NFL Picks

NFL Picks, Week 15: Sam Hurd drug scandal could prove catastrophic for several teams, players

If you’re a Chicago Bears fan, the news that Sam Hurd was arrested for attempting to source ”5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week for distribution in the Chicago area” from an undercover agent means in the short term the Bears will lose a reserve wide receiver. In the future, Hurd’s arrest could lead to several players on multiple teams missing time.

From CBS Chicago:

Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd, who was arrested Wednesday on federal drug charges, was a top drug dealer in Chicago and police have a list of NFL players who were supplied drugs by the receiver, a law enforcement source told 670 The Score.

The list is “in the double-digits”, according to the source.

If you’re a player who was a client of Hurd’s, especially if you were someone on that list of names who got there because you bought cocaine, you’ve got to be extremely nervous. Because this recreational drug version of the Mitchell Report will go public, and when it does the NFL is going to act quickly to remedy the situation (translation: possible suspensions for anyone involved, regardless of whether or not the authorities get involved). No league wants to be considered rife with drug users/abusers, and the idea of a massive distribution ring where players are buying and selling drugs to each other would be a PR nightmare.

The two teams most likely to be affected by this list would seem to be the Bears and Hurd’s former team, the Dallas Cowboys, where Hurd spent his first five seasons. Interesting that Jay Ratliff had to be restrained from going after ESPN Dallas’ Calvin Watkins today in the locker room while Rob Ryan was talking to reporters a few feet away.

On Thursday, Watkins was asking Ratliff about the news regarding former Cowboys receiver Sam Hurd’s arrest for drug trafficking. The chat went south quickly; suddenly I see Marcus Spears and Martellus Bennett pushing both Ratliff and Watkins in opposite directions. Some rather unfriendly, and unprintable, words were exchanged. Something like, “You stink.” “No, you stink” … only with saltier language, at a much higher volume.

With a package containing 2.5 pounds of weed allegedly delivered to Cincinnati Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson’s house making news earlier this season, one has to wonder how many professional athletes (no, not just NFL wide receivers) are also big-time drug dealers. It takes capital to purchase large quantities of drugs, and anyone selling as much coke and marijuana as Hurd was looking to move per week would stand to make millions of dollars. Crazy stuff.

Hurd negotiated to pay $25,000 per kilogram for the cocaine and $450 per pound of the weed. So Hurd had the cash flow to pay for $575,000-$700,000 worth of drugs per week.  That’s well over $2 million per month.

Whether or not there are a bunch of Bam Morris and Nate Newton types in the NFL, we’ll probably never know. But once we find out who’s on Hurd’s distribution list, the league may never be the same.

Onto the Week 15 picks, with odds courtesy of from around 4 pm PDT Thursday (12/15/11):

Jaguars @ Falcons (-14)
These Thursday night matchups over the past two weeks (last Thursday: Steelers/Browns) have been about as good as the picks I made last week.
Pick: Jaguars

Cowboys (-7.5) @ Buccaneers
Dallas still has something to play for, and the Bucs stopped caring over a month ago.
Pick: Cowboys

Packers (-15) @ Chiefs
Todd Haley got fired, so maybe Kansas City will show a little life.
Pick: Chiefs

Seahawks @ Bears (-3.5)
Forget Hurd’s arrest; the Bears haven’t been the same since losing Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.
Pick: Seahawks

Bengals (-7) @ Rams
The Rams have become a team you don’t choose to beat the spread under any circumstances.
Pick: Bengals

Titans (-8) @ Colts
I think I’ve screwed up every game the Titans have played this year. Here goes nothing!
Pick: Colts

Panthers @ Texans (-7)
Houston has the longest non-Packers win streak, prevailing in seven straight.
Pick: Texans

Redskins @ Giants (-7.5)
We saw Washington’s best last week in their 7-point loss to the Patriots at home.
Pick: Giants

Saints (-7) @ Vikings
Tough to blow out Minnesota in their dome.
Pick: Vikings

Browns @ Cardinals (-7.5)
With the way Arizona’s defense is playing, combined with how Cleveland’s offense is sputtering, the Cardinals might come away with a shutout.
Pick: Cardinals

Jets @ Eagles (-1.5)
A somewhat healthy Michael Vick isn’t enough to derail New York on their way to the playoffs.
Pick: Jets

Patriots (-7.5) @ Broncos
This game = ESPN’s wet dream.
Pick: Broncos

Ravens (-1.5) @ Chargers
Philip Rivers hasn’t thrown an INT in his last three games after getting picked off 17 times in his first 10.
Pick: Chargers

Lions @ Raiders (PK)
After picking the Raiders the last two weeks only to see them lose both games by a combined 50 points, it’s impossible to convince myself that things will go differently, even in Oakland.

The only saving grace for the Raiders: the Lions haven’t exactly been a powerhouse rushing team since losing Jahvid Best for the season due to a concussion he suffered against the Niners. Of course, I also thought the Packers wouldn’t run on the Raiders and Ryan Grant had his first 2 rushing TDs of the season in the first half.
Pick: Lions

Steelers @ 49ers (N/A)
This game, while not a must-win for the 49ers, could go a long way in helping them gain the confidence they’ll need to succeed in the playoffs (and stay tied with the Saints for the No. 2 seed). It’s been a very successful season for San Francisco, as everyone knows, but they haven’t had a great win since beating the Giants at home five weeks ago. Most gambling sites have this game off the board currently, because it isn’t known yet whether Ben Roethlisberger will play after suffering an ankle sprain last Thursday against the Browns. Whether or not lines are set across the board for this Monday Night Football matchup, I’ll have a detailed preview of this one in the next few days.
Pick: ???

Last week: 4-11
Overall: 103-102-2

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