Aren’t we still in a pandemic?
Something has been recurring in my mind the past few weeks with all the firings, resignations and speculation about these firings and resignations in the coaching ranks.
Not just in the NFL, but all over the coaching world, whether its college or wherever.
Do you remember when this coronavirus pandemic began, all the “wise” people commented that these upcoming seasons would be rather unusual, maybe unique, for everyone in sports.
That whatever odd and mysterious things happened would be extraordinary and we shouldn’t measure our sports the same way while this pandemic is playing out.
Well, I think we’ve certainly gotten away from that, and I count myself among the guilty — kind of — with being excited about the Matt Patricia firing from the Detroit Lions.
I don’t actually feel guilty, as the Lions’ challenges don’t seem in any way related to the pandemic.
But then, maybe they do, as no one got in organized off-season training, only limited August training camps and no preseason games.
I wonder if we should step back a bit and re-examine our judgment on these coaches who have been put through extraordinary circumstances trying to navigate this mess we’re in now.
Just a thought before I jump back in both feet first like it’s … eh, maybe Prince had it right … like it’s 1999?
By the way, because of the pushed-back Baltimore-at- Pittsburgh game, there was no game Thursday, the Baltimore-Dallas game being pushed ahead five days to Tuesday, and Washington at Pittsburgh the same, pushed ahead about 28 hours from early Sunday afternoon to late Monday afternoon.
Onto the picks:
Sunday, 1 p.m.
New Orleans at Atlanta —
Didn’t these two just play last week? A look at the schedule says yes, about 12 days ago. That was the starting debut of Saints quarterback Tayson Hill, and his one week of experience coming into this past Sunday was light years ahead of the complete nonexperience that last week’s opponent, Denver, dealt with it at the position.
Two weeks ago, I picked Atlanta, thinking that inexperience would hurt New Orleans. I was wrong then, but the Falcons really rebounded last week vs. the Raiders. Though tempting not to, I’ll switch sides this week. Saints, 31-17.
Detroit at Chicago —
Supposedly there’s talk that a number of players are glad to see Matt Patricia go in Detroit. He was supposed to have brow-beaten everyone into not playing their best. But I’ll just go with the one-week bounce-back and the Bears unable to stop it. Lions, 26-19.
Indianapolis at Houston —
Houston is starting to live up to its preseason hype, having won three of four. Indy, of course, beat Green Bay two weeks ago. Hmmm? Let’s see. The Texans beat Detroit 41-25, while Indy beat ’em 41-21. OK, Colts, 25-21.
Cincinnati at Miami —
Got stay on the south Florida bandwagon. They did finally install air conditioning, though, didn’t they? Dolphins, 33-24.
Jacksonville at Minnesota —
The Jags will give the Jets a run for their money — for the No. 1 draft pick. Vikings, 37-22.
Las Vegas at New York Jets —
But don’t expect the Jets to give up Trevor Lawrence without a fight. Raiders, 41-19.
Cleveland at Tennessee —
Tennessee seems to do better against defensive-minded teams, with recent wins over Indy, Baltimore and Chicago. Give me the Titans, 27-20.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona —
The displaced 49ers are lucky they were scheduled into Monday night, else the new home they share with the Cardinals would’ve gotten crowded late Sunday afternoon with four teams trying to share one field. I can see this L.A. teams continuing to give Kylar Murray a rough time. Rams, 23-19.
New York Giants at Seattle —
Seattle’s has beefed up its leaky defense. And even if they hadn’t, going up against the Giants with Colt McCoy under center may make it look that way. Seahawks, 31-17.
Philadelphia at Green Bay —
Hmm, I can’t even pretend this is a good matchup now that Philly sits third in the only non-professional division in pro football, the NFC East. Bleech. Packers, 35-12.
New England at Los Angeles Chargers —
The Chargers are by far the most talented team in the league — when it comes to losing a game late. Bill Belichick will like a little taste of that. Patriots, 24-23.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
Denver at Kansas City —
This would’ve been a good week to not have any QB in Denver, because it really wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Chiefs, 36-20.
Monday, 5 p.m.
Washington at Pittsburgh —
OK, here’s our dream matchup we didn’t get with the Packers and the Eagles.
Here’s the hype: “This could be a Super Bowl preview with division leaders from the AFC and the NFC clashing on the frozen tundra of western Pennsylvania (apologies to Packer Backers).”
Just don’t tell anybody that if the “Football Team” played in the same division as Pittsburgh, the D.C.’ers would trail them by seven games — really, seven FULL games. Steelers, 28-16.
Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Buffalo at San Francisco —
With the 49ers getting healthier — it must be the desert air in their new home in Glendale, Arizona — this game is looking almost like a toss-up. I’m getting the feeling, though, that San Fran doesn’t have an answer for a free-ranging QB like Josh Allen. Bills, 27-24.
Tuesday, 8 p.m.
Dallas at Baltimore —
Dallas has looked better lately, not withstanding a 41-16 dud it laid vs. Washington last Sunday, but Baltimore knows it has its season on the line with a bunch of players who should be returning. Ravens, 31-26.
Last week —
10-6, 63 percent. Season —
110-66-1, 63 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.