By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Watching Philip Rivers heave shot puts into the Tennessee secondary while passing Dan Marino on the all-time yardage list on Thursday night just days after seeing Joe Flacco pass Joe Montana (!!!) on that same list … it got me thinking.
It sure is nice to be an old-as-heck quarterback these days, isn’t it?
Dan Marino, maybe the best pure passer of all time, and Joe Montana, the undisputed GOAT before Tom Brady came along, probably wouldn’t have minded playing during this era, as the rules and the health and fitness advancements and seemingly everything else has catered to quarterbacks, allowing them to have long and healthy careers.
And that got me thinking even deeper, which is always a dangerous proposition. But look around the NFL right now, and you’ll see that the old guys are scooping up all the wins. All* of them.
*Not all of them. Shut up.
Ben Roethlisberger, 38 years old, 8-0 record.
Drewseph Brees, 41 years old, 6-2 record. (I’m getting word that his name is not Drewseph. Developing story.)
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., 43 years old, 6-3 record.
Ol’ Pip Rivers, 38 years old, 6-3 record.
Aaron Rodgers, a touch younger at 36 years old, has a 6-2 record.
That’s a lot of wins for the old guys.
And if you’re not an old guy, you better be a young guy. Because the middle-aged guys — Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater — aren’t hoarding those wins. (Russell Wilson, as always, is the big exception.
The rise of the young guys is something to behold. Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes feel like they’ve been around for a while, but they’re still young. Lamar is 23. Mahomes is 25. Justin Herbert doesn’t have the wins yet, because he’s on the Chargers, and they fundamentally don’t know how to win games. But he’s been great. Tua Tagovailoa is exciting. Kyler Murray is the fastest man alive. Joe Burrow has somehow been viable despite his surroundings in Cincy. Josh Allen has proven a lot of people wrong.
It’s good to be young.
It’s good to be old.
Feels like a tough year to be in the middle.
(Maybe you disagree, but frankly, I’m sticking by what I said. I’ve watched my picks record absolutely crumble over the past two weeks, so let me have this. Thank you.)
Let’s make some picks.
(Home team in CAPS; Friday lines)
I Picked The Titans, UGH
Normally this column runs on Thursday. This week, it’s a Friday job. I tweeted out that I had the Titans +1, though. I did not realize their punter could only punt 17 yards. That is not a very good punt!
Start this week with a big, fat L.
GREEN BAY (-14) over Jacksonville
At least I can get Sunday started with an automatic win. Much needed. Much appreciated.
NEW YORK GIANTS (+3) over Philadelphia
Lord help me, but I think the Giants are … OK? They are at least the best 2-7 team out there. Bar none. No doubt about it.
Tampa Bay (-6) over CAROLINA
The last time Tom Brady embarrassed himself (by forgetting what down it was in Chicago), he responded by crushing the Packers with precision to kick-start a three-game winning streak in which he threw eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. I am anticipating a similar response to last week’s nationally televised pantsting at the hands of the Saints.
(Don’t think I’m not worried about Antonio Brown ruining their whole flow down there, though. Because I am. I so am.)
Denver (+4.5) over LAS VEGAS
Both teams are 5-3 against the spread. Both teams are kind of meh. TAKE THE POINTS.
Los Angeles Chargers (+1.5) over MIAMI
I mean. The Chargers are going to lose by precisely one point. What a layup.
CLEVELAND (-3.5) over Houston
Things are going so poorly for the Texans that they’re becoming a national punching bag for firing their PR director. The walls really are closing in on Jack Easterby, a man who went from Patriots chaplain to head honcho of the Texans faster than any human being ever rightfully should.
Anyways, the Texans stink.
DETROIT (-4) over Washington
Football Team? More like “Football Team” am I right, folks, or am I right?!?!?!
No? Nothing. OK.
Cincinnati (+7) over PITTSBURGH
Hey, a COVID week is tough to deal with. Football practice with the full squad and the starting QB is pretty important after all. Plus the Steelers are due for an off week. Maybe a mediocre performance in Dallas counts as that, but it probably should get a touch worse this weekend for “The World’s Team.” (Violently barfs all over the desk.)
ARIZONA (-2.5) over Buffalo
Whole lotta quarterbacking legs in this one.
The Cardinals have had an exceptionally easy schedule (their .368 strength of schedule and .326 strength of victory are comfortably the lowest among playoff teams), so I have my doubts. But you have to also have your doubts about the Bills putting forth their second four-game winning streak of the season. They are still Buffalo, you know? You know.
Seattle (+1.5) over LOS ANGELES RAMS
Dealing with Seattle every week is truly gambling. They have the best quarterback in the league running the NFL’s most fearless offense. It’s a treat. They also have arguably the worst defense in history. (Sure, they won’t finish as the worst defense ever. But we all know the deal. They’re not fooling anybody.)
There’s no right choice with Seattle. There’s no wrong choice. There’s only a gamble.
NEW ORLEANS (-9.5) over San Francisco
The lesson, kids, as always, is simple: Don’t lose the Super Bowl. You will generally not like what comes next.
Baltimore (-7) over NEW ENGLAND
While the image of seeing the Patriots as 7-point underdogs at home is jarring (first since St. Louis visited the old stadium in 2001, in fact), my reaction is more … that’s it? Just seven? Has anybody seen the Patriots try to stop the run this year? They just don’t have the personnel to make it happen. Coaching can only get you so far.
So, yes, I believe the Ravens and their top-ranked rushing attack will run for 280 yards and five touchdowns and New England can hit the hay early on Sunday night.
Minnesota (-3) over CHICAGO
So, I was having a really good year here. I was 58-44-3 after Week 7. Crushing it. Fourteen games over .500. What a world, baby. I’M THE GREATEST TO EVER DO IT. I’M NEVER GONNA DIE.
Things, though. Things have soured. I’m having a rough time here.
A 4-10 clunker in Week 8 was a slight problem. A 5-9 follow-up in Week 9? Things worsened.
Add in the 0-1 start to Week 10, and I’ve dropped from 58-44-3 to 67-64-3 in a hurry.
This week, the road diverges in the yellow wood. I either drop below .500 or climb back to my rightful excellence.
I think we all know how this one ends.
Last week: 5-9