Greggy G's 2008 Pigskin Record: 3-0 ATS aka 100 frickin' %
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WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ NEW YORK GIANTS (-4.5)
Both teams are pretty banged-up heading into the opener, but with a new staff and offensive scheme for young QB Jason Campbell, the Skins may not be able to take advantage of the depleted D-Line of the Giants. After a rougher start last year than the opening scene for Krista Maze in Face Jam last, the Giants turned-up the intensity in the trenches and decided to become a much more physical team. Offensively, they began to pound teams on the ground with a rotation of backs and were able to loosen things-up on the outside for Plaxico & Co. Especially with Brandon Jacobs healthy to start this year, look for more of the same as NY plays with a chip on their shoulder tonight to prove they were not just a one-year wonder. While Clinton Portis should have a nice night as far as yardage, unless Campbell makes them pay early, look for the Giants to stack the box and keep Portis from breaking anything of significance.
Final Score: GIANTS 24 SKINS 13
CINCINNATI BENGALS (-2) @ BALTIMORE RAVENS
While most prognosticators believe the dark clouds will continue to hover over the Bengals organization like a fratboy over a passed-out cheerleader, yours truly never took advantage of an over-served underclasshottie and believes they’ll battle the Steelers for AFC North title. Broken nose and all, Carson Palmer seems driven to prove the Bengals are more than a running penitentiary joke and knows their window of opportunity is slowing closing.
As for the change in the backfield, after years of injury trouble Chris Perry enters the season rested and ready to prove he can carry the load behind a solid offensive line. The former Michigan star is excellent at reading his blocks, and once he sees a seam, has the rare combination of power and quick cutback ability. In the passing game, while Marvin Lewis is used to dealing with the drama, this year he’s also dealing with injuries to his two stars. But even dinged-up and without much practice, T.J. & Ocho Cinco are both expected to play and could probably run routes for Carson blindfolded. Throw-in the addition of former Colts TE Ben Utecht and the reliable hands of Perry out of the backfield, and I predict Palmer opens the season looking sharp. On the defensive side of the ball, while they’ve been a laughing stock the last few years, they are extremely aggressive and should look better than advertised against a rookie QB and new coaching regime. The Ravens offense looked worse with each preseason game and probably will keep things simple for Delaware star Joe Flacco. On the defensive side of the ball, the once intimidating and dominate squad has aged, so look for the new staff to break in plenty of youngsters throughout the season in what will be a rebuilding year. Bengals look a little sloppy Sunday, but score too many points for Jim Harbaugh’s older brother to open his NFL coaching career with a victory.
Final Score: BENGALS 27 RAVENS 13
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BUFFALO BULLS (+14) @ PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
With all the preseason hype surrounding a Dave Wannstedt coached squad (I know that phrase doesn’t make sense), I smiled bigger than after my mushroom pizza in Amsterdam seeing the Panthers as a heavy favorite over a solid Bowling Green squad last week. And just like clock work and his time in Chicago, the mustached leader of Pitt was pacing the sidelines early in the 4th quarter already conjuring-up excuses for the press room. While a nice guy and better suited as a D-coordinator, I’ve never seen a football coach consistently looking more bewildered and nervous week-to-week in my life. Sure his NFL-pedigree has brought in some star recruits, but just like Newcomer Weekend at a Vivid Entertainment Pool Party, no matter how hot they may be, unless you have a director making them feel confident and sexy it doesn’t matter how many inhibitors you give them.
So after the demoralizing double-digit home loss and non-stop media bashing all week, do you really think Wanny has the ability to fire-up the troops? As for their opponent and the exact opposite type of headmaster, Turner Gill has Buffalo believing they can beat anybody after miraculously winning a share of the MAC East title after only 2 wins the previous season. In addition, the Bulls return 18 starters from last year, including their battle-tested 6-4 Sr. QB Drew Willy (29 career starts), and looked dominate against a decent UTEP squad with an opening day win (42-17). Throw-in two headed rushing attack (last week: Starks 179 yards, Thermilus 102 & 2 TDs) and an up incoming star on the outside (WR Naaman Roosevelt: last week 154 yards & 2 TDs), and I expect the Bulls to be in this from start to finish.
Final Score: BULLS 31 PANTHERS 30