Fearless Rick's Football Picks - 2017 Hall of Fame Game

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NFL Season Opens Early

This is a stand-alone page for the Hall of Fame game pick.

In weeks ahead, Fearless Rick's pick pages will become more robust, with picks of every NFL game - preseason, regular season and playoffs - plus selected college picks.

This season, like last season, I'm offering a different perspective, employing early odds and two methodologies: coin flip against the spread and analysis straight up and against the spread. While that may sound like three methodologies, the latter is really the same because I'll be offering a final score, which covers both SU and ATS.

OK, this is a first shot. Hang in, because this is just preseason and there are plenty of roster changes, coaching decision and injuries with which to contend.

I am not one to feign powers of prognostication that would reveal a Super Bowl winner. That's for the so-called experts. I'd rather just take it one game at a time, which calculates out to something like 25 to 30 games a week coverage.

Most of my analysis is empirical, based on facts rather than assumptions. Thus, there's potential for reality-based outcomes rather than pie-in-the-sky cognitive dissonance.

I don't guarantee anything beyond the conceptual framework of visual and audial inputs, background knowledge (50 years of avid addiction) and an honest effort at pick correctness.

It's not easy, but it is also not hard to present this information, at least for me. Having been both very right and very wrong on too many occasions I wish to remember, I surely won't have a record much better (or even equal to) the random coin flip, so let's see how it goes.

Hall of Fame Game, Thursday, August 3, 2017, 8:00 pm, NBC, Fawcett Stadium, Canton, OH

Dallas Cowboys (even, 35) vs. Arizona Cardinals

This is a good NFC rivalry which has evolved over the years naturally, as both teams are in roughly the same geographical localtion.

At 13-4 in 2016 versus Arizona's 7-8-1 mark, the Cowboys clearly had a better season than the Cardinals, though Arizona was lacking Carson Palmer for most of the regular season.

Palmer - and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald - will not see any action in this game. In fact, Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert will play the first half and Trevor Knight will play the second, coach Bruce Arians said. Ariens also said that no starters will see action in the Hall of Fame game.

For the Cowboys, getting a quick look at second year pro, Dak Prescott, will be key, though the QB will probably only be in the game for a couple of series. The word is that RB Ezekiel Elliott may not play, as he is facing a possible suspension stemming from a reported domestic violence issue. The league has yet to announce the reprimand, but a one-game susupension is what's been making the rumor rounds.

Elliott would likely have little impact either way, so whether he plays or not is probably a non-issue.

Both teams have good depth, and the players who will see the most time are those at which the coaching staff wants to get good looks. Arizona has much to prove after the poor showing last season, while Dallas is probably going to be vying for a Super Bowl appearance as they have all the tools and players in the right places. Uncharacteristically, aside from Elliott's issues, the Cowboys are devoid of drama, which is probably a good sign going forward.

Coin Flip: DALLAS

Prediction: Cowboys 20 Cardinals 14


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