Lions -3.5 Carolina +5 Cinci +2 Jaguars +6 Chiefs -7 New England -6 Bills +3 Minnesota +2.5 Houston -3 Arizona -1.5 Oakland +6.5 Colts -3.5 Green Bay +2.5 Redskins +10
Bob is getting some travel time under his belt, so he is withholding his explanation for the weekly dose of winners he provides. Here are the picks, get on em.
Lions -3.5 Carolina +5 Cinci +2 Jaguars +6 Chiefs -7 New England -6 Bills +3 Minnesota +2.5 Houston -3 Arizona -1.5 Oakland +6.5 Colts -3.5 Green Bay +2.5 Redskins +10
By: Bob Lang
The NFL decided to have a pretty uneventful week, so this week I just have a few random thoughts from the world of sports and beyond while desperately hoping that the weather stays nice for just a couple more weeks.
I bet Ohio State really wishes they could have that Virginia Tech game over.
There is a definite buzz here in Columbus about the Blue Jackets. The early returns are in and they seem not just competent, they seem improved. I am cautiously optimistic.
The Red Wings seem a little more energized this season too.
I keep forgetting that very few of you care about hockey.
I rescued a dog in June after putting my 14 yr. old busy, Sam, to sleep in April. Sam was maybe the smartest dog I have been around. This one, she’s kinda stupid so far.
I’m taking a vacation from work that ends on Nov. 2nd. That also happens to be the weekend we fall back to standard time. I get an extra hour of vacation. #winning
Why in all of the hells would someone who just treated an ebola patient get on a cruise ship? Next NFL commissioner maybe? Or is Goodell in charge of our medical community's response to the disease? (search #ebolacruise on Twitter to get caught up).
Well, the FSU/ND game ended. What an amazing game. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are just lighting up with ND fans who think they got “homered” or “jobbed” or “robbed” or something else that ends in -ed. Now, anyone who knows me knows how much I loathe Notre Dame. Having said that, FSU might be one of two programs I loathe more. Michigan, of course, being the other. So, I found myself simply rooting for a good game to watch, and I got just that. And then some. Then the call at the end of the game. Guess what, ND fans. It was the right call. Here is a GIF to show you why.
It was such a great game. Don’t spoil it with sour grapes.
Moving onto week 7. Really, week 7 already?
Jets at PATRIOTS -9.5: Ahhh, there is the Thursday picks we are used to from me.
Bengals at COLTS -3.5: So that is how you make a tie feel like a loss. I’m all in on the Luck train here, so you might as well expect it to come to a crashing halt anytime now.
Titans at WASHINGTON -5.5: There is some serious potential for a pick 6 that leads to a Titan win in this game. Cousins seems to be confused at the end of games. And in the middle of them too. When does RGIII get back so he can get hurt again?
Dolphins at BEARS -3.5: This screams trap game. Like at the top of its lungs. From the top of the Wrigley Tower, or whatever they call the Sears Tower now. Sorry, it will always be the Sears Tower to me. I’m falling for the trap.
BROWNS at Jaguars +6: Yes, I believe in you, Cleveland. But this would be oh so like you to lose this game. Outright. Might have to put a money line hedge on this one.
SEATTLE at Rams +7: Bad week for St. Louis fans I’m afraid. Bye bye Cards and St. Louis gets a pissed off San Fran followed by a pissed of Seattle?
PANTHERS at Packers -6.5: Here is my hunch of the week. If you like fun, bet on the over (50.5) too.
Falcons at RAVENS -6.5: Well, I think this line has moved a lot. Not always wise to bet with the public, but who ever said I was smart?
Vikings at BILLS -5.5: Isn’t this the kind of game they usually ship over to London?
Chiefs at CHARGERS -3.5: It’s the weekly “Game no one East of the Mississippi River gives a shit about. Thank God for gambling.
Giants at COWBOYS -6.5: I think the over/under for turnovers in this game is 15. Take the over. Yes, I’m going against my gut that, just like Cleveland, this is a game Dallas almost always loses. I’m going with a new theory that they have the best O-line in the game. (and I was oh-so wrong about them).
CARDINALS at Raiders +4: I’d say it was a welcome home for Carson Palmer, but he has so many homes.
NINERS at Broncos -7: Manning. At night. With a record for the ages on the line. Sorry, Brady lovers, this guy might be the best ever. And it might not be close.
Texans at STEELERS -3: Looks like I will be finding something else to do on Monday night. I think the curling club meets. (seriously, such a good time, highly recommend it to anyone).
By: Bob Lang
I’d like to thank you all for gathering here today. I know you were expecting me to fly off the handle over another postseason letdown by my Detroit Tigers. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but this year, it isn’t going to happen.
Of course, I was irritated again, but for some reason I wasn’t angry. Maybe I had resigned myself to the fact that they just didn't have that “look” this year. I think it was more that I got to enjoy an incredible September divisional race before they bowed out, and I got some pleasure out of winning that this year. Whatever it was, the loss just didn’t gut me like last year’s.
I was, however, preparing to write a long, thorough examination of why the Tigers again fell short of their post season goals. I got stuck after making one point.
They didn’t have a bullpen. At all.
Then I stopped and moved onto other things.
For instance, the NFL idiot move of the week. This week they fined a player $8,500 for an illegal crack back block that could have severely injured an opposing player. The very same week they fined Colin Kapernick $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre headphones to a news conference instead of league sponsor Bose.
For those keeping track of these things at home, that makes what they wear on their heads about 15% more important than the health of their players.
Does anyone in the league office even read this shit before they release it?
Anyhow, onto this weeks games. As always, my pick is in CAPS.
COLTS -3.5 at Texans: T.Y. Hilton was on the bench in the fantasy league run by my editors. Whoopsie. Also, I’m getting better at these Thursday games.
BRONCOS at Jets +10: Why will Denver cover this spread? Because the Jets can’t cover anyone.
STEELERS at Browns (pk): I’m almost there with this Browns team. Almost, but just not yet. One more win, and I’m there.
JAGUARS at Titans -4: I have a simple rule. If I don’t know who your starting QB is, I don’t bet on you.
Packers at DOLPHINS +3: Hunch of the week.
LIONS at Vikings -2: I think the Lions minus their best player are better than the Vikings minus theirs.
Panthers at BENGALS -7: One of these teams is going to blow up this game. I’m betting on the better of the two.
Patriots at BILLS +3: My money lien upset of the week. Enjoy in health. Take the under for dessert.
RAVENS at Buccaneers +3.5: Will the real Tampa Bay please stand up? Thank you.
Chargers at RAIDERS +7.5: Hunch of the week part two.
Bears at FALCONS -3: In one of my pick em polls, you are asked to pick the highest scoring team of the week. Atlanta was my pick.
Cowboys at SEAHAWKS -8.5: The public is all over Seattle here. The line just keeps going up. Call me Joe Public.
REDSKINS at Cardinals -3.5: See my rule about QBs in the Tennessee game.
Giants at EAGLES -2.5: I’m kinda excited for this game to see if we can figure out which of these teams is a fraud.
NINERS at Rams +3.5: Upset potential here is huge. I mean HUGE. But I already went out on enough limbs this week. So I will keep it vanilla here.
By: Bob Lang
Just a couple random thoughts to get your brain working while I’m staying warm on the first real chilly fall day of the year. (Which I love by the way)
NFL players are not immune from human frailty. In many ways, and maybe unfairly, they are held to much higher standards of behavior than the average Joe on the street. Domestic abuse is not an NFL problem (Just as the US Women’s Soccer Team). Domestic abuse is a societal problem, and the NFL is just a small, but very visible part of our society. NFL players, taken as a whole, actually have a lower incidence of reported domestic abuse than the population at large. Look it up. I have major issues with the way the NFL has handled the cases that have been brought forward (I think I have been clear on that in this space), but I am not ready to condemn the league and its players because its leadership can’t get their head out of their collective asses on this issue. The NFL has issues it needs to deal with. The rest of us need to remember that in the end, the players, they are just us. Only bigger, better paid and more visible. I love the NFL… still. I hold upper management completely responsible for fixing how they react to this issue.
I know someone who said they can’t watch the NFL anymore and are switching their allegiance and attention to soccer. I have no idea if it is because of what happened, but switching to anything affiliated with FIFA is like taking a shit shower because you feel dirty.
I’m about 24 hours from another “Things I hate” column. David Price, I need you. Badly.
I totally suck at picking the NFL this year.
On an unrelated note, my fantasy team is putrid.
Have it really been this long since we have heard from Tiger Woods or Tim Tebow?
I told you that Miami/Oakland game was a turd. To any British readers, I apologize.
I’m taking my first trip to DC in 20 years at the end of the month. I couldn’t be more excited to do all of the touristy stuff.
OK, quick picks because I have a real job to do in the morning. Pick is in CAPS…
Vikings at PACKERS -4.5: A Thursday WIN!!!
Bears at PANTHERS -2.5: No clue. Not even a little one.
BROWNS at Titans -1: A game the Browns should win. Not sure why I am picking them, they don’t win these games. Can I bet that the Titans win in the last minute of the game somehow?
Rams at EAGLES -6.5: Just on talent.
FALCONS at Giants -4.5: Typical “paying too much attention to last week” line.
Buccaneers at SAINTS -10.5: I fully expect a missed extra point to cost me this game. Again.
Bills at LIONS -7: I’m nervous, I’m starting to believe.
RAVENS at Colts -3.5: Something sneaky good about these Ravens.
STEELERS at Jaguars +6.5: If the Steelers lose back to back to Jacksonville and Tampa?
CARDINALS at Broncos -8: Just a hunch
Chiefs at NINERS -5.5: Ditto
Jets at CHARGERS -7: Late TD for the cover
BENGALS at Patriots +1: I think the fall came a year earlier than I thought.
Seahawks at WASHINGTON +7.5: Why not?
By: Bob Lang
Those aren’t my words. Those are the words of Roger Goodell when he suspended Sean Payton in 2012 for “Bountygate.” Members of the Saints defense were paying each other incentives for injuring opposing players. Payton’s defense was basically that it was going on without his knowledge. Goodell, at the time, used those words: “ignorance is no excuse” when suspending Payton for a year.
Basically, he suspended Payton because he SHOULD have known what was going on in his locker room.
Lets fast forward two and a half years…
Goodell is claiming what in regards to the Ray Rice incident? You got it. Ignorance.
Seriously, you could drive a truck across the irony it is so thick. If you sent a script like this for approval, people would tell you that it is far too outlandish and unrealistic. You’d be laughed out of the room. (Unless you have Kevin Costner cast as Goodell, then you can have as incoherent and unrealistic a movie as you like and get it green lit. I’m looking at you, Draft Day.)
Goodell wants us to believe that he was completely ignorant of what was on the elevator video from the casino that night. He admits to seeing the aftermath (Rice carrying his unconscious wife out of the elevator) and he admits that Rice admitted hitting his wife in the elevator.
What in all of the fucks of the world did he think happened in the elevator? A tickle fight gone horribly horribly wrong?
Could you make an argument that yes, he SHOULD have known what happened in that elevator?
Fast forward again to earlier this week. Bill Simmons of ESPN and then Grantland (a spin-off of ESPN with an edgier more adult and intelligent tone… usually) goes on a rant saying that he thinks Goodell is lying that he didn’t know what was on the tape. That everything he is saying is bullshit and daring his bosses (who have a heavy financial investment in the NFL) to discipline him for taking Goodell to task in such a raw manner. He says all of this on his podcast. An outlet he uses as an opinion piece (as most of his work is just that, his opinion), not as any kind of investigative reporting outlet.
Does ESPN — which had just published a series of articles claiming that the NFL offices did indeed have the tape in their possession and that the Ravens and NFL worked to cover up the worst of the incident — embrace the dialogue and debate and opinion of one of its most well connected employees? Nope, they take him up on his dare and suspend him for three weeks. Ironically one week more than Rice had originally been suspended. Even worse, TWO more weeks that fellow commentator Steven A. Smith got in July for saying that maybe, just maybe, women shouldn’t, you know, provoke men into knocking them unconscious.
OK, so he called them out to discipline him and left it wide open for his bosses to suspend him for insubordination, which I probably could have accepted. It’s hard to call out your bosses like that and not have them take any action. However, ESPN didn’t give insubordination as the reason for the suspension. Nope, he is suspended for… lack of journalistic integrity.
Does anyone at ESPN know what that means? Do they know the difference between journalism and opinion pieces? Or were they just totally on their knees in front of the NFL?
I, of course, am going with the last option.
Lets look at the ways that ESPN has explicitly or implicitly shunned things that might not be friendly to the NFL.
The future predicting ESPN original drama “Playmakers” was cancelled after one season in 2004. NFL opposition to the show was the “primary factor” in ESPN’s decision to cancel the show. Domestic violence, off field homicides, drug use (recreational and PEDs), homophobia and outing of gay players were all plot lines. Weird, huh? Oh, and it drew 2 million viewers a week to the Tuesday night slot on ESPN. Five times their audience from the prior year. The leading voice of opposition in the NFL? One Roger Goodell, then NFL executive vice president and director of operations. Somehow, this was given as the major reason for the cancellation but they “do not let anyone dictate our programming,” said ESPN vice president in charge of programming Mark Shapiro at the time. Yeah, ok. You buying that one? Keep those words in mind as we move on to…
ESPN decides to pull out of the Frontline documentary “League of Denial” at the last minute. The documentary chronicled what the NFL knew of the dangers of concussions to the long term health of former players and Lack of editorial control was the given reason in this case. I’m sure that losing editorial control to something on SpikeTV might have been cause for concern. But Frontline? There wasn’t an agreement that could have been reached? Again, their mantra continued of not letting any of their broadcast partners dictate their programming decisions.
That brings us to the present day and Simmons. Simmons has been highly critical of other commissioners in his times at ESPN. He has some pretty serious theories that he espouses in his half joking manner. That Michael Jordan’s first retirement from basketball and foray into baseball was a super secret gambling suspension. That the 19984 draft lottery was rigged for the Knicks to get Ewing. That the NBA allows officials to dictate favorable playoff match ups. And wow did he have a field day when an NBA referee was accused of fixing games for illegal gambling debts.
None of those got him a suspension. He has never offered any “proof or moved the dissuasion forward” (as ESPN’s ombudsman said in his inexplicable defense of the suspension).
But offering an opinion that Goodell had to know what was on the tape even without seeing it? An opinion held by most people who are following the situation? That gets him suspended?
For lack of journalistic integrity? (And I want to be clear, offering an opinion that Goodell is lying about this is not slander unless you know for a fact that Goodell is not lying. I already offered my opinion. Goodell is either lying, ignorant or chose to remain ignorant. None of which clears him in any of this).
I have a very serious question for the folks at ESPN: are you a journalistic endeavor or are you an entertainment endeavor? The answer is important, because you are clearly having trouble acting as both the conduit and the watchdog for the NFL. As for Simmons’ “journalistic integrity.” He wasn’t acting as a journalist. He wasn’t investigating the story. Your reporters are supposed to be doing that. Where were they during this whole thing? Right up to the point where the video broke, where were they? How did you get scooped by freaking TMZ?
Ignorance is not an excuse.
Onto my picks this week. I will catch up on my overall record next week. Put a little too much time into my rant. I hope my editors don’t suspend me. (My pick is in CAPS)
Giants at REDSKINS -3.5: I hate everything about this game. That I picked the ‘skins. That I picked up Cousins in my fantasy league. That he turned the ball over 6 times. That I used to own Manning and dropped him. I even hate both of these teams. I better stop. I need to save my “I hate” column for when the Tigers fizzle in the post season.
Dolphins at RAIDERS +3.5 (In London): Seriously, can we send London over some good football teams once in a while. I mean they give us “Sherlock” and "Downton Abbey" and we give them this turd? Yikes.
Packers at BEARS +2: I’m not sure the Packers aren’t really as bad as we have been seeing them. I’m not sure the Bears are as good, but that’s why it’s called gambling, right?
Bills at TEXANS -2: I have zero interest in this game. Which means I will probably have to bet on it.
Titans at COLTS -8: I wouldn’t bet someone else’s money on any game involving the Colts right now. But here we are.
Panthers at RAVENS -3.5: The Ravens bet comes with no vig on it. That means instead of betting $110 to win $100 you can just bet $100. Yeah, no big deal in my $10 bet world, but it might make a difference to someone. I like the Ravens at home.
LIONS at Jets +2.5: Megatron takes NY
Buccaneers at STEELERS -7.5: You could make this 17.5 and I still might take the Steelers. Tampa is horrible.
Jaguars at CHARGERS -13: And I thought Jacksonville would be competitive this year. Whoopsie.
EAGLES at Niners -4.5: Not sure what to make of the Niners. And I think the Eagles are good. They might not win, but should keep it close.
FALCONS at Vikings +3: I just don’t see how Minnesota pulls this one out. I am trying hard not to make a joke about how bad they could get beaten. Really really hard. Take the over too.
SAINTS at Cowboys +3: If Brees can’t get it done against THIS secondary, it might be a long season for New Orleans.
PATRIOTS at Chiefs +3: Two teams I really don’t believe in. I believe in the Chiefs less. Even at home. Even on Monday night. Brady might wake up for this one. Mostly because I benched him in fantasy this week.
By: Bob Lang
Goodell said some things. None of which I can take to be anything but trying to cover his ass. He had a chance to be proactive and serious on this issue. He blew that when he gave the initial (and absurdly short) two game suspension to Rice. Now I just hear “blah blah blah blah don’t fire me.”
In other news a couple of other players were put on the exiled list, or exemption list, or purgatory list or whatever it is called for hitting small children, hitting women hitting women holding small children.
My picks. Short version.
San Diego at BUFFALO -2
DALLAS at St. Louis +1.5
Washington at PHILADELPHIA -6
TEXANS at Giants (Pickem)
Vikings at SAINTS -10.5
Titans at BENGALS -7
Ravens at BROWNS +2
Packers at LIONS -2
Colts at JAGUARS +7.5
RAIDERS at Patriots -14
San Fran at ARIZONA +3
BRONCOS +5 at Seattle
Chiefs at DOLPHINS -3.5
Steelers at PANTHERS -3.5
BEARS at Jets -2.5
See you next week.
By: Bob Lang
Yes, I am going to talk about Roger Goodell and Ray Rice today. I have to. I love the NFL, and if you are reading this, I am guessing you have at least a passing interest in the league. If so, this whole episode should bother you as well. So, I am going to tell you my thoughts on the matter. Feel free to tune out… now.
I’ve had more than one person ask me what I thought of the whole thing. I always say the same thing: something stinks.
I thought, without reservation, that Commissioner Goodell dropped the ball in a big way with the initial 2 game suspension of Rice. I said at the time that it should have been 6 minimum. More like 8. And the weird thing for Rice, is that if the initial suspension hadn’t been so laughably out of touch with what most people thought was fair, the video, while still shocking and nauseating, would not have caused nearly the uproar that it did when it surfaced this week.
Which brings me back to the chain of events that if they happened in a movie you would say “No way someone in charge of a league as big as the NFL would act so bufoonishly stupid. (I totally made up “bufoonishly.” It’s yours to use as you please). It is inconceivable that someone as educated and experienced as Goodell would think that the public would accept 2 games as a reasonable punishment (And don't give me the "Well the Union made me" argument. Give him a big suspension and let the union look like the assholes for trying to get him back on the field. That is PR 101, Roger). Ignore in its entirety the fact that hardly anyone that qualifies as “sane” thought that two games was sufficient for hitting your fiancé and dragging her by her hair out of an elevator (facts which were never denied even before TMZ reminded the media that yes, information is indeed out there). Just ignore that separation of reality that Goodell suffers from and think of the following things.
This happened in a casino. Do you know what is all over a casino? Cameras. Lots and lots of fucking cameras. They are, literally, everywhere. They know when you leave your room. They know when you get off at a floor. Or eat dinner. Or go to the ATM. Or enter the bathroom. If it wasn’t against the law, they would know how long it took you to piss in the bathroom.
To sum up: this happened in a casino. Where there are cameras everywhere.
So, I’m the man in charge of making sure the league doesn’t lose it’s reputation with it’s fastest growing population segment: women. And here I am looking into an incident where one of my players is accused of brutally attacking his fiancé. Do I… A) Take verbal testimony from the man accused and the woman he is accused of beating (and anyone who knows even a little bit about battered women know they almost always defend the man that beats them until they stab the man in the neck on a boat and throw him overboard)? Or B) Maybe make some serious inquiries into whether or not the casino that has cameras on every single space of floor in the building might have caught something on tape?
Goodell apparently chose option A. Why? The only answer I can come up with is that he didn’t want to know. Willful ignorance. That is the only thing it can be, right? If TMZ -- which when you compare it to the power and influence of the NFL is like comparing a bee sting to a machete cutting off your arm -- can find the video I can’t imagine it would have taken more than a 10 minute call from the NFL to get a copy. This is the NFL who has it’s own security team to crawl up the asshole and pee sample of every new prospective rookie. They couldn’t get a casino security tape?
Only if they didn’t want to see it.
Which makes sense when the new information that came out that someone on the law enforcement side actually gave them the tape. Oh, and there is a voicemail confirming receipt of the tape. No big deal there. I’m sure that the receiving secretary makes all important investigative decisions and just decided not to pass the tape up the chain of command. Makes perfect sense.
What happened was that the tape either was shelved so there could be plausible deniability (I think I read too much Tom Clancy) or they did see it, and decided to play dumb and deny it anyhow.
There really is no other option. Other than the NFL is run by a bunch of incompetent monkeys only any monkey would be competent enough to throw enough poop that no one would ever want to see the tape.
Goodell screwed the pooch. And the reason? Hubris. He thought that he could announce any punishment and that it would die then and there. People would forget about it. And if he had actually gotten the punishment even close to correct, he might have been right. But, by botching the initial suspension, people were so incensed that they kept looking into it. Ray Rice could have been back playing football at the end of October. The reason he isn’t is that the commissioner was going to have him come back before the leaves turned.
I stick to my prophecy that the 6 or 7 people that read this every week have already heard: The NFL will cease to be a major sport within my lifetime. And Goodell is just helping speed that along. There is a major cultural defect in the NFL right now and it is leading to an inordinate amount of violent crime outside of the playing field. I don’t know if it is a side effect of HGH or steroids (I’m sorry, someone is taking something. Humans don’t get THAT big and fast on their own), or if it is just the mindset that allows a person to thrive in a very violent sport and makes it very hard for that same person to survive in normal society outside of it. I just don’t know, but someone needs to look into it.
Onto the games this week. If you haven’t puked already. These are going to be quick hitters because, well I can only stand in shit so long before I start to stink. My pick is in CAPS…
STEELERS at Ravens -2.5: Crap. I’m selling the Omar Epps led Steelers.
PATRIOTS at Vikings +6: Petersen out. You get one more shot, Patriots, then I start to think I might be a year behind calling your demise.
Seahawks at CHARGERS +6: Seattle is good, but not as good, on the road.
Jets at PACKERS -8: This could have been -18 and I would have still thought about it.
LIONS at Panthers -2.5: Going to bet that the Lions are for real. This year. Again. Crap.
DOLPHINS at Bills (Pick ‘Em): Going to need more than one game from either of these teams.
JAGUARS at Redskin Potatoes -5.5: I still believe Jacksonville grew more than Washington.
Cowboys at TITANS -3.5: It’s going to take some convincing that this Cowboys team is any better than the 1-15 Aikman rookie year team.
Cardinals at GIANTS +2: Home dog on the East coast playing a team from the Pacific time zone at 1pm rule trumps my “Don’t pick NFC East teams who don’t have a bird for a mascot rule.
Saints at BROWNS +6.5: Totally held my nose when I wrote this. I believe in this as much as I believe in Santa, but somehow I still have gifts under my parents’ tree every year at Christmas.
FALCONS at Bengals -5.5: One of these teams was a fraud last week.
Rams at BUCCANEERS -6: If Tampa doesn’t cover this I promise not to pick them again all year.
Texans at RAIDERS +3: Lots of home dogs this week. Fun.
CHIEFS at Broncos -12.5: Backdoor cover potential is HUGE in this game. Also, bonus pick: OVER 51
Bears at NINERS -7: What is the record for rushing yards in a game? Could be in jeopardy here.
EAGLES at Colts -3: I think the lines are reversed as far as quality of roster goes. I also think the Colts miss the playoffs this year. Just a hunch.
Last Week: 5-11 (I’m a notoriously slow starter)
And since my editor's made a very good point that nowhere in any of the coverage has there been any talk about where to go for help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, here is the National Domestic Violence Hotline number.
All owners in the AAS FFL will be suspect to a fine of $5 (hereby referred to as a "Morality Fee") per besmirchment of the league by a rostered position player. Should an NFL athlete with a 'real life' roster spot on a defense held by an AAS FFL owner commit an act that besmirches the good name of the AAS FFL, that owner is subject to a $1 fee. All infractions are subject to review and appeal by the league owners with discretion given to the commissioner. No AAS FFL owners will be held to this standard because, well, we're owners.
All fees are forwarded to the Playoff Champion.
By: Bob Lang
Welcome back!!! I know you’ve missed me and my wildly inconsistent NFL picks. Heck, you might have gone broke three times over last year before finally rallying at the end with me. I hope you enjoy this year’s ride as much as I will enjoy taking you on it.
First, let me give a brief post-mortem on the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes National Championship run that lasted all of 7 days.
(For those of you new here, I am an alum of The Ohio State University and a complete and unabashed homer in this column. Deal with it, or write your own freaking column)
That just about wraps up my post-mortem. It was a great atmosphere. Virginia Tech brought a fun, loud, and very cool fan base with them (based on the ones that stopped by our tailgate). It will still be a fun year for OSU football, but it is entirely possible that they lose 3 or 4 games this season. That is how important Miller was to this football team. Having seen this offensive line first hand, he might even have lost two games.
OK, lets get onto the NFL season for my third season of picking games for this site. I am over .500 but, well, I am too lazy and still a little angry from the game tonight to look it up. So, just trust me. Having said that, remember that my pick is in CAPS. Wager at your own risk.
GREEN BAY at Seattle -5.5: Well…. shit. What did we learn from the Thursday night opener? That Seattle is still very very good. That’s about it really.
NEW ORLEANS at Atlanta +3.5: I know that this is supposed to be a new season, but my mind is still poisoned by how horrible Atlanta was last year. I don't think they will be that bad again, but I think New Orleans might even be better.
MINNESOTA at St. Louis -3.5: I avoided drafted and St. Louis players in both of my fantasy leagues this season. I think I will stick to my guns with that instinct here.
Cleveland at PITTSBURGH -7: Just to be clear: it’s a bad thing when you go into a season and your best player is working as a car salesman, right? How has no one written a book on the misery of being a Browns fan? Have they? Can I start on this now? Who wants to be my interview subject?
JACKSONVILLE at Philadelphia -10.5: First of all, Jacksonville isn’t going to be as bad as last year. Second, Philadelphia isn’t going to be as good. Third, I drafted McCoy in the more expensive of my fantasy leagues, so his leg should be falling off any day now.
OAKLAND at New York Jets -5.5: I would get on the under in this game too (40.5). But the Jets… not sold on them being decent. Or even ok.
Bengals at RAVENS -1: The public is on the Bengals here. Sooooo, which way do you think you should go?
Bills at BEARS -7: Two teams that are complete mysteries to me right now. Take the over. I don’t think either team fields a defense.
Redskins at TEXANS -3: Yup, two more teams that could really suck like last year or really turn it around. I think the Texans have a better chance to be the latter.
Titans at CHIEFS -3.5: I don’t love this pick. I don’t think the Chiefs will be as good as they were last year. And I like the Titans as one of my sleeper teams this year. But until I see proof that I’m not a complete moron, I have to go with what I know.
PATRIOTS at Dolphins +4.5: One of these years the clock is going to run out on the Patriots. I’m going to say that year is next year though. The Dolphins, they could be another sleeper pick this year.
Panthers at BUCCANEERS -3: The Bucs are not as bad as they were last year (I had Doug Martin in my fantasy leagues last year so they were fucked before they even knew it), and the Panthers lost a lot, I mean a LOT, of offensive weapons this year. Going with my instincts here.
NINERS at Cowboys +4: And I’m betting the over in this game. I’m not entirely sure Dallas has one NFL worthy defensive player. This could be an ugly year.
Colts at BRONCOS -8: I can’t pull the trigger on the Colts until I see that their offensive line can keep Luck upright. At least he is athletic enough to run from a team that may or may not be hopped up on Molly.
GIANTS at Lions -6.5: The Lions are a better team than they showed the last month of last season. The Giants are, well I think they are, a better team than they showed the last 4 months of last season. Still, 6.5 is a lot to lay with the Lions. So don’t.
Chargers at CARDINALS -3: Oh, I drafted Ellington too in my bigger money fantasy league. I might have to start a cottage blackmail industry and threaten to draft anyone who doesn’t pay me. He might be out for a season before the season even starts. Awesome. I do like the Cardinals defense though, and I think they win a low scoring affair here as the late game Monday night. Also, why are there not two Monday night games every week? Cancel the Thursday game and make this happen. Thanks.
Had some thoughts on Josh Gordon and punishments in the NFL that have been bugging me. The NFL is pretty terrible at proportionally doling out punishments. Obviously, beating your girlfriend is way way way worse than smoking pot. In general, I expect the Players Association to start making a push for changes as it pertains to this situation (also, does the name Jim Irsay sound familiar? What happened to that guy?). In general, I think there are many more pressing issues than marijuana use. It is universally understood that the NFL came down way way way too softly on Ray Rice, but they've been shirking domestic violence situations for years. I'd know, I'm a Chiefs fan and grew up watching Larry Johnson trample defenders and girlfriends left and right. They also obviously skirt around punishing an NFL owner that committed a much worse offense (driving while abusing substances puts other lives in danger. Smoking pot in your home doesn't).
Still, that doesn't mean you can put the two punishments in a bottle and compare Gordon to Rice. The NFL got the Josh Gordon ruling CORRECT. A three-time offender that can't stay clean for tests while on diversion that has seen escalating punishments after each offense deserves to be out for a year.
My main takeaway from the Josh Gordon incident is this - If you are paid millions of dollars to play a sport that you sign a contract for with a known stipulation for avoiding certain substances and you get caught consuming a substance that is getting more and more culturally accepted, that is still YOUR FAULT FOR VIOLATING A CONTRACT AND LEAGUE RULES. Deal with it (and fans need to realize that, too).
Dwayne Bowe is another perfect example. He cost himself $12 million in guaranteed money from violating a morality clause while headed to find a Sonic.
These tests are not all that random. Most collegiate programs that get "random tests" are tipped off in advance. I'd know, I've been in the room while athletes get told to get clean. The NFL, especially diversionary programs within the NFL, is no different. Life is about weighing the trade-offs. Few million to not smoke in a specific time period? C'mon.
Queue Stephen A Smith: