We're going to try out a new weekly staff pick 'em game where Blake and I make 10 predictions across the NFL, NBA, and NCAA. We'll grab two of the top NBA games of the week, then 4 NFL and NCAA football match-ups. The plan is to run the weekly segment for 10 weeks and then see who is the almighty sports master. We hope to add in guest picks from week to week to spice things up. David is this week's special guest and occasional Crimson Slate contributor. Let's get right down to it.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers
Micah's Pick: Clippers 116 – 97
The Thunder are just too depleted to start the season. I don't see this one even being real close. Westbrook kept the Thunder in the game vs the Blazers for three quarters, but the Clippers are much better than the Blazers.
Blake's Pick: Clippers 110 – 90
The Thunder are in bad shape. With only 9 players, I can't see this being too competitive. The Clippers are good enough to win the West this year.
David's Pick: Clippers 107 – 95
Obviously the Thunder are going to struggle early. At LA just adds to the margin.
New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers
Micah's Pick: Cavs 95 – 82
King James comes home to a high profile, yet easily winnable game vs the Knicks.
Blake's Pick: Cavs 103 – 94
Ahh, the highly anticipated return of King James to his hometown. Add in Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, budding scorer Dion Waiters, and big man Anderson Varajeo, and you have yourself quite the ensemble. Melo will get his, too, though. Cavs win.
David's Pick: Cavs 101 – 88
Are the Knicks going to be any good at all? We know the Cavs should win this one easily at home.
Oklahoma Sooners at Iowa State Cyclones
Micah's Pick: Sooners 55 – 14
The Sooners may have blown any chance they had at a slot in the 4 team playoff, but their pride is still on the line. I see the Sooners coming out and running up the score on a patchy Iowa St defense.
Blake's Pick: Sooners 42 – 23
OU needs a win. They need it NOW. Any more losses, and OU is staring the Liberty Bowl in the face. I think OU is too big on both sides of the trenches and too fast outside.
David's Pick: Sooners 48 – 24
You do know that OU has only lost 5x in 78 games against ISU right?
TCU Horned Frogs at West Virginia Mountaineers
Micah's Pick: Horned Frogs 52 – 41
TCU has made one of the more memorable turnarounds in recent memory. Going 4-8 last year to starting 6-1 this year has been nothing short of amazing. Boykin has truly raised his game from a year ago and this is now one of the top offenses in the nation.
Blake's Pick: Horned Frogs 47 – 37
This will be an epic shootout. TCU hung 82 on Texas Tech. The Frogs may not score that many in any basketball game this year. West Virginia has a sudden swagger to their defense after naming a new DC mid season. I expect a lot of fireworks, with the better “team” winning. TCU’s defense gets a stop or two.
David's Pick: Mountaineers 41 – 38
Yes this is my one upset special of the week. If TCU clears this hurdle they will win the Big 12.
Auburn Tigers at Ole Miss Rebels
Micah's Pick: Tigers 38 – 20
Ole Miss has been playing a bit above their heads all year. Auburn states their case for a spot in the
SEC college football playoffs.
Blake's Pick: Tigers 35 – 31
It may be just me, but I’m not quite sure Auburn is as good as they were in 2013. They’re still really good, but not quite that team they were last year. Bo Marshall is capable of being a Heisman-type quarterback. He also can be really bad. See last week vs LSU. Auburn has enough in the end.
David's Pick: Rebels 24 – 21
I see a bounce back for Ole Miss playing at home.
Florida State Seminoles at Louisville Cardinals
Micah's Pick: Seminoles 31 – 17
Florida State's last hurdle until they skate into the playoffs. While I don't think they are near as good as last year's championship bunch, they're good enough to roll through the ACC.
Blake's Pick: Cardinals 27 – 24
This game is on Thursday night. National TV will be there. Bobby Petrino would want nothing more than to beat FSU in front of the entire nation. Florida State has won 23 games in a row, easily the longest winning streak in the county. Louisville will be ready. They rolled “The U” earlier at home and are always tough at home. UPSET ALERT!
David's Pick: Seminoles 27 – 21
I know this could be the other big upset but I just don’t see it.
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys
Micah's Pick: Cardinals 34 – 24
With Romo banged up and the Cardinals coming to town, I can easily see another Cowboys slip up here.
Blake's Pick: Cowboys 21 – 20
This game hinges on Tony Romo’s availability. He claims he will play if he can manage the pain. Arizona is quietly 6-1 and has the best record in the NFL. Dallas is coming off a heart breaking loss to Washington. I think Arizona is really disciplined and that will show. Dallas needs to get to the bye week on a win… I’ll go with the home team.
David's Pick: Cardinals 23 – 20
A lot of this game depends on whether Romo is 100% healthy or not. Dallas defense is also missing a key player and their two losses have both come at home at the unfriendly confines of JerryWorld.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Micah's Pick: Broncos 45 – 42
Denver hangs on in the highly anticipated Manning vs Brady shootout.
Blake's Pick: Broncos 33 – 27
Manning vs. Brady. Doesn’t get much better than this. Manning is playing his best ball nearing 40 years old. Brady is playing out of his mind, too. This may be the best game of the year. In the end, I think Denver has too many weapons on both sides of the ball.
David's Pick: Broncos 35 – 24
It seems like Denver is on a mission this year and New England is too up and down.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburg Steelers
Micah's Pick: Steelers 28 – 21
The Steelers are riding high from their big win over the Colts last week. Look for the home team to hold court.
Blake's Pick: Steelers 27 – 20
This game is always fun. They do NOT like each other. Pittsburgh is coming off quite the performance. Big Ben throws 6 TD and the offense hangs half a hundred. That’s hard to do in the NFL. Baltimore is steady, yet again. I think Pitt has the advantage of Heinz field and a guy named Antonio Brown.
David's Pick: Steelers 20 – 17
This is truly a toss-up game and I’m going with the home team and Big Ben.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Micah's Pick: Saints 35 – 17
Can the Saints win on the road? I may regret this one.
Blake's Pick: Panthers 24 – 21
Major division implications on this game. Carolina is tough at home. New Orleans seems to be clicking after their big win over Green Bay. Jimmy Graham is getting healthy and Brees is…well…Brees. I think Cam Newton has a chip on his shoulder at all times. I’ll take defense over offense (note: Seattle/Denver Super Bowl – Jan 2014)
David's Pick: Saints 38 – 28
New Orleans has to win on the road at some point right? And Carolina’s defense has been nowhere near as good as last year.