You can’t argue with me that Fall is the best time of the year in sports. Pro and college football, pennant races in baseball, followed by the debut of the NHL, NBA, and college basketball seasons. While November might be my favorite month of the year, September isn’t too far behind.
Every Wednesday in this space I’ll predict the score of each NFL game and the top 10 college games that are of most interest. I’m at a crossroads this week though…while I want to be correct with my picks, I also want to root against some of them. You’ll want to see why…
Week 1 NFL Picks
Season Record: 0-0 Straight Up (SU), 0-0 Against the Spread (ATS)
(Picks against the spread in parentheses)
New England 30, Kansas City 16 (ATS: Patriots -8.5)
Do you really expect Tom Brady and company to struggle off the bat?
Detroit 27, Arizona 24 (ATS: Lions +1.5)
I don’t think much of the Lions this year…but I would be very impressed if the Cardinals could pull off the upset in Week 1.
Tampa Bay 27, Miami 24 (ATS: Buccaneers -2.5)
Will this game be played this week due to Hurricane Irma? On Sunday in a different location or when the teams are scheduled to have their byes in Week 11?
UPDATE: GAME POSTPONED TO WEEK 11
Buffalo 17, New York Jets 10 (ATS: Jets +7.5)
There is absolutely no reason to watch this game unless you’re a Bills fan or have LeSean McCoy on your fantasy teams. And that goes for you too, Jets fans.
Atlanta 30, Chicago 20 (ATS: Falcons -6.5)
Poor Bears fans. Their GM is clueless and their coach is a lame duck. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan has a field day in the opener.
Pittsburgh 24, Cleveland 17 (ATS: Browns +9.5)
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has a tendency to struggle on the road. Don’t be surprised if the Browns are in this game throughout.
Cincinnati 23, Baltimore 20 (ATS: Bengals -2.5)
I have no idea what to make of this game – so I’ll go with the home team. Would hardly be shocked to see Joe Flacco and the Ravens pull the road upset.
Houston 23, Jacksonville 13 (ATS: Texans -5.5)
If you think Houston is losing in the first NFL game in their home stadium since Hurricane Harvey, you’re nuts.
Philadelphia 24, Washington 23 (ATS: Eagles Pick’em)
The hype for second year Eagles QB Carson Wentz will continue to grow in an upset win on the road in Week 1.
Tennessee 28, Oakland 25 (ATS: Titans -1.5)
Last year the Raiders won 17-10 at LP Field in Nashville. This year it’s payback time. Look for both of these teams to win their respective divisions.
Los Angeles Rams 26, Indianapolis 17 (ATS: Rams -3.5)
Here’s your sneaky pick in survival leagues this week. The Rams won’t have many opportunities to win this season as good as this one. The Colts are a shell of themselves without QB Andrew Luck.
Green Bay 31, Seattle 24 (ATS: Packers -3.5)
The best game of the week will live up to the hype. I’m expecting to see these two teams play exactly 19 weeks later in freezing Lambeau Field with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Carolina 26, San Francisco 21 (ATS: 49ers +5.5)
I’m thinking the 49ers will be a decent awful team if that makes sense this year. Meaning they’ll lose a lot of games by a closer than expected margin.
New York Giants 30, Dallas 27 (ATS: Giants +3.5)
Isn’t it some kind of a tradition where the Cowboys lose at home on Opening Day / Night to the Giants?
Minnesota 30, New Orleans 24 (ATS: Vikings -3.5)
Sports Illustrated predicted Minnesota at 11-5. What am I missing about this team? The Vikings are the definition of league average…but fortunately for them, the Saints aren’t any better. I’d be surprised if the Saints didn’t let former Vikings legend Adrian Peterson score a TD in his return to Minnesota.
Denver 24, Los Angeles Chargers 23 (ATS: Chargers +3.5)
The Broncos will likely be worse than most people expect and the Chargers will likely be better.
Did you miss Monday’s NFL season predictions column? If so, find it here!
Picking college football games some weekends feels about as random as picking lottery numbers. Sooner or later I’m going to let someone’s dog be the guest picker against the spread because it couldn’t do much worse than we collectively did last week.
Last week’s Guest Picker Adam Green beat “the Cohen’s Corner experts” by going 9-1 straight up (with Monday night’s Georgia Tech double OT loss his only blemish). In addition to our straight up losses, we need to rebound against the spread…especially Steve who went a pathetic 1-8.
Guest picking this week is Mike Muraco! You know him well as the longtime co-host of Roc and Manuch with Crespin from 3-6pm weekdays on 1580 The Fanatic. In addition, he’s also a member of the Fiesta Bowl Committee. As you’ll see below, his picks differ significantly from mine.
Week 2 College Football Predictions
|Eric Cohen||Jon Bell||Steve Malina||Guest
|Last Week (SU):||7-3||8-2||7-3||9-1|
|Last Week (ATS):||3-6||3-6||1-8||5-4|
|San Diego State at Arizona State (-3.5)||ASU 41-35||SDSU 34-31||ASU 30-27||SDSU 31-28|
|Houston (-1) at Arizona||HOU 38-28||AZ 62-40||HOU 34-31||AZ 41-29|
|TCU (-3.5) at Arkansas||TCU 34-29||ARK 38-24||ARK 27-24||ARK 31-14|
|Nebraska at Oregon (-13)||ORE 40-23||ORE 31-17||ORE 41-34||NEB 24-21|
|Auburn at Clemson (-4.5)||CLEM 34-27||CLEM 41-20||CLEM 27-20||CLEM 38-14|
|Oklahoma at Ohio State (-7)||OSU 44-34||OK 24-21||OSU 42-31||OSU 38-24|
|Georgia at Notre Dame (-4.5)||ND 23-13||ND 24-20||ND 27-20||ND 21-20|
|Stanford at USC (-6.5)||USC 27-23||STAN 28-27||USC 36-33||USC 24-21|
|Utah (-1.5) at BYU||BYU 24-21||BYU 17-14||UTAH 24-18||UTAH 34-24|
|Boise State at Washington State (-10)||WSU 41-30||WSU 35-24||WSU 35-31||BOISE 41-40|
This Week’s Bold Prediction:
EC: Don’t be surprised if Arkansas State puts a good old fashioned scare into Miami this weekend in Jonesboro. The ‘Canes might be thinking about everything but football (i.e. Hurricane Irma) and as evidenced by their 36 point outburst at Nebraska, the other ASU can generate points. Miami wins a close one, 30-24 (hint: take the Red Wolves +14.5). This game just got cancelled so let me try again.
Penn State has failed to cover the spread only twice since the beginning of 2016…at Michigan and at Pittsburgh. This week those same Pitt Panthers visit Happy Valley and are getting three touchdowns. As much as I like the Nittany Lions, I don’t see them as 21 points better than their in-state rival. Projected final score: Penn State wins 41-27.
JB: Nicholls State, down 35 points with 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, storms back to beat A&M on a 2 point conversion with 0:02 remaining. ESPN hires Nate Silver to run its Win Probability.
SM: South Florida beats UCONN but needs double OT to do it.
Bonus Prediction: Revised Title pick after week 1 due to injuries etc… Ohio State over Alabama
MM: Ohio beats Purdue as a 4.5 point underdog in West Lafayette, 28-27.
For more thoughts and predictions on these games, check out Friday’s Quick Hitters blog.