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Kibbles and Picks 2022 – Week 1

September 8, 2022
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Holy crap! It’s back! The world’s greatest man-versus-dog NFL picks feature is gracing your internet once more!

That’s right – Kibbles and Picks has returned for a (I can’t believe I’m even typing this) tenth season. When this season is done, I will have spent a full decade cheerfully getting humiliated by my dog’s uncanny football predicting acumen.

For those who are unfamiliar – welcome! Also, Kibbles and Picks is a weekly feature wherein I pick the winners of every NFL game on the slate. My adorable pooch Stella also picks the winners of each game. We do that for the length of the season and at the end, I am inevitably defeated.

For those who are too familiar – and keeping score – of the previous nine seasons, Stella has achieved victory in seven. Yep, you read that right. I have only managed to outpick my dog in two of nine seasons, and it’s worth noting that one of those was in just our second season. So if you want to say that I’ve only won one of the last seven, that would also be accurate. Hurtful, but accurate.

Why do I subject myself to this nigh-inevitable humiliation each year? Who can say? Hope springs eternal, I guess; it’s tough to walk away from such a lengthy ongoing experiment, even if the results are most assuredly in at this point. Stella, on the other hand, just enjoys the process, though it should be noted that neither her enjoyment nor her fundamental adorableness mean that she’s going to take it at all easy on me.

It's on.

It’s a relatively low-key start to the season, with Stella and I differing on just six of Week 1’s 16 contests. First up is the Thursday night contest between Buffalo and Los Angeles, a game whose kickoff is looming as I write these words. I’m going with the visiting Bills here – I think Buffalo has a real chance at winning it all this year behind the dual-threat magnificence of Josh Allen. I like the Stefon Diggs-led receiving corps an awful lot. And I think the Bills defense has a shot at slowing down a maybe-hobbled Matthew Stafford. Stella also likes Josh Allen, but she thinks that the Stafford injury talk is a little overblown. She’s anticipating that strong rushing work from Cam Akers and company will help open things up for the Rams passing game. She also thinks that Aaron Donald will make it awfully tough for Allen to fully utilize his legs. It’s an exciting contest to kick things off.

Next, we’ll head to Miami, where I have the visiting Patriots emerging victorious over the Dolphins. I’ll concede that we’re looking at some homerism here, but I also really like the way this Pats team matches up against Miami. I think Mac Jones will take care of the football and that the two-headed backfield of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson will move the chains. I’m also expecting a takeaway or two from this Pats secondary against Tua Tagovailoa. Stella wishes things were different, but she’s predicting a fairly easy Dolphins win. She thinks that New England’s secondary will be unable to cover Tyreek Hill and that the field will be wide open for Chase Edmonds. She also thinks that where there’s smoke, there’s fire as far as the Patriots’ offensive struggles in the preseason. I’m calling for a close one, while Stella thinks it’ll be over long before it’s over.

Now, as a rule, Week 1 is a little early for a game that no one cares about, and yet, we’re looking at a Jacksonville/Washington matchup. I went with the Jags, Stella went with the ‘Ders, but the truth is that neither one of us has a strong feeling one way or another. One thing is for certain – we will not be watching this game.

In the Cleveland/Carolina tilt, I’m going with the Panthers at home. Basically, I’m banking on the Baker Mayfield revenge factor – I think that the Browns are probably the more talented of the two teams, but I’m betting that Mayfield goes hard to prove that his old team made a mistake. I’m expecting a solid game manager turn from Baker and a huge game for Christian McCaffery. From there, I need the Panthers D to show up. If they do, I’m sitting pretty. Stella’s actually on record as kind of liking Jacoby Brissett at QB, so that’s not a concern for her. And she loves the potential chaos that Nick Chubb can unleash on the ground. Plus, she’s pretty sure that the Browns defense is looking forward to chasing their old teammate around the field.

From there, we’re off to Minnesota for the Packers/Vikings matchup. I’m going with the Vikings even if I believe that Green Bay is ultimately the better team. I think that at this early date, Minnesota’s high-end skill players – guys like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook – are going to have the juice to cause the Packers D no end of trouble. Kirk Cousins might not be the best QB out there, but he’ll have more than enough in the tank to outscore Green Bay. Stella recognizes the talent of the Vikings offensive players, but she also knows that Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback of the Packers. She’s anticipating a strong performance from Rodgers balanced with a first-rate output from running back Aaron Jones – 20-plus touches. She also likes this Packers defense’s potential to shut down Minnesota’s offense. There’s a real chance that this is the best of Sunday’s games.

Lastly, I’ve got the Buccaneers going into Dallas and beating the Cowboys. Look, I know that time ultimately defeats us all, but I don’t believe that we’re there yet with Tom Brady. The guy is still a tremendous football player and I think he will be able to get it done against this Cowboys defense. I anticipate that he will spread the ball around and keep the Dallas secondary on their toes. Defensively, I think this Bucs unit is very cohesive and ready for anything, including the Cowboys. Stella, on the other hand, thinks that there’s a real chance that Brady struggles to move the ball; she’s counting on big performances from defensive studs like Micah Parsons and Travon Diggs to shut down the Tampa Bay offense. She also like Dak Prescott to make some noise, with the help of CeeDee Lamb. To her mind, it’ll boil down to the ground game – she expects Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to consistently move the chains. This promises to be another good one.

And there we have it. We’re back at it, celebrating a decade of Kibbles and Picks. Will I manage to finally pull out a win? Or will I continue to go down to defeat at Stella’s adorable little prognosticating paws? I think we all know how it’s going to go. Wish me luck.

Welcome back to Kibbles and Picks.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 8

BUFFALO at LA Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11

NEW ORLEANS at Atlanta

SAN FRANCISCO at Chicago

Pittsburgh at CINCINNATI

PHILADELPHIA at Detroit

NEW ENGLAND at Miami

BALTIMORE at NY Jets

JACKSONVILLE at Washington

Cleveland at CAROLINA

INDIANAPOLIS at Houston

NY Giants at TENNESSEE

Green Bay at MINNESOTA

KANSAS CITY at Arizona

Las Vegas at LA CHARGERS

TAMPA BAY at Dallas

Monday, Sept. 12

DENVER at Seattle

STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 8

Buffalo at LA RAMS

Sunday, Sept. 11

NEW ORLEANS at Atlanta

SAN FRANCISCO at Chicago

Pittsburgh at CINCINNATI

PHILADELPHIA at Detroit

New England at MIAMI

BALTIMORE at NY Jets

Jacksonville at WASHINGTON

CLEVELAND at Carolina

INDIANAPOLIS at Houston

NY Giants at TENNESSEE

GREEN BAY at Minnesota

KANSAS CITY at Arizona

Las Vegas at LA CHARGERS

Tampa Bay at DALLAS

Monday, Sept. 12

DENVER at Seattle

Last modified on Thursday, 08 September 2022 18:50

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