suntimes
SHARP 
Weather Updates

NFL picks Week 1

storyidforme: 36488255
tmspicid: 11652921
fileheaderid: 5319240

BEST BET

Time: 3:25 p.m. Line: Seahawks by 11/2.Total: 401/2. 2011 records (overall/ATS): Seahawks 7-9/10-5-1; Cards 8-8/8-7-1.

Updated: October 9, 2012 2:25PM



I believe in Pete Carroll.

Mostly I believe in Pete Carroll’s ability to prepare his team and his ability to play fast and loose with the rules.

Carroll rebuilt USC into a college football powerhouse almost overnight. He did it not only with great recruiting, but great preparation.

His USC teams often practiced as hard as they could.

There was a price to pay — under Carroll, USC won a national championship that has since been vacated and Reggie Bush won a Heisman Trophy he since has returned.

So it’s not surprising that since Carroll became the Seattle Seahawks’ coach, the team twice has been caught violating NFL rules regarding practices. The Seahawks had to forfeit two of their ‘‘organized team activity’’ practices (OTAs) in the offseason because they violated an NFL ban on live practices. The Seahawks also turned themselves in for allowing Terrell Owens to practice in full pads a day before he was eligible to do so.

The advantage the Seahawks gained is immaterial. It’s clear Carroll is pushing the limit to physically prepare his team for the season. And that could be an advantage in Week 1.

The pick: Seahawks 24, Cardinals 10.

TOP PLAYS

COLTS AT BEARS

Time: Noon, Ch. 2.

Line: Bears by 9. Total: 42.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Colts 2-14/6-10; Bears 8-8/8-7-1.

Fast fact: The Bears were 5-0 SU/ATS in Jay Cutler’s final five games last season.

Outlook: Andrew Luck is likely to become an elite QB, but it’s unlikely to happen Sunday. Bears are threats to score on all three phases in this one.

Pick: Bears 27, Colts 10.

PATRIOTS AT TITANS

Time: Noon.

Line: Patriots by 61/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Patriots 13-3/9-7; Titans 9-7/6-9-1.

Fast Fact: The last time the Patriots played the Titans, Tom Brady threw for 6 TDs in a 59-0 victory in 2009.

Outlook: The Pats have won their last 8 openers (4-3-1 ATS), but the Titans are an underrated team with an up-and-coming defense and a QB (Jake Locker) who earned his starting position.

Pick: Titans 23, Patriots 21.

STEELERS AT BRONCOS

Time: 7:20 p.m., Ch. 5.

Line: Broncos by 1. Total: 441/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Steelers 12-4/7-9; Broncos 8-8/7-8-1.

Fast Fact: Peyton Manning is 9-4 SU/7-5-1 ATS in Week 1, but 1-2/0-3 in his previous three openers.

Outlook: The last time Manning was coming off a layoff, he struggled early in the 2008 season after missing the preseason. With a new team against a good defense, he’ll be hard-pressed to be in midseason form.

Pick: Steelers 23, Broncos 13.

OTHER GAMES

EAGLES AT BROWNS

Time: Noon.

Line: Eagles by 9. Total: 411/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Eagles 8-8/8-8; Browns 4-12/8-6-2.

Outlook: Eagles are eager to atone for a disappointing 2011 season.

Pick: Eagles 24, Browns 16.

BILLS AT JETS

Time: Noon.

Line: Jets by 21/2. Total: 401/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Bills 6-10/6-9-1; Jets 8-8/6-9-1

Outlook: Teams taking new-school route to success: by grasping at straws, throwing money at unproven QBs and taking chances on injured players.

Pick: Jets 17, Bills 10.

REDSKINS AT SAINTS

Time: Noon.

Line: Saints by 7. Total: 491/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Skins 5-11/7-9; Saints 13-3/12-4.

Outlook: Saints will be running on emotion before their home crowd after a tough offseason.

Pick: Saints 31, Redskins 22.

JAGUARS AT VIKINGS

Time: Noon.

Line: Vikes by 41/2. Total: 391/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Jags 5-11/7-8-1; Vikings 3-13/6-8-2.

Outlook: The Vikes are unsettled on offense, but they can still rush the passer.

Pick: Vikings 27, Jaguars 17.

DOLPHINS AT TEXANS

Time: Noon.

Line: Texans by 12.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Dolphins 6-10/8-7-1; Texans 10-6/10-5-1.

Outlook: Looks like a mismatch with the Texans eager to take another step. Beware the backdoor cover.

Pick: Texans 24, Dolphins 14.

RAMS AT LIONS

Time: Noon.

Line: Lions by 7. Total: 451/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Rams 2-14/3-13; Lions 10-6/7-8-1.

Outlook: The Rams might be better than expected under Jeff Fisher. The rising Lions are a potential disappointment.

Pick: Lions 20, Rams 10.

FALCONS AT CHIEFS

Time: Noon.

Line: Falcons by 3. Total: 42.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Falcons 10-6/7-7-2; Chiefs 7-9/9-7.

Outlook: Falcons QB Matt Ryan had a big second half last season and faces a beat-up defense.

Pick: Falcons 23, Chiefs 16.

49ERS AT PACKERS

Time: 3:25 p.m.

Line: Packers by 41/2. Total: 45.

2011 records (overall/ATS): 49ers 13-3/11-4-1; Pack 15-1/11-5.

Outlook: The Packers are 4-0 SU/ATS in Week 1 with Aaron Rodgers at QB. But Jim Harbaugh is a cover machine, as well.

Pick: Packers 17, 49ers 14.

PANTHERS AT BUcS

Time: 3:25 p.m.

Line: Panthers by 1. Total: 461/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS): Pan-thers 6-10/9-6-1; Bucs 4-12/4-12.

Outlook: Panthers figure to take next step after encouraging rookie season for Cam Newton.

Pick: Panthers 31, Buccaneers 23.

BENGALS AT RAVENS

Time: 6 p.m. Monday, ESPN.

Line: Ravens by 6. Total: 41.

2011 records (overall/ATS):

Bengals 9-7/8-6-2; Ravens 12-4/8-7-1.

Outlook: Ravens’ aging defense will be without injured DT Terrell Suggs. But Bengals aren’t as good as they looked in 2011.

Pick: Ravens 24, Bengals 13.

CHARGERS AT RAIDERS

Time: 9:15 p.m. Monday, ESPN.

Line: Raiders by 1. Total: 461/2.

2011 records (overall/ATS):

Chargers 8-8/6-10; Raiders 8-8/9-6-1.

Outlook: Raiders out to avenge a Week 17 loss to the Chargers that kept them out of the playoffs.

Pick: Raiders 24, Chargers 21 (OT).



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.