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Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 1

September 10, 2020
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That’s right – we’re back!

Kibbles and Picks, the internet’s preeminent man-versus-dog football prognostication feature, is returning for its eighth year. I will once again be attempting to pick more NFL winners than my adorable dog Stella. Last year, after a four-year stretch of futility, I finally managed to win the Kibbles and Picks season title. That triumph was just my second in the history of the feature, leaving my all-time record at 2-5.

Stella was not amused.

As such, she has sworn to take me down and reassert herself as the top dog. And that effort to reclaim her crown starts … now.

The conflict starts strong this season, with the two of us differing on seven games in Week 1. It often happens that one competitor has a big week early and builds an immediate imposing lead. Will this be someone’s big week for 2020? If it is, well … we can probably guess whose.

In the Seattle/Atlanta tilt, I’m going with the Falcons at home. I’m betting on a couple of big plays from QB Matt Ryan to wideout Julio Jones and some strong work on the ground courtesy of Todd Gurley, though the defense might struggle a bit. There’s enough offense to move against even the Seahawks defense. Stella likes the Seahawks to win this one – she’s got QB Russell Wilson on her MVP shortlist and she loves Chris Carson’s chances at having a big year. She’s a fan of the Seattle D, as well; she thinks they’ll win the turnover battle and shut down the Falcons. I’m thinking shootout, Stella’s thinking a close one – whoever’s right on that is probably right on their pick.

Next us, we have the Bears heading to Detroit to face off against the Lions. I’m going with Chicago, largely on the strength of their defense. While there are some quality offensive guys – Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen – it’s tough to expect much from Mitch Trubisky under center. Still, they won’t need much if the D plays like it can. Stella thinks that Detroit’s Matthew Stafford will be able to generate enough offense to win the day, and she likes their running game to give them a chance to control the ball, though she doesn’t have a ton of faith in the Lions defense.

From there, we’re off to Minnesota, where the Vikings are hosting Green Bay. I’m going with the hosts; while I’m not a huge fan of Kirk Cousins at quarterback, the truth is that there are some killer offensive weapons like Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook out there. The big question is how the revamped defense coheres; I think they’ll be good enough. Stella’s got a feeling about the Packers in the early going; she thinks Green Bay is going to start out hot. She likes Aaron Jones and Davante Adams to both have big games and thinks the Packers D has a chance to shut down the Vikings attack.

I like Baltimore to win their matchup at home against the Browns. Lamar Jackson is the reigning MVP of the league and looks poised to have another phenomenal season. He, along with Mark Ingram and others, will move the ball on the ground with impunity. I’m also feeling pretty good about their defensive possibilities. Stella, in a bit of a bold move, is going with Cleveland. She’s thinking that Baker Mayfield is going to take a leap forward and likes Odell Beckham’s chances at a breakout year. She also thinks that the 1-2 running back punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will work well even against the strong Ravens D.

Stella’s not the only one making bold picks, though. I’m picking the Buccaneers to go into New Orleans and beat the Saints. Is it because of residual love for Tom Brady? Is it because Bucs WR Mike Evans is on my fantasy team? It will be fun to see what happens there in Tampa Bay with all the new additions, up to and including 11th-hour addition Leonard Fournette. The big question is whether the defense can stop New Orleans. Stella’s betting that they can’t. She’s expecting a big season from Drew Brees that is going to start here. She’s expecting big performances from both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. She’s unconcerned about the defense, because she fully expects the Saints to score even more.

Following that is the Dallas/Los Angeles game. I like the Cowboys here – mostly because I like the Cowboys to have a big year in general. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper – the list of top-shelf offensive talent goes on and on. Add to that a still-excellent offensive line and a solid defense and this seems like an easy pick. Stella’s not so sure. While she’s not a huge believer in Jared Goff, she still likes the Robert Woods-led corps of Rams receivers. And on the defensive side, well – Aaron Donald remains the most disruptive source in the league on that side of the ball. If he gets going, the Rams will be able to hang with Dallas and potentially score enough to win.

Lastly – in the last game of the week, in fact – we’re at odds; I’m going with the home team Denver Broncos, while Stella opted for the visiting Titans. While I don’t have a lot of faith in the Broncos in the macro sense, I do think that they have a shot at opening strong. I’m betting on Melvin Gordon to handle things on the ground, and while Denver’s defense took a blow with the loss of Von Miller to injury, I think they can get it done. Stella’s going with Tennessee – she thinks Derrick Henry is going to run rampant over the Broncos, and while she doesn’t expect a ton from Ryan Tannehill throwing the ball, she figures A.J. Brown will probably pull off a big play or two over the course of the game.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 10

Houston at KANSAS CITY

Sunday, Sept. 13

Seattle at ATLANTA

NY Jets at BUFFALO

CHICAGO at Detroit

Green Bay at MINNESOTA

Miami at NEW ENGLAND

PHILADELPHIA at Washington

LAS VEGAS at Carolina

INDIANAPOLIS at Jacksonville

Cleveland at BALTIMORE

LA CHARGERS at Cincinnati

TAMPA BAY at New Orleans

Arizona at SAN FRANCISCO

DALLAS at LA Rams

Monday, Sept. 14

PITTSBURGH at NY Giants

Tennessee at DENVER

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 10

Houston at KANSAS CITY

Sunday, Sept. 13

SEATTLE at Atlanta

NY Jets at BUFFALO

Chicago at DETROIT

GREEN BAY at Minnesota

Miami at NEW ENGLAND

PHILADELPHIA at Washington

LAS VEGAS at Carolina

INDIANAPOLIS at Jacksonville

CLEVELAND at Baltimore

LA CHARGERS at Cincinnati

Tampa Bay at NEW ORLEANS

Arizona at SAN FRANCISCO

Dallas at LA RAMS

Monday, Sept. 14

PITTSBURGH at NY Giants

TENNESSEE at Denver

Last modified on Thursday, 10 September 2020 10:36

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