Spicy Predictions for Week 1 Written by @Bo_McBigTime
We made it! The year 2020 has been all that and a gargle of orange juice and toothpaste, but NFL football is back! I won’t be cramming my XXL rear end into a schmedium plastic seat in a taxpayer-funded mega stadium, pounding $15 domestics. I’ll be settling into the spot on the couch with my personal indentation, with my lucky beer coozy and surround sound, shoveling charcuterie into my gullet.
I can’t watch a football game quietly. The prayers, curses, and over-analysis will be heard by everyone in the neighborhood. My dog will be curled up, shaking in the corner of the room under the end table. My daughter will be hissing at me (she identifies as a cat), and my wife will roll her eyes into the back of her skull and ask when her beloved 49ers are playing. She will watch that one with me.
It has become apparent that I have become more known for my spicy food than fantasy football, since anointing myself the Sauce Boss and launching HotBoxBatch.com. This season, I felt it fitting to parlay my culinary exploits into putting my analysis and predictions on paper. As Frank Costanza bellowed, “I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re gonna hear about it!”
Each week this season, I will put my mental instability on full display, wholeheartedly expecting a deluge of ridicule from the FF community. In actuality, I welcome the mean-spirited troll tweets from someone on Twitter who took offense to my truly PICANTE opinions (hence the name of the article). @ me if you must, I am here for banter and bourbon drinking.
Joe Burrow Will Have More Touchdowns Than Turnovers
I have been high on the young Tiger King since I watched him absolutely torch every defense he faced in 2019, including SEVEN Top 10 squads. Burrow faces the elite secondary and fervent pass rush of the Los Angeles Chargers, but I see him using his serviceable professional weaponry, with Joe Mixon, AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and even fellow rookie Tee Higgins to move the ball with efficiency and take it to the end zone. Joe Burrow is also an underrated scrambler, which will allow him to escape the pocket and make the dynamic plays reminiscent of his historic romp at LSU.
Boston Scott Will Be an RB1
Without a doubt, Miles Sanders is the lead dog in Philly. Coach Doug Pederson didn’t mince his words in praising the sophomore back out of Penn State. Sanders, however, has been nursing a sore hammy the last week or so. Although I expect him to lead a furious shredding of the sieve we call the Washington Football Team (with a giggle), Pederson is likely not inclined to overwork his lead back in a game that is likely to get out of hand early. Boston Scott showed flashes of playmaking ability at the end of 2019, when Sanders was also nicked up. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say Scott will have his normal role bumped up in the second half, possibly getting 100 scrimmage yards and sneaking into the end zone once or twice.
The Cardinals Will Beat the 49ers by More Than 10 Points
Here’s hoping my wife doesn’t read this until after the game! The Cardinals had their share of troubles last season in two losses to San Francisco. Their defense was historically bad all season against the tight end position and could not reign in George Kittle or any receivers for that matter. Here is the difference: both games were very high-scoring. Kyler Murray and Kenyan Drake ran all over the vaunted 49ers defense, whose lack of containment discipline with mobile quarterbacks was exposed all year. Subtract monster defensive end DeForest Buckner from the Niners defense, and add All-Pro Nuk Hopkins to a pass-heavy Cardinals attack, and there will be good reason to expect Arizona to score in the 30’s. San Francisco was also exposed later in the regular season and playoffs as an offense that could not always trust Jimmy Garropolo to make good decisions under pressure. His turnovers forced Kyle Shanahan to all but abandon the passing game in the NFC Championship and in the second half of the Super Bowl. This does not bode well if the 49ers fall behind early to a team with Chandler Jones coming off the edge and future Defensive Rookie of the Year, Isaiah Simmons covering Kittle. Simmons was the best defensive player on the field in 2019 for Clemson. He played at all three levels and is a physical freak. I predict Arizona will win by two touchdowns, capped by a pick six or strip sack, where Jimmy G panics under pressure and kills any chance of a comeback.
The Buccaneers Won’t Even Score 20 Points
Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all time. He makes all the right reads, all the right throws, and is cool under pressure. He is also going to take some time to acclimate to his new surroundings; new coaches, system, stadium, teammates, and a much tougher division. Gone are the days when he would play six games against pathetic teams from Miami, Buffalo, and New York. Now, his first game in pewter and red will be against a top tier New Orleans defense in a (quiet?) Superdome. The Saints are polished and more familiar with their surroundings than a Tampa Bay squad with a 43 year old in his first game with the team. I do expect this game to be under the total, with the Bucs settling for more field goals than they hoped for going in. They have enough talent to be a good team as the year goes along, but there will be growing pains in Old Tom’s hips.