(Editor's note: Every week this season, gay teenage NFL fan Jeremy Brener will give his perspective and predictions for the upcoming week).
Monday night is a great night of television for me. Not only do I check in back and forth on the Monday Night Football broadcast, but I also watch "Blindspot," a new crime drama written by Martin Gero and produced by esteemed gay television writer, producer, and director Greg Berlanti. "Blindspot" is about a mysterious woman who is completely covered in tattoos that help the FBI solve crimes. It sounds incredibly far-fetched, but the plot becomes more intriguing as it thickens.
This week's tattoo led the FBI to find Ricky Holt, a closeted NFL star running back. Ricky Holt (portrayed by Roy Jackson) owned a firearm that killed a police officer, which led the FBI to investigate him. In custody, Holt claimed that he had been blackmailed by the police officer. The police officer found photos of him with a guy, and he was willing to pay $50,000 and commit perjury in court to cover up the story. Luckily, the FBI realized he was framed and released him from custody.
Although it was a very small part of the episode, it brings up a huge point and makes a large impact. Holt did not want to come out in fear that he would lose all of his endorsements and contracts in the NFL. He put up this facade of being a womanizer and let this giant lie play out in real life. My first thought when he admitted he was gay was, so many people in real life are dealing with this.
As much as people say "it doesn't matter" or "who cares?" it really does matter. There probably is someone just like Ricky Holt, praying and begging and willing to take drastic measures to keep their sexuality a secret inside and outside the NFL. As far as endorsements and contracts go, if a company is going to drop an endorser for their sexual orientation, gender, or race, they are not a company worth endorsing. I hope that the real life Ricky Holts out there can learn from his story and realize that taking drastic measures and living a lie is damaging for one's mental health and well-being.
On to Week 10:
Game of the Week
New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
Of the 14 games this week, this is the only one that features two above .500 teams and two division leaders. New England's perfect record is on the line, and the Giants are looking to play spoiler. This is a statement game for the Giants. At 5-4, they're in first, but the Eagles are hot on their tails just a half a game back. The offense was clicking in New Orleans, and the defense came through in Tampa, and now both need to show up this Sunday in order for the Giants to have a chance at beating the Patriots.
New England's offense and defense have been clicking all year long, and they have not lost a game all year. The Patriots suffered a big loss this week when emerging star RB Dion Lewis tore his ACL. The Patriots will adjust, though. LeGarrette Blount has had a strong year, and Brandon Bolden scored a TD after Lewis went down against Washington. It is hard to find a hole in this Patriots team, and the Giants might have to rely on a shootout if they want to beat the unbeaten Pats. Unfortunately for New York, Matt Patricia's defense is looking strong with Rob Ninkovich, NFL sack leader Chandler Jones, and arguably the best inside linebacker tandem in the league in Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins. The Giants will cause a fit or two, but they won't cause enough chaos. New England will take a bite out of the Big Apple (technically New Jersey) and win 37-24.
Upset of the Week
Jacksonville Jaguars over Baltimore Ravens
Both teams are 2-6, but Jacksonville still has somewhat of a shot at the playoffs only two games back of the Colts in the weak AFC South and an easy second half schedule. The Ravens are six games back in the division of the Bengals, and have caught the injury bug this season. The biggest weakness of Baltimore's is its secondary, and wide receivers happen to be Jacksonville's biggest strength. The Allens (Robinson and Hurns) have had promising sophomore campaigns as well as QB Blake Bortles. Jacksonville's offensive stock is skyrocketing, while Baltimore's defense is going kaput. I'm not a huge fan of Jacksonville's defense, but they are going against a depleted Ravens offense. Final score: Jaguars 26, Ravens 20.
Fantasy Start of the Week
Redskins TE Jordan Reed vs. New Orleans Saints
I've never been a huge fan of Jordan Reed, but I'm buying in for this week. His matchup is a tight end gold mine. The Saints gave up three touchdowns to tight ends last week and made Delanie Walker look like Gronk. Walker's role in the Titans offense is very similar to Reed's role in the Redskins offense. Walker leads his team in receptions, and Reed is second on the team behind Pierre Garcon in that department. He plays such a prominent role in the offense and the tight end is the biggest hole in Rob Ryan's defense. The Saints have surrendered 83 points in the last two games, and it doesn't look like it will improve. Reed has also scored three touchdowns in the last two games. He's a great way to save a little money in DFS this weekend, and he's a great touchdown candidate. Start him in all formats.
Fantasy Sit of the Week
Cardinals RB Chris Johnson vs. Seattle Seahawks
Chris Johnson has turned back into his CJ2K form in 2K15. He may not run for 2,000 yards, but he's put up a nice season and should be in consideration for Comeback Player of the Year. However, he should not be in consideration to start this week. Despite reaching 100 yards two weeks in a row, he fumbled the ball twice in the Cardinals' last game versus the Browns.
Fantasy Pick-up of the Week
Titans WR Dorial Green-Beckham
In last week's game against the Saints, Green-Beckham caught half of his 10 targets from Marcus Mariota. He has a tough assignment this week against Carolina, but picking him up would be a future investment. With the playoffs just a few weeks away, picking up a borderline WR1 in free agency could pay big dividends in the final weeks of the season.
Lock of the Week
Green Bay Packers over Detroit Lions
The Packers are mad. After starting 6-0, the Packers have lost two games to undefeated teams. This home game against the worst team in the league could not come at a better time for Green Bay. It's the perfect opportunity to get their groove back. Eddie Lacy has struggled, the defense has bickered, and the team needs a quick turnaround. These Packer problems are nowhere near as big or as loud as the Lions' problems. It seems that Detroit has given up on the season by firing their offensive coordinator, general manager, and president. QB Matthew Stafford has one foot out the door and everyone is on edge. The Lions are looking to revamp their franchise and hopefully receiving the first overall pick in the draft. The Packers still have legitimate Super Bowl hopes. Green Bay 40, Detroit 24.
Buzzer's Best Bet
Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski will make one pick each week against the spread, so bet accordingly (generally for the other team).
Kansas City +6.5 at Denver. Pick: Denver.
Peyton Manning is 7-0 against the Chiefs as the Broncos' quarterback and all the wins have come by seven or more points. Denver is at home where they haven't lost in the regular season since 2013 and are pissed off after laying an egg in Indy. The Chiefs have won two in a row but without RB Jamal Charles (who has had good games against Denver), their offense will struggle. It will be a close game but the Broncos will cover.
Last week: 1-0. Season: 6-3.
Hot Player of the Week
Jaguars WR Allen Hurns
Hurns is one of the best kept secrets in the NFL this season. Next to Emmanuel Sanders, he's the best performing WR2 in the league. Playing in Jacksonville, he has gone under the radar, but he has scored a touchdown in each of the last six games, and he leads the NFL with the longest streak in that category. He seemed like a fluke as an undrafted free agent scoring two TDs in the opener last year, but he has backed up that first game and avoided the sophomore slump. He is one of the bright spots that could bring Jacksonville back to relevancy in the near future and is my hot player of the week.
Jeremy Brener lives in Houston. He can be reached via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@BrenerJeremy).