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The Loop NFL Picks: Week 4



The Loop NFL Picks: Week 4

Every Sunday, Kevin Cusick makes his predictions against the latest Las Vegas point spread, the way God intended …

Browns at Vikings (+2½):
Vikings running star Dalvin Cook threw some bouquets at teammate Kirk Cousins, saying the quarterback is “the best in the game” when he has a “clean pocket.” The quote immediately raised suspicions that Cook has never watched an NFL game in which he wasn’t actually playing.
Pick: Browns by 3

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands off to Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Steelers at Packers (-6½):
Aaron Rodgers, blissful about the Packers’ comeback victory over San Francisco, asked “How could you not be romantic about football.” This raised some eyebrows in Green Bay, where romance and football was last intertwined a decade ago with the Internet sensation “Fifty Shades of Favre.”
Pick: Packers by 14

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gestures as he jogs off the field after the Packers defeated the San Francisco 49ers in an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Buccaneers at Patriots (+6½):
Just in time for the Tom Brady reunion, a new book on the Patriots dynasty claims that owner Robert Kraft once called coach Bill Belichick “the biggest (expletive expletive) in my life.” That’s quite a statement considering Kraft’s longtime acquaintance with the last president.
Pick: Buccaneers by 10

1633097127 587 The Loop NFL Picks Week 4
FILE – In this April 19, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump is presented with a New England Patriots jersey from Patriots owner Robert Kraft, right, and head coach Bill Belichick during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, where the Patriots were honored for their Super Bowl LI victory. In addition to the jersey, the team confirmed on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, that Kraft decided after the team’s visit to also have a Super Bowl championship ring made for Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Ravens at Broncos (-1½):
Baltimore’s Justin Tucker made history with an NFL record 66-yard field goal as time expired to beat Detroit. The ball majestically flew through the air, ricocheted off the crossbar and bounced into the netting. Then it was dropped by Marquise Brown.
Pick: Ravens by 3

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Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) kicks a 66-yard field goal in the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. Baltimore won 19-17. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Cardinals at Rams (-5½):
The Cardinals had to rally to win in Jacksonville after giving up a 109-yard touchdown return on a foolhardy 68-yard field goal attempt. But coach Kliff Kingsbury’s brain cramp proved yet again that it’s almost impossible to lose a game to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Pick: Rams by 3

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Fans celebrate with Jacksonville Jaguars players after wide receiver Jamal Agnew ran back an Arizona Cardinals missed field goal for a 109-yard touchdown return during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Chiefs at Eagles (+7½):
Oft-suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon is back in the headlines after signing with the Chiefs. If he’s able to get in shape and pair up with the fleet Tyreek Hill, that would give Kansas City the NFL’s most game-breaking pair of recidivists.
Pick: Chiefs by 11

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FILE – Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon warms up before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., in this Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, file photo. Josh Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the NFL on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, and can begin the process of joining the Seattle Seahawks’ roster as early as Friday. Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated Gordon after nearly a one-year suspension following his latest off-field transgression for violations of the league’s substance abuse policies. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Lions at Bears (-2½):
The Bears, looking to change the headlines after Justin Fields’ struggles, paid nearly $200 million for a tract of land in far-suburban Arlington Heights that could very well become the site for a new stadium. It’s a bad idea, as it would make commuting to games for Bears fans almost as torturous as watching those games.
Pick: Bears by 3

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Cleveland Browns linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, left, sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Colts at Dolphins (-1½):
Colts owner Jim Irsay caused a stir this week when he opined that it’s harder to depend on Indy quarterback Carson Wentz because he is unvaccinated. That’s quite a statement coming from an owner who, over the past two decades, has proven to be the least dependable dude in all of Indiana.
Pick: Dolphins by 4

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FILE – In this Oct. 8, 2013 file photo, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay pauses as he speaks to reporters following the NFL owners’ fall meetings in Washington. Authorities say Irsay is in jail after being stopped on suspicion of drunken driving. Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Bryant Orem says Irsay was arrested Sunday night, March 16, 2014, in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Panthers at Cowboys (-4½):
Dallas right tackle La’el Collins reportedly was suspended after he tried to bribe an NFL drug test collector after he missed seven tests. It’s a far cry from the franchise’s glory days when the Cowboys were much more effective at skirting drug testing.
Pick: Cowboys by 7

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Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La’el Collins (71) blocks against Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Seahawks at 49ers (-2½):
Former Seattle and San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman has rejected his former teams and signed a free-agent contract with Tampa Bay. He decided to sign with the Buccaneers because the Seahawks and Niners could not fulfill Sherman’s demand that they trade for Tom Brady.
Pick: 49ers by 4

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FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman (25) talks with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after Seahawks won 24-23 in an NFL football game in Seattle. The two teams meet in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Giants at Saints (-7½):
John Mara was taken aback last Sunday after he was booed during the Giants’ hall of fame induction for Eli Manning. But the two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quickly came to the owner’s defense by giving fans the double bird.
Pick: Saints by 11

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New York Giants president John Mara speaks during a ceremony for former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning to retire his jersey number 10 and celebrate his tenure with the team during half-time of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Washington at Falcons (-1½):
Pick: Falcons by 3

Texans at Bills (-16½):
Pick: Bills by 28

Titans at Jets (+7½):
Pick: Titans by 17

Raiders at Chargers (-3½):
Pick: Chargers by 7

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Week 3
10-6 straight up
7-9 vs. spread
30-18 straight up (.625)
24-22-2 vs. spread (.522)

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Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo (7) reacts after kicking the game-winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Pointspreads through Thursday. You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Michelle Wu calls reinstatement of Boston Police officer fired over allegations of racial slurs ‘unacceptable’



Michelle Wu calls reinstatement of Boston Police officer fired over allegations of racial slurs ‘unacceptable’

Mayor Michelle Wu is calling the reinstatement of a police officer who was accused of calling a group of Roxbury Prep students racial slurs “unacceptable” but said her hands are tied by union contract language that prevents her from intervening.

“It’s unacceptable that this officer was brought back on after the actions that were taken and that the city’s department took as well. An important part of how we are looking to contract negotiations for public safety will involve changes in policy here,” Wu told a Herald reporter, following an unrelated event at City Hall on Monday.

The Herald first reported on Friday that Officer Joseph Lynch is in the process of being reinstated following a decision in September, per a November memo from the city’s legal department obtained by the newspaper.

An arbitrator ruled that the Boston Police Department must reinstate Lynch, saying that the officer was just giving a “truthful accurate report” to school staff at the time of the alleged incident in the summer of 2019, per the memo from legal adviser Anthony Rizzo.

Lynch was fired following a BPD investigation for conduct unbecoming a department employee, unreasonable judgment, and the use of racial epithets, but the arbitrator ruled the department “did not have just cause to terminate.”

Boston Police union contracts expired in June 2020 and remain unfinished business. For the newly sworn-in Wu administration, negotiations represent an opportunity to inject unprecedented levels of police accountability and transparency in a department rife with scandal.

Wu said current contract language prevents her “from stepping in on situations where an arbitrator has made a decision.”

Union officials did not respond to questions.

The last year has exposed a police overtime abuse, covering up of allegations of child rape by former Boston Police Patrolman Association’s former president Patrick Rose and buried reports of domestic abuse by former Police Commissioner Dennis White, who was quickly appointed by former mayor Martin Walsh on his way out the door to serve as President Biden’s labor secretary in Washington.

Lawmakers in Boston and on Beacon Hill have taken steps in the past year to bring greater accountability and consequence to police forces long protected by powerful unions and the contracts they procure.

A state-run Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission will begin certifying police officers next year and decertifying those with serious disciplinary allegations deemed credible. In Boston, a Civilian Review Board charged with reviewing and recommending action on complaints will be up and running “soon,” according to Wu.

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Robbins: New winds change Mass. political landscape



Robbins: New winds change Mass. political landscape

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” wrote a French essayist in 1849, and the expression has become part of our common parlance. But it isn’t always true, and recent events have demonstrated that if the saying once applied to the norms of Massachusetts political life, it no longer does.

Ranked 15th among the states in population, the Bay State always punches well beyond its weight on the scale of national impact, which is why its political doings receive outsized attention. This makes sense: what happens in Massachusetts doesn’t always stay in Massachusetts, politically speaking. Four of America’s 46 presidents were born here, and seven others studied here. In the last nine presidential elections, three major party nominees – Michael Dukakis, John Kerry and Mitt Romney – were Massachusetts politicians. In 2020 alone, five candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination – Elizabeth Warren, Deval Patrick,  Michael Bloomberg, Seth Moulton and Bill De Blasio – were either Massachusetts officeholders or were raised here.

Then there are the armies of campaign operatives and public policy types that hail from the state. The result: Massachusetts politics is not only a local blood sport but an ongoing national spectacle. Just as a now defunct financial services company’s advertisements once proclaimed “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen,” so too do political professionals ascribe tea leaf qualities to what happens here.

Two recent developments have generated national attention. The election of 36-year-old City Councilor Michelle Wu as Boston’s new mayor has excited young Bostonians and communities of color, punctuating their ascendancy. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Wu’s election has made it clear that the days when white men ruled Boston’s roost are over. “The old Boston is gone,” Democratic strategist Mary Ann Marsh told the Washington Post last month, “and there’s a new Boston in terms of political power.”

Census figures tell part of the story. In 1970, 79.8% of Boston’s population was comprised of non-Hispanics whites. Now it is 44.6%. Only 2.6% of Bostonians were Hispanics; now it is 18.7%. Asian Americans numbered only 1.3% of the city’s population 50 years ago. Their proportional representation has increased almost tenfold since then.

Wu’s election has electrified Bostonians. Whip smart and seemingly limitless in her energy, the mother of two small children has been everywhere since winning the mayoralty four weeks ago. She doesn’t appear to have much choice in the matter: every group in every neighborhood in the city has been clamoring for her appearance at every ceremony that Boston’s robust holiday season has to offer, and there are a lot of them. This goes beyond the normal “Wouldn’t it be nice to have the mayor come?”; there is a slightly frenzied “Do you think we can get Michelle?” aspect that has taken hold. Nor is this simply a testament to Wu’s personal vibrancy. Her push for free public transportation, cost containment for renters and environmental protection has resonated widely.

Also marking the end of a political era was Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement that he would not seek reelection. Baker is the latest in a long series of moderate Republicans who have won the governorship in dark blue Massachusetts over the past century, and he may be the last. Since his election in 2014, Baker has been one of the country’s most popular governors, not merely projecting but displaying a steady hand, decency and thoughtfulness. These qualities have not endeared him to his own state party which, like the Republican Party generally, is now dominated by election-deniers. The odds that Baker would have lost his own party’s nomination for a third term were likely a big factor in driving a good man from public service.

In Massachusetts, the Gods of Good Governance have both given and taken away, all in the same month. It’s plain that politics here has actually changed and not stayed the same.

Jeff Robbins is a Boston lawyer and former U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission


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Michelle Wu has no timeline for clearing tents from Mass and Cass, city searching for 200 homeless beds



Michelle Wu has no timeline for clearing tents from Mass and Cass, city searching for 200 homeless beds

Mayor Michelle Wu said she has no timeline for tearing down the tent cities that have sprung up at Mass and Cass, where opioid use and homelessness have hit crisis levels.

“We don’t have a specific timeline. We are working as quickly as possible,” the mayor said, speaking at an unrelated event at City Hall on Monday.

Wu said city officials are searching for up to 200 beds to house people living in tents around the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in the area sometimes disparagingly referred to as “Methadone Mile.”

“We are identifying sites citywide to make sure we have enough beds for everyone who needs support or shelter,” Wu said, adding potential locations still included the Roundhouse.

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