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Armchair QB: Chiefs’ ability to pull together after tragedy an inspiration

December 6, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

It's sad that it took an event like the murder-suicide committed by Kansas City's Jovan Belcher to see it happen, but it was also intriguing to watch the Chiefs play their best football of the season just a day after the tragedy.

KC could've easily folded and not had its hearts into it at all, particularly for head coach Romeo Crennel after he watched Belcher's suicide unfold right in front of his eyes.

But I have to say I was quite pleased to see the Chiefs respond not only with their second win, but also with an effort that included some first-time accomplishments this season, like scoring on their first possession of the game.

Even as a multi-billion dollar business, pro football really is just a game compared to what happened to Belcher's girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, most importantly, and then also what Belcher did to himself.

I'm not sure I could fathom what emotions the people in the Chiefs' organization have felt, because you have to realize it was a lot more than a teammate's suicide. If he hadn't taken his own life, Belcher would've been facing a murder charge, likely first-degree murder, for killing the mother of his infant daughter.

And this was a lady who had been involved with the wives' and girlfriends' group affiliated with the Chiefs organization, I remember reading somewhere, so it sounded like a number of people with the team knew her fairly well. Whether I pick them to win each week, I'll find it hard not to root for the KC team to do well these final four weeks of the regular season.

So on to the Week 14 picks:

Today, 8:20 p.m.

Denver at Oakland - Things are rounding into shape for the Broncos just like I envisioned before the season began, when I picked them to win the Super Bowl. I can't say that about very many of my predictions. Here's to Denver not losing again until next September. Broncos, 33-20.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

St. Louis at Buffalo - Both these teams, but St. Louis in particular, seem to play up or down to their level of competition. But I noticed the dome-bound Rams haven't played a game in the cold yet, so Bills, 17-13.

Atlanta at Carolina - A couple of weeks ago, everyone said the Falcons weren't a 16-0 team. And the Saints proved those naysayers right. Now maybe they're not a 15-1 team, but I buy them at 14-2. So the odds still say, Falcons, 27-19.

Dallas at Cincinnati - The Cowboys' last four wins are against Philly (twice), Cleveland and Carolina, and only one of those was by a full touchdown. Whoop-dee-doo. Bengals, 31-27.

Kansas City at Cleveland - Even without the inspiration of pulling together following the Belcher tragedy, this was a fairly even matchup. Now, however, Chiefs, 20-10.

Tennessee at Indianapolis - I'll repeat what I said last week: I picked Tennessee in the preseason to win the AFC South now ruled by Houston ... and Indy. Colts, 28-17.

N.Y. Jets at Jacksonville - When in doubt with two bad teams, take the home team. Well, I'm in doubt, and these are two bad teams. Jaguars, 12-9.

Chicago at Minnesota - Two weeks ago, the Bears easily handled Minnesota. But these bruins are suddenly taking on water with Brian Urlacher out, so who's going to stop Adrian Peterson? Uh, no one. Vikings, 31-27.

San Diego at Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh only gave itself a chance by beating Baltimore last weekend. Now it must deliver with a winning streak. Steelers, 23-14.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay - They have some stiff competition from a few others, but the Eagles are still my No. 1 worst team in the league. Buccaneers, 21-10.

Baltimore at Washington - Bounce-back week for Baltimore. Ravens, 29-24.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Miami at San Francisco - Some bounce for San Fran, too. 49ers, 30-16.

New Orleans at N.Y. Giants - Keeping the bouncing ball theme alive, Giants, 35-23.

Arizona at Seattle - As Harry Truman might've said, the bounce stops here. If it didn't, the Cardinals wouldn't be on an eight-game losing streak. Seahawks, 31-13.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Detroit at Green Bay - Maybe if I was a Packers fan, I'd find all the ways to worry about how Green Bay might blow this game. Instead, I'm the Lions fan worried about the same thing. Packers, 27-23.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Houston at New England - Here's the logic: the AFC isn't as good as the NFC this season. So it's fitting its best team shouldn't have as good a record as the NFC's best. Time for the Texans' second loss. Patriots, 37-27.

Last week - 9-7, 56 percent (with Saturday's correction for my missed game included). Season - 120-71-1, 63 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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