OT rules set up for more ties

The Mining Journal's reporter Steve Brownlee receives a Good News Awards from Bishop James Garland during a lunch and awards ceremony Wednesday at the Landmark Inn in Marquette. (Journal photo by Dave Edwards)

Now with a bunch of fights, dumb decisions, inept play and some of the biggest stars out with injuries, I am happy about one thing with the NFL.

They didn’t screw up overtime as badly as I thought they would.

I liked when they added the field-goal-on-the-first-possession rule a few years back to keep OT going for the team that doesn’t happen to win the coin toss.

It could create a few more ties if each team went to their kickers like that on their first try on offense during OT, hardly leaving any time for a third or fourth possession that could determine a winner.

During this last off-season, another wrinkle was added that should’ve only created more ties — cutting the OT period down to 10 minutes for regular-season games.

Playoff OTs remain at 15 minutes, though it shouldn’t matter how long those are, since you keep playing until a winner is determined.

It seems entirely plausible that if each team kicks a field goal to start a regular-season OT, they would eat up the entire 10 minutes. Then we’re left with tie, tie, tie. Ugh.

But it hasn’t worked out that way, though I remember early in the season that a couple of OT games weren’t decided until the last minute or two.

The NFL said it shortened OT by five minutes for player safety. Hmm. This only makes a difference in games that actually go to OT, and then only to games that go into the final five minutes of OT.

That can’t be very many. Like what, maybe four or five games all year? So maybe one in three or one in four teams has to play an extra five minutes — over an entire season.

Well, I guess as long as it isn’t broke, why fix it? Watch out, though, if I jinx it and set off a spate of tie games.

Now onto Week 10:

Today, 8:30 p.m.

Seattle at Arizona —

Even though I don’t trust Seattle on the road, I simply don’t trust Arizona. Seahawks, 27-22.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

New Orleans at Buffalo —

New Orleans is becoming quite a juggernaut, even away from the Superdome. Saints, 30-20.

Green Bay at Chicago —

How far the mighty have fallen — with rookie Mitch Trubisky, Chicago has the more seasoned quarterback. And a better defense. Bears, 23-16.

Cleveland at Detroit —

If this was the Wayne Fontes era, I’d say Detroit is ripe for the most embarrassing of upsets possible after the win in Green Bay on Monday. But Jim Caldwell looks like Bill Walsh or Chuck Noll compared to Fontes. Lions, 27-20.

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis —

After playing five mediocre opponents in a row, the Colts get a taste of NFL aristocracy. Steelers, 31-18.

Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville —

Toughest pick of the week, if for no other reason than how poorly Jacksonville plays at home. But maybe not so much after beating up on the Bengals last week. Jaguars, 24-23.

New York Jets at Tampa Bay —

The Buccaneers are a wreck. Jets, 19-12.

Cincinnati at Tennessee —

When Tennessee is healthy, they can play with all but the elite. Cincy ain’t no elite. Titans, 28-20.

Minnesota at Washington —

Take the defense playing at home to snarl and growl the most. Redskins, 21-17.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Houston at Los Angeles Rams —

The Texans’ offense has been gashed with the injury to Deshaun Watson and defense with the injury to J.J. Watt. Rams, 33-23.

Dallas at Atlanta —

Underperforming Falcons vs. Dallas on a roll. Cowboys, 34-26.

New York Giants at San Francisco —

Game of the week! What looks likes the league’s worst team … playing at winless San Francisco. 49ers, 23-19.

Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

New England at Denver —

Bill Belichick can overcome his team’s need to adjust to the altitude, especially when the New England coach gets to toy with Denver QB Brock Osweiler. Patriots, 30-17.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

MIami at Carolina —

How do the Dolphins get to play prime-time games in back-to-back weeks? Panthers, 31-19.

Last week —

8-5, 62 percent. Season —

78-54, 59 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.