Friday, October 22, 2010

NFL Picks Week Seven: In Which I Tell You About Buffalo

Yes, some of you might have noticed that I didn't write anything at all this week. One of you, in fact, demanded to know why I hadn't said anything about the Giants' impressive 3-1 (now 3-2) series lead over the Phillies. Come to think of it, that person may be the only one who reads this with any regularity. Either way, fear not, because I have a justified reason for being so damn lazy with updating this little-trafficked writing space.

And that is because of the beautiful city of Buffalo, which you see to your right. The Queen City is a remarkable place in just about every way and if you have a chance to visit, well, the food is pretty good.

The beer, too.

Either way, I was unable to write and entertain you all because I was on a business trip up to the shores of Lake Erie in Western New York where I got to see the 2010 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions. And if you didn't know that, you clearly weren't talking to me at all this week. Or at least you weren't having me foist my stories in your face the entire time. Either is possible.

I won't begrudge you for not having read them, but know that you missed out on brilliance.

In any event, I'm back now, and fear not, I have, in fact been paying attention to those wild and crazy stories of the day, namely the fact that if the San Francisco Giants can win one more game I will officially be able to watch the World Series this year, but also the very interesting debate going on over the new rules the NFL has levied regarding dangerous hits and tackles.

I have my own ideas regarding a fairly unorthodox solution, which would be to decrease the effectiveness of pads. Why? Because if you don't feel like your body is covered in armor, you won't use it as a missile. Aussie Rules Football and Rugby are fraught with tons of tackling with almost no padding whatsoever. And that's because it's tackling, not body launching. Players are taught proper form where they square up and wrap an opposing player before taking him to the ground because they have to defend themselves as well as their opponent from injury. American football has grown into a game where this is considered unnecessary by men who feel so protected by their equipment that they assume an air of invincibility.

Now, that said, do I really think the NFL should decrease the protectiveness of its equipment? No, of course not. I think the NFL should accept that its a violent game they make their bread with, that split-second defensive reactions will inevitably lead to injuries and that simply fining a player won't undo years of ingrained psychological training to value toughness and intensity above personal safety.

Punishing the players financially, is not the answer, and the fact that these dangers are an inherent risk of the game is simply evidence that an 18-game schedule is a foolish idea.

The 16-game schedule works out just fine, however. And we've got plenty of those 16 games to talk about this weekend, so let's get on with it.

Last Week: 5-8-1
Season: 41-44-5

ATLANTA (-4) over Cincinnati
Washington (+3) over CHICAGO
TENNESSEE (-3) over Philadelphia
Jacksonville (+10) over KANSAS CITY
Pittsburgh (-3) over MIAMI
NEW ORLEANS (-14) over Cleveland
St. Louis (+3) over TAMPA BAY
San Francisco (-3) over CAROLINA
BALTIMORE (-14) over Buffalo
SEATTLE (-7) over Arizona
DENVER  (-9) over Oakland
SAN DIEGO (-3) over New England
GREEN BAY (-3) over Minnesota
NY Giants (+4) over DALLAS

Those are your ironclad locks, people. Enjoy the weekend.

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