Punt, Pass and Pick: Week 1
Jonathan: Hello everyone, and welcome to a new NFL season! From here on out, I will be taking over Punt, Pass and Pick from my good friend and former Sports Editor Andrew Constant. A little bit about me: I am a Browns fan, so I will pretty much be picking every Browns game unless it’s a lock to be a blowout. This is my first week, so go easy on me, but I will be taking on a formidable opponent, the Towerlight’s Photo Editor Matt Hazlett, who is a Redskins fan. Here is my take on the five best games you will find in Week 1 of the NFL season.
Matt: Hi, I am Matthew Hazlett, the Photo Editor here at The Towerlight. Last year I began my incredible journey into the world of written journalism. After completely amazing everyone with my incredible Arts & Life food review, I decided to kill two birds with one stone – write the best Punt, Pass & Pick and take down the News Editor.
Philadelphia Eagles -8 at Cleveland Browns
Jonathan: Like I said, I’m a Browns fan, and I know they are going to lose this game. Even though rookie running back Trent Richardson looks like he will be back in time for the game after undergoing minor knee surgery, it will be tough for Cleveland’s offense to get going without Richardson playing a single snap of the preseason. On top of Richardson’s injury, rookie Quarterback Brandon Weeden struggled in the preseason, but partly due to the fact that the Browns have no quality wide receivers. I expect the Eagles to cover the spread.
Eagles 32, Browns 14
Matt: Well if you know Munch, you know he is a Browns guy. To be honest, they are the least talked about team. Frankly, I almost forgot they are a team all together. The Eagles are always a strong opponent and could give those forgettable Browns a run for their money. Brandon Weedon, the Browns’ newest quarterback made great impressions during the preseason, but leaving that much faith in a rookie to lead this team could lead to a rough start. Michael Vick will have a tough job working against the Browns’ solid defense. But if he can make a few good plays and put points on the board, he should have nothing to worry about.
Eagles 14 – Browns 3
San Francisco 49ers +5.5 at Green Bay Packers
Jonathan: The 49ers are my pick to be the bust of the season. Yes, they had a great season last year under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh, but in my opinion, they are set up for failure. They didn’t do much to fix their QB situation, and running back Frank Gore isn’t going to get any younger. The roster only got older when they signed veteran wide receiver Randy Moss in the offseason. The Packers improved their defense in the draft, and improved their running game with the signing of former Bengal’s running back Cedric Benson, which was something that hurt the Packers last year in their playoff game against the Giants. The Packers win, just to assert their dominance over the rest of the NFC.
49ers 20, Packers 33
Matt: What a close matchup. I had a hard time coming to a conclusion. The Packers are coming off a big season last year and the 49ers have turned their program around in the last few years. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers will surely give the Packers a great advantage when on offense, but it won’t be an easy start for the cheese state with the impressive defense of the 49ers. As long as the 49ers can continue to convert on offense, I have them as a close win over Green Bay.
49ers: 21 – Packers: 19
Pittsburgh Steelers +1.5 at Denver Broncos
Jonathan: This game may as well be a push. Both teams have great defenses, so the difference for me in this game will be the QBs. Ben Roethlisberger, who may take the title for player with the most announced injuries to make himself seem awesome, against Peyton Manning, who will be playing his first regular season game as a Bronco. Both are incredibly talented, but I feel like Manning will come out with something to prove in this game, and will just barely win this one.
Steelers 23, Broncos 26
Matt: Well, I already know who will lose this game. I mean the Broncos lost their only viable strategy: TEBOW TIME. The game will be neck-and-neck with two minutes left and Denver will not have its clutch rollout 75-yard pass to bring Tebow’s passing record to 5-19 and four touchdowns. All jokes aside, as much as it kills me to say it, the Steelers can generally put together a solid team. As long as old “Rottenberger” can keep from trying to solo every play and make completions, I can see the Steelers starting their season off with a win.
Steelers: 14 – Broncos: 9
Cincinnati Bengals +6 at Baltimore Ravens
Jonathan: In my opinion, the point spread in this game shouldn’t be this big. The Bengals are far better than Vegas wants to give them credit for, especially after the breakout season they had last year, going 9-7 with then-rookies Andy Dalton and A.J. Green (who is a fantasy monster, might I add). I know I am in Baltimore, but someone has to say it, the defense is old. Safety Ed Reed is 33 and Linebacker Ray Lewis is 37. On top of that, the Ravens will be missing Linebacker Terrell Suggs for most or all of the regular season with an Achilles injury. However, the aging defense will know this may be their last season to make a Super Bowl push. In this game, the start of that push should be enough to get them past the Bengals, but not by much.
Bengals 21, Ravens 25
Matt: Born and raised a Marylander and I still cannot stand the Ravens. I try to stay away from the stupid pity arguments of football fans but they have just always rubbed me the wrong way. And this time I am going to let emotion get involved with my decision; I hope to see the Bengals annihilate the Ravens. Although this would be awesome to see, the Ravens and Bengals are quite evenly matched. Really, going either way I left it up to a coin toss. Heads: Ravens; tails: Bengals. Well, it was tails. Lets see how lucky I really am.
Bengals: 22 – Ravens: 17
Washington Redskins +9.5 at New Orleans Saints
Jonathan: When you have a bigger point spread to overcome than the Browns, you’re gonna have a bad time. The Redskins still don’t know who their starting running back is going to be, even though all of their options are pretty good. Rookie QB Robert Griffin III looked pretty good in the preseason though, throwing two touchdowns and zero interceptions. While the ‘Skins may cover the spread, they definitely aren’t going to win this game. The Saints offense will just be too much for Washington to handle.
Redskins 24, Saints 31
Matt: You may be thinking that the Redskins do not even stand a chance against the recently dominating Saints. I have a simple response: RG3. As a lifelong Redskins fan, I have tried not to get overly excited for the debut of our only hope at a winning season. Drew Brees has become one of the highest regarded quarterbacks in the NFL, so the Redskins’ defense will have to step up its game if it wants a chance at stopping his passing game. After cutting players like Cooley and Hightower, the ‘Skins will have a huge deficit to fill. But as a true fan, I have to go for a first week win for the Redskins.
Redskins: 27 – Saints: 17