The Linc reopens for business this week and that means it's time to get the picks rolling again. Get it right and enjoy untold riches (think: Jerry Jones with better taste in football teams). Blow it, and it's back to your prison cubicle for another seven days (think: well, you). Off we go…
Last week's squeaker against the Browns certainly gave plenty of people pause ahead of the Eagles' home opener against the Ravens, especially after what Baltimore did to the Bengals on Monday night. But if Philly is going to be a player in the NFC East and a playoff team come January, this is the type of game they'll need to win. And if coach Andy Reid is looking for a "nobody believes in us" motivational angle for Sunday, he should just print out this page and pass it around the locker room.
ESPN: Ron Jaworski, why have you forsaken us? Jaws, along with five of his co-workers, like the Ravens. Meanwhile, just three people -- Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Eric Allen -- think the Eagles will win. For what it's worth, both the ESPN picking robot and the fans like the Ravens. For what it's worth, part 2: last year, Baltimore smoked Pittsburgh in Week 1, everyone promptly crowned them the team to beat, and then the Ravens went to Tennessee and rolled over for the Titans. So, yeah, anything can happen.
CBSSports.com: Six of eight CBSSports.com experts like the Ravens straight up (and against the spread, incidentally -- Baltimore's somehow getting 2.5 points) but columnists Clark Judge and Pete Prisco are staying on the Eagles train. In fact, Prisco's going all-in: he has Philly winning 28-23.
"The Ravens looked great beating the Bengals," Prisco wrote earlier this week. "The Eagles looked awful in barely beating the Browns. So why do I like the Eagles? They're at home. They can get after Joe Flacco. And there is no way Mike Vick plays like he did against the Browns. This is where not having Terrell Suggs shows up. Eagles get it going."
Yahoo Sports: NFL insiders Jason Cole likes the Ravens, as do the Yahoo users.
Gabe, my 3-year-old yellow Lab: Last week, I labeled two paper plates "Eagles" and "Browns," placed two identically tasty dog treats on each plate, and let Gabe decide. He went with Cleveland. Chalking it up to luck, we repeated the exercise again this week. This time he went with the Eagles. Make of this what you will.
My 1-year-old son: Continuing to work from the theory, "If it's good enough for the dog, it's good enough for flesh and blood," I again labeled two plates "Ravens" and "Eagles." And I replaced the dog treats with Cheerios. The first time, my son knocked both plates on the floor, presumably to mock me. We tried it again and this time he went for the Eagles plate first. Worth noting: he liked the Eagles last week too.
Me: I couldn't have been more bullish on the Eagles last week and that blew up in my face. I've learned my lesson (I think) and I'm proceeding with caution until further notice. Which is a long way of saying: I like the Ravens to win 17-14.