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  • Gary Porpora

NFL 2023 - WEEK ONE

Welcome back everyone. I hope to avoid a disastrous Week One, like I didn’t last year.

Good Luck to all--let’s make some money.


Let’s dive head first into our Specials...


GAME OF THE WEEK


Bills (-2.5, ML -145, O/U 46.5) @ Jets (+122), 7:15 p.m. ESPN, ABC GOW

I have to temper my profound dislike of Aaron Rogers with much respect for Jet’s head honcho, Robert Saleh. Rogers is an asshole--not just because of this one example:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/08/sports/football/aaron-rodgers-vaccine.html


To me, Rodgers comes off as a contrived contrarian. He acts like his athletic gifts confer a special wisdom upon him. He maneuvered like Machiavelli to get Mike McCarthy fired, and couldn’t keep his big mouth shut the last two years as staying in Green Bay became less desirable.


Still, Rodgers is top 5-7 all-time QB. This year, WR, Garret Wilson--OROY in 2022--will be catching a bunch of passes and he’s not the only talent on offense A-A-RON is familar with, i.e Allen Lazard and all-purpose RB Randall Com. Breece Hall--his ACL rehab completed--should be an asset in the ground game.


Let’s keep it real; except for the Steelers in Green Bay’s Super Bowl win, Rodgers has never faced such a high quality defense, or team as the one he’ll go up against in Week One.


The coaching/QB edge goes to the Bills---and they have the better defense and are a much deeper team.


Rogers will learn quickly--he’s no longer in the NFC North.


Lay the Points--play the Over


Bills 31

Jets 23


LOCK OF THE WEEK


Panthers (+3.5, ML +150, O/U 39.5) @ Falcons (-178), noon FOX LOW


The Falcons are hoping Desmond Ritter emerges as a franchise QB, just as the Panther faithful are hoping QB, Bryce Young, wins rookie of the year.


We had our eye on Atlanta after watching their pre-season game against Pittsburgh. The Falcs have a good offensive line, I love RB, Drake London, and TE, Kyle Pitts and their defense should be much improved with add-ons Bud Dupree, Jeff Okudah, and former Bengal safety, Jesse Bates.


Clearly the Falcons are, at least, a couple of steps ahead of the Black Cats when it comes to playoff prospects, and they have more talent.


It’s called a Lock for a reason. Bet the Over, there are more big play possibilities in this puppy than we think.


Falcons 27

Panthers 19


UPSET SPECIAL


49ers (-2.5, ML -135, O/U 41) @ Steelers (+115), noon FOX US


Full disclosure: Die hard Pittsburgh fan, here. I try to avoid picking a Pittsburgh game as one of my Specials--especially if I’m leaning toward the Steelers.

Sometimes I can’t help myself...


First, since he came into the NFL, no coach has a better record than Mike Tomlin --15-4-3, .790--as a Home Dog.


His haters, predictably counter that he has a habit of “losing games he should win,” except the stats suggest a different conclusion:


In 2014, Behind the Steel Curtain examined Tomlin’s record against teams who finished the season 4-12 or worse and 8-8 or worse. Using BTSC’s identical criteria I extrapolated the analysis through 2022. Here is the tale of that tape:


Tomlin’s Steelers vs. Teams under .500 & .250 = 115-36-1 .662

Tomlin’s Steelers vs. Teams under .500 = 83 - .741

Tomlin’s Steelers vs. Teams under .250 = 32 - 7 - 1 .820


Oh, and, the vast majority of those “losses to teams he should beat” occurred in the six non-playoff years when the Steelers sucked themselves.


Tomlin is the same guy who has taken teams with bad offensive lines, mediocre defenses, and even a couple of squads led by QBs named Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph--to the playoffs.


The stats clearly show--for a coach to have 16 non losing seasons, with 10 playoff campaigns, and 2 Super Bowl appearances with one win, that coach had to win far many more games he had no business winning, than losing games he should have won.

Tomlin’s Steelers relish the Underdog role.


TIME’S UP


San Fran is a far-left coast team playing at 10:00am their time. Recently that has not been an issue given their 6-1 record the last three seasons, but historically that time frame has been difficult for West Coast teams to manage.


When it comes to talent and coaching the Niners are stacked. They went to the NFCCG with a rookie QB, top three defense and a Top Five offense. It sure can’t hurt that Nick Bosa, DPOY, just signed an historical contract. Pittsburgh can only hope their young revamped and supposedly improved OL only has to deal with a rusty Bosa.


Shanahan Vs. Tomlin is a wash. Shanahan is a great play caller--I’ll never forgive him for 28-3--Steeler OC, Matt Canada has to prove he should still be the Steelers OC.


My astute readers are surely asking: “Oh so, you’re picking the Niners, right?....”


Uh--no...The Gairzo is buying the hype that has the Burgh abuzzin’...


Pittsburgh signed their entire draft class, and new GM, Omar Khan, filled the ILB hole with proven players, Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb. Hopefully the days of giving up chunk yardage in the running game are over


Add Patrick Peterson as their new slot corner, and a young hungry secondary led by All-Pro S, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and the Steelers may be back to having a consistently stout, if not dominant defense.


Offense could take a giant leap this year. Kenny Picket put on some muscle and does the little things, along with Najee Harris, Pat Friermuth, and a receiving corp that could change games--all behind a much younger, deeper OL.


I’ve got a feeling about these Steelers I haven’t had in almost a decade.


They’ll keep this one close.


There are too many offensive weapons on both teams--play the Over.



Steelers 24

Niners 23


OVER/UNDER OF THE WEEK

Packers (+1, ML -105, O/U 41.5) @ Bears (-115), 3:25 p.m. FOX O/U

This number is too low. We have two teams with gifted young QBs, Chicago’s Justin Field is a force and he’s got a stud WR named D.J Moore, and ascending tight end, Cole Kmet to balance out his game. If Justin Fields throws more, his running skills will become even more dangerous.


Green Bay is young all over and hoping Love--Jordan Love--is all they need to minimize Aaron Rodgers’ escape to New York. Defensively, the Cheeseheads have Jaire Alexander on one corner which might cut Field’s options in half--yes, JA is that good.


Fields has more options; Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson, both second year WRs and second rounder, Jayden Reed round out a promising receiver room.


Chicago took the free agent route to improve the NFL’s worst defense in 2022. Yanneek Ngakoue moves over from Indy and Demarcus Walker from the Titans. The names I’ll watch for are T.J Edwards and Tremaine Edwards--two stud LBs who can cover and don‘t miss tackles.


I’m going with the home team, the more experienced QB and wondering if Green Bay will recover from Rodgers absence.


Remember, it’s week one. Tabula rasa for every team, and anything can happen. The Over looks good in this one.



Bears 24

Packers 22


As usual, my picks are in bold Italic:

Thursday, Sept. 7

Lions (+6.5, ML +250, O/U 54) @ Chiefs (-320), 7:15 p.m. NBC

Sunday, Sept. 10

Titans (+3, ML +140, O/U 41) @ Saints (-165), noon CBS (WWL in New Orleans)

Bengals (-2.5, ML -140, O/U 47.5) @ Browns (+118), noon CBS

49ers (-2.5, ML -135, O/U 41) @ Steelers (+115), noon FOX US

Panthers (+3.5, ML +150, O/U 39.5) @ Falcons (-178), noon FOX LOW

Buccaneers (+6, ML +210, O/U 45.5) @ Vikings (-260), noon CBS

Texans (+10, ML +360, O/U 43.5) @ Ravens (-480), noon CBS

Jaguars (-5, ML -225, O/U 45) @ Colts (+185), noon FOX

Cardinals (+7, ML +250, O/U 38) @ Commanders (-320), noon FOX

Packers (+1, ML -105, O/U 43) @ Bears (-115), 3:25 p.m. FOX O/U

Eagles (-4, ML -195, O/U 45) @ Patriots (+162), 3:25 p.m. CBS

Raiders (+3.5, ML +152, O/U 44) @ Broncos (-180), 3:25 p.m. CBS

Dolphins (+3, ML +140, O/U 51) @ Chargers (-165), 3:25 p.m. CBS

Rams (+5, ML +196, O/U 46.5) @ Seahawks (-240), 3:25 p.m. FOX

Cowboys (-3.5, ML -170, O/U 46.5) @ Giants (+143), 7:20 p.m. NBC

Monday, Sept. 11

Bills (-2.5, ML -145, O/U 46.5) @ Jets (+122), 7:15 p.m. ESPN, ABC GOW

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