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NFL Picks Week 2

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NFL

STANDINGS

Mike Asti: 11-4-1
Parker Hurley: 11-4-1
Ron Lippock: 8-7-1
Alan Saunders: 9-6-1

THURSDAY

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

Asti: Panthers
Hurley: Panthers
Lippock: Panthers
Saunders: Panthers. Weird things can happen on Thursday night, especially in the season, and this could be a very sloppy game, but Carolina is the vastly better team.

SUNDAY EARLY

Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens

Asti: Ravens
Hurley: Ravens
Lippock: Ravens
Saunders: Ravens. As tough as the Steelers’ early-season schedule is, the Ravens’ has been the opposite. Steelers can’t afford to spot them too many games, though.

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins

Asti: Cowboys
Hurley: Cowboys
Lippock: Cowboys
Saunders: Cowboys, even though they’re forever finding ways to lose games like this that they should win. Skins back Derrius Guice being back on the shelf should help Big D.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

Asti: Titans
Hurley: Colts
Lippock: Titans
Saunders: Titans. There was a lot of LOL, Cleveland after Tennessee’s Week 1 upset, but the Titans earned that win. The Colts are still finding themselves after Andrew Luck’s retirement.

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers

Asti: Steelers. While the Seahawks will be a contender this year, the Steelers will win this one. Pittsburgh is usually a safe bet in its home opener and will be especially motivated after what happened in New England. With that said, Russell Wilson won’t be easy to deal with and losing to Seattle wouldn’t necessarily be shocking by any means.

Hurley: Steelers. The Seahawks have the better record but we can all agree it is easier to beat the Bengals at home than the Patriots on the road. The Seahawks have questions in their defense, and Andy Dalton having a strong day without A.J. Green does not ease those concerns. If the Steelers offense cannot get right against an average defense at best on the road, then the Antonio Brown loss is more devastating than believed. Look for the Steelers to get their offense back on track while holding the Seahawks ground attack in check.

Lippock: Steelers

Saunders: When I made my pre-season prediction for the Steelers, I put this game down as a loss, but I’ve since changed my tune. Seattle was unimpressive in their home opener against Cincinnati and the Steelers will be highly motivated after an embarrassing defeat in New England.

Steelers 24, Seahawks 13

Buffalo Bills at New York Giants

Asti: Bills
Hurley: Giants
Lippock: Bills
Saunders: Bills

San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals

Asti: Bengals
Hurley: Bengals. The 49ers will spend their second week on the road after beating Tampa Bay in Florida last week. Now, they get Zac Taylor, a young coach who is familiar with San Fransisco due to his time with the Rams in the last two seasons. Taylor had a great gameplan for another NFC West team in Seattle last week, and despite the loss, optimism came, as the team took Seattle to the final whistle in his coaching debut. In his home debut look for him to keep Dalton in comfortable situations, while the 49ers defense may not be as great as the interceptions from Jameis Winston suggested last week. The Bengals should be able to walk away with a win.

Lippock: Bengals
Saunders: 49ers

Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions

Asti: Chargers
Hurley: Lions
Lippock: Lions
Saunders: Lions. A matchup between two of the NFL’s most underrated quarterbacks. A similar matchup of dynamic tight ends in rookie T.J. Hockensen and Hunter Henry won’t happen, as the latter is out with left knee fracture.

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Asti: Packers
Hurley: Vikings. The Packers survived a road division game but did not look impressive on offense with their new play-caller. Now, they get a defense as good as the Bears who knows them just as well in Minnesota. Minnesota established a dominant ground attack with a healthy Dalvin Cook and Gary Kubiak helping design plays. The Packers are very thin in their front and played dime almost exclusively against the Bears. Look for Minnesota to shake up an offense that is finding itself while having success on the ground for a second straight week. The Vikings make a statement and move into the driver’s seat of the NFC North with an impressive road win.

Lippock: Vikings
Saunders: Vikings

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

Asti: Texans
Hurley: Texans
Lippock: Texans
Saunders: Texans. After losing a heartbreaker, the Texans won’t let me down two weeks in a row, especially against someone named Gardner Minshew II. I actually like the Minshew, but not as a fill-in rookie quarterback playing his first game.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

Asti: Patriots
Hurley: Patriots
Lippock: Patriots
Saunders: Patriots. By 50.

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

Asti: Chiefs
Hurley: Chiefs
Lippock: Chiefs
Saunders: Chiefs

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams

Asti: Rams
Hurley: Rams
Lippock: Rams
Saunders: Rams

Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos

Asti: Bears
Hurley: BroncosThis is a fascinating matchup as the Bears have to travel to take on their former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. On paper, the Bears are the better team. However, Fangio was around when the team drafted Mitch Trubisky, and he knows what makes the quarterback tick. We know that Trubisky struggles to read defenses and while Matt Nagy may have talent on his side, Fangio is going to make it tough on their quarterback. On top of that, thee Broncos have a deadly home-field advantage in the early season due to the heat and altitude of Denver.  If the Bears win, it will be because their defense shut down Joe Flacco and the offense squeaked by. If the Broncos do not turn the ball over, they could benefit from a rattled Trubisky.

Lippock: Bears
Saunders: Bears

SUNDAY NIGHT

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons

Asti: Eagles
Hurley: Eagles
Lippock: Eagles
Saunders: Falcons. Atlanta always plays well at home, and after being stifled by Minnesota’s defense, which was No. 4 in the league with five yards per play against in 2018, they’ll find the sledding easier against Philadelphia’s 23-ranked unit.

MONDAY NIGHT

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets

Asti: Browns 
Hurley: Browns
Lippock: Browns
Saunders: Browns. I was leaning towards Cleveland before the Jets lost Sam Darnold to mono and Le’Veon Bell needed a shoulder MRI on Thursday.

NFL

Report: Rescheduled Steelers-Titans Game to be Nationally Televised on CBS

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The rescheduled game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans is expected to be nationally televised on CBS, according to a report by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

As for when the game will be played, Marchand is reporting it will be played on Monday at 5 p.m., or Tuesday at 6 or 7 p.m.

The Steelers and Titans were originally supposed to square off Sunday at 1 p.m., but that game has been postponed after three Titans players and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The total has no risen to ten since the outbreak was first reported.

The NFL announced in a statement Wednesday that the game would be postponed to Monday or Tuesday to “allow additional time for further daily COVID-19 testing.”

Another option that has been discussed would reschedule the game for Week 7, which is Tennessee’s bye week, and push the Steelers-Ravens matchup scheduled for that Sunday to Week 8. The Steelers and Ravens currently share a bye Week 8.

Marchand added that the league prefers to play the game Monday to keep competitive balance, while CBS wants to play the game at 7 p.m. as to not disrupt their news programming.

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Titans Place Three Players on Reserve/COVID-19 List

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The Tennessee Titans have placed three players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and added two to the team’s practice squad, the franchise announced Tuesday.

Defensive lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley were placed on the Reserve list from the active 53-man roster, while tight end Tommy Hudson was also listed off the team’s practice squad.

Jones is the Titans’ starting nose tackle, and has eight total tackles on the season. As the team’s long snapper, Brinkley’s importance is self-explanatory.

Tennessee’s transactions come hours after the club announced it is shutting down practices this week after three players and five staff members within the organization tested positive for COVID-19.

While it is unclear when exactly the Titans will be able to return to the practice field, no decision has been made yet regarding their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Nashville on Sunday.

The Minnesota Vikings, who the Titans played last week, also announced they are closing their practice facility indefinitely Tuesday.

The Titans also added running back D’Onta Freeman and defensive back Maurice Smith to their practice squad Tuesday.

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NFL

Goodell Memo: NFL COVID-19 Positives ‘Not Unexpected,’ Diligence Needed

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The Steelers’ Week 4 game at the Tennessee Titans finds itself in jeopardy on Tuesday after eight members of the Titans tested positive for COVID-19 following their win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Those eight positive tests have resulted in 48 additional individuals requiring additional testing before they can return to work, according to ESPN, and the shut down of the Titans’ facility until at least Saturday.

The Titans may be forced to deal with limited or no team practice time in between Tuesday’s announcement and Sunday’s game, which has prompted the NFL to consider moving it to Monday night.

In the meantime, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all teams on Tuesday. The memo, acquired by Steelers Now, acknowledges that the league expected that there would be some positive tests as they attempted to play the 2020 season, but that further diligence will be required in order to keep the Titans’ outbreak from impacting entire league.

Earlier today, we learned that three players and five non-player staff at the Tennessee Titans had tested positive for Covid-19. We immediately shared that information with the clubs and the NFLPA and have issued the attached press release.

This is not unexpected; as Dr. Sills and others have emphasized, there will be players and staff who will test positive during the season. In response to these positive tests, we immediately took the following steps under the protocols agreed to with the NFLPA:

• Players and staff who have tested positive will be isolated, carefully monitored, and given all necessary medical care. Per our protocols, family members of these players and staff will also be offered testing as well.

• We have reviewed contact tracing data to identify any close contacts of the players and staff who tested positive; have isolated those individuals; and each will receive additional testing.

• We have contacted the game officials and others who worked at Sunday’s game in Minnesota and will do follow-up testing and monitoring for those individuals.

• We will suspend in-person activities in both Tennessee and Minnesota (the team Tennessee played last weekend) pending further developments. Thus far, there have been no positive tests or reports of symptoms among Minnesota players or staff.

• We are exploring in more detail the nature of the close contacts to determine where they occurred (locker room, flights, etc.), and identify any additional learnings that can be shared with all clubs.

These results confirm the need to remain diligent in implementing all of our health and safety protocols to the fullest extent. This includes not only our testing program, but facility maintenance, wearing of PPE by players and staff, and carefully regulating behavior and contacts outside of the club facility. It is also critical to remind everyone in your organization — players and non-players — immediately to report any symptoms that they have, or that family members or others with whom they arc in close contact have, to your club physician or Infection Control Officer.

In addition, clubs should revisit the steps they have taken to minimize the number of close contacts, particularly while traveling and within position groups, and should review their procedures for bringing in new players for tryouts and possible signing.

Each of us has a special responsibility to keep others safe and healthy. What each of us does affects not only ourselves and our immediate families, but many others on our own club and on other clubs.

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