By: Dan Leach
@dtmleach

Season’s greetings to one and all! It seems like it took forever, but the 2014 NFL campaign is finally here and not a second too soon. As the NFL season heats up, so do my NFL picks, which will be here for you each and every week to help you win your pick-em-pool, embarrass your friends, and just become a more whole football fan and human being. I will take a look at five games each week with the best value and rate them on a sliding lock of the week 1-10 scale.

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A little musical treat to whet your football whistle…

Cincinnati Bengals At Baltimore Ravens; 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS 62 (Ravens -1)

This game is basically a pick-em for a reason. You just don’t really know what you will get from both these teams to start the year. The Ravens are a shade of what they were two years ago when they won it all, especially defensively, but still have a high talent level in key areas. The Bengals seem to hang around every year, but because of too much Skyline Chili or Marvin Lewis as their coach, always implode when everything is on the line. Look for Cincy to start 2014 off on the right foot though and show why their high powered offense along with an aggressive D is going to be a tough out all year.

5.5 on the lock of the week meter – Bengals +1

New England Patriots At Miami Dolphins 1 p.m. EST Sunday, CBS 62 (Pats -5)

This is one of the juiciest games of the Week 1 slate because there are just so many intangibles on both sides. The Pats looked primed to have one of the best offenses in the NFL yet again, but their D is still a huge question mark. The Fins have put together a sneaky talented team for coach Joe “Regis” Philbin, led by QB Ryan Tannehill, but he needs to make a statement this season. Miami is going to be tough defensively and if they can limit the turnovers on offense and utilize weapons like Mike Wallace and Charles “Mold The Clay” Clay the right way, this team could hang in games with pretty much anybody. They might even pull the outright upset against the mighty Patriots, but regardless look for them to be in this game all the way.

6.5 on the lock of the week meter – Dolphins +5

New Orleans Saints At Atlanta Falcons 1 p.m. EST Sunday TV FOX (Saints -3)

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The 2014 season could not have gone much worse for the Falcons as they came in with lofty expectations and crash faster than Lindsay Lohan post ‘Parent trap’. ATL will be improved this year, but the big question is just how much? New Orleans biggest question is can they play better enough on the road than they did last season to get back to being a legitimate SB contender? The easy answer is YES and the Saints offense should be off the charts. Look for NOLA to start the year off with a bang, winning going away against the Dirty Birds.

7.1 on the lock of the week meter Saints -3

Indianapolis Colts At Denver Broncos 8:30 p.m. EST Sunday Night TV NBC (Broncos -8)

Could you really ask more to complete your opening week Sunday NFL treat than the nightcap pitting two of the AFC favorites. Denver seemed destined to win it all last year until they basically played the worst Super Bowl… EVER, against the Seahawks. Indy has all the tools to make a serious run at a Lombardi Trophy this season and QB Andrew Luck is truly on the edge of becoming Elite. This will be one of those back and forth games that even the mildest of football fans will salivate over. Luck will keep his boys in it until the end as the Denver D will not be at the level it was last year, at least at the start of the season. Don’t be surprised if the Colts win this one outright and send a shot across the bow to the entire NFL that they are a true SB contender this time around.

7.4 on the lock of the week meter COLTS +8

New York Giants At Detroit Lions 7 PM EST Monday Night TV ESPN (LIONS -5.5)

Heck of a way for a team that desperately wants to get back to their playoff level of 2011, in front of the entire country on the first edition of Monday Night Football in 2014. The first time the Lions have ever been in that spot. Ford Field will be insane and the Lions will get to show off their shiny new offense to the NFL World, an offense that could be top three in the league this season. The G-Men had an awful preseason and seem to really not have much of a clue who they are. Look for the Lions to pounce, pun intended, on NY all night long and this game could turn into a laugher in the first half unless Eli Manning became an actual magician during the off season.

8 on the lock of the week meter Lions -5.5

ODDS TIDBIT-Lions 42-1 to win the Super Bowl Over/Under 8.5 Wins Calvin Johnson favorite to lead the NFL in receiving yards ($100 wins $300) Lions +$175 to make the playoffs and -$215 to miss the postseason. Odds makers computer programs have the Lions as the consensus first team to miss the playoffs in the NFC along with Arizona and Atlanta.

 

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DTM’s 2013 Record: 43-26