Big Hit Buzz

How much do fines really mean in the NFL? Normally, they’re no more than a slap on the wrist, but things may be getting a bit out of hand. Five-figure fines for tweeting or improper chinstraps is outrageous, but that is another discussion for another time. The question is why fine $75k for normal football plays?

James Harrison has never been known as a dirty player. He is a hard working player who had to give it all just to make the Steelers before becoming one of the most feared pass rushers in the league. Last Sunday, when facing the Cleveland Browns, Harrison laid a huge (but legal) hit on Mohamed Massaquoi, and now he’s $75,000 poorer. This even led him to considering retirement.

Football has always been a violent sport, now more than ever because players are bigger, faster, and stronger. That being said, the NFL should not change the rules or strategies to the game. The rules are tough enough on defenders, limiting hits allowed of quarterbacks, so if they were to disallow any hit with a helmet would be a kiss of death for defenses.

Ultimately, though, we’ll see the same style of football. This won’t be the Canadian Footaball League, and it certainly won’t be soccer. Leagues make threats like these all of the time, just look at the NBA with the new ball and tougher technical fouls rule. I think Roger Goodell wants to send a message that the league is getting tougher, but players can’t go crazy on the field.

There won’t be a big impact ultimately, and people will continue to watch. People don’t love defense, they lose big offense. If you don’t believe me, then did the Ravens/Giants Super Bowl receive so much lower ratings then the Saints/Colts game did? Fans will overreact, but all will end okay. Without further ado, my Week 7 NFL Picks. Home teams in CAPS.

FALCONS (-3.5) over Bengals
In case you didn’t know, the Bengals are bad. Really bad. Carson Palmer is no longer a competent quarterback, and he has to force passes to T.O. to keep him happy. The Falcons could be the best team in a very week NFC; they have a clutch quarterback, a very good running game, two great pass catchers, and a fast, young defense.

Redskins (+2.5) over BEARS
I’m starting to believe in the Redskins more and more throughout the season. They’ve got a great coach, quarterback, and plenty of veteran experience. On the other hand, I’m just not guying the Bears. They have a terrible offensive line and a highly turnover quarterback. This one will be close, so I’ll take the Redskins and the points.

Eagles (+3.5) over TITANS
Could the Eagles really be the best team in the NFC? They’re the fastest team in the NFC, and they’ve won four of their last five games. The Titans could very well be missing Vince Young, and as long as Kerry Collins is in, I’ll take the Eagles.

Picking against the Jags is free money.

Picking against the Jags is free money.

CHIEFS (-5.5) over Jaguars
You do realize how horrible the Jags are. MJD is the only semi-quality player on their roster. David Garrard is out. Do you know who is starting now? Todd Bouman. TODD BOUMAN! Do you know what this smells like? It smells like the aroma from…. a Bojangles’ Cajun Filet Lock o’ the Week!

Steelers (-3.5) over DOLPHINS
The Steelers are the best team in the NFL. Plain and simple. Big Ben is back and ready to prove to the world he can come through in more places than the bathroom. What? That’s a little inappropriate? Whatever….. By the way, what do you bet when Ben introduced himself to the college girl he said, “Hey, they call me Big Ben. Wanna meet Lil Ben?”?

SAINTS (-13.5) over Browns
This line can never be high enough.

BUCCANEERS (-2.5) over Rams
As good as we though Sam Bradford would be coming out of Oklahoma, he is even better. He is showing poise, pocket presence, and a great arm. Unfortunately, he has no receiving weapons. On top of that, he’s going on the road to face another great young quarterback, Josh Freeman. They are both going to be Pro Bowlers in a few years, but Bradford is going to be an owner of a 3-4 record fairly soon.

PANTHERS (+3.5) over Niners
As much as the Panthers have sucked this year, they do have a few things going for them this game. For starters, the Panthers are coming off a bye, where the Panthers are 5-1 in the last six seasons. Also, the Niners are taking a cross-country flight before playing at essentially 10 AM. Also, the 49ers have Alex Smith at quarterback. Then again, Carolina has Matt Moore starting. Either way, John Fox has never lost double digit games in his career, so a win at home is in order.

RAVENS (-13.5) over Bills
Just like the Saints/Browns game, this line can never be high enough.

SEAHAWKS (-5.5) over Cardinals
The Seahawks are a strange team, but they are no mystery. They rock at home behind the best home field advantage in the NFL, but are absolutely terrible on the road. They’re at home this week, so this one shouldn’t be close.

Patriots (-2.5) over CHARGERS
Deion Branch is no Randy Moss, but Patrick Crayton and Buster Davis are no Vincent Jackson. They Pats will win this game because of a superior offense, but also because the Chargers cannot stop anyone on special teams. Watch out for a Brandon Tate kick return and a big Pats victory.

BRONCOS (-6.5) over Raiders
I don’t know why, but I continue to believe in the Broncos. They have next to no offensive talent, yet Josh McDaniels makes it work with Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd, and Eddie Royal. The Raiders, on the other hand, are starting Kyle Boller. Enough said.

VIKINGS (+2.5) over Packers
How often do you get to take a great team and points? The Packers are not a good team; they are just pissing too many key pieces. Favre won’t lose this big game against his former team, and then maybe we’ll realize that Aaron is a great fantasy quarterback, but an average real-life QB.

COWBOYS (-3.5) over Giants
The Cowboys need to win this game, and they’re not gonna blow this one at home. The Giants aren’t his good, and the ‘Boys aren’t this bad. Tony Romo will step up here while Eli will crumble in the spotlight.

Last Week: 8-8

Season: 40-52

Bojangles’ Lock o’ the Week: 3-2

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