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Hurley's Picks: Aaron Rodgers Doesn't Have COVID Toe, But We're All Worse Off For Knowing What It Is

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- It's Thanksgiving week, which means two things. For one, the world is getting an awful Detroit Lions football game. And secondly, everyone is spending their limited time on this earth having arguments about food.

Whether it's power rankings for side dishes, or passionate cases stating that turkey is actually bird trash, or arguments about which pie is best, people just love fighting about food on Thanksgiving week. Even though we are free to eat whatever we'd like, and those of us with plentiful options on Thanksgiving should simply be thankful about how fortunate we are, the fights persist.

Fortunately, we've got the perfect antidote: Aaron Rodgers' COVID toe. (Or so we thought. Aaron Rodgers kind of put this story to bed just hours after it got legs ... or feet. Sorry. But despite everything you're about to read, Rodgers does not have COVID Toe. He went so far as to show the media to prove this.)

(Well, we could've done without that. Sheesh! Anyways. In light of this development, there will be some intermittent interruptions throughout the story to break up the non-facts from the soon-to-be-mentioned Wall Street Journal story.)

Apparently, when Rodgers said on Pat McAfee's show this week that he was dealing with "COVID toe," it wasn't a joke. It's a real thing. (We're 22 months into this thing and we're just now hearing about COVID toe? Come on, Fauci. What are we paying you for?)

And because all of you fools decided to spend the week arguing about yams vs. stuffing vs. macaroni and cheese, this is what you get: A vivid description of COVID toe.

"Covid Toe is a casual name for something medically known as pernio or chilblains, which is a condition that causes symptoms such as discoloration and lesions. It can be extremely painful and turn the toes purple," Andrew Beaton wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

There. Think about that the next time you go to bite into your mashed potatoes. If you partook in the needless Thanksgiving week food debates, then this is your punishment. (If you're an innocent bystander, then I do apologize. But so am I. It's about taking a stand and making a point, all right?)

If you're curious -- and how could you not be -- the craziest thing about COVID Toe is that it's actually ... good?

"They're a sign of the body's strong immune response to the virus," Beaton explained, noting that it comes as a result of the body producing "too much of a type of interferon."

"It's part of our body's response to the response to the virus," Dr. Esther Freeman told Beaton. "It's almost too much of a good thing."

(So, if Rodgers got COVID but didn't get COVID toe, isn't that kind of a bad thing? That's a real brain twister.)

It seems like bad news in the short term for Rodgers, though. Beaton explained that sufferers of COVID Toe can have trouble wearing shoes, and the pain can be exacerbated by cold weather. That's kind of a double whammy for a football player in Wisconsin. (This will still probably be a problem with a fractured toe.)

It's also bad news in the short term for anyone who engaged in food debates this week. And if anyone at the dinner table dares to engage you in such conversation this week, make sure to use your newfound knowledge of COVID Toe as a weapon. Don't forget to mention the lesions. And the purpleness.

You may lose your family members, but you'll win the fight.

This kind of got out of hand. Got away from me. It happens. Let's hit the picks.

(Home team in CAPS; Wednesday lines)

Chicago (-3) over DETROIT
I want to pick the Lions, mostly out of spite for the Bears forcing Andy Dalton upon me on Thanksgiving, in a game that may or may not be Matt Nagy's last for the Bears. It's just a generally uncouth move by the Bears.

But, like, Tim Boyle? We might get Tim Boyle?! In this economy?! Come on.

Fun fact: Tim Boyle wasn't even good in college. He threw one touchdown and 13 interceptions in three years at UConn, and he threw 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his one season with Eastern Kentucky in 2017. Yet here he is, potentially starting an NFL game on national television for some reason. Only in America.

Another fun fact: The Lions rank 30th in points scored and 30th in points allowed. You have to admire the consistency.

Las Vegas (+7.5) over DALLAS
The whole thing with the Cowboys is that they have enough talent to overcome the Mike McCarthyness of Mike McCarthy. Their only chance of success is to simply ride their talent to wins.

But we saw last week what the Cowboys look like when the talent is depleted, with Amari Cooper out (COVID) and CeeDee Lamb exiting at halftime (concussion). Not having Tyron Smith hurt in that effort, too.

Maybe Lamb will be good to go for this one, but Cooper is still out. And what are the Cowboys if they don't have the talent to overcome their poor coaching?

Buffalo (-5.5) over NEW ORLEANS
The Bills don't lose two in a row too often in this current era of being decent. They lost two straight to end the 2019 season, but the latter was a Matt Barkley game, after the Bills knew they couldn't move up or down in the playoff standings. They lost two in a row just once last year, when they faced an early-season gauntlet of sorts with Tennessee and Kansas City.

Overall, the Bills are 9-2 coming off a loss since 2019. They're 3-0 this year when coming off a loss, winning by an average margin of 25.7 points.

I do not hate them in this spot.

CINCINNATI (-4.5) over Pittsburgh
As somebody who's been alive for the past, I don't know, 10 or 15 years, it's wild to think that the Bengals will beat the Steelers twice in one year. That hasn't happened since King Tutankhamun was ruling the land.

(Be right back, going to look up the last time it actually happened.)

(OK, it happened in 2009. Prior to that, it happened in 1998.)

(The Steelers went 19-4 vs. the Bengals from 2010-20.)

So it is weird. But also ... the Bengals are just better than the Steelers. So they should win. (Admittedly, "should" doesn't have much to do with what the Bengals generally end up doing. Something about those helmets, I think.)

Tampa Bay (-3) over INDIANAPOLIS
Bucs: Back.

I wrote this earlier in the week, but it bears repeating: A (freaking) 44-year-old man leads the NFL in touchdown passes through Week 11. Are people getting how insane that is? I feel like I'm talking to a wall sometimes. Do just 10 minutes of research on 41-year-old QBs in the NFL, then 42-year-olds, then 43-year-olds, then 44-year-olds, and it really might finally set in how insane this performance is from Brady.

I guess I'll add this one in for good measure: Brady has more touchdown passes in his 40s than Roger Staubach had in his entire career.

That's stupid.

I understand people may be sick of him, and the age thing has been beaten to death 50 times over. But still. Wow.

MIAMI (+1.5) over Carolina
The Football Team (of Washington D.C. but also of Landover, Maryland) had some trouble with Cam Newton last week. The Dolphins, who saw Newton twice last year and handled him well the second time, should fare better. (There we go with that word "should" again.)

Tennessee (+6.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Are the Titans bad now, or did they have a bad week? That is the question.

I think the answer is much closer to the latter than the former. Football seasons are long. Sometimes you fall flat on your face at home to David Culley's Texans. These things happen.

I kind of like the idea of the Patriots winning a close one here. Asking them to beat the top team in the conference by a touchdown is a tall order.

Philadelphia (-3.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS
Firing Jason Garrett amidst another lost season in New Jersey will surely solve all of the Giants' problems.

Atlanta (-1) over JACKSONVILLE
This feels like it would be a great game to attend. Just no stakes either way. Probably a moderately decent weather day in northern Florida. Just feels like a nice spot to enjoy a hot dog.

(I don't have much to say about the football game.)

HOUSTON (-2.5) over New York Jets
I have no idea where the Texans' gusto came from last week. They were making big stops, capitalizing on Tennessee's mistakes, it was wild. I have no faith they can sustain it for another week but that matches my complete lack of faith in the New York Jets. What's a guy to do?!

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) over DENVER
The Broncos and Chargers are impossible to get a read on this year. They're both 5-5 against the spread. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that I've got this one in the bag. Nobody does. Good luck.

Los Angeles Rams (+1) over GREEN BAY
If there's concern about the Rams leaving L.A. and heading to an ice-cold Green Bay, then that's fair. Something about the Rams' entire look that makes them look even softer than you'd expect a team from L.A. to be.

But, you know, they make shirts with long sleeves now. Sideline heaters. All that stuff.

Plus, in case you missed it, Aaron Rodgers (does not have) COVID TOE! And they haven't been great since his return. And the Rams are super rested. I like L.A., what can I say?

SAN FRANCISCO (-3) over Minnesota
The Niners are kind of grooving right now. They rushed for 156 yards two weeks ago, and 171 yards last week.When they can run like that, they're a different team.

(The Vikings have cleaned things up the last two weeks, but they also allowed 247 rushing yards from Baltimore in Week 9. So ... look out.)

BALTIMORE (-4) over Cleveland
As long as we're talking about AFC North rivalries, this one feels like it'll be a split. You just have to guess which one each team will win. (They meet again in Week 14, with Cleveland oddly playing Baltimore in two straight games, going into and coming out of their bye.)

Seattle (+1) over WASHINGTON
The Seahawks are in FREEFALL. In games not played against the minor-league Jaguars, they have lost five straight games. They lost by 10 last week to a team quarterbacked by Colt McCoy. They got shut out and lost by 17 the week earlier, when Rodgers hadn't practiced in two weeks. It's ugly.

At the same time, the Football Team Guys aren't good enough to win three straight games.

So you've got to put your faith in something. I'll lean in to the motivation the Seahawks will have to not want to take a miserable cross-country flight after losing on Monday Night Football, heading in to a short week that will end with another nationally televised game.

Last week: 9-6
Season: 93-71-1

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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