Hurley’s Picks: Titans’ COVID Outbreak A Blunt Reminder Of NFL’s Volatility In 2020

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By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka

dangolka (CBS) — , that is going to sound actually dumb — extraordinarily dumb — however I sorta kinda thought that the NFL had made it by the woods with regard to COVID-19. I actually kinda sorta virtually perhaps somewhat bit did.

I do know that scientifically, having touring events of 100 or so individuals fly across the nation after which having a bunch of them smash their faces into one another and hop on high of one another and snuggle up collectively in huddles and sit collectively on benches and fly collectively on cross-country flights … yeah that’s technically a fairly large threat for spreading a virus throughout a pandemic. We’ve all been conscious of that for a while.

However the NFL has sort of cast forward with its total yr as if a pandemic wasn’t occurring — from free company to the draft, to the common season — and the one issues that have been canceled have been issues that didn’t affect the common soccer viewer at residence. And after weathering the flurry of optimistic COVID exams in the summertime, the NFL kicked off its season on schedule, and the league made it by one other two weeks with out a difficulty.

It appeared like, towards all odds, the NFL was pulling off a coast-to-coast deal with soccer program in the course of a pandemic.

As we now know, it was certainly too good to be true. 4 Titans gamers and 5 workers members examined optimistic this week, and we’re all catching a glimpse of what sort of havoc this virus can wreak on the season.

(AN IMPORTANT THING TO SAY: Clearly, the virus impacts society and people in way more important methods than whether or not or not the Lions can play the Bears this yr, however this can be a football-centric story and so we’re conserving a football-centric scope.)

Fortuitously, America has at the least realized some issues concerning the coronavirus since March. In contrast to when the NBA and NHL shut down their total leagues in a rush, the NFL can at the least depend on contact tracing to attempt to establish shut contacts who must quarantine. Consequently, the season — and particularly the seasons of the Titans and the Vikings, who smashed heads with Tennessee only a few quick days in the past — is viable.

On the identical time, the one cause that there hasn’t but been an outbreak among the many Vikings is sheer luck. Or maybe, sufficient time has not but handed for the incubation interval to point out that certainly, some gamers have contracted the virus. They’ll all be examined rigorously, little doubt. The league will do what it will possibly to attempt to make this “simply that one scenario” relatively than “the start of the top.”

The fallout up to now serves as a reminder of simply how skinny the string is that’s holding this complete season collectively. The Titans and Steelers might play on Monday, or Tuesday. Perhaps they gained’t. Perhaps they’ll make it up. Perhaps they gained’t. Perhaps the Vikings can be nice and can play their sport towards Houston with out subject. Perhaps they gained’t.

It does really feel like we’re again to that time proper now, even when NFL groups are doing the one factor that NFL groups know do: Go about their enterprise and concentrate on the duty at hand this week.

Hopefully, for the sake of the league and all concerned, this seems to be only one blip on an in any other case profitable soccer season. However the Titans’ scenario that sprung up out of nowhere certain did present a blunt reminder that there’s a pandemic nonetheless raging, and enjoying deal with soccer in a pandemic is a monumental problem, and truly getting by a season requires extra hope/optimism/closing-your-eyes-and-wishing-for-the-best than we might have acknowledged for the previous few weeks.

For now, although, we’ve nonetheless bought picks.

(House staff in CAPS; Wednesday traces)

NEW YORK JETS (+1) over Denver
On second thought … do we actually need an NFL season? Our want can be put to the take a look at with this showcase.

Humble suggestion: Don’t ship any skilled broadcasters to cowl this sport. Herald some indignant and unhappy Jets followers to take a seat within the sales space and loudly and aggressively air their grievances with the soccer franchise that may’t do something besides crush their hopes and goals each single yr.

Indianapolis (-2.5) over CHICAGO
I’ve seen quite a lot of analysts and pundits spew the take that the Bears are maybe the worst 3-Zero staff ever assembled. How dare these individuals. Are you able to imagine ’em?!

The 2020 Bears are merely amongst the worst 3-Zero groups in soccer historical past. Sheesh. Present some respect.

Jacksonville (+3) over CINCINNATI
Joe Burrow is a hoot. That’s nice. I want him nicely. I hope for his sake he finally ends up someplace aside from Cincinnati although.

The Bengals’ run protection ranks 31st within the league, which in a league of 32 groups just isn’t spectacular. I’m foreseeing one other huge day for James Robinson and a sport that’s simply actually robust to observe general.

DALLAS (-4.5) over Cleveland
Scheduling is a merciless beast. On one hand you will have the Texans, whose season began with with highway video games at Kansas Metropolis and Pittsburgh and a house date vs. Baltimore. Brutal. On the exact opposite finish of the spectrum, you will have the Browns, who’ve gotten residence dates with the Bengals and Washington Soccer Teamer Individuals Guys after their scheduled loss in Week 1 at Baltimore.

It’s why you’ll be able to’t actually take the win-loss information too critically proper now. The two-1 Browns may grow to be the 2-Four Browns actual fast.

New Orleans (-4) over DETROIT
Man, the Saints certain are mediocre this yr.

Man, the Lions certain want they have been mediocre this yr.

This decide is contingent on Michael Thomas enjoying. If he’s out once more, then you definitely, pricey reader, please flip my decide for me, WOULD YA?

Seattle (-6.5) over MIAMI
The Seahawks will lose this season. Their protection stinks far an excessive amount of for the losses to not come.

I’m simply unsure the Dolphins match the invoice because the staff to ship loss primary. The Dolphins are enjoyable and sort of spunky and oddly assured, and so they’ve come a great distance from a yr in the past, after we’d all confer with them as “arguably the worst staff ever assembled.”

Actually, I truly variety of assume the Dolphins cowl this unfold. It’s the spunk issue.

However going towards Russ proper now looks like a brainless transfer. Even a brainless idiot like me is aware of higher.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (+7) over Tampa Bay
Query for all you sensible individuals on the market: Why are the Buccaneers so boring to observe?!

I entered this yr so rattling excited to observe the high-flying, high-octane Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I needed to see a rejuvenated Tom Brady racking up gaudy stats with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Roberto Gronkowski and O.J. Howard.

As an alternative I’m getting defensive grinds, with the occasional force-feeding of Scottie Miller.

What the heck?

It’s like they’re nonetheless — after making what appeared like a franchise-altering transfer — the Bucs.

Godwin is out this week, so I’ve no alternative however to forecast one other largely boring, oddly stale, dead-ass second half sport from the Bucs.

I would like my a reimbursement.

Baltimore (-13) over WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAMER PEOPLE GUYS 
The soccer fellas? They’re sadly about to really feel the wrath of the Ravens coming off an embarrassing loss on nationwide TV. Avert your eyes, followers of the Washington Soccer Teamer Individuals Guys Who Play Soccer!

Arizona (-3) over CAROLINA
Do the Panthers have purchaser’s regret on Teddy Bridgewater? I’d in all probability have some purchaser’s regret on Teddy Bridgewater, who’s been correct however underwhelming up to now. Dashing to ensure him $40 million stays an odd transfer in a sea of wierd strikes.

HOUSTON (-3) over Minnesota
Usually a matchup of two 0-Three groups could be horrible. However that is improbable!

That’s largely as a result of neither staff is meant to be 0-3. We coated the Texans’ brutal schedule, whereas the Vikings are merely battling the indignity of getting Kirk Cousins as their quarterback. I child, considerably, however Cousins has already matched his interception complete from final season. That isn’t distinctive.

Because the Sports activities Man right here, I’ve to be sincere with you: I don’t know who’s going to win this sport. However in the meanwhile, I’ll go together with the staff that had its facility open all week and was capable of apply. In spite of everything, they are saying that apply is definitely necessary.

LOS ANGELES RAMS (-12.5) over New York Giants
I picked the Giants final week, as a result of they have been enjoying the 49ers’ minor league staff.

By no means once more.

I’d truly be shocked in the event that they get on the airplane. Why trouble, ? Pandemic and all. Perhaps simply play it protected and keep on with residence video games. Forfeit the remainder. Actually it’d assist them truly win a sport or two.

New England (+7) over KANSAS CITY
That is completely my Dumb Fool Bozo Decide Of The Week, little doubt. The Chiefs on Monday evening regarded about as horrifying as any staff has in fairly a while. A minimum of for the primary half, anyway. The second half Chiefs have been fairly unhealthy.

Anyhow, whereas I’ve little doubt that Andy Reid’s three-ring circus on offense will do regardless of the heck it desires to do towards a Patriots protection that’s been vulnerable towards the move … I do assume the Patriots have sufficient firepower to maintain issues attention-grabbing by working the hell out of the soccer.

The Patriots have a prolific speeding assault, main the league with 178 speeding yards per sport. That’s foolish. They common over 5 yards per speeding try, and so they lead the league with seven speeding touchdowns. Cam Newton? He’s a distinction maker.

The Chiefs up to now have the sixth-worst speeding protection, which is fairly loopy when you think about that their complete factor is to attain 1,000,000 factors, thus forcing their opponents to go pass-heavy. But once you permit 5.Three yards per carry just like the Chiefs do, opponents are nonetheless going to run.

Lamar Jackson took off for 83 yards on 9 carries final week. Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelly mixed for 160 yards on the bottom the week earlier than. Deshaun Watson and David Johnson mixed for 104 yards on 17 carries again in Week 1.

The Patriots may have their alternatives on the bottom, and with the shrunken crowd measurement in Okay.C. not interfering with their snap counts on the highway, I don’t hate their capability to maintain this one shut till the top.

Man that was lengthy. May have simply stated “the Patriots can run the ball and the Chiefs can’t cease the run.” Ah nicely. You reside and also you be taught.

Buffalo (-3) over LAS VEGAS
The Payments’ protection is seemingly getting worse? I don’t know, however I do know that if 70,000 insane New York state residents had been filling these empty seats in Orchard Park final week, that livid Rams comeback by no means would have occurred.

Philadelphia (+7) over SAN FRANCISCO
I imply, the extra hilarious decide right here is to choose the Eagles to lose and fall deeper into despair. And the decide that’s almost definitely regrettable is the one the place you assume Philly will compete, solely to take a seat there hopelessly within the second half on a Sunday evening. The safer decide — each by way of soccer and private feelings — is to only decide the Niners. It’s regret-free.

However these accidents actually just do hold mounting. A win towards the terrible Giants is sweet, however in some unspecified time in the future, that catches as much as you.

GREEN BAY (-7) over Atlanta
The Atlanta Falcons someway … hold displaying as much as video games? With Dan Quinn as their coach?

Excessive yikes, people. Excessive yikes.

The Falcons are having bother beating anyone in any respect, so seeing the buzzsaw Packers on a Monday evening in Lambeau looks as if an absolute worst-case state of affairs. Powerful break.

MYSTERY GAME: Pittsburgh (??) over TENNESSEE
Will this sport occur? I don’t know! Who can be allowed to play in it! Don’t know that, both! Is that this complete scenario maybe hanging by a thread and we’re all simply ignoring it and pretending that it’s not the case? Ha ha! Good one, jokester! Are ya prepared for some footballlll? A Tuesday evening parrrttyyyyy! Crack a chilly one and guzzle some wings as a result of soccer is again and ain’t going wherever, child! Ha ha ha …

Final week: 9-7
Season:
26-21-1

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

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