I’ll be honest, I am not even sure an apology is necessary, but…I feel like I have to.
About what? Welp, Antonio Brown of course!!
When he joined the team, I wrote something to the effect of “I’m all in on him being on the team, even if he is an arseclown…because I don’t consider any athlete a role model…stuff he has done thus far has been more due to the fact that he is immature and a tool…there are plenty of crazies in every locker room, what’s one more…etc., etc., etc.”
I also, of course, added that if the rape allegations were true, he should be in jail and certainly not playing football. But we probably wouldn’t know about that until his civil case had run its course…and who knew how long that would take?
Then, of course, this week he gets caught doing another stupid thing. Except for that THIS particular “stupid thing” is not harmless as was a lot of the stuff he had done in the past (videoing locker room stuff, whining about his helmet, frostbitten feet, etc.). This time, he essentially threatened one of his accusers by including his buddies (enforcers?) on a text string where he posted a picture of the accusers’ children. Kind of a tacit threat I would presume. At least that’s how I understand the situation at this point.
So the New England Patriots released him yesterday. Perhaps they never should have signed him in the first place. We can debate that all day. Or all month. Or forever.
The Pats were going to give him a chance with a clean slate. So would have a handful of other teams as well. Make no mistake about that. And it took him a little over a week to mess that up. It’s too bad because he is immensely talented and I was looking forward to seeing him perform on the field.
But he dug his own grave. And I, in turn, feel a little dirty for wanting a guy like that on my team. So if I owe an apology, then you got it.
As for the effect on the Pats on the field, well, no one can say, “well, they didn’t need him anyway”. Who doesn’t NEED great talent?? But the Pats are pretty talented overall, so the hit may not be all that bad.
I’m also not going to go back and say “well, the team should have never traded Demaryius Thomas because now they need him…” Thomas, although I wouldn’t mind still having him, may not even be any kind of difference maker anymore. Remains to be seen. And I doubt we will see any magic while he is on the Jets. Especially with the third string QB now taking snaps for the foreseeable future.
I’d rather take my chances with a kid like Jakobi Meyers, to see if there is actually something there. And to see if Phillip Dorsett can be as useful as many people think he can be with more playing time (I’m still skeptical of that). If the Jets release Thomas eventually, sure, I’ll take him. But not worried about that kind of thing…yet…
As long as they don’t start playing Matthew Slater or Gunner O-SHEF-SKI(!!) at receiver more.
Plus, I still expect the Pats to run the ball more this year anyway. This move may get the third rounder, Damien Harris, into the mix a little bit now. Would love to see what he can do as well. And maybe that means more Rex Burkhead out of the slot. Don’t mind that.
Above all, we really need to be concerned about the offensive line over anything else at this present moment. A story for another day.
On to the Week Three picks. After another dud of a Thursday Night Football game. Marcus Mariota sure looks like a #2 overall pick these days, huh? Wow, that guy doesn’t look like much anymore. Not that he ever warranted that draft position, mind you. I will allow that his offensive line didn’t do him any favors Thursday. But when your alternative is Ryan Tannehill, you kind of have to stick with Mariota, no?
Anyway, moving on:
Atlanta at Indianapolis (-2.5)
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Indy’s performance thus far this season. I was surprised by the Falcons’ win over the Eagles last week…but I wouldn’t say it was pleasant. I don’t believe that Atlanta is that good of a team, despite Julio Jones and some other decent players. Adam Vinatieri gets back on track here. That’s all.
Indianapolis 23, Atlanta 20.
Detroit at Philadelphia (-6.5)
The Lions surprised the Chargers last week. The Eagles were surprised by the Falcons. Things will be very different this week.
Philadelphia 31, Detroit 13.
Miami at Dallas (-21.5)
The first of two 20 point spreads this week. Hard for me to believe I will be taking both favorites. I don’t believe the Cowboys are truly as good as they have looked so far. I mean, the two divisional teams they have played thus far are not really any good. But the Dolphins are historically atrocious. Doesn’t matter whether Josh Rosen or Fitzmagic is at the helm.
Dallas 42, Miami 10.
Oakland at Minnesota (-7.5)
Hey, the Raiders only gave up points in one quarter last week against the Chiefs. Of course, it was 28 of them, but who’s counting?
Minnesota 24, Oakland 17.
Cincinnati at Buffalo (-5.5)
I love how seemingly everyone is jumping on the Bills’ bandwagon so far since they have started 2-0. They know their opponents have been the Jets and Giants, right? Cincy probably stinks too, but they almost beat Seattle on their field in Week One. Something to note.
Cincinnati 20, Buffalo 17.
New York Jets at New England (-22.5)
LUKE FALK!!! Bill won’t hesitate to run it up on the J-E-T-S. You think Brady in shotgun with 4 minutes left last week in Miami was in poor taste and also risking injury? Picture Brady with a bad calf with 30 seconds left in this one throwing bombs and taking timeouts. Up 50. Wouldn’t shock me.
New England 52, New York Jets 3. Lock of the week…yup, even at that number…
Denver at Green Bay (-7.5)
Green Bay 24, Denver 10.
Baltimore at Kansas City (-6.5)
Love how everyone is on the Lamar Jackson bandwagon after two games as well. He may well become a good QB in this league. But please remember he has played the Dolphins and Cardinals in his two games this year. The Chiefs may not have the best defense. But they have to be better than the two aforementioned teams. And I don’t believe the Ravens’ current defense can be confused with their best ones over the Johnny Harbaugh (or Brian Billick?) era.
Kansas City 34, Baltimore 24.
Carolina (-2.5) at Arizona
This line may have changed once Carolina QB Cam Newton was ruled out, but hey, these are the ones I use. Although Cam hasn’t looked all that great this season, this has to be considered a negative. Maybe after dropping their first two games at home, a road game is what the doctor ordered for Riverboat Ron and his troops. I doubt it though.
Arizona 17, Carolina 13.
New York Giants at Tampa Bay (-6.5)
ELI HAS BEEN BENCHED!! ELI HAS BEEN BENCHED!! I don’t know if Danny Jones is the answer. But I do know Eli is not. And yes, I am still bitter about the two Super Bowl losses to him.
New York Giants 23, Tampa Bay 18.
New Orleans at Seattle (-5.5)
Drew Brees is out and Teddy Bridgewater looked brutal in his stead last week. The Seahawks are generally unbeatable at home. Good enough for me.
Seattle 24, New Orleans 16.
Houston at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)
I honestly don’t know what to make of either of these two teams as of yet.
Los Angeles Chargers 24, Houston 20.
Pittsburgh at San Francisco (-6.5)
Just counting down the minutes until Jimmy Football gets hurt again. In the meantime, this Steeler season could get even uglier soon. Can Minkah Fitzpatrick play offense?? Hope that first rounder was worth it for him.
San Francisco 31, Pittsburgh 17.
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Cleveland
The Browns smoked the Jets last Monday, but I can’t say it was all that impressive. Have people jumped off the bandwagon here yet? I was never on, despite expecting them to improve this year nonetheless. People are poo-pooing the Rams this year for some reason. Yeah, Jared Goff needs the earpiece. But they have some talent all over the field. I see Cooper Kupp play and thank our Lord Jesus H. Christ and the Baby Jesus for him being hurt for last years’ Super Bowl.
Los Angeles Rams 37, Cleveland 17.
Chicago (-4.5) at Washington
Remind me not to put on Monday Night Football this week either.
Chicago 17, Washington 14.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 2-0
Season (against the spread): 17-16
Season (straight up): 24-9
…making this weeks’ picks during the Thursday Night Jets/Browns game while wondering: 1) How Tyrod Taylor could start any game over Baker Mayfield…or any QB for that matter. 2) Can Mayfield keep this up? 3) The Jets were the opposition so it could be unlikely Mayfield’s performance actually means squat. 4) even though when Mayfield starts next week against the likely 0-3 Raiders, I can’t help but see one of those 11-35, 134 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT games coming…and even 5) I didn’t hear Jamie Collins’ name much all night. So did he get his money and make himself invisible like many predicted? Hmmmmm… Oh yeah, and for the postgame 6) Future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas certainly looks just a hair smaller, no? Funny how that happens…
San Francisco at Kansas City (-6.5)
Is Patrick Mahomes for real? Is Jimmy Football grossly overpaid and overrated? Too early to tell for either. But the Chiefs are tough to beat at home. They also have some serious weapons. The Niners appear to have no weapons whatsoever. Tough schedule for the Niners to start with to boot. Spread may seem kind of high on the surface. But it’s probably legit. Vegas knows…
Kansas City 30, San Francisco 20.
Denver at Baltimore (-5.5)
Speaking of high spreads, Denver is actually 2-0 and Baltimore is 1-1, but their one win was against a pathetic Buffalo Bill team. So does that really count as a win? But you know what? I’m feeling the Ravens. I have no idea why.
Baltimore 27, Denver 21.
New York Giants at Houston (-5.5)
The Texans are 0-2. They are supposed to be in the playoff mix. Deshaun Watson may not yet be back to full strength. But maybe this is the week? G-Men? Please.
Houston 24, New York Giants 13.
Oakland at Miami (-3.5)
Miami is 2-0. How fraudulent is that? Extremely. But you know what? It’s going to take time for Jon Gruden to make something of this Raider team, if he even ever does. So it appears the Dolphins will be 3-0, much to my chagrin.
Miami 20, Oakland 14.
Green Bay (-2.5) at Washington
I have no idea why I am doing what I am doing here. Let’s leave it at that.
Washington 27, Green Bay 24.
Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6.5)
I also have no idea why I am doing what I am doing on this one. Other than the fact that I expect Carson Wentz to be rusty. That’s all I have.
Philadelphia 24, Indianapolis 23.
Cincinnati at Carolina (-3.5)
Is anyone buying the Bengals’ 2-0 start? I’m not sure I can. Despite the fact they are playing the abundantly average Panthers.
Carolina 20, Cincinnati 16.
Tennessee at Jacksonville (-6.5)
Marcus Mariota may play, he may not. Will it matter? Well, it should be worse with Blaine Gabbert at the helm. Will Jax have a letdown after their apparent Super Bowl win over the Patriots in Week Two? Perhaps. But again…Gabbert…
Jacksonville 38, Tennessee 17.
New Orleans at Atlanta (-3.5)
There are “experts” that picked the Saints to go to the Super Bowl. That may well still happen. But a pretty uninspiring start to the season. Speaking of uninspiring starts to the season, you can very well say the Falcons fall into that group as well. That all being said, I feel like this is where New Orleans start ramping it up. I don’t know why I feel that way. It’s Week Three for the Blowhard after all. We don’t have all the answers yet either.
New Orleans 31, Atlanta 24.
Buffalo at Minnesota (-16.5)
The Bills are REALLY bad. The Vikes are mad after their stupid tie last week and they went out and got a new kicker. But he won’t matter this week.
Minnesota 52, Buffalo 10.
Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)
The Chargers seem to have a pretty good team. The Rams have been absolutely otherworldly so far this season. One thing is for sure…is there really going to be any “home field advantage”?
Los Angeles Rams 31, Los Angeles Chargers 27.
Dallas at Seattle (-2.5)
No way the Seahawks go 0-3. Being at home after two road games to start the year should take care of that.
Seattle 30, Dallas 17.
Chicago (-5.5) at Arizona
The Cardinals have scored 6 points in 2 games. SIX. And given up 58. ‘Nuff said.
Chicago 27, Arizona 13.
New England (-6.5) at Detroit
The Patriots, per usual, are finding their way the first month of the season. Will the rest of the season be different based on all the crap going on down in Foxborough these days? Maybe. But not this week. Matty Patricia is having his own issues in Detroit. That being said, the Pats defense apparently still is putrid. Two of their better players in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung are unlikely to play this week. Eric Rowe is likely to play, which is bad enough, but he also apparently has a tender groin. So the Lions should put up some points I would imagine. Whether Josh Gordon plays or not, I think this is the week the Pats offense makes some real noise as well.
New England 41, Detroit 31.
Pittsburgh (-1.5) at Tampa Bay
Fitzmagic has had a nice run. The Bucs are 2-0 and are at home. The Steelers have been scuffling to start the season. Le’Veon Bell is still not in the building. You know what that means.
Pittsburgh 38, Tampa Bay 27.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 13-20
Season (straight up): 16-17
…with bated breath for the first game of Week 3 in the NFL season, the New York Jets versus the Cleveland Browns, we can address a few additional football topics. Specific to the hometown New England Patriots, I mean.
Wait, is anyone really anxious to see Jets v. Browns? I guess…J-E-T-S fans could be excited about Sammy Darnold. Browns fans can be excited by almost getting a couple of wins against alleged Super Bowl contenders in the Steelers and Saints. Perhaps the nation is fired up to see this new Cleveland kicker that no one’s ever heard of…someone who only made 69.5 percent of his kicks in college too…that should work out nicely.
Anyway, as for the Pats, we could talk about the Jacksonville beating. But why bother? The offense couldn’t do anything and the defense stunk. Some think that because it was Week Two, the Pats didn’t overextend themselves, knowing that beating a fired up Jags team in their home opener in 90 plus degree weather was unlikely to happen. The offense didn’t exactly take a lot of risks, after all.
That doesn’t explain how poorly the D played though. Sure, when you lose 2 of your better players in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung fairly early in the game, that certainly doesn’t help. But that doesn’t explain Eric Rowe and all the linebackers looking putrid. And Adrian Clayborn running past Blake Bortles numerous times, leaving Bortles plenty of room to run for yet another first down.
I don’t have any answers. All I am thinking is that the Pats sometimes look very average in September and then fix problems as the season goes along. Though I was pretty pissed during the game, I have started to trend in that direction throughout the week. Maybe this year is different though, who knows?
Perhaps the Patriots have fixed one of their issues already…a punt returner. Because CYRUS JONES IS BACK! He is? Really? Didn’t see this one coming. And I’m sure he’s not really going to make much of a difference. I’m not sure I understand…even if it is just to return punts for two games until Julian Edelman comes back. But they gave Jones a two-year contract. Not that that necessarily means a whole bunch. But still…does that mean they have bigger plans for Cyrus? They didn’t sign Corey Coleman or Bennie Fowler to two-year contracts, to the best of my knowledge. We’ll see…
You wanna talk about Josh Gordon? I don’t. Why? That’s all people are talking about locally now and I’ve had my fill. He supposedly has great talent. I say “supposedly”, because he really hasn’t played in 5 years. So how do we know he still has “it”? Wide receivers coming into this system often take forever to figure things out, if they ever even do. Can’t afford that kind of time here, but it may happen. I have no problem with the trade, as who really cares about the 5th round pick? It’s worth the gamble, even if he goes and gets loaded tonight and gets banned from the NFL yet again. Because of the potential for that and all the other uncertainty revolving around Gordon, I am not getting my hopes up. But I certainly will be paying attention.
You wanna talk about Ian O’Connor’s book? I suppose we can chat a little. I mean, it’s kind of old news now a rift has formed between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady over time. Some of the excerpts from the book are gold though. Bill and at least some of the coaches think they could have taken an average quarterback and made him do the same things Brady has done in his career? Laughable. Brady is shocked that he was getting old and Bill was looking to the future to replace him at some point, just like what has happened to EVERY OTHER PATRIOT, INCLUDING ALL THE LONG TIME GREATS. Laughable.
Listen, this was bound to happen. Anyone that has a head on their shoulders should know that this wasn’t going to end well. “This” being Brady’s career in New England. And…it will get worse, I think I would bet the house on that. Unfortunate, of course, but who really didn’t see this coming?
This topic is going to be beaten to death over the next few weeks, so I’ll stop here now. Once the book officially comes out, maybe I’ll read it and share some thoughts. In any event, hopefully, Bill and Tom can put their differences aside and just win games together. Because they needed each other for this long run of success. We should be all able to agree on that. Thank God Brady has Matty Patricia’s defense coming up on Sunday Night. That should be a recipe for success. Then again, Eric Rowe will be out there again trying to stop Matty Stafford…
As for the beginning of Week Three’s slate:
New York Jets at Cleveland (-3.5)
When do you think the Browns were last favored in a game by three and a half points? I don’t know the answer, but I can’t imagine it’s in the decade of the 2010’s. Maybe it was, but they still shouldn’t be favored by that here either, even against the Jets.
I know, Cleveland is a little bit of a darling these days. 1-31 the last two years, somehow Hue Jackson keeps his job and the GM is fired. Then the tie in Week One and a close loss in Week Two…largely again, because their kicker was brutal. But these guys are still the Browns. And Tyrod Taylor is still their QB. But their new kicker has a strong leg, did you hear?
You know what? This is the NFL. EVERY kicker has a strong leg. Maybe teams should be more concerned with getting a kicker who is ACCURATE, even if his leg is a little weaker. There’s a thought, eh?
Anyway, Cleveland may yet win this game. But Darnold looks like the real deal. And Thursday Night games usually stink. So I am “betting” this one is close.
New York Jets 20, Cleveland 16 (one missed extra point and at least one missed field goal).
Week (against the spread): 8-8
Week (straight up): 9-7
Season (against the spread): 13-19
Season (straight up): 16-16