Exactly what does overtime do in the NFL?
Here’s today’s quick quiz: Name the most impressive overtime victory after two weeks of the NFL regular season.
Scratchin’ your head? Are you stumped yet?
OK, I’ll tell you. You’re making it up if you have an answer, because this is a trick question — no team has won an OT game yet this season.
Two games have gone to OT, Week 1 with Pittsburgh tying at Cleveland 21-21, and of course, you’ll remember just last Sunday when Minnesota came to Green Bay and finished in a 29-29 deadlock with the Packers.
I know it’s not much of a sample size, but say it with me: 100 percent of NFL games that were tied after the fourth quarter have stayed that way!
Forgive me if I toot my own horn, but I predicted a lot more tie games would happen in this very column last year at midseason. If I’m remembering correctly, it was prompted by a couple of OTs almost reaching the end of their 10 minutes before a winner was decided.
Regular-season OT periods were shortened from 15 minutes at the start of last season, supposedly for player safety.
That, along with the rule change a few years before to keep an OT going if the first possession resulted in a field goal, seems to make more ties all but a foregone conclusion to me.
Except there were no ties for the entire 17 weeks of last season. Maybe it’s just the law of averages or maybe it’s just a spate of bad field-goal kicking — there were plenty of chances to determine a winner in both ties if some kicks hadn’t been missed or blocked.
But I’d be afraid if I see four or five games go to OT this weekend. After this week, will we have the 1-0-2 Packers tied atop the NFC North with the 1-0-2 Vikings?
Now onto the picks, all without ties:
Today, 8:20 p.m.
New York Jets at Cleveland — Egad, this would be the game I’d predict a tie, but I won’t. Let’s just say there’s safety in numbers, and for the Browns they’ve all been in the loss column. Jets, 24-19.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
New Orleans at Atlanta — The Saints needed a miracle not to lose at home to Cleveland last week. Falcons, 33-24.
Denver at Baltimore — Baltimore looks like an up-and-comer. And I don’t trust the Broncos on the road, anyway. Ravens, 24-20.
Cincinnati at Carolina — It’s Week 3 and the Bengals are undefeated? Time to put a stop to that. Panthers, 27-20.
New York Giants at Houston — From what I’ve seen, Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson just hasn’t looked right. This should be his cure. Texans, 20-16.
Tennessee at Jacksonville — Jacksonville looks like the real deal — so far. Jaguars, 28-24.
San Francisco at Kansas City — Somebody — Bill Belichick? — is going to figure out how to solve KC’s Pat Mahones and his fleet-of-foot receivers. Until then, Chiefs, 38-30.
Oakland at Miami — The Raiders haven’t looked as bad as I thought they would. But this is a West Coast team playing what for them is a 10 a.m. game in steamy South Florida. Dolphins, 17-13.
Buffalo at Minnesota — It’s Buffalo. It’s Minnesota. ‘Nuff said. Vikings, 40-17.
Indianapolis at Philadelphia — Philly quarterback Carson Wentz is supposed to start his first game since last season’s severe knee injury. That makes me queasy, but then so do Colts, even with Andrew Luck. Eagles, 20-19.
Green Bay at Washington — Green Bay seemed the angrier team after last week’s tie, so I’ll give them the “reverse momentum” that comes after a loss. Packers, 27-23.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams — The Rams look like the best thing since sliced bread. Except they’ve been doing all the slicing. Rams, 33-22.
Chicago at Arizona — Beware the team coming off a Monday night win, especially on a cross-country trip. Phooey! Bears, 23-17.
Dallas at Seattle — Neither team looks right, but the Seahawks look just downright wrong. Cowboys, 24-20.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
New England at Detroit — Great, Detroit gets to embarrass itself twice on national TV in the season’s first three weeks. These are truly The Not Ready for Prime Time Lions. Patriots, 34-20.
Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay — Any other season in the past 15 or 20, this would be an easy slam-dunk pick of the Steelers. But in 2018, Buccaneers, 30-21.
Last week — 8-7-1, 53 percent. Season — 18-12-2, 59 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is email@example.com.