Quick Pick: Green Bay at Detroit (Week Thirteen; 2015)

GB @ DET

  • Favorite: Green Bay

This is a tricky pick. Green Bay’s been slumping as of late, but still tend to do well against division rivals on the road. I say “on the road” because Chicago beat them at Lambeau last week and they beat Minnesota on the road the week before that. Will it be the same with Detroit? Maybe.

I actually like Detroit in this game. They beat Green Bay at home last year. Why not this year? Well, the circumstances are obviously different, but they’re also primed for a juicy match-up between a struggling offense and a surging defense. I’m looking forward to this game a lot.

There’s not a lot to say here, just that I have more confidence in Detroit on their own turf to take down a struggling Green Bay team, much like I thought with Minnesota two weeks prior. See where that got me? Whatever! My gut’s tellin’ me to go with the roar in the dome tonight!

Winner: Detroit

Impressions from Week Twelve of the 2015 NFL Season

Yeah.

PHI @ DET

Philadelphia at Detroit

  • (Watched, correct)

Mark Sanchez is not a valuable quarterback to have in the NFL. I feel bad for anyone who thinks he’s even worth back-up status. Sure, his defense didn’t help his cause, but even with a good defense last year, he only went 4-4.

Detroit suddenly looks like a complete team again. All they had to do was fire almost everyone in the upper management. Calvin Johnson is also still elite.

CAR @ DAL

Carolina at Dallas

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I did not expect Tony Romo to play as poorly as he did. On the other hand, there wasn’t a lot open for him to play well with. Lots of replays showed every receiver not open… at all. Romo looked alone. And the running game wasn’t very effective either. Now, he’s out again, so Dallas will continue to lose every game until he returns.

At the beginning of this season, I said I didn’t think Cam Newton was a top 10 quarterback. By the halfway point, I still wasn’t ready to put him up there. Now, I’m willing to throw him a bone. I would probably put him on the same tier as Jay Cutler. And if that seems like an insult to you, you probably haven’t seen how well Jay Cutler has played this season. He just doesn’t have as complete a team as Newton does. Nevertheless, they’re now the only undefeated team in the league. If they can stay healthy, they’re favorites to play in the Super Bowl this year.

CHI @ GB

Chicago at Green Bay

  • (Watched most, incorrect)

I have a confession to make: despite the fact that I said I was “iffy” on this match-up, I was actually about 99% confident Green Bay would win this one. Turns out my almost fluke feeling turned out to be the right call.

Aaron Rodgers has 24 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. However, he only has a 60% completion rate and a 6.9 yard per attempt average. His numbers still look great, but he hasn’t been playing well as of late. Once his offense has to rely on the pass, the team just seems to falter. Whether this is because of bad play calling, a lack of wide receiver experience, or an inconsistent running game has yet to be established, but whatever it is, Green Bay no longer looks like a dangerous playoff threat.

And Chicago could actually vie for a playoff spot.

BUF @ KC

Buffalo at Kansas City

  • (Watched most of fourth quarter, correct)

Alex Smith might be the best game manager in the NFL. Hasn’t thrown an interception in nearly 300 pass attempts. With his defense playing very well, Kansas City has won 5 games in a row. I’m not entirely confident that he’s capable of leading a team over a defensive juggernaut, but nevertheless, Kansas City is making a push for the postseason.

I feel bad for Buffalo fans. They went 9-7 last year with Kyle Orton and E.J. Manuel starting. Their defense was fantastic. Now with Rex Ryan running the show, their defense has suddenly become inconsistent and flaccid, despite finding what looks to be a good starting quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. I don’t think they’re gonna go far this season.

STL @ CIN

St. Louis at Cincinnati

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Jeff Fisher should be fired. Probably the GM, too, for fucking up a golden opportunity of a lifetime with, like, six 1st round picks from the RG3 trade.

NO @ HOU

New Orleans at Houston

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Remember when Houston was at 2-5 and people were calling out Bill O’Brien as another failure in the “Belichick-coaching tree”? How does he look now after a 4 game winning streak and with a punishing defense?

Remember when New Orleans was 4-4 and on a 3 game winning streak and people were under the assumption that they were good? How do they look now after a 3 game losing streak and with a defense that lets everyone score 100 points on them a week?

I don’t think Sean Payton’s going to survive as head coach after this season.

TB @ IND

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

  • (Did not watch, correct)

indianapoliscoltsvnewyorkjetssgxlotxjb8bl

SD @ JAX

San Diego at Jacksonville

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another edition of “Never trust the AFC South.” With the exclusion of the now surging Houston and Indianapolis teams, Jacksonville and Tennessee remain as two of the worst teams in the entirety of the NFL, despite what their records may say (though still not pretty). Last week, San Diego was on the road against a determined Jacksonville team determined to catch up to Houston and Indianapolis in the division. They took this determination and let San Diego walk all over them. San Diego hasn’t walked all over anyone this season.

Same ol’ Jacksonville. Gus Bradley should be fired.

MIA @ NYJ

Miami at New York

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

I sure do know how to pick an upset, huh?

I drastically underestimated FitzMagic and his sore, red thumb. I also drastically overestimated Miami’s… everything. I was under the impression that Miami would be able to take advantage of New York’s struggling defense. As it turns out, New York actually looked better without Revis. Who would’a thunk it?

Lesson learned: unless Miami’s up against the lowest of the lows, they aren’t doing anything.

MIN @ ATL

Minnesota at Atlanta

  • (Watched, correct)

Let me reiterate: I don’t understand why Atlanta got as many votes to win as it did before this game. Are people really still under the impression that Atlanta is good? Or were they worried about Minnesota’s embarrassing loss to Green Bay? I wasn’t worried about this game at all. I was [probably overly] confident in Minnesota winning this game easily.

Interestingly enough, people are starting to question whether Matt Ryan should remain the starter of Atlanta’s offense; to which I say, “Are you insane? Of course he should.” Matt Ryan isn’t a bad quarterback. Everyone has down years. Some people are pointing fingers at Kyle Shanhan, the offensive coordinator. Looking at his track record, there seems to be a correlation:

His offenses tend to start out well, then eventual befuddle down into the bottom 10 in the league. RG3 had a great rookie season. Then he followed it up with a 2013 campaign that was nothing less than complete shit (though that could also be blamed on rushing in too early from an ACL tear). In 2014, he coached a Brian Hoyer-led Cleveland team to a 7-4 record, then skidded into an offensive mess, lost the next 5 games, and Hoyer even lost his job to both Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw. Now, Hoyer’s enjoying a (now) successful season as Houston’s starting quarterback. Matt Ryan was a Pro Bowl quarterback last season and started 5-0 this year. Now he’d be lucky to even be ranked within the top 10 quarterbacks in the league after dropping 5 of his last 6. Frankly, Ryan’s been inconsistent all year. It’s truly a head-scratcher.

Whatever the case, hopefully for Atlanta they can work out their offensive struggles for next year. They certainly have a shit-ton of potential. Potential that Minnesota is already showing.

NYG @ WAS

New York at Washington

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

New York’s offense kinda sucks, especially their running game. BUT OMG DID YOU SEE ODELL BECKHAM’S AMAZING CATCH?!

Shut up.

It doesn’t matter if you have an amazing wide receiver if the other receivers are dropping balls into the hands of defenders. Or have no running game. Or have no offensive line. Or have no passing defense. New York is just… ugh. They’re almost St. Louis levels of inconsistency.

Kudos to Washington, though. Despite what everyone believed to be a disastrous season for them turned out to be pretty okay, for the time being. They’re first place in the division with a chance to further stomp Dallas into the ground next week. That should be a fun game.

OAK @ TEN

Oakland at Tennessee

  • (Did not watch, correct)

The second round of “Never trust the AFC South” went without a hitch. Oakland won and I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised as to how close it was, but nevertheless, Oakland is far superior to Tennessee.

ARI @ SF

Arizona at San Francisco

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Man, you just do not mess with San Francisco’s defense at home. It’s a rowdy group.

Unfortunately, this game was subject to poor officiating. It looked as though both teams were getting some bad blows, though the most controversial came from a roughing the passer call on Carson Palmer that… frankly wasn’t roughing the passer whatsoever, which ultimately let them continue their final touchdown drive. Ho-hum. The NFL needs to get its shit together. I feel bad for San Francisco. They could’ve actually upset an 8-2 team with you-know-who as a starting quarterback.

PIT @ SEA

Pittsburgh at Seattle

  • (Watched, incorrect)

There were a few questionable calls in this game, too, like Richard Sherman kinda pushing off to get his first interception of the season. Though, it wasn’t enough to give either team a legitimate chance, as Roethlisberger was massacring the Seattle secondary all game, and Pittsburgh’s secondary can’t cover/tackle for shit. An ugly defensive game by both sides.

Seattle’s offensive line is starting to get something going now. Russell Wilson has only been sacked 6 times in the last 3 games and their running game has ranged from okay to amazing with Thomas Rawls starting. They look like a good team again. That secondary is still a concern, though. Carson Palmer, Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, and even Nick fucking Foles have had good games against it.

Pittsburgh has the same problem, except worse. Fix the secondary. It looked like it did in Week One against New England. It was hard to watch.

NE @ DEN

New England at Denver

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I am 10-2 when picking Sunday Night games. Those 2 losses came when picking against Denver. Maybe I should stop picking against Denver on Sunday Nights.

I will be honest; the end result of this game made me furious.

O-ffic-i-a-ting. Call me a New England-apologist all you want, but I really felt like the refs had it in for New England in this game. Every chance of a “ticky-tack” call was made against New England, while nothing other than incredibly blatant fouls were called against Denver. There’s shit-tons of evidence of bad non-calls all over Twitter, too. And, of course, people were all too happy to see New England get their “comeuppance” for “cheating all of those years.” Those refs may have been those people.

Officiating aside, it was still a good game plan by Gary Kubiak; run the ball at a defense without Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. It worked. Brock Osweiler didn’t make all the throws, but he made the throws when he had to. His defense also helped greatly with providing him many chances to do so… and help from the officials.

Okay, okay. I’ll quit it with the officiating.

At the end of the day, one has to see it like this: New England was defeated under these conditions:

  • Without their two (Pro Bowl-quality) starting linebackers.
  • Without their two starting wide receivers.
  • Without a consistent offensive line.
  • Without their starting running back.
  • Without their starting tight end (fourth quarter onwards).
  • In Overtime.

Denver beating New England can be summed up like a mammoth defeating a tyrannosaurus with its legs chopped off. It’s a sweet victory, but you can’t help but feel like you took advantage of its injuries, so it doesn’t feel as sweet. Oh, and seven zebras ganged up on the tyrannosaurus and beat at its eyes until it was blind.

Okay, okay. I’ll seriously stop.

BAL @ CLE

Baltimore at Cleveland

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Cleveland:

s-l300

  • Week Twelve Pick ‘Em record: 8-8
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 103-73

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Twelve; 2015)

Never say never, but I don’t think I’ll ever be this late with picks again. With time against me, I’ll simply make my picks with a very brief entry as to why.

BUF @ KC

Buffalo at Kansas City

  • Favorite: Kansas City (via NFLPickWatch.com)

Kansas City’s on a roll and Buffalo’s inconsistent.

Winner: Kansas City

STL @ CIN

St. Louis at Cincinnati

  • Favorite: Cincinnati

I don’t even need to explain this one.

Winner: Cincinnati

NO @ HOU

New Orleans at Houston

  • Favorite: Houston

Like with Buffalo at Kansas City, Houston’s on a roll and New Orleans is inconsistent.

Winner: Houston

TB @ IND

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

  • Favorite: Indianapolis

Tough choice, but I think Indianapolis has a bit of “Save Pagano’s job” magic going on right now.

Winner: Indianapolis

SD @ JAX

San Diego at Jacksonville

  • Favorite: Jacksonville

San Diego this year is the Jacksonville of 2013. They may not win another game.

Winner: Jacksonville

MIA @ NYJ

Miami at New York

  • Favorite: New York

Miami’s a bad team, but I’m choosing them to upset a struggling New York defense (now without Darrelle Revis).

Winner: Miami

MIN @ ATL

Minnesota at Atlanta

  • Favorite: Minnesota

More people are picking Atlanta than I would’ve expected. It baffles me.

Winner: Minnesota

NYG @ WAS

New York at Washington

  • Favorite: New York

Another tough choice, but I like Tom Coughlin late in the season.

Winner: New York

OAK @ TEN

Oakland at Tennessee

  • Favorite: Oakland

The tides sure have turned for Oakland. Once heavy favorites against Minnesota, now they’re light favorites against Tennessee.

Winner: Oakland

ARI @ SF

Arizona at San Francisco

  • Favorite: Arizona

Lol.

Winner: Arizona

PIT @ SEA

Pittsburgh at Seattle

  • Favorite: Seattle

Much like Arizona at Seattle a few weeks ago, I like Pittsburgh to test the Legion of Boom and succeed.

Winner: Pittsburgh

NE @ DEN

New England at Denver

  • Favorite: New England

A likely defensive battle, I trust Tom Brady more than Brock Osweiler.

Winner: New England

BAL @ CLE

Baltimore at Cleveland

  • Favorite: Cleveland

Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, and the entire 2012 defensive line-up aren’t starting for Baltimore.

Winner: Cleveland

Impressions from Week Eleven of the 2015 NFL Season

Not to sound like I’m piling on here, but OH MY GOD WHAT A HORRIBLE WEEK OF OFFICIATING! Has it always been this bad? Is this what people have been seeing week after week? If that’s the case, I don’t know how people can continue to not think the game’s fixed. Goodness gracious.

But controversial subject matter aside, this week somewhat shifted the power in both conferences, as teams that were once the underfoot of the NFL are suddenly becoming the teams to beat, and vice versa. A number of teams are on long winning streaks and long losing streaks. The end of the regular season should be an interesting one.

TENN @ JAX

Tennessee at Jacksonville

  • (Watched, incorrect)

To put it frankly, Tennessee just played far too conservatively in the fourth quarter. They were only up a single possession and they decided to run, run, run, when their running game was ineffective the entire game. Phil Simms or Jim Nantz, I don’t recall who, said something about coach Mularkey’s philosophy of sticking to the run throughout the entire game. This is fine and dandy… if your running game actually did something and your offensive line wasn’t awful. It just doesn’t make sense to me to run the ball when you had much more success passing it. Run it to set up some play action or something. Why run it so predictably on first and second down drive after drive?

A lot of people think that Blake Bortles is something of a work in progress. A quarterback that’s continually on the rise as an NFL starter. I… don’t see it. Sure, he’s thrown a lot of touchdowns and for a lot of yards, but a lot of it was in garbage time against teams with huge leads. His completion percentage is also well below average despite having a decent amount of weapons to his credit. To be fair, his offensive line doesn’t seem to give him a lot of time to work with. Time will tell, but I don’t see it.

It’s so weird seeing Jacksonville being included “In The Hunt” for the playoffs. What a wondrous time to be alive.

STL @ BAL

St. Louis at Baltimore

  • (Watched final Baltimore “drive,” incorrect)

Joe Flacco’s ironman streak ends after about eight seasons after he tore his ACL and MCL in this game. It was a good run, but the elite have to fall sometime.

And the hot topic for this week is St. Louis (again)! Last week, one of their players gave Teddy Bridgewater a knockout blow to the cranium as he was sliding and everyone but Jeff Fisher called him out for it. This week, Case Keenum, the starting St. Louis quarterback (for this week), suffered a very obvious concussion, but was not called out for it by Jeff Fisher. It’s almost like Jeff Fisher and staff don’t care! But that’s enough controversy, let’s get to the game recap:

I heard it was ugly and unenjoyable to watch. Glad I missed it.

WAS @ CAR

Washington at Carolina

  • (Watched one Washington drive before Halftime, correct)

Not much to say here, only that whoever picked Washington to win this looks awfully silly. Carolina’s a complete team, if not for their lack of weapons on offense for the passing game. Washington just looks inconsistent.

DEN @ CHI

Denver at Chicago

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Chicago had every opportunity to win this game. They missed open receivers in the endzone and their defense made the Denver offense punt what seemed like seven times during the game. They gained a lot of yards on the Denver defense through the air. They came close to tying it, until a questionable play call on the two-point conversion lost them the game.

Brock Osweiler had a good game. Not a great one, but good enough to rely on his defense to get the job done. There were times when I thought he faltered under pressure too quickly and other times when he was a little inaccurate. He came up big in the red zone, though. All in all, better than Manning’s played since, well, debatably 2014.

Would Jay Cutler have scored any touchdowns had he any weapons to work with? Sure, he has his tight ends, but they can’t be open all the time. He had inconsistent wide receiving threats the entire game. I’m sure he would’ve loved him some Jeffery.

DAL @ MIA

Dallas at Miami

  • (Did not watch, correct)

What’s that? Tony Romo comes back and Dallas wins? You don’t say? It’s almost like Tony Romo’s good or something. Hardy curse. Pssh.

He certainly didn’t play well to begin the game, though. Completed just over 50% of his passes (to start out) with 2 interceptions in the game. He’s shaking off rust, alright. Their defense has really stepped up, though. I would’ve expected more points from Miami on their own turf. Then again, the weather was not in their favor, which may have attributed to the lackluster games by each starting quarterback.

Miami, like Washington, looks to be an inconsistent team. One week, they’re alright, the other, they may as well be hitting a wall. They can’t seem to get anything going on either side of the ball. It’s a tragic thing, really, that seems to happen to Miami year after year. Is it too late to give Shula his job back?

OAK @ DET

Oakland at Detroit

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

I, uh, I’m not really sure what to make of this match-up.

Oakland is 0-3 against NFC North teams. That’s kinda bizarre, isn’t it? And had Chicago won on Sunday, they’d be 4-0 against AFC West teams! That’s really odd. Regardless, Detroit held Green Bay (at Lambeau Field) and Oakland (at Ford Field) to under 20 points. So… are they good now? I honestly can’t tell. And quite a few people saw this coming, too.

What happened to Oakland’s fans? Where’s all that enthusiasm around this up and coming team? Now it’s “hehe same old RAIDERS LOL!!!” And fans say the media flip flops too often. Calm down, people.

I will say this, though. Calvin Johnson is being utilized more. The defense is playing better, despite two starting corners being injured. Matt Stafford isn’t playing lights out, but good enough to win. It looks like this Detroit team is finally putting two and two together. I still think Jim Caldwell should be fired, but he’s wrapping up a “good finish” resume.

And Oakland. Yeah. I’m not really sure what’s going on here. Bad defense, according to some football commentators. Let me look at the time of possession for this game… 23:54 to 36:06. Not horrible, but Oakland could’ve had the ball longer, definitely.

NYJ @ HOU

New York at Houston

  • (Watched final New York drive, incorrect)

FitzMagic is hurting. He hasn’t played well since he injured his thumb and it’s definitely showing. You know what else is showing? New York’s defense is starting to crumble. They’re giving up way too many big plays. The team’s not what it used to be.

I had a gut feeling that Houston would win here, despite T.J. Yates starting, but I didn’t pull the trigger. And wouldn’t you know? They won. Houston is starting to look pretty good defensively. It makes me nervous to pick against them. Then again, New York is struggling and Cincinnati was, well, you know. They’ve won three in a row. And people were calling for Bill O’Brien’s head, too. Some people can’t seem to wait to jump on the “Fire _______!” bandwagon.

IND @ ATL

Indianapolis at Atlanta

  • (Watched final Atlanta drive, incorrect)

I feel really good for Matt Hasselbeck. In what very well may be his final season, he’s leading a team to victory… kinda.

This game was won by the defense. Hasselbeck, in reality, played somewhat shitty. If it wasn’t for Matt Ryan’s continuing offensive funk, Atlanta could’ve put this away by two scores. D’Qwell Jackson’s pick-six helped tremendously.

There’s not much else to say about this game. Indianapolis, against all odds, is finding ways to win. Atlanta, despite a great starting quarterback and great #1 wide receiver threat, and a good tight end in Jacob Tamme, find ways to lose 4 of the last 5 games. The grass was definitely greener on the other side of the regular season for Atlanta. And by that I mean the first five weeks of the season.

TB @ PHI

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

My dilemma was not just pessimism, it seems. Tampa Bay throttled Philadelphia last Sunday, though according to those who watched the game, the Tampa Bay offense wasn’t as efficient as the stat sheet would suggest. Nevertheless, there’s one thing about the stat sheet that’s apparent: Mark Sanchez is clearly a back-up quarterback.

Props to Jameis Winston for a five touchdown performance. He’s proving himself to be a worthy #1 overall pick. And he’s just a rookie, too. It’s all uphill from here… unless he pulls an RG3. And how about Doug Martin? After a few forgettable years he’s starting to become the force he was in his rookie year. Things are finally coming together for Tampa Bay, it seems. Let’s just hope for them that Lovie Smith doesn’t fuck it up.

Speaking of fucking it up, Chip Kelly looks to have fucked up his team by trading away or releasing all of his talented players. I will say this though: ever since Jordan Hicks went down, this defense hasn’t really been the same. You could make the case that the offense’s ineptitude puts more pressure on them, and that looked to be the case against Miami last week. But 40+ points to Tampa Bay? That’s just pitiful. They need Bradford back quick if they want to close the bleeding wound. It doesn’t look good for Kelly’s job.

KC @ SD

Kansas City at San Diego

  • (Did not watch, correct)

I once made a joke that Kansas City was “the prettiest girl in the bar,” sneering at the fact that they won a game when I still wholly expected them to go 4-12 at best. Now, at 5-5, they might not be the prettiest girl at the bar, but they’ve got admirers. And a knock-out defense to boot.

Philip Rivers doesn’t have any pretty girls to pick up.

GB @ MIN

Green Bay at Minnesota

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I didn’t think it’d be a 30-13 blowout. I thought it would be much closer than that. This game was a lot like Week One when Minnesota faced San Francisco: Adrian Peterson couldn’t get going and the defense couldn’t stop the run. Teddy Bridgewater played better in this game than that game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the awful offensive line struggles. Bridgewater was sacked more than my ex-wife (Haha, I’ve never been married).

Aaron Rodgers looked fine, if not for the pass rush and the constant drops by his receivers. Randall Cobb seems to be having a massive down year… as if the rest of the Green Bay offense. Despite this, thanks in part to Eddie Lacy’s big day, the offense roared to life against an elite Minnesota defense. At least, they were before they faced Green Bay.

SF @ SEA

San Francisco at Seattle

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Well, at least we know Blaine Gabbert is better than Jimmy Clausen. And Kaepernick. That must really sting.

In other news, I don’t think Lynch will be in Seattle after 2015. Not with how well Thomas Rawls has been playing.

CIN @ ARI

Cincinnati at Arizona

  • (Watched, correct)

HAHAHA CINCINNATI CAN’T WIN IN PRIMETIME HEORHORHORHOR!!!!!

No.

They played a hell of a lot better in this game than they did against Houston last week. They simply lost to a better team, as I’d hardly call Houston a better team than Cincinnati. Carsom Palmer, despite a shaky start, played his heart out and delivered knock-out throw after knock-out throw, as his running game was effectively disrupted.

Andy Dalton shook off his demons and played well, too. Giovani Bernard is such a useful tool, almost like Dion Lewis for New England before he was injured. As much as I feel A.J Green is overrated, he played a strong game, as well. Tyler Eifert is still a red zone threat. Overall, no problems with Cincinnati’s offense.

This was just a good game overall. If not for the officiating, I’d have no major complaints whatsoever. Two good teams duking it out with little to no major injuries.

BUF @ NE

Buffalo at New England

  • (Watched, correct)

Man, I was as frustrated watching this game as Brady was with his protection. Just blitz after blitz after blitz. Or fake blitzes. Rex Ryan had a lot of fun playing hide and seek with his rushers.

New England’s shuffling around offensive linemen like Tom Landry used to shuffle quarterbacks. It seems almost desperate. Goodness. If it wasn’t for New England’s strong secondary, this game may have tilted in Buffalo’s favor. It doesn’t help that Amendola got injured during the second half, either, leaving only Gronk as a reliable receiver, who was well covered the entire game. Buffalo seems to have the blueprint for knocking Brady off balance. An ugly offensive performance, on both sides. Strong defenses, though.

Then, we have the officiating. Oh, boy. The “inadvertent whistle.” The “Sammy Watkins giving himself up on the final play” play. The “The previous play is under review” call that came on determining whether or not a receiver in a two-minute drill made a first down or not with only a yard difference. Like it fucking matters! Everything involved with a catch. Pass interference. Holding. Anything subjective. Just… really, really bad. We need new refs.

An interesting week, a week full of “I should haves.” Teams regretting decisions and me regretting who I picked, especially during noon games. Nevertheless, it was fun and it paved the path to a more clear view of who the contenders and who the pretenders are. Next week, however, should be far more interesting.

  • Week Eleven Pick ‘Em record: 6-8
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 95-65

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Ten; 2015)

(I am really pushing it off this week.)

[Jacksonville @ Baltimore]

Part of me, the part that likes Jacksonville as lovable losers, wants to pick Jacksonville to upset Baltimore on the road. When considering it, Jacksonville actually has the offensive pieces to get it done, too. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are both on pace for 1,000 yard seasons and double digit touchdown receptions. Blake Bortles has also thrown more touchdowns this season than most others. However, a lot of those were in garbage time, unfortunately.

Baltimore, on the other hand, is bad. They aren’t as bad as Jacksonville, but they’re bad enough to let them hang around. Seeing as this is being played at home, Baltimore has more of an advantage, as they typically play better at home. Not much indecision here.

Winner: Baltimore

[Cleveland @ Pittsburgh]

Interesting match-up. Both teams are starting their back-up quarterbacks, as their regular starters have fallen to injury (Pittsburgh is technically playing its 3rd stringer). Both teams have been sporadic this season, but the one factor to consider is that one team is 5-4 and the other is 2-7. Guess which record belongs to Cleveland.

Cleveland’s defense has been, well, fairly non-existent for a while. Joe Haden and Donte Whitner have been gone for what seems like the whole season and receivers are taking advantage of a thin Cleveland secondary. Speaking of receivers, Pittsburgh has a lot of them; good ones. Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton. Cleveland has… Gary Barnidge. Pittsburgh has the advantage on both sides of the ball. Quarterback edge? It’s up in the air.

Winner: Pittsburgh

[Carolina @ Tennessee]

Carolina just beat Green Bay last week. I don’t think facing Tennessee, despite their impressive win over New Orleans last week, will be anything of a struggle.

Winner: Carolina

[Chicago @ St. Louis]

Chicago may be underrated, but St. Louis isn’t exactly San Diego. This will certainly be a test of Chicago’s will.

With all the pass rushers on St. Louis’s defensive line (excluding the injured Chris Long), I don’t think Chicago’s going to have a lot of success protecting Jay Cutler. I expect sacks galore for St. Louis, unless Chicago tries to beat the defense with quick passes and gain a lead early on. Eddie Royal’s still out, leaving only Jeffery and Forte (who are both questionable) as Chicago’s only viable receiving threats. I feel confident that their defense can stop a futile St. Louis passing offense. I can’t say the same for Todd Gurley.

St. Louis, I feel, is better on both sides of the ball. Todd Gurley is a bulldozer and will likely ease through Chicago’s inexperienced defense. If that doesn’t work, St. Louis’s defense will simply have Cutler sit on the ball, leaving their pass rush to do its job. I don’t like Chicago’s chances, but it’s not completely one-sided.

Winner: St. Louis

[Dallas @ Tampa Bay]

Very intriguing match-up here.

Dallas hasn’t won since Tony Romo got hurt. They came close against Philadelphia last week. Tampa Bay’s defense isn’t Philadelphia’s. Dallas’s defense isn’t bad, either. Tampa Bay has had issues on the offense lately, though Jameis Winston has been good about not turning the ball over. They look like a better team than they were at the beginning of the year. Who do you root for? A team with question marks everywhere or a team with Matt Cassel under center?

To be fair, Cassel played near great against Philadelphia, whose defense is fairly stout (normally). Dez Bryant seems to be getting healthier every game. It’s starting to become enough of a factor to rely on with Dallas’s once snail-pace offense. Not to mention, their offensive line is still among the best in the league.

Initially, I wanted to pick Tampa Bay, because I think they may be close to getting over the hump, combined with the fact that Dallas is completely lost without Romo. However, I think this is the week that Dallas finally wins. It’s against Tampa Bay; Tampa Bay on the road, but nevertheless.

Winner: Dallas

[Detroit @ Green Bay]

Detroit is primed for an upset because they fired their general manager and Green Bay lost to two of the best teams in the NFL!

Winner: Green Bay

[Miami @ Philadelphia]

This would’ve been interesting immediately following Miami’s dismantling of Houston, but ever since then, they’ve looked lost against Buffalo and New England. This is their third straight road game against a better (Buffalo?) defense. Two straight weeks of putting up less than 20 points and giving up 30? Yeah. Things aren’t looking as good for Miami since Dan Campbell’s Duke Nukem type of entrance. Philadelphia shouldn’t have much trouble here.

Winner: Philadelphia

[New Orleans @ Washington]

Mrmm. Mrmmmmm. Washington’s kinda bad, but they aren’t that bad. New Orleans lost to Tennessee last week. On their own turf. And they’re on the road this week. New Orleans isn’t the same on the road. I… I almost smell an upset here. Do I take it?

Well, let’s think about it. Kirk Cousins came up with a 100 point comeback against Tampa Bay at home. New Orleans’ defense is awful. Washington’s defense is meh, but certainly something that Brees can handle. Mrmm. New Orleans’ offensive line is shoddy. Washington’s is good against pass rushers, but blows against the run. Mrmmm. Is… Is Washington really the better team here? The better choice?

Fuck it, I’m going with it. Washington will win. I hope.

Winner: Washington

[Minnesota @ Oakland]

I really, really wish I could watch this game. I’m too poor for Sunday Ticket. Ho-hum.

This is by far my favorite match-up this week. Oakland is a rising offensive powerhouse and Minnesota is an established defensive fort. I relish the thought of these two teams going at it. It should provide for great entertainment.

Despite the Minnesota defense, I expect this to be a high-scoring game. Oakland (especially at home) is near dominant on offense. They have so many weapons and Derek Carr is playing like he sucked up all of Peyton Manning’s talent. Latavius Murray (when not hurt) is also a good both running and catching the ball. Like a poor man’s Matt Forte, except more explosive.

The only thing that worries me is Oakland’s defense. Minnesota doesn’t have too much on offense to throw it to, but they do have debatably the best running back in the league, who is currently leading the league in rushing yards. I expect Peterson to have a great game, so long as Bridgewater looks stout throwing the ball.

Am I expecting too much from Oakland’s offense? Maybe. Am I expecting too little from Minnesota’s defense? Maybe. All I know is that Oakland’s defense won’t likely save their offense from any blunders, so they need to play perfect.

Winner: Oakland

[Kansas City @ Denver]

Yeah.

Winner: Denver

[New England @ New York]

Another match-up I’d like to see. New York has won the last 3 games against New England, including two Super Bowl match-ups (how many times have you heard that this week?) Eli Manning has been playing well as of late, but Tom Brady’s been playing better. New York’s defense has been good, but New England’s has been better. Odell Beckham Jr’s still the best receiver in the history of ever (according to media hype), but Julian Edelman’s debatably had a more consistent season.

Yeah. In all fairness, I’m sure New York will make the game close, seeing as this rivalry seems to have some weird mojo for New York having the advantage, but New England’s 8-0. They’re playing like they expect another championship. I don’t expect that to show any less against New York.

Plus, you never bet against New England. They showed me that in Week One.

Winner: New England

[Arizona @ Seattle]

Another interesting match-up. An NFC West battle that has gone either way in years past. When Carson Palmer’s starting, Arizona has a chance. They were the only team to beat Seattle at home in 2013. They could do it again here.

The only thing that worries me is Arizona’s losing record. They’ve lost twice thus far. To who? St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Two teams with moderate defenses. Seattle’s defense at home? Well, it’s fairly good. It’s the only thing that stands in the way of a comfortable pick of Arizona winning here. I feel if Arizona wins here, they can show that they’re legitimate. If Seattle wins here, they can show that they’re still in the playoff race. The only thing for Seattle is, can they win consistently with that atrocious offensive line?

Not to mention, Jimmy Graham, as inconsistent as he’s been this season, is Seattle’s only big threat. They have other contributors like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, but that’s pretty much it. Marshawn Lynch’s been hurt and struggling (offensive line) and Russell Wilson is having a lukewarm year statistically (offensive line). They need a lot of help if they want to block Calais Campbell and co.

It’s hard to pick either team, but I feel more comfortable with Arizona here. Seattle has been inconsistent and I just can’t get past their offensive line inefficiencies. It’s hard to swallow how bad of a condition they’ve let it get to.

Winner: Arizona

[Houston @ Cincinnati]

I would post a gif showing how overconfident I am in Cincinnati, but PRIMETIME. Regardless….

Winner: Cincinnati

Impressions from Week Eight of the 2015 NFL Season

Another quick wrap-up, as I’ve some things to do.

[Miami @ New England]

  • (Watched, correct)

New England is perfect. A few big games against two AFC South teams isn’t going to suddenly make you a threat, Miami. Please try again.

[Detroit vs. Kansas City] (London game)

  • (Watched final two minutes, correct)

Jim Caldwell should be fired. Andy Reid? We’ll see.

[San Diego @ Baltimore]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

San Diego’s defense should be fired.

[Arizona @ Cleveland]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Carson Palmer is an MVP candidate, at least in my mind. Larry Fitzgerald is a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.

Cleveland’s defense is still shaky.

[Minnesota @ Chicago]

  • (Watched one drive in third quarter, correct)

Jay Cutler is not bad. Chicago’s defense is not bad. They just aren’t good.

Teddy Bridgewater is the same way.

[Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Not to rain on Dalton’s parade, but would Cincinnati have won if Le’Veon Bell didn’t go down? Just some speculation. Regardless, Cincinnati’s defense can play. And even Dalton can come up clutch against division rivals. Let’s see if he can do that in PRIMETIME tomorrow night.

[Tennessee @ Houston]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Ken Whisenhunt should be f—

Oh, wait.

[New York (Giants) @ New Orleans]

  • (Watched final half of fourth quarter, correct)

Drew motherfuckin’ Brees. I knew these two teams’ defenses were bad, but holy moly! This was not what I expected at all. 101 total points? What a heartbreaker for New York.

[San Francisco @ St. Louis]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Jim Tomsula is willing to start Blaine Gabbert.

Jim Tomsula should be fired.

[Tampa Bay @ Atlanta]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)
Atlanta.

[New York (Jets) @ Oakland]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Oakland seems to be the real deal.

At some point in the game, FitzMagic went out with an injury. He was declared out. Then, Geno Smith got injured… so they put FitzMagic back in there! And then after two passes, they put Geno Smith back in there! I found this hilarious. Todd Bowles should be f—no, he shouldn’t.

[Seattle @ Dallas]

  • (Watched, correct)

Seattle beat a Matt Cassel-led offense by a single point. I mean, I know Seattle’s offense kinda sucks and Dallas’s defense is okay, but really? The game really shouldn’t have been that close. To be fair, though, I was surprised Dallas scored more than 3 points offensively.

[Green Bay @ Denver]

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Congratulations, Green Bay. You aren’t as good as everyone thinks you are. I should’ve known after they struggled with San Diego. At home.

But how about that Denver defense? Wonder if they’d have the same success if Green Bay had any actual weapons.

[Indianapolis @ Carolina]

  • (Watched, correct)

Carolina almost lost to Indianapolis at home. They’re good, but at the same level as Atlanta is good. Kind of like, y’know, decent, but look better against lesser teams. Ah, well. 7-0.

  • Week Eight Pick ‘Em record: 10-4
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 77-42

Impressions from Week Five of the 2015 NFL Season (And Quick Pick: Atlanta at New Orleans)

I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll make this double entry quick. I’ll simply provide a one-liner for each team involved in Week Five, along with my pick ’em results and record and a semi-detailed account of tonight’s pick.

[Indianapolis @ Houston]

  • (Watched, correct)

Houston has a quarterback controversy.

Indianapolis plays well in its division.

[Buffalo @ Tennessee]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Buffalo’s offense is inconsistent.

Tennessee still has a lot of potential.

[Cleveland @ Baltimore]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Josh McCown may not be a bad choice at quarterback for Cleveland.

Baltimore’s secondary made Josh McCown look like a good choice at quarterback.

[Chicago @ Kansas City]

  • (Watched final minute, correct)

Chicago isn’t as bad a team as everyone thought.

Kansas City will likely lose many more games.

[Seattle @ Cincinnati]

  • (Watched final Cincinnati drive, correct)

Cincinnati deserves its 5-0 start.

Seattle deserves a 1-4 start.

[St. Louis @ Green Bay]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Chris Mortensen thought St. Louis would win this game.

Everyone else knew Green Bay would destroy them, and Mortensen is stupid.

[Jacksonville @ Tampa Bay]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Jacksonville is almost as inconsistent as St. Louis.

Tampa Bay is good against awful teams.

[New Orleans @ Philadelphia]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

New Orleans’ defense is atrocious.

Philadelphia’s offense is good against awful defenses.

[Washington @ Atlanta]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Washington’s defense is underrated.

Atlanta’s defense is, too.

[Arizona @ Detroit]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Arizona scored 42 points without even trying.

Detroit may be the worst team in the NFL.

[New England @ Dallas]

  • (Watched, correct)

New England is the best team in the NFL.

Dallas’s offense is nothing without Tony Romo.

[Denver @ Oakland]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Denver’s offense is hard to watch sometimes.

Oakland’s offense isn’t mature enough to take on top 5 defenses.

[San Francisco @ New York (Giants)]

  • (Watched, correct)

Eli Manning is New York’s best quarterback.

San Francisco’s defense is awful on the road.

[Pittsburgh @ San Diego]

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Pittsburgh is scared to use Mike Vick.

San Diego’s defense is scared of pressure situations.

  • Week Five Pick ‘Em record: 11-3
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 50-27

New Orleans is better at home, but Atlanta has shown that they play hard on the road.

Drew Brees will likely struggle, as he has all season, with his offense. I expect Atlanta to take the lead quickly, forcing Drew to become one-dimensional and predictable. It will inevitably be a close match, as most Primetime games are, but Atlanta is the vastly superior team. I have little confidence in New Orleans winning this game. It’ll probably be a defensive struggle, because why not?

Winner: Atlanta

Quick Pick: Denver at Kansas City (Week Two; 2015)

If this were any time other than now time, I would be picking Denver in this match-up. Now, I’m uncertain. Peyton Manning didn’t look good in the preseason and didn’t look good in the first game of the regular season. Not to mention, Kansas City’s defense is kind of really, really good. Denver’s defense also showed last week that it was really, really good, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

This being said, I believe offense will be the deciding factor. It will most likely be a defensive game, probably no more than 20 or so points scored by either team, with a lot of sacks and a few turnovers. The team that ends up with the most points off turnovers will most likely come out on top. Unlike the Dallas game last Sunday, neither of these team’s defenses will allow what New York’s defense allowed.

I think Travis Kelce will be another deciding factor in this game. If he gets it going, he gives Kansas City a better chance to win, as Denver’s corners won’t likely give Jeremy Maclin any room to make plays. These two teams are pretty evenly matched in almost every regard, which makes this pick almost like flipping a coin. As I stated above, if this were 2012, 2013, or 2014, I’d be picking Denver every time. But now Manning’s starting to decline, and Kansas City is starting to rise.

Maybe Manning will prove me wrong tonight?

Winner: Kansas City

School Days Review (Revised Version)

school days review cover

Back when I was younger, I believed that if a movie or a television series or a game didn’t end happily, then it wasn’t worth getting involved with. However, as I matured, I realized that there are titles that can be just as fulfilling to watch as the feel-good ones that choose to end in a cheery manner. This may be due to a “change of pace,” or something that intrigues me or others simply because it is different from what I or they are originally accustomed to.

Continue reading “School Days Review (Revised Version)”