So in about 27 hours I board a plane to cross the Atlantic the first time in life (or the Pacific, I guess first ocean crossing ever). My wife and I are going to Italy for 10 days. So what this means is that I miss Week 1 and 2 of the NFL season, most likely. Unless I can find a bar showing futbol Americano in the early hours of Monday morning. By my calculations the Bears and Packers kick off at 2 AM Monday morning Rome time.
I do plan on making every effort to find a place to watch it. People talk about experiences they will remember the rest of their lives, and I'm pretty sure that would be one of them. Of course, I'm supposed to go see the Sistine Chapel later in the day on Monday, so I guess that's a couple of life altering experiences and not very much sleep in one day. Oh well.
So here we go, it's Week 1 of the NFL season. Everyone's fired their offensive coordinators and are ready to start the season now. In fact, we had our first game last night, Tennessee at Pittsburgh. The Steelers won in OT 13-10, but let's not kid ourselves, they looked like crap. What I know about the Steelers after watching that game is that their offensive line is horrible, Ben Roethlisberger is going to get hurt, Willie Parker is finished, Troy Polamalu is injured now, and their vaunted running game features Mewelde Moore getting the carries at crunch time. I'm going to go ahead and say 7-9 for the Steelers this year, 8-8 at best.
"Ben" as he is affectionately referred to in all broadcasts, had a great game. He threw for 363 yards and had 39 pump fakes, despite being pressured at all times. Santonio Holmes had 131 yards and a TD, and Hines Ward 103 yards and a huge fumble at the end of regulation. Justin Gage scored the Titans TD, making me and dook!e's decision to start him over the radioactive Brandon Marshall on our fantasy team look like a stroke of genius.
So a rousing beginning to the 2009 NFL season. How does the rest of the week look?
SUNDAY EARLY GAMES
- The Falcons and Dolphins were the two surprise teams of 2008. That and 65 cents will get them a Cherry Coke Zero in 2009. They meet up in Week 1 at the Georgia Dome, the world's largest cable supported dome I believe. If ever there was a team that did what they did with smoke and mirrors and little else, it was the 2008 Dolphins. I guess they didn't realize this because they didn't do a whole lot to upgrade the team over the offseason. I think Week 1 is the first of many drubbings they will get this year.
NICKY'S PICKY- FALCONS 27, DOLPHINS 14
- So I am a huge fan of these sports simulation games made by the Strat-O-Matic game company. I have the computer version of their Baseball, NFL, NBA, and NHL games. Last year I played in an online league where my team was the KC Chiefs. I had the Chiefs because I was new to the league so I got stuck with a crappy team. I realized first hand how really awful this team was. Luckily I am not in the league any more because I'd miss too much of the season with this Italy trip. So I'm happy about that.
NICKY'S PICKY- RAVENS 30, CHIEFS 10
- I swear to God, the first time I hear some studio show dunderhead say Michael Vick presents "a matchup nightmare" for an opponent, I am going to go out and do an Uighur style syringe attack on the first person I see wearing a Troy Polamalu jersey, which shouldn't take very long. How does Michael Vick present a "matchup nightmare"? He's too slow to play receiver and too small to play running back. He'd be completely ineffective at one position and get killed at the other, and we all know he leaves a lot to be desired as a quarterback. When Vick is on the field at some goofball position it will present a matchup nightmare, for Vick. That said, the Eagles face a Panthers team that is kind of a mess right now. Their defense is all banged up and so is half their vaunted running back attack.
NICKY'S PICKY- EAGLES 30, PANTHERS 17
- We all know every year there are 2 or 3 teams that come out of nowhere to have decent seasons. I've got the Bengals down as one of those teams for 2009. A healthy Carson Palmer will make them a lot better. Matchup nightmare for everyone. Speaking of nightmares, how's that firing Mike Shanahan thing been working out for the Broncos?
NICKY'S PICKY- BENGALS 27, BRONCOS 17
- Discredited Mangenius has been keeping the identity of the Browns starting QB shrouded in Belichick like secrecy. The funny thing is that it totally doesn't matter who is playing quarterback for the Browns, they are still bad.
NICKY'S PICKY- VIKINGS 30, BROWNS 13
- Everyone is totally gay for the Texans this year it seems like. All of their players are fantasy studs and they are going to not only make the playoffs for the first time ever but also win the AFC South according to SI. Hmmm. I'll believe it when I see them smacking around the Colts and Titans. They should smack around the Jest though. Rex Ryan is already getting on my nerves. Not as bad as Little Napolelane Kiffin at Rocky Top, but still on my nerves.
NICKY'S PICKY- TEXANS 24, JETS 20
- I know everyone thinks the Jaguars are going to have a bounce back season, but I don't see it. MJD breaks some big runs but way more often than that he runs full speed in into his blockers and falls down. The receivers are terrible. Garrard is questionable. The defense is meh. Bad team.
NICKY'S PICKY- COLTS 23, JAGS 13
- I see the Lions have announced they mean business this year by adding some squiggly lines to the Lion on their helmets. I'm still not convinced.
NICKY'S PICKY- SAINTS 38, LIONS 20
- The evolution of Tampa's QB position, from Shaun King to a guy that looks like Shaun Kingston. The Bucs are one of the teams that fired their offensive coordinator a couple weeks ago. They also are no longer playing the "Tampa 2", so time to come up with a new name for that. I'm going to suggest "Boring Sissy Defense".
NICKY'S PICKY- COWBOYS 27, BUCS 10
- The Cardinals have the double whammy of the Super Bowl Losers Curse and the Madden Curse, so I wish them luck with that.
NICKY'S PICKY- 49ERS 27, CARDINALS 24
- I've heard conflicting reports about whether they have toilet paper in Europe. I've also heard that after you wipe your butt there you don't flush the toilet paper, you throw it in a wastebasket. I am driving myself crazy trying to decide which is more disgusting. This seriously could ruin my whole trip.
NICKY'S PICKY- GIANTS 17, REDSKINS 14
- Jim Mora Jr. I've read has brought a new energy to the Seahawks. A new, douchenozzle type energy. Meanwhile, the Rams might be starting Kyle Boller because Marc Bulger has a broken finger. Shouldn't the Rams have gotten a new quarterback like 4 or 5 years ago? Marc Bulger? Still?
NICKY'S PICKY- SEAHAWKS 27, RAMS 17
- I officially anoint the Packers the 2009 Preseason Champs. They went from a team that went 6-10 last year to a team that everyone is furiously rubbing nipples over and is now going to the Super Bowl. Who am I to question that?
NICKY'S PICKY- PACKERS 27, BEARS 20
- So the Bills sign TO and then fire their offensive coordinator a couple of weeks before the season start. This is the offensive coordinator that was going to run the no-huddle K-gun just like in the early 90s, but I guess that's not happening anymore because he's fired. I'm betting Dick Jauron probably went all Tom Cable on him and beat him up. That would be the funniest thing I've ever seen. If you are not a Bears or Bills fan you probably cannot appreciate how funny that would be.
NICKY'S PICKY- PATRIOTS 33, BILLS 13
- And I save my nuttiest pick for last. Everyone knows the Chargers don't start playing for real until November, so...
RAIDERS 27, CHARGERS 17
Alright then, arrivederci for now, hopefully will get a Week 1 wrapup posted later this week..