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RJ’s NFL Picks, Week One

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Welcome back, NFL football fans. This is now the fourth consecutive year in which I have committed myself to picking every single NFL regular season game. I pick the winners straight-up, without taking the spread into account (although I do offer my best guess as to what the margin of victory will be). My goal, as always, is to beat ESPN's NFL "experts" at their own game.

It's always more fun when my enormously vast and intensely loyal readership gets involved, so don't be shy about offering your own predictions in the comments section below. At the end of each week, I'll total up everyone's Win-Loss record (including the out-of-shape, middle-aged guys from ESPN), and post the results in the comments for comparison.

[If you're looking for NFL picks that factor in the spread, you'll definitely want to check out David Mazzotta's weekly column, which should begin about midway through the season. Unlike me, he's actually a published author, sew u cann eckspekt mutch gooder righting their then u wil c hear.]

With that said, it's time for my picks for the NFL's Week One:


Washington Redskins at NY Giants — 7:00 p.m.

The defending Super Bowl champs should have little difficulty winning the opening game of the 2008 regular season. I don't see the Redskins returning to the postseason this year.

RJ's Pick: New York Giants by 9


Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons — 1:00 p.m.

The Detroit Lions went undefeated in the preseason, and gave up fewer points than any other team (I believe this is conclusive proof that the preseason is meaningless). Rookie RB Kevin Smith (a UCF non-grad) should still be fun to watch, though. Atlanta remains horrible. Rookie Matt Ryan will be starting.

RJ's Pick: Detroit by 6

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens — 1:00 p.m.

These two teams will be battling with each other all season long – to determine who finishes in third place.

RJ's Pick: Baltimore by 2

Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills — 1:00 p.m.

The Seahawks are looking to maintain their vise-like grip on the NFC Worst. I suspect the Bills have improved a bit over last season, but I don't know how much that matters in a division with the Patriots, Brett Favre, and Bill Parcells.

RJ's Pick: Seattle by 3

NY Jets at Miami Dolphins — 1:00 p.m.

And speaking of Brett Favre and Bill Parcells … [insert your own jokes here].

RJ's Pick: Miami by 1

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots — 1:00 p.m.

The Patriots probably want to lose a game early in the season this year, just so they don't have to deal with the whole "will you go undefeated?" distraction. The problem is, I don't think they could lose at home to Kansas City if they tried.

RJ's Pick: New England by 30

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints — 1:00 p.m.

As I write this, Hurricane Gustav is pounding Louisiana. The levees have held so far, and let's all hope they continue to do so (Somehow I don't think the Saints want to open the season unexpectedly playing on the road … or at home, in scuba gear). New Orleans underachieved last year, and Tampa Bay overachieved. The NFC South is a fairly weak division, and I expect the Saints to finish the regular season on top.

RJ's Pick: New Orleans by 1

St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles — 1:00 p.m.

The Rams could surprise a few people this year, assuming they avoid the quantity of injuries they suffered last season. The Eagles are on a downward slide into the abyss of the NFC East.

RJ's Pick: St. Louis by 2

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers — 1:00 p.m.

I see no reason to expect the Steelers to lose here, unless Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak changes his mind and allows Superhuman-Football-Legend-And-Hero-Of-The-Proletariat **Sage Rosenfels** to start in place of QB Matt Schaub. But there's little chance of that.

RJ's Pick: Sage Rosenfels 168, Steelers -3
RJ's Pick: Pittsburgh by 4

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans — 1:00 p.m.

Who would you rather have at QB: David Garrard (18 TD and 3 INT last season) or Vince Young (9 TD and 17 INT last season)? Yeah, me too.

RJ's Pick: Jacksonville by 20

Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns — 4:15 p.m.

I hate to say it, but I think Cleveland is going to disappoint this season. And I hate to say it even more, but I think the Cowboys are going to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII. Oh, well. If I'm right, at least we'll get to watch Dallas QB Tony Romo choke in front of an even larger viewing audience than he's accustomed to.

RJ's Pick: Dallas by 10

Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers — 4:15 p.m.

San Diego will probably win their division again, but I don't see them achieving much beyond that. Carolina should have another mediocre season and fail to qualify for the playoffs.

RJ's Pick: San Diego by 5

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers — 4:15 p.m.

Arizona is hoping to improve on their .500 record from last season. The 49ers would probably view an 8-8 season as a blessing.

RJ's Pick: Arizona by 6

Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts — 8:15 p.m.

The Bears are gonna suck. The Colts have a credible shot at getting to the Super Bowl.

RJ's Pick: Indianapolis by 15


Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers — 7:00 p.m.

I thought there was a law in Wisconsin that made it illegal for the Packers to play football unless Brett Favre is under center? Hmmm … looks like QB Aaron Rodgers is going to the hoosegow (That's still better than playing for the Jets). A good many people are predicting the Vikings to win the NFC North this season. It's possible, I suppose, although I'd think it more likely if they had, like, a quarterback who wasn't, you know, appallingly awful. Maybe rookie QB John David Booty will get some playing time and impress. Or maybe I just wanted to include the word "booty" somewhere in this article as part of my Search Engine Optimization scheme. You don't know right now, do you? And that's why they play the games …

RJ's Pick: Green Bay by 1

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders — 10:15 p.m.

Mike Shanahan has now officially been the Head Coach of the Denver Broncos for more years than the US military was in Vietnam (Seriously. Look it up). "Hey, hey, Shanahan! Whatcha gonna do for a Broncos fan?" In this season's opener, he'll lead his troops into battle against the … wait … Oakland still has a team? I'll be sure to stay up until 2 a.m. on a weeknight to watch this matchup of certain playoff contenders. I'll be equally likely to gouge out my own eyeballs with a spork.

RJ's Pick: Denver by 6

(If you're interested, you can check out the full list of Danny Sheridan's Odds and ESPN's NFL "Expert" Picks.)

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About RJ

  • NEWS FLASH: RB Rudi Johnson is now a Detroit Lion …

  • Fritz

    You never give the Vikings a chance do you. Jared Allen is going to eat Rogers and Green Bay will have to forfit because the team will run out of clean pants to wear. Vikings WIN

  • imposter


    “The Rams could surprise a few people this year, assuming they avoid the quantity of injuries they suffered last season. The Eagles are on a downward slide into the abyss of the NFC East.”

    Downward slide? They added a pro bowl CB to the two they have already while St. Louis lost their #2 receiver.

  • DOM



  • Welcome back, DOM. How has the off-season treated you?

    FYI – I think you missed a couple games in your picks.

  • jayarra

    your a retard dont write anymore articles VIKINGS BYE 400

  • DOM


    BILLS ….

    its been a good off season.. lots of school and warm weather in the summer.. not sure if i have anything to look forward to this season.. being a niners fan and all.. i guess i get to look forward to wasting countless hours handicapping football games.. :/

  • Molly

    Great page! You should do a survivor pool pick every week! Who do you think is a definite win week 1? Thanks, Molly

  • Bennett

    Great Job!

    You’ve set a high standard with this article, and I look forward to following the season via your commentary.

    I haven’t a clue this year as I’ve a 30 month old boy and a new house half built. Still, I’ll catch the occasional quarter this season, and see if you called the game as I saw it.

    Thanks for the clear formatting, amusing phrasing, and good jokes!


  • Thanks for the kind words, Bennett. Good seeing you again.

  • sshhhhhh

    ATS – (spreads given were what I locked in at)

    -3.5 NY Giants
    -3 Detroit
    -1 Cincinnati
    -1 Seattle
    -3 NY Jets
    -16.5 New England
    -3.5 New Orleans
    -7 Philadelphia
    -6.5 Pittsburgh
    -3 Jacksonville
    -4 Dallas
    +9.5 Carolina
    -3 Arizona
    -9 Indianapolis
    +3 Minnesota
    -3 Denver

    Little heavy on the favorites this week eh… but it is week 1.

  • sshhhhhh

    and good to see ya back r.j.

    don’t post much but enjoy your column

  • I actually took a vacation day tomorrow so I could go out and watch the Superbowl Champion New York Giants start their defense of the title tonight!

    Yee Haw! I’m ready for some football!!!

    Don’t pick my team, they like being the underdogs!

  • Final Score:

    Giants 16, Washington 7 – RJ 1-0 (and I nailed the spread!)

    What a great way to start the season. ;-]

  • Hey, cool blog. I’ll have to mark this as a favorite this season. Here are my picks as of Saturday.

    I thought the Redskins would pull off an upset, so count me as 0-1 for the opener.

    Week 1:

    Falcons – When in doubt go with the home team
    Seattle – Thats my team, which according to my picks will probably go 16-0 this year.
    Jags – Better QB, better team.
    Jets – Miami still sucks IMO
    Saints – Brees is one of my fantasy QB’s. He better do good…
    Eagle – Westbrook > Jackson and Mcnabb isn’t hurt yet.
    Ravens- When in doubt, home team it is.
    Cardinals – Although I think they are over hyped.
    Cowboys – The Browns beat 1 team last year with a winning record, which of course had to be my Seahawks.
    Pack – I’ll go with a solid team at home over a hyped up team on the road.
    Broncos – I think they are better than people give them credit for. Also there is more to football than giving huge contracts to off and on players (Oakland).

  • For the record I had the Giants. Just was too lazy to post.

    Det, Buf, NYJ, Phi, NE, NO, Pitt, Jags, Dal, SD, Ari, Indy, Cin, GB, Den.

  • Good to see you again, Alessandro! How have you been?

  • Thanks for contributing, Adam. Hope to see you throughout the season.

  • Thanks Molly.

    If I had to pick just one team to win this week, it would be Colts over Bears. (Save New England for later in the season.)

  • sshhhhhh,

    Thanks for posting the spreads. I’ll tally up my W/L ATS at the end of the week right here in the comments.

  • Andy,

    So how was the game Thursday night? I didn’t get to watch it.

  • Fritz,

    You should post your own picks here in the comments each week. 😉

  • It’s all good!

    I think.

  • walmartsux

    I love your column! I followed you all last season and you did great! (and helped me out with a couple of bets) keep up the good work and GO COWBOYS!!!!

  • Thanks walmartsux. Good luck betting this season.

  • Final Scores:

    Atlanta 34, Detroit 21 – RJ 1-1

    Baltimore 17, Bengals 10 – RJ 2-1

    Buffalo 34, Seattle 10 – RJ 2-2

  • Final Scores:

    Jets 20, Miami 14 – RJ 2-3

    NE 17, KC 10 – RJ 3-3

    NO 24, TB 20 – RJ 4-3

    Eagles 38, Rams 3 – RJ 4-4

  • Final Scores:

    Steelers 38, Houston 17 – RJ 5-4

    Titans 17, Jaguars 10 – RJ 5-5

    Dallas 28, Browns 10 – RJ 6-5

  • Final Scores:

    Carolina 26, SD 24 – RJ 6-6

    Arizona 23, SF 13 – RJ 7-6

  • ESPN’s NFL “experts” through 13 games:

    Wickersham 8-5
    Fleming 8-5
    Hoge 8-5
    Jaworski 9-4
    Schlereth 8-5
    Allen 10-3
    Mortensen 10-3
    Golic 8-5
    Accuscore 9-4
    Pick’em 8-5

  • Bennett

    Ouch! Does that mean you sleep on the couch tonight?

  • BREAKING NEWS: Tom Brady out for the season!


  • Final Score:

    Bears 29, Colts 13 – RJ 7-7 (sorry Molly!)

  • MadMax

    DUH… appears the bears are not going to suck!!

  • RJ – Thursday night’s game was good for me…not so good for my friends here in VA that happen to be Redskins fans…

    The G-men started out strong, but then the offense kinda sputtered down in the red zone…D looked good though, in spite of the retirements and injuries!

  • One mroe thing…is it just me, or are there actually Olberman fans out there? Now I have to listen to him on Sunday nights too? I heard and saw him on TV last night. I was surprised that he didn’t have anything to say about O’reilly in between calling out scores!

    All I can say to that is, I hope the Giants don’t have a lot of Sunday night games.

  • sshhhhhh

    A little something I put together and hung up today for the ever so recently overbearing “boston” fans.

  • Andy,

    I guess the guy is popular in some quarters. (I’ll bet he’s a sensation in Pyongyang and Waziristan.) He even made a cameo appearance on “The Soup” a few weeks ago. So it seems he has successfully infiltrated all the important aspects of my life: sports, politics, and now inane cable television programs as well. :-/

  • sshhhhhh:

    LOL. I recommend you read this. (For the lulz.)

  • Final Score:

    GB 24, Vikings 19 – RJ 8-7

  • Final Score:

    Denver 41, Oakland 14 – RJ 9-7

  • ESPN’s NFL “experts” after one week of football:

    Wickersham 10-6
    Fleming 9-7
    Hoge 9-7
    Jaworski 10-5
    Schlereth 10-6
    Allen 11-5
    Mortensen 11-5
    Golic 8-7
    Accuscore 11-5
    Pick’em 9-7

  • I went 6-10 ATS this week. No bueno.

  • sshhhhhh

    heh heh… thanks rj… boston buddies will appreciate that one as well

  • Aluey

    That was a tough week. Just need 3 game this week.

    How about Lions +3 (home dogs) vs Pack
    Bears +3 at Carolina
    Ravens +4.5 at Houston (Texans a favorite?).

    Also Chargers -2 at Denver (Monday night jinx).

    Let me know you opinions !!!

  • Seriously, Olberman is way too obsessed with O’Reilly. The more he attacks him the more I wonder about Olberman. Ok, we get it. Move on. I doubt fixing the democracy begins with O’Reilly.

    It got so tired and lame after the 112th time on the old Dan Patrick show.

    I went 11-5. I gave myself the Giants pick because I don’t lie. ;<)

  • EEL



  • Jason

    Hey when do the week 2 picks come out?

  • EEL



  • Jason

    cutting it a little close!! lol

    I need to know where he stands with the cards and fish……….im thinking Miami in this one

  • EEL

    I kinda like the cards -7. When does my opinion count though. Lol. That could be close considerin 49ers had 3 turnovers last week inside there 15 yard line & the cards came away w/ 6 pts. 5 turnovers overall 23-13 cards. what ever you do GOOD LUCK ! Thinking about takin 9ers +7 myself ?

  • Jack


  • Richard

    great to see you everyone again…i don’t post much i just read the reviews…hope everyone has a great season…picks will be in later this week