Even the pros ride emotional roller coasters
I heard what sounded like a “throwaway” line by a former NFL player — didn’t catch at the time who it was — on Sunday making comments on one of that day’s upsets:
“It’s just about impossible to get ‘up’ for every game,” he said.
A simple line, but got me thinking about some of the day’s upsets that led to my losing record last week.
I’ve heard for years to beware of teams that should expect to be on a big letdown, simply because they won the previous week, or more commonly, because they had just played an intensely emotional game against a division rival, or some player or coach who used to be with them.
Something like that.
That would explain both Green Bay’s and Minnesota’s upsets after they played each other to an overtime tie the week before.
It also makes sense for Jacksonville, which lost a field-goal-filled 9-6 decision to Tennessee after beating Tom Brady-led New England for the first time ever. Especially with the most recent time coming in last year’s playoffs.
On the up side of emotion, that might explain Detroit upsetting the Patriots in prime time, what with the Lions facing their new head coach’s old boss — Bill Belichick.
And Pittsburgh having something to prove on Monday prime time and Tampa Bay sitting “fat and happy” after their fantastic start.
With that in mind, here’s this week’s picks:
Today, 8:20 p.m.
Minnesota at Los Angeles Rams —
The Vikings have injury issues of various sorts and this L.A. team has just looked too good. Rams, 31-23.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Cincinnati at Atlanta —
Atlanta should be mad about never touching the ball in the only OT game so far this season that has resulted in a winner. Plus Cincy can start its freefall. Falcons, 29-20.
Tampa Bay at Chicago —
A close call, but I like Khalil Mack & Co. being able to disrupt Bucs’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick — or will it be Jameis Winston? — into enough poor decisions. Bears, 23-19.
Detroit at Dallas —
Detroit’s prime for a letdown. But will Dallas’ weak offense be able to take advantage? Lions, 21-20.
Buffalo at Green Bay —
The Bills are smug and satisfied, Green Bay is anything but. Packers, 33-20.
Houston at Indianapolis —
The Texans have looked so off in three games, I can’t pick them to right the ship on the road AND inside a dome. Colts, 27-23.
New York Jets at Jacksonville —
Sam Darnold hasn’t looked right since his premiere in Detroit, and Jacksonville better be mad. Jaguars, 28-19.
Miami at New England —
The Pats may activate receiver Josh Gordon this week, but WR Julian Edelman is still a week away from returning. Dolphins, 20-18.
Philadelphia at Tennessee —
Philly is in Week 2 of Carson Wentz’s return, while the Titans are thrilled with last week’s win over a playoff team. Eagles, 27-20.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Seattle at Arizona —
I’ll employ the “reverse momentum” strategy after the Seahawks won at home and Arizona lost by two points in their home park. Cardinals, 23-20.
Cleveland at Oakland —
The Browns should already feel like they’re in the playoffs by getting their first win in some 600-odd days. Oakland doesn’t want to go 0-3 by losing at home. Raiders, 30-22.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers —
No Jimmy Garoppolo, no problem. If you’re this L.A. team. Chargers, 29-19.
New Orleans at New York Giants —
It feels like these teams play on different levels. Guess which level the Giants are on? Saints, 34-24.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh —
Steelers proved themselves Monday, Baltimore is still searching with an up-and-down start. Ravens, 27-23.
Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Kansas City at Denver —
Sure, the Broncos have a nice defense and they’re at home in the thin mile-high air. But don’t expect to shut down an offense that has scored at least 38 points each week so far against the likes of the Chargers, Steelers and 49ers. Chiefs, 35-29.
Last week —
7-9, 44 percent. Season —
25-21-2, 54 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.