Instead of hanging the possibility of fines over players' heads to discourage "bounties" like the one the Baltimore Ravens allegedly have on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, the NFL should simply turn a blind eye to it.
Obviously, they can't (and shouldn't) openly encourage such behavior (that would send a bad message to the kiddies), but the NFL should never discourage its players from getting back to the general badassery that helped make it the greatest professional sports league in the civilized world.
Think about it: What image best describes the appeal of the National Football League: Chuck Bednarik standing over a knocked-out Frank Gifford in 1960 or Mean Joe Greene helping Brian Sipe up after a sack?
Pick: Ravens -1 ½
Tennessee (-3) at Houston – I watched quite a bit of last week's Titans-Browns game, and I've got to say that if I'm a Titans fan, I'm a bit concerned about Kerry Collins' decision-making. He threw three picks last week, and could've thrown a few more. If Cleveland had any semblance of an offense, they could've shocked the Titans last week at LP Field. Pick: Texans +3
Washington (-7) at Cincinnati – By 3:30pm on Sunday, all those problems with the Washington Redskins' offense had better have vanished, or else those "one-and-done" rumors about Jim Zorn might come to fruition. Pick: Redskins -7
Detroit at Indianapolis (-17 ½) – Hanging 35 against the Cincinnati Bengals isn't an extraordinary feat, but if I'm a team like Denver or one of the AFC East teams, I wouldn't want to face the Indianapolis Colts in January. Pick: Colts -17 ½
Seattle (-3) at St. Louis – It's shouldn't be too hard to believe that in these economic times, a pair of 2-11 teams couldn't sell out in what's always been a baseball-first city. Pick: Seahawks -3
Green Bay (-2 ½) at Jacksonville – It doesn't officially begin until December 20th, but I'm going to go ahead and deem the Packers-Jaguars' "Disappointment Bowl" as the unofficial start to the 2008 Bowl Season. Pick: Jaguars +2 ½
Buffalo at NY Jets (-7 ½) – Buffalo's 5-1 start seems like so long ago, and now at 6-7, the team is once again headed towards a football-free January. Meanwhile, the once 8-3 Jets have dropped two straight winnable games, and while winning out will clinch the AFC East, they have to be kicking themselves knowing that their recent losing skid would've relieved some pressure in the next three weeks. Pick: Jets -7 ½
San Francisco at Miami (-6 ½) – The 49ers are the only West Coast team to win on the East Coast this season, but after seeing the 49ers beat the Jets last week, and with their 1-15 2007 season still fresh in their minds, don't expect the Dolphins to take the 49ers lightly this weekend. Pick: Dolphins -6 ½
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3) – Jeff Garcia is questionable and Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood are capable of doing what DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart did to the Bucs' run defense on Monday night. Pick: Falcons -3
San Diego (-5) at Kansas City– After the Chiefs nearly went into Qualcomm and upset the Chargers last month, I'd expect Tyler Thigpen and KC's spread offense to keep it close. Pick: Chiefs +5
Minnesota at Arizona (-3) – I'm so thrilled that in Visante Shiancoe, my generation finally has its own Zeke Mowatt. Pick: Cardinals -3
Denver at Carolina (-7 ½) – Denver has never lost to the Panthers, but with their 26th-ranked run defense, that should change this Sunday. Pick: Panthers -7 ½
New England (-7) at Oakland – Everyone focusing on the Randy Moss vs. Nnamdi Asomugha is just fine with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. While their focused on that, he'll just continue doing what he's been doing. And that's throwing bubble screens to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk, moving the chains and putting up points. Pick: Patriots -7
NY Giants at Dallas (-3) – Gee, I'm so surprised that Terrell Owens is using the media to send a message to "his quarterback". Who would've ever thought Owens would do something like that? Pick: Giants +3
Cleveland at Philadelphia (-14) –
Kudos to the World Wide Leader's negotiating team for not getting the ability to "flex" late-season games into their contract.
CBS' Monday night lineup.
Pick: Eagles -14
This week: 0-0-1
Last week: 9-7
2008 Season: 102-104-3
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.