Tonight on the NFL Network, the Raiders visit the Chargers in a meaningless game, which might as well be considered an exhibition. The Raiders were done before the season began and the Chargers have invented a new way to lose in all their eight losses. The fact that the Broncos haven’t officially wrapped up the AFC West is just a clear display as to how ridiculously terrible that division is and how bad the teams in it have played.
Tonight though I would expect the Chargers to win given that they aren’t mathematically finished yet and the fact that even though Norv Turner has about as much chance of keeping his job as I do of picking all the correct numbers in the Power Ball, I am sure the man doesn’t want to make the Chargers’ front office decision to fire him a no-brainer. Even though it most likely is already.
I was just skimming through this week’s Sports Illustrated and there was a nice little story about LaDainian Tomlinson wondering where his numbers have gone. I am not sure where they went, but they certainly took the rest of the San Diego offense with them. Ever since LT put together that magical 2006 season, he has been a disappointment and even though the Chargers made the AFC Championship last season (after Peyton Manning beat himself against the Chargers the week before), they were playing in a game they couldn’t win against a team they couldn’t beat. But LT had nothing to do with that game if you remember. As he was cuddled up on the sidelines underneath an XXXXXXXXL Chargers coat with his pads still on and his helmet and tinted visor. Somewhere Marty Schottenheimer laughs.
The same way the league started the season with two games on Monday Night Football, I am all for the same format for the NFL Network on Thursdays. One game is a tease. After waiting out Tuesday and Wednesday (yes, it’s only two days but still) football fans want their football. And while havving one game as an appetizer before Sunday is nice, but two games would be better. Especially when the game is Oakland and San Diego. Which brings me to my next point. Let’s look at the Thursday night games that have played and are scheduled to be played this season.
Denver @ Cleveland
New York Jets @ New England
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Arizona @ Philadelphia
Oakland @ San Diego
New Orleans @ Chicago
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville
Baltimore @ Dallas (Saturday)
Those are the NFL Networks game this season. Now I understand they schedule the games before the season, but those are some terrible matchups. With the exception of the Jets/Patriots game, I am not sure where they are going with some of these other ones.
I can understand the Indy/Jax meeting. Indy has been good for a decade and many (wrongfully) picked the Jags at the team to beat in the AFC. And while we are on the Jags let me ask how you can think the Jags are the team to beat while the Colts and Peyton Manning exist, Tom Brady was still healthy, and the Steelers were still the Steelers.
New Orleans/Chicago was another sloppy pick. Two of the larger name teams in the league, but the Saints outside of 2006 have been terrible and the Bears outside of 2006 have been terrible as well.
Baltimore/Dallas is fine selection since both clubs are good and it is the last home game at Texas Stadium, though at the time I think they thought it would just be the last regular season home game there.
So out of the eight NFL Network games, I am going to say that three of them were intelligently picked and it just so happens that three of them will be good games. And they aren’t the same three. Intelligently picked were NYJ/NE, IND/JAC, BAL/DAL. And if you flip flop IND/JAC with ARI/PHI then you have the ones that will be good games, even though ARI/PHI wasn’t necessarily a good game scorewise, but it had a lot of meaning.
But how do you schedule a game with Oakland in it? You might as well have played the Texas High School Division 9 State Championship, if that even exists. There is no way that Cincinnati or Oakland should be scheduled for games on a network that is trying to get people to subscribe and watch the games and make Thursday night football a trend. With 16 games a week (not counting bye weeks) it is inexcusable to select games that have such poor team involved.
On that note, tonight i am taking the Chargers by the spread to kickoff the picks for the week. If they can’t beat Oakland at home with even a slim chance to still make the playoffs, Norv Turner should be fired on the spot, at midfield, in front of the crowd and television audience immediately following the game. Because if you can’t beat the Oakland Raiders. THE OAKLAND RAIDERS. Then you don’t deserve to play in the NFL, unless of course you are worse in the case of the Kansas City Chiefs. But if you are the Broncos or Jets, then that message was for you. My only wish is that the Jets and Broncos aren’t scheduled to face each other in the first round of the playoffs because that way they can both be eliminated and the playoff field can get have better talent. That and the fact that it would be nice to win some easy money betting against them, since neither of them will win.