Digital Dads NFL Pre-Game 2012: Week 4

Let’s put my personal record aside for a moment. How can I pick games properly when the replacement refs are clearly affecting the outcome? You might not think so, and I don’t fully blame the replacements as they are doing their best in a very tough situation, but the NFL has to realize that their product is being devalued right? They do, they just don’t care because we’re not going to stop watching. No matter how many coaches and players complain (mostly on the losing end) the NFL isn’t going to just give in to the refs, because there is money involved.

Here’s the deal, not only is the quality of the game being affected by blown calls and terrible pacing, but the players and coaches are getting a bit out of control. The replacements are unable to control the game, from keeping the pace to keeping the players and coaches in line. It’s a cluster fuck. Monday nights game was the tipping point for a lot of players and fans. There is a harsh truth about that Packers loss, that doesn’t fall solely on the backs of the refs. More on that in a minute.

So what can be done to fix this problem? Even if an agreement is reached, getting the refs back into the game would take at least two weeks with uniform re-fits and standard medical testing. But the NFL needs these guys back in the game now to keep this season from becoming one big joke. Again, the NFL really doesn’t give a shit unless revenue is affected. Do I think the real refs deserve everything they are asking for, like a pension plan? No, I don’t. They aren’t subject to the same physical punishment as the players. They don’t need a pension. Do I think the NFL should cave and give them whatever they want to maintain the integrity of the game? Hell yes. Let’s end this fuckery and get the NFL back. It’s bad enough we may not have any hockey as well.

As of this writing there are conflicting reports about the refs coming to a tentative agreement with the NFL owners. I don’t buy it, but we’ll see if something comes of it. The money of this should come to note, as apparently each owner would have to cough up around 100k to make this deal happen. I don’t know if that’s true, or if that’s a per season cost but I can’t imagine it’s much more than that anyway. I’d love to see the refs back on Thursday night, since you know that game is going to suck anyway. Even if they strike a deal tonight there is no way that they’ll be ready in time since the league switched from Reebok to Nike and fielding refs in Reebok gear would probably violate some other money making agreement, regardless of the safety issues. To the NFL, money is much more important than player safety. I think they’ve made that much clear.

UPDATE: They struck a deal. Regular refs will be back starting with tonight’s game. About fucking time.

Cleveland at Baltimore -12.5
There was one moment last week where I thought the Browns could pull it off and win against the Bills. That moment quickly passed and I wrote it off as gas. The Ravens finally got some revenge against the Patriots, but how much did the refs really have to do with that win? Well, there were some blown calls, some time management issues and yeah, the Ravens had some help. Regardless, they stayed close enough to beat out the Pats in the end. Ravens to win this week with relative ease.

Carolina at Atlanta -6.0
Only six points? The Falcons offense is shredding opponents. Last week my boy Ryan (my fantasy starter) went for 275 passing yards and three TD’s against the Chargers. Ok, the Chargers aren’t that great on defense. Whatever. The point is, the Falcons are probably the best in the NFC right now, and could face the undefeated Cardinals later this year. Carolina is tons of meh. Teams figured out Newton pretty damn quick and exposed him for the poor pocket passer he is. Falcons at home.

New England at Buffalo +4.5
The Patriots own the Bills. I mean, like property. The Bills have no chance, any season, no matter how good they are on offense. With Spiller out, there is no way Tashard Choice carries this team the rest of the way. I’m putting a fork in them. Their rushing game was all they had. Just skating by the Browns isn’t bolstering any confidence in the rest of the offense. Pats to win.

Minnesota at Detroit -0.0
When the Vikings went for it on 4th down early in the game I smelled upset. Sure, I picked the Niners to win – who didn’t? And that upset brewed and was served up nice and delicious. Sucks for the Niners. The Vikings suddenly looked like a playoff caliber team, even if Ponder was still a bit shaky and relied mostly on pitches and the running game. The Detroit defense is just as tough as the Niner defense, but are more likely to show up this week after a heartbreaking loss in over time last week to the Titans. I’m taking Detroit at home.

San Diego at Kansas City +1.0
Yeah, I’m not sold on the Chargers this year. They started off a little bit hot, then certainly fizzled. The Chiefs have done the opposite of that, starting off with two losses then a crazy overtime win against the falling Saints. The Chargers have not found a good running game, while the Chiefs have found a really good running game. I don’t think the Chargers fare well this week and I’m taking the Chiefs to surprise them.

Seattle at St. Louis +3.0
This has been one batshit crazy season hasn’t it? Last week was one of my worst ever for picks, with three overtime games that I got wrong. Not to mention games are 15% longer due to the crappy officiating. One thing is for sure though, the Seahawks are surprising the crap out of everyone. That was a shit win, but a win nonetheless and the Seahawks are looking to take the division lead. They’ll have to pray Arizona loses first. This week, they face a Rams team that isn’t ready to give up, even though they got whipped by Chicago. There is a lot of parity in the league this year, and I’m taking the Rams to rebound this week and put the Hawks in their place.

San Francisco at NY Jets +3.0
In probably one of the cleanest games (as far as officiating is concerned) this weekend, the Jets pulled out an overtime win. That’s because both the Jets and Dolphins sucked for 4 1/2 quarters. I thought it was going to be a tie. The Jets kept trotting out Tebow like some fucking novelty, which never paid off. C’mon, just start him at tight end already. The Niners shouldn’t have too much of an issue with the Jets terrible offense, even though their defense showed some major holes last week. Niners to win.

Tennessee at Houston -10.5
The Titans got their first win of the season, 44 points and Jake Locker was their leading rusher. That speaks more to how much the Lions were sucking it rather than the Titans being awesome. This week, at Houston, who is scary dominant and undefeated the Titans will see if Schaub still remembers how to pass after the whack he took last week. Regardless, even if he’s forgotten, they can just give the ball to Foster all day. Texans to win.

Oakland at Denver -5.5 CRAPFEST OF THE WEEK!!
Who ever thought that Peyton would be in a game I’m calling a crapfest? He’s been terrible this year, and it’s his fault. Here’s why – he expects his Denver line to play just like his Colts line did all those years. But that relationship took time to develop, with all his quirks. He won’t get that synergy with this line. So he’ll continue to be terrible. The Raiders are coming off their most violent game of the season, so that should make this one fun to watch. Denver to win.

Miami at Arizona -6.0
I can’t see the Dolphins winning much more than a bowling trophy this year. The Cardinals are coming off another huge win, Kolb cock smacking Andy Reid and the Eagles like a bitch. The undefeated Cardinals are going to punish the Dolphins right in the blowhole. Cards to win.

Cincinnati at Jacksonville +1.0
I think by some stroke of luck, the Jags got lucky. Oh wait, they did. Wait, that sentence is redundant. Either way, a nice game ending 80 yard pass to who-dat Cecil Shorts was all the Jags needed to win their first game of the season. The Bengals, well, they shoved the Redskins around like playground bullies, on defense and offense. Bengals to win.

New Orleans at Green Bay -5.0
Headlines are blaming the refs for the Packers loss at Seattle, in which the Packers scored a terrible 12 points. Rodgers averages 28 points per game, highest of any QB and you are going to blame the refs? If the Packers were up by 30 the last play of the game wouldn’t matter, that would have been a garbage touchdown. Sure, that call at the end was crap, but so fucking what? The Packers offense was stinking the whole game. Blame the offense. Blame McCarthy for playing like a pussy with a 12-6 lead for most of the game. Blame the Packers receivers for not getting open. After the game Rodgers said “We shouldn’t have been in that position.” Damn straight. You should have been up by 3 TD’s at that point. Plus, that was bad defense by the Packers. A pass up in the end zone like that – you knock it down. You don’t try to catch. Knock it down! Yes, the refs missed a clear offensive pass interference call, but it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is to that point, the Packers played like shit on offense and didn’t deserve to win that game. Had Jennings punched that ball out of the air, or Tate’s reach instead of fighting for the catch, we wouldn’t even be having this convo. Or if the refs had flagged Tate for shoving Shields to the ground. Regardless, bad call or not, the Packers played like shit the whole game and deserve to be 1-2. Regardless, the 0-3 Saints are lost, drifting like non-pressure treated wood in the aftermath of Katrina. Too soon? Packers to win.

Washington at Tampa Bay -3.0
The city of Tampa sports bobbleheads think because the Bucs held Romo in check most of the game last week that they are ready to bust out of their shell and become a quality team. Whatever. The Bucs are not going to blast off into the playoffs. But they are going to beat the Redskins, who are struggling to figure out if they have a running game outside of RG3, who is going to get killed this week. Bucs to win.

New York at Philadelphia -1.0 GAME OF THE WEEK!!
This is the game of the week, to me, because I think this is the game where the Eagles get put away for good this season. Sure, it would only drop them to 2-2, but they were exposed for the shit offense they are last week as the Cardinals just tore them up. Vick is a fraud and will be either out injured or benched after this game. Giants to win.

Chicago at Dallas -3.5 UPSET SPECIAL!!
Sure the Bears are on the road, but the Cowboys are nothing spectacular right now. The Bears can halt the run with relative ease and Culter is finding great rhythm with his receivers. I’ve got the Bears mauling the Cowboys, even if the game is in that monstrosity of a stadium in Dallas.

Indianapolis at Bye Week
The Colts have got to work on getting Luck to not overthrow his receivers. That’s some rookie shit that he’s got to overcome.

Pittsburgh at Bye Week
The Steelers are getting old. That is all.

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Curtis Silver writes about sports here mostly. NFL, Golf, Baseball - whatever. Find him on Twitter @cebsilver, if you've got a bone to pick.

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