By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — A sobering thought came to visit me simply earlier than I fell asleep in the course of the second inning of Recreation 1 of the World Collection.
You see, within the loopy, upside-down yr, we have been all so determined desirous to see sports activities return in any trend that we didn’t do numerous long-term, big-picture planning. At the very least I didn’t. In order the Stanley Cup was fought for in the summertime, and as all of us tried to find out methods to discredit the Lakers’ champion (BUBBLE TITLES AREN’T *REAL* TITLES, you recognize?), it was all simply sort of … good. Sports activities have been again.
But now, with the autumn chill and the faint odor of fireside pits within the air, and with the World Collection on TV at its regular spot on the calendar together with the NFL at full velocity, issues are feeling regular. An everyday particular person would possibly really feel pleased about that.
A stress-fiend, nevertheless, would possibly see that as the correct time to start out panicking. As a result of as soon as this World Collection ends, it’s soccer, soccer, soccer. When will the NBA season start? When will the NHL start? How will that work with out the bubble? HOW ARE WE STILL ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS?!?!?!
Add in the truth that the NFL appears to be tiptoeing alongside the tightrope of COVID proper now (most not too long ago, the complete Raiders offensive line obtained despatched dwelling after Trent Brown obtained positioned on the COVID-19 record), and there’s a minimum of some fear among the many worriers that we might be life with out sports activities ahead of later.
An optimistic viewpoint would possibly encourage somebody to consider the NFL has made it this far, so it’s full velocity forward it doesn’t matter what. Subsequent cease: Tremendous Bowl LV in sunny Tampa, Florida.
A much less-optimistic viewpoint would possibly word that numbers appear to be going up, and the NFL’s points appear to be on the rise. If the rescheduling of one Patriots recreation resulted in seven extra schedule adjustments … what’s the league going to when one other recreation or two or three or 4 or 5 must get moved round?
That is nerve-racking stuff. Technically, as a result of the thought got here in the course of the Fall Traditional, it’s all baseball’s fault. Blame baseball for these horrible ideas.
Option to go, baseball.
How does all of that apply to this week within the NFL? Properly, this would be the last weekend of the autumn that the NFL shares any house with one other main sports activities league for a very long time. As soon as the Dodgers or Rays elevate the World Collection trophy within the coming days, will probably be wall to wall soccer till … January? February? March?
Like most issues, there are one million unknowns. However from a sheer “I’m an enormous sports activities bozo and I need there to be sports activities” perspective, the NFL’s skill or lack of ability to navigate the pandemic within the coming weeks and months turns into much more essential.
So let’s make some picks.
(Dwelling crew in CAPS; Wednesday traces)
PHILADELPHIA (-4.5) over New York Giants
I needs to be exempt from having to select NFC East video games for the rest of the season. It’s got to be the saddest scene I’ve ever witnessed. Just a few actual, nasty, grisly stuff on the market, people.
Detroit (+2.5) over ATLANTA
The Falcons obtained their huge emotional post-coach-firing win final week. Don’t get fooled. They’ll be the Falcons once more in brief order.
Cleveland (-3) over CINCINNATI
The Bengals fired Marvin Lews like seven years too late and in some way, amazingly, extremely, they made a serious downgrade. Do you know that was even potential?
Anyway, Zac Taylor is 3-18-1 as a head coach, and taking part in for the Bengals looks as if a depressing expertise.
TENNESSEE (-1.5) over Pittsburgh
5-Zero vs. 5-0. One thing’s gotta give.
A enjoyable truth on this one is that simply anecdotally, I felt as if the Titans had confronted more durable groups this yr. Seems the groups they’ve overwhelmed have a mixed profitable proportion of .310, whereas the Steelers have confronted groups with a mixed profitable proportion of .328. I suppose Pittsburgh’s victory over the juggernaut BROWNS helped tip the scales of their favor.
In any occasion, I’m formally within the “Don’t Go Towards Derrick Henry” mode. This run was terrifying and it’s going to take me a while earlier than I decide his crew to lose a recreation.
DERRICK HENRY ABSURD 94-YARD TD
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 18, 2020
NEW ORLEANS (-7.5) over Carolina
Buffalo (-13.5) over NEW YORK JETS
WASHINGTON (-1) over Dallas
Inexperienced Bay (-3.5) over HOUSTON
ARIZONA (+3.5) over Seattle
Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) over JACKSONVILLE
LOS ANGELES RAMS (-6) over Chicago (Monday Night time Soccer)
Look, it’s the center of October, and we’ve obtained an extended approach to go. Typically you’ve simply go to make some picks and transfer on along with your life. OK? OK. Thanks.
KANSAS CITY (-9.5) over Denver
I nearly picked Denver. I actually did. The defensive ferocity and focus they confirmed final week in Foxboro was that spectacular.
However then I remembered they have been in all probability taking part in with an added stage of anger, blaming the Patriots and their COVID instances for the inconvenience and the pretend bye week and all of that. If there’s one cardinal rule of life it’s that you just do not below any circumstances mess with an NFL participant’s bye week. It’ll be exhausting to fabricate that sort of inspiration this week.
I’m excited to see Le’Veon Bell in Andy Reid’s offense. The Chiefs have clearly not been quick on expertise, however Clyde Edwards-Helaire was in all probability getting an excessive amount of work for a rookie. He’s been on the sphere for over 66 % of the crew’s offensive snaps, he has 90 extra carries than anybody else on that offense, and he’s additionally tied for third on the crew in receptions. He’s been superior, however that’s in all probability not sustainable. And now that Reid has one other twin menace out of the backfield? Doesn’t appear truthful. Going to wish a Congressional investigation. We are able to’t have this.
The query is, clearly, can Le’Veon Bell be taught that offense? And the way shortly? With inventive formations and a endless set of pre-snap motions, it’s not precisely a cookie-cutter system. But when he can? Not very good.
San Francisco (+1.5) over NEW ENGLAND
You by no means wish to overreact to 1 week of outcomes, particularly when that week entails one half-practice and a bunch of COVID issues. However choosing the Patriots after what occurred final week could be the soccer equal of malpractice.
It’s solely potential that Cam Newton remembers that he has to set his ft to ship a move, however the uninspired play vs. Denver mixed with the Niners lastly trying good makes it exhausting to select something however Jimmy G’s profitable smile for this one.
Tampa Bay (-3) over LAS VEGAS
Tom Brady has achieved … every thing. Actually. However you don’t grow to be the GOAT with out turning into a psycho. And so, will Brady carry a grudge with him into this nationally televised recreation as a result of the Raiders opted to roll with Derek Carr as an alternative of going after Brady as they made the transfer from Oakland to Las Vegas? YOU BETCHA.
The truth that the Raiders have the 25th-ranked move protection will assist him make his level, too.
Once more, it’s not very logical. However once you’re praised as the best and also you’ve gained greater than anybody else has even dreamed of profitable, it’s a must to work exhausting to take care of that ever-present chip in your shoulder. This man’s in all probability nonetheless boiling about Drew Henson.
On this occasion, it’s the bowl-cut-wearing proprietor and the oddball head coach deciding they didn’t need you or want you. Add within the “Sunday Night time Soccer” issue, the truth that Brady is probably going nonetheless internally miffed about his fourth-down snafu on nationwide TV two weeks in the past, and the truth that Chris Godwin is wholesome and Rob Gronkowski seems to be completed together with his preseason? This one’s obtained all of the makings of certainly one of “these” Brady performances.
Final week: 7-7
You possibly can e-mail Michael Hurley or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.