Remember that scene in Trading Places where a dejected and desperate Dan Aykroyd dresses up as Santa, steals a bunch of food at a Christmas party and gets thrown out on the street? Then a dog pees on his leg and it starts raining and he’s ready to shoot himself?
It’s a great piece of pathos of film, and it’s also probably about how the NFL feels from a public relations standpoint about this nightmarish season.
But lookie lookie. The light at the end of the tunnel approaches?
The undisputed two best teams in football are getting ready to square off in the upcoming Super Bowl. This could be the best Super Bowl in years, in decades, maybe ever.
Except that that light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train in the form of deflategate, a nickel and dime scandal courtesy of the New England Patriots that has to have anyone who cares about the NFL’s image absolutely fuming.
It’s all so stupid.
The Patriots didn’t NEED to do anything but show up to beat the Colts.
So why risk this chintzy cheat move, especially when it’s taken the Pats forever to get over the indignity of spygate, which was a lot more substantive and had any number of people legitimately speculating that New England’s championships were ill gotten gains of gaming the system.
If it were up to me, I’d suspend Bill Belichick for the first four games of next season. 6 or 8 if it turned out he knew about the ball doctoring in advance. The whole season if he supervised, directed or oversaw it.
I’d also fine the team the maximum amount league rules allow and take next year’s 1st and 3rd round draft picks. And I’d take one more first round draft pick, to be announced later, sometime prior to the 2020 draft.
I guarantee you one thing, a control freak like Belichick would be tortured beyond words by this penalty and he would make DAMN SURE that no one ever screwed around with the rules, even the most insignificant of rules, ever again.
But enough about that. Let’s talk the game.
New England (-1) vs. Seattle o/u 48 (Westgate Superbook)
This game opened at Seattle giving 2.5, then for a while it was a pick ‘em (which is what it should be). Right now, the Pats are a one point favorite.
I like New England in this game for two reasons.
First: the Seattle defense has not necessarily dominated the really good offenses, in particular the elite quarterbacks, it has faced. Aaron Rodgers had a hell of a game against them in the NFC Championship game. Tom Brady will have his chances to beat them.
And you can’t be a football fan and not want to see the matchup of the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, the most lethal tight end in football, vs. the Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor, the safety who’s built like a linebacker and plays like you murdered his family right before the game.
Secondly, Seattle hasn’t faced a secondary like New England’s all year. That’s because only the Seattle secondary is as good (better, in fact) as New England’s secondary. The Patriots defense should be able to contain Marshawn Lynch and with two weeks to prepare, I guarantee Bill Belichick will have a strong game plan in place for Russell Wilson.
Bottom line: I like both defenses in this game to win more battles than they lose against the opposing offenses. In that scenario, I see more potential for New England’s offense to take what points become available. I’ll give the one point and I like the under.
New England Patriots 23 Seattle Seahawks 21
Featured image via Tom Pennington/Getty