large_Josh-Cribbs

Thursday Night in the NFL: The Real Refs and the Ravens in a Romp

ANAHEIM — The real referees are back. After that debacle in Seattle on Monday night, the NFL finally heard the screams of the fans, punters and media and sat down and legitimately negotiated a new agreement with the experienced NFL officials.

And the league was so eager to get these guys back, they completed a collective bargaining agreement in about 12 hours. This is a league that couldn’t get anything done with its officials in almost two years and yet, as soon as the replacement officials completely screwed up an entire week of action, the league got it done in a heartbeat. In fact, when far-right-wing Republican American politicians, the people who want to destroy all public employee bargaining rights, encourage the NFL to settle with its officials union and send the scabs packing, you know everyone is pissed off.

Not to worry anymore. The “real” officials have a tentative eight-year deal. It’s the longest involving on-field officials in NFL history and was reached with the help of two federal mediators. The ratification vote is Saturday in Dallas. It will be ratified. Officials will have their salaries increase from an average of US$149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, and then to $205,000 in 2019. Not bad for part-time work.

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco

Meanwhile, my buddy Dr. Football is worried that you will think he’s a replacement prognosticator. Of course, there would be reason for you to believe that. Last week, The Doc went 6-10 straight up last week (21-27) and an unimpressive 2-14 against the spread (11-37).

Thursday night:

Cleveland Browns (0-3) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Line: Ravens by 12.

In their last eight games against each other, Baltimore has outscored the Browns 203-91, and the Ravens have won their last 20 of 21 home games. Even I can pick this one.The Coach says: “I don’t hate the Browns defence. Cleveland might be able to keep the score down. I just don’t think their offence will get a sniff of the end zone. That Browns outfit is bad and it’s getting worse.”

THE DOC: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.

THE COACH: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.

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