Hurley’s Picks: COVID Predictably Wreaking Havoc On NFL, And It’s Dispiriting

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By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka

dangolka (CBS) — You already know what feels slightly bit misplaced if you’re masking a soccer workforce on the onset of a COVID-19 outbreak? An NFL picks column.

Doesn’t fairly really feel related. You already know?

Nonetheless, the NFL stays in Larry Csonka mode, maintaining its head down and operating by means of any and every part that stands in its means, by no means stopping to go searching and assess the scenario. Head down. Plow forward. Soldier on.

It’s type of a soccer staple, positive, however it appears slightly bit short-sighted and ill-advised in terms of working a multi-billion greenback enterprise within the midst of a seemingly unending pandemic. However I don’t know. That’s simply me.

To be trustworthy, the entire thing stinks. It smells. It’s the worst. Clearly, the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on almost each aspect of American life since March. Soccer hardly ranks extremely on the life-or-death scale that this virus has imposed on so many individuals for thus lengthy. It’s extremely uncouth to whine or cry concerning the hurdles going through a sports activities league when the virus has impacted folks in far more significant methods on a nonstop foundation since March.

With that understood, that is nonetheless a sports activities area, the place sports activities are mentioned and dissected. In order it goes with the NFL proper now, this complete scenario is troubling.

The Raiders, a workforce with gamers who’ve been fined for violating coronavirus protocols, had a optimistic take a look at pop up this week. Cam Newton, who performed in opposition to the Raiders in Week 3, examined optimistic throughout on Friday of Week 4. Two extra Patriots have examined optimistic, so now the Chiefs wait and marvel when or if the optimistic exams might be coming for them, too. Down in Nashville, regardless of the power being shut down for greater than every week, optimistic exams proceed to point out up, bringing the overall quantity to 19 optimistic exams since final Tuesday.

In considerably of an encouraging improvement, the Vikings haven’t had any optimistic exams come up. Contemplating they performed a sort out soccer sport in opposition to the Titans simply earlier than the outbreak started, that must be thought-about a significant aid — clearly for everyone concerned with the Vikings but additionally for the league as a complete.

On the identical time, the league can be sensible to not achieve an excessive amount of false confidence from the Vikings averting hazard (to this point). The Titans — a workforce that performed within the AFC Championship Sport 9 months in the past — is on the verge of lacking a sport for the second straight week. Based on a brand new report, a few of that could be from their very own doing, because the workforce reportedly held an unsanctioned exercise on a highschool area for some motive.

(The way in which to beat COVID is unclear, however it’s certainly not holding soccer exercises if you’re alleged to be quarantined as a workforce. Whereas the world could throw some rage on the Titans who participated … these gamers had been solely following the lead of the NFL.)

The Patriots, who needed to play with out their beginning quarterback, are seemingly prone to having their sport postponed as properly. The Chiefs — who had been uncovered to the virus each from their observe squad QB testing optimistic and from enjoying in opposition to the Patriots — have to hold on in the intervening time as if all is properly.

This uncertainty actually advantages no one, and it’s casting some severe doubts as as to whether the NFL could make it by means of your complete season. Any hypothesis in that space is merely a guess, however the scenario enjoying out proper now does look a complete lot just like the one that the majority affordable folks anticipated to see when the league introduced its plans for the season.

Remarkably, a foolproof plan like placing all of Cam Newton’s shut contacts in a single airplane and all different Patriots in one other aircraft doesn’t appear to have magically saved the Patriots protected from a contagious virus.

We’ll see what occurs from right here. Unsurprisingly, as of this writing, the NFL nonetheless needs Sunday’s sport between the Patriots and Broncos to be performed. Rescheduling a soccer sport as males contract COVID-19 and head house to their households is just too inconvenient for the NFL to hassle with doing. Plow forward. Transfer on. Subsequent man up.

It’s actually an terrible scenario and a foolhardy method to this. But given the entire indications that the NFL has proven us over time, it’s in no way a shock to see Roger Goodell’s league resembling a rudderless ship at a time when impressed and artistic management is most wanted.

Anyhow. Listed here are some picks for Week 5. LOL!

(Residence workforce in caps; Wednesday traces)

Tampa Bay (-3) over CHICAGO
If Tom Brady can single-handedly flip the Buccaneers right into a championship group, then it could be his most miraculous feat but. Whether or not it’s committing undisciplined penalties or getting questionable teaching selections or simply on the whole being the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that workforce goes to have a tough time remodeling right into a champion within the coming months.

On the identical time … they’re 3-1 … and TB12 seems to be rejuvenated. Dropping O.J. Howard hurts fairly a bit, however Brady’s been making it work with a banged-up set of receivers from the get-go.

The Bears, in the meantime, realized that life just isn’t really easy if you’re not enjoying the Lions or the Giants or the Falcons.

Carolina (+2.5) over ATLANTA
Arthur Clean will simply by no means hearth Dan Quinn. It’s not that I’m rooting for it to occur. I’m not a sicko. I don’t experience glee when somebody will get fired. Nevertheless it’s truthful to say that each different NFL coach in NFL historical past to have as many gaffes/collapses/errors as Quinn’s Falcons have had since February of 2017 has been fired. It’s spectacularly wild that Quinn survived 28-Three after which two shedding seasons after which The Nice Onside Kick Debacle and a litany of different Solely-In-Atlanta moments that I don’t need to harp on as a result of I don’t need to pile on.

Dan Quinn, man. That’s some job safety proper there.

Buffalo (COVID-19) at TENNESSEE
Is that this sport occurring? Who is aware of? However whether or not it’s actual or imagined, I’m taking Buffalo. Or perhaps Tennessee? Guess what: It doesn’t matter who I choose as a result of this sport can’t occur.

(If the Titans find yourself forfeiting for holding their ill-advised exercises, I’m MARKING THIS DOWN AS A WIN AND YOU CANNOT STOP ME.)

Las Vegas (+13.5) over KANSAS CITY
The Chiefs are a mighty spectacular workforce, however they’re additionally type of getting distracted with the entire playing-full-games factor. After barely squeaking by the Chargers in Week 2, they regarded like the very best workforce ever within the first half vs. Baltimore, then acquired outscored 10-7 within the second half. In opposition to the Patriots’ JV quarterback duo, the Chiefs had been locked in a three-point sport all night time earlier than lastly pouring it on a bit late, although even that was due to a gift-wrapped pick-six.

Given their expertise degree and the genius-level at which Andy Reid is working the offense, the Chiefs are liable to go off and win by 40 on any given week. They simply don’t appear keen to remain locked into that high gear for full video games simply but.

Arizona (-7) over NEW YORK JETS
The Jets rank 31st in factors scored and 30th in factors in opposition to.

Don’t fear, although. Joseph Vincent Flacco is right here to save lots of the day.

PITTSBURGH (-7) over Philadelphia
Arduous to have a really feel for a workforce that regarded so-so en path to constructing a 3-Zero report earlier than lacking a COVID sport. However when unsure, simply go in opposition to the 2020 Eagles. It’s simpler that means.

Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) over WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM, WHICH IS SERIOUSLY STILL THEIR NAME
I suppose disgrace on me for getting too distracted by the comical title of Washington’s soccer workforce, thus inflicting me to overlook out on how unhealthy Dwayne Haskins is.

I suppose “unhealthy” isn’t the right phrase a lot as “not excellent” is. 4 touchdowns and three interceptions this 12 months deliver his profession totals to a neat and tidy 11 TDs, 11 INTs. He’s upped his completion share a tick, however general just isn’t the spectacular passer that … Kyle Allen is?

Wait, is {that a} typo? Kyle Allen? The 15th general choose from a 12 months in the past is getting dumped to third-string obligation for Kyle Allen and … oh … expensive God … and ALEX SMITH?!

I uhh … I assumed Ron Rivera was alleged to deliver order to the Washington FOOTBALL TEAM.

Going to be frank with you all: I’m simply not seeing it.

BALTIMORE (-12.5) over Cincinnati
It’s legitimately superior that Joe Burrow seems to be like the true deal. Now we simply have to get him out of Cincy and we’ll be cooking with fuel.

Sadly for the Bengals, they’re getting an extra-angry Ravens workforce. I don’t really know that for sure, however I typically simply assume the Ravens are indignant. It’s type of their factor.

In any occasion, we’ll see if the infusion of a reliable, much-ballyhooed quarterback can breathe some new life into what was an awfully spirited rivalry between these two groups.

Jacksonville (+6.5) over HOUSTON
I’m not going to sit down right here and argue that Invoice O’Brien acquired a uncooked deal, however the Texans did have essentially the most absurd schedule of all time to begin the 12 months. Their opponents to this point have a mixed successful share of .733, and two of these 4 groups are undefeated. Powerful stuff.

Anyhow. I don’t fairly observe the logic in changing O’Brien with the 73-year-old Romeo Crennel, who has a profession report of 28-55 as a head coach. I additionally don’t fairly observe the logic in elevating the Patriots’ former workforce chaplain to the top of soccer operations. From main Bible readings to main the job seek for a brand new head coach, The Rise Of Jack Easterby is a real American story of … simply randomly persevering with to stand up organizational charts for some motive or one other.

What I’m making an attempt to say it that the Houston Texans are a multitude. I yield my time.

Miami (+8.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
Seems like we’ve acquired a number of too many accidents happening on the market within the Bay Space.

Indianapolis (-2) over CLEVELAND
Decide your poison on what you need to imagine in additional: That the 3-1 Cleveland Browns are fairly good, or that the Indianapolis Colts have the No. 1 protection within the NFL.

Actually a troublesome name.

DALLAS (-9.5) over New York Giants
The Jets and Giants ought to simply play one another each week and keep out of everybody’s means. Minimize down on journey. Cease losing everybody’s time. Provides opponents additional byes that they will then use to play their COVID-postponed video games. Plus, the Jets and Giants would really get some wins.

Why am I not commissioner?

Severely.

NEW ENGLAND (COVID-19) over Denver
I likewise don’t think about this sport will get performed but when it does, I don’t care if Steve Belichick begins at quarterback and Brian Belichick begins at sort out. The Patriots aren’t shedding to that Broncos workforce.

SEATTLE (-7) over Minnesota
Using the Seahawks prepare till it falls off the rails, child. Hop aboard!

Los Angeles Chargers (+8) over NEW ORLEANS
Simply going to degree with you right here: I don’t know. Given the state of every part proper now, it’s laborious to sit up for Monday night time. Every day seems like a 12 months. And apparently a hurricane may transfer this sport to … Indianapolis? Certain. Why not?

Are all of us actually going to make it to Monday? Bless us. This seems like a whole lot of work.

Go Chargers. Or don’t. No matter.

Final week: 8-6-1
Season: 34-27-2

You may e-mail Michael Hurley or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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