Rick Weegman column: Plenty of contenders for NFL's top draft pick
Terrible teams are nothing new to the NFL.
Whether it was the 'Aints in 1980, the winless Lions in 2008 or the Browns last season, the league has had its share of awful clubs.
Even the Cowboys, Patriots and Colts were miserable before they grew into Super Bowl winners with the help of Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
Based on their Week 1 performances, there could be a bevy of franchises vying for the No. 1 draft pick next year and forcing their fans to don paper bags to games. Apparently some teams didn't get the memo that the preseason was over.
The Giants, Jets, Texans, Colts, Bengals and 49ers were among the downright awful teams, scoring a combined 34 points. Networks should be panicking that half those teams are involved in prime-time games this week.
One week isn't enough of a barometer to gauge historic ineptitude, though putrid quarterback play — Cincinnati's Andy Dalton had a 0.6 QBR — is a good indicator of where these teams are headed.
Similarly, one game is not a litmus test for the winners. But teams such as Minnesota have to be heartened to know their QBs performed at a professional level and gave their fans hope of playing in January.
Sam Bradford showed he's able to complete passes downfield in Monday night's 29-19 win over New Orleans (another disappointment), Dalvin Cook made fans forget about that running back on the Saints' sideline and the brand-spanking new offensive line disproved certain naysaying sportswriters' criticisms.
The Vikings' defense also did its job, holding the Saints to four field goals and a garbage touchdown.
Field goals are a sign of poor offensive execution and there were far too many red-zone breakdowns across the league in Week 1. Don't expect it to improve much in Week 2.
Speaking of breakdowns, Week 1 Pigskin Picks resembled a Bengals possession against the Ravens. If this were golf, I'd be taking a mulligan. If any Week 2 advice can be given, it's to avoid taking any of the truly awful teams because they are "under"whelming.
Minnesota (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0): Bradford was nearly perfect against Saints and the downfield passing game should open more lanes for Cook. Plus, Steelers will struggle with Kyle Rudolph in the red zone. Pittsburgh, however, has its own players who are difficult to defend in Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell and if Ben Roethlisberger is given time he will find them and others at key moments.
Line: Steelers by 6 1/2
Rick's pick: Steelers 27, Vikings 24
Green Bay (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0): Though Packers offense stumbled too often in opener, the maligned defense looked playoff ready unlike last season's NFC title game and regular-season game in Atlanta (44-21 and 33-32 Falcons wins, respectively). Was that just a slow start Falcons had vs. Bears or is it a Super Bowl hangover? Probably the former but expect Packers to earn revenge in another shootout.
Line: Falcons by 3
Rick's pick: Packers 34, Falcons 30
Houston (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1): Tom Savage could have been on the debut season of "Saturday Night Live" as he is a Not Ready For Prime Time Player and his performance was as comical as a John Belushi sketch. Deshaun Watson takes over but there's no title in his future. Dalton's performance (0 TDs, 4 interceptions) will improve, but this matchup won't be any better than the last two (12-10, 10-6 Texans victories).
Line: Bengals by 6 1/2
Rick's pick: Bengals 13, Texans 10
Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-0): Hurricane Irma delayed the Bucs' opener so now they must play 16 consecutive weeks. Jameis Winston shredded the Bears' defense a year ago in a 36-10 win. Chicago unveiled a revelation in Tarik Cohen last week and was a dropped pass from upsetting Atlanta. Still the Bears are in such disarray they should ask for FEMA aid while in Tampa.
Line: Bucs by 6 1/2
Rick's pick: Bucs 26, Bears 13
Arizona (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1): Each team is missing its top player as David Johnson and Andrew Luck are sidelined. Neither side has a capable replacement (hmmm, could Adrian Peterson be headed to the desert?). The Scott Tolzien Era lasted about as long as a solar eclipse and now the Colts are on to Jacoby Brissett. Uh-oh.
Line: Cardinals by 7
Rick's pick: Cardinals 27, Colts 10
Tennessee (0-1) at Jacksonville (1-0): The Titans forgot to stick with the running game in their defeat and now face a team that pulled off most surprising Week 1 result and has beaten Tennessee five of last six games on the Florida coast. Irma's storm surge couldn't prevent this game and now Jacksonville is surging. Jaguars 2-0? What in the name of Mark Brunell is going on here?
Line: Titans by 2 1/2
Rick's pick: Jaguars 19, Titans 16
Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0): Ravens have a chance to start 2-0 in the division and set themselves up as Steelers' main threat in AFC North. DeShone Kizer nearly led a huge upset in his debut at QB and gives Browns an athlete opposing defenses need to revolve their game plan around. Ravens are 8-1 at home vs. Browns and 9-1 ATS vs. division while Browns are 1-10-1 vs. spread in division games.
Line: Ravens by 7 1/2
Rick's pick: Ravens 23, Browns 13
New England (0-1) at New Orleans (0-1): Last time Pats were humbled by Chiefs, it was "on to Cincinnati" and, eventually, a Super Bowl title. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have had ample time to digest opening-night rout and will be ready. Something is missing from Saints attack that Drew Brees can't overcome by himself and the defense isn't going to help out.
Line: Patriots by 6 1/2
Rick's pick: Patriots 30, Saints 20
Buffalo (1-0) at Carolina (1-0): Bills won last week but might find themselves lumped in with the dreadful teams soon enough. Their best hope is controlling the clock with LeSean McCoy. Panthers crushed 49ers but that doesn't make them Super Bowl contenders. They do, however, have enough weapons to win fourth straight home opener.
Line: Panthers by 7
Rick's pick: Panthers 27, Bills 16
Philadelphia (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0): Andy Reid faces his old team for a second time and the result will be the same as the first time. Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt provide matchup nightmares and steady Alex Smith doesn't make mistakes. Carson Wentz should be able to keep Eagles in the game until the end.
Line: Chiefs by 4 1/2
Rick's pick: Chiefs 31, Eagles 23
N.Y. Jets (0-1) at Oakland (1-0): Despite losing by only nine points, Jets were nearly outgained by 2-to-1 margin by Bills. Jets' lack of a running game puts too much pressure on journeyman QB Josh McCown. Raiders impressed by winning in Nashville and will have little problem winning one of the franchise's final Bay Area home openers.
Line: Raiders by 14
Rick's pick: Raiders 31, Jets 13
Miami (0-0) at L.A. Chargers (0-1): The only good thing Hurricane Irma brought was the postponement of Jay Cutler's Dolphins debut. Now the former Bears QB starts in his first game since ending his retirement at behest of Miami coach Adam Gase. This also marks the Chargers' return to LA, which they left in 1961, but will anyone notice? Philip Rivers wills team to a W.
Line: Chargers by 4 1/2
Rick's pick: Chargers 24, Dolphins 17
Washington (0-1) at L.A. Rams (1-0): Are the Rams for real? They have lots of young talent (Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, etc.) and a young, energetic coach. Are the Redskins really that bad? They overpaid Kirk Cousins and didn't add the type of young guns LA did. While the NFL has a way of evening out mid-level teams such as these, Rams get a shaky call here.
Line: Rams by 2 1/2
Rick's pick: Rams 30, Redskins 24
San Francisco (0-1) at Seattle (0-1): 49ers go through coaches like Liz Taylor went through husbands and Kyle Shanahan needs more results than he achieved in 23-3 loss to Carolina to stick around long. Running Carlos Hyde more often might not help against this defense. Seahawks will be fine despite poor showing in Green Bay, and win a seventh straight matchup.
Line: Seahawks by 13 1/2
Rick's pick: Seahawks 26, 49ers 7 (best bet)
Dallas (1-0) at Denver (1-0): For Cowboys haters (present company included), it's getting tougher and tougher to pick against them. With Ezekiel Elliott still in the lineup, opposing defenses have their hands full. Broncos looked shaky hanging on against Chargers and, despite having a true home-field advantage, don't have as many offensive weapons to stay with Dallas.
Line: Cowboys by 1 1/2
Rick's pick: Cowboys 23, Broncos 17
Detroit (1-0) at N.Y. Giants (0-1): Oddsmakers obviously didn't watch Giants' Sunday night debacle as they installed them as favorites in Monday nighter. There were no positives coming out of a 19-3 loss to Dallas. Lions won with another fourth-quarter comeback last week but eventually will need a running game to complement Matt Stafford's arm.
Line: Giants by 4
Rick's pick: Lions 20, Giants 17
Last week's record — straight up: 8-7; against the spread: 6-8-1; best bets: 0-1.