Nolan Rose pick 'em: Treading water

We’re treading water here at Pigskin Prognosticators Headquarters both literally and figuratively. I have spent over 20 years of my life loitering at Birch Ridge Golf Course and I have never seen as much water on the course as there is right now. It’s unbelievable. My performance against the spread has been just as dismal as the weather two weeks into the season. Last week’s 7-8-1 effort left us at 14-17-1 on the season. The good news is that we’ve got plenty of room for improvement. The bad news is...Well there isn’t any bad news. Not when your weekend included real life and fantasy victories. My fantasy team, the Togi Badgers, enjoyed huge performances from Reggie Bush and Victor Cruz. My real team, the Seattle Seahawks, enjoyed making the Dallas Cowboys look like an over matched JV team lining up against the varsity. That was a shellacking. Any time you beat the Cowboys it’s very rewarding. When you send half their team to the sidelines with injuries, the result of multiple bone jarring hits on both sides of the ball, you’re downright giddy! The win kept Seattle’s season alive. The Seahawks couldn’t afford to go 0-2 heading into a week three showdown Monday night against the Green Bay Packers. I can breathe again. 


Week two was full of unbelievable comebacks, shocking defeats, and puzzling play, none of which will be recapped at any point in this column. Why you ask? There is a much more pressing issue on my mind and I need to take a moment to vent. What in the name of all things good in this world is the NFL doing with the officiating right now? Has Roger Goodell completely lost touch with reality? These replacement officials are terrible. That’s an indisputable fact. It’s not their fault. These men (and women) didn’t receive proper training and don’t have the experience necessary to officiate a game played at the professional level. Not only are they missing calls, which is bad enough, they’re struggling with game procedures. Ball placement, clock management, the ability to remove the yellow flag from their pocket and toss it in the general direction of an obvious infraction, have all proved overwhelmingly challenging. I’m not going to throw the replacement officials all the way under the bus, just place them in front of the tires. 

This mess is Roger Goodell’s fault. Why is a multi-billion dollar industry pinching pennies with the officials? It’s absurd. The total financial commitment from the NFL to the referees isn’t even large enough to be listed in the league’s annual budget. The number is listed under miscellaneous expenses. I wish that wasn’t true. So how can something so minuscule be so big in Goodell’s eye’s? Only Roger knows the answer to that to that question. In the meantime the credibility of the most popular sp ort in America is being questioned. Players are mad, coaches are irate, and fans are left beside themselves in confusion. Everyone agrees that the officiating is not at professional level and yet the NFL trots out frivolous supporting statements week after week. Hey Roger, just admit it’s bad and tell us you’re working hard towards reaching a resolution with the real Zebras! Don’t rattle off this everything has been great nonsense! It hasn’t. Everyone deserves better, especially the men that have made officiating NFL games their life that are now glued to the couch like the rest of us.

New York Giants @
Carolina Panthers -3

The defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants needed a miraculous comeback last week to avoid starting the season 0-2. They’ll be without a number of starters including wideout Hakeem Nicks when they travel to Carolina to face the Panthers Thursday night. Cam Newton and the Panthers are coming off a win of their own after beating the lackluster New Orleans Saints. I’m afraid the Giants are out of Kryptonite... Panthers win 31-24

St. Louis Rams @
Chicago Bears -7

The Rams have been surprisingly competitive two weeks into the season. They even managed to win a game last weekend against the Washington Redskins. Who would have ever guessed that was possible. I’ll tell you something that’s not possible. I can’t dislike Bears quarterback Jay Cutler any more than I do already. What a whiner. Bears win 23-20

Buffalo Bills @
Cleveland Browns +3

Death, taxes, and the Cleveland Browns being terrible at football, these are all things that can’t be avoided in life. We’re all better off accepting this fate and moving on. Buffalo rebounded nicely from a week one defeat by crushing the Kansas City Chiefs at home. The Bills have found themselves a budding superstar in running back C.J. Spiller. Bills win 27-17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys -8

Dallas is an eight point favorite after the butt whooping they took in Seattle last Sunday? What gives? Tampa Bay is 1-1 after blowing a large lead in the 4th quarter of last week’s game against the New York Giants, which ended with the now infamous “kneel down” controversy. Tampa’s rookie running back, Doug Martin, is nicknamed the “Muscle Hamster”. How good is that? I’m a big nickname guy. That’s a great nickname. Dallas wins 28-21 

Detroit Lions @
Tennessee Titans +4

Tennessee looks awful, but you get the feeling they’re due for a good performance. Detroit has looked out of sync, Quarterback Matthew Stafford, while very talented, seems like he’s mired in a bit of a funk. As much as I want to side with the Titans they just haven’t shown me anything to suggest they can beat a playoff caliber opponent. Detroit wins 30-17

Jacksonville Jaguars @
Indianapolis Colts -3

My fantasy football team, the Togi Badgers, was victorious last week thanks in large part to the play of Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck cut down on the turnovers that plagued him the week prior and the Colts pulled out a narrow victory against the Minnesota Vikings. Jacksonville is bad. That mystifyingly adequate performance week one by Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert was replaced with the level of play we all expected during a home loss to the Houston Texans in week two. That’s not good. Colts win 24-16

New York Jets @
Miami Dolphins +3

Those are the bumbling, stumbling, fumbling Jets I’ve grown to admire. Past Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow can’t even get off the bench in New York, slowly eroding the faux media hype that surrounded his heavenly average ability to play quarterback in the NFL. Another former Heisman winner is having a bit more success. The Dolphins Reggie Bush is finally showing the ability he displayed years ago at USC with a monster week two performance. Bush is still the best college football player I have ever watched play. Dolphins win 20-19

San Francisco 49ers @
Minnesota Vikings +8

I could lay two touchdowns here and still feel good about siding with the gold miners. I hate, hate, hate the 49ers, but wow, they look fantastic. I just hope Minnesota survives this game with their health intact. Take all the necessary precautions, hide the women and children. This is going to get ugly. 49ers win 30-7

Kansas City Chiefs @
New Orleans Saints -9

Kansas City looks like they belong in the CFL, not the NFL. I’m not convinced the Chiefs could defeat the Toronto Argonauts right now. Fortunately for Kansas City the Saints look lost without their Head Coach Sean Payton. Their obvious refusal to tackle the opposition’s ball carrier is particularly perplexing. Saints win 31-24

Cincinnati Bengals @
Washington Redskins -3

The Redskins lost more than just the game last Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, they lost defensive starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker to season ending injuries. The Bengals gave up 27 points to the Cleveland Browns, a feat scientist’s believed to defy the known laws of physics. This will be a high scoring affair. Redskins win 34-30

Philadelphia Eagles @
Arizona Cardinals +4

Philadelphia has somehow escaped the first two weeks of the season undefeated despite turning the ball over at a furious pace. Arizona pulled off the biggest upset of the season so far defeating the New England Brady’s in the Patriots home opener. All the turnovers will catch up with the Eagles. Cardinals win 24-21

Atlanta Falcons @
San Diego Chargers -3

Is the Atlanta Falcons defense greatly improved or were all those interceptions last Monday Night a result of a rusty Peyton Manning playing his first road game after missing all of 2011? The Falcons travel to sunny San Diego to face the undefeated Chargers. The Chargers won’t be undefeated after week three. Falcons win 28-20

Houston Texans @
Denver Broncos +3

I’ve got both feet and my rear end firmly planted on the Houston Texans bandwagon. This team very well could win the whole thing this season. Denver’s bionic quarterback Peyton Manning looked very skittish in the pocket against a fast charging Atlanta Falcons defense. Manning won’t find things anay easier against the Texans. The home crowd can only do so much. Texans win 24-16

Pittsburgh Steelers @
Oakland Raiders +5

Are Oakland Raider fans longing for the Al Davis era right now? Stunningly awful is the only way to describe the Raiders performance after two weeks. The Steelers aren’t exactly the cure all for the inability to play football.  Pittsburgh wins 24-14

New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens -3

We had to wait three weeks for the rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game but it’s finally here. Surprisingly both teams are coming off losses against inferior opponents. The Patriots home loss to the Arizona Cardinals was so easily predictable that over 40% of ESPN Eliminator Challenge participants were eliminated. Thanks for playing. This is your classic coin flip game. Patriots win 23-20

Green Bay Packers @
Seattle Seahawks +4

All the public money will be on Green Bay only laying four points against the Seahawks. That’s a good sign Vegas believes Seattle has a real chance to upset the Packers at home. This is easily the best defense we’ve ever had. Yes I said we. That doesn’t mean Seattle can stop Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense, but if they can control time of possession by pounding the rock with Marshawn Lynch successfully Green Bay will be hard pressed to turn this into a shootout. I’m sticking with my policy that worked so well last week against Dallas, never side with my own team. Packers win 23-17


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