Tom Sorensen

Quick takes: Living down, and up, to reputations in the NFL (plus my Panthers pick)

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham thinks officials are out to get him, but maybe there’s a reason.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham thinks officials are out to get him, but maybe there’s a reason. AP

Odell Beckham Jr., the fine receiver for the New York Giants, believes that officials are out to get him. Officials don’t engage in pre-game meetings in which they suggest they’ll go after a player or a team. But most are human, and they react to what they know. So when Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes, one of football’s best cornerbacks, popped Beckham when Beckham was out of bounds Monday, and was not penalized, Beckham flipped. He was penalized for taunting.

Why do, say, some college basketball teams seem to collect favorable calls? They collect them because, for example, officials believe that a particular team with a high I.Q. wouldn’t commit such a stupid infraction.

Beckham has a reputation as a player who can’t control himself, and he lives down to it almost every game he plays.

▪  Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches at any level in any sport. For his New England Patriots to go 3-1 during the absence of starting quarterback Tom Brady is a testament to Belichick’s ability. The Patriots get quarterback Brady back Sunday from his four-game suspension for cheating, and you know Brady will be furious at the NFL, the world and his opponent. New England will play the Cleveland Browns, and although the game is in Cleveland, the Browns still will be the Browns. In other words, Brady’s first game back is homecoming, albeit on a field other than New England’s own.

▪  You don’t want to know about my fantasy football teams any more than I want to know about yours. However: After four weeks I am 14-2 in fantasy football. But man, do I struggle to pick a winner. I did pick the Falcons Sunday, a three-point underdog, to upset Carolina. But I went 9-6 overall (I make my picks Friday on the John Boy & Billy Big Show). I also make my Carolina pick here (when I remember).

The Panthers play the 1-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte Monday night. It is as if the latter day Bucs were put on the planet to be bad. This should be a get-well game for Carolina’s defensive line. I like Carolina 21-17.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen