It’s the start of a new season! We’ve been radio silence here at beatpaths.com in the offseason, but we’re ready for another year, and there are some changes coming soon, too.
But before we get into that, it’s time to go through the formality of the Week 1 picks. The first couple of weeks are always somewhat comical here, since we have no beatpaths to base the picks off of. So we’re going to choose a similar approach as last year – we will use last season’s beatpath rankings, and only use this season’s as soon as there is enough data from this season to break the ties.
Also, just to stroke my own ego, I will be announcing and keeping track of my own unofficial picks when they conflict with the Beatpaths picks.
In other news, beatpaths will be included in King Kaufman’s Panel O’ Experts this season. I assume grand prize is dinner at his house again. I don’t expect we’ll be in competition for that, but I do have the goal of beating the pick record of King himself, in which case he owes me a beer. (He hasn’t agreed to this, but I’ll just assume).
Please note that if you actually use pure beatpath picks for your own picks, you’re insane. We don’t even pay attention to home field advantage here. We are now 0-0.
Washington at NY GIANTS: The Giants ended up ranked #6 last season, with the Patriots still having a beatpath to the Giants through Dallas, but the Giants are still ranked far ahead of Washington.
NY JETS at Miami: The Jets finished last season with a beatpath to Miami, and are favored. One would think the addition of Favre would make this pick more solid.
DETROIT at Atlanta: Detroit has a long beatpath to Atlanta, although you’d think that Atlanta has to start improving soon.
JACKSONVILLE at Tennessee: Jacksonville is ranked ahead of Tennessee, but just barely. By the rankings, this is a tight pick, with neither team having a beatpath to the other.
TAMPA BAY at New Orleans: Another tight pick, although much lower in the rankings. Tampa Bay finished with a beatpath to New Orleans. (Unofficially speaking, I’d overrule this pick, but the official pick is Tampa Bay.)
St. Louis at PHILADELPHIA: St. Louis was ranked dead last at the end of last season, so this is an obvious pick for Philadelphia.
HOUSTON at Pittsburgh: Another tight pick, but Pittsburgh wasn’t as good as everyone wanted to believe last season. I think that carries forward this year until proven otherwise.
Kansas City at NEW ENGLAND: New England is still ranked #1, despite…. what did we decide, was it the chokiest choke job in the history of chokes, or were they just really not as good as everyone thought? And… did they choke enough that people can start rooting for them as an underdog again? I still have a soft spot for New England the underdog.
CINCINNATI at Baltimore: Another very tight pick. They’re ranked right next to each other, with Cincinnati having a beatpath to Baltimore. So tempted to overrule this one, but I won’t.
Seattle at BUFFALO: No direct beatpaths relation, but Buffalo is ranked ahead. I think Buffalo is due for major improvement this season.
DALLAS at Cleveland: Dallas ended the season ranked ahead of the Super Bowl winners. This is a clear pick according to last season’s graph.
Arizona at SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco ended last season with a beatpath to Arizona. Normally I’d be tempted to overrule this since I think Arizona is a good team with a history of bad outcomes, but the NFC West is always so weird. These teams seem to have different identities when they play against each other, so I’m leaving this one alone.
Carolina at SAN DIEGO: San Diego has a beatpath to Carolina.
Chicago at INDIANAPOLIS: Indianapolis doesn’t actually have a beatpath to Chicago, but they’re still ranked significantly ahead.
Minnesota at GREEN BAY: Green Bay has a few beatpaths to Minnesota.
DENVER at Oakland: Cutler’s at full power, the rest of the team seems about the same in quality save for a more natural defensive strategy, but Denver ended the season with beatpaths to Oakland.