Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 13: Albert Wilson’s Fake Punt TD Run and “Karate Bullfighter”

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Published on : December 8, 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 virgins sacrificed, and screams echo down the halls.

 

Week 13: Andy Reid Gambles and Albert Wilson Flies Downfield For A Touchdown

 

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a fake punt play that went straight through the line before, but Andy Reid makes it look easy with wide receiver Albert Wilson breaking through the gap as if he were shot from a cannon. The surprise factor on the part of Atlanta’s special teams squad is palpable with the secondary players, including the punt returner, completely caught off guard by the barreling Wilson.

 

I always love how amped so many special teams guys get on a good play due to their limited field time. It’s a real treat in the replay to see KC backups Daniel Sorensen and James O’Shaughnessy just pumping their fists like crazy as their teammate disappears over the horizon. While I know I’m guilty of often commenting on the amazing speed of NFL players, this is 55 yards ate up in a blink. Let’s give these special teams guys some chances, eh?

 

Week 13: Karate Bullfighter

karate-bull-fighter

Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Released: 1977

 

Sonny Chiba is probably best remembered by film nerds in the U.S. for the ultra-violent cult flick The Street Fighter (1974). That one was great because it felt so far removed from Bruce Lee’s composed morality and ultra-good guy status as to make it a real breath of fresh air for the darker impulses of martial arts cinema.

 

Meanwhile, Karate Bullfighter is the first in a trilogy based on real-life karate champ Masutatsu Oyama (Korean Choi Yeong-eui by birth) that also includes Karate Bear Fighter (1977), and Karate For Life (1977). Masutatsu himself is best known for founding the Kyokushin School of karate, which Sonny Chiba studied in.

 

kb2

 

As a whole the series is a bit of a mixed bag with two films promising epic fights between Chiba and a bull in the first, and even better, a bear in the second! I initially wanted to review Karate Bear Fighter, as murdering that type of wild animal seems way tougher and cooler than something Spaniards in bedazzled Capri-pants and a funny hat still do to piss off PETA, but ultimately, bullfight is the better movie.

 

Regardless, for all the solid martial arts and standup choreography there are some serious dramatic missteps on hand with Oyama’s main opponent, a rival martial arts school, never really achieving a degree of menace that feels sufficiently threatening. As well as Oyama attempting to teach an obviously psychopathic student who is eventually gunned down by the police. It would have been much more satisfying to have the teacher confront the monster he created.

 

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 10.38.43 PM

 

And yes, Sonny Chiba does kill a bull at the climax, rewarding us with over the top arterial spray. This is admittedly what we came for, and it is worth it.

 

However, this flick is guilty of bordering on hagiography in regards to its main subject, who seems more boring than anything, and Sonny Chiba has always been a much better anti-hero, and even villain, than straight up good guy. Chiba is undeniably magnetic as always, but this one is more of a programmer with a fun ending than a true classic.

 

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Cop the trailer here:

 

Cheap DVD’s available on Amazon.com

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Weeks 11 & 12 and “Night of the Lepus”

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Published on : November 30, 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…

 

Old Roger Pretzel loves him a Thanksgiving feast and this year was no exception, as friends and travel put me out of commission for the entire week. Now it’s back to work and we got some catching up to do!

 

Week 11: Steven Nelson Robs Mike Evans

 

VIDEO HERE

 

Cornerback is the hardest position in the league to play since you’re not allowed to sneeze on receivers, let alone touch them. Kansas City’s Steven Nelson shows great skill and dedication on this play, craftily slipping an arm between Mike Evans’s body and the ball, allowing him to tear it free from number 13 as the two went to the ground.

 

I’m seeing more and more plays like this as the rules and officiating evolve, with defenders playing to stop the ball with arms and hands, up close and personal with their target as opposed to more physical body positioning and plays where the defender tries to pull off flawless glove-like coverage. I like it. Let the ball come in and play it from there.

 

Week 12: Ndamukong Suh Stuffs Kaepernick For the Showstopper


The Niners have had an expectedly dismal season, but surprisingly the Miami Dolphins have been on a hell of a run as of late. Chip Kelly’s potentially tying drive in the game’s final minute showed pep and promise with some good throws by Kap and a great play by Torrey Smith to get out of bounds.

 

But with 2 seconds left on 2nd and goal Colin Kaepernick dithers for just a second as he decides whether to throw or run. Personally, I think he might have had this one if he committed to the run and turned on the jets, but ultimately one of football’s hardest working and most reviled bad guys, Ndamukong Suh, came back to pull Kaepernick down from behind as Kiko Alonso provided some steam-rolling insurance up front.

 

Weeks 11 & 12: Night of the Lepus

night_of_lepus_poster_02.jpg.html

Director: William F. Claxton
Released: 1972

 

The giant-animal-on-a-rampage film had its golden age in the 1950’s with nuclear and commie paranoia getting conjured up into massive ants, lizards, and tarantulas, amongst other beasties. The genre had a bit of resurgence, as well as a modification, with the “revenge of nature” films in the 1970’s as the country’s concerns about rampant pollution increased. This period provided us with gems like Food of the Gods (1976), and stinkers like Frogs (1972), but the most preposterous of them all was Night of the Lepus.

 

Night-of-the-Lepus

 

This is a movie about giant bunny rabbits that terrorize an Arizona town. Giant killer bunny rabbits.

 

Admittedly, the visual effects are pretty strong here with some great miniature sets and the occasional matte painting background. It also boasts performances by Psycho (1960) shower-scene victim Janet Leigh and Star Trek’s own Dr. Bones, DeForest Kelley, slumming it for the drive-in crowd. Oh, and let’s not forget the great Rory Calhoun either. Puppets are generally used for the attack scenes and while the picture’s questionable subject matter benefits from a deadly serious tone, the liberal use of paint-red blood in the wake of the carnivorous rodents is comically over the top.

 

lepus kelly and cast

 

The mad science behind the wascally wabbits is pretty well thought out for a film of this ilk with a hormone serum in testing, and a rabbit that is accidentally liberated from the researchers’ control group. There’s also some worthwhile social commentary with the rabbits becoming local pests in the first place due to humans killing off all the coyotes who were once the rabbits’ natural predators.

 

It’s ultimately a bit hard to watch Night of the Lepus and not struggle with a little cognitive dissonance: how can one take a movie about cattle-sized killer rabbits seriously even if the film is effective and dare I say… good on its own merits? Regardless, whether you’re in it for the novelty or are a true believer this one comes highly recommended.

 

nightofthelepus5

 

Scope out the trailer here:

 

 

Available for rental on Amazon and iTunes.

 


Which Athletes Would Make the Best Thanksgiving Dinner

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Published on : November 26, 2015

 

Today is Thanksgiving, which means 3 things; football, food and finding a way to avoid getting stuck hearing your crazy Aunt Beatrice talk about her cats. Just kidding Aunt B, I love hearing about Mr Fluffles, and yes I would love to see more pictures of him. Anyways, I thought that before I fall into a turkey-induced coma, that it might be fun to talk about which athletes, past and present, would comprise the best Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Turkey – Larry Bird

He may be the turkey on our plate but he was no turkey on the court.

 

This seems like a no-brainer. He is one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game and his name is Bird for Christ’s sake. As one of the best shooters, defenders and fiercest competitors to play the game, you can’t go wrong with making him the centerpiece of your Turkey Day feast.

 

Mashed Potatoes – Jamal Mashburn

Get some of this Mash.

 

A prolific scorer whose 12 year career was sadly marred by chronic knee problems, Jamal Mashburn averaged 19.1 ppg while playing for the Mavericks, Heat and Hornets. He could drain the rock and I can’t figure out if his name has something to do with potatoes or some sort of by-product from a backwoods whiskey still. Either way, he’s our mashed potatoes.

 

Stuffing – “Mean” Joe Greene

You do not want to mess with this man.

 

Joe Greene was a beast in the middle of the defense for those legendary Steelers teams of the 70’s. Sure his name doesn’t sound like food, but he gets to be the stuffing on our plate this year because his work on the inside made sure that opposing running games were stuffed more often than not.

 

Cranberry – Eric Berry

Mr. Berry himself.

 

This dude is one of the best stories in the entire NFL. He had his 2014 season cut short after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and it looked as though his career might be over. Apparently someone forgot to tell him that because he completed his treatment in remarkably fast time in order to be ready for the start of the 2015 season. He has played in every single game this year and is beginning to shine as the season progresses. His courage and dedications earn him a place on the plate as our cranBerry.

 

Gravy – Gary Payton

“I’m the gravy!”

 

Gary Payton is one of the best defenders at the point guard position of all time. He was nicknamed ‘the Glove’ for his ability to lock down the opposition. The Glove covers everything, just like the gravy on my Thanksgiving plate.

 

Dinner Rolls – Antrel Rolle

“I’m trying to make it to dinner!”

 

Every dinner needs some bread in there. He is our dinner Rolle. A Super Bowl Champion and three-time Pro Bowler at the safety position, he has 26 interceptions and 5 defensive touchdowns in his career.

 

 

So there you have it, the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner as represented by some of the best athletes ever. Now, I’m more of a go back for seconds and thirds, and skip dessert kind of guy, but if I have to pick something I’m going to finish my meal off with a little Walter “Sweetness” Payton with some Paul Coffey on the side. If you’ll excuse me there’s a turkey in dire need of some basting.

 

 

 

 


The London Lions

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Published on : November 5, 2015

 

 

It was 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday and my alarm went off.

MY ALARM WENT OFF AT 8:30AM ON A SUNDAY.

 

I made the decision to wake up and watch a football game. But not just any football game. It was the Detroit Lions playing the Kansas City Chiefs in London. Really, the only thing making this game unique was that it was my favorite team — for better or worse (usually worse) — The Lions, playing in London. It was a painful game to watch. I’m not here to recap the woeful performance of the offensive line or the countless missed tackles on Kansas City runners. I’m here to make a proposal (or plea). Move The Lions to London.

 

I think it’s best for the fans and the team. As fans — we just need some time — for us. We need to figure some things out. Things like, should we be Vikings or Steelers fans now? Both have a bruising history which is something Detroiters respect. The Vikings are, geographically, the closest NFC North team not located in Chicago or Green Bay (gross). Pittsburgh is a tough and gritty blue collar town; also something that Detroiters can really identify with.

 

Get used to having a defense that doesn’t know which way to go.

 

Shhh… just go. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be; because, it DOES need to “be”. Fans in London, as the FOX commentators repeatedly reminded us, seem to really love American Football. Like, genuinely. But, like any “newbie,” they need to experience pain before they can experience triumph. Don’t reward them with the possibility of immediate success.

 

“But, how can you have immediate success with an expansion team, Alex? Wouldn’t moving The Lions give them a better chance at winning right away?” Good question, guys.

 

The Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars are both expansion teams that have come into existence in my lifetime, and both have had MORE success than The Lions in my lifetime. So, I again say, “send The Lions to London.” London deserves an NFL team. But not without feeling the pain of a tattoo on the underside of their arms before that puncturing needle turns into soothing angel tickles of victory. Detroit is still waiting for it’s angel tickles.

 

This could be you, London.

 

Give them about 50 years of that pain, then once Londoners souls are broken like the Detroit football fans’, move the London Lions to Los Angeles. I’m sure they still won’t have a team in 2065. Let them rebuild from scratch and taste the sweet flavor of victory after so much bitter defeat.

 

Go now! The ceremonial burning down of Ford Field to cast away the football demons that have plagued our city is going to happen soon. You still being here will make this weird for us. Haven’t you done enough? Just let us have this one victory before we cast you away deep into our memories where the Freudian sex thoughts about our family members live!

 

Detroit deserves a successful football franchise. Detroit deserves a successful football franchise. DETROIT DESERVES A SUCCESSFUL FOOTBALL FRANCHISE.

 

Damn. It worked in Beetlejuice.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 2

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Published on : September 26, 2015

 

 

 

I’m a little late with my winners and losers of the champ and chump awards from this past weekend. But better late than never I suppose, and I used the extra time to nominate someone for an achievement from Tuesday even though it came after the weekend.  It’s my own article after all, so if you take issue with that then I’ll see you in the comments section! Without further adieu, here are my picks for champ and chump from this past weekend.

 

Champ: Jason Day

Won the BMW Championship on Sunday, becoming the #1 ranked player in the world.

Jason Day has been killing it recently.

 

About a month ago, I wrote a piece about how golf was in great hands with a young star like Jordan Spieth. In the article, I gave just a small nod to Jason Day as well by saying he also appeared to be ready for stardom, but apparently that compliment didn’t do him justice because since then, Day has been the one to take over the PGA Tour. By winning this past weekend’s event, Day has now won 4 out of his last 6 tournaments and is within striking distance this weekend to take home another prize. The winner of the Tour Championship this weekend ultimately could also decide the PGA Player of the Year award, an award that is likely up for grabs between Spieth and Day.

 

Honorable Mention:

Chicago Cub Starter Jake Arrieta- First pitcher in MLB to reach 20 wins this season. 2015 stats- 20-6, 1.88 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

LSU Running Back Leonard Fournette- Heisman hopeful ran for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 45-21 thumping of Auburn.

Our very own Treasure Gutierrez- Perhaps less knowledgable than some of us here at ScoreBoredSports when it comes to football, but comes out and wins the week in NFL Staff Picks, going 9-7 here at the site, making the rest of us look like the Chumps.

 

 

Chump: DeMarco Murray

By far the coolest thing DeMarco has done this season.

 

DeMarco Murray was the catalyst behind the Cowboy’s season last year, rushing for over 1,800 yards. As he went, so did the rest of the offense. This past off-season, Murray decided to sign with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles and was expected to put up similar numbers in Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense. Through two games however, that has not been the case at all, as Murray was completely shut down against his former team. Murray finished with 2 just yards rushing and has just 11 yards for the season on 21 carries. How bad is his start to the 2015 season? Well, consider this, while it’s only been a couple games, last year Murray rushed for almost 2,000 yards, at this rate this season, he is projected to finish with just 88 yards.  Philadelphia is off to an 0-2 start and while Murray isn’t their only problem, averaging 0.5 yards per carry is definitely isn’t helping.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

NFL Survivor Pools- For thousands of leagues, (mine included) week 2 busted many survivor pools this past week. Upsets like Tampa over New Orleans, Oakland beating Baltimore and Jacksonville shocking Miami eliminated a lot of us before we even saw it coming. Damn you Drew Brees!

Ndamukong Suh- This is perhaps unfair because it’s somewhat speculation, but the guy makes the headlines for the wrong reasons seemingly every week. The latest being some reports that Suh “freelances” plays on defense, ignoring his assignment for the plays that are called.

Jamaal Charles- He put up good stats against Denver on Thursday night, but had two critical fumbles. The last one returned 21 yards for the game winning touchdown with 27 seconds left.

 

 


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: AFC West

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

 


Fantasy Football Saints, Sinner and Sleepers: WR Edition

Written by :
Published on : September 3, 2015

“Here we lay bare the souls of those who play the game for our entertainment. We praise the saints, condemn the sinners, and root out the sleepers who can help your fantasy football team stay on the righteous path.”

 

The third installment of Saints, Sinners and Sleepers will explore the wide receiver position heading into the 2015 NFL season. These are the best of the best, the worst of the worst and some of the most underestimated in their field. The following players can help you gain entry into the pearly gates of a fantasy football championship, or send you to the seventh circle of a losing season. Heed the words you are about to read, and know that it is truth.

 

Saints

There’s going to be a lot of this going on with Antonio Brown.

 

Antonio Brown-  For the last two seasons, Antonio Brown has ranked in the top two in league for receiving yards (1,698 and 1,499) and was third in touchdown receptions last season (13). Coming into his 6th season in the league, he looks to build on his already strong relationship with quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and improve on his stellar numbers from last season. He completes the Holy Trinity of Saints in Pittsburgh and like the other two, is going to have a huge season in 2015. Despite his rather small frame (5′ 10″, 186 lbs), he is able to win battles against larger defenders and is a threat all over the field, whether it be in space on a short bubble screen or catching the deep ball after blazing past opposing defenses. Saint Antonio is going to continue to prove this season that he is one of the best pass catchers in the league.

 

Dez Bryant- On a personal level, I find it very hard to call Dez Bryant a saint; his attitude and tendency to cause drama on the field and in the locker room are big turnoffs for me. That said, this guys is a unique talent, and after ranking in the top three in receiving touchdown for the last three seasons, including leading the league last year (16), his status as one of the best is secure. He caught 51 more passes than the next closest receiver on his team last season, and considering they didn’t add any special talents at the position this offseason, it’s hard to see that changing. Saint Dez’ physical ability are on a level that hasn’t been seen since Calvin Johnson was healthy, and he brings the hammer of God down upon any DB who is unfortunate enough to try to break down and tackle him in space. Add that to his ability to win contested catches in the air, and it’s easy to see why he is one of the best young talents in football.

 

Calvin Johnson- Saint Megatron has been getting slept-on hard this year in fantasy football and I just don’t understand it. This is a guy who missed three games last season, and was used exclusively as decoy in another two, yet he still managed to 1,077 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Now he has to have a chip on his shoulder after hearing all the talk of him being washed up at the ripe old age of thirty. This is the first time in a few seasons that the future hall of fame receiver will come into the season healthy, and from reports out of Lions’ training camp, it sounds like this saint still has plenty of miracles up his sleeve. Look for Saint Megatron to get back to his dominating ways and make jaw-dropping plays all year long. If there are doubters now, there will be plenty of true believers by the time January rolls around.

 

Sinners

Thinking about all those drops he had in college.

 

Devin Funchess-  I still can’t believe how much the Carolina Panthers paid to move up and draft Devin Funchess. I had high hopes for the tight end turned wide out when he was at Michigan, and although he did provide the occasional big play, he routinely dropped balls and hurt his team. Sure, he has some size (6′ 4″, 236 lbs), but he is not very fast and has hands of stone. He and the team would probably benefit from a move back to tight end, but that may not be feasible due to his lackluster run blocking. This sinner is bound to enrage the fanbase in Carolina more often than not, just as he did in Ann Arbor. While the loss of Kelvin Benjamin for the entire 2015 season makes it tempting to consider allowing this heathen to join the ranks of your team, but he is beyond salvation and should be cast out.

 

Sammy Watkins- I expected Sammy Watkins to be very good last year… if he got drafted into the right situation. It turned out that he wound up in Buffalo. True, the Bills are in a much better place than last season but Rex Ryan is now running the team and he is known for a few things; good defense, strong running game and poor quarterback play. I’m still not sold on the Bills’ newly named starting QB, Tyrod Taylor, who will likely be benched at some point before November. The addition of other offensive weapons in Charles Clay, Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy, make sure there’s no chance Watkins sees anything near the 128 targets he saw last year (no receiver has ever gotten that many targets in a Rex Ryan offense). Lastly, he has become somewhat injury prone and has been in and out of practice this summer while recovering from hip surgery. Sammy Watkins is a sinner of circumstance, but a sinner nonetheless, and you should beware.

 

Dwayne Bowe- I don’t understand how this sinner keeps getting starting wide receiver jobs in the NFL. He hasn’t gained 1,000 receiving yards since 2011, and hasn’t had more than 5 receiving touchdowns since 2010. Last year he had ZERO receiving touchdowns (no wide receiver on the Chiefs had one) and as a reward he got $9 million in guaranteed money from the Browns. I know it seems like I’ve used this recurring segment to rag on the Browns players (except for Duke Johnson), but I feel a responsibility to warn fantasy football owners about just how bad this team is. Regardless of which sinner is throwing the ball to Bowe, you can expect him to continue his sinning ways and drag down your entire team.

 

Sleepers

Look for Kamar in an end zone near you in 2015.

 

Kamar Aiken- Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the former UDFA out of UCF; a couple weeks ago I hadn’t either. Breshad Perriman’s injury could be the best thing that ever happened to the speedy 4th year receiver, who is currently listed as a starter for the Ravens. With guru, Marc Trestman, running the offense in Baltimore, look for Aiken to get a good amount of balls thrown his way. He is a sleeper in the truest sense, and is barely being drafted in most leagues. If you can get him in the last few rounds or even better, as a free agent, you could be getting the biggest steal in your entire league.

 

Jeff Janis- The second year receiver out of Saginaw Valley didn’t see the field much in 2014, but with Jordy Nelson out for the season with a torn ACL, that’s going to change. You can believe that fans in Green Bay and around the league will be hearing this guy’s name much more often now. There’s nothing that an under-the-radar wide receiver should wish for more than the chance to have a future hall of fame QB throwing them the ball (just ask every no name who’s ever been lucky enough to land in New England). Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best in the game and he has the ability to make everyone around him better. Janis has already impressed in the preseason, and with Randall Cobb’s week 1 status in doubt, he could be a very busy man when the Packers head to play the lowly Bears in the Windy City. Look for big things out of Mr. Janis this year.

 

Markus Wheaton- The 3rd year receiver out of Oregon State was a bit of a disappointment last season after he only accumulated 644 yards and 2 touchdowns, but don’t give up on him just yet. The Steelers and their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, still believe in him, and you should too. The offense in the Steel City is going to be very good and with Martavis Bryant missing the first 4 games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, this could be the perfect time for Wheaton to fill the void and have his breakout. He will be going pretty late in most drafts, if at all, and with the way that the Steelers are going to be scoring points this season, there’s a very good chance the Wheaton puts up the numbers that I thought he would last year. Take him late and reap the rewards.

 

 

 


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