This week's PlayBook has all your Week 13 picks and asks what to do with a boy named Suh.
Panic spread quickly in Detroit when people heard Ndamukong Suh would be allowed to roam free on Sunday instead of his violence being contained to its usual 120-yard space. The Motor City has enough problems without having to worry about animals like Suh adjusting to life outside the confines of NFL. Professional defensive tackles are by definition violent creatures who should only be allowed out of their cages on a limited basis and never in public. They’re highly-trained and effective killing machines who will always maim if not murder and expecting a notoriously unpredictable one to exhibit normative social behavior for two straight weeks without incident is extremely irresponsible of Roger Goodell.
Violence is a natural part of this game as it is with all things involving 20 or so armored mutants running headlong into one another at unnatural speeds and yet we’re routinely taken aback when it goes too far. There is something about stomping a player after the play on Thanksgiving weekend that is too weird for us, like when Eli Manning first entered the league and the spectacle became almost too gruesome to watch. “My God,” we would say, “who let that child onto the field and why are they attacking him!?” It made us uncomfortable, like something awful was happening that we just couldn’t stop but we soon got used to watching the wide-eyed and goofy kid brother of Peyton be mercilessly tackled on national television and on some days we even cheered for it to happen.
What we won’t get used to is the overt stupidity of someone like Suh who has likely cost the Lions a chance at the postseason and repeatedly denied that he’s done anything wrong. Occasional offenders are pardoned in this league and sometimes not bothered at all but recidivists who refuse to atone or even acknowledge their actions draw the unwanted attention of teetotalers calling for a less violent game. Overzealous mothers and straight-edge bureaucrats trying to tie everything up in red-tape and yellow flags. Full-on and flagrant after-the-whistle violence will become a talking point for the safety police and the parrots they produce; any more outbursts from people like Suh might see the NFL turn towards a more watered-down version of church league two-hand touch and the fans will grow bored when the longest drive of the game is a 40 yard penalty for excessive shoulder-grazing.
This is the future folks; the fast-living, free-wheeling days of Football are over. It was fun while it lasted.
This Week’s Lines:
New England (-20) over Indianapolis
It’s hard to imagine how a 20 point line would come to pass until you see the two teams involved and think, Hmm, 20 seems a little low.
Denver (+1.5) over Minnesota
The 2-9 Adrian Peterson-less Vikings versus a 6-5 Broncos team that has won five of their last six with Tebow at the helm. Am I missing something here? Who made this line?
Dallas (-4.5) over Arizona
Good news everyone! Kevin Kolb is bac…oh wait.
Green Bay (-6.5) over NY Giants
The annual “We’ve lost faith to Tom Coughlin” narrative picked up on schedule last week with a 49-24 loss to the Saints which is typically followed by New York winning three or four in a row. Logic would lead us to believe the Giants will win this game if it were against anybody accept the Packers. The 11-0 Packers with QB yet to dip below a 120 rating against a bad New York secondary.
San Diego (-2.5) over Jacksonville
I will continue to bet the Chargers if only to say ‘I told you so’ when they win one after losing six.
Chicago (-7) over Kansas City
Side-bet: Over/Under 1.5 pick-sixes between Palko and Hanie. Takers?
Houston (+3) over Atlanta
You will almost be able to see the giant question mark hovering above Josh Freeman’s head this weekend. No Turner. No Jones. No Options. Even the Yates/Delhomme tandem won’t be able to throw this one away with Foster, Tate and Andre Johnson back in the fold.
Cleveland (+6.5) over Baltimore
Low-scoring game, 10 or 13 to 7. We’re taking the points.
Pittsburgh (-6.5) over Cincinnati
This is a question of who wants it more; the 7-4 Bengals who will spend the remainder of the season scrapping and clawing their way to a playoff spot in a tough division or the Steelers who need to keep pace with or make space for the Ravens.
Tennessee (+2.5) over Buffalo
The game where everyone gives up on the Bills, including the Bills.
Quick Slants: New Orleans (-9) over Detroit, NY Jets (-3) over Washington, Carolina (+3.5) over Tampa Bay, San Francisco (-13.5) over St. Louis, Miami (-3) Oakland
Overall Record: 29-25-2