Josh Katzowitz Week 1 NFL Picks

Josh Katzowitz
7 Sep, 2017

Whenever anybody asked me about picking the winners of NFL games, I used to tell them not to bother listening to my answers. Yes, I covered the NFL for five seasons for, but I was only a mediocre prognosticator. I was the best Straight-Up picker on the CBS team for one season, but other than that anomaly, I was usually in the middle of the pack.

But since leaving CBS, I’ve been on a roll. I finished first among 134 experts on the 2015 NFL Pickwatch chart. I got lucky. In 2016, I essentially finished in a tie for first place. I, once again, was fortunate.

Here’s my theory on what happened. I wasn’t covering the NFL on a daily basis, and therefore, I simply didn’t know quite as much. Somehow, I became a better NFL picker, most likely because I wasn’t being overly analytical. I didn’t think about it too hard. I just looked at the schedule, saw the games, and picked.

If that’s the formula for the success, then, let’s get to the 2017 games. Because I’m still not obsessing about the NFL daily, and yet, I’m still picking winners. You ask me about picking games today, and I’ll probably still tell you not to bother taking my advice. But also keep in mind: The people who did listen to me the last two years have been pleased with their decisions. Well, most of them, anyway.

As usual, check out Pickwatch’s John Halpin’s full slate of picks. Now, here are a few of mine.

1)Bet your life savings on this game*

Falcons at Bears

When the winner of your quarterback competition is Mike Glennon, you know your season is screwed. That’s what the Bears are dealing with after Glennon played well enough to put 2017 first-round pick draft Mitch Trubisky on the bench for now. Glennon hasn’t started a game since 2014—and when he does start, he’s not very good—and even worse, the team doesn’t have much receiver help. The Falcons, meanwhile, were well on their way to winning the Super Bowl before … well, you know what happened in the final 17 minutes of regulation. The Falcons are talented enough to be Super Bowl contenders once again, and they’re certainly talented enough to beat one of the worst teams in the NFC. John Halpin somehow disagrees).

Straight up: Falcons

Against the Spread: Falcons -7

2)This game scares the hell out of me

Raiders at Titans

For some reason that I haven’t quite determined, I’ve seen plenty of NFL experts pick the Titans to win what should be a soft AFC South division. Some even think they can make a decent playoff run. Is it because of quarterback Marcus Mariotta? Is it because of Dick LeBeau’s defense? Or is it because the rest of the division sucks so badly? (Personally, I’d probably go with door No. 3). The Raiders, meanwhile, are difficult not to like, especially with Derek Carr playing like the best young quarterback in the league and Khalil Mack as one of the top young defenders. But the Raiders traveling across the country to open the season? Eh, I don’t like that much either. This was the hardest game on the slate for me to pick, and I’ve flipped my winner a couple of different times. In the end, this is what I chose …

Straight up: Raiders

Against the Spread: Raiders +2

3) Fun game of the week

Giants at Cowboys

If you have a hankering to watch Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott before mid-October, this might be your only opportunity. His six-game suspension has been upheld, but it won’t begin until after Week 1. We think. So, expect Elliott and football’s best offensive line to be energized on this day. The Giants can match Dallas on offense—if they have a healthy Odell Beckham, which we’re not sure about. The two teams played twice last year and were separated by only four points. New York won both of those contests, and now, the Giants are on a three-game winning streak vs. Dallas. That, however, will end Sunday in what should be an exciting game to watch.

Straight up: Cowboys

Against the Spread: Giants +4

S/U ** **ATS

NE over KC NE -9

BUF over NYJ BUF -9.5

ATL over CHI ATL -7

CIN over BAL CIN -3

PIT over CLE PIT -9

ARI over DET ARI -2

HOU over JAC JAC +5

OAK over TEN OAK +1.5

WAS over PHI WAS +1

LAR over IND LAR -4

GB over SEA GB -3

SF over CAR SF +5.5

DAL over NYG NYG +4

MIN over NO MIN -3.5

DEN over LAC DEN -3.5

*Don’t really bet your life savings. Please.