When I wrote the article last week, I was angry. Maybe you could tell, maybe you didn’t care, or maybe you bypassed the rant completely. Whatever you did, I’m about to continue that rant, so buckle up.
Don’t get me wrong, I love football, but what the NFL has turned into annoys me. Skip all of political reasons and all of the concussion talk; the NFL is not great anymore, and I’m not sure how it gets better. This isn’t meant to be a hit piece by any means, but the two big reasons for the fall from grace does actually affect every fan across the board, including the both of us, you little degenerate.
1. Injuries SUCK – “Hey, no shit, it’s a violent game and injuries will happen.” I fully comprehend this idea, but my main concern is that the sport (and everything surrounding it, such as fantasy, betting, and even jersey sales) isn’t thriving as it once had because of it. While you can argue that the sport is bigger than ever (because it is when it comes to revenue), the NFL is going to struggle to “sell” their stars to the public because they’re all getting injured. Just look at the first few weeks of this season. OBJ, JJ Watt, Greg Olsen, Marshal Yanda, Ryan Tannehill, Tyler Eifert, Julien Edelman, Brandon Marshall, Deangelo Hall, Spencer Ware, Nick Fairley, Eric Berry, Allen Robinson, David Johnson, and Dalvin Cook. You know what all of those players, which only make up a small portion of total IR’d players, have in common? They’re all marketable players that also happen to make the games better by significantly impacting games. Every single one of those players, aside from Dalvin Cook, had been named to one or more Pro Bowls in the last five years (Cook is a rookie who was dominating until tearing his ACL). The lack of quality impacts the game, the spread, and the fun. I don’t know how the NFL can change the frequency of injuries, maybe actually enforce padding and shoe quality? But hey, @NFL, just figure it out!
2. Parity – I’m done with it. I’d rather see the Patriots win 14 games a year and actually earn it than having a half of a handful of teams separate themselves from the pack while literally everyone else slugs it out to make it to .500. Not to mention it severely impacts the betting side of the sport, which is significantly more important to you and me.
Anyway, last week we went 2-1, just barely losing Buffalo +3, who lost to the Bengals 20-16. Remember, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s go!
Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans -9.5
New England Patriots @ New York Jets +9.5
Miami Dolphins @ Atlanta Falcons -12.5
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints -4
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings +3
Chicago Bears @ Baltimore Ravens -6.5
San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins -11
LA Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars -2.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals -1.5
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs -4.5
LA Chargers @ Oakland Raiders -2
New York Giants @ Denver Broncos -12
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (pick)
Picks of the Week
LA Rams +2.5: Jacksonville has been dominating on defense and they actually look for real. Blake Bortles, however, still stinks. LA is having a spectacular season so far, but their defense is falling behind their offensive power. In a matchup between a bad Jaguar offense vs a bad LA defense, and a good LA offense vs a good Jaguar defense, I’m gonna take the Rams. I’m becoming a believer in Goff and his band of misfit wide receivers. Could you imagine if they actually figured out how to use Sammy Watkins? Rams +2.5, book it.
Kansas City Chiefs -4.5: Big Ben is severely declining and is God-awful away from home. He just happens to waltz into the Chiefs home to take on a pretty good defense along with the biggest (and loudest) home-field advantage in the NFL. I think this will be a low scoring game with a lot of short passes and running, but I give the advantage to KC, and I see the Chiefs continue their magical run to start the 2017 season.
Tennessee Titans (pick): What a gross matchup this week. I was actually intrigued by the Browns-Jets game last week, but this game just looks disgusting and unappealing. An underwhelming Titans team, with a hobbling and/or out Marcus Mariota and a terrible defense, host the Luck-less Colts who are equally as bad onboth sides of the ball and even worse on defense. Honestly, I am only taking the Titans here because I believe there is more talent on this team than they’ve showed, and talent eventually breaks through. Take this one with a grain of salt, but Titans should win.
Questions, concerns, comments, or criticisms? @FFMilkman on Twitter!