All the buzz in the NFL over the last week has been the alleged bullying of Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin by teammate Richie Incognito.
This soap opera has put the spotlight on the NFL locker room and the treatment of younger players by veterans. This is nothing new, but it’s in the media now because Jonathan Martin walked away from the team and spoke up. Although Incognito has been suspended indefinitely, his teammates have come to his defense.
The NFL isn’t IBM. Some form of bullying goes on at all levels of organized football. It’s the nature of the sport. Stronger guys trying to toughen up weaker guys. Experienced guys working rookies and younger players on the team.
Ironically Incognito was tormented as a kid because of his weight. Since his days at Nebraska Incognito has had the reputation of being a “dirty” player and being overly aggressive. He’s the guy you hate to play against, but love to have on your team. His current teammates have had nothing but praise for Incognito.
The NFL is now investigating the situation. I’m sure they’ll save the day.
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Sunday 1:00 PMu>
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-12)
Matchup:The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to Tennessee looking for their first win of the year. The Titans went into St. Louis last week and edged the Rams. The Titans take on the Colts next week, so this could be a look ahead spot for them. The Jags are off a bye, and their last win did indeed come against the Titans last year.
Steve’s Pick: Titans 33 Jaguars 29
Dan’s Pick: Titans 24 Jaguars 14
Matt’s Pick: Titans 20 Jaguars 10
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-2)
Matchup:The Packers lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers last week in the loss to Bears with a collarbone injury. Journeyman Seneca Wallace will start for the Packers. The Eagles have found their quarterback in Nick Foles. Foles tossed 7 TD’s last week to tie the NFL record for most TD’s passes in a game, something Peyton Manning also accomplished earlier this year. Other than the Cowboy game, Foles play has been impressive.
Steve’s Pick: Packers 26 Eagles 20
Dan’s Pick: Packers 27 Eagles 24
Matt’s Pick: Packers 28 Eagles 24
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)
Matchup:Two disappointing teams meet in Pittsburgh. The Bills (3-6) hung in last week against the Chiefs before falling 23-13. The Steelers (2-6) kept it close into the third quarter against the Pats and then were routed in the fourth in a 55-31 loss. Quarterback EJ Manuel is set to return for the Bills.
Steve’s Pick: Steelers 23 Bills 17
Dan’s Pick: Steelers 27 Bills 20
Matt’s Pick: Steelers 23 Bills 20
Oakland Raiders at NY Giants (-7)
Matchup:The New York Giants had won 2 in a row, after starting 0-6, before the bye last week. Despite their 2-6 record Giants are far from out of the playoffs with the weak NFC East this year. The 3-5 Raiders were routed last week by the Eagles, but have shown glimpses at times this year led by quarterback Terrell Pryor.
Steve’s Pick: Giants 26 Raiders 20
Dan’s Pick: Giants 30 Raiders 20
Matt’s Pick: Raiders 21 Giants 18
St. Louis at Indianapolis Colts (-9.5)
Matchup:The Indianapolis Colts absolutely stole one last week in Houston. The Texans led 21-3 going into the half and totally dominated the Colts. That’s when Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed and went to the Hospital after apparently suffering a “mini” stroke. The Texans never recovered and were outscored 24-3 in the second half. The Rams have played tough the last two weeks after losing quarterback Sam Bradford with a torn ACL, but have come up short in two losses. Kellen Clemens has played decent, but hasn’t been unable to get the Rams over the hump for a win.
Steve’s Pick: Colts 31 Rams 23
Dan’s Pick: Colts 34 Rams 27
Matt’s Pick: Colts 27 Rams 21
Seattle Seahawks (-6) at Atlanta Falcons
Matchup:This is a rematch of a playoff game in which Atlanta won. It’s been a different story this year for the Falcons. The Falcons limp into this matchup at a dreadful 2-6. The Seahawks have had scares the last two weeks against the Rams and Bucs, but prevailed in both games. The Seahawks lead the NFC with an 8-1 record.
Steve’s Pick: Seahawks 33 Falcons 17
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks 27 Falcons 24
Matt’s Pick: Seahawks 28 Falcons 21
Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5) at Baltimore Ravens
Matchup:The Bengals come into Baltimore having 3 extra days to prepare for the Ravens. Cincinnati leads the AFC North by 2 games with a 6-3 record. Baltimore has been disappointing this year off the Super Bowl win in February. They come into this one at 3-5 and QB Joe Flacco has played poorly after signing the big contract.
Steve’s Pick: Bengals 24 Ravens 13
Dan’s Pick: Bengals 23 Ravens 20
Matt’s Pick: Ravens 17 Bengals 13
Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Chicago Bears
Matchup:The Lions and Bears are tied for the lead in NFC North at 5-3. The Lions handled the Bears back in September 40-32. It wasn’t that close. The Lions are off a bye, while the Bears are off that big Monday night win at Green Bay. The Bears were without quarterback Jay Cutler in the win against the Packers, but he’s been medically cleared for Sunday.
Steve’s Pick: Bears 27 Lions 24
Dan’s Pick: Lions 28 Bears 24
Matt’s Pick: Bears 21 Lions 20
Sunday 4:05 PM
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
Matchup:This lines up as one of the best games of the day. The Panthers have won 4 in a row (all 4 teams with losing records) and the 49ers have won 5 in a row and are off the bye. The Panthers are stepping up in class here so this will be a big challenge for Carolina. They are playing well, so don’t be surprised if they go out West and steal one.
Steve’s Pick: Panthers 27 49ers 26
Dan’s Pick: 49ers 30 Carolina 20
Matt’s Pick: Panthers 27 49ers 24
Sunday 4:25 PM
Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals (-3)
Matchup:It will be interesting to see if the Texans have anything left in the tank. They suffered the lost of their coach at halftime and never recovered in the loss to the Colts. The Cardinals are off a bye and will look to get over .500 mark.
Steve’s Pick: Cardinals 29 Texans 19
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals 28 Texans 27
Matt’s Pick: Cardinals 26 Texans 20
Denver Broncos (-7) at San Diego Chargers
Matchup:This should be a good one in San Diego. The 7-1 Broncos are off the bye, but they’ve lost their head coach who had open heart surgery earlier this week (aortic heart valve replacement). Head coach John Fox was set to have the procedure in the off season, but after an episode on a North Carolina golf course surgery was deemed necessary now. Fox will miss several weeks. Jack Del Rio takes over the head coaching duties on an interim basis.
Steve’s Pick: Broncos 34 Chargers 31
Dan’s Pick: Broncos 37 Chargers 31
Matt’s Pick: Broncos 41 Chargers 38
Sunday 8:30 PM
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (-7)
Matchup:The Saints are off the tough loss on the road against the Jets last week. The Cowboys played down to the level of competition against the Vikings, but managed to get the win. The Saints have covered last 13 at home under coach Payton. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan meets the team that let him go last year. Ryan obviosly familiar with the Cowboy personnel and he should have some wrinkles for the Cowboys.
Steve’s Pick: Saints 33 Cowboys 20
Dan’s Pick: Saints 33 Cowboys 28
Matt’s Pick: Saints 31 Cowboys 27
Monday 8:40 PM
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matchup:The Dolphins have been all the news the last week plus with allegations that OL Richie Incognito hazed teammate Jonathan Martin. Both players are out for this game, and the distractions have been national. The Dolphins are off a Thursday Night win against the Bengals at home some 10 days ago. The Bucs are still looking for their first win as we enter November. Tampa jumped out to a 21-0 lead in Seattle last week, but couldn’t stand prosperity falling in OT 27-24 to the Seahawks. Should be all nothing but the off field talking leading up to this one Monday night..
Steve’s Pick: Bucs 24 Dolphins 16
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins 21 Bucs 17
Matt’s Pick: Dolphins 17 Bucs 13
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