The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a weekly NFL primer. Nothing is sacred, not the players, not the coaches, and certainly not the betting lines.
The Good: New England Patriots.
It's true, the Patriots could qualify in any of these categories, but if you want to make money this week, or any other week this NFL season, this is your team. There's no line large enough, there's no home field advantage scary enough when this perfectly oiled football machine comes rolling through. Their closest game to date has been a 17 point victory at home against the Cleveland Browns, and it was only that close because they invited the practice team up for the entire second half. They cheat, they maim, they murder, the kill, but they do it all in the name of winning football games. Bill Bellichick is steering the ship straight for 16-0, and you'd be fooling yourself to think it's anything but a statement to the league about the recent cheating scandal. Did he cheat? Of course he did. Did he do it better than anyone? Without a doubt. His continuing domination of all that is the NFL will not end until he has inscribed his name into every single page of the NFL record book - for better or worse. All that being said, this team is so loaded it's wrong. Wasn't free agency supposed to limit things like this? They probably have the best player in the league at five different positions. Think USC 2004, ironically also includes a Patriots coach. Don't worry about betting for New England giving 17 on the road, they'll cover.
The Bad: Injuries galore.
If there's anything that's been a cold shower to the hot steamy soap opera that is the NFL this season, it's been the injuries to your best players. Lets for a second discount the fact that one team is ruling the entire league. You got your fantasy team all set up, there's no reason not to add people like Marvin Harrison (injured), Marc Bulger (injured), Stephen Jackson (injured), and Laurence Maroney (injured) to your squad. That is of course, hoping that they'll even play. All this is hindsight when they get injured two weeks after the season has begun. It's not only a downer for the fantasy mogul, though, it's a downer in the game. Even the most ardent hater of their rival team doesn't wish for players to go down with season ending injury, well, most of them. Sometimes it even makes the heartless drunks remember there's more to life than just football - and we just don't want that. We watch football to get away from real life, we watch it to make money, and we watch it because there are men doing manly things - hitting each other. So, the last thing we ever want to see is a limp body of Trent Green or Kevin Everett being carted off the field. Create better helmets, and put some anti-ACL-tearing garb on, we want to see the players play. Hopefully your fantasy teams get some much needed relief.
The Ugly: Coaches at the end of their ropes.
There are some coaches that may be coaching their last year in the current city, even if the contract may not say so. Example alpha: Seattle Seahawks. After a promising 3-1 start in one of the crappiest divisions ever consummated, they've dropped two straight. That wouldn't be so bad if they weren't completely embarrassed in two of those games - not scoring a point in one, and losing to a winless team at home in the other. It's not just this season that has been a disappointment to 'Hawks faithful, but the last one as well. After reaching a crescendo of their franchise in the Superbowl, the years following have already been labeled as failures. It doesn't look like this team is any more than average, and last years team was riddled with injuries that made consistent play a distant memory. Some believe it is time for a change of philosophies in the misty Northwest.
Ugliness has reared its ugly head in Cincinnati, and surprisingly it isn't one of frugal owner Brown, or even the prison guards giving temporary leave to the players. No, this time it's Superbowl ring wearing defensive specialist Marvin Lewis. His teams have climbed up the wrong mountain, and have now come tumbling down with great fervor. Instead of reaching for the Superbowl, they finished their ride by getting off at the AFC North title gate. Ever since the faithful day when Carson Palmer's knee was turned into mashed potatoes this team has gone to shreds. More importantly is the fact the defense has let this team down, not only with their arrests, and injuries but also with their downright bad play on the field. When Lewis got to Cincinnati it was thought that he would build from the ground up and create a franchise based on the Ravens. He hasn't done that. In no year has his defense done anything but be completely ordinary. This year, he's losing the team. Look for them to continue their downward spiral, which looks similar to flushing a toilet - the same place this franchise is returning to.
Injure Tom Brady [KSK]