This year's edition of "NFL Weekly Picks" ushers in a new era at MHR. It is now the era of the Reader and the Staffer. Each week, instead of the having the MHR staffers go head-to-head in picking each week's winners, we will be having one reader facing off against one staffer. This week our reader is that MHR member known as H-Bizzle. H-Bizzle writes:
Hi everyone! H-bizzle here, and I'll keep the intrigue going. ;) I had been a wall-fly here on MHR for a while before deciding to finally join a few years ago. This site is among my top resources for Broncos information, and I'm thankful to have met so many of you who talk the language of my favorite sport and team. Without further ado, here is week 1 of staffers vs. readers!
H-Bizzle will be competing with Kirk Davis. Kirk writes:
The driving force that keeps John Bena's vision boldly going where no Blog has gone before, the Kaptain landed on the Mile High Report during Mike Shanahan's last days. After a Recon mission, he found a spot to set up Camp and make a comfortable home. A few Earth years later, he was tapped to take the Con at MHR and he's been thrusting his way through deep space ever since. Because his favorite brew is the Orange Kool-Aid, there is no logic to his picks. Even though his best friend is a Vulcan.
And now, onto the picks
H-Bizzle: Being that this is a gimme, I will say that although I would have picked the Giants, a big part of me wanted to go with the Cowboys here. Their offense is potent with Murray in full health, their defense was bolstered by the addition of the rook Claiborne, and Tony Romo is starting what very well could be a make-it-or-break-it season.
Kirk: This was a "gimme" week, since the league started with a game on a Wednesday night. If it hadn't been, I would have said: The G-men are 6-4 at home against division rival Cowboys. The Giants are notoriously slow starters, but the Cowboys will beat Eli.
H-Bizzle: It's the young vs. the old in this one; Chicago's aging defense against Indy's shiny new toys in Luck and Fleener. This game comes down to Indy's inability to shut down Matt Forte and the Chicago running game, and Jay Cutler's new weapon in Brandon Marshall. While the Bears defense might be aging, they will have their centerpiece on the field in Brian Urlacher, and this is a relentless, hit-you-in-the-mouth defense that will wear down the young Colts.
Kirk: Indy is rebuilding and very young. Chicago is aging, but they can still get it done. Andrew Luck will be Sacked more than Jay Cutler on Sunday.
H-Bizzle: Speaking of new toys, Tom Brady has one in Brandon Lloyd. If the Pats could be the #2 passing attack in the league without a true #1 wideout, imagine what they can do with this new addition! Tennessee lost Cortland Finnegan, which will create a difficult matchup against the Patriots' multifaceted offensive approach. New England's defense also became stouter during the off season and will present problems for Jake Locker.
Kirk: Tommy and the Tight Ends will tromp the Titans. Look out Jake!
H-Bizzle: The Jets have looked absolutely terrible and out-of-sync so far this year, and I think the Bills defense with Mario Williams at the helm gives Sanchez a scary outing. Although the Jets defense is still looking fairly solid, I think Stevie Johnson can once again exploit Darrelle Revis, and CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson will be tough to stop.
Kirk: The odds say the Jets, but Kicker Nick Folk can't score enough to overcome a well rounded Buffalo team.
H-Bizzle: Drew Brees is a passing machine, and with Jimmy Graham back at full health, Mark Ingram running like a 1st round pick, and Darren Sproles as the x-factor, there are just too many weapons for the Redskins to handle. I'm excited to see how RGIII and crew do against the Saints' D, and with the loss of Sean Payton for the year, it might be a closer game than we think.
Kirk: The Saints haven't beaten the Redskins in the Superdome since 1992, but Bountygate has brought the Nawlin's boys closer together. Who Dat Gone show Dem Skins What Fer.
H-Bizzle: I think this will be a closer gam than most people think. Gabbert, IMO, looks better than Ponder, and has weapons in Blackmon, Robinson, and MJD. Speaking of MJD, he is going to be playing, and as the player with the most multipurpose yards in football last year, he will be a handful for Minnesota. However, I think the Viking's defense is the difference-maker in this game, and they will create enough possessions for Peterson, Harvin, Ponder, & co. to eek out a win.
Kirk: I don't like this one. This should have been a matchup between the two best Running Backs in the league, but an injury and a hold out will turn it into an afterthought. I think Minnesota wins by a Field Goal or less.
H-Bizzle: Besides the fact that I can never root for another AFC West team to win, I think Atlanta overpowers KC in a close one. The Falcons' run defense is very solid and although Charles looks like his old self, he and Hillis will struggle. I have as much faith in Cassel as I do in Kolb, and I think he will be the reason KC loses.
Kirk: The Falcons play well in the Dome, but the Chiefs are 3-0 against them at Arrowhead. I'm calling a Home team upset.
H-Bizzle: The Browns are in a rebuilding year, with a rookie QB and RB. I absolutely think that Weeden and Richardson have a lot to offer, and if they are able to get to a good start, they might have offensive chemistry come the middle of the season. Their defense is another story; against Vick, McCoy, and the high-powered Eagles offense, the Browns will fall.
Kirk: Philly will show the Browns more than a little brotherly love and Mike Vick will out rush #3 pick Trent Richardson.
H-Bizzle: I like Jeff Fisher and what he could bring to the Rams, but I think the Lions are jelling as a team, and St. Louis will be hard pressed to find an answer for Calvin Johnson. That will open up lanes for Kevin Smith, and the Rams' run defense is poor at best. If Bradford is able to avoid the pass rush, and if Steven Jackson is able to get through the stout front 7 of the Lions, they might be able to keep it close.
Kirk: The Matt Millen days are long gone. Matt Stafford and Megatron will outscore the feeble Rams, who aren't ready to compete yet.
H-Bizzle: Miami won't be able to stop Arian Foster. Not to mention, without Vontae Davis, Andre Johnson could have a monster day against Swiss-cheese pass defense. Not to mention, the quarterback controversy in Miami leaves very little confidence for scoring against a top-ranked Texans D.
Kirk: This one is going to be a romp. Ryan Tannehill's "Welcome to the NFL" moment.
H-Bizzle: This is my upset of the week. I have to go with Harbaugh and company here. I know the safe pick is probably Green Bay, but I think that Moss, Crabtree, Manningham, and Vernon Davis will give the Packers secondary some trouble. San Francisco's pass-rush is powerful. Green Bay didn't do much to improve its pass defense in the off season and I think that San Francisco will exploit this weakness.
Kirk: This should be the game of the week. They are both good teams, but the Packers have an 8-0 run going at home against the Niners. Going for nine in a row over the Niners. Yep, that's right.
H-Bizzle: The Cardinals are by far one of the worst teams in football right now. The Kevin Kolb story has drawn to a close and the Skelton era doesn't leave much hope for our desert brethren. Seattle has a scary defense, and Russell Wilson has looked outstanding in preseason. I don't think Arizona's lackluster defense will be able to slow down any aspect of Seattle's offense, and even if Fitz has a career day, it will not be enough to stop the Seahawks.
Kirk: Russell Wilson's debut is successful. Even in the desert.
H-Bizzle: One word: Superman. He's too good, and although Freeman, Martin, and VJax make a formidable offense, Tampa bay will not be able to contain Cam Newton. Last year the Bucs got blown out in both games against the Panthers, so they will be hot for win; I expect this one to be closer than people think, too!
Kirk: Cam Newton will be the difference in this one.
H-Bizzle: Cincinnati could really surprise some people this year, but I don't think it will be the Ravens in week 1. Flacco has shown flashes of excellence in the preseason and Torrey Smith has emerged as a weapon in the passing game. Not to mention Ray Rice is a force to be dealt with in both the running and passing games. I think Cincy will put up a decent number of points, but will not be able to deal with the Ravens' balance on both sides of the ball.
Kirk: Baltimore has prevailed in the last two meetings at home against division rival Cincinnati.
H-Bizzle: WINNER: No one. I kid, I kid - SD This will be a very close game, but the Raiders defense just does not scare most quarterbacks. San Diego's upgraded O-line should protect Rivers enough to open up Meacham and Floyd, and their new pass-rusher in Reyes and Ingram will wreak havoc on Carson Palmer. Speaking of Palmer, I think his speedy receivers will help keep the Raiders afloat throughout the season, but with Ford down and out, they might suffer. SD will have their hands full with Run DMC, but will pull out the victory in the end.
Kirk: They both can't lose despite my wishes and I'm a Raider Hater to the extreme. I see this as a purge year for Oakland. They have quite a lot to overcome just to get back on track. The good news for them is, they won't be evaluating players by their 40-Times exclusively anymore.
What Denver Must Do to Win
H-Bizzle: While Pittsburgh has weapons, I feel we have a match for all of them. Champ can shut down Mike Wallace, Tracy Porter will keep Antonio Brown in check, our D-line will be solid against Redman, and VonDoom will create nightmares for Big Ben. The few things that I think we have to do to win this game: Score early and eat up time. Pittsburgh's defense is aging and keeping them out on the field as long as possible is key. Keep their running game in check. If the Steelers can ground and pound, it leaves their speedy receivers in one-on-one coverage on the outside, and while I trust our corners in those situations, the Pit WRs are too fast and too good to take chances with. Minimize their pass-rush. The longer Peyton can sit in the pocket and disassemble the Steelers defense, the greater our chances of pulling out a W.
Kirk: To win this game, the Broncos will have to knock Ben Roethlisberger down repeatedly. It won't take Overtime to resolve this contest.
Good Luck to both of our Contestants.