The Super Bowl: A St. Louis Natives Perspective

Despite the controversy of calls and rules and insanity of the NFC and AFC Championship games, the fact is that we are two weeks away from one of the biggest events in sports.  The Super Bowl is upon us! That would usually excite me, but this year I have a tough decision to make.  As native St. Louisan I have to deal with two teams that have plagued my football life.  Which way should I go? 

First of all, I love football. I grew up watching the greatest show on turf, Faulk, Warner, Holt, Proehl, Hakim and of course the great Isaac Bruce were a show that could capture the attention of the young fans as well as the older fans.  They were a look into the future of the industry, icons to any kid from St. Louis that owned a football. They were stolen from me by a corrupt system that saw my city dragged through the mud so that an owner could move a team to a place that already features about 100 professional teams.  A lot of today’s Rams roster doesn’t understand my heartache over a lost franchise.  They are LA Rams, they have taken on the persona of their young coach and ran with it.  Cocky, arrogant, flashy and talented.  They really do remind of the team that caught my attention so many years ago. But I am bitter, and I am sad that as much as I want to hold on to that memory and tell myself this is my team, they are not.  They are the Los Angeles Rams.  While I can support the success of the players I feel that by supporting this team I would be supporting the corruption that is the NFL.

Now the Patriots.  Most of St. Louis’s hatred before the Rams moved was squarely on the shoulders of the New England Patriots.  The infamous taping of the run through in Super Bowl 36 has tainted a resume that should be historically great.  Even worse it was against my beloved (at the time) St. Louis Rams.  They were blatantly cheating, and no one seemed to really care.  The NFL seemed more worried about deflated footballs then they did the image of a team clearly doing something illegal.  The Patriots have established themselves as the Yankees of football, a cult following that is loved by primarily just their fanbase. Mutually hated by everyone. 

My hate for both of these teams is equally mutual. When Super Bowl Sunday does come, I will be forced to pick a team because what is the point of watching a game if there is no really rooting interest.  After much debate internally, I have decided that the greatness of Tom Brady will overshadow my view of the organization.  I will cheer for him and him alone to succeed over a team that on paper should have the advantage at almost every position other than Quarterback.  The Rams have become an organization that makes me sick to my stomach.  Rooting for them is rooting for Stan Kroenke, no matter what your allegiance is. 

Weekly Picks- NFL, NCAAF

Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 at Cleveland Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a major problem but the Browns are not that problem.  Despite the absence of LeVeon Bell the Pittsburgh Steelers should be in a great place to cover on Sunday.  The lose of bell has moved the line to 3.5.  The Browns are improved with Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and a healthy Josh Gordon should allow them to put points on the board but the Steelers still have a dominate offense that will be able to pull this one out by a touchdown.  I think the Browns will win at least 6-7 games this season and surprise a lot of teams, but the Steelers offense feels like they have something to prove on Sunday and the Cleveland defense will not be ready for James Conner and Big Ben.

The Steelers are 13-4 ATS vs Cleveland over their last 17 games.  Cleveland has not one a season opener since 2004.

PicksSteelers -3.5 (Like the over at 44)

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts -2.5

The return of Andrew Luck makes the Bengals and Colts makes this a much more interesting matchup then it would have been in 2017.  The Colts sitting at a 2.5 point favorite stills surprised us.  The Bengals may not be world beaters but they have veterans all through the offense and a defensive front that features studs Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson.

Luck hasn’t played in a year and that Colts line hasn’t gotten much better.  I can’t buy that Luck is ready to step in right away and look like the Pro Bowl player that he was right away.  Look for Luck to make some plays that reminds us of his greatness but he will have some first game jitters.

Picks Bengals -2.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints -9.5

In two games against the Buccaneers last season, the Saints averaged 30.5 points per game, Drew Brees averaged 254 pass yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, the running back corps averaged 121.5 rushing yards, and receivers caught 44 passes for 505 yards with three touchdowns. The Buccaneers have not made big improvements on the defensive end.  Why would they be able to stop the Saints in 2018??

Jameis Winston will be serving the first game of his 3 game suspension which means veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will step in to try take down the great Drew Brees.  9.5 is a lot of points for the first game of the year, but when you have a veteran like Brees and dynamic players like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas the Saints should control the the game on offense and the ball hawking defense should cause plenty of turnovers i

PicksSaints -9.5

Air Force at Florida Atlantic University -9

FAU was embarrassed in their opener versus Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners in week one.  Air Force is not Oklahoma.  It’s time for people to jump back on the Lane Train in week 2.

Florida Atlantic will come out throwing the ball early, jumping ahead and not looking back.  Air Force dominated a Stoney Brook but Stoney Brook is does not have the talent level of Florida Atlantic.  Being at home and most likely going to be very motivated I like Florida Atlantic to turn the table and blow out Air Force.

PicksFlorida Atlantic -9

Arkansas -14 at Colorado State

The Colorado State defense stinks.  Giving up 45 and 43 to Hawaii and Colorado.  They now are staring at an incoming SEC team in Arkansas.  Arkansas threw for 343 yards in game one against Eastern Illinois.  Colorado State has given up a 373 yards per game in the first two games of the season.

Arkansas will score and they will score and they will score.  That was not a typo.  I see Arkansas putting up a lot of points and silencing any potential home field advantage.  I would take Arkansas by 21 if it went that high.

PicksArkansas -14

James “Why Not” Pick of the Week

PicksHouston Texans +6.5

The Patriots gave up a lot of yards in 2017.  The Texans will have back their second year QB Deshaun Watson who was putting up MVP like numbers before his injury.  Watson is good and his receivers are good.  The Patriots historically have come out of the gates sluggish until Belicheck figures everything out.  Look for a high scoring game where the better defense makes a big play.  Houston has the better defense.  Houston may not only cover but I could see them knocking of the AFC Champs.