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It feels like a strange season so far for the NFL.

Some of that is the usual unpredictability of team performance, and so whilst it is a surprise to see the New York Jets with a 3-2 record given what almost everyone but the most ardent of Jets fans were expecting for the season, but it is also not unusual for it to happen in the NFL.

It is unusual is for the league to be having a feud with the executive branch of the US government, but when you have Vice President Mike Pence staging his own walk out protest in response to the kneeling of some San Francisco 49ers’ players for the national anthem then you know this is not something that is going quieten down soon. In fact, Roger Goodell has sent out a memo and is hoping to come up with a solution that will persuade all players to stand for the anthem in return for certain commitments to address the issues players are concerned with.

I suspect much of this is to do with the league’s bottom line and the response of a large section of fans, but I don’t entirely disagree when Goodell writes, ‘The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues.”

A protest doesn’t’ gain traction if it is comfortable, but there is now that a conversation is being started it needs to be focussed on the issues at hand and the point of the protest was never about the flag. It’s just hard not to see this as the league backing its African American players until the their money was threatened.

It does at least look like the NFLPA will be involved in next week’s meetings, but at this stage it just feels like no one knows what is going to happen.

I know the feeling. I am hoping to get back to something like a routine in a couple of weeks as I work on finishing the edits on my second book that is coming out next year, but whilst the coaching tape still escapes me, at least my picks are holding up so far.

Gee:      Week 5   10-4                     Overall   46-32
Dan:       Week 5   5-9                       Overall   35-43

Eagles @ Panthers (-2.5)

This looks like it could be a really good Thursday night game as long as the short week doesn’t hurt the travelling team as it so often does, but the Philadelphia Eagles have had a strong start to the season with their running game being surprisingly effective. They travel to face a Carolina Panthers team whose defence carried them for the first couple of weeks, but now it looks like Cam Newton is hitting his stride after an offseason spent recovering from surgery and a slow start to the season.

This line feels about right, so I’m going to take the home team on a Thursday night, but I don’t feel super confident about it.

Gee’s Pick:          Panthers
Dan’s Pick:          Panthers