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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 19 February, 2019

Pittsburgh’s Murder, She Wrote moment and your NFL week 3 preview

It feels like we’re due a big reveal in Pittsburgh, writes Steve O’Rourke.

Updated Sep 23rd 2018, 9:45 AM

NFL 2018: Steelers vs Chiefs SEP 16 Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

I SAY THIS not as a boast or in self-deprecation, merely as a statement of fact, but I have never seen any of the Godfather movies. The same is also true of The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, and Fight Club.

It’s not that I don’t want to watch these movies; I’m not a monster like Michael Owen. It’s just, well, I never really got around to it.

I do watch movies. I have, after all, seen every movie in the Mega Shark franchise — and I’d particularly recommend Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus — but I prefer the art of the TV series.

Breaking Bad, The Wire and Game of Thrones — all of which are far superior to most movies — are among my favourites. But I like non-prestige TV too. The likes of Buffy and Stargate are as rewatchable as Patrick Mahomes’ highlights.

But my favourite TV show is probably Murder, She Wrote.

You see, much like Odell Beckham Jr running a slant for Eli Manning, you know exactly where you stand with Jessica Fletcher.

A murder is committed, an innocent party is accused — usually a relative or friend of our protagonist — and all the signs point to a wrongful conviction. But then Fletcher pieces together the clues that were right in front of our noses all along and, following a dramatic reveal, the real murderer goes to jail.

If Murder, She Wrote teaches us anything, it’s that little details matter. A smudge of ink that could only be caused by a left-hander, a bus that was delayed due to a storm, a light switch a person would only know how to find if they’d been to the scene of the crime before.

Trivial details in themselves, but crucial to the ‘aha’ moment that defined almost every one of the 264 episodes.

And while no crime has been committed, there are lots of details emerging from Pittsburgh that, when pieced together, point to the fact that all is not right with the Steelers.

First, their star running back, Le’Veon Bell, has failed to show up this year as he holds out for a new — and very much deserved — contract.

Then, the team’s offensive linemen started piling in on Bell, accusing him of putting himself before the team and generally acting like they were company stooges rather than realising that it’s in every player’s best interests for Bell to get paid.

Football is a dangerous sport and players have a limited shelf-life. They don’t earn half-enough considering what they put their bodies through.

After spending a lot of Week Two’s loss to the Chiefs arguing with coaches about not seeing more of the football, stud wide receiver Antonio Brown tweeted — in response to a former Steelers’ employee saying he was only good because of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — that the team should trade him to find out if that was true.

Finally, the aforementioned Roethlisberger is also struggling this season, especially on passes of 20 or more yards downfield. He connected with his target on just two of 13 attempts, about half as accurate on these throws as he normally is.

Head coach Mike Tomlin — bearing the look of Sheriff Amos Tupper as he botches another investigation — said that this wasn’t an actual request for a trade, but he did confirm Brown failed to show up for work on Monday.

Curious times indeed, especially as Pittsburgh is often held up as an example of how NFL franchises should be run having had just three coaches — Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Tomlin — since 1969, winning a record six Super Bowls in that time.

But stable is the last word you could apply to a team at odds with its two best players, sitting on a 0-1-1 record, and boasting a defence who look like they’ve never met each other before, let alone played together.

And what we desperately need is Jessica Fletcher to gather the players, coaches, and owners into a room and reveal to the world what’s actually going on.

Picks (season record 19-12-2)

Sunday – 6pm

NFL 2018 Brows at Saints Source: Dan Anderson

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Neither team has exactly set the world on fire this season but the Falcons, at least, appeared to fix their red zone woes against the Panthers last weekend. Having taken a beating at the hands of one divisional rival already this season, the Saints defence will need to find their form soon.
Pick: Falcons

NFL: SEP 16 Vikings at Packers Source: Robin Alam

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Washington
Last week I wondered if Aaron Rodgers on one leg could be better than the Minnesota defence and it turns out they are exactly equal. His playmaking ability should be more than enough for a Washington team that re-entered earth’s atmosphere with a bang last weekend in a surprise loss to the Colts.
Pick: Packers

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles (-6)
Speaking of Indianapolis, the NFL is certainly a better place with a fit and healthy Andrew Luck slinging touchdown passes. The Eagles have looked anything but Super Bowl winners so far this season but welcome back Carson Wentz this weekend. However, as Houston fans have discovered, the Philly faithful might need patience with a QB returning from an ACL injury.
Pick: Colts

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Buffalo Bills @ Minnesota Vikings (-17)
It’s not quite the 28-point spread Denver had over Jacksonville back in 2013, but it’s a damning indictment of the Buffalo franchise that three weeks into the season and the men in the desert are writing them off as one of the two worst franchises in the league. Penny for the thoughts of Bills’ fans who wanted rid of Tyrod Taylor so badly.
Pick: Vikings

NFL: SEP 16 Dolphins at Jets Source: Rich Graessle

Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins (-3)
Derek Carr completed more than 90% of his passes last weekend and Jon Gruden looked like he remembered how to call plays in the NFL but Oakland still sit at 0-2 because of a defence that can’t force pressure on the quarterback. Now the Raiders face an early kick-off on the east coast. Expect the Dolphins to reach a surprise 3-0.
Pick: Dolphins

CO: NFL 2018 - Seahawks vs Broncos Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens (-5)
The Broncos offence is terrible with Case Keenum completing less than 60% of his passes, throwing three touchdowns to four picks. His team is 2-0 because they’ve faced two pretty mediocre teams in Seattle and Oakland. The Ravens will likely be more hit than miss in this game.
Pick: Ravens

NFL: SEP 16 Panthers at Falcons Source: Frank Mattia

Cincinnati Bengals @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
With Baltimore up and down, the Steelers struggling to get out of their own way, and the Browns, well, being the Browns, all of a sudden Bengals fans will have hopes of clinching an AFC North title. Carolina is coming off a tough divisional loss and will expect to see more from rookie DJ Moore who could become a focal point of their offence.
Pick: Bengals

NFL: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

New York Giants @ Houston Texans (-6)
Despite this being a tale of two terrible offensive lines, the reason for the surprisingly wide points spread is because the Texans possess, on paper at least, one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. After two losses each, someone’s 0 has to go. And it won’t be New York’s.
Pick: Texans

NFL: SEP 09 Titans at Dolphins Source: Doug Murray

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-)
The Jacksonville Jaguars reached an AFC championship game last year and finally ended their hoodoo against the Patriots with a very convincing win last weekend. They are one of the best teams in football. However, they’ve also lost four of their last five games against the Titans and, with Mariota back, this could well be a trap game.
Pick: Titans

NFL 2018: Steelers vs Chiefs SEP 16 Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

San Francisco 49ers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)
Before the season started, I predicted the AFC would be represented by a team from the West in the Super Bowl. I’m still not sure it’ll be the Chiefs because of Andy Reid’s playoff record but they are undoubtedly the most exciting offence to watch in football right now.
Pick: Chiefs

Sunday – 9.05pm

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

LA Chargers @ LA Rams (-7)
The battle for hearts and minds in LA is lessened somewhat by the absence of Joey Bosa. The Chargers can count themselves unlucky to be 1-1, but the Rams are probably the best team in football at the moment. Oh, and their defence is only giving up 6.5 points per game.
Pick: Rams

Sunday – 9.25pm

Seahawks Bears Football Source: Nam Y. Huh

Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks (-1.5)
Two terrible football teams, but at least the Cowboys didn’t take a timeout last weekend just because their quarterback picked up a first down calling his own play rather than using the one called in by his offensive coordinator.
Pick: Cowboys

Seahawks Bears Football Source: David Banks

Chicago Bears (-6) @ Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals had one (1!) play in the opposition half in last week’s loss to the Rams and, if there’s a defence in the NFC that can rival LA’s, it’s Chicago’s. This is going to be a very long year for Cardinals fans.
Pick: Bears

Monday – 1.20am

Patriots Football Source: Steven Senne

New England Patriots (-6) @ Detroit Lions
The Patriots picked up Josh Gordon this week but, as much as I’d like to see him succeed, their record in this regard means he’s as likely to turn into Chad Ochocinco as he is Randy Moss. Detroit were expected to take a step forward this season but, if anything, have regressed.
Pick: Patriots

Tuesday – 1.15am

FitzMagic Dispute Football Source: Mark LoMoglio

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I don’t know how long the Ryan Fitzmagic train will keep on chugging — 78.7% completion rate, eight touchdowns, and just one interception — before eventually hurtling off the rails, but let’s enjoy it while we can. Unless the Steelers find a defence, they could go another week without a win.
Pick: Bucs

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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