What we learned from Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season

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Published on : September 12, 2017

 

After what seemed like an eternity, football is finally back. With the return of both NCAAF and NFL action, girlfriends and wives across this great nation begin to weather the long and lonely storm that will last until Super Bowl LII is completed in February. With commencement of the 2017 NFL season, as with every NFL season, there are questions abound. Let’s survey the post week 1 landscape and see if we didn’t learn anything from the first action of the year.

 

The Colts are in disarray.

 

Not only did they get their asses handed to them by the Rams, but during the post game press conference their coach couldn’t even remember which team it was that handed them their aforementioned ass, to the tune of 46-9. It’s was the Rams who the Colts made look like the Patriots, by the way. It’s no secret that Andrew Luck is, by far, their best player, but it’s shocking just how bad the rest of this team is. Much like when they had Peyton Manning as their QB, this organization is content let the signal caller win games single-handily and let the team go down in flames should anything happen to the guy under center. They better hope Andrew Luck gets healthy quick and saves them from a top-5 draft pick in 2018.

 

 

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense could finally be living up to all the hype.

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The Jags came out and wiped the floor with the Houston Texans in week 1. Their defense totaled 10 sacks, a new record for the franchise, and their prized free agent acquisition, Calais Campbell, came away with 3.5 on his own. After years of drafting athletics freaks and paying for big name free agents, it appears that the team with the ugliest uniforms in the NFL could finally be seeing some dividends on that investment.

 

 

The injury bug is back with a fury.

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Week 1 was brutal for many fantasy football enthusiasts (myself included) and for pure fans around the league. The Arizona Cardinals look like they’ve lost David Johnson for a significant period of time to a wrist injury. The Jaguars lost Allen Robinson for the year with torn ACL and the Chicago Bears have once again lost Kevin White for the season with a broken shoulder blade. That’s only the big name offensive specialists that got inured. Their were also significant injuries among linemen and defenders across the NFL in week 1. Football is violent sport and injuries are inevitable but one has to wonder if the reduction in full contact practices in preseason under the current CBA has anything to do with it?

 

 

The Dallas Cowboys are picking up right where they left off last season.

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When the Cowboys selected running back Ezekiel Elliott with the 4th overall pick last year, and then moved on from Tony Romo last season and ushered in the era of Dak Prescott, a 4th round rookie, their was some consternation among fans in Dallas. The doubters were quickly quieted last season after the two rookies set the league on fire, and if there was any doubt lingering, the team squashed it out with a dominant 19-3 victory over the division rival Giants on Sunday Night Football. As much as I hate to say it, the Cowboys will be among the favorites to win the NFC this year.

 

 

It’s criminal that Colin Kaepernick does not have a job right now.

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Scott Tolzien, Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown. These are names of guys who started in week 1 and led their teams to some brutal losses. That’s not even to mention middle-of-the-road guys like Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer, who looked like trash. Colin Kaepernick could help any one of these teams by at least providing some quality competition for their starters. It’s hard to believe that there is any type of collusion among owners to keep him out of the league but it is puzzling that he hasn’t landed on a roster yet.

 

The most important thing that we all learned in week 1 is… NOTHING! The NFL season is a long and grueling endeavor and anyone who thinks they can truly discern the direction of any team from one week of action is full of shit. Teams that looked like world beaters this week (I’m looking at you, Rams) will miss the playoff and teams that came out flat (the Patriots) could go on to win the rest of their games. There is really no way to tell. So buckle up and enjoy the ride because it’s a mighty long road to Super Bowl LII.

 

 


Most intriguing games of the upcoming NFL season

Written by :
Published on : August 12, 2017

 

The NFL season is so close I can practically taste it. It’s early August and we are just beginning to get some preseason football action. This is an exciting time of year when football (and Burning Man) is pretty much all I can think about. This is the time when I have an uneasy optimism about my beloved Detroit Lions as I allow myself to believe that maybe, just maybe, this will be the year we overcome the god damned Packers and win the division.

 

Aside from the Lions, I’m excited about the season in general and I’m starting to form opinions (based on nothing other than my own analysis and guess work) about who is going to be worth watching this year. With that in mind, I’ve started to take a look at the schedule and pick out games that I think will be exceptionally entertaining. Here are the most intriguing games of the upcoming NFL season.

 

Chargers at Broncos. Week 1.

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Bruno thought I was crazy for this one but hear me out. The Chargers still have Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon, and if the rest of the team can stay healthy they should have a solid squad. The Broncos should have a good defense with Von Miller leading the way and if they can find any semblance of a competent passing game then they should be in the running for the AFC West. This game, though early in the season, should go a long way to sorting out what that division will look like all year.

 

Cowboys at Cardinals. Week 3 MNF: League’s top young running backs (removed).

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Before the Cowboys electrifying young running back, Ezekiel Elliot, got suspended for being an asshole this was one of my favorite early matchups of the season. The Cardinals have my favorite running back and the MVP of my championship fantasy football team last year, David Johnson. This was going to be an epic battle on the ground, but now I just hope David Johnson rushes for 250 yards, has 200 receiving yards and scores 5 touchdowns.

 

Atlanta at New England. Week 7: Super Bowl rematch.

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Remember that one time the Atlanta Falcons had a Super Bowl Victory firmly in their grasp only to choke away a 25 point lead in the second half to Tom Brady and the Patriots? Well this is their chance to get some sort of payback.

 

Dallas at Atlanta. Week 10.

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This is the first of my potential conference championship game previews on the list. Atlanta represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last year and the Cowboys were favorites to make it to the conference final before running into the Green Bay Packers. Theses two teams will be in the running for it again this year and this first matchup should be a good one.

 

New England at Oakland. Week 11: Mexico City.

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In the next potential conference championship game preview, we have the Patriots facing off against the Raiders. I would bet money that the Patriots will be heading back to the AFC Championship game and the Raiders seem poised to build on a successful 2016 campaign that was derailed by an injury to their young QB, Derek Carr. Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will surely be rocking as the greatest quarterback of all time faces off against one of the best young gunslingers in the league.

 

New England at Pittsburgh. Week 15.

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This is a rematch of last years AFC Championship game and if us football fans are lucky, it will be a preview of this year’s. Give me Tom Brady vs Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown any day of the damn week. This is deep enough in the season to have serious playoff implications but not so late that Bill Belichick is resting half his team. Get ready for a barn burner in this one.

 

Green Bay at Detroit. Week 17.

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Normally no one is getting all that excited about any Detroit Lions game, but for the second year in a row the Lions will host the rival Green Bay Packers at home to end the season. Last year this game decided the NFC North and the hope is that it will be the same scenario. And hopefully my Lions will win the NFC North for the first time since the division was created back in 2001.

 

Well there you have it. The most interesting matchups of the upcoming NFL season as I see them. Are there any games that you think shouldn’t have made the list or any marquee games that you think I missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 3 (Special Edition Mamma Pretzel Picks): Derrick Johnson Pick Six and Awakening of the Beast

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Published on : September 29, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the prisoners manacled, and the graves have been robbed.

 

Week 3 Special – Mamma Pretzel’s Choice: Derrick Johnson Picks Off Fitzpatrick, Rumbles His Way 50-plus Yards For The TD

 

 

Mamma Pretzel is a football fan, and I’m lucky enough that each year her and I head off to Ford Field to see a Lions game in October. As I was chatting about the NFL with her while going over the highlights Monday so I thought I’d hand over the reigns and give her a shot at picking this week’s highlight.

 

I was personally pretty giddy over LeGarrette Blount’s long run for TD on Thursday night, aided by a great Julian Edelman block and capped off with a goofy photo-op celebration with the “minutemen,” but that was rejected out of hand by Moms: “I’m not going to pick anything involving the damn Patriots.” I submit without comment. “Well, I guess it’s gotta be that one…,” she admitted after reviewing Derrick Johnson’s pick of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who then went on to follow his blocks cleverly, end the thing with a nice stiff-arm, and stumble/spin into the end zone. It turned out to be a compromise seeing as how Mamma Pretzel is a bit of a Jets fan and a real-deal believer in Fitzpatrick. Again, I submit without comment.

 

Kansas City had their way defensively with the Jets at Arrowhead on Sunday. Fitz threw a whopping six interceptions, with this one being the final straw late in the fourth. While it was a lost cause for sure at that point, I love the focus by Johnson, as well as the dedication of Jets WR Quincy Enunwa rushing back only to take the rough stiff–arm to the mask that sealed the play. The Chiefs continue to have one of those maddening hot/cold defenses. At their best they are easily in the league’s top three, but that’s not always the team we see on Sunday. Thanks Mom! See you in October.

 

Week 3: Awakening of the Beast

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Director: Jose Mojica Marins
Released: 1970

 

Brazilian director and horror personality Jose Mojica Marins, better known by his top-hatted and long-taloned persona “Coffin Joe” is still working today, but he’s best known in the States for a duo of shockers made in the 1960’s that are lurid, stylish, and sport some great titles: At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964), and This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967). The flicks are good fright fare with a combination of dreadful tone in the menacing character of Joe himself, and the general theme of the madman subjecting beautiful scantily clad women to torture by all manner of creepy-crawlies. Spider on midriff? Check. Snake around thigh? Check. Marins also has a legitimately threatening presence as an actor, imbuing these two films with a sense that violence can happen to anyone at any minute.

 

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Awakening of the Beast is sometimes considered the third installment in a trilogy along with the aforementioned films, but given Marins’ scattered and varied output, most of which involves Coffin Joe, I don’t find the assessment to be appropriate. More Roger Corman exploitation cheapie than spook show, Marins uses the hoary old MacGuffin of psychedelic drug use as an excuse to stage skits involving all manner of deviant sexual behavior (S & M, bestiality, and incest all get at least passing attention), and like many other good examples of the “freak out” genre this one switches over from black and white to candy color for a phantasmagoric orgy of sex and violence once the LSD properly kicks in.

 

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Laughably sensationalist treatment of drug culture and cheap thrills and chills aside, Marins using his own Coffin Joe character as a kind of mock-documentary host/educator instead of boogeyman bad-guy is the most fun to watch, and the picture’s crowning achievement.

 

This extremely NSFW opening scene gives you a taste of what Joe/Jose is serving up in Awakening of the Beast:

 

 

This one is pretty hard to get a hold of today, with no easy streaming options I could find, but it looks like Amazon sells DVD copies for pretty cheap. Both At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, and This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse are available for free in their entirety on Youtube.

 

 


Top Holdout Candidates Other Than DeAndre Hopkins

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Published on : July 31, 2016

 

 

Yesterday, Pro Bowl wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, failed to report Houston Texans training camp with the purpose of holding out for a better contract. He (rightfully) wants to be paid in a manner commensurate with his contributions to the team and says that he will not return until a new contract has been worked out. At 24, he became the centerpiece of an otherwise lackluster Texans’ offense, piling up 111 catches for 1,521 total yards, good for third-best in the NFL. Hopkins was the only bright spot on an offensive unit that saw four different quarterbacks take the field, and he became the first player to ever have 100 yards receiving from those four different QBs.

 

 DeAndre just wants to get paid his fair share.

 

For someone who is as important to the offense as he is, the $1 million base salary that he is earning under his current contract for the 2016 season means that he is grossly underpaid. In a field of work where tomorrow is never guaranteed (like the contracts) and the future is never certain, NFL players must maximize their value when they have the opportunity. DeAndre Hopkins realizes that there might not ever be another chance to get paid like he can right now so he is gambling on himself and hoping that the team realizes how important he is.

 

The DeAndre Hopkins situation got me thinking about which other players are being way underpaid in the league right now. Here are my top candidates to be the next to holdout for a new contract. Maybe it won’t happen until next year, but these guys are definitely being underpaid, or at least they think they are.

 

Derek Carr

This is the big one. Derek Carr is one of the best young QB talents in the league and he is making a laughable amount of money for someone who is future of the franchise and made a Pro Bowl last season. His $733,346 base salary is less than guys like Kyle Van Noy, Shaun Draughn, and Bishop Sankey. The added $741,691 in bonuses helps a little, but the fact is that he is far underpaid compared to other quarterbacks who have a similar level of talent. There’s no doubt that the Raiders will pay him his due eventually, but we all know how volatile of an environment the NFL is for its players and their worth. He might be best served to holdout now and try to get that paper.

 

 The Raiders have their QB of the future. Now it’s time to pay him like it.

 

Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett has been complaining about his current contract situation for a minute now. In his opinion he is better than the 26th best defensive end in the NFL, which is where his current base salary is on the spectrum of DE contracts. Bennett hinted at the idea of a holdout earlier this offseason for the second year in a row, but he also showed up to training camp this weekend, so it seems like he might not really have the stomach to go through with it. Either way, if you talk about the idea of holding out, then there is at least a chance that you’d do it. That’s why Michael Bennett made it on this list.

 

 Michael Bennett has been unhappy about his contract for a while. And he’s been taking it out on opposing QBs.

 

David Johnson

This dude came out of nowhere for the Arizona Cardinals and finished his rookie campaign last season with 13 total touchdowns, a rookie record for the NFL’s oldest franchise. From the time he entered the starting lineup in week 13 until the end of the season, no other player in the league averaged more yards from scrimmage per game than Johnson’s 131.7. He is just as dangerous in the pass game as in the run game and his playmaking ability means that he will quickly silence doubters this coming season and hang on to the starting role over Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson. And he is making peanuts compared to other star running backs. The fact that the Cardinals were able to snag him in the third round of last year’s draft means that he will make an average of just $729,843 a season until he is an unrestricted free agent in 2019. That won’t happen. Look for David Johnson to light the world afire once more this season and get himself a fat new contract next offseason.

 

 David Johnson is the most electrifying player on the Cardinals offense.

 

Khalil Mack

The Oakland Raiders have a pretty good problem on their hands. They have two young stars who they are underpaying right now. That means they are getting a ton of value for their dollar in two very important positions. Khalil Mack was selected to the Pro Bowl last year and holds the Raiders franchise record for sacks in a game (5) against the Broncos. Mack’s average of $5.1 million per year ranks 31st among outside linebackers and he won’t be a free agent until 2018. With the physical demands of playing outside linebackers and heightened injury risk that comes with playing such a violent position, it would not be at all surprising to see Khalil Mack holdout for a new contract next offseason if he plays as well this year as he did last. The Raiders would be smart to start preparing for the idea of having to pay both Derek Carr and Khalil Mack very soon.

 

 The kind of guy who can give you 5 sacks in one game is the kind of guy you pay to keep around.

 

Who do you think is a serious candidate to holdout for a new contract in the near future? Leave your answer in the comments below or tweet us @ScoreBored_SBS.

 


Angelino in the Outfield (Episode IV: Whose Number Should Every NL Team Retire Next?)

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Published on : March 22, 2016

 

During the upcoming 2016 season, Ken Griffey Jr., Pete Rose, Mike Piazza and Wade Boggs will have their numbers retired by the Mariners, Reds, Mets and Red Sox, respectively. And that got me thinking about which players should be next in line for those honors. So sit back, relax and enjoy while I go through all 30 teams and tell you who’s the most deserving. First, let’s do the National League.

 

Braves

 Time to retire #25

 

Retired Numbers: Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro, Dale Murphy, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Bobby Cox, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones.
The easy answer would be Andruw Jones. But once upon a time the Atlanta Braves used to be known as the Boston Beaneaters and their star pitcher was Kid Nichols, who was the youngest pitcher ever to win 300 games. Granted, I’m sure there’s not a lot of love out there for a guy who retired 110 years ago. But Warren Spahn never pitched in Atlanta either. And Eddie Mathews only played one season there. I could go on, but I feel you judging me. Fine. Have it your way. It’s Andruw Jones.

 

Brewers

Guess it’s gota be him

 

Retired Numbers: Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Bud Selig.
You leave me no choice, Brewers. It’s Ryan Braun. I don’t want it to be, but I can’t say it’s Ben Sheets or Cecil Cooper or Teddy Higuera. So either I close my eyes and pretend I don’t know about the PED issues or how the guy seems like a grade A asshole… or I can just wait until somebody like Orlando Arcia gets called up and becomes the shit. So I guess we wait.

 

Cardinals

 He is a machine.

 

Retired Numbers: Stan Musial, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, August Busch Jr., Ken Boyer, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Whitey Herzog, Tony La Russa, Rogers Hornsby.
It’s Albert Pujols. Did you think it wouldn’t be Albert Pujols? It seems like the Cardinals retire everybody’s number, so I’m kinda surprised they’ve never done Ted Simmons or Jim Edmonds or Ray Lankford or Ducky fucking Medwick. And maybe they’re coming. But Pujols was a monster in St. Louis and they gotta hang up #5. Until then, the other obvious answer is Cool Papa Bell of the St. Louis Stars. Everyone who has a statue outside Busch Stadium also has their number retired inside the stadium except George Sisler (who played for the St. Louis Browns, who are now the Baltimore Orioles) and Cool Papa. Let him in, guys.

 

Cubs

 Make it Dawson

 

Retired Numbers: Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins.
Cap Anson was a racist piece of garbage and basically the entire reason for baseball’s color line that lasted until Jackie Robinson. So it can’t be him. Ever. And I’m not sure Cubs fans would take kindly to “Sammy Sosa Appreciation Day” yet either. And the Cubs have no real sense of history from 1909 until 1969. So you’d get a lot of confused shrugs for Stan Hack or Gabby Hartnett. And anything involving ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance’ or Three Finger Brown reminds everyone of the Year That Shall Not Be Named. So your best bet here is honestly Andre Dawson or Mark Grace. The Nationals un-retired Dawson’s Expos number when the franchise moved to Washington. And I’m sure the Cubs would love to retire anything ’08 related, if you know what I mean. For Grace, just Google ‘Mark Grace slumpbuster’ to know why he’s a legendary figure on the broey North Side of Chicago. By the way, what if the only way the Curse of the Billy Goat can be broken is if Mark Grace finds Steve Bartman and/or some relative of Billy Sianis and has to sex with the fattest woman they know? Just putting that out there as the potential plot of Field of Dreams 2.

 

Diamondbacks

 Why do you hate Curt Schilling?

 

Retired Numbers: Luis Gonzalez, Randy Johnson.
So everybody must really hate Curt Schilling, huh? They could try to say that Gonzalez is their best position player in their short history and the Big Unit is their best pitcher. But c’mon. 2001. So unless you can sell me on Brandon Webb or waiting for Paul Goldschmidt, I just assume everyone there hates Schilling. Dude was co-MVP of the 2001 World Series. Why do you hate Curt Schilling???

 

Dodgers

How is #34 not retired yet?

 

Retired Numbers: Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Walter Alston, Jim Gilliam, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Don Drysdale, Tommy Lasorda, Don Sutton.
The Dodgers have never officially retired Fernando Valenzuela’s number, although his #34 has been out of circulation since his retirement. I think it’s about time. I mean, have you ever been to Dodger Stadium? I’d say about 1/3 of the people there are rocking El Toro’s jersey. And way more people would care about that than if it were say, Zack Wheat or Dazzy Vance, even though they were better players. Oh, and also there’s the whole history of Chavez Ravine and the Dodgers fucking owing him. And I don’t even need to talk about Clayton Kershaw or the rest of the 1988 team. You give that to Fernando.

 

Giants

 Will they ever forgive Barry?

 

Retired Numbers: Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Bill Terry, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, Monte Irvin, Christy Mathewson, John McGraw.
Call me crazy, but I have this weird suspicion that it’s not going to be Barry Bonds any time soon. Even though he’s the best player in Major League history to not have his number retired by anybody. And I also don’t think there’d be much support for old timers like Roger Connor or George Davis. Or Travis Jackson and Ross Youngs, even though they’re both in the Hall of Fame and played their entire career with the Giants. So either the collective members of the even-year’d Giants teams of this decade retire (and that means Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner) or we forgive and embrace Barry. You know, whichever comes first.

 

Marlins

 Maybe Stanton, I guess?

 

Retired Numbers: Nobody.
Wow. I guess I agree with the Marlins, since the best player in their franchise history is probably Hanley Ramirez. And Andre Dawson and Mike Piazza are the only Hall of Famers to ever play there. You know, famous Marlin, Mike Piazza. So unless they go with Livan Hernandez from the 1997 team or Josh Beckett from the 2003 team, I guess they could honor Ichiro, should he get his 3000th hit with Miami. Or they could just wait for Giancarlo Stanton to keep being awesome when he’s not hurt. But this is a weird situation for them. This team has two World Series trophies and absolutely zero history.

 

Mets

 Do it for the Straw!

 

Retired Numbers: Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza.
Unofficially, the Mets have also retired the numbers of Gary Carter and Willie Mays. And I’m assuming they’ll eventually make those official. And they’ll probably eventually honor David Wright at some point as well. But you have no idea how bad I wish they’d do something for Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. I know, I know. But it’s not even that big of a stretch. Who’s better than those two guys in the history of the Mets that I haven’t already named? Jose Reyes? Please. The ’86 Mets have a special evil place in my heart and in their noses. I think they deserve to be honored.

 

Nationals

 But when will Bryce’s hair get its number retired?

 

Retired Numbers: Nobody.
When the Expos moved to D.C. in 2005, they un-retired the numbers for Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Rusty Staub. So we know we can’t hold out for them or for guys like Steve Rogers, Tim Wallach or Vladimir Guerrero to get honored. But starting in 2005 also means the best player in their franchise history is Ryan Zimmerman. I mean, it will be Bryce Harper. But the Nationals need to take their own lead from outside their stadium (where they have statues of former Senators greats, Walter Johnson and Frank Howard, as well as Homestead Grays great, Josh Gibson) and hook it up inside. Start there. We can talk about Sam Rice and Goose Goslin and Buck Leonard later.

 

Padres

 It’s got to be Peavy

 

Retired Numbers: Steve Garvey, Randy Jones, Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman.
How happy am I that the Padres are using brown uniforms this year? Anyway, this is hard. Kevin Brown was silly in ’98, the last year they went to the World Series. But that was his only year on the team. So it has to be Jake Peavy. I mean, I don’t want it to be Jake Peavy. But I won’t condone any celebration of Andy Benes.

 

Phillies

 It should be Chase Utley

 

Retired Numbers: Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Jim Bunning, Pete Alexander, Chuck Klein.
They can’t slap an old timers thing next to Pete Alexander and Chuck Klein for Ed Delahanty or Sherry Magee? Fine. Then they’re going to have to do something for Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. If not also Ryan Howard and Chalie Manuel. See, children. There was a time not so long ago when the Philadelphia Phillies didn’t absolutely suck.

 

Pirates

 Give Arky his due!

 

Retired Numbers: Honus Wagner, Billy Meyer, Pie Traynor, Roberto Clemente, Danny Murtaugh, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, Ralph Kiner, Paul Waner.
Is there any good reason why the Pirates never retired Arky Vaughan’s number? Or Bob Friend’s? Or Max Carey’s? Or Babe Adams’? Or Fred Clarke’s? You know, other than Carey and Adams hating Clarke, and Clarke being bona fide clubhouse poison during the 1926 season. I looked that up. Anyway, the Pirates need to do a better job with honoring their long history. Because the next best pick is Skinny Barry Bonds until Andrew McCutchen stacks more on to his career numbers. Is the world ready to honor Skinny Barry Bonds?

 

Reds

 Bid McPhee!

 

Retired Numbers: Fred Hutchinson, Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, Joe Morgan, Ted Kluszewski, Tony Perez, Sparky Anderson, Dave Concepcion, Barry Larkin, Pete Rose.
Bid McPhee! Come on! The guy is in the Hall of Fame after playing his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds. They even ripped off his handle bar mustache for their stupid logo. But somehow, they can’t honor the guy by name inside the ballpark. YOUR LOGO IS A BASEBALL DISGUISED AS BID McPHEE, CINCINNATI! Anyway, after Pete Rose, the only position players for the ’75-76 Big Red Machine to not have their numbers retired are the outfielders – George Foster, Cesar Geronimo and Ken Griffey Sr. And Foster is just as good a choice as anyone else. Except Big McPhee. They’re seriously killing me the with no Bid McPhee.

 

Rockies

What exactly are they waiting for?

 

Retired Numbers: Todd Helton.
I don’t know what they’re waiting for with Larry Walker. And it’s not like Troy Tulowitzki is coming back any time soon. So unless they’re also hung up on Walker’s home/road splits, they should pull the trigger or just give it to Ubaldo Jimenez for actually having one decent season pitching in the thin air of Denver in 2010.

 

 

That’s it for the NL, stay tuned for the American League!

 

 


Angelino in the Outfield (Episode I)

Written by :
Published on : February 27, 2016

 

 

Last week on Monday Night Raw, Shane McMahon made a shocking return to the WWE after a six year absence. And it was soon announced that he’d be facing the Undertaker inside ‘Hell in a Cell’ at WrestleMania 32. I wonder if maybe, just maybe, Theo Epstein happened to be watching. Because just three days later, Dexter Fowler’s surprise return to the Cubs was as close to a WWE-style swerve as an actual non-scripted sport can get. The only thing it was missing was cued-up entrance music (“My Way” by Fetty Wap, would have been perf) and his Cubs teammates chanting ‘holy shit’ and ‘this is awesome’ (clap clap clap clap clap) after the big reveal.

 

Until that very moment, the consensus foregone conclusion was that Fowler had signed with the Baltimore Orioles. It was speculated and anticipated for weeks by baseball’s talking head community until it evolved into a full-blown fact. Right up until the moment it wasn’t. And after receiving a text that just said “Fowler!” from my ‘Go Cubs’ iPhone message group, I was so confused and skeptical that I didn’t believe the news until I actually saw the video of a 6’5″ dude in street clothes who looked a lot like Dexter Fowler walking onto the field with a guy who looked a lot like Theo Epstein and being greeted by a group of guys in Cubs uniforms who looked exactly like the rest of the Chicago Cubs. It wouldn’t take long for a meme to go out on social media with Steve Harvey holding the Miss Universe card and saying, “DEXTER FOWLER HAS SIGNED WITH THE ORIOLES.”

 

 Fowler will be back with the Cubs.

 

And while I could talk about what the Fowler signing means for the 2016 Cubs (the best team in baseball on paper just got better, Jason Heyward can now move back to right field where he’s won three Gold Gloves and it creates an insanely flexible lineup depth with Fowler, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber in the other outfield slots, etc.), it’s probably best to use this as further proof that conventional wisdom at the start of Spring Training doesn’t necessarily equate to actual regular season results. And everything we think we know about the 2016 season before it starts is probably just as true as the fact that Dexter Fowler is the new leadoff hitter for the Baltimore Orioles.

 

All that being said, I still can’t think of a reason why it won’t be the Cubs’ year in 2016. Yes, I’m still worried about the Cardinals. And I still think the Pirates are probably vastly underrated. And I know that saying, “Anything less than the World Series would be a huge disappointment” is a statement that is probably held equally true for the Mets and the Dodgers. And I know that the Nationals were the team that looked like the hands-down best-on-paper team last year. That is, of course, until they weren’t. But it’s still February as I type this. And hope still springs eternal. So as of right now, I’m a believer.

 

Around the League

 

The more I think about the 2016 Boston Red Sox and their high win projections, the more I have a problem with them. Pablo Sandoval showed up to Fort Myers looking like me after a cake bender. And if you combine that with Hanley Ramirez at first base, I don’t see why every team they face wouldn’t just put on a dead-ball-era bunt clinic until the Red Sox can figure their own shit out? But the good news for the Red Sox is that every team in their division has a really good reason why they won’t win either. The best one is that 5’8″ Marcus Stroman is going to become the the ace of the Blue Jays like he’s pitching’s Jose Altuve. And Jose Bautista’s contract looks like it’s already a distraction. As are the whispers that Troy Tulowitzki can’t hit outside of the thin air of Coors Field. And those two teams are the favorites in the division. If you add to that, the uncertainty of the rotation and age of the position players in New York, a possible 30-40 game suspension of Aroldis Chapman, a Tampa Bay Rays team that doesn’t score runs and an Orioles team that doesn’t prevent runs, it leaves me throwing up my hands and saying, “Let them eat cake.”

 

I’m increasingly curious to see Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios in Minnesota. Not to mention Miguel Sano and Byung-ho Park. That’s too much young talent to not pan out in a division where I’m totally ready to see something new and exciting happen. That could also occur if the White Sox can score runs and if the Indians can play defense. I just don’t want to see a scenario where these Kansas City Royals, who have the 13th-highest payroll in baseball and who will not be sneaking up on anyone this time around, can become the 1998-2001 Yankees or the 1988-1990 Bash Brother A’s. I can only take so many cuts to Happy George Brett in the owner’s box before I get sick of this double-tapered shit.

 

 Can the Royals really do it again?

 

My way-too-early AL MVP pick is going to be Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros. Especially now that they created the Chase Utley Slide Rule to protect him. Mike Trout is still probably going to be the best player in the league. But he’s going to get ‘LeBron Ruled’ out of the award until the Angels can put a decent lineup around him. The same probably goes for Josh Donaldson and even a returning Miguel Cabrera because nobody likes repeats. So that probably leaves us with Manny Machado, who probably won’t be in playoff contention and Correa who probably will. And my backup choice is obviously Dexter Fowler, the definite new right fielder for the Baltimore Orioles.

 

And while I haven’t decided on my pre-season NL MVP pick quite yet, I will say that if the Diamondbacks are really going to be in contention, then there’s no reason it won’t be Paul Goldschmidt. But you can’t rule out never-been-picked guys like Giancarlo Stanton (with his zero facial hair and his Barry Bonds) or whichever Cubs player hogs up the most attention in their historic season. Or it could even be whoever this Royce Harper guy is Dusty Baker keeps talking about. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

 

Well, we have actual Spring Training games next week. We’ll get to see Lucas Giolito and Julio Urias and Corey Seager and Byron Buxton and Joey Gallo and start forming actual thoughts about these teams as they move towards the regular season. I’ve given you my picks for World Series champion and AL MVP. And with just a little bit more information, I can form enough of an opinion to the wrong about the rest. Stay tuned.

 

 


Great Expectations: A Spring Training Preview

Written by :
Published on : February 23, 2016

 

Oh no. This is a really weird feeling for a Cubs fan to have. For the first time that I can ever remember, the Lovable Losers on the North Side of Chicago seem to be both the unanimous pick to win their division and also a trendy choice for the 2016 World Series. And on paper it even makes sense. Last year, they proved that their young squad was ahead of their projected timeline, won 97 games and then went deep into the playoffs until they ran into a freakishly overachieving Daniel Murphy and a young Mets pitching staff that seems to remind everyone of the nineties Atlanta Braves. And then they went out in the offseason and got the best healthy pitcher and the best position player from their hated Cardinal rivals, and also added a guy who led the majors in WAR in 2009. Oh, and the rest of their seemingly-all-rookie lineup from last year is back and probably better than ever and still way too young and dumb to comprehend how a jaded, cynical asshole like me can still hesitate to be bullish on the prospects of a Thousand Year Cubs Dynasty.

 

This has to be too good to be true, right? There’s too much pressure. The Cubs never follow up a good season with another good season. Look at 1985, 1990 and every other year since The Year That Shall Not Be Named. And Jake Arrieta has to regress. Because he just has to. And John Lackey is 137 years old. And their bullpen isn’t quite there. And Jason Heyward isn’t a natural center fielder. And because they’re the fucking Cubs. Right? Like, why should I get my hopes up just to have them crushed again and again like I have my whole life? Why? Well… Because of Theo Epstein. And because of Joe Maddon. And because of that offense. Oh, that offense. And Kris Bryant. And Addison Russell. And Kyle Schwarber. And Anthony Rizzo. And the fact that Heyward is actually younger than Anthony Rizzo. And the fact that Heyward could win a Gold Glove in center. And because Arrieta may have pitched an assload of innings last year, but he famously stays in excellent shape. And because of how great of a story it would be if they actually did do it. And because, on paper, the Cubs just so happen to have the best team in baseball by a decent margin. Oh no, indeed.

 

 

The Rest of the NL Central

The Cubs may have kicked their ass and stolen their girlfriend, but the Cardinals are still the Cardinals. You just kind of assume they’ll be playing in October, no matter what. But even with Adam Wainwright back, the mystique feels like it’s gone, with a bad offseason and Yadier Molina needing to grow another thumb. Maybe their insane luck will finally run out. I also thought that about the Alabama football team back in September. Not that I should talk about football in the same breath I talk about St. Louis. Anyway… Then there’s the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s not like they sucked last year either. But nobody likes to talk about them because they’ll probably just get to the Wild Card and lose again, if they do anything at all. And the only fun thing about that is if Sean Rodriguez goes HAM on another water cooler. This division will inevitably be drowned out by the tidal wave of Cubs expectations. And the Reds and Brewers have probably already
drowned in it.

 

The NL East

According to EVERYONE, the Mets have the greatest pitching staff of all time, ever. And, yes, it’s horrifying. Matt Harvey is another year removed from Tommy John surgery. Jacob deGrom is a floppy-haired pitching monster. Noah Syndergaard actually is Thor. Big fat Bartolo Colon doesn’t age. Steven Matz would be a #1 starter on every other non-Mets team. And Zack Wheeler will be back in July to seal the already-done deal. Plus, all of them except Colon are 19 years old or something. The only problem is that nobody knows what type of hangover these guys will have from all those innings they ate up against Kansas City in the World Series. Or if they’ll even stay healthy. But if they do all bounce back, holy shit. Plus, they re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, which all makes for an excellent case for them to go back to the World Series. No matter how much I hate that.

 

 

Overall this division is horrible. But Bryce Harper and the dysfunctional Nationals should contend. Even though Dusty Baker is their new manager. And nobody knows what to make of the Miami Marlins quite yet. Don Mattingly is their new manager. Barry Bonds is their new hitting coach. Giancarlo Stanton will be healthy. So will Jose Fernandez. But we’ll have to see what all that means, if anything. Or if those guys can even stay healthy in the first place. And anyone looking to make a bold prediction on the division a la the 2015 Cubs and Astros might want to keep their eye on the Atlanta Braves, who are building a monster farm team, even though they’ll most likely be just slightly less shitty than the Phillies in 2016.

 

The NL West

I hate to say it, but 2016 is an even year. So we can probably throw all the analytics out the window and just hand the San Francisco Giants their fourth world title seven years. Their pitching staff picked up two possibly-great/possibly-hugely-disappointing acquisitions in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. And that could give them an edge in what everybody seems to think will be a three team race with the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks.

 

The Dodgers lost Zack Greinke. To the Diamondbacks. They also have a rookie manager in Dave Roberts. In a market that wore out Mattingly and sent him to Miami. They also didn’t do anything with their gigantic payroll in the offseason. And any time you need to rely on Yasiel Puig for anything other than drama, it’s a pretty scary predicament. But this is a deep team with a crazy-good farm system. And they’ll probably be in enough contention by the time the trade deadline rolls around to throw money at whatever problems they have (that don’t involve lack of team chemistry). Plus they still have Clayton Kershaw. At the end of the day, as a resident Angelino, I just want to see Vin Scully go out in style. And if that means the Dodgers have to be good for that to happen, I can accept that.

 

 

Yes, Arizona got Greinke. And Shelby Miller. And they still have unrecognizable superstar, Paul Goldschmidt and equally unrecognizable AJ Pollock. But their projections aren’t too high as of now because of a lack of offensive depth (sup, Yasmany Tomas?). And it seems more likely they could be this year’s Padres and/or White Sox. As for the 2016 Padres and Rockies, I’m not wasting my time. It is an even year, after all.

 

The AL East

Every team in the division not named the Baltimore Orioles seem to have a chance this year. But the overall consensus comes down to the rebounding Boston Red Sox and the reigning division champion Toronto Blue Jays. Personally, I don’t know how acquiring David Price and Craig Kimbrel turns a 78-win last place team into a division favorite, but that’s just how the east coast media bias works. But it will be fun to see how fat Pablo Sandoval is. And if Hanley Ramirez can play first base. And it’s also the swan song for Big Papi. Plus, David Price is actually really fucking good. So I don’t know.

 

 

The Blue Jays have the best offense in baseball. And reigning MVP, Josh Donaldson. And their offense might be even better than last year since Troy Tulowitzki never got comfortable in Toronto in 2015. They’ll just have to stay healthy. And hope somebody on their team can pitch. As for the Yankees, they’re really old. And look how that worked out for them last season. Plus, you never know about that staff. And as good as their bullpen looks right now, we still don’t know what’s going to happen with Aroldis Chapman’s domestic abuse suspension. And the Rays have Chris Archer and the rest of their great starting five, but they’ll basically need everybody else on the lineup to be awesome to compete. Oh, and also the Orioles are in this division too, I guess.

 

The AL Central

The Royals won the World Series last year, no big deal. And they were one Madison Bumgarner away from being back-to-back World Series champions. Yet for some reason, Baseball Prospectus has them projected to be in last place in the Central in 2016. What gives? Maybe you can’t project things like ‘putting the ball in play and its positive consequences’ or ‘playing with a chip on their shoulder’, but whatever they did the past two seasons worked, so I don’t know why it wouldn’t work again. They have the defense. They have the bullpen. It’s just so hard to make a good enough argument for or against a team with relatively zero stars, that’s this mediocre on paper, going to three straight Fall Classics.

 

 

The hot pick in the AL Central continues to be the Cleveland Indians because of an extremely good pitching staff. Add Francisco Lindor’s defense behind them and they could be a powerhouse. Or Michael Brantley could be hurt and their offense could struggle and they won’t have the money to make acquisitions at the trade deadline to compete. And while I have a soft spot for the Detroit Tigers, they’re also getting a little long in the tooth. They got Justin Upton to aid a pretty good, but aging offense. And they picked up Jordan Zimmermann and K-Rod to help out a healthy, but aging Justin Verlander-led group of arms. Health is the key here. And if they have it, they might compete. The White Sox might also compete, even though nobody outside of Bridgeport is talking about them. They got Todd Frazier. They have Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a full season from Carlos Rodon. It’s just that everybody is distracted by the heat of a thousand suns ™ on the North Side. And the Twins have Miguel Sano, who is going to hit 40 dongs this year. Even though they were so terrible last year, that even when they were in first place for a while nobody bought it. If that makes any sense. Not that it should. Why would anything in this division make sense? I mean, Royals went to the World Series the past two years.

 

The AL West

Even though the Astros are the unanimous choice to win the division, everybody would rather talk about the Texas Rangers. Their 2015 playoff run was nothing short of a miracle. And now they’ll have full seasons from Cole Hamels and a healthy Yu Darvish. It’s just that nobody really expected the Astros to be where they were last season either. And now nobody expects them to regress. And the former hot choices in the division seem like yesterday’s newspaper. Mike Trout has no talent around him in Anaheim. Nobody wants to get fooled by the Mariners ever again. And the A’s need too much to get anything done.

 

 

So there you have it. Now you’re ready for the baseball season. And now you know why your team probably sucks and why you should switch allegiances to the Chicago Cubs. Or at least that’s how everything looks right now. Spring training, when nothing counts. And before the actual season comes with all its shitty reality to break hearts, launch new stars into the stratosphere and ruin every expectation, rendering long-winded predictions like the one I just spent way too long typing on a nice afternoon completely worthless. But hey, that’s baseball.

 

What else were we gonna talk about, Donald Trump?

 

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Conference Championships

Written by :
Published on : January 27, 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.

 

Conference Championships: Kurt Coleman Picks Carson Palmer in End Zone After Carolina Gives Up Ball

 That’s so pretty.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

 

All right guys, after these Conference Championships I’m officially excited for the Super Bowl. We’ve got Denver, whose defense threw Tom Brady around the field like a rag-doll all day, against a Carolina offense that racks up points faster than a hobo eating a ham sandwich. Both these games were packed with stellar plays, but one in particular tickled my mercurial fancy.

 

With only a ten point differential in the game, Cam launched a ball he probably shouldn’t have, getting picked off by Patrick Peterson for a substantial return and great field position. He might’ve taken it to the house too had Ted Ginn not been able race back for the tackle. The Cardinals defense had come through to give AZ a much-needed break from the hard charging Carolina offense, and a great shot at narrowing the score gap.

 

But the very next play Palmer gives the ball right back, as Kurt Coleman goes up big for a full extension, two-handed catch that would be one of two interceptions for the Safety on the day. It’s not like John Brown could’ve gotten that ball anyway, what with some excellent Carolina coverage in the backfield. It was a long day for Arizona, and this is just one example of how they were thoroughly manhandled on both sides of the ball. Simply put, Carolina looks like a championship team to me.

 

Conference Championships: A Bunch of Stuff Your Grandparents Drink

 

Your Grandpa called this week and wanted me to come over and help him move the big ladder “back into the damn garage.” I promised I’d come over on Sunday to help him and watch the games.

 

After the minute-and-a-half it took to return the ladder to its proper place we settled in for some well-earned relaxation and football goodness. Your Granddad offered me a drink, and I was much obliged. One lead to another, and soon we were telling tales and getting cheerful. Here’s a recap of what your grandparents keeps on hand for guests.

 

I.W. Harper Whiskey:

bo0056e1309-52_IM220133

We got things started off right with the hard stuff. He broke me off some ice cubes that tasted like the nasty plastic tray they came from into my souvenir ballpark cup and then poured out a generous dose of the brown stuff.
“Whoo –whe, That’ll get yer ticker started,” your grandfather told me as he slugged a good deal of his back. “When I was a pup we used to make our own, but this grocery store business tastes a might better’n what we was used to.” I thanked your Grandfather and downed my glass, noticing that the telltale bottle of I.W. Harper was from the 1970’s. Tom Brady got sacked, and we both hooted and hollered.

 

It was about that time that your Grandmother came in. She snagged a pack of Tareytown smokes out of the freezer and glared at us. She packed the cigs against her palm, and then lit one up as your grandparents glared at one another. I felt very uncomfortable.

 

“How you doing Roger?” she asked in her thick accent, leaving the room before I could answer.

 

See also: J&B Scotch, Canadian Club, Wild Irish Rose

 

Schlitz Beer:

schlitzisaac

 

When we finished the bottle of Harper your Grandpa said he’d “go to the icebox and grab us some cold ones.” I assured him he didn’t need to get up, but he insisted, shuffling all the way out to the garage, moving aside the tall ladder, and pulling out a couple sixers of Schlitz. I asked your Grandfather why he kept the beer in the garage when there was a minifridge in the living room where his wife kept her cigarettes, but he simply told me to “shut up, and mind my own damn business.” The beer wasn’t the tastiest, but it was cold as the dickens, and Tom Brady was mounting a comeback, so I fixed my eyes on the blue light of the cathode-ray tube.

 

I think we both cheered when New England failed to complete the game-ending two-point conversion. That’s when the trouble really started. You’re Grandma burst into the room, waving a broom at me and shouting at your Grandpa in Italian.

 

“You know I don’t understand no goddamned eye-talian,” your Grandfather informed her. I got up to leave, finishing the last of my Schlitz. They both yelled at me to sit back down in unison. “You too! Sit down for chrissakes, will ‘ya woman?” Your Grandmother scowled at us and left the room again.

 

See also: Grain Belt, Falstaff, Rainier

 

A Jug of Carlo Rossi:

Jug DSC01359

 

But a moment later, your Grandmother returned with a jug of Carlo Rossi and two small glasses. Before I could protest she poured me out a healthy belt telling me it was good for my heart. She helped herself to a glass and we all settled in to watch the Arizona/Carolina game.

 

During the commercials your Grandma asked me all kinds of questions without waiting for an answer: “When are you going to have children? Why did that nice girl leave you? When are you going to get a real job?” I was actually quite thankful not to be able to get a word in edgewise. She also kept making me eat these cookies that had really pretty wrappers but tasted like almonds and cardboard.

 

Grandpa kept knocking back his Schlitz cans and Grandma kept refilling our glasses. The room was turning blue from all the Tareytown smoke, and I was actually getting a little nauseous but your Grandparents didn’t seem to mind.

 

During the second half your Grandparents were getting loose! They told me all about their experiences during the war, and how they met later in America. They told me lots of funny stories about your parents and they even started dancing with each other each time the Panthers scored a touchdown.

 

On the cab ride home I thought about how much I like your grandparents. You should probably give them a call sometime.

 

See also: Shitty Chianti in a Straw Wrapped Bottle, A big bottle of oxidized Merlot, “I don’t have any wine.”

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 17

Written by :
Published on : January 2, 2016

 

 

Well folks, it’s been an incredible year making picks for the all the SBS staff. We’re a bunch of smart motherfuckers. Though there was a heated competition and I am currently a distant second, I will make my boldest prediction yet: I will become the ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks Champion. In fact, here is an excerpt of my acceptance speech:

 

 

But the real point here is more exposé than anything. What the hell got into SBS Editor and possible PED user Bruno? Here we are in a two-man race between myself and Ryan, comfortable on our laurels, when all of a sudden this dude Bruno gets the Shining and mounts a ridiculous comeback. In the last five weeks he’s been among the top two in picks, including blowing us all (out of the water) this past week. Sick of it. Someone needs to dig up the dirt.

 

Moving on, the trickiest game on the slate this week for me to pick was the Cardinals – Seahawks matchup, mainly because they’re both damn good.  The game is in Arizona, but there’s very little at stake for the Cards, already having won the NFC west, while Seattle and Russell Wilson were straight up Megachurching everyone in their path before that unfortunate Rams loss (yes, when it applies to Russell Wilson on the football field, I believe “Megachurch” can be used as a verb). That loss makes this game critical for the Seabirds, not so much for the Sandbirds, so I went with Seattle.

 

That about does it for the ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks for this year.  Thanks so much to the readers, we sincerely hope that you made money gambling illegally, using our tried-and-true methods of nonsense.  Here’s to a great end of the NFL season, playoffs, Super Bowl, and hopefully a Roger Goodell Satan-worshipping scandal in the off-season.

 

My New Year’s resolution for 2016:

 

 

Week 17

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

Week 14

Week 15

Week 16

 

 


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

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC West Predictions

Written by :
Published on : August 12, 2015

 

In the NFC West we’ve got a dominant flock of seagulls, a 49ers fan base that may not have as much to worry about as they’ve been told, a lost herd of Rams looking for a shepherd, and a pumped-up Arizona staring down a tough road to repeating last season’s success.

Shut up! Shut up! The ball… She speaks to me…

San Francisco 49ers:

 photo fortyniners_zpspuwzch4o.jpg

 

It’s completely impossible to avoid the fact that San Francisco has been dealt many painful blows this offseason. They lost one of the league’s most interesting and visible coaches (regardless of whether or not his departure was inevitable). With the loss of so many players, either preventable or through unforeseen circumstances, the collective blood pressure of the ‘Niners’ faithful is rising. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine in the wake of this roster depleting shit-storm that San-Fran used to contend for the Super Bowl. To me, that team looked invincible.

Despite all that, I think there’s a chance for this organization to bounce back pretty quickly. Ex-Ravens Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin provide two great complimentary threats with a short and long pass combo. The lion’s share of the pressure is going to rest on the poorly-tattooed shoulders of Colin Kaepernick. Personally, I’m not wild about Kap, but he’s shown fits of brilliance in the past. If Kaepernick can screw his head on right, show some leadership and play at his best, you’re looking at a team destined to play above .500. Finally, I’d take Frank Gore over Reggie Bush any day, but when the former Heisman winner was healthy two seasons ago with the Lions, he provided a nice threat that specialized in bouncing to the outside.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

It’s still going to be a tough year for the 49ers, but it won’t be the complete disaster or lost year that many people are expecting. They’re going to win some big games, turn heads, and get people talking, but ultimately Kaepernick will remain streaky, making any sort of playoff run a serious long shot.

 

St. Louis Rams:

 photo stlouisrams_zps0vxu9vxf.jpg

 

The winds of change are blowing ominously in St. Louis and I think they’re blowing towards Los Angeles. By the end of the decade I won’t be surprised if this team has moved on to another part of the country. Regardless of the rumors, this is a real do or die for Jeff Fisher. He started as strong as you can while still turning in a sub .500 season, but with each successive year it’s gotten a little worse, and 2014 was close to disastrous.

There’ve been a lot of empty promises in the run game and QB department, and like Fisher, WR Tavon Austin is also experiencing a slump. James Laurinaitis deserves better than this. He’s a great captain and is the staunch backbone of a solid defense that is constantly betrayed by a legendarily bad offense. Chip Kelly’s no dummy, so at least the Foles/Bradford trade was beneficial to both parties, though I err on the side of thinking the Rams got the better deal, at least in the short term. That’s fine. Time is something they don’t have.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

For better or worse Fisher’s reign ends this season with another sub .500 campaign. Nick Foles will be a boost to the team and give Tavon Austin a bump in his stats, but it’s too little too late for a club that’s been chronically struggling. Nothing is going to go right for the Rams this year, with hints of improvement overshadowed by the oppressive weight of the same old, same old. Fisher gets to leave at the end of the season for a more rewarding gig with a smaller paycheck.

 

Arizona Cardinals:

 photo cardinals_zps8p35unzb.jpg

 

We get it Bruce Arians, you’re a really good coach who turned around a fairly obscure team and made them a scrappy contender. And yet… I just don’t believe. I kind of want to believe, but I just don’t. For me Arians is the only real example of heart and drive this team has, and he’s pretty laconic on game day to be sure. Yeah, I’ve got a soft spot for Carson Palmer, and what’s not to like about Larry Fitzgerald? But while Larry’s showing no signs of slowing down, I think this is the season we finally start to see a more pronounced decline in his production as Michael Floyd is more heavily relied upon.

While the offense has been clicking nicely, the defense is a legitimate concern. In the 2014 season they luckily ended up with stats that didn’t reflect their win/loss numbers one bit, ending up in the lower-middle half of the pecking order. All due respect to Arians, but I won’t be one bit surprised if the Cardinals don’t repeat last season’s success, even with all those much talked about injured players returning.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Appearing in a commercial is the kiss of death for any non-quarterback, so naturally Larry Fitzgerald’s numbers will decline this year. Michael Floyd will bounce back from that nasty hand injury he sustained in training camp, and Andre Ellington will continue to provide satisfactory ground work. The Cardinals will have a great season, but they’re simply not going to win as many games as they did last year. With the Seahawks all but a lock as the division champions, they’re going to have to work their asses off for another wild card spot, which I don’t think they actually get.

 

Seattle Seahawks:

 

 photo seattleseahawks copy_zpstnt4fc4i.jpg

 

Pete Carroll’s got a hell of a thing going on up there in Seattle. I was gobsmacked at the Jimmy Graham trade and half expected Roger Goodell to pick up the red phone in his concrete bunker and put the kibosh on the whole thing in the name of monopoly busting. With Russell Wilson’s contract ironed out and Marshawn Lynch’s decision to stick it out a few more years, the gulls dodged a couple scary bullets. And even if they can’t work out a deal with Kam Chancellor’s inflamed ego, the defense is still going to remain the gold standard.

The difficulty with this much talent is keeping it all together. We’ve seen some lulls in productivity, even during last year’s Super Bowl run, where Carroll couldn’t quite make the individual offensive pieces sing in harmony. Speaking of the Super Bowl, let’s not forget that much analyzed and questioned pass play that resulted in a last minute loss to the Patriots. It was a bitter pill to swallow then, but now the Seahawks have a hard earned chip on their shoulder, giving them purpose.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

These guys are going to be a blast to watch with an explosive and unpredictable offense paired with that defense you’re always hearing about. The crystal ball is unusually clear for a change, predicting a return to the Super Bowl for Seattle with an excellent chance of a rematch against another worthy New England team. This time however, it’s personal.

 

 


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