on the road in week one."
Miami at Houston- Steven: Texans
–"A healthy Arian Foster is dangerous for the rest of the league. The Texans had possibly the top defense in the NFL last year, and a mostly one-dimensional Dolphins attack will help start to get back to that standing this year." Chuck: Texans
- "Biggest mismatch of the week."
New England at Tennessee- Steven: Titans
– "Tennessee will be a surprise team this season, but a brutal schedule in the first half will wear them out. This is week one though, and an early upset is brewing." Chuck: Patriots
- "The Titans are good enough to upset the Pats, but inconsistent enough to lose by three touchdowns. Jake Locker meet Tom Brady. Take notes."
St. Louis at Detroit- Steven: Lions
– "How exactly will Calvin Johnson be stopped this year?" Chuck: Lions
- "Steven has started the season picking the Lions. See, he learned from last year."
Washington at New Orleans- Steven: Saints
– "Bounties, hurricanes and whatever else is over for the Saints. Finding a pass defense though hasn’t ended yet, but the Robert Griffin III will have to use his legs to try and make it work this year." Chuck: Saints-
"The Saints are in disarray and RGIII will put some numbers. Drew Brees will put up more. Take the over in this game."
Philadelphia at Cleveland- Steven: Eagles
– "This one feels closer than it looks, but how can you trust the Browns? I weep for you, Cleveland." Chuck: Eagles
- "Another rookie QB makes his debut. Brandon Weeden won't be hearing any love from disgruntled Browns fans after the Eagles secondary rudely welcomes him to the NFL."
Atlanta at Kansas City- Steven: Falcons
– "As far as road wins go, this will be impressive. I think Matt Ryan has a terrific season." Chuck: Chiefs
- "An early matchup of my two darkhorse Super Bowl teams. Matt Ryan is to to break out, but Kansas City is never an easy place to get a win. Ask Green Bay last year."
San Francisco at Green Bay- Steven: Packers
– "Not so quick anointing Green Bay on top of the NFC this year, but they pull out a close one in the best game of the opening week." Chuck: Packers
- "This game should live up to its hype. Packers in a close one."
Seattle at Arizona- Steven: Seahawks
– "From the best game to the worst. Did the NFC West get banned from television yet? In any case, the Seahawks plan appears to involve blinding its opponents this season." Chuck: Seahawks
- "If Brandon Weeden has the worst matchup for rookie quarterbacks, Russell Wilson has one of the best. The Seahawks could surprise some folks this year."
Carolina at Tampa Bay- Steven: Panthers
– "Can Carolina outscore everyone it faces? Tough schedule probably means it has to." Chuck: Buccaneers
- "The Bucs were busy this off season. No NFL squad improved itself more than Tampa."
Pittsburgh at Denver- Steven: Broncos
– "Welcome back to football Peyton Manning. This just has a feeling of it finally being a down year for the Steelers." Chuck: Broncos
- "Peyton Manning has a tough road ahead with the schedule. A home game against an aging Steelers defense is as good a place as any to start."
Cincinnati at Baltimore- Steven: Bengals
– "Cincinnati, not Baltimore is the favorite in the AFC North this year. A win on the road could lead to a 6-0 start to the year." Chuck: Bengals-
"These two will battle for AFC North supremacy and meet to kick off and end the season. In between, it should be a good battle. The Ravens will miss Terrell Suggs and Jarrett Johnson (not to mention Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski… and a guy named Pagano).
San Diego at Oakland- Steven: Chargers
– "Close call, but a slight edge goes to San Diego here as Oakland relies on too many big plays." Chuck: Raiders
- "I'll have to find out who won this game on Tuesday, not because it's on too late. Chris Berman is doing the play-by-play. Can't ESPN bring back the games with no announcers?"
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