By Bill Foley
The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders will play Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
That kicks off four NFL games on soccer pitches in Jolly Old England over the next month. Carolina plays Tampa Bay at the same stadium on Oct. 13. Games between the Bengals and Rams on Oct. 27 and the Texans and Jaguars on Nov. 3 will be played at Wembley Stadium.
That is four too many.
The NFL should not play any games across the pond, and that is not just because we kicked England’s crumpets-and-tea butts out of our country almost 250 years ago.
The British do not like “American football.” They tend to look down at us silly Americans and our barbaric game.
When sports fans in England talk about “football,” they are talking about the sport we call “soccer.” When told the Chicago Bears are coming to town, the majority of Londoners thought they’d get another chance to see William “The Refrigerator” Perry.
(Of course I base this opinion on all zero of my trips to England.)
We get it that the NFL wants to expand its brand, but it would be nice if they would instead cater to the fans they already have instead of the ones they never will. Plus, the Panthers, Bengals and Jaguars are not going to expand any brand.
Games in London are filled with fans from the states who follow their team to England, as if they didn’t have to pay enough to see a game in the United States.
The league should not make either team (or fanbase) travel so far, but it is particularly worse for the side that is designated the home team. Because they get to wear their black jerseys at the neutral-site game, Oakland now only plays seven true home games. The rest of the teams in their division get eight.
The Raiders also have to travel for nine games.
That is just not fair.
On top of that, Oakland is going to have a huge crowd disadvantage that far away from home. As you know, about 99 percent of Raiders fans cannot leave the state they currently live in because of those pesky ankle bracelets.
Sunday’s game should be in Oakland, and the NFL should keep all of its games stateside. If the league wants to expand its brand, it should bring its games to American cities not exposed to good football.
Like Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
Speaking of losers, last week was a killer week to pick games in the NFL. The 15 games saw 11 road teams pick up wins. So, I went 7-8 straight up and 5-10 against the spread. That brings me to 38-25 and 26-37 on the season.
That’s not good in any country.
Following are my Week 5 NFL picks. The lines are from ESPN, the network that pays Matt Hasselbeck’s littler brother to tell us which quarterbacks stink.
Los Angeles Rams (plus 1.5) at Seattle
Jared Goff threw for 571 yards last week, and he somehow took all the blame for a 55-40 loss to the Buccaneers.
Russell Wilson throws for 240 yards against a team that wouldn’t place in the top six of the Pac-12, meanwhile, and he is a god.
Godless Rams by 3
Chicago (minus 6) vs. Oakland in London
If only the Raiders had a player like Khalil Mack.
Bears by 11
Arizona (plus 3) at Cincinnati
Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd said his team “got embarrassed” in Monday’s 27-3 loss to the previously winless Steelers.
Wait until they lose to the previously unbeaten Cardinals.
Cards by 6
Buffalo (plus 3) at Tennessee
If the Pride of Wyoming knew how to slide, Buffalo would have beaten the Patriots last week. Matt Barkley will have no such problem this week.
Williams by 2
Tampa Bay (plus 3.5) at New Orleans
The Buccaneers won in the Bayou last year, and that was before they hired quarterback whisper Bruce Arians.
Bucs by 1
Minnesota (minus 5.5) at New York Giants
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins responded to public criticism by receiver Adam Thielen by publicly apologizing to the receiver like he was John Cleese hanging upside down out of a window.
With that kind of leadership, the Vikings should have to play all their games in England.
Don’t call me stupid. Another upset
Giants by 4
New York Jets (plus 13.5) at Philadelphia
Sam Darnold returned to practice after missing time with the kissing disease.
There’s no way the fans in the “City of Brotherly Love” will make fun of him for that. No way.
Eagles by 25
Baltimore (minus 3.5) at Pittsburgh
Not even Mike Tomlin’s best trippin’ shoes can help in this game.
Ravens by 9
New England (minus 15.5) at Washington
The Patriots’ would get laughed out the Mid-American Conference with this schedule.
Patriots by 608
Jacksonville (plus 3.5) at Carolina
The only thing worse than the hipster beard is the hipster mustache. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Gardner Minshew II.
He pulls it off.
Jags by 1
Atlanta (plus 5) at Houston
The Falcons head to NRG Stadium for the first time since blowing that 28-3 lead to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
History will not repeat itself. You have to have a lead in order to blow it.
Texans by 13
Denver (plus 6.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders said the team is in a “world of suck” after losing in the final seconds for the second time in three weeks.
At least they don’t have to fly to London.
Chargers by just 2
Green Bay (plus 3.5) at Dallass
Stephen A. Smith predicts the Packers will win the NFC North.
Dallas by 10
Indianapolis (plus 11) at Kansas City
Boy Wonder Patrick Mahomes did not throw a touchdown pass for just the fourth time in his career.
The last time he went with out a TD was in a playoff game against, you guessed it, the Colts.
Chefs by just 6
Cleveland (plus 3.5) at San Francisco
Could Jimmy GQ and the 49ers be for real?
49ers by 1
Off this week: Detroit, Miami.