What’s going to happen with Von Miller?

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Published on : June 18, 2016

 

Von Miller is a monster on the gridiron and was a big reason for the Broncos’ Super Bowl Championship run last season. He is a complete defender who can do pretty much anything his coaches ask of him. Over five seasons, he has accumulated 60 sacks, including 11 last season. It can be argued that he was their most valuable player all of last year, and that was solidified by winning the Super Bowl MVP award. That’s what makes his current contract dispute so precarious.

 

The Broncos placed the franchise tag on Miller this offseason, which guarantees him $14.1 million in the coming year. But with the unpredictable nature of an NFL career, Von wants a deal with long term security, and rightfully so. If he was to play under the franchise tag and get seriously injured, he would never see the kind of money that he could potentially get this year. So he has taken a stand and said that there is “no chance” he will play under the franchise tag this offseason.

 


I’ve got to agree with Von’s stance on this one. The owners have all of the power when it comes to contracts with their players, and it would be foolish for him to not use the little bit of leverage he is ever likely to have in this situation. He’s only 27 years old and is coming off of the best year of his career, if he doesn’t go after the big money now, he might not ever get it again. And I’m not talking about the contract that he already rejected.

 

Negotiations for a long-term deal have been ongoing between Von Miller and the Broncos, but it seems like there is still quite a bit of ground that needs to be made up. The offer the Broncos made was for 6 years and $114.5 million. The problem was that the contract only guaranteed $39.8 million. For comparison, Fletcher Cox of the Eagles, a much more one-dimensional player than Von Miller, just got $63 million guaranteed. I’m not saying that Cox isn’t a good player, but I’ve never seen him cover a slot receiver either. As far as I’m concerned, $39.8 million guaranteed is a slap in the face for someone who means that much to the team.

 

 

Von Miller’s rejection of that contract was definitely the right move. It solidifies his position in the contract negotiations and shows general manager, John Elway, that he won’t be intimidated and that he knows what he is worth. Von seems ready to sit out as much of the 2016 season as necessary in order to make sure that he is compensated at a rate that reflects what he brings to the Broncos’ defense. But I find it hard to believe it will come to that.

 

I don’t blame John Elway for starting low, but it’s time to get realistic. That should have been the contract offer in May, not June. With Mark Sanchez starting at quarterback, the Broncos are going to need that defense to be at full strength for 16 games if they want to have a chance at making the playoffs again. I think Elway has got to know that.

 

So my prediction is that Von Miller will sign a contract before the July 15th deadline that will give him the highest guaranteed money ever for a non-quarterback. It will come in at $64 million, just beating out Fletcher Cox’s outrageous contract. Then he can get back to sacking opposing QBs, like god intended.

 

 


How John Elway Revamped the Broncos and Built a Champion

Written by :
Published on : February 12, 2016

 

 

 

The two Broncos teams that appeared in Super Bowl 50 and Super Bowl XLVIII may have had many of the same players, but they were very different teams. Two years ago Peyton Manning and the offense had one of the most prolific units in recent memory, and they got demolished in the Super Bowl, by a score of 43-8. The Seahawks team that put such a hurting on them boasted a stifling defense that brought down the hammer on the NFL’s most high-flying offense. It was a battle of number one vs number one, and defense won in a big way.

 

The Broncos’ executive vice president and general manager seemingly took note of that Seahawks defense because just two years later, they used a nasty, attacking defense to put a hurt on the Carolina Panthers. Super Bowl 50 was once again the battle of a top offense and a top defense and the result was the same. In football, as in life, you must always be adapting in order to survive. In just two years, John Elway transformed the entire identity of his franchise, from head coach down, in order to not only survive but thrive, and win the greatest prize in all of sports. Here’s how it went down….

 

Shoring up the Defense

 Ward and Ware were two monster free agent pick ups.

 

After that crushing Super Bowl XLVIII defeat at the hands of the Seahawks defense, John Elway made it a point to fix the defense the following offseason. He added not one, but three, lynchpin type players to the Broncos defensive unit during free agency, in pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib, and safety TJ Ward. He also added first round cornerback Bradley Roby in the draft that year.

 

With an almost completely overhauled secondary and a potential hall of famer rushing opposing QBs along with a still improving but not-as-yet-godlike Von Miller, the Broncos had almost completely remade that part of their team. John Elway saw what the best teams in the league were doing in order to reach the next level and successfully emulated that. He should be given a ton of credit for the work he did in building that defense, but he wasn’t quite yet done with his overhaul of the team.

 

A New Coaching Regime

 Gary Kubiak did it!

 

Following the Broncos 24-13 divisional round playoff loss to the Colts last year, John Elway and former head coach John Fox decided that it would be best for coach Fox and the Broncos to mutually part ways. Elway was clearly not pleased by another year without advancing past the divisional round (in three of four years in Denver they had lost in that round), and felt that he find someone else to take them over the top. What a ballsy move that was. John Fox had 46-18 record in his four seasons in Denver and had taken them to the playoffs every year, including a Super Bowl appearance! I, for one, thought that the move to fire John Fox was bat shit crazy, but I was wrong.

 

John Elway brought in his old pal from back in the day, Gary Kubiak. This was another move that left me scratching my head. I never really thought of Gary Kubiak as a bad coach, but I certainly didn’t see him as a Super Bowl winning head coach. He had a 61-64 regular season record and 2-2 playoff record in his previous NFL stint with the Texans, and never seemed to me to be someone who was able to get the most out of the talent on his team. I was wrong about that, my bad. With the help of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips they turned this Denver Broncos team into a defensive powerhouse that took the pressure off of the offense and controlled games all season long.

 

A Change in Offensive Philosophy

 By focusing on the run game, the Broncos minimized mistakes and let the defense take control.

 

It became clear in 2014 that the world would never get the Peyton Manning that they knew and loved back. The Peyton we were left with was a shadow of his former self. Years of injuries and normal wear and tear had left his arm strength severely inhibited, and that was not only obvious to opposing defenses but also to the untrained eyes of fans all over the world. In 2015 we watched Peyton Manning fall apart before us. He was still dealing with injuries as always but it was becoming obvious that he couldn’t play through it like a younger version of himself could. It was his worst statistical season since his rookie year and it seemed as though he was still trying to do too much with the limited physical abilities that years in the league had left him with.

 

In the third quarter of the Broncos week 10 loss the Chiefs, Manning was replaced by Brock Osweiler. He didn’t see the field again until he replaced Osweiler in the third quarter of the Broncos week 17 matchup. Peyton came in and led the team to a 27-20 victory against the Chargers, helping secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. But this was not the same Peyton Manning. He had bought into the system and was no longer trying to do too much. By allowing the run game to become the focal point of the offense, Manning minimized the mistakes that had plagued him earlier in the season. As a result the defense became the standard bearer of the Broncos Super Bowl run and everything came together perfectly.

 

The Von Miller Effect

 The MVP.

 

Every champion needs an x-factor and for the AFC Championship and Super Bowl the Broncos had Von Miller. Through those two games, he destroyed the opposition and was unblockable. Against New England and Carolina he racked up 11 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, an interception and 2 forced fumbles. The fumble he forced against Cam Newton in the Super Bowl was recovered for a touchdown and helped the Broncos grab momentum early on. He was the most versatile player on the field; he rushed the passer, played the run and covered tight ends and receivers in the pass game. There was no other player as deserving of winning the Super Bowl MVP Award and now the Broncos better pay him his due this offseason.

 

 

It only took the Broncos two years to return to the Super Bowl but when they did they were a totally different team. John Elway had a vision for the team he wanted to build and deserves a lot of credit, along with the player and coaches, for executing that vision and creating a champion.

 

 


Super Bowl: The Greatest American Holiday

Written by :
Published on : February 7, 2016

 

The moment we have waited a year for is finally upon us. Today is Super Bowl 50, featuring the Caroline Panthers and Denver Broncos, and that means that we get to celebrate my favorite holiday. That’s right, I consider the Super Bowl my favorite holiday. Some people like Christmas, or Halloween or even Thanksgiving, but for me the Super Bowl has always been more fun and than all of those put together. You get food, excitement, surprises and sports, all in one commercially saturated, corporate sponsored package!

 

I’m especially excited for today’s game because of some of the great storylines we are going to get to see unfold before our eyes. First off, these are two of the top defenses in the league which means that this game should be a competitive one. The Panthers have annihilated the competition in these playoffs so far with stellar performances by their offense, defense and special teams. I have to believe that they are definitely the more well-rounded team, but one thing that the Broncos have on their side is that defensive line. They are straight up nasty and if Von Miller can explode off of the line like he did against the Patriots then I think he could have the single biggest impact of any player in the game.

 

 Von Miller was all over Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game.

 

Another great storyline of today’s Super Bowl 50 matchup is the battle of these two quarterbacks. The are both highly skilled players but they couldn’t come off any more different. On one side you have Cam Newton, who ended the regular season putting up some ridiculous stats and hasn’t slowed down in the playoffs. He was also awarded the NFL MVP Award yesterday, which really has to irk all those closet racists out there who call him a “thug” and a showoff for his celebrations and in-game swagger. That stuff really pisses me off because it’s kind of a double standard, especially when you consider that no one bats an eye at Aaron Rodgers’ dumb ass “discount double check” garbage, but all those people will have to eat crow if Cam pulls this one off.

 

 Cam dab’d his was to Super Bowl 50.

 

Opposite the newly anointed MVP, is someone who represents the old guard in the NFL, future hall of famer, Peyton Manning. The former MVP, is a shadow of his former self these days, as he has lost considerable arm strength due to neck surgeries and injuries and was even benched for performance reasons earlier this season. It’s seem like during these playoffs has has really bought into coach Kubiak’s system though. He is no longer trying to play like his old self, but has accepted his limitations and because of that, the offense led by the running game has excelled. Although it is not yet official, it looks like this will be Peyton’s “last rodeo” and that makes him all the more dangerous, despite what his body has to say about it.

 

 After the AFC Championship, Peyton Manning was overheard telling Bill Belichick that this might be his last rodeo.

 

This has the makings of an all time Super Bowl classic and these teams are about to put it all on the line as they battle each other in the biggest game in all of sports. So make sure you don’t blackout by halftime because this really is the best holiday and you don’t want to miss a second of it. Would you pass out before opening your presents on Christmas or before eating the turkey on Thanksgiving? Maybe if you were an idiot, but you’re not. So go get another plate of BBQ or a few more chicken wings and strap in, ‘cuz this year’s Super Bowl is about to be one wild ride.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 16

Written by :
Published on : January 1, 2016

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

 

 

Week 16: C.J. Anderson Threads the Needle For An Impressive TD

 

 He couldn’t be stopped.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

For a guy supposedly fighting an ankle injury, C.J. Anderson shows a ridiculous amount of explosiveness on this touchdown run. A beautiful cutback gives Anderson all the room he needs, and when those legs start popping he dusts four different Cincinnati defensemen on his way to the end zone.

Just shy of forty yards, this play put Denver in the lead for the first time in the game, all the way into the fourth quarter. He gets one good block on the way from Emmanuel Sanders, but most of the credit lies in the back’s excellent instincts and spooky speed.

 

 

Week 16: Vodkas Supported by Rappers

Greetings Pretzelheads! Last week we explored the world of athlete vanity wines. This week we’re continuing in a similar vein with a hard-hitting taste-test of rapper endorsed vodkas. I’m a thirsty boy; so let’s get this show on the road.

 

Birdman for Grand Touring Vodka

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According to Grand Touring they “combine the finest grains from America’s heartland with clean, crisp waters. Column distilled (six times) and filtered through activated stone carbon, Grand Touring Vodka presents unmatched smoothness and quality. The bounty of our labor is in your grasp, so let it pour.”

When it comes to Birdman, the dude is a solid businessman with his label, but I’ve never been much of a fan when it comes to his rapping talents. His vodka clocks in at around $33 bucks, which is more than I’d normally want to pay for a vodka with such tacky graphic design on its label.

Taste Test: Pretty smooth. Inoffensive. Tastes like vodka.

 

Dame Dash for Armadale Vodka

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Armadale vodka says their product is like when “Scottish legacy meets American ingenuity. We handcraft each bottle of Armadale with the unique characteristics of flavorful grains and pure Cascade Mountain water. Then we filter our spirit five times through charcoal and crushed lava rock. Whether you enjoy Armadale straight up or in your favorite cocktails, you’ll experience an ultra smooth vodka thatʼs rich in character.”

Okay, so Dash was never an actual rapper, but I always loved when other rappers had beef with Jay-Z and they would harsh on Dame too. This dude has basically made a career out of hustling in the shadowy business side of the entertainment industry, so a vodka endorsement just seems natural for the one-time Roc-a-Fella magnate.

Taste Test: Inoffensive. Pretty smooth. Clear in color.

 

Lil Kim for Three Olives Vodka

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This is a true vanity product with Kim repping her brand as “a fantastic blend of imported English vodka and the wild juicy taste of frozen crushed grapes. Enjoy Three Olives® Purple as a shot, on the rocks or in your favorite martini.”

I personally like this one. Not the booze, but the endorsement. Lil Kim is rad because she’s never been afraid to be trashy, even as she indulges in the finer things. It’s a quality that feels distinct to 90’s hip hop culture, that sadly no longer applies. Dudes who spit nowadays are considered tastemakers for high end men’s fashion and that’s not much fun. Good on Kim that she shills a nasty ass candy flavored bottle.

Taste Test: Literally tastes like grape Kool Aid with a little (‘lil) burn.

 

Jermaine Dupri for 3 Vodka

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Apparently “3 Vodka is distilled its own way, using a proprietary and time-intensive method, with two separate distilleries employed to protect the secrets of the vodka’s complex origins. 3 Vodka marks the first time in history that soy has been distilled. Made from a delicate combination of soy isolates, the purest elements of the soy plant, and select grains, 3 Vodka gains its signature smoothness from the natural soy itself.”

They go on to boast that “3 Vodka is the ultimate spirit.”

Jermaine Dupri had that one song “Money Ain’t A Thang,” but was way more famous for being a producer on Mariah Carey’s brilliantly titled album “The Emancipation of Mimi,” and posing in photos with other rappers. He was also the mastermind behind Kris Kross. Seems a little weird to me that the dude would be repping a soy-based vodka, which while totally chemically plausible, just seems entirely unglamorous and unappealing. Regardless of taste it sounds a lot fancier to say “I use the finest grains,” or “the finest potatoes,” than “the finest crops of those beans you get as an appetizer before eating sushi.”

Taste Test: Eh, tastes like vodka. Inoffensive and pretty smooth.

Bonus: Snoop Dogg for Landy Cognac

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Landy Cognac gets down with a “Fine gold color. Pleasant nose, supple and harmonious. Orange blossom and orange peel aromas. The smell is reminiscent of the taste of freshly pressed grapes. Very soft mouthfeel.”

I had to add this one because while I’ve never had enough money for the ‘spensive stuff that Snoop holds in the photos, the regular old Landy is totally solid and affordable. If you poured it in a Hennessey or Courvoisier bottle it would probably taste just as good if not better. This is easily the best product on this list. Who knew Snoop had such good taste?

Taste Test: Softest mouthfeel ever (eww).

 

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 8

Written by :
Published on : November 4, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 8: DeMarcus Ware Strip-Sacks Aaron Rodgers For the Safety

John Kuhn tries to recover the fumble that eventually became a safety.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

The Broncos defense makes its second Review ‘n Brew appearance of the season with another stripped ball, this one leading to a safety.

It’s not like Aaron Rodgers never gets sacked, but it’s quite rare to see him make a mistake under pressure. This time DeMarcus Ware jumps past the offensive line and gets to the QB mid-bootleg, resulting in the pigskin bouncing on the turf. Danny Trevathan makes the smart play to push the ball into the end zone, and Packers center Corey Linsley and tight end Richard Rodgers make a noble effort to get the ball back out, but ultimately Rodgers trips in the end zone surrounded by four or five Broncos D-men.

 

Week 8: All Those Gross 40’s You Used to Drink in High School/College

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Freshman year of college, I drank a lot of beer and malt liquor in forty ounce bottles. In retrospect, I can’t really figure out why, but I guess it was kind of the perfect portion for an inconsequential amount of cash. By the time sophomore year rolled around I had upgraded to better quality beer and cheap red wine sold in enormous jugs. I couldn’t imagine drinking any of these today, but here are their rankings based on my gloriously intoxicated memories.

Olde English “800” – C+
In preparing for this piece I was interested to notice the “imported” claim on the Olde E label, but as far as I can tell, it’s imported all the way from the Pabst Brewing Company. When you’re young and dumb I feel like this is the most well known malt liquor, but it actually tastes kinda nasty. It’s got that fruity sweetness that sticks in the back of your throat, making for what feels like a thick gullet film that hangs on for a while. People love this shit, but it was never for me.

Balantine XXX Ale – B
I love how this is touted as “America’s largest selling ale.” I fell hard for the Balantine when I first discovered it, but then got burned out on it quicksville. It does have the benefit of being a real-deal ale as opposed to a malt liquor, and has a very pleasant robust taste as a result. However, it also has the craziest, most intense, aftertaste you’ll ever find in a forty-ounce beverage. Basically drinking a pot of this is a battle between how delicious it starts and how gnarly it ends. Pro tip: crack one at the beginning of the night and then move onto something a little milder as the evening ends.

Colt 45 – A-
This here’s the belle of the ball. Sure it’s a malt liquor, but the flavor is pleasant and light in comparison to its colleagues. It’s cloying, it’s sweet, and lord preserve you if it gets warm, but out of all the drinks in this ballpark, its the least likely to make you gag. By the end of my forty phase this was the only one I could regularly stomach. Its mellow profile reminds me a cheap lager, and it also reminds me of linoleum floors, cruddy dorm furniture, and the couple friends I made that year that I’m still pals with to this day.

St. Ides – D+
Oh man, this one will hurt you. It’s the monster under your bed. It’s every lie you’ve ever told. When you stare into the St. Ides, the St. Ides stares back into you. It’s also barley wine strength at an 8.2% ABV so it will royally fuck you up quick without you noticing it. That’s why hobos drink it. It is a hellacious sauce that I would have given an “F” to, but I realize I would probably still drink it if it was the only thing available on a desert island. Therefore, this should be the official beverage of the 2015 Detroit Lions.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 4

Written by :
Published on : October 10, 2015

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.
 
 
 
 

Week 4: T.J. Ward Strips Bridgewater for the Show Stopper

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Is there anything more anxiety inducing for both teams than a final minute drive with the game on the line? The answer is no, not really. No. ‘Ole Pretzel’s highlight this week comes via a stout Denver defense that stood up to a potentially dynamic drive and sealed up the game for goodsies.

Prior to this play Bridgewater connected with a sharp 17-yard pickup, but shortly thereafter Denver releases the hounds as T.J. Ward rushes in for the strip to make all of Viking fandom gasp in terror. This game winning play is particularly impressive in that it proved to be a team effort as Brandon Marshall sprawls out, pushing the bouncing pigskin back towards the Denver line and into the waiting arms of (who else?) Von Miller who covers it up for good. In a matter of seconds the Vikings’ drive ends with a showstopper on the backs of three baaaaaaaaaaad men.

 

Week 4: Cabin Still Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

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As the Lions fall to 0-4, partially due to a badly blown call (sound familiar?), a broken man’s fancy turns from the frivolity of beer to the darker sanctuary found in hard corn liquor. What better way to drown one’s sorrows with a high quality, yet cheap as sin whiskey? Friends, I bring you Cabin Still. So maybe the “high quality” claim is a little overblown, but for my money this is the best bang for your buck if you’re gonna go dangerously discount. Sometimes you can find it at barbeque joints, and occasionally at dive bars, but in my opinion it’s always worth keeping an eye out for.

One time I was driving through Kentucky back in the day when I shouted words in a crude facsimile of singing for a band. We had to stop for gas, and so I ran across the highway to a liquor store for the novelty of buying bourbon in Kentucky, which I would argue, we needed for our travels anyway. We were in a hurry so I had to move fast. I scanned the well-stocked aisles but couldn’t find my favorite yellow label.

I ran up to the old pot-bellied counterman and asked about Cabin Still. The man laughed with a hideous cackle that I prefer to remember as a charming southern chuckle and said: “Sheee-it boy, we ain’t stocked Cabin Still in but the longest time.” So I just picked up a bottle of Ancient Age instead, which lasted us all the way to St. Louis.

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It was fine, I guess. Certainly no Cabin Still that’s for sure.

Alright young’uns, until the Lions get a win, you can find me on the porch with a generous slug of granddaddy’s cough medicine. I’ll check in with you next week.

 

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : September 23, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

I seem to be developing a pattern of mediocrity as far as it concerns these NFL Picks Against the Spread. It’s like I’m the Bengals or something. With an 8-8 record last week and a 15-16-1 record overall, I just haven’t been able to take that next step. That’s all going to change this week. Now that the identity of these  NFL teams is a little more clear, I’ve got this thing figured out and am sure that these picks are on the money. Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy these winners.

 

Winning picks in italics

 

Redskins at Giants (-4)Giants

The Giants have now lost 2 games that they should have won and they are going to come out pissed as all hell. The Redskins on the other hand, are going to show that last week was a fluke. Eli goes off and the Giants get their first win, at home, in a big way.

 

Steelers (-1) at Rams: Rams

This is a tough one for me because it’s going to be Le’Veon Bell’s first game back with the Steelers, but I think the Rams defense is going to shine. The home field advantage is going to play a big part here and we are going to see a repeat of what St Louis did when Seattle came to town in week 1.

 

Chargers at Vikings (-2.5): Chargers

The Vikings were lucky to be playing a Lions team last week that seems to have no offensive line whatsoever. They will not be so lucky this week with Phillip Rivers & Co heading the land of 10,000 lakes. Rivers and Keenan Allen will get back on track and cover the spread in what will be a high scoring matchup.

 

Buccaneers at Texans (-6.5): Buccaneers

Can somebody please explain to me how the 0-2 Texans are a 6.5 point favorite? Don’t worry I’ll wait….. Exactly, it makes no sense. Vegas obviously knows something that we don’t (as usual) but regardless I’ll take Jameis and those points all day.

 

Eagles at Jets (-2.5): Jets

The Eagles are a mess. They can’t run the ball and Bradford looks like a fat, steaming pile of dog shit on the field. The Jets, however, look surprisingly good. And they’re at home. Jets FTW.

 

Saints at Panthers (-7.5): Saints

I know Drew Brees is probably about to miss this and perennial bum, Luke McCown, is likely to back him up, but 7.5-points in a division game? I’ve got to go with the Saints here and hope that Sean Payton can dial up some serious magic to keep this one somewhat close.

 

Jaguars at Patriots (-13.5): Jaguars

There’s no way I see the Jaguars having a chance at winning this game straight up, but they did beat the Patriots’ division rivals, the Dolphins, last week. The Pats will go up early and then let their older starters get some rest. That’s when Blake Bortles is going to get some garbage-time TDs and cover this ridiculous 13.5-point spread

 

Bengals at Ravens (-2.5): Ravens

The Bengals have looked damn good so far this season, and the poor Ravens are 0-2, including an embarrassing loss to the Raiders. But this is their home-opener and it happens to be against a division opponent. The Ravens are going to come out fired up and smack the Bengals back down to Earth.

 

Raiders at Browns (-3.5): Browns

The Raiders have some young talent, probably more so than the Browns, but they are on the road and they got lucky last week against the Ravens. This is going to be a real dumpster fire of a game and surely going to piss off both fan bases, but home field rules and Johnny Football gets the win.

 

Colts (-3.5) at Titans: Colts

Andrew Luck has got to get his shit together at some point, right? This is the perfect time to pull his head out of his own ass and lead the Colts to a big win.

 

Falcons (-1.5) at Cowboys: Falcons

If Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were on the field this pick would be different, but the Falcons have actually looked good this year. Brandon Weeden is going to fumble-fuck all over this game and get the Cowboys their first loss.

 

49ers at Cardinals (-6.5): Cardinals

Has Carson Palmer ever even been injured? I mean seriously, he looks amazing out there. The 49ers are headed into a world of pain when they travel to Arizona this week. The Cardinals will get after them early and often, and run them right back to Santa Clara (They don’t actually play in San Francisco anymore).

 

Bears at Seahawks (-14.5): Bears

The Bears were already so bad and now Jimmy Clausen is set to start in Seattle this week. Fans in Chicago should be shitting themselves right about now. The Seahawks haven’t looked great but they are vastly superior to the Bears. That said, just like with the Pats-Jags game, I can’t see past that spread. Call me crazy, but I take those 14.5-points, Matt Forte and the Bears.

 

Bills at Dolphins (-3): Bills

When Ndamukong Suh was with the Lions he was my favorite player. When he left for the Dolphins I was sad but wished him the best. Now I would be lying if I said it didn’t please me just a bit to see that defense under-achieving. The Bills, however, are looking great on defense and seem to have the offense more figured out than I would have thought. I think they win straight up, but if you’re giving me 3, I’m gonna take it without thinking twice.

 

Broncos (-3) at Lions: Broncos

Until they show me otherwise, I give up on the Lions. After seeing what their o-line has looked like against the likes of the Chargers and Vikings, it make me sick to my stomach to think what Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are going to do to sweet, handsome Matt Stafford. Get your 40 oz ready Lions fans, cuz we might be pouring out a little liquor for our dead quarterback on Monday.

 

Chiefs at Packers (-6.5): Packers

What can I even say about the Packers. It doesn’t matter who they play or how many people on their team get hurt, with Aaron Rodgers all they do is win. And they are at home? So long, Chiefs. The god damned Pack wins again.

 


Last week’s record: 8-8

 

Season record: 15-16-1

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2015

 

 

Well, my week 1 for NFL Picks Against the Spread didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. I came away with 7 wins, 8 losses and 1 push. Which is ok, but I strive for greatness and will use the lessons learned about teams to push up my win percentage this week. There are some nice divisional matchups coming up that are going to make it a little tricky. Surely, there will be some surprises and some upsets, but with a few big underdogs, I’m confident that I’ve got a full helping of winners here for you guys.

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Broncos at Chiefs (-3): Chiefs

Both of these teams came away with wins last week. The Broncos won at home in underwhelming fashion and the Chiefs won on the road against a disappointing Texans squad. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the hardest places in the league for opposing teams to play, and with Manning’s arm looking about as weak as previously rumored, watch the Chiefs defense to get all over him.

 

Patriots (-1) at Bills: Patriots

Both the Bills and Pats were very strong last week, and the Bills defense neutralized a Colts offense that was one of the most explosive in the league last season. That said, the Patriots are going to continue to play angry and stick it to Roger Goodell, one win at a time. Even though it’s a divisional game and they are on the road in Buffalo, with the Bills only getting 1 point, the Patriots are the right pick.

  

Titans (-1) at Browns: Titans

How about that Marcus Mariota guy? He looked very, very good last week as he led the Titans to a week one win against the top pick of the draft in Tampa Bay. The Browns on the other hand, are looking like they will be as bad as I thought they were going to be. Mariota is going to pick that defense apart and get win number two in Cleveland by a wide margin.

 

Texans at Panthers (-3): Panthers

The Panthers didn’t look great last week, but still managed a 21-9 win on the road in Jacksonville. They welcome a Texans team that lost by 7 on their home field last week. I see the Panthers winning this one with some help from a couple of broken plays that Cam Newton extends with his legs.

 

Cardinals (-1.5) at Bears: Cardinals

The Bears put up a very good fight against the Packers and had a real chance to come away with a huge win last week. Then reality set in, of course. This week they welcome in a Cardinals team that beat the Saints last week, but lost their starting running back in the process. Carson Palmer looked pretty sharp in his first game back from injury and I think he will overcome the 1.5 points being given to the Bears, while passing the ball all over them. Cardinals win.

 

Chargers at Bengals (-3): Bengals

The Chargers had a huge second half last week to overcome a Lions first half 21-3 lead, and get a 33-28 win. While the Bengals destroyed the lowly Raiders for the entirety of the game. Both of these teams are good and will probably be battling each other for a wild-card berth this year. With the Bengals being at home, I think that gives them the advantage and they beat the spread.

 

Lions at Vikings (-3): Detroit

For one half of football, the Lions seemed like they could be one of the best teams in the league, then they were severely out-coached in the second half and lost. They now head to Minnesota and play a team that didn’t look for good for any sustained period against the 49ers. The Lions defense and offensive line will want to prove that they aren’t as bad as they looked in that second half last week.

 

Buccaneers at Saints (-10): Buccaneers

I think the Saints win this one at home straight up. I just can’t resist the urge to take the 10 points that the Bucs are getting here. I think Jameis has a much better game than last week and does enough to keep this one close.

 

Falcons at Giants (-2.5): Giants

The Giants should have won their game last week against the Cowboys, but they at least did enough to cover the spread. They are going to be heartbroken after that division loss last week and are going to come out strong at home against the Falcons. Look for them to win by a touchdown and for Odell Beckham Jr to have a few big plays.

 

49ers at Steelers (-6): 49ers

Neither of these teams looked all that great last week, but the Steelers defense still looks like a work in progress and they remain without Le’veon Bell for one more game. They win straight up but the 49ers keep it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Rams (-3.5) at Redskins: Rams

The Redskins are bad and are going to get murdered by Aaron Donald & Co as that Rams defense gets all over them. Enough said.

 

Ravens (-6) at Raiders: Raiders

The Raiders got a big scare when Derek Carr went down with a hand injury against the Bengals. He was back to fully practicing this week and should be good to go at home against the Ravens. If he wasn’t playing then the Ravens would be the easy pick, but with Carr and Amari Cooper on the field, I think the offense keeps it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Dolphins (-6) at Jaguars: Dolphins

There might be a point sometime soon when the Jaguars are decent, but they clearly aren’t there yet. The Dolphins defense and offense is going to continue to improve, especially against the Jags this week. Add to that the fact that there will probably be more Dolphins fans up in Jacksonville, and it should work out essentially like a home game for the ‘Fins. They are are going to beat them up and run them out of their own stadium.

 

Cowboys at Eagles (-5): Cowboys

The Cowboys had an inspiring comeback win against another division rival at home last week.  This week they travel to Philly to take on an Eagles team that was less than inspiring against the Falcons. This will be another NFC East slugfest that is decided by less than the 5-point spread being offered up by Vegas. Take the Cowboys

 

Seahawks at Packers (-3.5): Seahawks

The Seahawks aren’t getting any favors from the schedule makers by having to travel to St Louis week one and then into Green Bay for week two, but luckily for them, the Packers defense looked pretty awful last week. Look for Marshawn and the Seahawks to keep it very close, even if they don’t pull out the win.

 

Jets at Colts (-7): Jets

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Colts will win this one at home, but it’s another case of me not being able to look past the points being given by Vegas. The Jets looked pretty good against a bad team last week and with a defense that is supposed to be strong, I think it stays close enough for the Jets to be the pick here.

 


Last Week’s Record: 7-8-1

 

Season Record: 7-8-1

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2015

 

 

 

 

Making picks for week one of the football season was really tough. It reminded me a lot of the first day of high school as a sophomore: sure, everybody remembers what happened last year, but that’s okay because this year’s first impression is all that really matters… as long as you don’t cry during a lecture, puke at your desk or get those weird sneezing fits again. But enough about me…

 

The SBS team did pretty well last week. Shout out to my fellow writers Antoine and Bryce for both getting first place with a 12-4 record. And a big Pie In The Face to Alex, from all us “clowns” who are going to have worse records than you this year. Help me out, what’s 5-11? Oh that’s right… last place.

 

Here are your ScoreBoredSports NFL staff picks for week 2:

Week 2 Picks

 

Week 1


Alex Jag’s NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 1

Written by :
Published on : September 8, 2015

 

Who doesn’t love gambling? I know I do. Whenever you get frisky enough to place a wager on the game, it always helps to get some outside opinions. Especially from someone as gifted as me. So check out these NFL Picks Against the Spread for week 1 of the 2015 Regular Season, and make sure to check back every week if you need help picking a winner.

 

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Pittsburgh at New England (-7): Pittsburgh

New England is going to be very hard to beat in Foxsborough, especially with a freshly vindicated Tom Brady playing with a chip on his shoulder. I see New England winning straight up, but it’s hard not to take the 7 points. The Steelers keep it close enough to cover the spread, with a little help from a couple Antonio Brown touchdowns.

 

Green Bay (-7) at Chicago: Green Bay

I know that the Packers lost Jordy Nelson for the season. And I know that this is a divisional game on the road. But the Bears are going to be very bad this year, and Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers. This spread could be twice as large and I would still pick Green Bay.

 

Kansas City at Houston (-1): Houston

Maybe I’m all hyped up on the Texans defense from watching HBO’s Hard Knocks this season, but I feel like this group is going to be good. Add that with DeAndre Hopkins covering up for the quarterback deficiencies, and I think it’s enough to overcome the 1-point spread and win this one at home.

 

Cleveland at New York Jets (-3): Jets

This is a choice of which of these two bad teams is worse. The Browns are worse. Much worse. Jets win at home.

 

Indianapolis (-3) at Buffalo: Indianapolis

Buffalo is probably going to be pretty strong this year, but I think there will be some growing pains with the new system. As for Andrew Luck, he is fully grown. He is going to put up a ton of points this year and I don’t think a good Buffalo defense will be good enough to keep up with that offense.

 

Miami (-4) at Washington: Miami

Washington is a mess. And they’re going to continue down that road until a lot of things change. Miami on the other hand has the makings of a fierce defense and a potent offense. They will win this game and probably win big. Washington might only win 4 or 5 games this year, and this won’t be one of them.

 

Carolina (-3.5) at Jacksonville: Jacksonville

Blake Bortles has looked pretty good this offseason and on the other side, the Panthers don’t have anyone to throw the ball to. Now that I think of it they don’t really have anyone to run the ball either. The Carolina defense is good and the loss of Julius Thomas hurts the Jags, but getting 3.5 at home, I have to pick Jacksonville here.

 

Seattle (-4) at St Louis: St Louis

St Louis won against the Seahawks at home last year. They have a fierce defense and a potentially good running game. The QB position is still a question mark though, and even if they don’t win outright, they keep it close enough to cover the spread.

 

New Orleans at Arizona (-2.5): New Orleans

This is a tough one because I don’t really know what these two teams are made of this season. That said, I think Drew Brees wins it.

 

Detroit at San Diego (-3): Detroit

The Lions offense has looked explosive this offseason. With a healthy Calvin Johnson and another year studying the system for Matthew Stafford, this team could put up a ton of points. I don’t see the loss of Ndamukong Suh as a death blow to the defense as some analysts have suggested, either. I think San Diego will be good this year, but not as good as Detroit. Getting 3 points, I think the Lions pull this one out.

 

Tennessee at Tampa Bay (-3): Tampa Bay

Both of these quarterbacks are going to have very successful careers, but I think Winston is in a better situation for his rookie season. He has three legit weapons to throw the ball to, and I’m not sure Mariota even has one. Add in the fact that it’s at home for the Bucs and I think they cover the spread and win this one.

 

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Oakland: Cincinnati

I don’t care if this game is played on Mars, the Bengals are a much better team right now. The addition of Amari Cooper to the offense means that this game might be interesting for a little bit, but Cincy will pull away in the second half.

 

Baltimore at Denver (-4.5): Denver

A lot of the talk revolving around Peyton Manning this offseason had to do with the fact that everyone thinks he is washed up. I’m sure Peyton has been hearing those things just like the rest of us, and that is bad news for the Ravens. He will come out with something to prove. Combine that with a home game at Mile High Stadium, and that spells doom for Baltimore.

 

New York Giants at Dallas (-6): Giants

I’m not convinced that the Cowboys will be as good this year as they were last year. In a division matchup where the Giants are getting 6 points, that means the Giants are the pick here.

 

Philadelphia (-3) at Atlanta: Philadelphia

Chip Kelly’s Eagles, with Sam Bradford under center, have had a pretty good preseason. The offense is going to be strong and will wear teams down with the hurry up. The Falcons d-line on the other hand, isn’t going to be very good. I see the Eagles easily covering the spread and taking this one in Atlanta.

 

Minnesota (-2.5) at San Francisco: Minnesota

I can’t remember any team having as bad of an offseason as the 49ers have had this year. They lost player after player to retirement, injury or arrests. You kind of have to feel bad for them. The Vikings, however, have been every talking head’s darling of the offseason, with some picking them to go to the playoffs. It’s also Adrian Peterson’s first game back. This is all bad news for the 49ers, and I see the Vikings winning this one big.

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 1

Written by :
Published on : September 7, 2015

 

Welcome to week 1 of the ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks, the game where we try to figure out who is going to win each matchup. We thought this would be a fun way to spend the NFL season and prove our individual knowledge of the game. Obviously, I’ll have the best record at the end of the season, but I figured I would let these other clowns in on the fun too. Some of us are less knowledgable when it comes to the NFL (Treasure) and some of us think we have it all figured out (Mike), but either way we’ll probably all find out that we don’t really know shit about football.

 

There are some picks that seem to be a general consensus among the writers here at SBS, including the Packers over the Bears on the road in Chicago. Not a single person picked the lowly Bears, and I think the feeling around the office is that they could be one of the worst teams in football this year. Some other locks to win this week are the Bengals, the Dolphins and the Colts. I tend to agree with these picks as well, but as we know anything can happen out there on the field.

 

So check out these picks, comment to let us know if you agree or disagree and be sure to check back every week this season to see our picks.

 

-Alex

 

SBS Staff Picks - Week 1

 

 


NFL QUICK HITS FOR THE UPCOMING 2015 SEASON

Written by :
Published on : September 6, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

We are single digit days away from NFL KICKOFF!!! This season will be phenomenal and it has several storylines worth exploring. Aided by a bevy of issues that have surfaced since the Super Bowl (the spike in retirements due to concussions, off field crimes, the un-ending deflategate saga), the league has been able to once again remain relevant during the offseason. But with the preseason over, it’s time to focus on 2015, and put the offseason drama behind us.

 

-Will this be the end of the Madden curse?

What curse?

 

Second year New York Giants receiver, Odell Beckham Jr, is the latest player to grace the cover of the famous Madden football game. While the notoriety and respect gained is quite an accomplishment for such a young player, the supposed curse that comes with it is worth noting. Former Rookie of the Year, quarterback Vince Young, graced the Madden cover following his Pro Bowl rookie season. The year he was placed on the cover, he injured his quadriceps twice. He became a backup to Kerry Collins and was never the same player that led the Texas Longhorns to a BCS Championship.

 

Let us not forget 2012 cover athlete, running back Peyton Hillis, whose rise to fame with the Cleveland Browns came when he moved from being a blocking fullback to a dual-threat running back. He amassed over 1,000 rushing and 500 receiving yards during the 2010 season and was expected to be the new mold of running back; a hybrid of physical between the tackles bruiser and agile pass catcher. The 2011 season (his season on the cover) was a bust for Hillis, as he only played 10 games and was limited to 500 rushing yards. He floundered around the league after that and now remains unsigned. Add the likes of quarterbacks Michael Vick and Daunte Culpepper, running back Dorsey Levens, and it is a cautionary tale of injuries that derail players post-Madden cover. Beware Beckham Jr, beware!

 

2,500 Rushing Yards for Adrian Peterson? Really?

Keep it… 2,500.

 

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson recently stated that he hopes to rush for over 2,500 yards in 2015. In a league that emphasizes the passing game, Peterson would have to be force-fed the ball at an unimaginable clip to achieve that feat. He has averaged around 24 rushing attempts per game over the course of his career. His career yards per attempt stands at 5 yards a carry. Peterson would have to carry the ball 500 times to amass 2,500 rushing yards. There is no way in hell he gets close to 400 carries, let alone 500! With that being said, he has rushed for 2,000 yards in 2012, when he averaged 6 yards a carry. If he can average 6 yards per carry for an entire season he would reach his goal with 416 carries. Does that still sound far-fetched? The powerful running back carried the ball 348 times just a few years ago. If we consider the fact he only played one game last season, Peterson will be a refreshed 30 year old athlete with a chip on his shoulder. He will be looking for redemption after sanctions stemming from a child abuse case where he brutally “whooped” his 4 year old child.

 

Year of the Rookie Wideouts: Part 2?

Can the rookies top last year’s class?

 

Last season, rookie wide receivers tore the league up. The five receivers selected in the 1st round of the 2014 Draft were led by Buffalo Bills’ Sammy Watkins, selected with the 4th pick. His 977 receiving yards on 65 receptions would make any GM proud. Then you have the special case of New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. Only playing in the final 12 contests, he gained 1,300 receiving yards, to go with 12 touchdowns. Tampa Bay Bucs’ wide receiver Mike Evans and Carolina Panthers’ receiver Kelvin Benjamin both had 1,000 yard seasons. With 5 other rookies gaining over 600 yards receiving, it validated the notion that the NFL is now a passing league. The 2015 Draft saw six receivers selected, headlined by Amari Cooper, formerly of the Alabama Crimson Tide and now with the Oakland Raiders. Can this new class of receivers with the likes of Indianapolis Colts’ Phillip Dorsett and Philadelphia Eagles’ Nelson Agholor maintain the momentum?

 

Peyton Manning will be Available for more Papa Johns Commercials after this Season.

Enjoy it while you can. It’s all pizza from here on out.

 

I think this will be the last season for Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. He is still a top level signal caller going into the season but unfortunately, this will be his swan song. Over the past two years he has regressed in arm strength. Manning has never been mistaken for having a rocket arm, but after neck surgery, he is extremely limited in that department. Having already passed Brett Favre for all time passing touchdowns, he will easily eclipse Favre for the all time passing yards record by mid-season. With the NFC stacked with perennial Super Bowl contenders in Green Bay and Seattle, the Broncos Super Bowl prospects are dwindling, even if they do make it through the AFC. The Broncos are no closer to winning the Super Bowl than they were two years ago when the Seattle Seahawks massacred them. Bow out gracefully Mr. Manning, Papa needs you.

 

What “D” word?

How NOT to hit in today’s NFL.

 

Can we please allow some real defense this year? The league has cracked down on helmet to helmet hits and thus has made defenders leery of tackling. Defenders often have to take time to adjust or contort their body so that they do not risk hitting the opposing players above the shoulders. This has caused a lack of excitement in the game. Moreover, the fines that players receive due to illegal hits is preposterous. The NFL is taking unnecessary precautions to ensure player safety. The league may be garnering all time highs in profits and viewership, but that does not negate the fact that a lack of good defense makes for lopsided contests. The referees have been conditioned to throw a flag whenever an offensive skill position player is hit near the chest or above or when a quarterback starts to complain. Maybe I’m old school but just let the men play the game! As evidenced by the rash of retirements this offseason, these players aren’t forced to play and are able to walk away when they want. If they want to risk their health for the love of the game and financial prosperity then let them.

 

Super Bowl or Bust.

Can Matthews and the Packer’s defense get it together?

 

Some teams have been at the poker table far too long. They have been watching other teams collect their money and leave. Instead of folding and just walking away, some teams have held pat, taking loss after loss until they are down to their last few chips. There are a few teams that are all-in for this season and if they do not advance in the playoffs they will retool or implode. The Green Bay Packers are one team I think may do a defensive overhaul if they can’t get over the hump this year. The team has to be pleased with their offensive talent led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers but the defense started the purge a few years ago. They have recently let go of defensive backs Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson, along with linebacker A.J. Hawk. The Julius Peppers Experiment must show promise this season in order for him to stay around, and the resurgence of linebacker Clay Matthews must continue, who just a few years ago had J.J. Watt-esque stock. The aforementioned Broncos have made all the requisite changes on defense to be a contender but may fall short due to the lack of strength in Manning’s arm. If he can’t deliver this season, I think President of Operations John Elway may be forced to let go of the 5 time NFL MVP. Other teams that could make changes are the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals.

 

Another season is about to begin. I know the fans are ready. I hope the NFL is too.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: AFC West

Written by :
Published on : September 5, 2015

 

This season’s AFC West promises a grueling divisional battle between a Broncos team that may be on the decline and a solidly improved Chiefs defense. Meanwhile, Oakland is looking for a new start with a potentially impressive QB/WR connection, and though you shouldn’t sleep on the San Diego Chargers, you know you will anyway.

 

Let yourself go as we gaze into this hazy quartz sphere…

 

Oakland Raiders:

 photo oaklandraiders copy_zpshxurehnc.jpg

 

Who do you like better as a second year quarterback in a hurting franchise, Blake Bortles or Derek Carr? It’s a trick question. They’re both promising, and they’ve both got a long way to go. I think Carr has the edge at the moment due to having Amari Cooper as a target. I try not to get too excited about any draft prospect before I see them in the regular season (which has been nearly impossible with Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston on hand in the preseason), but with Cooper it’s hard not to think that the Raiders made a wise decision.

As far as the coaching switch-up goes, it’s tough to get too excited about Jack Del Rio. That said, it can’t get any worse than Dennis Allen’s attempt to bring Oakland back from the brink. The dude tried, and it just didn’t work. It does help to have a guy like Justin Tuck in the locker room though. Sure his production has declined pretty significantly from his glory days in New York, but you’ve got to imagine he’s worth the contract for his ability to mentor the younger guys.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

As with so many other teams on the lower rungs of the NFL’s ladder, this one has some new talent that it needs to mold properly in order to start winning. This is the definition of a building season, and the Raiders are once again destined to remain at the bottom of the AFC West, even if Del Rio’s strategies take hold. At least we get some new Khalil Mack highlights.

 

Denver Broncos:

 photo denverbroncos_zpsj9y7wmvl.jpg

 

The NFL’s eternal bridesmaids return this season with some elephant-in-the-room-questions regarding Peyton’s continued high level of production, his health, and his age. These are questions worth asking but I don’t see Manning losing much steam this season. He’ll remain a class-A quarterback, but what about next season? What about the season after that? There’s gonna come a day (sometime soon) when Manning’s going to have to hang up the cleats, giving up the game he loves in favor of pursuing his other passion: endorsements.

I’m also a little concerned about the departure of John Fox. I know Kubiak has a history with the franchise but it’s not like the Broncos exactly suffered under Fox’s reign. Sure, there was an embarrassing Super Bowl drubbing at the hands of the Seahawks, but I find it hard to give up on a top tier coach for one loss, even if it is in THE game. Hey, remember when Danny Trevathan dropped the ball before the end zone on a guaranteed pick-six against Baltimore in the 2013 season, resulting in an automatic touchback? I started paying attention to him after that mostly because of schadenfreude, but was soon impressed by how good a player he actually is. I love that defense in Denver. They’re as fun and dynamic as the offense is methodical and boring.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

A strong season will be marred by a few hiccups in adjusting to Kubiak’s return. It’s a strong possibility Denver doesn’t make the playoffs, which will cause that overly earnest fan-base to go apoplectic. This is a team currently in decline, even if that decline is almost imperceptibly gradual.

 

San Diego Chargers:

 photo sandiegochargers_zpsjys5xbok.jpg

 

The Chargers are a weird team because they’re sort of a non-factor when you look at the league as a whole. It’s strange because they aren’t a “bad” team, and they usually finish the season with an over .500 record, or something close to it. The Chargers are also a team for which that hoary old “any given Sunday” adage was invented for: it doesn’t matter how good you are, you can’t take the Chargers for granted. It’s not entirely surprising when they make the playoffs, and it’s even less so when they don’t, but something is missing here. For all of Phil Rivers’ manic facial expressions and gnashing of teeth, this is a team that seems to suffer strongest from a lack of heart. They’re the vanilla pudding of the NFL: good, but unremarkable.

Rivers is the rock here and his contract extension was much deserved, but it seems like he’s got an ever shrinking coterie of talented receivers to throw to, and all the while the running game has remained stagnant. Gates does a great job bucking body image norms (even in the position of tight end), but his age is going to lead to a drop in production that I think we’ve already seen a preview of. There’s a bad stereotypical comparison to make with the SoCal locale they play out of, with a relaxed and lackadaisical attitude. Obviously the players and coaching staff don’t feel that way, but looking in from the outside, it’s hard to believe that this is a club with a strong work ethic or culture.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Rivers will be reliable as ever, but he can only do so much. The run game continues to struggle and the Chargers win just enough games to satisfy fans with another .500 or over season. Keep an eye on that defense though, they’re good and they may start to develop the kind of identity this team sorely needs.

 

Kansas City Chiefs:

 photo kcchiefs_zps56nfs0dy.jpg

 

I love Andy Reid and I don’t care who knows it. I love his comeback with the Chiefs after leaving Philadelphia, bruised, broken, and disgraced. Along with Reid, we’ve got another guy with something to prove in QB Alex Smith. He was let go by the ‘Niners, despite playing quite well, in favor of a shinier new model (though I’m guessing plenty of 49ers fans would be happy to have Smith back over Kap at this point). Justin Houston turns an already great d-line into arguably the league’s most terrifying and amped up pass rush. While it’s certainly not the best look to call yourself “the LeBron James of the NFL,” Jamaal Charles’ point is well taken in that he is one of the NFL’s premier running backs. C’mon Jamaal, let’s not forget that LeBron’s favorite athlete is Calvin Johnson!

There are some potential concerns here with a lack of big play receivers, and Charles was hung up with some injuries last season. For a team that doesn’t throw many touchdowns, I’m curious to see if Maclin will be used as a deep threat option, modifying the Chiefs’ game-plan somewhat.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

I think the division goes to the Chiefs this year. It’s going to be a tooth and nail street fight with Denver, and it’s going to get nasty. Even if the Broncos do edge them out of divisional champ status, they definitely still make the playoffs in the wildcard spot. The defensive front continues to dominate and the offense grounds, pounds, and stays consistently productive.

 


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