Unfortunately I procrastinated the last regular season picks so I’m going for the late games this week:
Detroit @ Green Bay (Packers -6.5): Aaron Rodgers at home.
Carolina @ Atlanta (Falcons): Matt Ryan at home.
St. Louis @ Seattle (Rams +12.5): I’m hoping the Rams can slow down the Seahawks enough to cover.
Arizona @ San Francisco (Cardinals +6.5): This pick hurts but with Harbaugh probably going to Michigan and seeing the 49ers fall to San Diego I have no faith in this 49er team regardless of home field advantage.
Oakland @ Denver (Broncos -14): I hate spreads this big but last time these two teams played it was 41-17. Broncos 7-0 at home, Raiders 0-7 on the road. I smell a route.
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (Bengals +3.5): There is something about this Bengals team.
The .500 streak continues. Last couple weeks of the season have already shown a few crazy things happening (See Redskins over Philly). Off to the picks!
Detroit @ Chicago (Lions -8.5): I mean how much disarray can Chicago be in that they revert to Jimmy Clausen? Maybe Jay Cutler will actually show some emotion today on the sideline, I’d love to see him smile after Clausen throws interception number 3.
Green Bay @ Tampa Bay (Bucs +11.5): I’m really going out on a limb here but Green Bay isn’t always a great road team and while Tampa Bay is awful they are still playing hard. Pack should win but closer than you think.
Buffalo @ Oakland (Bills -6): The Raiders were brought back to reality last week so I expect their awfulness to continue.
New England @ New York (Jets +10.5): I’m going against my mantra of picking Tom Brady and the Patriots but I think the Jets give Rex a nice going away present.
Kansas City @ Pittsburgh: (Chiefs +3): Kansas City is underrated and I think could do big things.
Baltimore @ Houston: (Ravens -5.5): One of those lines that looks good but I won’t be shocked if the Ravens win by 4.
Maybe one of these ladies will run the ball for the Vikings
3-3 again… will the mediocrity ever stop? (Probably not)
Cincinnati @ Tampa Bay (Bengals -3.5): Everything about this pick feels like a trap but the Bucs are terrible.
Arizona @ Atlanta (Cardinals -2.5): Atlanta plays much better at home and I don’t love Drew Stanton at QB but I still think the Cardinals can pull out the win.
Carolina @ Minnesota (Vikings -2.5): I don’t know who the hell is going to run the ball for the Vikings but either way I’ll take them at home.
Cleveland @ Buffalo (Bills -3.5): I’ll take the Bills at home and hope Joe Haden doesn’t shut down Sammy Watkins.
Denver @ Kansas City (Broncos -1.5): Broncos haven’t looked great lately, Chiefs just lost to the Raiders after 5 straight wins. I’m taking Peyton over Alex Smith.
New England @ Green Bay (Patriots +3.5): Green Bay should be favored at home and both teams are playing well. That being said I’m riding the Tom Brady last call train as long as possible, especially if you’re giving him points.
I am currently learning that I understand less and less when it comes to the world of professional sports. The NFL continues to blow my mind to the point that I’m genuinely losing interest in following the league altogether. Probably has a little to do with the fact that the 49ers are mediocre and my fantasy teams are causing what little hair I have left to fall out. But fining Marshawn Lynch $100,000 for not speaking to the media makes about as much sense to me as calling smaller sized bags of candy “Fun Sized” (less candy is never fun), or justifying something awful by saying “It is what it is” (redundancy be damned I use it too.)
Below is a list of a few fines this season:
Lions center Dominic Raiola fined $10,000 for a cut block against the Patriots (although not fined for almost tearing a dude’s ACL on the last play of the game.)
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict fined $25,000 for trying to “Hulk Rip” Cam Newton and Greg Olsen’s ankles off. (See my rant here )
Tampa Bay fullback Javorskie Lane fined $58,000 for violating PED policy.
There are numerous other Late Hit fines (Usually between $8,000- $16,000), Football into stands ($11,000ish… expensive football), and a number of other financial punishments for players in the league.
I don’t get Lynch’s fine at all. Please… somebody, justify this for me. I’m begging you to provide me a valid argument as to why this action is warranted. Lynch doesn’t like talking to the media so why would anybody press this issue? Lynch gets fined $100,000 for not speaking to reporters but Bill Belichik can be a dick to reporters and give three word answers over and over again and not be punished? (That I know of). I’m pretty sure people who sell meth get away with less of a financial slam than this. I can’t handle the thought of this anymore, I’m going to eat 72 “fun sized” bags of M&Ms.
3100 Students over the course of 18 years took “fake” classes at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I’m a little surprised at the lack of notoriety this story seems to be receiving on the front pages of main stream media. This is possibly one of the biggest academic scandals mixed with athletics in the history of college sports. Every punishment fathomable including the death penalty should be on the table for UNC.
For every dumb rule the NCAA chooses to enforce (see punishing individuals for being paid for signing autographs) these infractions hit at the very core of what the NCAA and college institutions are supposed to believe: STUDENT-Athletes. According to a CNN article, UNC could be charged with one of the most serious charges: lack of Institutional Control. This charge is the gateway to some of the NCAA’s harshest penalties which can include the “death penalty.”
The University of Southern California was hit with this penalty and was forced to vacate championships, lose scholarships, and face post season bans in multiple sports. SMU was hit back in 1986 with the “death penalty” which shattered their football program and athletics department as a whole. (A hit I don’t think they have recovered from).
Look this isn’t recruiting violations, this isn’t signing autographs, this isn’t sneaking extra practices… this is blatant cheating. This was UNC meeting expectations in the shadiest, dirtiest, and most unethical ways possible. It wasn’t over the course of one, two, or even five years. 18 years this went on, and it was even brought to the school’s attention back in 2009. The worst is, the fraud isn’t limited to one sport, multiple sports have been labeled in the report.
I know, I know, I’m not a UNC fan and in fact pretty much loathe them with regards to athletics. This goes beyond athletic rivalry and simple competitive animosity. Academic institutions are responsible for holding kids to certain standards even if they are part of athletic programs that bring their respective universities millions of dollars a year. The easy argument is that if the broad scope of this travesty happens at a place like UNC it is bound to happen at other colleges and universities. That argument may hold some merit and may in fact be true however there is no proof. If this investigation exposes more academic fraud in other institutions then so be it. Maybe it needs to happen so perhaps the priority of college athletics can be reestablished.
So I’m torn on the issue of Ray McDonald playing today. For those who don’t know (which I’m not who that is at this point), McDonald was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence a few days ago. He has not been found guilty, claims he is innocent, yada yada yada. You know the routine as far as how athletes are supposed to respond when accused of cheating and breaking the law… if not see Wes Welker and his girlfriend “Molly.”
My issue is this: Regardless of innocence should he play today? My gut says no. Jim Harbaugh’s immediate reaction was that of no tolerance. He said “You ask me how I feel about domestic violence. I can be very clear about that. If someone physically abuses a woman and/or physically or mentally abuses or hurts a child, then there’s no understanding.” Harbaugh even went as far as to say that player would no longer be a part of the organization.
Now Harbaugh is back tracking and allowing McDonald to play and the legal process to take its course. My question is should he be allowed to play after taking such a stance? I really don’t think so and I don’t think you owe it to some “legal process” to decide. The bottom line is if you are standing against domestic violence, and one of your employees is accused of it, you should remove that person from the organization on some professional leave until all of the facts are found and the proper conclusion may be drawn. It kills me to say this as a 49ers fan, but this is just one more black eye to an organization that has done nothing but win on the field and lose in the PR department.
So… Should he play?