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Kibbles and Picks 2018 - Week 1

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With the NFL season set to kick off mere hours from now, it’s time for the continuation of what has become a football season tradition.

That’s right – Kibbles and Picks is here again. For the sixth year, I will be picking the winners of every NFL game this season. And for the sixth year, my dog Stella will also be making her picks. We’ll go head to head in a classic battle of man versus beast … although to be honest, it hasn’t been much of a battle – Stella has beaten me the last three years and four years out of five overall.

Every year, it becomes increasingly obvious that my dog is a far superior football pundit (pun-dog? pup-dit?) than I am. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let that stop me. Besides – I feel good about what I’m bringing to the table this year.

We’re certainly hitting the ground running, with Stella and I differing on fully half of the Week 1 schedule. We’re at odds on eight of the 16 games on the slate, so things might start with a real bang.

We’ll start with the season’s very first game. I’m picking the Falcons to go into Philadelphia and take down the reigning Super Bowl champs on their home field. I think Atlanta is poised to start the season hot; I’m betting on a dominant game (and dominant year) from wideout Julio Jones. It’ll be a shootout, with the Falcons on top. Stella agrees on the shootout, but she’s expecting the Eagles to win this battle of the birds. She’s unconcerned with QB Carson Wentz’s absence, believing Nick Foles to be more than capable of handling his business. She also thinks Philly’s D will be able to slow down the potent Falcons attack.

Next up, in a matchup of teams that probably aren’t going to be very good, we have the Bengals and the Colts. I’m leaning toward Cincinnati, although that’s more because I think the Colts will struggle than any faith in Marvin Lewis and his team. Andy Dalton is … Andy Dalton, although A.J. Green could step up. That Bengals pass rush is scary, too. Stella concedes the scariness of the Cincy front seven, particularly with the just-returned Andrew Luck under center. Still, she likes Luck a lot and thinks he’s going to lead this Colts team to some surprising victories. Both teams will be bad – we just disagree on who will be worse.

I’ve got Tennessee going into Miami and picking up the win. I actually really like Marcus Mariota to take a step forward at QB this year, though the state of the Titans skill position players isn’t necessary ideal (I am bullish on wideout Corey Davis, for what it’s worth). This is a relatively easy first game for rookie head coach Mike Vrabel; I think they’ll capitalize. Stella’s no fan of the Dolphins, but she’s got a hunch about this one. She believes in young running back Kenyan Drake and she thinks that Ryan Tannehill is a better QB than he’s credited with being. She’s cautiously optimistic that the Miami defense will be just good enough.

In what will probably be the best game of all our head-to-heads, I’m picking the Chiefs on the road to take down the Chargers. I LOVE the Kansas City offense; Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing last season, while new starting QB Pat Mahomes looks ready to perform at a high level. Travis Kelce is probably the best tight end (non-Gronk division) in the league. Stella agrees with all of that, but she also thinks the KC defense has some holes – holes that veteran QB Philip Rivers will be able to exploit. Especially if explosive talents like receiver Keenan Allen and running back Melvin Gordon perform at the level of which they’re capable. Two talented teams – neither result would surprise either of us.

Next, the Seattle/Denver and Washington/Arizona tilts. The first matches two teams on the way down after recent success. The second pits two of the league’s potentially least interesting squads. Neither Stella nor I have much insight as to our picks, other than general feelings. For the record, I went with Denver and Arizona, while Stella went Seattle and Washington.

I picked Carolina to beat Dallas. The Panthers are at home and they still have Cam Newton, who is somehow being underrated yet again. Running back Christian McCaffery has a shot at a big year – he’s going to see the ball a LOT, starting with this game. The Panthers D has some players as well. Stella’s not high on the Cowboys in terms of season-long success, but she thinks they have a chance to start hot – she expects a steady diet of running back Ezekiel Elliott, though she’s a bit concerned by the banged-up state of the vaunted Dallas offensive line. Not as concerned as QB Dak Prescott probably is, but concerned. Still, she thinks the Cowboys have enough to get it done.

And finally, on Monday night, we’re looking at the Jets versus the Lions. Despite my better judgment, I’m going with the Jets. It feels weird picking them – particularly with rookie QB Sam Darnold running the show – but I’m playing a hunch. They’ll be bad, but they can’t lose EVERY game; I’m guessing this is a win. Stella thinks I’m an idiot; she has strong feelings about what the Lions are going to do to the Jets. She thinks Matthew Stafford will move the ball at will against this New York defense and thinks that the Lions will give Darnold his “welcome to the NFL” moments early and often. She’s got Detroit winning in a walk.

And there you have it. Stella and I facing off, with her attempting to adorably assert her dominance over me. Will she succeed? You’ll have to follow along to find out (although really, we all have a pretty good idea how this is going to go). We’re happy to have you here.

Welcome back to Kibbles and Picks.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN'S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 6

ATLANTA at Philadelphia

Sunday, Sept. 9

PITTSBURGH at Cleveland

CINCINNATI at Indianapolis

TENNESSEE at Miami

San Francisco at MINNESOTA

Houston at NEW ENGLAND

Tampa Bay at NEW ORLEANS

JACKSONVILLE at NY Giants

Buffalo at BALTIMORE

KANSAS CITY at LA Chargers

Seattle at DENVER

Washington at ARIZONA

Dallas at CAROLINA

Chicago at GREEN BAY

Monday, Sept. 10

NY JETS at Detroit

LA RAMS at Oakland

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STELLA'S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 6

Atlanta at PHILADELPHIA

Sunday, Sept. 9

PITTSBURGH at Cleveland

Cincinnati at INDIANAPOLIS

Tennessee at MIAMI

San Francisco at MINNESOTA

Houston at NEW ENGLAND

Tampa Bay at NEW ORLEANS

JACKSONVILLE at NY Giants

Buffalo at BALTIMORE

Kansas City at LA CHARGERS

SEATTLE at Denver

WASHINGTON at Arizona

DALLAS at Carolina

Chicago at GREEN BAY

Monday, Sept. 10

NY Jets at DETROIT

LA RAMS at

Last modified on Thursday, 06 September 2018 11:39

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