Home > NFL > Week 5 NFL Picks: Throw the Book at ’em

Week 5 NFL Picks: Throw the Book at ’em

I didn’t think it would be possible for me to be disappointed with a 10-6 week, but I am. I’m upset that through some bizarre combination of incompetence between Victor Cruz of the Giants and the officials for their game against the Cardinals I got boned out of another victory.

If you haven’t seen, late in last week’s Giants vs. Cardinals game, Giants wideout Victor Cruz, upon making a reception deep in Cardinal territory, chose to fall to the turf without being touched, laid down the ball, and got up off the ground. There had been no whistle at this point, which makes sense because technically, as everybody who has ever watched a football game ever in their lives knows, Cruz was not down because he hadn’t been touched by a defender. The Cardinals, understanding this most basic tenet of football, picked up the ball and claimed possession. After a series of official consultations and video reviews, the referees determined Cruz to be down as he had declared himself down by falling to the ground and making no effort to return to his feet and gain more yardage.

The end result of this drive was a touchdown that helped fuel the Giants come-from-behind victory over the Cards, ruining the day of many gamblers.

Some guys at Deadspin dug up some old phony ass rule which is never ever enforced that was apparently invoked by the officials in order to save their asses. (They also have video of the play, which should help clarify my sloppy explanation above). I guess it isn’t a phony rule, as it is in the rulebook and therefore very much real. The problem I have with this rule is that it flies in the face of everything every player learns from Pop Warner league on. Play until the whistle. That is the most talked about, most cliched shit in the world, and Victor Cruz forgot about that and got his ass saved by a rule buried deep in the NFL rulebook stating that players DO NOT, in fact, have to play to the whistle. All you gotta do is lie down and quit.

The question this invokes is, what would have happened if an Arizona defender would have run up and crushed him while he was lying there? He is a receiver, and defenseless, and according to this strange rule he is down. But no whistle was blown, and the whistle is what is supposed to indicate the end of the play. So what if Cruz had decided, “Hey no whistle, I’mma get up and run.” What can the defense possibly do in this situation? Are they supposed to just tag him? Are they supposed to assume that even though there was no whistle the play is over because Cruz decided he wanted the play to be done?

It’s a strange rule and a frustrating situation. You can’t definitively say this call cost Arizona a game, but it certainly gave the Giants an unfair advantage. And in divisions as tight as the NFC East and West, one game either way will very likely go a long way to determining whether or not a team makes the playoffs. With this much at stake it would be really nice if the NFL could get its rulebook cleaned up.

****

Wow, do I ramble. Time for picks. All lines from Bodog. Home team in CAPS.

Last week: 10-6

Season: 28-33-1

****

COLTS (-3) over Chiefs: This is the week, Colts fans. MS Painter gets his first professional victory.

****

Cardinals (+3) over VIKINGS: It’s a battle of former Eagle quarterbacks! And uh. Ahem. Parity?

****

BILLS (+3) over Eagles: Clearly Las Vegas isn’t buying into this whole 1-3 craptastic start for the dream team. Maybe the Bills aren’t as good as their record suggests, and I’m almost certain the Eagles aren’t as bad as their record suggests. But I mean really, when in the hell is a 3-1 home team ever a three point dog to a 1-3 away team? I can’t get behind that.

****

Raiders (+5) over TEXANS: Al Davis died. Maybe it was today, maybe it was several years ago. Nobody can tell for sure. In honor of Crazy Al and all he did for professional football, I will choose the Raiders to lose this game by no more than five points.

****

PANTHERS (+7) over Saints: The Saints have not been as dominant as I expected them to be this season. Their strength last year, pass defense, seems to have diminished for some reason. Also, it’s going to be really, really hard for me to not take the Panthers at home when they’re getting points as long as Cam Newton continues to destroy opposing secondaries.

****

Bengals (+3) over JAGUARS: The matchup we’ve been waiting for, fans. Dalton vs. McCown. How did it come to this? Whither Palmer and Garrard?

****

Seahawks (+10) over GIANTS: Still mad at the Giants.

****

Buccaneers (+3) over 49ERS: No freaking way the Niners are this good. No way. Also, I have a soft spot for Josh Freeman for some reason. Saw him interviewed after last Monday night’s game and he seemed like a solid guy, good sense of humor. Plus, he can play. Go Bucs.

****

PATRIOTS (-8) over Jets: New England routinely wins games by more than eight points. The Jets routinely play like drunken teenagers. Did you see what happened to them last week in Baltimore? It was a castration. Complete embarrassment. Part of me wants to believe that it was so embarrassing that the Rex will have his boys all geared up and they’ll come out flying and really stun the Pats. But another part of me thinks the Jets are really not so great and Tom Brady is going to carve them up in a bad way. Plus you know the Pats are still super pissed about having their season ruined by the Jets last year. So, while it’s possible the Jets come out all guns a-blazing, it’s quite a bit more likely that Tom Brady will continue to own fools and run up the score.

****

Chargers (-4) over BRONCOS: Lock of the week? Lock of the week.

****

Packers (-6) over FALCONS: Another revenge game. And the theme for this year is, NEVER BET AGAINST AARON ROGERS.

****

Bears (+6) over LIONS: This is the first test against a legitimate division opponent for the suddenly-awesome Lions. Even though they’re undefeated, the Lions have shown some inconsistencies on defense that I think the Bears (and particularly Matt Forte) will be able to exploit. This is a pretty important game for both teams, and I like Chicago’s experience in this situation enough that I think they’ll keep it close. /analysis’d

****

Titans (+3.5) over STEELERS: Max Starks is back, and that should help. But even with him the offensive line still blows, the running game is mud, Ben is in a boot, the defense can’t stop the run, the Titans have Chris Johnson, and the Steeler defense can’t force a turnover. How am I supposed to take the Steelers -3.5?

Please, Steelers, prove me wrong this week.

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