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Kibbles and Picks 2017 - Week 1

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fifth year of Kibbles and Picks, the ongoing battle between man and beast in which I try to best my dog Stella in picking the winners during each week of the NFL season.

And if you’ve followed things at all over the past four years, you know that it hasn’t gone well.

Stella has beaten me in three out of four years and in each of the last two. No matter how you choose to measure it, my dog is demonstrably better at picking football games than I am.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that stop me.

So we’re back at it and we’ve hit the ground running; Stella and I differ on seven of Week 1’s contests.

First up is the Baltimore/Cincinnati tilt. While I don’t have a lot of faith in the Bengals this season, I think that this might well be a down year for the vaunted Ravens defense; it’ll be close, but Cincy will squeak one out at home. Stella thinks Baltimore’s got something left in the defensive tank and will come up with a couple of big plays against Andy Dalton; she’s saying that that will be sufficient to bring down the Bengals.

I’ve got Arizona going into Detroit and pulling out a win, but I’m not super confident about it. I like the Cardinals secondary against a gunslinger QB like Matthew Stafford – and Cards running back David Johnson will be the best player on the field – but the Lions play well at home. Stella thinks Detroit is poised to have a fairly high-scoring offense and will be able to take Arizona down in a shootout.

I almost went with Tennessee at home against the Raiders, but I’m a strong believer in the Raiders this season. I think Derek Carr is the real deal and that Marshawn Lynch still has something to offer. Stella likes Oakland too, but she shares my belief that Titans QB Marcus Mariota is primed for a breakout year. Neither one of us would be surprised by a win from either team, and we both agree that regardless of the victor, a ton of points are going to be scored.

Stella likes the Eagles to go into Washington and win; she’s looking forward to seeing some real development from Philly QB Carson Wentz. I don’t love Washington, but when in doubt, look at the QB matchup – and Kirk Cousins is better than young Wentz. Meanwhile, in a game that somehow feels irrelevant despite the season having only just started, we have the Colts against the Rams. I picked the Rams, Stella picked the Colts – let’s move on.

Picking against the Packers at Lambeau is odd, but I think that the Seahawks are yet again among the best teams in the NFC, with a defense that has a chance to be downright dominant. Russell Wilson is no slouch under center either. Stella, on the other paw, would like to remind me that the quarterback for Green Bay is Aaron Freaking Rodgers and that one picks against him at their peril. She’s guessing a dozen wins for the Pack this year – starting with this one.

And finally, we differ on one of the two Monday night games. It’s a bit of a hunch play on Stella’s part, picking the Saints to win on the road in Minnesota. She knows New Orleans can’t stop anybody, but she likes Drew Brees’ chances to outgun the Vikings in a shootout. I’m not sure she’s wrong, but I think the Minnesota defense might be able to slow the Saints down enough – and score enough against the putrid New Orleans D – to pull out the victory.

So we’re off and running again. Hopefully, I will be able to salvage some semblance of dignity with my performance this season, but I think we’ve all come to terms with just how unlikely that is. Regardless, I ask that you wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

Welcome back to Kibbles and Picks.

(winners in caps)

-

ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 7

Kansas City at NEW ENGLAND

Sunday, Sept. 10

NY Jets at BUFFALO

ATLANTA at Chicago

Baltimore at CINCINNATI

PITTSBURGH at Cleveland

ARIZONA at Detroit

Jacksonville at HOUSTON

OAKLAND at Tennessee

Philadelphia at WASHINGTON

Indianapolis at LA RAMS

SEATTLE at Green Bay

CAROLINA at San Francisco

NY Giants at DALLAS

Monday, Sept. 11

New Orleans at MINNESOTA

LA Chargers at DENVER

STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 7

Kansas City at NEW ENGLAND

Sunday, Sept. 10

NY Jets at BUFFALO

ATLANTA at Chicago

BALTIMORE at Cincinnati

PITTSBURGH at Cleveland

Arizona at DETROIT

Jacksonville at HOUSTON

Oakland at TENNESSEE

PHILADELPHIA at Washington

INDIANAPOLIS at LA Rams

Seattle at GREEN BAY

CAROLINA at San Francisco

NY Giants at DALLAS

Monday, Sept. 11

NEW ORLEANS at Minnesota

LA Chargers at DENVER

Last modified on Thursday, 14 September 2017 15:53

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