BOSTON (CBS) — Richie Incognito is a jerk.
The entire frenzy can be summed up, pretty much, in those five words. The guy is a jerk. He’s the type of player who will probably choke you or spit on you at the bottom of a pile, then laugh about it afterward. He’s always been that guy, the league has always considered him to be that guy, and the only thing that’s changed in the past week is that more people know about him.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why the story of Incognito being a jerk to Jonathan Martin has gotten as much media coverage and generated as much debate and discussion as the Aaron Hernandez murder charges did this past summer. The jerk acted like a jerk. A rookie exposed him for it. The jerk is being punished. What more is needed?
Moreover, why do we need to hear from everyone under the sun who has ever touched, smelled or seen a football? It just leads to a cycle of ridiculous comments, which lead to a wave of outrage from offended parties, which leads to ridiculous responses, which lead to more outrage, and so on and so forth, to the point where what in the world are we even talking about anymore?
I understand that bullying is a real problem in schools. Everyone understands that. It doesn’t take much thought to grasp that concept. If you have kids or know anyone who works in schools these days, you know it’s taken seriously. This is an obvious thing. People are aware.
And yet, here we are, on what feels like Day 909 of Incognito bullying debates, which have allowed so many people to preach sanctimoniously about Incognito, people’s responses to Incognito, and people’s responses to people’s responses to Incognito. I’ve had enough. Stop it.
Personally, I’ve bullied myself with my picks this year, but I have been celebrating like Mike Napoli in Boston for the past three days after putting together my first winning week of the season! Yeah, it was only 7-6, but I’m taking baby steps back to dominance here, people.
(Home team in caps; Wednesday lines)
Washington (-2) over MINNESOTA
The games on Thursday night are by far the worst football we see all week. I’m currently 7-2 against the spread when picking these games. There is little chance that is a coincidence.
I’m sure this must-see matchup between the 3-5 Redskins and 1-7 Vikings will be just what Thursday night football needs in order to stem the tide of sloppiness. For sure.
Oakland (+7.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS
If you want to take the 2-6 Giants to win by more than a touchdown, then by all means, knock yourself out.
Seattle (-6) over ATLANTA
I held on to the Falcons as long as I could. I grasped onto the hope that Matt Ryan would elevate his play, and therefore his team. I refused to believe they were as bad as their record and results said they were.
And then, they lost consecutive games to the Cardinals and Panthers by 14 and 24 points, respectively. And so, I let go of the Falcons. Normally, such a bird would fly away when you release it, but these Falcons are more the nosedive type.
Ridiculous Quote From Last Week’s Picks: “[The Panthers] have one of the worst passing games in the whole league, and for all of the Falcons’ warts, you still need to be able to pass the ball to beat them — especially by 8 points.”
Note: It turns out the Falcons are so bad that you don’t need to be able to pass to beat them. Cam Newton threw for 249 yards and a touchdown but had two picks, and Carolina still won. By 24.
Buffalo (+3) over PITTSBURGH
Of all the teams which have twice as many losses as wins, nobody plays tighter games than the Bills. Yeah, they’re 3-6, but they’ve hung in there in five of those losses. Plus, their six losses have come against teams that are a combined 37-16. The Bills are sneakily decent at football. Who saw that one coming?
The Steelers, meanwhile, are very overtly bad at the sport. They’re pretty up front with that.
Cincinnati (-1) over BALTIMORE
I’m sure this line is reflective of the Bengals’ being 0-3 in their last three trips to Baltimore, losing by 31 points last season. But the Ravens were Super Bowl champs last season, and this year they are … not. They’ve beaten three bad teams and lost to some bad ones, including Cleveland last week.
This is, very clearly, finally the year that Andy Dalton conquers his Baltimore demons.
Detroit (-2.5) over CHICAGO
Take your time, Jay Cutler. Josh McCown has figured out that all you have to do in the Bears offense is throw darts 10 feet off the ground and let Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery grab them. It’s not rocket science.
As fun as it would be to pick McCown to knock off NFC North foes in consecutive weeks, I just can’t. The Chicago defense is just so, so bad, and as long as Matthew Stafford doesn’t get injured in the first series, the Lions ought to fair a lot better than any team led by Seneca Wallace.
(UPDATE: As it turns out, Jay Cutler is going to play. Would that lead me to change my pick? Well, I don’t have that luxury, so no.)
RQFLWP: “The world is down on the Bears too much. Not me. I’m calling for one of those bizarre Monday night performances from Josh McCown that nobody deems possible ahead of time.”
Note: This turned out to be a true assessment, as McCown threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns. It still just looks like a ridiculous thing to ever say.
Philadelphia (+1) over GREEN BAY
As you may have already surmised, I am not so much enamored with the idea of Seneca Wallace.
RQFLWP: “I’m going to tell you right now, I’m just not going to watch this game. We’re all going to die some day. When my time is up, I don’t want to live with the regret of knowing I wasted three hours in early November of 2013 watching these two football teams play.”
Note: Sure, I missed out on a seven-touchdown day from Nick Foles (wait — what?), but at least I spent my time doing something productive. (I didn’t.) (Damn.)
St. Louis (+10) over INDIANAPOLIS
Of the Rams’ past five games, just one has been a double-digit loss. Two have actually been wins. The Colts are a team certainly capable of the big win, but blowouts are harder to come by without Reggie Wayne, and nothing has looked to come easy for Andrew Luck’s offense all year long.
TENNESSEE (-12) over Jacksonville
The Jaguars are 1-7 against the spread this season, despite getting an average of 12 points per week. The only win against the spread for the Jags came when they got 26.5 points vs. Denver. They are impressively terrible.
The Jaguars don’t have any games left on the schedule that appear to be easily winnable, either. We may be looking at 0-16, Part II. Chill the champagne bottles, people of Detroit. You may soon have company.
Carolina (+6) over SAN FRANCISCO
These two teams are almost identical in terms of statistics on both sides of the ball. Look:
Passing Yards Per Game:
CAR — 203
SF — 190
Rushing Yards Per Game:
CAR — 130
SF — 153
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game:
CAR — 221
SF — 221
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game:
CAR — 79
SF — 105
Points Per Game:
CAR — 25.3
SF — 27.3
Points Allowed Per Game:
CAR — 13.3
SF — 18.1
I don’t know how you can look at all that and still feel comfortable picking either of them to win by a touchdown.
SAN DIEGO (+7) over Denver
Shootout time in San Diego. I’m banking on it being a repeat of Denver’s game in Dallas a few weeks back.
Houston (+2) over ARIZONA
I miss seeing Wade Phillips on the sideline. Back when he was somehow the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, he was the world’s biggest Cowboys fan. He always wore a face that said “I can’t believe they’re letting me stand on the sideline! And they gave me my own pretend headset!” The only thing that was missing was a foam finger and a plate of nachos. That guy loved the Cowboys.
I know it came at the expense of Gary Kubiak’s health (get well soon), but heck, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see Wade Phillips in charge of a football team again. Somebody get that man a foam finger.
NEW ORLEANS (-6.5) over Dallas
The Cowboys are terrible on the road. The Saints are dominant at home. 1 +1 = 2.
RQFLWP: “Life is much easier when you can just pick against the Jets and move on.”
Note: Thanks to the Saints’ face-plant for making life more difficult again.
Miami (-2) over TAMPA BAY
Ah, I’ve figured it out. The over-the-top coverage of the Incognito situation just so happens to come in a week leading up to a Miami Dolphins game on Monday Night Football on ESPN? Everything makes a lot more sense now.
I don’t think the whole hullabaloo is that big of a distraction — or I should say it’s not nearly big enough of a distraction to lead to a football team losing a game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As bad as things may seem with the Dolphins, the Buccaneers are much more miserable.
Last week: 7-6