By Justin Boylan
Welcome to week 1 of the 2013 NFL season. You made it. It’s been a long and painful summer, but it’s over. The calendar reads football, and not a thing else matters. Can’t you just feel the frustration brought on by the Phillies wash away like sand from the Jersey shore? All it took was one weekend of college football for the realization to sink in: the big boys are right around the corner, and I don’t want to wait another second.
So forget about poor Charlie and his Italian classic and jump into the 94WIP Suicide Pool. To join click here, there’s still time. It’s easier than that fantasy league you’re not going to win, and the prize is way cooler. We’re talking a championship ring… with diamonds! If you win the Suicide Pool, you’ll have more rings than the entire Eagles roster put together. How’s that for incentive?
In the NFL, scripts get flipped faster than a superhero reboot. It’s so difficult to anticipate what’s to come based on training camps and preseason games. You can listen to the talking heads on your television screen, but NFL predictions are like trying to guess what will happen on Breaking Bad. It’s fun to talk about, but chances are you missed something somewhere and end up putting way too much thought into it.
That’s what will most likely be your downfall in the Suicide Pool. It’s thinking too much that gets you eliminated. Find a match-up you like, lock it in and don’t look back. Second-guessing yourself is the leading cause of death.
Each week I’ll be tossing out three picks. The first will be my pick, so once I choose a team I can’t use them again. The second will be a best bet for survival, and the third will be a wildcard, or underdog. Groundbreaking stuff, I know.
My Selection – Colts vs. Raiders
These first few weeks are all about feeling out the league. You don’t want to get bounced from the pool early by leaning on a team you think will be good. I’d rather bet against a team I know will be bad, and the Raiders will be awful. They have a serious chance of landing Andrew Wiggins, yeah, that bad.
Matt Flynn has done less than nothing to earn the spot at starting quarterback, and Terrelle Pryor has somehow won the job doing less than that. In the preseason finale, with a chance to win the position outright, Pryor went 3-for-8 passing for 31 yards and a pick. And just so I don’t put this all on the quarterback, name me three other players on the 2013 Oakland Raiders… I’ll wait. As for the Colts, I love the second-year connection between Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, and I love Indy’s home field advantage. Plus, did I mention the Raiders are bad? I’m rolling with the Colts.
Best Bet For Survival – Patriots at Bills
This one is a no-brainer, so it’s my lock of the week. I’m breaking two of the three cardinal suicide rules here by taking a road team in a divisional game (the third rule is don’t save teams), but this will probably be the highest selected game this week, and for good reason.
The Bills were an inch away from starting the season with Jeff Tuel behind center (EJ Manuel will start instead). According to Wikipedia, Tuel didn’t have a Wikipedia page when his name was floated as the starter last week. But now he does. So congratulations Jeff, you have arrived. Don’t even worry about trying to keep pace with Tom Brady on Sunday afternoon. (Losing your chance to take down Tom Brady and the heavily favored New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.) Football’s overrated anyway. I’m concerned about how much time you will spend improving that Wiki page. Let’s start by getting a photo up there. Baby steps.
Cheating Death – Eagles at Redskins
I’m an optimistic Eagles fan before anything can go wrong. Of course I’m picking the Birds. This opener is a great opportunity for the Eagles to steal a division game.
The Redskins and Eagles find themselves in a similar position to kick off 2013. Both teams have a ton of hype surrounding a promising offense that is hanging on one big wildcard (RG3’s health for Washington, Chip Kelly’s official playbook for Philly). Points should come easily and often to these teams. The hard part will be stopping the other guys.
Both teams have serious questions in the defensive secondary. Washington should benefit greatly from having a healthy Brian Orakpo, who played just two games last year, but their corners and safeties have the potential to be just as bad as the Eagles’. I’m expecting a high-scoring quarterback party, the battle of the headfirst slide. I’ll take the lack of film on Kelly’s true colors over the rust that hasn’t had a chance to shake off Griffin’s arm and right knee. If you bleed green, look the Grim Reaper in the eye and lock in the pick.
The season looks so good from here. Go Birds. Stay alive.
Justin Boylan is a producer at 94WIP and graduate of Temple University. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @justintboylan.