I have been doing picks against the spread while making little jokes for a few seasons now (one could say essentially stealing Bill Simmons’ schtick but I’ve never seen him say that fans at a late season Bills-Browns game should be allowed to throw bags of urine on the field following the 15th punt of the contest so I’m coming at you with my own voice) and the time has come to begin another thrilling march to picking winners at a 51% clip if I catch some breaks. Week 1 always is more confusing than the others and with this year’s craziness following the lockout and Hyper Free Agency let’s hope that a different type of history isn’t made with a winless week. Lines were taken from a Simmons/Cousin Sal podcast recorded yesterday.

Packers (-4) over the Saints: Great game to start the season as the Saints could be potentially even more terrifying on offense than we’ve grown accustomed to. As strange as it might sound, with the Packers being only so-so against the run last year New Orleans targeting the rushing attack as an area of improvement leaves that as a possible leak for the defense. On the other hand however while Shaun Rogers was a nice signing they’re still a defense that thrives on turnovers to succeed and not many teams in the league turn it over less than Rodgers & Friends. The line is no-man’s land where it’s not big but you’re still leaving yourself open for a FG win that makes you happy for the team but sad that the family vacation can’t happen now since Daddy used the Disney money to lay the points. In the event this happens try cheering up the kids by growing the same mustache Rodgers had going in Indy.

Steelers (+2.5) at the Ravens: I get that the NFL is rightfully devoting time on Sunday to remembering the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and thus the NBC game is Cowboys at Jets but it’s still a damn shame that these teams are set playing a noon kickoff (suppose we can also blame tennis for existing and keeping CBS from having a doubleheader). It makes me a complete hypocrite to love these games since I usually side with any rule change to enhance player safety but damn is it fun to watch these guys beat the living hell out of each other for three hours. Trying to recall the last time Baltimore beat Pittsburgh with Roethlisberger playing and I don’t think it happens this time. We can only pray that the Raven defense doesn’t disrupt Kid Gorgeous’ beautiful face again like they did last season (just linking to it here, open at your own risk).

Buccaneers (-1.5) over the Lions: Ah, a rematch of one of my favorite games from 2010 where the Bucs despite being not as good as their record (seriously, go take a look at who they beat and how badly good teams beat them) needed only to beat Detroit at home to go to the playoffs and keep the Packers at home, but alas it was not meant to be. I really don’t think that game has any meaning towards this one but still fun to remember, both of these teams stink of 8-8 to me and I’m already tired of thinking about this matchup.

Rams (+4.5) over the Dream Team Eagles: Juicy game that seems to be a little under the radar considering the road team involved. We’ll know early on if St. Louis is ready to take the next step and what with Philly not being so good with the pass protection I say they keep it close at home. Hopefully a win leads to a full SportsCenter hour featuring Sal Paolantonio breaking it down without ever actually mentioning the Rams.

Chiefs (-5.5) over the Bills: Is Matt Cassel starting? Does it matter? Buffalo can’t stop the run and I doubt Nick Barnett is changing those fortunes.

Titans (+3) at Jaguars: Feels like these teams play 6 times a season and it’s never interesting. I think a McCown brother (no word if it’s the long lost Cooper McCown) is starting for Jacksonville, I’m sure that will fill the seats. RIP David Garrard’s fedora, gone too soon.

David Garrard knew Chalky White would exist before we did

Colts (+9) at the Texans: Don’t bet on this game, no idea what to expect out of Kerry Collins and the Texans are still in that weird part of their season where they could cocktease their fans with good play or get an early start on disappointing them again. When in doubt take points.

Browns (-6.5) over the Bengals: Just to show how weird this week is in doing a Survivor pool I’m left thinking the Browns (BROWNS!) are the smartest play since the Chargers can never be trusted early. Colt McCoy battles Andy Dalton’s ginger ass in a matchup of college quarterbacks I had hoped I would never see again once they graduated unless I stumbled upon a CFL game by accident.

Falcons (-3) at the Bears: Perfect quarterback to face a defense that’s happy to let a team dink and dunk their way down the field and hope for a mistake. Hope Julio Jones enjoys the exercise running deep and not even being looked at.

Washington (+3) over the Giants: Not a clue on this one since the G-Men have lost so many defensive backs in the preseason that I could see Rex Grossman having a Good Rex day or he could also get sacked 12 times in a 20-6 loss. I wish FOX had put St. Louis-Philadelphia as a late game to compete with this.

Seahawks (+6) at the 49ers: Any NFC West team giving more than 3 points in these intradivisional games that always pollute the late slate is flat out gross. Losers gets a leg up in the Andrew Luck race but the real losers here will be those who spend money to witness this.

Chargers (-9) over the Vikings: I’ll be spending this one listening to this on a loop and hoping that Minny gets drubbed.

┬áCardinals (-7) over the Panthers: Carolina fans, this is your new franchise quarterback…good luck with that.

Cam Newton on set for his role in the upcoming 5th season of True Blood

┬áJets (-4) over the Cowboys: Oh thank heavens, after that stretch of late afternoon stink being presented by FOX I had forgotten that good football teams existed and this matchup is all sorts of fun with both Ryan brothers involved in all their obese glory (and before you make any Rex foot jokes just know Rob said earlier this week that he’s into weirder shit, not sure if I’ll ever find anything sexy again). Dallas is one of the great mystery teams this season and while I have them at 9-7 and in the playoff mix just think a road game following the emotion of the pregame will be too much for them to overcome.

Dolphins (+7) over the Patriots: Now just hear me out, if there’s one place and team that usually annoys Brady and the Pats it’s ManBearPig Stadium or whatever it is they’re calling it in Miami these days. These teams met on MNF last season as well and the Phins took a small lead into intermission before giving up roughly 17 special teams scores in the second half so I’m taking my pick to win the AFC East in 2010 (probably should have mentioned that sooner lest anyone is actually putting stock into my opinions) to battle with that stout defense and keep the game within a score.

Denver (-3) over the Raiders: My favorite tradition of NFL Opening Weekend is the second MNF that isn’t any good and starts too late, not even sure who’s calling it this year for ESPN but so long as it’s not Mike^3 consisting of Greenberg, Golic and Ditka again we’ve all won.