Last season was strange. My picks were all right, but my Lock of the Week was an embarrassment not only to me, but to mankind.
I pick the winner of every game played in the NFL. My column runs Sunday; I pick the Thursday game on Twitter and, if I remember, in a blog. The game Im most certain about I designate my Lock of the Week. My Lock was so consistently abysmal most of last season that I asked my greyhound to pick it. Or maybe he asked me.
But then, as the weather turned cold, I got hot. I could not miss at the end of the season and into the playoffs until the Super Bowl.
Alas, in prognostication, as in football, momentum ends when the season does.
Seattle 27, CAROLINA 24
Wont be a shock if the home team pulls off the upset. The Seahawks are missing players because of injury and suspension. But they are loaded and poised and Im not picking against them.
Bonus pick: Before the players leave the field at least 10 Panthers fans will declare that Carolina must win its next game, which will make it the first must-win game on Sept. 15 since the NFL went to a 16 game schedule.
CHICAGO 23, Cincinnati 21
Chicago coach Marc Trestman, despite his work as offensive coordinator at N.C. State, is a superior offensive mind.
New England 30, Buffalo 20
The Patriots ought to be elite, again.
PITTSBURGH 20, Tennessee 17
The Steelers ought to be average, again.
Tampa Bay 16, NEW YORK JETS 6
The Jets are the only team whose news conferences are more interesting than their games.
Kansas City 26, JACKSONVILLE 23
Welcome back, Andy Reid.
CLEVELAND 31, Miami 28
Is Rob Chudzinski, a clever offensive coordinator the last two seasons for Carolina, a head coach? I have no idea.
DETROIT 30, Minnesota 21
The Lions always have talent, and their record rarely reflects it. Maybe this season.
INDIANAPOLIS 31, Oakland 23
Andrew Lucks playmaking last season overcame his teams structural flaws. It will be enough to overcome Oakland.
SAN FRANCISCO 33, Green Bay 27
Green Bays Aaron Rodgers is as good as there is. But hes outnumbered.
DALLAS 29, New York Giants 27
Without Dave Gettleman will the Giants be a rudderless hollow shell of their former selves? I dont know. Heres what I know: Theyll be the best team in New Jersey.
WASHINGTON 31, Philadelphia 28
Welcome to the NFL Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly. If Kellys perpetual fast break offense takes off, a quarter of the league will steal it next season.
Houston 20, SAN DIEGO 17
Theres little talk about the Texans. But they did win 13 games in 2012, the last of them in the playoffs. I like them.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Atlanta (+3) 33, NEW ORLEANS 31
The Saints get their coach back. Is that all it takes? The Saints drafted well and upgraded their defense from deplorable to decent. The city will be crazy, or crazier. It wont be enough.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
ST. LOUIS (+41/2) 29, Arizona 21
Be there for me, Rams, and the next time Im in St. Louis Ill perform a selfless and seemingly random act of kindness. Im not lying. It will be really selfless, too.
Sorensen: 704-358-5129; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @TomSorensen
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