Yes, there’s something other than the NFL out there — like, maybe, the World Series?
Let me take a break from football to take a quick look at the upcoming World Series.
You might remember what baseball is, though if you watch daytime sports TV shows on channels like the ESPN family, you might not realize they still play games on the diamond.
Those shows are a lot of football — almost entirely the NFL — and a little college football and pro and college basketball. And every once in awhile they’ll show a comedy routine from some other “minor” sports like hockey or baseball.
In baseball, a sport I still love, my main rooting interest over the next week will be the Philadelphia Phillies, though unfortunately it has nothing to do with them — I just don’t want the Houston CHEATING Astros (let’s say I often use a word that sounds a bit like “Astros” to describe them) to win.
The organization and their players never paid for the sign-stealing scandal from about three or four years ago, where they used high-tech binoculars and communication devices and low-tech trash-can beating to relay signals to their batters about what pitchers were about to throw.
Major League Baseball could’ve made them forfeit their World Series title — at least if I was commissioner.
Instead, they encouraged them to talk about their conspiracy with NO repercussions.
Detroit Tigers current manager A.J. Hinch, who was manager of the Astros (whew, I said that and not what I’m thinking), was suspended a full year from baseball for his role in it — Which was what? Wasn’t it the players who did all this?
As long as Houston has any players left from that World Series-winning team remaining with them, I will be against them even more than I am against ALL New York teams. Don’t get me started on my problems with them.
Enough of my soapbox today, let’s get back to our regular pseudo-ESPN programming — my Armchair Quarterback usually-crummy picks:
Today, 8:15 p.m.
Baltimore at Tampa Bay — Sure, the Buccaneers might just get mad enough to turn things around, and Baltimore has become an expert at throwing away fourth-quarter leads. This just seems like too good of a convergence for that to happen. Ravens, 31-26.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
Denver vs. Jacksonville — Yet another game in London between a struggling team — Denver — and the “home” team — the Jaguars, since they’ve played something like half of the games in Britain over the years. Considering how much better the Jags play here than in Florida, this really IS a second home for Jacksonville. Jaguars, 23-19.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Carolina at Atlanta — Carolina rose up to do in the hated Tom Brady-led Bucs last weekend. OK, now it’s time to relax. Falcons, 27-21.
Chicago at Dallas — Now that the Bears’ coaching staff has figured out how to employ quarterback Justin Fields, the Dallas defense won’t let them. Instead, he’ll be running for his life. Cowboys, 24-16.
Miami at Detroit — If this was a Miami team without Tua Tagovailoa, then maybe the Lions would have a chance. But a well-tuned offense should be able to slice and dice and make julianne fries out of Detroit’s defense. Dolphins, 36-27.
Arizona at Minnesota — I’m not keen on teams where the QB cusses out the head coach on the sideline during a timeout for everyone in the country to critique. Seems to be a few cracks in the facade that should become apparent in stressful, late-game situations. Vikings, 30-26.
Las Vegas at New Orleans — The Saints start with Jameis Winston at QB and go downhill from there. Shows what former New Orleans head coach Sean Payton could really do despite a dysfunctional outfit like this. Raiders, 33-24.
New England at New York Jets — Bill Belichick looks like a puppet master who had all his strings cut and he can’t get any of the puppets to do what he wants them to do. Jets, 22-15.
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia — I don’t see Philly going 17-0, but there’s got to be a lot better chances to tag them with a loss than against their cross-state rivals. Eagles, 31-21.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Tennessee at Houston — One of these matchups that flies under my radar, but I’ll take the team that has Derrick Henry. Titans, 24-17.
Washington at Indianapolis — Indy’s looking more dysfunctional these days, and Taylor Heinicke showed against the Packers that he’s at least serviceable. Commanders, 23-20.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams — Add a few healing players on defense and Christian McCaffrey on offense, and I’ll take the 49ers, 29-20.
New York Giants at Seattle — Hmm, might be the toughest game to pick this week. Two teams trending up, and Seattle traditionally has a solid home field advantage. On a hunch, though, I’ll take the Giants, 24-20.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
Green Bay at Buffalo — As I’m not a Packers fan, I don’t have to put faith in Aaron Rodgers saying this is exactly the kind of game the Packers need. Let’s just say I’ll take the bait and pick the Bills, 33-20.
Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Cincinnati at Cleveland — The Browns can contend with the dregs of the NFL, but Cincy has lifted itself from that category where they were languishing in the season’s first couple of weeks. Bengals, 31-23.
Last week — 8-6, 57 percent. Season — 54 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.