The 2014 NFL season kicks off on NBC Thursday night with the NFL champion Seattle Seahawks beating the Green Bay Packers, 26-24.
Seattle will win because they are opening the season at home and can lean on their 12th man to earn them a narrow victory over the Packers.
Speaking of narrow, it was a controversial call in the 2012 game that sealed the 14-12 victory for Seattle against Green Bay. Wide receiver Golden Tate, who now plays for the Detroit Lions, caught a 24-yard touchdown pass thrown by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at the end of the game. The Packers claim that game is long forgotten and they are concentrating on starting the 2014 season with a road win.
Just for fun, this year's fantasy football advice is being combined with references to top-rated television shows from the past and present. For example, this article features characters from the classic 1960's series The Andy Griffith Show.
Andy Griffith’s “Mighty Fine” Picks
If Sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Griffith) of Mayberry was looking at the Green Bay and Seattle rosters, he would pick the following “mighty fine” players to start Thursday night:
- Eddie Lacy, running back, Green Bay Packers – Lacy enters the 2014 season ranked No. 4 overall in the top 200 fantasy football players list. Lacy reestablished the Packers running game in 2013 and is expected to build on last year’s success.
- Marshawn Lynch, running back, Seattle Seahawks – Lynch is No. 8 overall and is Seattle’s “go to” guy when the Seahawks need 2-3 yards for a first down or a touchdown.
Barney Fife’s “Nip It. Nip It in the bud.” Picks
If Deputy Barney Fife (played by Don Knotts) encountered a problem or an issue, his strongest piece of advice was to “Nip it. Nip it in the bud.” And if Barney Fife reviewed the players available for Thursday night’s game, he would NOT recommend starting the following players:
- Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers – Rodgers is still a starting quarterback on any fantasy football team, but the Seattle secondary is looking to reassert its dominance in this season’s opener. I will be impressed if Rodgers scores more than 15 fantasy points.
- Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks – Wilson is a No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback on a fantasy football team. If he’s your backup QB, then stick with your No. 1 in week #1.
Gomer Pyle’s ”Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” Picks
Gomer Pyle (played by Jim Nabors) ran the gas station in Mayberry until he enlisted in the Marines. His change of venue led to a spinoff show called Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and Gomer liked to say “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” whenever the unexpected happened to his drill sergeant. If Gomer was assigned to pick this game’s “surprise” or “sleeper” picks, he’d select:
- Percy Harvin, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks – A healthy Harvin is difficult to contain. He is especially dangerous after he catches the ball. Give Harvin enough room and he’ll post at least 15 fantasy points against his opponents.
- Randall Cobb, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers – When Harvin left Minnesota to join Seattle, many fantasy football experts designated Cobb as the player most likely to duplicate the productivity of Harvin in the NFC North division. It will be difficult, but the Seattle secondary better be alert or Cobb will race past them to the end zone.
The Andy Griffith Show ran on CBS from October 3, 1960 to April 1, 1968. Though Griffith never won an Emmy award for his portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor, supporting actor Don Knotts (Barney Fife) won five Emmys. The show never finished lower than No. 7 in the TV ratings and was the No. 1 show in America during its eighth and final season.
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. ran on CBS from September 25, 1964 to May 2, 1969. It never finished lower than No. 10 in the TV ratings during its five-year run.
Next up – The NFL still plays most of its game on Sundays, so the next article focuses on fantasy football predictions for week #1’s weekend games as well as the Monday night showdown between the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions.