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Hurley's Picks: Everything about Tom Brady is weird right now

Sports Final: Week 2 win over Steelers gives Patriots fans a reason to be happy
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BOSTON -- As an international celebrity, bridegroom of a supermodel, millionaire pitchman, and hoarder of Super Bowl trophies, Tom Brady has more or less said that his personal life becoming public fodder is more or less fair game. I don't necessarily agree.

Coming at it from a sports media standpoint, there's only so far you can go before you've gone full-on tabloid. There are certain elements that -- from a sports consumer/observer standpoint -- just make it an uncomfortable endeavor.

So, leaving all of the reporting and gossiping about his marriage aside, we can say this about Tom Brady the football player: Everything about him right now is weird.

If you watched him shout and scream his way through a miserable victory in New Orleans last weekend, then this certainly does not come as news. Certainly, it wasn't the first time that Brady's had emotional outbursts on the field and the sidelines, but rarely do those temper tantrums come to define his entire day of work. 

Whether it was cursing the heavens above because Scott Miller fell over ...

... or screaming in rage after a failed fourth down, or shouting at his huddle, or kind of igniting a brawl, or -- of course -- spiking a tablet on the sideline ...

... Brady was furious for the duration of his trip to New Orleans. It was a lot.

But it also wasn't unique. Not this year. Everything about Brady has been off this year, from his hasty Instagram retirement, to his equally hasty unretirement, to the odd Bruce Arians situation (if you believe any of what Brady/Arians/the Bucs sold on that story, I've got some healing crystals to sell you), to the serious flirtation with a front office/ownership role with the Miami Dolphins, to the long training camp absence, to the admission that he's feeling a lot more sore than he ever has (speaking of healing crystals, is Brady not selling magical healing pajamas anymore?), the man just seems ... lost?

That obviously ventures into the personal territory, but from a football standpoint, even the development that he wont' be practicing on Wednesdays is completely uncharacteristic for Brady. Despite being the greatest of all time, he's always carried himself like someone who could lose his job at a moment's notice. The way he got his starting opportunity has always stuck with him, so he's always been a maniac when it's come to even giving up practice snaps to his backups. Now he's supposedly giving up whole days.

That either means something has fundamentally changed with Brady's psychotic dedication to football, or that Blaine Gabbert is the least threatening backup Brady has ever had. (Both could be true!) Whatever the case, Brady was at practice on Wednesday this week, despite Todd Bowles acknowledging that the QB would be getting veteran rest days each week. Maybe the insecurity got him. Who knows? Add it to the pile of weirdness.

Technically, none of that has mattered in the standings. The Bucs are 2-0, comfortably sitting atop a division where nobody should even come close to competing with them this year. The playoffs are a given, and if the receiving corps is healthy by then, you'd be a brave person to bet against them in January.

But Brady is off to one of the quietest starts of his career, with just 402 passing yards and two touchdowns (with one pick) through two games. In what was expected to be a marquee matchup of the aerial assaults of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers this coming Sunday afternoon, the game might better resemble a grind-it-out game that's won and lost on the ground. That ... or two of the greatest QBs ever will tap into that next level and deliver a classic. Again, something like that can't be ruled out.

It just feels like everything is ... off for Tom Brady. The man once said, "If you're gonna compete against me, you better be willing to give up your life. Because I'm giving up mine." Now, it just doesn't seem to be the case. And for the first time ever, it kind of looks like Tom Brady doesn't want to be where he is.

Thus far, Brady has shrugged it all off. That insanely out-of-character 11-day break from training camp? There's a lot of s--- going on, buy some of my underwear. Freaking out for almost the entirety of Sunday's game? Gah, that'll probably become a Twitter meme or something.

Maybe he'll come through it and start looking like Tom Brady soon. Or maybe, in a cruel twist of fate, it wasn't the physical ability that is preventing Brady from being his usually great self at age 45. It wasn't Father Time coming to collect. Perhaps it was merely everything else that comes along with being Tom Brady™ Inc.® that has Brady unable to play the game at the level we're used to seeing.

(Or ... maybe his O-line and receiving corps are both decimated by injuries and he doesn't have a security blanket like Rob Gronkowski to smooth things over. I mean, that could be it.)

Of course -- of course, of course, of course! -- we never speak with finality when potentially burying Brady. We've learned over the past decade, basically, that doing so will almost always make you look like a fool. Not that some of us need any assistance.

It's just that right now, looking at Tom Brady the football player, he doesn't look like the same guy who's thrived on doubters and lived on proving his greatness time and time again. Right now, he just kind of looks lost.

On that note, here are the NFL picks for Week 3. Some people are saying the person making these picks also looks lost. Management has no comment.

(Wednesday lines; Home team in CAPS)

CLEVELAND (-4.5) over Pittsburgh
Kind of tough to pick the team that just collectively vomited bad enough to give a real NFL football game away to the New York Jets ...  but I like the home team on a short week too much to go the other way this time. We saw last week just how much the Steelers miss T.J. Watt.

INDIANAPOLIS (+6.5) over Kansas City
It's my Hot Take Pick of the Week! Obbbbviously, the Colts are playing like absolute buttocks to start the year. But they're not a clown show. Expect a professional effort and a close contest this week. 

Baltimore (-3) over NEW ENGLAND
The Patriots are ... fine. The Ravens are better than fine when they don't let their minds drift in the fourth quarter. If the Patriots had Tyreek Hill, I'd like their chances of exploiting that Baltimore secondary the way Miami did last week. Alas.

Houston (+2.5) over CHICAGO
It's the Surprisingly Not Terrible Bowl! I know that Justin Fields was just answering a question on Sunday night.

But isn't it easy to envision him throwing an ugly pick on Sunday and hearing the Bears fans boo him, creating a Classic Bears scene? I sure can.

Las Vegas (-2) over TENNESSEE
It's The 0-2 Bowl. I love this game. Both teams fit the mold of "there's no way this team will start 0-2." Yet they both did! And now one of them will be 0-3! Only in America.

The Titans are really struggling to forge an identity without Derrick Henry looking like Derrick Henry. We shouldn't judge them for the way they looked in Buffalo, because everybody is going to look awful in Buffalo this year. But at this exact moment, the Raiders appear to be closer to win No. 1 than the Titans.

Buffalo (-6) over MIAMI
The Buffalo Bills are a freaking freight train. It's frightening. They need to chill out. They won't.

The injuries in the Buffalo defensive backfield does give me some pause, what with Tyreek Hill still somehow slipping behind defenses. But you can't go against the Bills until they give you a reason to do so.

MINNESOTA (-6) over Detroit
I know it looked bad on Monday night, but for one, maybe Kevin O'Connell just wasn't ready for that type of road environment. But more importantly, Kirk Cousins was playing at night. I swear I've picked him to win at night like 10 times. Never happens. The times I lean in to the odds and pick him to lose at night, he randomly shows up. It's a crisis. 

But enough about me. Kirk Cousins: Bad at night. Fine during the day.

Cincinnati (-5) over NEW YORK JETS
OK, OK, OK. I get that we all overlooked the whole Super Bowl loser hangover thing. That's our bad. We beefed it. We've learned our lesson. Got it.

But if the Bengals go out and don't win by double-digits against the Jets? Buddy ... it might be time to shut it down for a full month in Cincinnati. 

WASHINGTON (+6.5) over Philadelphia
That's a lot of points to cover on a short week with travel. Washington can score points. I'll take the points. (Just said "points" three times in three sentences.)

CAROLINA (+3) over New Orleans
I never really bought the idea that there was a New Jameis. Nevertheless, there's definitely still an Old Jameis. He showed up with three picks at home last week. Can the coaches kindly ask him not to do that and get him to change in just one week? I suppose anything is possible. But unlikely.

Jacksonville (+7) over LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
I'm not sure anyone's paying attention -- and rightfully so, there's a ton of great content streaming these days -- but the Jaguars seem to be a halfway decent football team again. If Justin Herbert is at all affected by that rib cartilage issue, I see this being one of the easier picks of the week.

TAMPA BAY (-1.5) over Green Bay
As mentioned in great detail, Tom Brady is weird right now. And with Mike Evans getting suspended, that Tampa passing game may be toast. But the Bucs' defense appears to be the real deal right now. Facing Aaron Rodgers is a different animal, but I think defense steals the shine of this marquee QB matchup.

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) over ARIZONA
Watching Kyler Murray run in circles for six minutes every snap was captivating. Sustainable? Well, no. But damn does it make for great television.

Atlanta (+2) over SEATTLE
Throw Seattle in that class of teams that's somehow not terrible? Certainly not good ... but also not terrible. That's something.

I -- and I think a lot of people -- underestimated the way the crowd would impact the Seahawks in Week 1, with Russell Wilson back in the building. It'll probably be slightly less electric there this week.

San Francisco (-1.5) over DENVER
When your new head coach commits a colossal blunder on national TV in his debut, and then tells the media, "I need to do better at making decisions faster and quicker and getting that information to the quarterback and being on the same page with him." Well, partner, you juuuuust might have hired the wrong head coach.

I'm sure it'll be fine, though.

NEW YORK GIANTS (-1) over Dallas
I love this. Cooper Rush with the chance to very freaking randomly improve to 3-0 as a starter? The New York Football Giants with the chance to slightly less freaking randomly but nevertheless still somewhat randomly improve to 3-0 on the young season? An NFC East primetime matchup that doesn't make you stab your eyeballs at the sheer thought of its existence? Heck yeah. Let's go.

I think it'll be another close one, because the Giants with Daniel Jones aren't capable of doing anything else, with a big Mike McCarthy brain fart costing the Cowboys late. That's the good stuff.

Last week: 6-10
Season record: 12-20

Folks, you can't have a big comeback if you don't first have a huge setback. I believe Thomas Jefferson said that.

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

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