Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

The Lineman’s NFL picks — Week 8


NFL/Another tough week for the Lineman, who is feeling a bit like Tony Romo and Brett Favre — beat up. But as bad as Week Seven was, it was still a move in the right direction so we look forward to an even better Week Eight.

 Record: 19-23. Last week 2-4. Pick of the Week: 3-4


Buffalo Bills (0-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) (Line Chiefs minus-7.5)

Sure, I know what you’re thinking: it’s easy to bet against the NFL’s only winless team.

But there is more to this pick than the obvious, like the fact the Chiefs are the NFL’s best rushing team and the Bills are the worst defending against the run giving up more than 174 yards per game (ypg).

KC quarterback Matt Cassel will never be mistaken for Peyton Manning or Tom Brady but why throw the ball when you can simply hand it to Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles with the Chiefs averaging 176.5 yards per game on the ground.

Replays don’t always give the answer


NFL/Sunday’s controversial video review decision in the Steelers-Dolphins game should be a reminder to those who support replays that cameras can’t see everything.

The incident and an explanation can be watched in this video here (or you can read about the controversy here )

The Lineman’s NFL picks — Week 7


NFL/You talk about your pick hits last Sunday; the Lineman took a big one going 1-5. Even more painful three of those losses came by .5 of a point – including Pick of the Week. Ouch.

But the Lineman has been cleared to play for Week Seven and ready to go.

Record: 17-19. Last week 1-5. Pick of the Week: 2-4


Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2) (Line Seahawks minus-5.5): A battle for top spot in the wacky and strange NFC West is not where I would normally look for my pick of the week but some numbers here are just to hard to ignore.

Violence and helmets


NFL/After a rash of brutal hits at the weekend,  including a couple of very nasty helmet-to-helmet clashes, there is plenty of talk about how to eliminate the use of the helmet as a weapon in the game.

Here is an idea – eliminate the helmet.

When I mentioned that suggestion yesterday, a friend remarked that I sounded like one of those NFL fans who watches a soccer game and says that the goal should be made bigger. I take the point (even though I actually I do think the goals in soccer should be made bigger) but there remains an inescapable logic to getting rid of those hard helmets with face guards that offer players enough protection for them to feel ready to fly head first into tackles.

The Lineman’s NFL picks — week 6


NFL/Ouch, that was about the toughest week the Lineman has had to endure ever in the Pick Six. First Green Bay clangs a last second game winning field goal off the post and loses to the Skins then to cap off a painful Week Five, Brett Favre tossed a last second interception that the Jets return for a touchdown and the Vikings fail to cover – UGHHHHHHH.

Hey, and what is up with the Saints?

Well, we are back for more punishment in Week Six and the good news is we are still above .500 but the Pick of Week needs work.

A passing league? No, thanks


NFL-CHARGERS/I keep hearing the same phrase over and over again when it comes to the NFL. From pundits both paid and voluntary, the same mantra is repeated: “The NFL is a passing league”. In other words, the key to success in the league is having an elite quarterback and a top quality receiver corps, who can rack up the yardage. “Establishing the run” still gets trotted out on a Sunday morning as a key tactic but week after week, the numbers show record-breaking pass yardage.

And those numbers are pretty persuasive. Those diligent chaps at the NFL stat department provided a few after Week five’s action and it is pretty clear we are on course for a record breaking season:

The Lineman’s NFL picks — Week 5


NFL/The Lineman is back baby, 5-1 in Week Four and if not for the Bengals’ surrender in the Battle of Ohio we would have pulled a Kansas City Chiefs – PERFECT. While the Chiefs’ perfect season ends this week in Indy the Lineman gets his shot at perfection in what is a head-scratching Week Five.

Record: 14-10. Last week 5-1. Pick of the Week: 2-2


Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Washington Redskins (2-2) (Line Packers minus-2.5): After self-destructing against the Chicago Bears and hanging on to tame the winless Detroit Lions it is time for the Packers to step up and play like the Super Bowl contenders they claim to be.

Early NFL results make fools out of pundits


NFL/If there is one thing that can be said with any certainty after the first quarter of the NFL regular season, it is that nothing is certain in this league, this season.

After four weeks of action, the unfancied Kansas City Chiefs are the only team with a 100 percent record and the results and performances across the league are making fools out of most pundits.

The Lineman’s NFL picks — week 4


NFL/OK, I know what you are thinking; after a 2-4 Week Three that a certain German octopus could do a better job of picking winners. True it was a tough week, even Mrs. Lineman got 3-3. But we are nothing if we are not resilient so here we go again with bold predictions for Week Four.

Record: 9-9. Last week 2-4. Pick of the Week: 1-2


Houston Texans (2-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-2) (Line Texans minus-3.5): I’m looking for the quality teams that bombed in Week Three to bounce back in a big way in Week Four and at the top of that list are the Texans.

Time to end the NFL’s blackouts?


A bar in Tampa, Florida is facing possible action from the NFL after reports that it broke the league imposed television ‘blackout’ for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers by broadcasting an internet feed of the match on screens.

The case highlights the increasingly antiquated blackout regulations which have been in place since 1973. The rules ensure that a home game will not be televised locally if it is not sold out 72 hours before kick-off.