So this week, on twitter, I was asked how I would handle domestic violence cases if I was the commissioner of the NFL. This got me thinking about something I ponder occasionally(what can I say, I have too much time on my hands), and that is what changes I would make if I was the NFL commissioner. I have some conventional ideas, and probably some odd ideas that will never happen in a million years. I have some ideas that would make people love the league, and some ideas that would make the owners secretly plot to leak some damning story so they have a good excuse to fire me. But before that, lets make some picks. As usual, all stats are from ESPN or football outsiders unless otherwise noted.
Without further ado, ITS PICKS TIME!!!!
So the Bengals might be legit this year. Beating the Seahawks last week almost felt like a statement win, but I am starting to become convinced that the Seahawks are fantastic this year. Anyway, the Bills are without Tyrod Taylor this week, but the get Shady McCoy back, so that’s a plus for the Bills. Both of these teams are in the top 10 in offensive DVOA, and in the top half for defensive DVOA. This game appears like it has the potential to be a great one this week. Then you remember that E.J. Manuel is starting for the Bills at qb. That alone is enough to take the Bengals, also I think that the Bengals are the better team.
Hey look at that! It’s the first time I have outright picked the Bears this year(for the Oakland game I said it depended on Cutler’s status). The Lions are up for the worst team in the league award, and they are running into a Bears team gaining confidence, and healthy players. Of course now that I have said that, watch the Lions win. Anyway, the Bears could be getting Alshon Jeffery back this week, which would be huge as Jay Cutler has not had great support in the passing game so far(although M.Wilson has been playing well). Anyway, the Lions look like a team looking for answers, while the Bears appear to have a lot of life in them. Give me the Bears!!
This one is pretty easy, even though Peyton Manning did not play well last week. The Browns had J. Haden and T. Gipson ruled out this week, meaning that Peyton Manning will not have to face those two all-pros. This should make Peyton Manning look decent this week. The Broncos defense, ranked first in defensive DVOA, should shut down the Browns offense. I don’t think this will be a close game, give me the Broncos!
So the Dolphins are a team that when we last saw them, did not appear to be a confident team. They were a hot mess honestly. That might make a lot of you question why I am taking the Dolphins. It is really just a hunch. The Titans have had one of the easiest schedules in the league(25th according to football outsiders), while the Dolphins have had one of the hardest(9th). That makes me wonder how good the Titans really are. I think that the Dolphins will come out hungry on Sunday, and beat the Titans.
This is a battle of two teams I still do not have a great feel for this season. The Chiefs just lost their best offensive player in Jamaal Charles, and no one really knows how his replacements will perform. Although the Vikings have played one of the easiest schedules so far, the Chiefs run defense has been just bad enough(16th in dvoa. not bad, but not good either) that I bet that Adrian Peterson can have a great day and lead the Vikings to victory. Give me the Vikings because I have no clue what to expect from the Chiefs
The Jets have one of the best defenses in football that should be able to shut down the running game and force Kirk Cousins to make poor decisions. Football Outsiders rank the Jets defense second in the league so far through five games. Kirk Cousins is known to throw some bad INTs and this Jets secondary is good enough to definitely take advantage of that. While the Jets offense may not have been great so far, 20th in offensive DVOA, they have enough talented players to get something going against the Washington defense. The Washington secondary has not been great so far, and Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall should be able to take advantage. Give me the Jets!
The Cardinals are arguably the best team in the NFC(they are my pick), and the Steelers have not looked great without Big Ben. They scored 71 points in their first two games with Ben, but have “only” managed 20 points per game. For the Cardinals, they rank 3rd in both offensive and defensive DVOA, and rank 6th in special teams DVOA for good measure. They have a smothering defense that should be able to rattle Vick, and potentially remove him as a factor from the game. On the offensive side of the ball, the Steelers are 20th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, and Carson Palmer has been one of the better qbs this year. The Cardinals should be able to crush the Steelers.
This game is probably not going to be exciting. Last week I had a feeling that the Jaguars were going to win… and I was wrong. This week, since I am picking against them, I can only expect that the Jaguars will beat the Texans this week. Pick the Texans at your own will this week. Well, the Texans have stars like Arian Foster, DeAndre Hopkins, and JJ Watt who can all cause the Jagaurs problems on both sides of the ball. Give me the Texans in a game that I doubt many people who aren’t fans of these games will be interested in.
This game will probably be a low scoring slugfest. Each of these teams are in the top 12 in defensive DVOA. The biggest thing separating them is that the Panthers have the 21st ranked running defense according to defensive DVOA. Guess who is back for the Seahawks this week. It’s Marshawn Lynch. Even if he gets hurt, I am sure that Rawls would be able to step in and fill in perfectly. The Seahawks will probably ground and pound the Panthers to victory.
It is very hard to pick against Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have been pretty dang good this year. The Packers rank in the top five in both offensive and defensive DVOA. Granted the Packers have the 25th hardest schedule so far this year according to football outsiders, I think that this Packers team is pretty good(they came in third in my power rankings this week). This week, I think that the Packers are just a better team than the Chargers, who rank 22nd in defensive DVOA. As I said last week, I would rather be wrong betting on Rodgers, than be wrong betting against Rodgers.
So the Ravens might be one of the worst team in football, and I think that the 49ers are the worst team in football. The Ravens are 1-4 but their four losses were by a combined 17 points. I think this Ravens team is better than we are giving them credit for. The 49ers have one of the worst offenses and defenses in the NFL according to DVOA, which could be a good thing for a Ravens team that should be looking to just destroy this 49ers team. Give me the Ravens.
Really? Do I need to explain this one? Fine. Here is why: deflategate. Seriously, I do not gamble but if you do go find what the over/under is for the Colts, and if the Pats are less than 20 point favorites, take them. They are going to absolutely destroy the Colts because they are pissed off at them for deflategate. While the Patriots typically destroy the Colts on the ground, it can’t be ruled out that Brady has his best game as a pro Sunday night. Alright I am kidding with that one… kinda. The Pats are going to destroy the Colts.
So the Eaglese finally might be showing signs of life, beating the Saints by 22 last week. Sam Bradford has finally been able to air it out a little bit, and that has actually helped the offense a lot. But surprisingly the defense has been the strength of the team this year, ranked 7th in defensive DVOA. The Giants could be without OBJ this week, which would be a huge blow to their offense. The Giants would be without their top weapon, and would be pretty much punchless without Odell. Even if he can go, I am taking the Eagles because they finally appear to be hitting a little bit of a stride.
For eliminator, my best bets would be the Broncos, Patriots, Packers, Jets, and Cardinals. Also the Ravens would be a little more risky, since we are not completely positive they are not bad.
So now to what I would do as the head of the NFL. Before we start, lets set some ground rules. First, some of these ideas would probably need to be agreed to by the owners, we are just assuming that they are cool with anything I want since I am their hired man. Really the only ground rule is that I can basically do nearly whatever I want within reason since I am basically a dictator. The biggest challenge a commissioner faces is keeping the players and fans happy, while also pleasing the owners, you know the people who actually can fire him. I will try and keep everyone happy, but in reality the idea of keeping everyone happy is crazy. Here are my top few changes/policies I would implement as NFL commissioner:
- First of all, I would donate $15 million to various foundations that support things like breast cancer research, and foundations that help victims of domestic abuse. Why? Well besides the fact that money could really help people who need it, I am trying to separate myself from Goodell. My “reign” will not be remembered for ignoring women. Not on my watch. I would also try and redo the way the NFL’s pink merchandising system works. Not that much money goes to breast cancer charities, that would change under me.
- Put money into researching if medical marijuana can help players with their recovery from head/brain injuries. This might be something that is already being investigated by the league. If so, I would put more money into researching this. Head injuries are a big problem in the league(especially with retired players), anything that could help them in their recoveries, is something that should be researched. Goodell may have initially tried to ignore/cover up the problem of concussions, but I like to embrace science, so we will look to see what we can do to help players in their recovery.
- Find out if extending the season to an 18 week season with each team receiving two byes is actually probable. By that I mean, is adding another week, with each team getting another bye, more dangerous to the players. They are still playing the same amount of games but I do not know if it would put the players more at risk. If not, extend the season by a week, and shorten the preseason by two weeks. If safe, this would make the owners happy by giving them more revenue from an extra regular season game.
- Add another team to the playoffs. Simply, everyone loves watching football, adding another set of games to the first postseason weekend means more money in the owners pockets. This is an addition that seems likely to happen in the very distant future, if not for the 2016 season.
- Drop the case against Tom Brady. That was Goodell’s fight, not mine. Just dismiss it, he is free to play without this threat of potential future suspension over him(not that it is impacting his play right now anyway). I would just want to move on from the mess that was deflategate.
- Finally, starting on August 1st, I would allow players to submit requests for tweaking what they wear each Sunday. This would allow someone like DeAngelo Williams to wear something pink all year, like cleats, to support his mom. Obviously someone could not wear a jersey that is a different color than anyone else, but if Brandon Marshall wants to wear green cleats each week to support mental illness than he can do that. Also, I would have another round of submissions that would be reviewed around November 1st in case something were to unfortunately happen during the season. Obviously some cases that might occur after that date could be granted permission by me after the date.
- Also, I would allow a bunch of cool celebrations.
Alright NFL owners, I am waiting for my interview to replace Goodell. Positives of me as a commissioner: The players and fans will already like and respect me more than they do Goodell. So that is a plus. But seriously, all 32 of you would get props for supporting women’s organizations more. The commish is an extension of the owners, hire me and people will think you have turned over a new leaf. Negatives: you might not be making as much money, but we can always put ads on the jerseys or sing deals with like draftkings or fanduel to be the official daily fantasy game of the NFL… seriously they might pay billions for that right(get $5 off with promo code: sickofdailyfantasycommercials). But at the same time, the NFLs popularity is booming, and with your publicity problem out of the way(well mostly… I can’t stop football from being a little dangerous) the profits could grow even larger. This could be true if you don’t alienate women. I know it’s crazy but maybe your business model should not ignore half of the population.
Well those are my top ideas, I am sure I forgot some. Comment your changes, or tweet them at me(@TVG_5). Enjoy Week 6!
Ted Van Green(@TVG_5)
Spark Sports Analyst