It wouldn’t be the NFL if it weren’t for controversy over an official’s blown call on a Monday night in Seattle.
For the second time in three years, the referees can’t get it right and the host Seahawks are handed a victory on a platter.
In 2012, it was the Fail Mary play where the Seahawks were handed a win over the Green Bay Packers on a last-second interception turned touchdown reception by the incompetent replacement referees. A couple days after the botched call, the NFL settled its dispute with the regular officials, although they refused to rectify the call.
On Monday, it was the Detroit Lions’ turn after a Seattle player clearly batted the ball out of the end zone after the Lions fumbled at the goal line. It may not have looked egregious, but if it’s in the rule book, the call should be enforced.
The bet here is that commissioner Roger Goodell, who is rarely out front in any controversy, again sits on his hands in hopes this goes away on its own.
It’s nice to see the league has such a strong leader in charge of the country’s greatest game.
Indianapolis at Houston: Andrew Luck could return after missing a week with a sore shoulder. That should be enough to push the Colts past the Texans, who are a mess after getting blasted by the Falcons. Colts 19, Texans 12.
Buffalo at Tennessee: The Bills need to regroup after losing at home to the Giants. Buffalo, however, can’t overlook the Titans, who are led by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. Although Tennessee is just 1-2, the Titans have played better than anticipated. Bills 31, Titans 28.
Chicago at Kansas City: The Bears are coming off a home win over Oakland, but face a Kansas City team that has opened with a brutal schedule that has left it also 1-3. Look for the Chiefs to get well against a Chicago defense allowing 31.5 points per game. Chiefs 31, Bears 21.
St. Louis at Green Bay: The Rams have a pair of solid wins over Seattle and Arizona, but now must face Aaron Rodgers and company. Green Bay is nearly unbeatable at home. That dominance continues this week. Packers 35, Rams 21.
New Orleans at Philadelphia: What a difference a division makes. At 1-3, the Saints are nearly out of the running in the NFC South, while the 1-3 Eagles are just a game back in the NFC East. The Saints just aren’t the same dominating team they were a few years back. The Eagles roll at home. Eagles 34, Saints 24.
Arizona at Detroit: It’s hard to believe that the Lions, with all of their talent, could start the season 0-5. But those are the cold, hard facts after that botched call in Seattle on Monday night. Arizona is coming off a tough home loss to St. Louis. The smart money is on the Cardinals, but ... Lions 24, Cardinals 23.
Denver at Oakland: The Broncos are one of six unbeaten teams left in the league. That number is bound to be pared down a bit this week. But Denver has won seven games in a row in the series, including a pair of blowouts in 2014. The game will be closer, but Oakland falls short in the end. Broncos 27, Raiders 20.
Cleveland at Baltimore: The Ravens have dominated this series, having won 13 of the past 14 meetings, including the past two. Cleveland usually makes a game of it, however, and this time will be no exception. Ravens 23, Browns 20.
Seattle at Cincinnati: The Bengals have come hot out of the gate and have a chance to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the AFC North. Seattle, however, is the two-time defending NFC champion and won’t go quietly. After catching a break at home against the Lions on Monday night, the Seahawks won’t be so lucky this time. Bengals 28, Seahawks 23.
Jacksonville at Tampa Bay: These teams are similar in that both are 1-3 and have lost two straight. Both also have a young quarterback, as well as a kicking game that is suspect. Newly signed kicker Connor Barth could get his chance to be the difference maker this week for the Bucs. Buccaneers 12, Jaguars 10.
Washington at Atlanta: The Falcons crushed the lowly Texans last week at home and apparently have rediscovered their explosiveness from a few seasons back. Washington is still hanging around the much maligned NFC East and will continue to do so no matter what happens this week. Falcons 34, Redskins 17.
New England at Dallas: The defending champion Patriots are playing at a high level. Dallas backup quarterback Brandon Weeden looked good in a loss to the Saints. He may look good again this week in another Cowboys defeat. Patriots 42, Cowboys 27.
San Francisco at New York Giants: Unless Colin Kaepernick can learn to play quarterback even remotely close to the way Russell Wilson plays it for the Seahawks, his days in San Francisco could be numbered. The Giants see an opportunity now that Tony Romo is sidelined in Dallas for a while and are poised to take advantage. Giants 30, 49ers 14.
Pittsburgh at San Diego: Michael Vick gives the Steelers a chance, but it’s not as good of one as when Ben Roethlisberger sets up behind center. The Chargers can’t afford to fall any further behind the Broncos in the AFC West, especially with a trip to Lambeau Field on the horizon. Chargers 28, Steelers 25.
Bye: Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, New York Jets.
Last week: 10-5 (.667).
For the season: 37-26 (.587).
Predicting the Packers: 4-0 (1.000).