Predicting National Football League game winners isn’t hard. With only two teams to choose from, one has a 50 percent chance of being correct. Deciding how to predict a winner presents a challenge.
Sports analysts and writers make weekly NFL predictions throughout the season based on player statistics, injuries and how teams compare and contrast with each other.
That doesn’t have to be the only way to predict games.
During the 2012 NFL season, this blog will offer a weekly picks column using random logic and facts from a specific theme. Additionally, Chuck Pollock of The Olean Times Herald will share his picks using traditional prognostication. Each post will update our prediction records for readers to see which method works best.
The Week 1 theme is beginnings, firsts and starts.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants-Sept. 5-8:30 p.m.-NBC
The Giants will play the Cowboys in a home season opener for the first time since 1995. They lost that game 35-0 as Emmitt Smith ran for 163 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately for Dallas, Smith retired in 2004.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New York
Pollock’s Pick: Dallas
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-CBS
The Bills are the only one of the three “New York” NFL teams that plays home games in the state. The Giants and Jets share a home field, MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets began playing in the Garden State in 1984, where they have a 3-6 Week 1 home record.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Buffalo
Pollock’s Pick: Buffalo
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-CBS
New Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey lost his debut as Bills coach to Jacksonville in 2004. It’s likely he’ll lose this game too. In the last five seasons, teams with new head coaches went 17-30 in Week 1.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Minnesota
Pollock’s Pick: Minnesota
Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-CBS
The 3M Company, based in Maplewood, Minn., first sold Scotch tape in 1930. Unlike the Vikings, Bears fans can enjoy this Minnesota product. The Bears are 45-34-3 in Week 1 since the invention of Scotch tape.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Chicago
Pollock’s Pick: Chicago
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-FOX
Soldier Field, the Bears’ home stadium, opened in 1924, the year Washington, D.C. native J. Edgar Hoover became the Director of the Bureau of Investigation. In 1935, he became the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Redskins were 15-16-3 in Week 1 while Hoover led the FBI until his death in 1972. Since then, Washington is 22-18 in Week 1.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Washington
Pollock’s Pick: New Orleans
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-FOX
President Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit China in 1972. Detroit fans wish he stayed there for the rest of his presidency. The Lions were 2-3 in Week 1 during the Nixon administration. The Rams were 4-1.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: St. Louis
Pollock’s Pick: Detroit
New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-CBS
Nixon became the first president to resign in 1974. That year, the book publishing company Doubleday released the first Stephen King novel, Carrie. Playing New England this week should be as scary as a King horror story for the Titans. Since 1974, the Patriots are 22-12 against American Football Conference teams in Week 1.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New England
Pollock’s Pick: New England
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-FOX
Sissy Spacek earned her first Academy Award nomination for her performance in the 1976 film adaption of Carrie. The Eagles are 3-3 in Week 1 in years Spacek has received an Oscar nomination, while Cleveland is 1-5. Fortunately for the Browns, she hasn’t been nominated since 2002.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Cleveland
Pollock’s Pick: Philadelphia
Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-FOX
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak formed Apple Computer, Inc. in 1976. Falcons fans should use PCs until this game ends. Atlanta is 19-17 in Week 1 since 1976. Kansas City is 20-16.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Kansas City
Pollock’s Pick: Atlanta
Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans-Sept. 9-1 p.m.-CBS
Apple released the first iPod on Nov. 10, 2001. Miami players should listen to music with a Zune or Walkman while preparing for this game. The Dolphins are 3-7 in Week 1 since the first iPod came out. The Texans are 5-5.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Houston
Pollock’s Pick: Houston
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals-Sept. 9-4:25 p.m.-FOX
The Texans play home games at Reliant Stadium, a retractable roof facility. Arizona’s home field, University of Phoenix Stadium, also has a retractable roof. The Seahawks shouldn’t show up on Sunday. The Cardinals are 2-1 at the stadium in Week 1 since its 2006 opening.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Arizona
Pollock’s Pick: Arizona
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Sept. 9-4:25 p.m.-FOX
The National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes won their first Stanley Cup in 2006. Hockey’s presence has blown away consistent football success in Carolina. The Panthers are 111-127 since the Hurricanes relocated from Hartford, Conn. in 1997. The Buccaneers are 127-124.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Tampa Bay
Pollock’s Pick: Tampa Bay
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers-Sept. 9-4:25 p.m.-FOX
Madeleine Albright became the first female United States Secretary of State in 1997. With Hillary Clinton currently holding the post, Packers fans should feel confident this week. When a woman leads the State Department, the 49ers are 5-6 in Week 1, while Green Bay is 8-3.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Green Bay
Pollock’s Pick: Green Bay
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos-Sept. 9-8:20 p.m. NBC
Albright’s successor, Colin Powell, the first African American United States Secretary of State, served from 2001-05. The Steelers went 2-2 in Week 1 and the Broncos were 4-0 while Powell was in office. Powell left the State Department in 2005, altering the teams’ Week 1 fortunes. Since his departure, Pittsburgh is 6-1 in Week 1. Denver is 3-4.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Pollock’s Pick: Denver
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens-Sept. 10-7 p.m. ESPN
Roy Williams, men’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, won his first national championship in 2005. In the two years Williams has coached a national championship team, Baltimore had a 16-18 record. Cincinnati went 21-13.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Cincinnati
Pollock’s Pick: Baltimore
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders-Sept. 10-10:15 p.m. ESPN
The sitcom Two and a Half Men, starring Charlie Sheen, premiered in 2003. The Chargers went 13-3 against the Raiders while Sheen was on the show. Though Sheen is no longer a cast member, Oakland lost to San Diego at home last season. Apparently the Raiders don’t have enough tiger blood.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: San Diego
Pollock’s Pick: San Diego
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