Are all injuries created equally?
Something just occurred to me the other day when I was thinking about some of my bad picks this season.
You’d think that would be difficult, considering how many bad picks I’ve made this season. How can I separate one from all the dozens of others, you say?
But it came from watching ex-Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers on ESPN’s Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday afternoon.
Another ex-Packer who I see is a regular on the show, A.J. Hawk, asked Rodgers about whether he’d wear a protective boot when he comes back to play after recovering from his Achilles injury.
Rodgers said he wouldn’t because he wanted to be able to fully move when he comes back. Otherwise, he went on to say, what good would he be to the Jets?
After realizing that Hawk was dressed for Halloween as Edward Scissorhands and not as Robert Smith, lead singer of the 1980s and ’90s band The Cure, it got me thinking about injuries in the NFL.
It seems like players who have long-term injuries they’re coming back from can take weeks, months, maybe even a whole season to get back to their old form, assuming they ever do.
But so many times when a player is “nicked” up, something that would lay up you or me for months, the player isn’t affected — well, his play isn’t affected — by it at all if he’s listed as questionable.
The latest example was Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence when he hurt his leg a couple weeks ago. He bounced right back to win against New Orleans that Thursday off a short week.
I don’t have any bold statement about this, just something I noticed.
So onto this week’s picks, taking into account that Lawrence’s Jaguars, along with the Detroit Lions, San Francisco and Denver are off this week — certainly four of the most intriguing teams in the league:
Today, 8:15 p.m.
Tennessee at Pittsburgh — Both teams suffering some injuries or defections through good players traded away. Pittsburgh seems the better team, though, if all the missing players are equal. Steelers, 24-20.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
Miami vs. Kansas City — Seems an odd choice for a game to be played in Germany, since if either team had this as a home game they’d sell out like crazy and garner all kinds of prime-time attention.
Regardless, this overseas thing seems more like a puzzle that Miami head coach Mike McDaniel could figure out. On the other hand, I have more confidence that KC will figure out the Dolphins’ offense than that Miami will figure out how to stop Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. That plus the “reverse momentum” factor of KC losing last week and the Dolphins winning, I’ll take the Chiefs, 34-31.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Minnesota at Atlanta — The Vikings have to get used to a new QB on the road — whoever that may be — while Atlanta, while also challenged at that position, have had time to figure some things out. Falcons, 20-16.
Seattle at Baltimore — After their pounding of the Lions two weeks ago, just about every team in the league has to show me they can beat Baltimore. I seem to remember the Seahawks as a defensively challenged team whose offense makes up for it. How do they expect to slow down Lamar Jackson? Ravens, 33-26.
Arizona at Cleveland — Arizona is good at staying close, but how will the Cardinals generate any offense against Cleveland’s Super Bowl-caliber defense? Oh yeah, if Arizona returns an interception AND a fumble for TDs. But that doesn’t seem likely enough not to pick the Browns, 19-13.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay — After getting pounded by the Cowboys last week, I don’t see the Rams in any mood to fool around with the Pack. Could be another long day for Green Bay QB Jordan Love. Rams, 29-24.
Tampa Bay at Houston — With C.J. Stroud suffering a tough loss to fellow rookie QB Bryce Young of Carolina last week, I’ll take him to bounce back at home against the Bucs’ Baker Mayfield. Texans, 27-23.
Washington at New England — Oooh, the Super Bowl, as in Super Toilet Bowl. But Pats’ coach Bill Belichick may feel like a young man again, plotting and planning against a young QB like Sam Howell of Washington, especially with the Commanders trading away two of their best defensive players this week. Patriots, 22-17.
Chicago at New Orleans — As the Bears bottom out, I’ll take whoever they’re playing — most of the time. Saints, 30-18.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Indianapolis at Carolina — I’ll go against my advice at the top of this column with Indy QB Gardner Minshew seemingly questionable for this week. Lets call this a home team pick. Panthers, 23-17.
New York Giants at Las Vegas — Both teams coming off frustrating losses, the Giants to the Jets and the Raiders in Detroit on Monday night. Don’t like Vegas on a short week, but I like the Giants on their third-string QB even less. And I do like the instant bounce-back a team gets by firing their coach, even if it that positive effect often doesn’t last two weeks. It only has to last one week to take the Raiders, 32-26.
Dallas at Philadelphia — Jalen Hurts is hurting, but look at what Philly did to Miami a couple weeks ago. Eagles, 27-20.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
Buffalo at Cincinnati — Joe Burrow sure seems fully healed from the calf injury or whatever it was he suffered in training camp. And the Bills are supposed to lay an egg every time they have a good stretch, and they beat Tampa Bay 24-18 last Thursday. Bengals, 30-24.
Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets — With Northern Michigan University grad Robert Saleh leading them, the Jets seem on an impassioned trek to be ready for Rodgers to come back in December or January. Both these teams are coming off wins over uninspired opposition, so I’ll take the Jets, 20-14.
Last week — 12-4, 75 percent. Season — 74-48, 61 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 552. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.