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NFL Week 9 Preview and Bettor’s Guide: Henry Ruggs’s nightmare

Written By | Nov 2, 2021
NFL 2021 Week 10, NFL, Henry Rugg, Football, Bettors Guide

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SHREVEPORT, Louisiana, Tuesday, November 2, 2021 — Football is not life and death. Football is a game. When former Cleveland Browns coach Sam Rutigliano was asked if a 1980 playoff loss to the Oakland Raiders was hard to accept, he replied, “Death is hard to accept. Everything else is an inconvenience.”

Six months earlier, Coach Rutigliano lost his teenage daughter to a fatal car crash. For him, losing a playoff game did not come close to the same amount of pain.

Football is supposed to be an oasis away from our pain.

It is a respite of joy in what is often a painful and brutal world. Football is where dreams come true. Sadly, Henry Ruggs’s dreams have just turned into a nightmare of his own making.

The second-year wide receiver for the Las Vegas Raiders had his entire future in front of him. With the Raiders leading the AFC West at 5-2, his first playoff birth was a very real possibility.

Ruggs’s first Pro Bowl was within reach. Now his Silver and Black dream have been reduced to charcoal ashes.

At 3:40 a.m Las Vegas time on Tuesday, Ruggs was involved in a fatal car crash.

The only right thing he did was stay on the scene and cooperate with the police. The biggest wrong thing he did was get behind the wheel of a car after (allegedly, the presumption of innocence and all) drinking alcohol.

Ruggs only suffered minor injuries. The car he struck with his car burst into flames, killing the other driver.

The real victim is not Ruggs. He made horrendously bad decisions. 

The real victim is the innocent person who is no longer alive.

Yet while Ruggs has the use of his extremities, his life is essentially over. He very well could be headed to prison. His football career could be finished. The Raiders released him Tuesday night.

Even if he somehow is able to one day be free to play football, he will never truly be free again. He took an innocent life. Assuming Ruggs has a moral conscience, that will haunt him forever. He will probably be tormented by nightmares that will never go away.

Mr. Ruggs is not a bad person. By all accounts, he seems to be a polite, decent young man. Yet one bad deed has washed away all the good he has done. He has a permanent black mark on his soul. He took a life.

This coming Sunday, many leatherheads will be focused on football.

We will cheer on our respective teams. Ruggs will not have that luxury. Time will march on for most of us. For Ruggs, time will seem eternal. Then again, at least he is alive. His victim is gone forever, never to experience another sunrise.

If you are watching the game and drinking alcohol, for the love of God almighty, do not get behind the wheel of a car. Ever. Take a lesson from Henry Rugg’s bad decisions.  Our condolences to everyone involved in this tragedy.

With that, here is the NFL 2021 Week 9 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by and all times Eastern.

Thursday, November 4, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-11.5) —

The Jets won a shocker over Cincinnati last week, as Mike White threw for 405 yards in his first NFL game. The Colts suffered a brutal overtime lost against Tennessee when Carson Wentz threw a pair of late interceptions. This week the Jets return to reality, yet a garbage touchdown is still possible. The Colts win but fail to cover.

Sunday, November 7, 1:00 p.m.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-5.5) —

Despite losing Jameis Winston for the year, the Saints are a very balanced team. Trevor Siemian is competent and Taysom Hill’s return helps. The Falcons remain awful. With these teams, records often do not matter. These games are frequently close. The Saints win but fail to cover.

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (-7) —

Trading away Von Miller seems to indicate that the Broncos are giving up on the season and going into rebuilding mode. The Cowboys got a gutty Monday night road win in Cooper Rush’s first NFL game. This week Dak Prescott returns. The Cowboys have superior talent and the broncos are demoralized.  The Cowboys cover.

New England Patriots (-3) at Carolina Panthers —

The Panthers started 3-0, lost four, and finally won again last week. The Patriots started 1-3 but have quietly gotten to 4-4. Mac Jones is playing better than Sam Darnold. The Patriots have the better defense. Go with Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick’s defense, which has experience against Darnold. Patriots cover.

Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) —

The Vikings lost a heartbreaker at home against Dallas while the ravens suffered a stunning home loss to Cincinnati. The Ravens will be angry and expected to right the ship. Lamar Jackson brings speed, and the Vikings need Dalvin Cook to run well to have a chance at an upset. Ravens win but fail to cover.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) —

The Bengals suffered a shocking loss at the Jets, while the Browns lost a brutal home street fight at home against Pittsburgh. Baker Mayfield is not healthy. Joe Burrow will rebound. Go with the home field. Bengals cover.

Buffalo Bills (-14) at Jacksonville Jaguars —

The Bills are a wrecking machine and the Jaguars are a wreck. The Bills should win this game easily, Josh Allen should throw at will. Yet Trevor Lawrence piles up decent garbage yards. The spread is high for a road team, despite the Jaguars being 1-7. As awful as the Jaguars are, go with the garbage touchdown. The Bills win but fail to cover.

Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (-7) —

League rules prevent this battle of 1-7 teams from being canceled. This is the Stupor Bowl. The spread is way too high for a team that has lost seven straight games. The Dolphins win but fail to cover.

Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at New York Giants —

Just when the Raiders had put the Jon Gruden debacle in the mirror, the organization has been rocked again by the Henry Ruggs situation. Derek Carr is a leader, and he has to hold the tea together. The Raiders are 5-2 and the Giants are 2-6. With a healthy Josh Jacobs, the Raiders have enough talent to win without Ruggs. Daniel Jones will turn the ball over when it matters. Raiders cover.

4:00 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles —

Justin Herbert is better than Jalen Hurts, but the Chargers are perpetual underachievers. They lost at home to an average New England team. The Eagles blasted Detroit, but that does not say much. Brandon Staley has shown more coaching acumen than Kevin Siriani in tough situations. Chargers cover.

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) —

The struggling Chiefs barely survived the woeful Giants. Now they face a red hot 7-1 Packers team that has won seven straight. The Packers went on the road and beat the previously unbeaten Cardinals. The Chiefs defense is not exceptional. The Chiefs have to reduce their number of turnovers to win this game. Patrick Mahomes is not getting enough help from his offensive line. Yet the real news is that Aaron Rodgers tested positive for Covid on Wednesday and will be in protocol for at least 10 days. Jordan Love gets his very first start. With Rodgers, the Packers win. Without him, they do not. Chiefs cover.

Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) at San Francisco 49ers —

After losing their first game last week, the Cardinals are also without J.J. Watt for the rest of the year. The 49ers have been average. Kyler Murray has a bad ankle but is expected to play. Jimmy Garoppolo played well last week at Chicago, but the Cardinals are a tougher test. Cardinals cover.

8:00 p.m.

Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) —

22 years after “the tackle,” the Titans and Rams are again atop their respective conferences. The Titans just lost Derrick Henry for up to 10 weeks with a foot injury. They added Adria Peterson to the roster. The Rams just acquired Von Miller from Denver. The Rams were already loaded before his arrival. Pairing Miller with Aaron Donald could mean a long day for Ryan Tannehill. The 6-2 Titans are a good team without their best player while the 7-1 Rams are a great team who added a great player and just became even better. The spread is high, but the Rams really are that good. Rams cover.

Monday, November 8, 8:00 p.m.

Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) —

The Bears lost at home to an average San Francisco team. Mike Tomlin has quietly led the Steelers to three straight wins after a 1-3 start. The Steelers won a brutal slobberknocker at Cleveland last week. The Steelers are playing Tomlin football, with hard running and solid defense. Justin Fields has talent but is raw. The Steelers will shut him down.

Steelers win but fail to cover.


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Eric Golub

Brooklyn born, Long Island raised and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”