So there was one game Thursday, and one game Saturday, but now the NFL gets things going for real, with a full slate of Sunday games, plus one more tomorrow night. For me, the big game is Redskins-Bucs, because I can't wait to see how Joe Gibbs does in his re-debut, after a dozen years away from the game.
As for how I'm doing, well, I'm already 0-1 in picking this year (I obviously didn't post in time to pick the Dolphins-Titans game, and even though I would have picked Tennessee, I'm not giving myself a win for that). So here we go with what are hopefully better picks for the rest of Week 1 (predicted winner in bold):
•Arizona at St. Louis. Denny Green will eventually make an impact on Arizona and turn things around, but not in Week 1, against a very good Rams team.
•Baltimore at Cleveland. Everyone's talking about how Jamal Lewis destroyed the Browns last year, so this will be no different. Hate to burst your bubble, but that's not how things work in the NFL. Still, the Ravens are better than the Browns, who will struggle to gel on offense this year.
•Cincinnati at New York Jets. This is a tough one to pick. I think both teams are improved, but when in doubt, go with the veteran defense against the first-time starter at QB.
•Detroit at Chicago. Both of these teams are awful. Chicago has no offense to speak of, while Detroit is the exact opposite. So, in a toss-up, I'm going with the home team, maybe just to appease Pooz.
•Jacksonville at Buffalo. The Jags are a popular "surprise" pick for the Super Bowl, which begs the question: If everyone is picking you as a "surprise" contender, is it still a "surprise" if you contend? OK, that has nothing to do with this week, but neither of these teams really excites me. I guess I'll go with Buffalo because they have more weapons.
•Oakland at Pittsburgh. I hate the Raiders, I like the Steelers, and I think the Raiders are going to be terrible again this year (mostly because I think Norv Turner is an awful head coach).
•San Diego at Houston. Will someone please force San Diego to trade LaDanian Tomlinson to a good team?
•Seattle at New Orleans. I think this is the year that the Saints start off poorly, then rally at the end of the year to make their record look respectable (as opposed to starting off hot, then imploding in Nov./Dec.).
•Tampa Bay at Washington. It really doesn't matter what I think about this game, because I'm picking Washington anyway.
•Atlanta at San Francisco. Mike Vick is going to have rough days in the Falcons new offense. Fortunately, their first test is against one of the worst teams in the NFL. Oh, and a message for D'Angelo Hall: your injury is what we in the industry call "karmic retribution," i.e. "that's what you get for trying to pull of Deion's old number in the house that Prime Time built.
•Dallas at Minnesota. Thankfully for the Cowboys, Minnesota cut Brock Lesner, otherwise we might see him piledrive Vinny and kill him the process.
•New York Giants at Philadelphia. The Kurt Warner experiment can end two ways: 1) he recaptures his magic and leads the Giants to the playoffs or 2) he has more turnovers than completions and Eli Manning's starting the second half of this game. Guess which one I'm expecting. Need help? Well, I did pick the Eagles.
•Kansas City at Denver: Jake Plummer is not a good quarterback. Someone needs to let people know this, because somehow Jake's been fooling a lot of people all these years.
•Green Bay at Carolina: I'm firmly in the "I don't get why people are down on the Panthers" camp. They did pretty much the same thing as New England in the offseason, yet most experts think it's a given that they won't get back to the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they still have Stephen Davis, right?
Onto new business. Pooz, Moore and I saw "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" Friday night, and it wasn't nearly as bad as critics are making it out to be. In fact, it was pretty good. I liked some of the action better than the first one (which I just got on DVD, and watched just before seeing the second one) but the story of the first one was a little more interesting. And now obviously there will be a third one, as long as the box office for this one isn't terrible.
Also, it would be wrong of me not to mention that yesterday was Sept. 11, three years since one of the greatest tragedies in American history. Also though, the date has a little more personal significance to me, because it's two years since the death of Johnny Unitas, the former NFL quarterback who was working for Towson University at the time of his death. I'd just me him a week before he died, and he was very jovial and happy to be working for Towson, helping to raise awareness for the football program.
Speaking of that football program, the Tigers played their first Atlantic 10 game yesterday, and came amazingly close to beating the defending national champion Delaware Blue Hens. It seems like Gordy Combs has put together a pretty good team in Towson this year (and an amazing defense), so things are looking up for my Tigers.