BASN NFL Picks: Week One

By Tony McClean
Updated: September 7, 2005

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Wow, where has the time gone? Is this really the fourth straight year that the powers that be at BASN will allow me to pick the weekly NFL games? Is it possible that they haven’t be able to trick (Oops, I mean ask) someone one else to do this? Is this sentence running longer than Jerry Rice’s career?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this segment, here’s the skinny. Yours truly tries his best not to make a complete ass of myself by picking each week’s NFL games. No fancy point spreads or over-unders, just this team will beat that because blah, blah, blah…….Simple, right?

I’ve been told that some of our readers sit on pins and needles waiting for these picks. Well for the three (or four) of you that do, thanks. For the rest of you that just mutter inaudible expletives after reading my picks, you’ve now been warned for a fourth straight year. Please refer all future complains through my new publicist, Willie “Sharp Eye” Washington.

FACTOID OF THE WEEK The Philadelphia Eagles have won the most games since 2000 (59). In fact, of the 12 teams that made the 2004 playoffs, seven were winners of the past 10 Super Bowls.

TRIVIA QUESTION Which player holds the Pittsburgh Steelers’ record for most rushing yards in a regular-season game?

A. Franco Harris B. John Henry Johnson C. Frenchy Fuqua D. Jerome Bettis The answer will appear in next week’s BASN NFL Picks section.

THURSDAY RAIDERS at PATRIOTS For the second straight year, the season begins in Foxboro as Da Raidahs make their first trip back since the “Tuck Rule” playoff game in 2001. A lot has changed for the Silver and Black since then. Two major changes are WR Randy Moss and RB LaMont Jordan, who’ll make their debuts. The Pats will be raising their 3rd Super Bowl banner in the last four seasons. While they’ve had some major changes (Goodbye, Charlie….See Ya, Romeo) since that snowy New England night, one major thing has stayed the same — they still have Tom Brady. With a still suspect Oakland defense, that may be enough for this night.

Pick: Patriots.

SUNDAY BENGALS at BROWNS Speaking of Romeo, the Crennel Era begins in Cleveland with the first phase of the Battle of Ohio. The last time these two teams met in November, they combined for the second nd-highest scoring game in NFL history in a 58-48 Bengals win. The Brownies would be happy just to score half of those points on Sunday. Coach Lewis has feverishly been trying to make Cincy’s defense respectable since coming over a few years ago. It probably won’t be a shootout like the last match up, but this will still be a decent game.

Pick: Bengals.

BRONCOS at DOLPHINS In another coaching debut, Nick Saban will try to not duplicate the missteps of the last two college coaches (Butch Davis, Steve Spurrier) to make the transition to the NFL. He’ll have his work cut out for him on Opening Day as the Broncos invade Miami. Mike Shanahan has been praising QB Jake Plummer all during training camp, insisting that this will be his breakout season in Denver. While the Fish are still seeking a decent QB themselves, the defense may be able to help pull off a Sunday upset.

Pick: Dolphins.

COLTS at RAVENS While the headlines will belong to Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis in this game, the real factor may be the newest guy with a horseshoe on his head — DT Corey Simon. According to reports, the ex-Eagle was close to signing with the Ravens before Indy stepped up and inked him to a contract. Will Simon’s presence be the missing link that the Colts’ struggling defense needs to make it to Detroit in January. If nothing else, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis finally have someone to help them out.

Pick: Colts.

MONDAY EAGLES at FALCONS A rematch of the NFC Championship Game provides the backdrop to the last Monday Night opener for ABC. No doubt we’ll get all the McNabb-Owens conflict shoved down our throats all night. Hopefully, Al and John will have time to talk about the game as well. With all the media bashing that Michael Vick had gotten during the off-season, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to have another great season. Monday will be a good night to start.

Pick: Falcons.

OTHER GAMES Lions over Packers: The upset of the week. Now watch the Motown boys blow it for me.

Jaguars over Seahawks: You heard it here first — Jacksonville will win the AFC South.

Chiefs over Jets: K.C.’s upgraded D passes its first test.

Texans over Bills: Welcome to the NFL, Mr. Losman.

Panthers over Saints: Carolina is hoping to avoid the SI cover jinx.

Cardinals over Giants: Kurt Warner gets a measure of revenge against Big Blue.

Titans over Steelers: Just a hunch that Norm Chow’s offense will have a good day.

Vikings over Bucs: It’s put up or shut up for Mike Tice this year.

Redskins over Bears: Kyle Orton’s rude awakening to regular season football.

Chargers over Cowboys: Even without Antonio Gates, the Bolts should have their way with the Tuna Helpers.

Rams over 49ers: San Fran will improve this year, just not this Sunday.