NFL Picks: Week 10

191548.jpg

NFL Picks: Week 10

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

I realize how important these imaginary bets are everyweek, but every once in a long, long while, something will come aboutthat takes precedence. CelticsHeat: Round 2 is one of those rareevents.

So enjoy an abridged version of this week's NFL Picks, and pay no attention to last weeks record.

The Game: Baltimore at Atlanta (-1)

Thetwo teams aren't on the same level, but Roddy White is to the 2010Falcons, what Randy moss was to the 2007 Pats. Once Roddy officiallydecided to give it a go, I officially put my money on Atlanta.

The Pick: Falcons (-1)

The Game: Minnesota (-1.5) at Chicago

Ifeven one of your players tells reporters from another city that hehates his coach, then youve got a problem. If six do it? Well, you'vegot Brad Childress. Don't get me wrong; the Bears are a bad team. ButMinnesota isn't even a team anymore. It's a mutiny.

The Pick: Bears (1.5)

The Game: Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-7)

Bythe end of the season, Peyton Manning may be playing alongside a teamof third-stringers and practice-squad legends . . . and he'dstill be able to beat a team like the Bengals.

The Pick: Colts (-7)

The Game: Tennessee (-2) at Miami

Welcomeback, Randy! God, I've missed being able to gamble against whateverteam's crazy enough to open itself up to your terror. Seriously,thanks buddy. Look forward to having a lucrative final six weekstogether. Straight cash!

The Pick: Dolphins (2)

The Game: N.Y. Jets (-3) at Cleveland

IfCleveland pulls this one out and makes it three straight wins -- againstthe Saints, Pats and Jets -- dont we have to consider the Browns alegitimately dangerous and talented and maybe, playoff-bound team?

The worlds not ready for that.

The Pick: Jets (-3)

The Game: Houston at Jacksonville (-1.5)

It's official. The Texans have the worst defense in the NFL. And it's not even close.

The Pick: Jaguars (-1.5)

The Game: Carolina at Tampa Bay (-6.5)

The Team of the Millenium isn't even favored by a touchdown at home against Jimmy Clausen's Panthers? Show me the fake money!

The Pick: Bucs (-6.5)

The Game: Detroit at Buffalo (-3)

OK,Lions fans. I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?OK, well the bad news is that you just lost Matthew Stafford, again,for the season.

The good news? Just kidding. Theres not any. You're underdogs in a game against the 0-8 Bills.

The Pick: Bills (-3)

The Game: Kansas City (-1) at Denver

Man,Vegas is really testing my allegiance to the Chiefs. Honestly, if itwere any other average team going into Denver as one-point favoritesI'd jump on the Broncos faster than you can say "Fire McDaniels!" Butas you know, I'm just a huge sucker for KC.

The Pick: Chiefs (-1)

The Game: Seattle at Arizona (-3)

It'sa disgrace that these two bogus teams are still fighting for a divisiontitle. It's even more a disgrace that I have to put my faith in one ofthese teams to win this. Eh, whatever. I'll go with the home team.

The Pick: Cardinals (-3)

The Game: Dallas at N.Y. Giants (-14)

"Win one for Garrett!"

No?

OK, how about: "Lose by less than two touchdowns for Garrett!"

The Pick: Cowboys (14)

The Game: St. Louis at San Francisco (-6)

Idon't care if they're playing the Marshfield High School Rams, the49ers should never be favored by this much. There should be anautomatic six-point penalty for "Coach's Insanity."

The Pick: Rams

The Game: New England at Pittsburgh (-4.5)

This games decided by a field goal, either way. Remembers Shayne Graham is now the kicker, searches frantically for Klonopin.

The Pick: Patriots (4.5)

The Game: Philadelphia (-3) at Washington

MikeShanahan says Donovan McNabb's not in good enough shape to run thetwo-minute drill. I say Andy Reid's not in good enough shape to callplays in a two-minute drill.

The Pick: Redskins (3)

The Record:&8232;

Last Week: 4-8-1&8232;
Season: 62-62-5

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

ap_17146189635759.jpg

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.