Last week, I lightly kicked around the idea of what would kill the NFL.
It’s been a rough season for the NFL so far. There’s nothing particularly unique or spectacular to focus on as far as the play is concern. It’s too early in the season to say one team is great. As a result, the focus is on the inappropriate off-field behaviour by players.
While the behaviour of a few players is abhorrent, the truth is that the vast majority of players stay out of trouble. And, the players that are getting in trouble, are now starting to get punished. By the end of the season, I fully expect the NFL to have harsh punishment for players involved in domestic abuse cases, or child abuse cases, or whatever.
So, in terms of killing the NFL, I don’t think this is going to do it. People will get over their outrage, the players will be disciplined, and the league will come out, okayish.
However, last weekend, I believe I saw what will eventually kill the NFL. And, in light of the serious things that are happening off the field, this will sound trivial. But, I really think this is going to do it.
I saw four games on Sunday, and two of them were unwatchable because of the refs. The NFL is calling all sorts of tiny penalties on players to free up the offence. It’s going overboard with replay, too.
The Sunday night game between Chicago and San Francisco, in particular, was brutal. I couldn’t even make it to the second half because it was so slow and boring with a flag being thrown every other second.
If NFL games continue in this direction, the sport will turn into baseball. A slow slog that nobody has the attention span to watch. This is the real risk for the NFL. People will tolerate some jerk players. They will not tolerate boredom.
The NFL can turn the dial back on the penalties to speed the game up. But, the NFL has been tweaking the product for years to gear it towards offence. It’s possible it screws up, and overdoes it, and ruins the sport.
The product on the field is the most important thing. The NFL has to be careful not to mess with that.
OK! Enough. Let’s pick some games.
I was 2-3 last week, but I nailed the Thursday game between the Falcons and Bucs. That means I am 8-5 on the season now.
All lines come from the Las Vegas Hilton.
The Philadelphia Eagles are 6.5-point favourites at home against the Washington D.C. football team.
This game screams “Trap Game!” The Eagles are pounding rivals. Chip Kelly looks like a genius. The Washington team lost its quarterback, and now it has Kirk Cousins. This should be a walk for the Eagles, which makes it a very dangerous game for the Eagles.
Here’s the thing people don’t realise — Eagles QB Nick Foles has been bad in the preseason, and shakey in the two games he’s played this year. He’s missing open targets, and throwing some bad passes. So far the Eagles have been fine. And, really, they should be fine against Washington, which is not a good team. But, it’s something to watch!
The pick: Eagles -6.5
The Indianapolis Colts are 6.5-point favourites on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Colts have to win this one by a touchdown, right? If they don’t win, the season is over. The Jags are the worst team in the league after the Bucs. And if Kirk Cousins can light up the the Jags, then surely Andrew Luck can light them up. Road favourites are risky. And divisional games are risky, but I just have to take the Colts. Probably a sucker’s bet.
The pick: Colts -6.5
The Seattle Seahawks are 5-point favourites at home against the Denver Broncos
Are you kidding me? The Seahawks are better, period. And they’re at home. They got this one.
The pick: Seahawks -5
The Detroit Lions are 2.5-point favourites at home against the Green Bay Packers.
What if the Packers aren’t any good? That seems highly likely, doesn’t it? They got smoked by the Seahawks, and they just barely beat the Jets. The Lions are a division rival. And the Lions are at home. The Lions can just fling it down the field and the Packers will have no answer. I like the Lions to cover here.
The pick: Lions -2.5
The Carolina Panthers are 3-point favourites at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Looks like the Panthers are actually good, again this year. And the Steelers’ offence tends to sputter when it gets close to the goal line, so I am taking the Panthers.
The pick: Panthers -3
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