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First and foremost, because last night’s post disappeared into the AT&T network ether, I have to accept my loss like a man. Again. I thought I had picked Carolina (-2.5) over the Giants. Or, more accurately, I thought I had posted it. I was thinking that a banged-up team, on a short week, on the road would be asking too much. I suppose if you’re Andre Brown and Ramses Barden, you haven’t been playing that much on lately, so you aren’t affected.

Despite that setback, the record so far is 20-13 for the season, with a cool 5-2 in the Best Bets. A great overall week at 13-2 last week was mostly driven by not overreacting to Week 1 results. Unfortunately, I can’t use that method this week. With two weeks of results, we now have a lot of teams outside of Houston and San Francisco that turned in two different games.

Now that I’ve lowered expectations, let’s get to the picks—after we discuss Roger Goodell. I understand that he gets his paychecks from the owners, as all commissioners do. And if the guy’s job is to simply execute the prerogatives of the owners then he’s doing his job just fine. However, I do think one your jobs as commissioner is to try and rein in the worst instincts of your owners. That’s how you help your constituents, by sometimes telling them no.

Clearly I’m referring to the replacement referee fiasco, as the owners try to break the referees union because, well, they can. Fair enough, but the big problem isn’t that the replacements are making bad calls. The real refs made bad calls. The replacements’ problem is that they’re taking forever to administer their bad calls and cover their butts on replays, not to mention get control of very large men who have no respect for them. And that affects the TV product. Always remember that the massive strength of the NFL is mainly to its excellence as a TV product. You simply can’t take a chance on messing with that. If the NFL is to soldier on with the replacements, they better get them to make their incorrect calls at a brisker pace, or bring back to real refs. If Goodell were really doing his job, I think he would be emphasizing the danger towards ruining the TV product and working towards settling this.

The second thing Goodell has totally screwed up is Bountygate. He had this on lockdown by suspending Sean Payton, Gregg Williams, Mickey Loomis, and Joe Vitt. Let’s be honest, the purpose of this was to send a message that player safety was paramount to the league, and that pay-for-injury schemes outside of the salary cap would not be tolerated. By possibly killing Williams’ career, costing the Saints’ their coach and general manager, and making the Saints go through the indignity of having an interim interim coach, that job was done.

So why on earth did Goodell feel the need to suspend players? It was all good until they selected four players for suspension and setting the NFL on the road to this mess. They didn’t have to, or need to do this. Now more and more, Goodell and the league office are under question about their methods and fairness, when they’re not in court. Just silly.

Anyway, despite the commissioner’s general incompetence, we are looking forward to a fun Week 3. Let’s have fun for entertainment purposes only, with the home team in caps.

BEARS (-7.5) over Rams: It’s a good thing that Jay Cutler is one indifferent bastard, because who knows how he might have dealt with all the criticism over the past ten days. It’s a bad thing that the Bears have had no answers for their offensive line problems for years now. The prime-time game where Cutler gets sacked seemingly between twenty and twenty-five times is pretty much an annual NFL staple.

Buccaneers (+7.5) over COWBOYS: Greg Schiano needs to thank Tom Coughlin for sparking that kneel-down controversy, because that obscured the fact that they dominated that game before allowing Eli Manning to do whatever then hell he wanted and blowing the game.

49ers (-7) over VIKINGS: I can’t believe this line is only seven points, but I can’t talk myself out of it.

Lions (-3.5) over TITANS: Not sure what to make of Jake Locker. It sure would help if Chris Johnson was alive to help out with the assessment.

Bengals (+3.5) over REDSKINS: Both of these defenses aren’t as good as people think, but the Bengals didn’t just lose two valuable members of their front seven for the season (Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker.)

Jets (-3) over DOLPHINS: If there’s anything I know about the Jets, it’s that Rex Ryan’s defenses know how to take advantage of a bad QB.

Chiefs (+9) over SAINTS: Smell that? That would be two desperate teams trying not to go 0-3. The Saints haven’t shown anything resembling a defense able to cover this spread.

Bills (-3) over BROWNS: Sure, Brandon Weeden showed signs of life last week. Well, he’s going to have to show me again.

COLTS (-3) over Jaguars: We know these teams are bad, but we really don’t know how bad. I think the Jaguars have more potential for a “Damn, this is ugly”-type season.

CARDINALS (+3.5) over Arizona: I don’t love Kevin Kolb, but I do like him getting short fields thanks to the turnover-happy Eagles.

CHARGERS (-3) over Falcons: Yeah, I just don’t know if I’m ready to trust the Falcons on grass outside.

BRONCOS (+2) over Texans: No, I will not join the Peyton Manning Panic Parade, thank you very much. The Texans are quite good, but they’re not going undefeated.

Steelers (-4) over RAIDERS: The Raiders have shown you no reason to believe they can beat Pittsburgh. None. I think their crappiness has been somewhat underrated.

Patriots (+3) over RAVENS: I would not watch NBC Sunday night, Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff. Just sayin’.

SEAHAWKS (+3.5) over Packers: It was nice to see the Packers play defense for a week. I need another week of prime-time defense before I’m ready to buy in.

Best Bets: 49ers, Jets, Lions, Colts

Last week: (13-3, 2-0 Best Bets)

Season: (20-13, 5-2 Best Bets)


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