The NFL’s fourth week arrives with a fortutous game. The 0-3 Steelers vs. the 0-3 Vikings in London. May all of the NFL’s games across the pond be such total duds.
Pro sports continues its gradual move to games in Europe — NBA, NFL, not baseball, thankfully — and while an occasional game is no great harm, the looming specter of a franchise being located in London or Madrid or some other cosmopolitan European city would be a disaster. For multiple reasons:
1. Security. In case no one has figured this out, security concerns are going to grow as time goes by. Adding the multiple layers of international factors is going to exacerbate the problem.
2. Competitive balance. Maybe some dudes would get an initial charge out of playing for the London Monarchs. But that wouldn’t last long. It’s become quite clear that basketball and baseball players want to stay clear of even Toronto, a world-class city, primarily because of financial concerns. Wait ’til NFL players get a load of the European tax system. They’ll avoid London like the plague.
3. Travel. Going to London once every 10 years, maybe. Going to London every season, which is what some poor franchises within the same division would face? They will revolt. What’s the NFL going to do? Take the least stable franchises — Buffalo, Jacksonville, Oakland, whoever — and stick them with the European team? What a mess.
So avoid it. Don’t do it. The NFL has a 50-year track record of nothing but smart moves. No reason to turn stupid now.
49ers at Rams: San Francisco 27-20. Three games and one game minute ago, San Francisco seemed poised to not only win a Super Bowl, but ignite a mini-dynasty. Now the 49ers aren’t even sure they kept the right quarterback. But don’t worry about Colin Kaepernick. He’ll be fine.
Ravens at Bills: Buffalo 22-20. I’m not sold on Baltimore, despite that rout of Houston. Of course, Getting excited about the Bills is quite silly itself.
Bengals at Browns: Cincinnati 17-13. I’m selling on Brian Hoyer. Alas, the Browns have sold on Brandon Weeden.
Bears at Lions: Detroit 26-13. I refuse to give in to those who say Lovie Smith needed to go. I’ll go down with that ship.
Giants at Chiefs: Kansas City 20-16. I am not going down with the G-Men ship. Get beat 38-0 by the woeful Carolinas? Inexcusable. I refuse to point out that the last time I remember an NFL team losing 38-0, the ’70 Cowboys recovered to reach the Super Bowl.
Cardinals at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay 23-17. Big 12 quarterbacks are getting benched by the week. First, Weeden. Now, Josh Freeman. The Bucs are going with rookie Mike Glennon.
Colts at Jaguars: Indianapolis 31-10. Is Blaine Gabbert the next Big 12 QB to walk the plank? He returns to the Jacksonville lineup this week, but how long will that last?
Seahawks at Texans: Houston 20-17. If Seattle wins this game, is the Super Bowl race over? Win this game, and has an NFL team ever had a better September? A road win over one of the rival conference’s bluebloods, plus a home rout over the preseason Super Bowl favorite.
Steelers at Vikings: Pittsburgh 33-24. Hey, why don’t they play those London games in the early afternoon, England time? That would give us a 9 a.m. Oklahoma time kickoff. Breakfast at Wimbledon.
Jetropolitans at Titans: Tennessee 19-7. Win this game, and Mike Munchak is the NFL’s coach of September. A 4-0 start for Tennessee? Are you kidding me?
Redskins at Raiders: Washington 29-17. Don’t cry for me, Cap City, just yet. Win this game, and the ‘Skins could go to sleep Sunday night a game out of first place.
Eagles at Broncos: Denver 44-27. Great quarterbacks beat cool systems almost every time.
Cowboys at Chargers: San Diego 17-16. Philip Rivers is the NFL’s most underrated quarterback. I didn’t say he was great. I said he was underrated.
Patriots at Falcons: Atlanta 31-30. Lose this game, and Atlanta, my pick in the NFC, is 1-3. That would not be good for January prospects.
Dolphins at Saints: New Orleans 37-24. Rob Ryan wins the award for September’s most impactful assistant coach. The Saints, so far, are playing some defense.
Last week: 6-10. Season: 26-22.