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 Football Atlanta's
NFL Picks for Week 1

By Don Stone - Football Atlanta

     I never bet on football. There are just too many unpredictable things that can happen and blow up your game plan. But, its fun to pick and see how you do. And, just so you know, in college, a friend and I drove out to Las Vegas in my beat up VW Fastback. We parked in the suburbs and slept in the car to save money. Before entering the casinos, I told him that I was going to spend a quarter on the slots and that's it. I said, no matter how much I beg, don't lend me any money. Of course, I immediately lost it on the penny slots and immediately asked him for more. He immediately quoted me and held fast.
   All that to say that I watch my money. That was 1972, but still holds true.
   So, here are my picks for week one of the NFL, which has finally arrived.
   September 5 -
Denver Broncos over Baltimore Ravens. First, its a home game. Second, the Broncos still have a bad taste in their mouths from the blown playoff game against Baltimore last year. And, third, the Ravens lost some key pieces in the offseason, added some too, but, I like Denver to open with a win 30-24.
   September 7 -
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints. Some say this has the feel of that first game back in the Superdome after Katrina when the Falcons became sacrificial lambs. The Saints have their banished head coach Sean Payton. They seemed to struggle last season with him gone. Drew Brees may put up a lot of points on a young Falcons secondary. But, Matt Ryan will make even more hay on what was the worst defense in the NFL last season. They've made changes, even have a new DC in Rob Ryan and a new scheme. But, Atlanta's high powered offense will be at full strength.
   Some problems also exist in New Orleans with the injury bug with 11 players listed on their injury report. Key among them is wide receiver
Marques Colston (foot) and OLB Junior Gallett (hamstring). Also, veteran linebacker Jonathan Vilma will miss the game with an ailing knee. And they lost OLB Will Smith for the season with a torn ACL.
  Should be a fun game to watch, as they always are. Falcons will prevail 34-30.
  In the rest of the matchups...
Kansas City over the home team in Jacksonville
New England go to Buffalo and come out with a win.
Cincinnati easy going at Chicago.
Miami handles Cleveland in Ohio.
Tampa Bay travels to New York and comes home 1-0.
   Tennessee travels to
Pittsburgh and gets a loss.
Detroit makes the home town fans happy with a win over Minnesota.
   Indianapolis gets a home game to start the season and a win over Oakland.
   This one is tough because I think
Carolina is going to be a much better team, having one their last seven games of the 2012 season.    I was thinking Seattle woudl squeak by with a road win here. But they were 3-5 on the road last season, not counting the postseason loss at the Georgia Dome and were tied for the worst road record of any playoff team with Minnesota. I change my mind and will go with the Panthers.
   In the late games,
the Rams might be the surprise team of the 2013 season and will get a home win against Arizona.
   One of, if not the best game of the weekend will have
the 49ers get a victory against visiting Green Bay. But, this one is really a toss up. I just give it to San Francisco for the home field advantage.
   And, the Sunday Night Football premiere will be another good one with
Dallas beating the visiting Giants.
   Finally on Monday night,
the Redskins will beat the visiting Eagles and the Texans may be in the Super Bowl this year and will go to San Diego with a win.
  Last year, I was 72%, which means nothing, but it's sure a lot better than those so called experts on the networks who brag about having a winning season. 
  And, while I'm at it, I pick
the Bulldogs to bounce back big before a raucous crowd in Athens and finally pick off Steve Spurrier after a three game losing streak to the Gamecocks. Maybe a score similar to the Falcons 34-30.
  The rest of the SEC should do well with all playing a bunch of creampuffs. Miami of Ohio at Kentucky, Western Kentucky at Tennessee, Toledo at Missouri, Alcorn State at Mississippi State, SE Missouri State at Mississippi, Sam Houston State at Texas A&M, UAB at LSU, Samford at Arkansas, Arkansas State at Auburn and Austin Peay at Vanderbilt. All easy SEC wins.
  Who really cares. A bunch of spineless athletic directors have a bushel full of boring games that will all be over by the second quarter.

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