Because DouglasM is much too big of a deal for us now that he is an acclaimed author (seriously, Devin Briar is sitting at 5 stars on Amazon), he has handed his weekly picks column off to me. For those of you that don't know me, I am a competition ADDICT. So I made some changes to the column for this year, including adding some prizes and (possible) humiliation. With no further ado, here are the rules for the 2012 TST Picks Contest.
1) The five members of the staff that are picking this year are 3K, DCRamFan, DouglasM, Mike Dietrich, and myself. In addition, one member of the TST community will make their picks.
2) Each week, we'll pick out three "prime" games. For these games, there will be a short write-up of our thoughts to go along with whomever the individual picks. Each of these games will be worth two points. The rest of the games for the week will be worth one point.
3) For the winner, I will donate a Rams jersey with the year (12) and "Champion" on the back. The winner will take pictures for the site
4) If the COMMUNITY is the champ, I will both buy a jersey that says "12" and "Loser" on the back, and pose for pictures for the site.
5) Finally, whatever writer comes in LAST place is kicked out of the competition for next season and will be replaced by someone new!
Our first volunteer from the TST Community is AVA. His real name is Arlen, and he's from the fine city of Alexandria, Virginia. He has been a member of the TST community since 2009, but has been a Rams fan for the last 14 years. Like most good football fans, his game-time snack of choice is a good chicken wing.
I asked Arlen about his favorite sports moment:
"This is a tough one. I'll never forget the GSOT days, but that's too cliche. So I'll go with something completely different. Last year I attended a Chelsea vs. Liverpool football (what we call soccer here) game in London. I've gone to all kinds of sporting events here in the States, but I've never seen so much passion and intensity from sports fans than what I witnessed that day. It was amazing and the atmosphere of the stadium was electric."
I have to admit, I'm a bit intimidated by bringing on an international sports fan for the first week of the regular season, but there are five of us, and just one of him. C'mon Team Rick, don't disappoint me! (Team name is still open for discussion.)
Alright, enough of all that! On to the picks!
Our first Prime Game of the week...
3K - (To the tune of the old Spider-Man TV theme song) Julio, Julio, so much better than Coolio. Kinda big. Kinda quick. Intermediate game is sick. Look oouuuuuuuuuuut. Here comes Julioooooooooo. My sleeper Super Bowl pick.
DCRamFan - Kansas City fans will hope that there's something called 'preseason-week 5,' because I don't see this one being close. Atlanta has way too many offensive weapons, and even at home, the Chiefs won't be able to keep up. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Michael Turner....not many teams can say that. There aren't many more teams can contain it.
Douglas M - Kansas City is a team that's failed to gel in the off season. While I normally don't put much stock in the preseason, this team looked beyond lost. Atlanta will pass all day long against a Chiefs secondary that looks in trouble. Julio Jones and Roddy White will both have TD catches, and Michael Turner will add at least one on the ground. I'm taking Atlanta for the win.
Mike Dietrich - I like the Chiefs in this one due to the home field advantage as well as the Falcons usually underachieving on the road especially Matt Ryan outside in the fresh air.
Rick - Atlanta and Julio Jones have been getting a ton of hype this offseason, and with good reason. Jones was dynamic when he was on the field last year, averaging nearly 18 yards per carry. The Falcons are also coming off consecutive playoff appearances, and have yet to win less than nine games with Matt Ryan at quarterback.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, followed up a great 2010 season that ended with 10 wins and division crown with a season that saw nearly anything that could go wrong do exactly that - go wrong. The Chiefs fell to 7 wins in 2011 and fired their coach. So which team is the real Chiefs? The 2010 playoff team or the 2011 offensively challenged, injury-plagued mess? The preseason seems to suggest the former, but I happen to be a believer, and am going to take Kansas City to pull off the upset in week 1.
AVA - The Chiefs' Defense will be pretty good this year, but they won't be clicking this early in the season. With Brandon Flowers a game-time decision and Tamba Hali suspended, the Falcons' passing attack should be firing on all cylinders.
3K - Aaron Rodgers, the NFC West needs you this weekend. Do not allow San Fran to start their season off with an away win that would catapult the Niners into the national spotlight. Just pick off Alex Smith a few times for old times' sake, whaddya say?
DCRamFan - The battle of two [projected] NFC Championship hopefuls. I'll provide some foreshadowing by stating that I hate the 49ers. Feel free to stop reading here. If you're still around, though, you probably understand how difficult it is to bet against the Packers. That's pretty much all it boils down to for me. The 49ers defense, unfortunately, is awesome. The Packers offense is explosive. Put those two in Lambeau, and I take the cheese heads. P.S. - I hate the 49ers.
Douglas M - While the Niners defense won't give up a rushing touchdown in this game, they'll give up four to the passing of Aaron Rodgers. San Francisco's Alex Smith will pass for a few yards, and Frank Gore will get the Niners slowly down the field. But three field goals are all they can muster as Green Bay wins this one handily for their rabid cheese head fans.
Mike Dietrich - The 49ers will be exposed in this 1st game against a team who have something t prove off last year's awful playoff loss, the 49ers strength is rushing defense which will not come into effect against the all throwing Packers.
Rick - My opinion on the 49ers offensive prospects this offseason goes something like this: man, they sure are lucky to have that defense to keep games low scoring. Not a fan of any of the receivers they added, I don't think they will be smart enough to move away from Frank Gore, despite the fact that he is CLEARLY just plain done, and I think Alex Smith will regress back to being...Alex Smith. The defense will give them plenty of wins this year, but it's not enough to beat the (eventual champion) Packers.
AVA - I almost picked the 49ers in this one, but Aaron Rodgers is just too good. And I envision Alex Smith being more mistake-prone this year. The SF QB will look like his old self and throw the game away.
3K - Great season opener here for Sunday Night Football. While it's tempting to roll with the team that returns its Super Bowl-winning QB over the one who just plucked one out of Indy, Denver beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs last year. With Tim Tebow...Gimme the Broncos.
DCRamFan - Pittsburgh is known, perennially, for their dominant defense, and smash mouth offense. Denver, for more than a decade now, is known for their relatively average nature since the departure of one John Elway.
In 2012, I see the Steelers as stagnant, and the Broncos as the team on the rise...at least in the AFC West which, as usual, is wide open IMO. Yes, Peyton Manning has something [everything] to do with that. He's made a believer out of me, and I'll buy the legitimacy of his career over the speculation of his ability to return from injury. It's a 'prove me wrong' situation...and he's earned it.
I don't, however, buy that Mendenhall is going to be serviceable in week 1, nor do I think that Mike Wallace can step in - after essentially no work with the team - and be the Mike Wallace they need him to be. The games in Denver, and I see Manning as Denver's NEW 'Savior' in week 1. Sorry Tebow..
Douglas M - I'm taking Denver in this Mile High re-match from the playoffs last season. Pittsburgh's offensive line is hacked up with injuries, and their best wide receiver just stepped onto the practice after a prolonged holdout. Denver has "His Manningness" and I think he'll have a great first game for the Broncos. Eric Decker could have a decent day, and Von Miller should give Big Ben a few nightmares too.
Mike Dietrich - I am leaning towards Pittsburgh in this game as a combination of revenge of last years playoff loss as well as a very rusty Peyton Manning who even when he was healthy when he last played did not play all that well.
Rick - What a fantastic Sunday Night game to start the season. Peyton Manning returning to the NFL after an entire year. Will he be the Peyton of 2006? Probably not. But we do need to remember that Peyton in 2009 went 14-0 before sitting in the second half of game 15 that year. So he is only a couple years removed from being near the top of his game.
Ultimately, though, I have to go with the Steelers. I think they are just too proud to lose to the Broncos after Denver ended their Super Bowl hopes last year. Add that to Manning's lack of familiarity with his new weapons, and I think the Steelers will take this one down. If we played this game in Week 8 or Week 10, it might be a different story.
AVA - I think the Broncos are going to be like the Eagles of last year: over-hyped in the preseason due to their offseason acquisitions and underwhelming when it counts. Manning isn't the same QB we saw two years ago. He'll be good, but not great. Pittsburgh's D will come up big in the 4th Qtr and Peyton won't be able to mount a comeback.
On to the rest of the picks! Just a quick run down on who everyone took...
|3K||DCRamFan||Douglas M||Mike Dietrich||Rick Siegel||
Week 1: AVA
|Win % YTD||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA|
|Indianapolis @ Chicago||
|Philadelphia @ Cleveland|
|New England @ Tennessee|
|Atlanta @ Kansas City||
|Jacksonville @ Minnesota|
|Washington @ New Orleans|
|Buffalo @ New York Jets||TIE|
|St. Louis @ Detroit|
|Miami @ Houston|
|San Francisco @ Green Bay|
|Seattle @ Arizona|
|Carolina @ Tampa Bay|
|Pittsburgh @ Denver||TIE|
|Cincinnati @ Baltimore|
|San Diego @ Oakland|
Alright, that's it for the first week of NFL picks from your TST team. Give us your picks, and your thoughts on our picks, the new format and the new rules in the comments...