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Pats Pulpit Week 1 Dueling NFL Picks: Greg vs. Alec

You might recall, that before the start of training camp, Alec and I went head-to-head in a "Patriots flag football" competition. You neanderthals fine ladies and gentlemen named him the winner. Well, I think it's about time to extract my revenge. And this time, it will be by making picks to actual football games that count. Throughout the course of the 2012 season, Alec and I will be going head-to-head in a weekly NFL picks competition. Normally, we'd run the picks on Thursdays, but due to the strange start time to the schedule (Giants-Cowboys) on Wednesday, we're kicking things off this saturday evening.

And oh yeah, I'm off to a 1-0 start. I picked the Cowboys to beat the Giants 24-20, while Alec picked the Cowboys to fall to the Giants 24-17. Right score, wrong teams. Sorry bro.

That being said, lets get to the rest of our week one picks. Read them after the jump!

New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans

Alec: This game won't be nearly as one-sided as a lot of people think, but ultimately Bill Belichick's defensive schemes will confuse Jake Locker and Tom Brady will get the offense rolling as the Pats start the season 1-0. Winner: Patriots, 31-20

Greg: Yeah, I'm a homer, but I do think the Patriots will win this game. They're definitely improved defensively since 2011, and while the Titans are a good team, I think the Patriots have enough fire power to win this game by two scores. Winner: Patriots, 31-17

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears

Alec: Andrew Luck will impress, but he won't win. Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte will roll against a suspect Colt's defense, and Luck won't be able to catch up. Winner: Bears, 24-16

Greg: I think Andrew Luck is going to come out and have a good game, but the Bears are at home, and look improved heading into 2012. It will be closer than most think, but the Bears will ultimately come out on top. Winner: Bears, 27-20

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns

Alec: Upset of the week! Philly once again comes out of the box slowly and Brandon Weeden finds a way to squeak one past the Eagles. Mass panic ensues in Cleveland as citizens city-wide are all rushed to the hospital with massive facial cramps after genuinely smiling for the first time in three years. Winner: Browns, 21-17

Greg: This looks like one of the more lopsided match-ups of week one. Eagles should be able to take care of business against the low-rated Browns, but there's a reason they play the games, and Philadelphia didn't exactly take care of business when they should have in 2011. Winner: Eagles, 34-10

Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs

Alec: Kansas City is a team on the rise, but they don't start this season off on the right foot. A rusty Jamaal Charles and rusty Dwayne Bowe have trouble finding their rhythm as the Matt Ryan led offense wins with a nice balance of run and pass. Winner: Falcons, 28-10

Greg: The Chiefs are one of the league's best at home, and look to build off a strong finish to the 2011 season. The Falcons are going to be good this year, but I could envision Kansas City pulling off the upset. Winner: Chiefs, 24-23

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Alec: Two of the most hyped up teams this offseason meet in what will be a fairly unspectacular game. Both offenses struggle, but ultimately Mark Sanchez finds a way to eke out the W. Winner: Jets, 14-10

Greg: I'm still not sold on the Bills' offense, and while the Jets obviously aren't going to tear it up, they still have a pretty darn good defense. They're at home, and I think they squeak out a win on Sunday. The Bills are improved, no doubt, but I didn't even mention that Chan Gailey is still the coach of the Bills. Yeah, Rex Ryan's Jets are still better, even if the Bills have more talent on paper. Winner: Jets, 16-13

St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions

Alec: Remember when the Rams were dominant and the Lions were a joke? Well not anymore. Maybe Jeff Fisher will be able to work his magic, but not against Ndamakong Suh and this fierce Lions D. Winner: Lions, 30-13

Greg: I think the Rams will improve in 2012 under Jeff Fisher, but I also think the Lions will be a playoff contender yet again, despite many expecting them to return to mediocrity. Winner: Lions, 27-17

Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints

Alec: There's no way New Orleans loses this one. Season opener, at home, coming off a highly tumultuous offseason. The already crazy Saints fans will be borderline certifiable, and the Saints will come out of the gate looking to make a statement. Winner: Saints, 42-21

Greg: I think the Redskins are going to be one of the NFL's more improved teams in 2012. That being said, the Saints have the "world against them" mentality, and there's going to be too much emotion involved for them to lose this game. Winner: Saints, 31-20

Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans

Alec: Welcome to the NFL, Ryan Tannehill. Best of luck throwing to...whoever the Dolphins have on offense...against the Texans defense. Winner: Texans, 28-7

Greg: As the recent trade of cornerback Vontae Davis is the lastest sign the Dolphins are entering rebuild mode, the Texans look to compete for their franchise's first Super Bowl. They're at home, and expectations are high: I think they'll take this one relatively easily. Winner: Texans, 30-9

Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings

Alec: Leslie Frasier isn't likely to work Adrian Peterson too hard in this one, just as Maurice Jones-Drew will likely see a limited role. That brings it down to the battle of the quarterbacks, and I have yet to see Blaine Gabbert do anything that impresses me. Winner: Vikings, 24-14

Greg: Neither of these teams are expected to compete for a playoff appearance in 2012, but the Vikings are at home, and if it came down to a battle of quarterbacks, I like Christian Ponder a little more than Blaine Gabbert. Winner: Vikings, 20-16

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Alec: Cam Newton isn't going to suffer from a sophomore slump - but he isn't going to start the season as hot as people are expecting. Josh Freeman, on the other hand, is going to find Vincent Jackson plenty in this one. Winner: Buccaneers, 35-20

Greg: The Buccaneers are hoping that Greg Schiano can beat the odds, and make the successful transition from college to pros as a coach. I like what he's done so far, and I like the big-name talent the Bucs brought in this offseason. It's just that I think the Panthers are a little bit better. Winner: Panthers, 31-24

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Alec: Marshawn Lynch is day-to-day, but Seattle should take this one whether he plays or not. Russell Wilson seems fairly legit, and the Seahawks are my sleeper team of the season; they should get off to a good start. Winner: Seahawks, 20-7

Greg: The Seahawks could have a chance to legitimately compete with the 49ers in the NFC West this year. The Cardinals on the other hand, don't seem as strong to me. Winner: Seahawks, 24-13

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers

Alec: Every year, there seems to be a Conference Championship preview early on in the season. This game could really go either way, and questions abound regarding how much the Packers defense has improved, and how much the 49ers offense has improved. And since we won't know the answers for a few weeks, it's always the safe play to go with the home team. Winner: Packers, 21-20

Greg: Should I just flip a coin on this one? What a match-up, especially for week one. I really think that the Packers and 49ers are the best two teams in the NFC this year, and for Sunday's game, I'm giving the Packers the slight edge in this one. They're at home, and this early in the year, good offense usually triumphs over good defense. Winner: Packers, 30-24

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos

Alec: This is the Week 1 matchup I'm looking forward to most; storylines out the wazoo. While I ultimately think that Peyton Manning will have a fairly solid season, he hasn't had his clock cleaned in a very long time, and the Steelers are going to bring it. Winner: Steelers, 34-28

Greg: A playoff rematch from last year's wildcard round. Except, there's one major difference: Peyton Manning has taken over as quarterback as the Broncos. I think Peyton makes them a much better team, but I think the Steelers remain the better overall team. Winner: Steelers, 24-23

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Alec: Was last season indicative of a Bengals turnaround, or was it an aberration? Is this the year that age finally catches up to the Ravens' defense? This is another game that could really go either way; I'm tempted to go with Baltimore here, but I just can't bet against Benjarvus Green-Ellis. Winner: Bengals, 14-10

Greg: The Bengals surprised many with a run to the playoffs in 2011, but can they do it again in 2012? Week one will represent one hell of a test, as they'll face the vaunted Baltimore Ravens - a team many have picked to represent the AFC in this year's Super Bowl. I like the Bengals, but opening the season on the road against this Ravens bunch probably won't end well. Winner: Ravens, 20-13

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Alec: An unexpected offensive shootout comes down to the wire, with whoever has the ball last pulling out the win. San Diego has traditionally started off slow, but this year they buck the trend. Winner: Chargers, 38-35

Greg: Why is it that every single year, I find myself to believe that the Chargers will finally turn it around - take the talent they have on paper, and display it on my field? I'm probably being naive, but I think Philip Rivers will turn the ship back around in 2012. Watch out for the Chargers if they do. Winner: Chargers, 34-21