I thought I would go nuts without having NFL Red Zone after we finally cut the cord and went to DirecTV Now streaming service. Turns out I don’t. I have been doing just fine watching the Panthers and the 1 other network game we get (because the Panthers are always at home when CBS has the doubleheader, which means we only get the CBS late game). I also haven’t missed NBC, which is not available on DirecTV Now in Charlotte. CBS is not either, but I bought their all-access separately. I’m starting to think I could actually give up NFL football if I really wanted to. Right now I can’t, as I’m too heavily invested in the Panthers. But who knows? I might walk into someone’s living room in 2035 when I’m 65 and say, “That guy sucks! Why don’t they put Cam Newton in the ballgame? Oh, he ain’t playin’ this year? Well, I ain’t kept up with it this year.”

On other topics, there are some pundits out there actually picking most of the NFL games correctly. How I envy them. This 53.2% success rate I’m having could easily be matched by a 10-year-old girl picking based on uniform appeal. Of course I’m still having a better year than the Giants, who are basically left with some animals imported from the Philadelphia Zoo to play wide receiver. Sterling Shepard’s injury is probably my fault, since I have him on my fantasy team. OBJ? He’s a heck of a player, but I’m not going to miss him and his over-the-top histrionics at all. And how big a pile of hot garbage is the Chargers organization? They celebrated their first win by giving their fans a discount ticket….. that expired 2 weeks ago. On to the picks:
Philadelphia at Carolina (Thur) – Picking the Panthers is becoming trendy. That makes me nervous. Cam Newton calms those nerves. PANTHERS 28, Filthy-delphia 21
New England at NY Jets – So yeah, everybody knew this game would be a battle for first place. Problem for the Jets is that their 3 wins are over the Dolphins, Bad Jags and Browns. (Remember, there are Good Jags and Bad Jags. More on that later.) This ain’t the Dolphins, Bad Jags or Browns. Patriots 37, Jets 10
Chicago at Baltimore – Last week’s Bears-Vikings game was between the 2 most boring franchises in professional sports. Baltimore ranks third. Boring Ravens 19, More Boring Bears 12
San Francisco at Washington – Frisco competed but couldn’t close last week. Rinse, lather, repeat… Dead-skins 23, 49ers 17
Detroit at New Orleans – The Adrian Peterson Experiment is over, as if he ever fit in there to begin with. The NO defense is better than predicted, but this is a much better passing offense. Lions 27, Aints 23

Miami at Atlanta – Schedule won’t let the Panthers get a leg up. Falcons 43, Fins 14
Green Bay at Minnesota – Erin & crew will probably let the home team get a lead just to show off. Packers 24, Vikings 20
Cleveland at Houston – Cleveland’s D isn’t all that bad. The coaching is. I’m looking for Watson to carry me to a fantasy upset. Texans 34, brownie troop 13
LA Rams at Jacksonville – Like Jets-Pats, we all knew this was going to be a matchup of winning teams, right? Just like people once KNEW the Earth was flat. There are Good Jags, which destroy teams, and Bad Jags, who lose to the Jets. I’m starting to believe in the Good Jags, which are led by the defense. Good Jags 23, Rams 16
Tampa Bay at Arizona – Peterson is beyond finished. Which still makes him better than any RB on the roster. Once again, the coach will discover his self-described awesomeness can’t buy a win. Yuck-aneers 19, Bruce’s Ego 7
LA Chargers at Oakland – LA is a popular upset pick because a still-hobbled David Carr is going to play for the Raiders. Yeah, but look at who they are playing. Raiders 20, Clippers 17
Pittsburgh at Kansas City – If you thought the Jags were good, what about the last undefeated team? The black & gold will be playing from behind, which is good news for fantasy players that have Pittsburgh receivers. Chiefs 41, Steelers 27
NY Giants at Denver – The Who Cares Game of the Week, in prime time. Hey, I really DON’T miss being able to watch NBC. Donkeys 41, Little People 7
Indianapolis at Tennessee (Mon) – I am SOOOOOO not watching this debacle. Titans 21, Dolts 20
Last week’s record: 6-8
Season: 41-36