By: Shawn Davis
Reigning at the top of the U.S. sports ladder is not a given.
The NFL is tone-deaf on so many subjects and this is not even addressing the powder keg that is the Ray Rice-Janay Palmer videotape. They have committed to push all their chips in the middle of the table in regards to the Thursday Night NFL schedule. On one hand the league stands tall for player safety yet they have teams turning around after Sunday contests to play just days later. Football is a collision sport and I truly think the suits throughout the league offices don’t consider it as such. There is just too much money to count.
Addressing the elephant in the room: I will not pontificate and call for Roger Goodell to resign or be fired for the Rice tape UNLESS he knew about the footage, hid it, and tried to make sure that it never saw the light of day; if, in fact, that did transpire then he should type up his resignation immediately. Ignorance is not an excuse. The initial punishment was far too lenient – I felt that a 10-game suspension was the way to go – and the recently released tape made the league and the Baltimore Ravens look out of touch, incompetent and insensitive. Palmer was dragged out of the elevator, callously, so was there any real doubt about what transpired?
Devil’s advocate could argue the need to require more proof. Okay. Did he not find himself in a police station and later in a court of law facing charges?
Lastly, I do think looking to Goodell, a sports commissioner, to solve a societal crime – for everyone – is short-sighted. Domestic violence needs to be examined at all levels of culture and government well before we begin taking cues from a professional sports league and its response to the problem.
Back to football so here’s the Week 2 picks:
Pittsburgh 23 @ Baltimore 17: I’ll run with the Steelers, here, as I think the Ravens have a lot going on around them – things far more important than football.
Miami 24 @ Buffalo 20: Which of these teams from last week – entering as underdogs yet both emerging with victories – should be taken seriously? It’s too early to tell at the moment but I’ll take the Dolphins pass rush to travel to Western New York.
Jacksonville 20 @ Washington 31: I smell the Jaguars taking this one but I’m thinking they come back to earth after scaring Las Vegas last week during their first half in Philadelphia.
Dallas 17 @ Tennessee 21: I have no idea what to think of the Titans but Tony Romo is taking snaps when he’s clearly recovering from a back ailment – and I’m not sure he should even be on the field because his usual fluid movement in the pocket is compromised.
Arizona 20 @ NY Giants 16: The good thing for the Giants is that they compete in the NFC East so going 0-2, early, might not be as daunting as it would be if they played in other divisions.
New England 24 @ Minnesota 23: The Vikings have the offensive threats to test the Patriots defense…and they will. However I see the Patriots walking out of this, late, with a game-winning field goal or touchdown drive in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
New Orleans 27 @ Cleveland 23: Brian Hoyer is going to have the deck stacked against him, in terms of trying to remain the starting quarterback. Having to host the Saints, considering how they lost last week, will make for a 0-2 start for the Browns.
Atlanta 34 @ Cincinnati 24: Andy Dalton has a tendency to leave (too many) touchdowns on field which could bite them against a possessed Falcons squad.
Detroit 31 @ Carolina 23: I don’t see the Panthers being able to score enough.
St. Louis 6 @ Tampa Bay 13: This might be the rock fighting contest of the week.
Seattle 31 @ San Diego 21: Seahawks.
Houston 17 @ Oakland 13: The Texans’ defense can be counted on and they are a known commodity whereas the Raiders are still in the coalescing phase.
NY Jets 17 @ Green Bay 30: I doubt that Aaron Rodgers will have trouble throwing a deep pass on the right side of the field this week.
Kansas City 20 @ Denver 33: A good number of the experts have the Chiefs falling from playoff contention – with the Chargers taking their place in this year’s tournament – and a 0-2 will only give those predictions validity.
Chicago 17 @ San Francisco 24: The Santa Clara 49ers will open their new stadium in style.
Philadelphia 30 @ Indianapolis 34: I suggest the Eagles start fast in this one.
Last Week: 10-6