NFL WEEK 4: Our Official Picks For Who Wins This Weekend

Bill SimmonsESPNBill Simmons.

I’m at a loss for things to talk about this week in the NFL.

The only sports-related thing of note is Bill Simmons’ three-week suspension by ESPN for mouthing off during his podcast.

Simmons went off, blasting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, calling him a “liar.” When he was done ripping Goodell, he turned to ESPN. He dared his employer to send him a note. “It’s my podcast; I can say what I want,” Simmons said.

The reflexive response from people seems to be to defend Simmons. It seemed unfair to people that he was getting suspended for three weeks for saying his opinion on his podcast.

If that was all Simmons did, then yes, it would be unfair. But what really got him in trouble was essentially giving the middle finger to his bosses at ESPN.

No matter how big a star you are, you don’t go antagonizing the people who are paying you over $US1 million per year. Especially when you have a history of getting in trouble with ESPN.

If I went on my podcast and trashed, say, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and then said, “I dare you to say something Henry!” I would expect to be reprimanded. That’s how the world works.

If it upsets Simmons, then he should quit ESPN and build his own company. He would have no problem raising money from investors to build his own site at which he could do whatever he wants. Maybe this episode will be the inspiration to really strike out on his own.

Until then, he’s going to have to deal with his bosses at ESPN. And that means he can’t just flip them off at random.

Let’s talk football!

Last week I was 4-2. I got Thursday night’s game wrong, so for the year, I am 11-8.

All lines come from Las Vegas Hilton.

The Green Bay Packers are 1.5-point favourites on the road against the Chicago Bears.

Jay cutler bearsJoe Sargent/Getty ImagesBears QB Jay Cutler.

This is one of those lines that is telling me something. I’m just not sure what it’s telling me.

There’s no reason whatsoever for the Packers to be the favourites on the road. They’re not a very good team so far. The Bears aren’t great either, but they’re at home, and they have a decent offence that should be able to attack the Packers. In a division game, I’ll take the home team and the points, even though this has all the makings of a sucker’s bet.

With the Packers favorited ever so slightly, Vegas is trying to push you to pick the Bears. And so I will take the bait.

The pick: Bears +1.5

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 7.5-point favourites at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers are an epically horrible team. They got absolutely demolished by the Atlanta Falcons. How can they cover this spread? They have a new starter at quarterback in Mike Glennon. They have had a week and a half to recover from their thrashing. But, really, they’re just not good. So, I can’t take them.

The pick: Steelers -7.5

The San Francisco 49ers are 5-point favourites at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.

I’m picking this game because it’s the national game, and it’s going to get attention. I don’t think I should duck games like this. But, I want to avoid picking this game.

Here’s why: I like the Eagles, and it’s hard to be rational about the team you like.

The Eagles should win this game. They are the better team. But they have been decimated on their offensive line. And the offensive line makes the whole team go. The Eagles have smart, strong, athletic guys up front who set up the screen game. They also set up the running game, which opens up the passing game.

The 49ers have been a bad team this year, but they have also had some bad breaks. They are at home, and the world is starting to cave in on them and question their ability. This game feels like a “must-win” for San Francisco. In its division, Seattle is playing very well, and Arizona is playing very well. If the 49ers want to make the playoffs, they can’t start the season 1-3.

So, who wins? My brain says San Francisco, but my heart says the Eagles. I am going to go with my heart on this one. Which is always a mistake.

The pick: Eagles +5

The San Diego Chargers are 13-point favourites at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I am rolling with Blake Bortles and the Jags! Why? Because why not; let’s roll the dice on this one. It’s a big number — let’s hope the Chargers try to sleepwalk through this one and get caught.

The pick: Jaguars +13

The New Orleans Saints are 3-point favourites on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

Drew Brees

Reuters
Drew Brees.

The Cowboys are the most annoying team in the NFL. They’re horrible, and they should have lost last week, but they managed to come back for the win against the Rams. Tony Romo gets a lot of guff, but he’s good. Or, at least good enough to break your heart.

The Saints, meanwhile, are underperforming this year. But I expect Sean Payton and Drew Brees to pick apart the Cowboys defence and cover the 3 points.

The pick: Saints -3

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