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Dubs' Pigskin Picks - Week 1

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The NFL football season begins Thursday evening - with the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens visiting Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos. A new season brings a new feature to Turf Show Times - "Dubs' Pigskin Picks". Come join the fun - and cheer on the Rams to a successful season!!

Sam Greenwood

As a new, weekly feature, I will be putting my prognosticator's cap on - and offering up bold predictions for every game on the NFL schedule. You are welcome to join the fun - and offer your picks in the comments section. Nothing wrong with a little bit of competition. I will be making two sets of selections: straight-up winners - and which teams cover the spread. The odds are courtesy of OddsShark.com, via SB Nation (link).

The accompanying chart presents the format [and selections], for each game: home team - away team - the spread - my straight-up winner - which team covers/beats the spread - and the outcome of the game:

Home Away Spread Straight Up Vs. Spread Score
St. Louis Arizona StL 4 1/2 St. Louis St. Louis 24 13
Denver Baltimore Den 7 1/2 Denver Baltimore 24 21
Buffalo New England NE 9 New England New England 30 14
Pittsburgh Tennessee Pitt 7 Pittsburgh Tennessee 20 17
New Orleans Atlanta NO 3 Atlanta Atlanta 34 31
NY Jets Tampa Bay TB 3 Tampa Bay Tampa Bay 21 10
Jacksonville Kansas City KC 3 1/2 Kansas City Kansas City 24 10
Carolina Seattle Sea 3 1/2 Seattle Seattle 23 19
Chicago Cincinnati Chi 3 Chicago Chicago 20 16
Cleveland Miami PK Miami Miami 17 10
Detroit Minnesota Det 5 Detroit Minnesota 24 20
Indianapolis Oakland Ind 10 Indianapolis Indianapolis 31 10
San Francisco Green Bay San 4 1/2 San Francisco Green Bay 21 20
Dallas NY Giants Dall 3 Dallas NY Giants 23 21
Washington Philadelphia Was 3 1/2 Washington Philadelphia 30 27
San Diego Houston Hou 4 Houston Houston 27 17

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Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams

TST's Ryan Van Bibber lent some insight into the Rams' match-up with Arizona, in an article on Tuesday (link):

"For now, a majority of the action has the Cardinals covering the spread. The Rams were 11-5 against the spread last season, the best mark in a long time for the team. However, recent history for both teams paints a different picture for opening day. The Rams are 2-10 against the spread in their last 12 season openers, and a woeful 1-6 when favored.

Predictions are pointing toward a low-scoring affair. Odds Shark's model currently calls for a 17-13 Rams win. That matches history where eight of the last 10 games between these two teams have gone under the over/under mark."

Arizona will be a much improved team in 2013. They brought in QB Carson Palmer, and upgraded the offensive line. The keys to this game will be pressuring Palmer - and exploiting Arizona's deep secondary [two new safeties]. Although improved, the Card's offensive line still has question marks. The line suffered a huge blow - when they lost guard Jonathan Cooper for the season - with a broken leg. Arizona will have no way to prepare, in advance, for the new-look Rams offense. The defenses will keep this game relatively close. Key match-ups: Levi Brown/Eric Winston vs. Robert Quinn/Chris Long. Who does Patrick Peterson cover? Who covers Patrick Peterson? Can Chris Givens and Jared Cook exploit a depleted Arizona secondary?

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5 Intriguing Must-Watch Games

Green Bay @ San Francisco - A re-match of last years divisional playoff game (won by the Niner's 45-31). Both teams have Super Bowl aspirations - and both have a tough stretch of games to open their seasons. Rams fans will be watching this game with keen interest.

Philadelphia @ Washington - The return of RG3 - and the debut of Eagles coach Chip Kelly [and his warp-speed offense] - make this an intriguing, must-see game.

Baltimore @ Denver - The defending Super Bowl champs visit the Broncos - in a re-match of last years divisional playoff game [won by the Ravens, in dramatic fashion]. How much will the Broncos miss Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil? Is Baltimore's revamped defense better than last years?

Atlanta @ New Orleans - The home opener for New Orleans marks the return of head coach Sean Payton. The Saints face a division rival with Super Bowl aspirations - and a new running back familiar to the Rams faithful for many years...Steven Jackson.

Seattle @ Carolina - There could be a whole lotta' read-option goin' on - in a match-up of two of the best "new breed" quarterbacks - Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. A game that may have implications for the Rams, later in the season.

Are you ready for some football!!!