The NFL never should’ve played Patriots-Chiefs two days after Cam Newton’s positive test. What an insane, dumb, season-altering decision.
Like most things the NFL actively chooses to do, especially when presented with safer options, playing Patriots-Chiefs last Monday (just two days after Cam Newton’s fateful positive test) was both dumb and dangerous.
We cautioned the league against acting too hastily and resuming their season at the time, and it must be said plainly: We know nothing. Nothing at all. We’re not epidemiologists, and we don’t want to be.
But we do know a select few things about how the coronavirus spreads by now, and those things include “rapidly,” “from asymptomatic carriers,” and “in close proximity, like, when you’re tackling infected players and absorbing their breath for several hours”.
We also know that the NFL has had a significant problem with false positives. It would stand to reason that would include false negatives as well, something we warned of while the league waved us off, too busy shoving the Patriots into unmarked vans and escorting them down the Mass Pike, separating the zombified “infected” from those who weren’t Cam Newton’s close contacts. And, not for nothing, if you’re not a “close contact” of the starting quarterback? You probably aren’t in great shape on this roster anyway.
Of course, that game was played, and the days in the wake of that decision have been lopsided messes, with positives, negatives and cancellations leaking out of all corners of the league’s purview.
We’re writing this on the heels of another positive (or maybe two?) in New England, one day after Newton and Gilmore returned to practice. There’s no place left for the NFL to shove Patriots-Broncos; both teams sacrificed their bye weeks, then watched the league’s cascading incompetence continue to compound the poor decision to send Brian Hoyer out there against the Chiefs.
The NFL was so desperate for a marquee matchup that they decided they did not care if Newton was even able to be under center for the Pats. They did not care that they endangered the health of the man on the other side of things, Patrick Mahomes, who hugged an infected Gilmore in the postgame. They did not care about the protocols they should’ve spent April and May caring about, better days when they were instead patting each other on the back for pulling off the Virtual NFL Draft that America so desperately needed (well done!).
And so, here we are. Thanks to the NFL’s hubris and desperation, several more Patriots are infected, their families and neighbors are at risk, and the team can’t get one wheel on the tracks for even one day without another one skidding off.
There was no justification for this decision, but the league went ahead and did it anyway, putting the safety of their most important players at risk. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. Got it. Now, stop me if you expected better.
Hey, why is no one stopping me?
Atlanta Falcons prediction: Can the birds get their first win of the year?
The Atlanta Falcons are back in action for the first time since firing Dan Quinn.
At 1-4 the Minnesota Vikings aren’t much better than the 0-5 Atlanta Falcons. This has all the makings of a really bad pillow fight among two teams that had Super Bowl hopes coming into 2020.
This will be the fifth time that these two teams have met over the last seven NFL seasons, the Falcons are 0-4 in the previous four meetings. The Falcons last win against the Vikings came in 2011 when Matt Ryan threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns.
Here is how the staff at Blogging Dirty thinks the game turns out.
Jeff Benedict – Site Expert
When these two teams met last season, I was shocked at how bad the Atlanta Falcons had looked. Minnesota jumped out 28-0 and never looked back.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook evolved into one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league and while he was able to rush for 111 yards, he didn’t embarrass the Falcons like he did other teams across the league.
He will be out Sunday, which is a big advantage for the Falcons.
This Vikings team is much different on the defensive side than they were a year ago and I think the Falcons will be able to take advantage of that.
I think Raheem Morris starts his Falcons coaching career with a win.
Joe Beasley – Contributor
I expect the Falcons to play with some type of fire. If interim head coach Raheem Morris wants a shot at this job or any other head coaching gig, he has to show he can somewhat fix this mess in Atlanta.
The offense does get Julio Jones back which is good for everyone except a young Vikings secondary. Add that to the fact that Dalvin Cook isn’t playing and you have a perfect storm for the Falcons to get their first win.
Besides, I’m bound to get one of these right.
Justin Churchill – Contributor
Last week the Vikings were close to beating the Seahawks. They have a very good offense but may struggle without Dalvin Cook in the backfield.
Their defense will give up a lot, hopefully allowing Todd Gurley to get back into a groove. However, I think the Vikings will win this one.
Ross Terrell – Contributor
It’s officially a new era in Atlanta. Maybe just maybe Raheem Morris was gunning for this job the whole time. So he sabotaged Quinn to get his shot as head coach. Or maybe the Falcons downward spiral will continue.
Let’s hope the latter isn’t true and the Atlanta Falcons finally pull themselves off the mat.
Ethan Johnson – Contributor
The Atlanta Falcons will not win this game. The team may come out inspired and rejuvenated, or heartbroken because their coach is gone.
Either way, it doesn’t really matter because they haven’t beaten the Minnesota Vikings since 2011, and that streak won’t end Sunday.
Buffalo Bills: 4 defensive tackles to consider trading for this season
These are four defensive tackles the Buffalo Bills should consider trying to trade for before the trade deadline.
The defensive line for the Buffalo Bills went through a significant change this past offseason. They saw free agents Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson leave in free agency but the front office replaced them with Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson, and Mario Addison as well as selecting A.J. Epenesa in the second round.
In addition to those offseason moves, the Bills had last year’s starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei elect to opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns around the pandemic.
After six games, it is clear that the changes have caused this defense to take a step backward stopping the run and the front office may need to look outside the organization on how to correct this.
The focus for general manager Brandon Beane should be to look for someone similar to Lotulelei in terms of a zero tech defensive tackle that can eat up space and take on multiple defenders. This will help force running backs into fewer lanes but also free up Tremaine Edmunds and the rest of the second and third-level defenders clear running lanes to get to the ball carrier.
These are four defensive tackles that could be available for a trade that makes sense for the Buffalo Bills.
4 tight ends the Carolina Panthers should target in the 2021 NFL Draft
Which college prospects are emerging as early draft candidates for the Carolina Panthers at the tight end position?
The Carolina Panthers clearly have a need at the tight end spot which needs to be addressed next spring. They are getting next to no production from either Ian Thomas or Chris Manhertz through six games of the 2020 season and this is a stark contrast to what the team got from prolific veteran Greg Olsen for so many years.
It’s hard to deny that this isn’t what the Carolina Panthers expected coming into the season. They had high hopes for Thomas to step up and fill the void left by the Pro Bowler, who opted for one more shot at a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks before inevitably taking up a broadcast position next year.
Thomas hasn’t lived up to his billing this season. He has accumulated just six receptions, 39 receiving yards, and one touchdown from 11 targets, which simply isn’t good enough if the former Indiana standout wants to make a real go of things from a starting role.
Although all hope isn’t lost, he is clearly skating on thin ice.
There were fewer expectations on the shoulders of Manhertz. The veteran is seen as more of a blocking tight end and has aided the Panthers in this area. This has been of particular use to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Mike Davis, depending on what play is called by Joe Brady.
If things continue as they are then this might be priority No.1 for the Panthers once the dust has settled on the 2020 season. Whether they bring in a veteran during the free agency period is up for debate, but there are plenty of exciting tight end prospects entering the 2021 NFL Draft that will also warrant consideration during the evaluation process.
Let’s take a look at four players at the position who could come into Carolina and potentially make a big impression.