I wavered on how to format a picks column. I know that some weeks will be hectic, and I don't want to sit here and write for hours about games I don't care about.
The way around that? I'm picking two, three, or four, or five, or whatever matchups to spotlight every week. That way, I can be lazy and still give you my picks.
About last night - Ouch. Wow. That was a beatdown in the second half. If the Saints play like that all season, we can forget about the feel-good Saints doing anything positive this year. That was an eye-opener. They actually looked as bad as the Giants' offense used to look when Sean Payton was calling plays. I wonder if there's any correlation to that.
Chicago at San Diego: I don't like either team's chances of repeating their success from last year, when they combined to go 29-6, including playoff games. The Bears face a challenge from Green Bay in the NFC North (if the Packers can do anything positive offensively), while the Chargers face a challenge from Norv Turner on their sidelines. Not sure who's worse off.
In this game, I'll take the Chargers at home, since they have the best offensive player in the game (LDT) and arguably the best defensive player in the game (Shawne Merriman, though that's heavily debatable). The Bears have too much potential for disaster on their offense.
The pick: San Diego
New England at N.Y. Jets: I think this matchup is wayyy overrated, but this gives me a chance to rip the media people who like the Jets so much. The QB (Pennington) can't throw deep and has a young, talented backup waiting for him to screw up. They can't stop the run (ask the Vikings, who spent one night in the preseason making people believe that they will be able to move the football this season).
I know it's sexy to pick the Jets because the Patriots are missing Seymour (injury) and Harrison (suspension) on the defense. But the Patriots are a strong multi-faceted offense, and there's no reason to think the Jets can slow them down.
The pick: New England
Philadelphia at Green Bay: McNabb's back, and this could mean trouble for Green Bay. One advantage for the Packers is that Philadelphia is no stronger offensively than they were a year ago, the Packers are much better on defense, and the Packers pose more of a threat to Philly's defense than they did last year. Oh, and the game is at home. This Packer team is determined to restore their home-field advantage. I think it starts in Week One.
The pick: Green Bay*
(*--The standing rule since about Week Nine last year: Pick the Packers unless there is an absolutely compelling reason not to, like "Brett Favre's dead", or something like that. Such a reason does not exist this week. Now, back to the rational portion of our football picks.)
Other games (home team in CAPS)
Denver over BUFFALO
Kansas City over HOUSTON
Pittsburgh over CLEVELAND
MINNESOTA over Atlanta
WASHINGTON over Miami
JACKSONVILLE over Tennessee
ST. LOUIS over Carolina
OAKLAND over Detroit
SEATTLE over Tampa Bay
DALLAS over N.Y. Giants (Sunday night)
Baltimore over CINCINNATI (Monday night)
SAN FRANCISCO over Arizona (Monday night)