How many NFL winners did you pick in Week 3? Don’t even pretend you saw the New York Jets handling the Miami Dolphins, the Chicago Bears beating the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars beating the Baltimore Ravens. If you did, you are 11 years old and true to your teams.
I picked Baltimore to beat and to cover against Jacksonville (the Ravens were a 3 1/2- point favorite). The Ravens were my lock. The game went back and forth for several seconds, but ultimately the Jaguars eked out a 37-point victory.
I made a terrible mistake. In the U.S., Jacksonville is the team the rest of the league schedules for homecoming. The Jaguars ‘ last winning season was in 2007. In the nine seasons since, their record is 42-102. And in the past five seasons, they are 17-63.
But when the Jaguars go to England, they become New England. They go on trips to Wembley Stadium the way the rest of us go on trips to the beach. The Jaguars have played in London five straight seasons, which is as frequently as any other two NFL teams combined. The Jaguars will return in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
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The NFL does not accidentally schedule games in London. The league is preparing London for a franchise or a Super Bowl. Access will be a logistical nightmare. But the NFL will find a way to make it work, or a way to make us think it does.
Until then, the Dallas Cowboys will remain America’s team. Jacksonville will remain England’s.
My picks last week were, I'm looking for the right term, not too good.
Last week: 8-8
Lock: I picked Baltimore (-3½) to cover against Jacksonville. The Ravens chose not to.
This week’s picks, with the home team in CAPS:
GREEN BAY 9 over Chicago
New Orleans 2 over Miami (in London).
Pittsburgh 3 over BALTIMORE
Tennessee 1 over HOUSTON
MINNESOTA 1 over Detroit
ATLANTA 11 over Buffalo
DALLAS 6 over Los Angeles Rams
CLEVELAND 4 over Cincinnati
Jacksonville 1 over NEW YORK JETS
TAMPA BAY 7 over New York Giants
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS 1 over Philadelphia
ARIZONA 6 over San Francisco
Oakland 1 over DENVER
SEATTLE 4 over Indianapolis
KANSAS CITY 3 over Washington
Lock of the week: NEW ENGLAND (-8) 16 over Carolina