By Tony McClean
Updated: September 5, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Wow, how time flies when you’re having fun. Are we really entering our seventh year doing NFL picks for BASN? I’ve already lasted longer than the Lions’ rebuilding plan and the Chevy Chase Show combined.
Don’t worry about me getting a seven-year itch, folks. I didn’t think this would last more a few years and I’d be replaced by some sort of computer named Biff. Seriously, it’s been a lot of fun over the years. I hope you’ve laughed and learned a bit over that stretch.
For those of you who are familiar, you know the drill. For you newbies, here’s the deal. Each week, we’ll pick who we think will win each NFL game. No point spreads, no over-unders. Just this team will beat this team because of whatever. Got it? Good.
The NFL’s new battle cry for this year is “Who Wants It More?” Considering all the divisional match ups slated for Week One (i.e. Pats-Jets, Cards-Niners, Steelers-Browns, Giants-Cowboys), we’re gonna find out the answer to that question very, very soon.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Here’s something for all fans and media folks to think about as we begin another NFL campaign. Last season, seven teams that qualified for the playoffs in 2005 did not make them in 2006.
In fact, since 2000 — that’s the last seven seasons — 12 different teams have played in the Super Bowl.
Which one of these quarterbacks hasn’t thrown for at least 30,000 yards and rushed for at least 3,500 yards in their career?
A. John Elway.
B. Steve McNair.
C. Steve Young.
D. Fran Tarkenton.
(The answer will come at the end of this column).
SAINTS at COLTS
The yearly ritual of the defending champs hosting Game One continues Thursday night as the Colts hoist their first Super Bowl crown since 1971. Coming in to spoil the party is last year’s Cinderella team from New Orleans. All the usual suspects (Manning, Brees, Bush, Harrison) will be present along with an anxious national TV audience. This looks to be a very entertaining contest. As much as I’d like to see the Saints pull off the upset, I’m gonna lean toward TD and his horseshoe heads.
STEELERS at BROWNS
The head coaching debut of Mike Tomlin along with the possible end of the Romeo Crennel era in Cleveland is an eerie backdrop for another Steelers-Browns battle. Even with their lousy season in 2006, the Black and Gold have pretty much owned this rivalry (won 12 of last 13 meetings, including 0-4 vs. Romeo) over the years. It could get ugly early from the Dog Pound faithful who’ll probably by calling Brady “Get A Haircut, Hippie” Quinn by halftime. It looks like the rookie coach should open with a W.
PATRIOTS at JETS
A early window into the AFC East race at the Meadowlands. When we last left the Fightin’ Manginis of Jersey, they were adding ex-Bear RB Thomas Jones to a woeful running game. As for the Pats, they went on a signing (LB Adalius Thomas and others) and trading (WR Randy Moss) binge that would even make Daniel Snyder and George Steinbrenner blush. I’m still not quite sold on the New England D as a whole. They’re bound to get better as the year goes on, but as for this Sunday we’ll give a slight nod to Gang Green.
BEARS at CHARGERS
A possible Super Bowl preview?? It all depends on who you’re asking. Either way, this looks to be an entertaining game. There are several story lines here: LT vs. Da Dears’ defense. Good and consistent Rex vs. Evil and interception machine Rex. Lovie Smith vs. Norv (How the hell did he get another job???) Turner. Oops, did I give away my pick with that statement? Sorry it just slipped out.
GIANTS at COWBOYS
The unofficial “Tiki Barber is still talking and he won’t shut up!!!” bowl will be the featured Sunday Night game on NBC. Watch and listen as Mr. Barber gives his views on the Presidential campaign, the NBC Fall lineup, Lindsey Lohan, the baseball pennant races, and why being a twin is better than having sex. Oh and by the way, there’s a little matter of an early season NFC East battle at the Dome with a big ol’ hole in it. Who’s gonna win. I’m sorry, Tiki hasn’t told me yet. Seriously, I’ll go with the home team by a field goal.
RAVENS at BENGALS
Game one of this year’s MNF doubleheader opener will pit the other two teams in the AFC North at Cincy. It’s also a key game for two head coaches who are may not be on the hot seat, but it’s safe to say their seats are at least room temperature. Once upon a time, Brian Billick and Marvin Lewis helped bring a Super Bowl to Baltimore. Since then, both have had their ups and downs on and off the field. The Lewis bunch has gone 5-3 against the Birds since Marvin came to town. However, I’m getting this image of Willis McGahee running roughshod over the Cincy D.
CARDINALS at 49ERS
The last time we saw the Cardinals on MNF, we were witnesses to one of the greatest meltdowns during and after a game as Arizona blew a huge 24-7 lead to the eventual NFC champion Bears. Afterwards, coach Dennis Green mentioned something about crowning someones donkey, but I can’t be sure. Many folks are ready to crown the new-look Niners as possible division champs this year. Their mini shopping spree will make them improved, but I’m not sure about winning the division. I’ll give them this game, but lemme see a bit more before I’m ready to crown their……..Well, you know.
Bills over Broncos: There’s always one weird upset on Opening Day. This is Exhibit A.
Eagles over Packers: The Favre interception-O-meter is slated for at least three on Sunday.
Texans over Chiefs: Exhibit B of the weird upsets for Sunday.
Jaguars over Titans: VY will show improvement this year, just not against the Jacksonville D.
Vikings over Falcons: The first person to use any dog references regarding this game, I will personally have Upset, the wonder dog leave a sample (or samples) on their lawn.
Panthers over Rams: This could be the game of the day.
Redskins over Dolphins: I think QB Jason Campbell (if healthy) could have a great season in D.C. this year.
Raiders over Lions: The lesser of two evils pick.
Seahawks over Bucs: Sorry, Chucky. There will be no Exhibit C this week.
A. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, John Elway threw for over 50,000 yards (51,475 to be exact) during his career, but he just missed joining this group. He finished with 3,407 career rushing yards.