The NFL has hit the inevitable mid-season snags, where good teams demonstrate their playoff aspirations and bad teams sink to the bottom like the wreckage of a very old ship. There is something that has been bothering me for some time about American professional sports. It is the notion of “America’s Team” in leagues that are populated by a predominance of teams that are, in fact, American teams by definition. Every time someone talks about the Cowboys being “America’s Team” I want to yell at them. They are all American teams. The National Football League is populated by teams located in major American metropolitan areas. The soapbox irritation goes for the idea of a world championship in leagues populated by teams that do not represent much more than a single continent. When we are talking about the World Cup, then we are bringing far more of the world into the conversation than we see in the NFL, NBA, or MLB.
Now, moving on to mid-season picks:
I think Cam Newton and Carolina make it over the .500 hump and push the Buccaneers to 0-7. While I did pick the Giants to finally grab a win last week, I think Chip Kelly and the Eagles grab the win at home. Tony Romo and the Cowboys remain an enigma; I am always uncomfortable picking for or against them. That being said: Cowboys grab a win. New England looked terrible last week; Brady looked flustered and confused by a stifling Jets defense. I don’t think that Miami has what it takes to make the Patriots lose back-to-back games. I am still unconvinced by the 49ers, but I think Gore and company will make easy work of the hapless Jaguars (sorry, Jacksonville fans). The Saints are for real. Having their head coach back has made them a legitimate Super Bowl favorite, so I see them dominating this week.
Can the Chiefs remain undefeated?
The Browns are not as dynamic without Hoyer at the helm, so I will pick the Alex Smith-led squad to move to 8-0. The Bengals beat the Jets at home. The Raiders have to win another game at some point, and I think facing the Steelers at home offers a good opportunity. The Cardinals and Denver take care of business on the road; the Packers and Seahawks grab a win on the road.