Thursday, September 08, 2011

09/08 (NFL Kickoff) Quickie

Before anything else, join the Quickish Readers NFL Pick 'Em group. Week 1 picks seemed mostly obvious -- which indicates that it's a crazy week ahead.

NFL Playoff Picks:
Super Bowl: Packers repeat as Super Bowl champs
, beating the Patriots.
NFC: Eagles, Packers, Falcons, Rams (WC: Saints, Bucs)
AFC: Pats, Ravens, Texans, Chargers (WC: Jets, Steelers)

Why the Packers? Start with my inclination/fetish to pick defending champs to repeat. But I go back to the idea that the Packers won the title last year despite themselves: Despite the fact that so many of the team's key players were injured, despite the fact they had to go on the road every round of the playoffs. With a healthier lineup and home-field advantage, they cruise. And with Aaron Rodgers -- my pick for league MVP -- at the top of his game, they beat back the Patriots in a Super Bowl thriller.

This week's picks: @GB d. NO, ATL d. @CHI, @KC d. BUF, @CLE d. CIN, @TB d. DET, TEN d. @JAX, @HOU d. IND, PHI d. @STL, @BAL d. PIT, @SD d. MIN, @WSH d. NYG, @ARI d. CAR, @SF d. SEA, @NYJ d. DAL, NE d. @MIA, @DEN d. OAK. (LW: N/A, YTD: 0-0)

Week 1 Storylines: Peyton Manning out. This doesn't even feel like a real storyline, given that he hasn't looked like he was going to play in Week 1 (and beyond?) for months. It's notable because it's his first missed start in forever. But let's focus on the storylines of players and teams actually taking the field:

Do the Texans finally impose a superiority on the nemesis Colts? (And what about Arian Foster's status?) Do the Falcons get off to a high-flying start? Do the Bucs or Lions get the first week's edge for "breakthrough team" bandwagon? Does the Steelers-Ravens winner in Week 1 really matter in the grand scheme of things? Does Chad Ochocinco have a notable opener with the Pats? Does the new kick-off rule make a dramatic difference on touchbacks?

CFB Tonight: Oklahoma State gets a primetime showcase with Arizona (potential future Pac-16 colleague?). Expect the Cowboys to roll, but hopefully a lot of offense from both teams.

Baylor vs. Texas A&M: How petty of Baylor to consider suing the SEC to keep Texas A&M from leaving the Big 12 -- look, I'm sorry for Baylor fans that the powerhouses of the conference are so ready to bolt for better situations and that Baylor isn't getting included (and, if they were, you can be sure they wouldn't be suing anyone), but the reality of college football is that there are a handful of super-conferences and the other "conferences" are loose allegiances, the Big 12 most of all (remember: the only reason Baylor got into the Big 12 in the first place is that the then-governor of Texas forced the conference to take them).


*Nyjer Morgan vs. Albert Pujols: Morgan's tweet was inane. First, using "Alberta" and "she" is weak sauce. Second, Pujols would crush Morgan like a grape.

*Verlander wins No. 22: Beyond the fact that he's the most must-see pitcher in baseball right now, 25 wins is a milestone that I think many experts thought we might never see again.

*Another U.S. Open rain-out: It has rained constantly since Sunday up and down the East Coast. I'm not sure the players themselves could be more sick of it than I am, frankly.

Tons of great recs on Quickish yesterday -- with more to come today: Lots on the start of the NFL season. Pop by to check out what we're tipping.

-- D.S.

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