What we learned from Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season

Written by :
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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 6: Bernardrick McKinney Clobbers Andrew Luck, and “Hard To Be A God”

Written by :
Published on : October 19, 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 remains have been entombed, and the storm rages outside.

 

Week 6: Bernardrick McKinney Clobbers Andrew Lunch on Third Down in OT


How about that Houston comeback on Sunday Night Football? To be fair, it may have been more of an Indianapolis meltdown but there were still a solid handful of brilliant plays executed by the Texans’ defense. My favorite came at a critical moment in overtime with only three yards to go on a third down when Bernardrick McKinney shot the gap and put Andrew Luck into the turf.

 

Both defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus come flying off their marks in a pincer attack that opens up a huge hole for Bernardrick McKinney to fly through. That D line is scary even without J.J. Watt. So much so that even with a struggling Brock Osweiler the Texans currently sit atop of the AFC South.

 

And while Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus are definitely two of my favorite football names, Bernardrick McKinney ain’t so bad either.

 

Week 6: Hard To Be A God

hardtobeagod1

 

Director: Aleksey German
Released: 2013

 

It’s hard for me to overstate how mind-blowing this movie is. Really. It was the hot ticket for the art-house set when it became available stateside, but I remain surprised that it didn’t find a broader audience.

 

Based on a Russian sci-fi novel in which a group of cosmonauts live on a planet identical to earth except that it’s trapped 800 years in the past in a permanent state of dark ages, the plotting is nearly impossible to follow and frankly the film is all the richer for it.

 

960

 

Comprised mostly of long takes with a constantly roving camera (albeit at a leisurely clip) the viewer is treated to a meticulously detailed world of filth and a parade of human grotesques spewing all manner of bodily fluids amongst the pervasive mud, grime, and ash. The wide angle black and white photography is revelatory in capturing all the ugliness humanity has to offer.

 

Shot in fits and starts from 2000 to 2006, and involving several more years of post-production with its director in failing health, this singular film has an idiosyncratic production history as well with German’s (pronounced Grrr-man, not Jer-man) wife and son putting the finishing touches on his messy swan song.

 

Hard-to-be-a-God-aleksei-german-2

 

With it’s near incoherence and three-hour running time it’s a challenging view, but every minute is worth it. Catch this carnal and visceral masterpiece of flying snot-rockets and dribbling slave piss as soon as you can.

 

I implore you to watch the trailer here:

 

 

Currently streaming on Netflix! Go now! Also available for rental on Amazon and itunes.

 

 


Case of the Mondays: NFL Hall of Fame Game

Written by :
Published on : August 8, 2016

 

 

Are you ready for some football!?! Me too, but due to a lack proper planning on part of the NFL, we’re going to have to wait just a little bit longer to get it. If you’re anything like me then you couldn’t wait for the Hall of Fame Game yesterday. It’s just preseason but it’s still full contact, full speed, football action. And after so many months without our beloved pigskin, the masses are desperate for it. Well, thanks to poor field conditions (and planning), we were all denied that for which we have yearned for so many months. With about an hour until kickoff, the league canceled the game and took the air out of what was to be the grand conclusion of a great Hall of Fame induction weekend.

 

The game was set for the Green Bay Packers to face off against the Indianapolis Colts but alas, it was not meant to be. Even though we weren’t going to see Aaron Rodgers play in the first place we were still going to get some action. Most of the other starters would see very, very limited playing time but that doesn’t really matter. I WANT FOOTBALL AND I WANT IT NOW!

 

 These guys were there, but no one was playing.

 

To be totally serious, I’m low-key proud of the league, despite the logistical ineptitude, for the decision to cancel the game yesterday. It’s not something that happens often but the league actually put the players’ safety above all else. That’s right, the guys who still try to downplay the link between the game, concussions, and CTE, did what was best for the players. I’ll give you a second to digest that. Now that we are past that, it’s time to rag on them a little bit. Get your shit together, NFL. If you can’t get a field in Ohio to be safe, how can we trust you in London or Mexico City this season? We all know that you aren’t canceling a regular season game. Blame the Tim McGraw concert that was held on Friday all you want, but everyone knows this is on you.

 

The safety concerns at Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio stemmed from conditions of the playing surface on the field. This is the same stadium where Steelers kicker, Shaun Suisham tore his ACL last season while attempting to make a tackle. There were complaints about the conditions of the field for last year’s game and yet the NFL didn’t cancel the game. At least one player from that game takes issue with that fact.

 

 

You have to think that he has a point. After last years’ debacle the league replaced the old turf with the artificial playing surface from the New Orleans Saints’ home, the SuperDome. Yet, the issues persisted. Maybe just get a new field installed instead of borrowing a used one? Word from players was that the paint for the logo at centerfield and the endzones had congealed to the point that it was like tar and a cleat wouldn’t penetrate it. Another player was quoted as saying that it would have been like “playing on concrete.”

 

How on Earth does the league bungle setting up and painting a playing field? Have they not been hosting football games since 1920? It’s kind of sad that a league that is estimated to have $13 billion in revenue this year can’t get the field figured out. It’s bad enough that they are forcing these two teams to play a fifth preseason game, but to potentially put the teams in further danger by fumbling when it comes to the turf? That’s bush league.

 

 We know how you feel, buddy.

 

So this Case of the Mondays goes to the National Football League, and its attempt at the 2016 Hall of Fame Game. Aside from an estimated $4 million in lost revenue, the league lost a bit a little bit of respect from the fans in attendance and at home. While I applaud them for taking a stand on player safety, the respect gained from that move is surely lost when you consider that it never should have gone down like that. This is the most popular and powerful professional sports league in the country, and maybe even the world, yet they can’t figure out the playing field for the first game of the year.

 

Let’s all just be happy that they got their heads out of their own asses for long enough to cancel the game and stop some injuries before they happened. I’ll wait until Thursday for some football, but I damn sure ain’t happy about it!

 

 


Four Players to Avoid in Fantasy Football in 2016

Written by :
Published on : July 26, 2016

 

 

 

Fantasy Football is almost here people. For many of us with real jobs and grown up responsibilities it’s our last way to be competitive with our friends and acquaintances. We get to be downright mean and hope for the misfortune of others. If you’re like me, you are looking for any type of insight in order to make yourself the best team possible, and if you strike out with a high draft pick then it can haunt you for the rest of the season. With that in mind, here are some players that you should really avoid in 2016.

 

Frank Gore

 

Frank Gore had a pretty decent 2015 while playing for a pretty bad Indianapolis Colts team. He rushed for 967 yards and six touchdowns, while fumbling the ball four times, including once on the 1-yard line. That’s not too bad for a guy who is 33 years old and was running behind a garbage offensive line. But don’t be fooled. Frank Gore is still 33 years old, and although the Colts drafted four offensive linemen, I foresee the play up front being subpar as they figure out what works and what doesn’t. With a decent back up (Robert Turbin) and some talented youngsters (Tyler Varga and Josh Ferguson) looking to take carries away from the old dog, it would be smart to pass over Frank Gore this year. You just don’t spend draft picks on a running back who is that old and has a poor offensive line.

 

Jeremy Hill

 

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t draft Jeremy Hill if he comes to you in a late-middle round, but the fact is that someone is going to draft him very high. Don’t be that person. Muhammad Sanu and Marvin Jones are gone, and Tyler Eifert is hurt. That’s just 1,929 total yards and 19 touchdowns, no big deal. Defenses are going to key in on the run game and hope that they can contain AJ Green. Look for the Bengals to see eight men in the box much more than they have in recent years. On top of that, Giovani Bernard is still going to split carries with him. I just don’t see enough here for Jeremy Hill to be worth the inevitably high position he will enjoy in most drafts. Do yourself and your team a favor and get someone else.

 

Jimmy Graham

 

Once upon a time Jimmy Graham was arguably the best tight end in the NFL. When he got traded from the Saints to the Seahawks many people thought that he would excel in that offense, but that did not happen. Before his season ended with a torn patellar tendon in week 12, it was clear that he was not a good fit in the Seahawks run-heavy offense, where the team misused him by trying to make him block for Marshawn Lynch. I just don’t see the Seahawks changing up the style of their offense and utilizing Jimmy Graham as the full-time receiver that he truly is. Add to that the fact that the patellar tendon injury will likely cause him to lose at least a little bit of that quickness and agility, and I just don’t see this as a very smart pick at tight end. Pass on Graham.

 

Teddy Bridgewater

 

After a pedestrian rookie season in 2014, many people thought that he would see a big uptick in his production in 2015. When he came into the NFL, accuracy was supposed to be one of his strengths but that seems to have disappeared now that he is in the big leagues. He just doesn’t throw the ball all that well. And he looks especially shaky on longer throws. To make matters worse, this might be the year that Adrian Peterson finally starts slowing down. Meaning a lot more pressure on a young and inaccurate quarterback. He’ll make some plays, especially with his legs, but look for his interceptions to be up and completion percentage to be down. You would be wise to let Teddy slide if he comes to you. Sorry Vikings’ fans.

 

Fantasy Football can be a cruel beast. One player can be the difference between a trip to the playoffs and a December full of sadness and loathing. If you want to field the best team possible then sometimes that means eschewing some big name players that have helped you be successful in the past or that you just plain like to watch. This isn’t business though, this is Fantasy Football, so avoid these guy and maybe you could be heading to the Championship this year.

 

 


Detroit Lions 2016 Win/Loss Predictions

Written by :
Published on : June 20, 2016

 

 

Last season was a disappointing one for the Detroit Lions. The team came out of the gates firing on all cylinders in the first half of their week 1 matchup against the Chargers, and then promptly fell flat on their faces. They started off 1-7, but managed to finish 7-9 by overhauling their offense midseason. They could have easily had two more wins and possibly made the playoffs, but last second insanity against the Seahawks and Packers killed those hopes.

 

This season the team is looking to build off of the second half of last year and keep improving. A full offseason in Jim Bob Cooter’s offense, improvements along the offensive line, and the return of DeAndre Levy should have the Lions looking better than many people in the national media are giving them credit for. Here is my 2016 Win/Loss Predictions for the Detroit Lions.

 

Week 1 @ Colts

The Colts were pretty awful last year, especially on defense. In my opinion, they didn’t really do enough to fix that. They do still have Andrew Luck, but they also have an aged Frank Gore slated to start in the backfield. Luck keeps the game interesting but I think the Lions have an advantage in defense, which gives them the edge. The Colts offense will have a good day, but the Lions will get just enough stops to come out on top. The Colts defense on the other hand will have huge problems containing the Lions offense. Lions win, 37-31.

 

Week 2 vs Titans

There are some folks out there who are pretty high on the Titans. They have some nice pieces on offense but with Mike Mularkey as head coach this team is going nowhere. They will fold under the pressure of that home opener Ford Field crowd. The defense will come up big and DeAndre Levy will have a pick 6. Lions win, 45-28.

 

 Look out for Levy in this one.

 

Week 3 @ Packers

The Lions are lucky to once again get to travel to Green Bay before winter has had a chance to wrap its freezing cold hands around the neck of that godforsaken wasteland of cheese. While that definitely helps their chances, I’m not sure the team will get as lucky this year as they did last year. It will be a hard fought battle, but I think Green Bay gets this in a close one. Lions lose, 27-24.

 

Week 4 @ Bears

Big thanks to the NFL for sending my favorite team to play their two biggest rivals consecutively on the road. The Bears are much improved, but luckily the Lions have their number in the last handful of years. The streak continues. Lions win, 17-16.

 

Week 5 vs Eagles

The Lions obliterated the Philadelphia Eagles last year on Thanksgiving. By that time of year, Detroit was starting to put it together on offense, and the Eagles meltdown was in full effect. Philly will still be recovering from what Chip Kelly has done to them. Lions win, 21-6.

 

Week 6 vs Rams

I’m not sure what the Rams plan on doing at quarterback just yet, but they could present some problems for the Lions. Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald are beasts and could very well both be in the running for OPOY and DPOY. I think they give the Lions enough trouble to hand them their second loss of the year. Lions lose, 24-17.

 

Week 7 vs Washington

I know Washington was a playoff team, and have some good pieces all over the field. But I find it hard to believe that Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins are going to have sustained success. The Lions will be sharp after getting worked extra hard in practice following their loss at home to the Rams. They come out on fire and win handily. Lions win, 28-10.

 

 Look for a win against Washington.

 

Week 8 @ Texans

The Texans always have a scary defense with JJ Watt out there. They will be the big difference here and will give the Lions trouble all game. The Lions offensive line will be much improved but there aren’t many answers for JJ Watt, who will have 2 sacks. Lions lose, 24-14.

 

Week 9 @ Vikings

The Vikings are definitely the darlings of the division this season. Most people seem to think that they will challenge the Packers for the NFC North title. I think they are pretty good too, and they are definitely going to be a tough test for the Detroit Lions in Minnesota for this matchup. Lions lose, 28-27.

 

Week 10 BYE

 

Week 11 vs Jaguars

The Jaguars should be pretty solid this year, but on the road in Detroit, a win won’t be likely. Ameer Abdullah goes off in this one for 120 yds rushing and 2 TDs, while adding 60 yds receiving. Blake Bortles will also throw interceptions to both DeAndre Levy and Glover Quin. Lions win, 34-13.

 

 Look for Ameer Abdullah in the end zone in this one

 

Week 12 vs Vikings

Watching the Lions on Thanksgiving is a long tradition. I’ve seen many Turkey Day loses through the years, but as of late they have really shown up. I’ll be damned if I call them to lose this year, even if it is against the infallible Vikings. Lions win, 14-12.

 

Week 13 @ Saints

The Saints had an AWFUL defense last year, and Drew Brees started showing signs that he might be past his prime. I’m flying across the country to go to this game so my boys better show up, and get some vengeance for that 2011 playoff loss! Lions win,  21-9.

 

Week 14 vs Bears

Lions rule, Bears drool. Jay Cutler throws three interceptions. The streak continues for another year. Suck it, Chicago. Lions win, 45-6.

 

Week 15 @ Giants

The Giants are the first of two consecutive road games against the NFC East, a division that was truly awful last season. In typical Lions bad luck fashion, I believe the NFC East will be much improved in 2016. The Giants threw around some serious money in free agency and I think that by this time it will start to pay dividends, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Coming off of a big win over the hated Chicago Bears, I think the team is in for a big letdown. The offense has trouble and Eli Manning frustrates the defense all day. Lion lose, 31-17.

 

 Eli will rule the day in week 15

 

Week 16 @ Cowboys

The Detroit Lions return to the “House that Jerry Built” for the first time since getting worked over by the refs in the 2014 Wild Card game. The team is going to come out hot and I see early touchdowns from Marvin Jones and Eric Ebron. Then things will slow down as the Cowboys adjust. In the second half things will get a little hairy for Detroit and the ‘Boys will take the lead. Dez Bryant catches a late touchdown. Lion lose, 28-24.

 

Week 17 vs Green Bay

This will be a game that decides whether or not Detroit heads to the playoffs as a wild card team. Teryl Austin is going to have the Lions defense totally fired up and I envision Ezekiel Ansah having a monster game. Ziggy will get to the quarterback three times, including a late one that seals the game for Detroit on 4th down. Lions win, 17-14.

 

The Lions will be the #6 seed in the NFC at 10-6.

 

 

This is my prediction for the Detroit Lions. It’s quite a bit more positive than most of the win/loss predictions I’ve seen for the team, but I think it’s totally realistic. Most people seem to underestimate the amount of talent on the team. This is a solid squad that has improved both lines and should be able to control the trenches. Playoffs here we come!

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Weeks 11 and 12

Written by :
Published on : December 4, 2015

 

All right gang, this week you get a two’fer seeing as how I take off the entire week of Thanksgiving every year come hell or high water. After the belt is loosened, the naps slept, and the leftovers properly sandwiched, I’ve got fat reserves a-go-go to bring you the greatest plays from the NFL’s weeks 11 and 12, respectively.

 

 

Week 11: Matt Hasselbeck Flips to Ahmad Bradshaw for 7 Yard TD

Bradshaw for the TD!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

If you’re gonna pull a comeback it needs to start somewhere. This time, the Colts three point victory over the Falcons got off the ground thanks to an old familiar face. Ahmad Bradshaw turns to Hasselbeck, as the replacement QB is about to get run-over under pressure, and catches the quick shovel pass. It ain’t too difficult for Bradshaw to take it seven yards to the house with two big blockers and a lot of green in front of him.

 

It certainly doesn’t look like a planned screen to me, and regardless whether or not it was, it took some quick reflexes and smarts on the part of both Hasselbeck and Bradshaw to pull it off. If Bradshaw can remain a viable back, it certainly takes some pressure off fellow old-timer Frank Gore, and would give the Colts a more successful running game down the stretch.

 

 

Week 12: Chris Ivory Refuses to Be Tackled

He won’t be stopped!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Chris Ivory has always been a beastly downhill runner, and he really lives up to his rep with this diehard effort. The play doesn’t look great to start as Dolphins linebacker Neville Hewitt bolts through a hole in the line, but Ivory manages to elude Hewitt, making him whiff on the tackle. Ivory gains a few, and by all rights should be stopped as the Jets back runs afoul of three linemen attacking from three different directions. Inexplicably Ivory twists out of this and gets free. Throw in one more missed tackle by linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and you’ve got a Review ‘N Brew worthy highlight on your hands.

 

Of course Ivory deserves all the credit and respect on the play, but there’s something troubling in the listlessness shown by a defense that some thought would be an elite squad at the beginning of the season…

 

 

Weeks 11 and 12: A Ceramic Mug of Congealed Turkey Gravy Melted in the Microwave

 photo mugofgravy01_zps1uoljd1v.jpg

 

Another sweet sweet Lions win in the books, and a blowout on Thanksgiving to boot! Every bite of turkey tasted like an eagle, and every mouthful of fluffy mashed potatoes like Chip Kelly’s fragile dreams. That night I gave thanks to Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford, and especially Ziggy Ansah. There was even room in my heart for Joique Bell and Stephen Tulloch. Commensurate to the room in my belly for pumpkin pie (whipped cream, please.)

 

On Thanksgiving, that most pigskin friendly of holidays, I ate and drank my fill. Fine wines and side dishes, brewskies and desserts: all traveled merrily down my gullet as I celebrated with friends and family. I didn’t want it to end. I never want Thanksgiving to end.

 

One of Calvin’s three touchdowns on Thanksgiving

 

That night I couldn’t sleep, as I was unsurprisingly afflicted with indigestion. I crept downstairs and watched highlights from the day’s games. Poor Tony Romo. Bears win at Lambeau! I opened the fridge, but I wasn’t hungry. I was now possessed by either the spirit of the holiday, or by the ghost of a vengeful Native American exiled from his homeland after lending a helping hand to the pale-faced new arrivals.

 

I pulled a tupperware of gravy from the fridge and a spoon from the drawer. The cold gravy, once so warm and velvety, had now become the texture of jelly as the turkey grease congealed around the flour and mushroom chunks. This wouldn’t do. Not one bit. I looked for an appropriate receptacle and came upon a ceramic coffee mug. Inspired, I started spooning gobbet after gobbet of the meat slurry into the cup. 30 microwavable seconds later the gravy had returned to its former glory, with the mushrooms proudly floating atop my beautiful brown elixir. The aroma of rendered fowl fat was intoxicating.

 

I drank and I drank. I sucked up that damned gravy in one go. Sated, I hit replay on the day’s Lions highlights, smiling with joy between grimaces brought on by chest pains. Tomorrow would be a rough one, but right now everything was just as it should be.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 12

Written by :
Published on : December 3, 2015

 

As we flip the calendar to December, we enter championship season in college football as the conference championships take place this weekend, and we’ll get to see who makes it to the second ever College Football Playoff. The NFL enters it’s final five weeks and the Philadelphia 76ers have even decided to win a game. Can I just say, this NBA season is setting up to be the all-time worst. Aside from watching the Warriors and their quest to win 70+ or hell, even go undefeated at this point, the league is pure filth right now. But ’tis the season of giving and being nice so instead, let’s take the time to recognize this week’s great performances while also seeing who had NBA-esque moments. This week the champs and chumps all come from football and futbol, as their seasons begin to wind down. We’ve got old and young, teams that have surprised us and teams that just flat out don’t get it. To the Champ and Chump!

 

Champ: Matt Hasselbeck

26-42 for 315 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 turnovers

The Ageless Wonder, Matt Hasselbeck.

 

Statistically speaking, Hasselbeck wasn’t the top quarterback this week, but it’s what he’s done over the course of the last four weeks that gives him the nod here. Hasselbeck is now 4-0 as a starter this year while filling in for injured Andrew Luck, and has put the Colts in a tie for first place in the AFC South. At 6-5, the Colts remaining five games aren’t the toughest, and Luck is only expected to remain sidelined until around mid-December. However, Indy can wait patiently with this 40-year old arm slinging it like he’s 25 again. Hasselbeck became only the third 40-year old quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win four straight, joining Brett Favre and Warren Moon.

 

Honorable Mention:

Jamie Vardy-  From Leicester City of the Barclay’s Premier League, he scored a goal in a 1-1 draw vs Manchester United. It marked the 11th consecutive game Vardy has found the back of the net, breaking Ruud Van Nistelroy’s record.

Ezekiel Elliott- A week after throwing his coaches under the bus, Elliott ran all over the Michigan defense for 214 yards on 30 carries and 2 touchdowns in a 42-13 victory for the Buckeyes over their rival Wolverines.

Iowa football- Debate all you want about their strength of schedule, it’s about time Iowa gets their due. Following a win in Nebraska on Saturday, Iowa is one of two undefeated teams as they head into the Big Ten Conference Championship this weekend where they’ll play Michigan State.

 

 

Chump: The Cleveland Browns

This organization has continually brought shame to its players, fans and the city itself.

 

“The Mistake by the Lake” is how a lot of Michiganders like to refer to Cleveland, and with the Cleveland Browns organization the mistakes seem to happen in bunches. Being a Lions fan, it’s hard to say too much about other NFL teams and their struggles, but it is the Browns. On Monday night, Cleveland lost in a way that only a few unfortunate teams have, when they had their potential game-winning field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown. Yet that isn’t even why the Browns find themselves as this week’s Chump. Instead, it’s because of how they have handled Johnny Manziel. Sitting on the bench as a 3rd stringer, Manziel watched Austin Davis take over late when starter Josh McCown went down with a broken collarbone. While Davis did relatively well and gave Cleveland a shot to win, Manziel needs to be the guy. To make matter’s worse, Austin Davis has been named the starter for next week over Johnny Football.

 

While it’s clear Manziel has to mature and has some issues to work out, we are talking about issues that don’t even involve arrests. While Cleveland tries to send a message to Johnny, what message are they sending to their fans? After years of mediocrity, they draft the most exciting player in football, and in almost two full seasons now, he’s started just a few games. This year in fact, those few games he has started in he has actually done quite well. With 5 passing touchdowns and just 2 interceptions Manziel has a QB Rating of 88.4 which would put him 20th in the league (Cam Newton has a QBR of 89.5), if he qualified with enough attempts. Even though 20th is just the final third of the league, you have to consider he has had no chance to establish a rhythm, one week he practices with the first unit, one week it’s the second unit, and this week with the practice squad. He’s had no chance to prove what he can do on the field consistently and the Browns have put themselves in a position where they eventually are going to have to make a decision to keep him or see him get the chance somewhere else. Meanwhile for coach Pettine, who keeps sending Johnny to timeout, he’s a few weeks from being a coordinator somewhere else.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Tommy Armstrong- The quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers finished with 4 picks in a loss vs the Iowa Hawkeyes and was held without a touchdown in a game the Cornhuskers needed to win to solidify a bowl game

Florida Gators- While the Gators will still play for the SEC Championship on Saturday, the last couple weeks are incredibly discouraging for their fans. Needing overtime to beat FAU a couple weeks ago, the Gators played Florida State with an opportunity to remain in the playoff hunt. Unable to score a single point on offense, the Seminoles dominated the Gators 27-2.

Todd Gurley- The St Louis Rams’ running back had a fantastic start to his NFL career rushing for 125+ yards in four of his first five games but is yet to hit the century mark since, and is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry in his last two games.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 6

Written by :
Published on : October 25, 2015

 

 

 

A little late with my Champ and Chump picks this week but even with the few extra days, there was nothing that could save the Wolverines from finding a less than desirable spot on the charts over here. Spoiler alert, not that you needed it, Michigan finds itself on the wrong side of the Champ and Chump board this week and boy was it ever something special. See what other special performances happened this past week below, and take a scroll through my Champs and Chumps of the week.

 

Champ: Daniel Murphy

Murphy has been a home run machine this post-season.

 

What a post-season for Daniel Murphy thus far. As the New York Mets enter the World Series, they do it with the hottest hitter on the planet right now. In a series sweep of the Chicago Cubs, Murphy hit .529 and has homered in 6 straight post-season games, a Major League record. The Mets are heading to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2000 where they lost to their cross town rival, the New York Yankees. This time they’ll take on the Kansas City Royals, who lost the World Series last year in a 7-game thriller against the San Francisco Giants.

 

 

 

Honorable Mention: 

Landry Jones- The third string quarterback came in for the injured Mike Vick and went 8-12 for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns in a win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Cristiano Ronaldo- Became Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer (324 goals) passing Raul who played in 741 games with Madrid from 1994-2010. Ronaldo accomplished the feat in just 310 games with the team.

Christian McCaffrey- The son of former Denver Bronco’s wide receiver Ed McCaffrey had a school record 243 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns, helping Stanford beat the UCLA Bruins last week. McCaffrey, who also returns kicks, finished with 369 all purpose yards.

 

 

Chump: Tie: Jim Harbaugh and Blake O’Neill

Harbaugh and O’Neill dropped the ball in a big way.

 

On what will likely be the play of the year, Michigan State defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson took a fumbled punt attempt 38 yards to the house as time expired to give the Spartans a win over archrival Michigan. We’ve all seen the play, (as a Spartan fan I can’t watch it enough) with Michigan up 23-21, the Wolverines faced 4th and short with just 10 seconds left. On the other side of the ball, Michigan State figured they had one shot at a miracle and that was to go all out for a block. The snap came in (a bit low) and Michigan punter Blake O’Neill did the unthinkable and dropped the snap. In a panic, O’Neill picked up the ball, turned and tried to get off a kick while getting swarmed by white jerseys. The ball was fumbled up into the air and came right down into Watts-Jackson’s arms. Shocked, speechless, in disbelief, Michigan fans could hardly move. Once they could, and they realized what happened, naturally, the thought was how the hell could you fumble that snap?! Why didn’t you just fall on it?! Both good points, and while O’Neill no doubt is quite the goat for this incredible finish, I think equal blame should fall on the shoulders of their coach. Jim Harbaugh called two timeouts on that drive allowing the clock to dwindle down as much as possible on 2nd and 3rd down before ultimately deciding to punt. I have no problem with the decision to punt, however, how do you not prepare your team to setup in max protect, knowing the Spartans are bringing everyone to block this kick. Again, no Spartans were back to field the kick, yet Michigan sent four gunners down to cover the return? While O’Neill fumbled the ball, I think the Spartans may have got in there to get the block even if O’Neill caught it clean. Four guys had a free release, Harbaugh and company enjoyed their spot as my Champ of the week last week, a complete 180 here as they are big, big Chumps this week.

 

 

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Colts 4th down “fake punt”- Every once in a while a team calls a play or a player does something that leaves you speechless. The Indianapolis Colts provided us with one of these moments last weekend in a highly anticipated game vs the New England Patriots. Down 6 in the 3rd quarter, the Colts faced a 4th and 3, they shifted 9 guys down towards the sideline leaving a wide receiver and safety to act as the quarterback and snapper. Hut, hut, hike…and then 3 unblocked New England Patriots tackled the Colt “QB” for a loss.

David Price- This may be a bit harsh, but for an ace entering free agency one can’t ignore the struggles that Price can’t seem to shake in the post-season. With a career 0-7 post-season record as a starter, and an overall post-season ERA of 5.24, Price was given the ball again for Game 7 in the ALCS vs Kansas City and didn’t pitch well enough, getting a no decision.

 

 

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 6

Written by :
Published on : October 22, 2015

 

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

 

 

 

Week 6: Jamie Collins Blocks Adam Vinatieri Extra Point by Leaping Over The Line

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Kam Chancellor wasn’t the first to do this, but I think by attempting it twice in a row during a playoff game against the Panthers last year, he certainly put the idea in the heads of a lot more linebackers and safeties. Let’s also send out a little love to Troy Polamalu who made a signature move out of sacking the QB or stopping the run by leaping in a similar fashion. With Chancellor, there were flags on both of his attempts, the first on the offense, the second on the defense, and finally Graham Gano was able to put the ball through the uprights on his third attempt… but that wasn’t nearly as memorable a highlight as Chancellor’s display.

Jamie Collins pulls the trick off here on a PAT attempt against the great Adam Vinatieri. With under a minute-and-a-half left in the game it’s a little difficult to say that this acrobatic effort had an enormous effect on the outcome of the game. The Colts still would’ve had to get the ball back and score a TD to tie it, whereas they’d still lose on a field goal, but at the same time, this individual bit of magic by Jamie Collins is just too fun not to be the play of the week.
 
 

Week 6: The Kamikaze Shot

 photo Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 3.59.16 PM_zpsh5rqjy2w.png

 

In the world of being a weekend warrior, perpetual bar-crawling scumbag, or naïve college student is there anything so fine as the Kamikaze shot? Three simple parts creating a drink that will satisfy a very broad range of tastes and palates, even if said beverage happens to be made with the crappiest of ingredients.

When vodka, triple sec, and lime touch each other in that dirty, dirty way, and then go flying down your gullet you know you’re at a bar that has a pool table, maybe an air hockey table if you’re really lucky, and a bartender with pierced nipples who would most certainly be fired if the owner knew how many free drinks she was giving out. The name is kinda offensive too. Can you imagine how many tortured ghosts there are of young Japanese men who sacrificed their lives (even if it was under horribly coercive and misguided circumstances) looking in from the void only to discover snotty, Western 20-somethings throwing back tiny drinks named in their honor that promptly get throw up all over the Big Buck Hunter machine?

 

 photo arcade-game-big-buck-hunter3_zpsiruqertr.jpg

 

There’s also the very real (or very possibly fabricated by me) question if the Kamikaze is a novelty shot like say the “Red Headed Slut,” “Kickin’ Chicken,” or the dreaded “Cum in a Hot Tub,” or is just your normal everyday breakfast drink.
I land on the side that says any shot you make with multiple ingredients in a shaker and give a cutesy name to is inherently a novelty shot. But whadda I know, I just work here.

 

 photo shotz_zpskfubw1ue.jpg

 

Until next week, you kids get the hell of my lawn.

-Roger Pretzel

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2015

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Here are your ScoreBoredSports NFL staff picks for week 2:

Week 2 Picks

 

Week 1


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

Written by :
Published on : September 8, 2015

 

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

 

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Pittsburgh at New England (-7): Pittsburgh

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

 

Green Bay (-7) at Chicago: Green Bay

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

 

Kansas City at Houston (-1): Houston

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

 

Cleveland at New York Jets (-3): Jets

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

 

Indianapolis (-3) at Buffalo: Indianapolis

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

 

Miami (-4) at Washington: Miami

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

 

Carolina (-3.5) at Jacksonville: Jacksonville

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

 

Seattle (-4) at St Louis: St Louis

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

 

New Orleans at Arizona (-2.5): New Orleans

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

 

Detroit at San Diego (-3): Detroit

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

 

Tennessee at Tampa Bay (-3): Tampa Bay

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

 

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Oakland: Cincinnati

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

 

Baltimore at Denver (-4.5): Denver

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

 

New York Giants at Dallas (-6): Giants

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

 

Philadelphia (-3) at Atlanta: Philadelphia

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

 

Minnesota (-2.5) at San Francisco: Minnesota

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

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 1

Written by :
Published on : September 7, 2015

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Alex

 

SBS Staff Picks - Week 1

 

 


NFL QUICK HITS FOR THE UPCOMING 2015 SEASON

Written by :
Published on : September 6, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

-Will this be the end of the Madden curse?

What curse?

 

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

 

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

 

2,500 Rushing Yards for Adrian Peterson? Really?

Keep it… 2,500.

 

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

 

Year of the Rookie Wideouts: Part 2?

Can the rookies top last year’s class?

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

What “D” word?

How NOT to hit in today’s NFL.

 

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

 

Super Bowl or Bust.

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: AFC South

Written by :
Published on : August 21, 2015

 

This season’s AFC South promises a strong showing from the Colts despite Pagano being under extra post-season scrutiny, a Texans team itching to break into the big time, and a group of Jaguars and Titans still searching for an identity.

Simmer down. I’m trying to listen to the danged old ball…

 

Houston Texans:

 photo houstontexans_zpsdtpcwqvw.jpg

 

The Texans certainly have the potential to pop-off this season. A healthy Jadeveon Clowney alongside the indomitable monster that is J.J. Watt is going to provide for one of the best pass rushes in the league. And let’s not forget the addition of big man Vince Wilfork. Veteran Andre Johnson’s departure doesn’t hurt so much with the ascendency of DeAndre Hopkins, and Cecil Shorts could blossom under a new system. But the big offensive questions remain: can anything get accomplished at the QB position, and can Arian Foster stay healthy? Unfortunately it looks like the latter has already been answered with a pre-season groin injury, but there’s still hope in the backfield with Alfred Blue.

The QB question is much tougher. I like how Bill O’Brien is working with Hoyer and Mallett equally, but unless Mallett makes some amazing moves in the pre-season, I think it’s a no brainer to give the job to Hoyer. The guy’s got more starting experience, and while not being a top-tier quarterback in any capacity, I think he’s a lot better than he gets credit for.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Another solid year for the Texans with more scratches in the W’s column than L’s. The offense will just squeeze by, propped up by a defense that will surely put the fear of God into every quarterback they come across. The good times don’t roll on forever though as a costly divisional loss or two at the hands of the Titans or Jaguars leads to a repeat of last year’s near miss of the wildcard slot.

 

Tennessee Titans:

 photo tennesseetitans_zpsd2wnvfb3.jpg

 

Ken Whisenhunt was my top man for the job in Detroit when Jim Schwartz was given his walking papers, but with a frightful 2-14 record last year for his coming-out-party, I’m thinking Jim Caldwell is looking pretty good right about now. Obviously it’s not all Whisenhunt’s fault, as he came into a team that’s seemed to struggle in every department, hell, every facet of the game.

Second overall pick Marcus Mariota has a lot of expectations weighing on him coming into his rookie season. I love the draft call and think he’ll be a great fit with this team… eventually. It would be foolish to think that Mariota is gonna turn this Titanic around, especially with the limited weapons at his disposal. I could see Mariota and Kendall Wright achieving some chemistry together, and am super curious to see if veteran Hakeem Nicks boosts the offense or simply phones it in.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Mariota makes a difference, especially with the fire under Whisenhunt’s ass. The Titans improve gradually around their new QB and the whole thing begins to jell. David Cobb and Bishop Sankey will share most of the touches, creating an unspectacular, but reasonably effective run game. The Titan’s aren’t contenders yet, and they won’t be by the end of the season, but with a little luck they will manage to escape a repeat of having the worst record in the NFL.

 

Indianapolis Colts:

 photo indianapoliscolts_zpsdrodosvx.jpg

 

Indy’s at the top of the heap in the AFC South and it looks like it’s going to remain that way for at least another year. Andrew Luck is killing it, and T.Y. Hilton, perhaps the best deep threat receiver in the league, got resigned this offseason. The Colts finally have a bit of stability in the backfield with Frank Gore. Sure, Gore’s lost a bit of his speed and he’s not going to get as many touches as he used to, but his instincts are still good, and he still has that battering-ram toughness that makes him so fun to watch and so frustrating for defenses. He also has the coolest nickname in the league (The Inconvenient Truth). In any case, one would be hard pressed to say that he’s not a huge step up from Trent Richardson, who I mistakenly thought was really going to make a go of it with the Colts.

With the Indy chumping it the past few years of playoffs, questions about Chuck Pagano’s competency are being raised. I think it’s a issue worth talking about, and the buck stops here, but I think it’s difficult to peg those losses, no matter how spectacular, on a guy who regularly racks up winning seasons for his team. Plenty of teams would be so lucky as to have Chuck Pagano as their head coach.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The offense is there, but the defense will continue to have trouble keeping up with the other side of the ball. The divisional situation gives the Colts another free ticket to the playoffs where they once again lose a heartbreaker. Questions will continue about Pagano’s coaching. He’s out of Indy in the next three years.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars:

 photo jacksonvillejaguars_zpsgpmw3vju.jpg

 

I like Blake Bortles, and not just because of his funny name. I like his arm when he’s on the run and I like his release. There’s plenty of room for improvement, and I think we’re going to see some of it this year. Julius Thomas was a nice off-season present for a guy in need of quality receivers, but let’s be honest, I think plenty of teams will be comfortable double teaming Thomas in the red zone while leaving Marqise Lee open. I like the multiple options at running back, and I think Bernard Pierce makes the roster and has an impact.

Something I’ve noticed: I never see a dude in just a Jaguars hat or jersey. It’s always an entire outfit with hat, jersey, shorts, and even team color sneakers. Just on the street. Just walking around. Crazy people like that deserve to see Julius Thomas succeed with his new team.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The most exciting games for the Jags this year will be divisional matchups, particularly against the Titans and Texans. Jacksonville has a solid shot at spoiling Houston’s playoff dream, and leaving Tennessee in the dust. The crystal ball says both these things happen. The non-divisional games on the other hand will be mostly losses with a tough schedule for a team in transition.

 

 


Support Us
Support ScoreBoredSports on patreon!

patreon-medium-button
Sponsors

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Error message here!

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Close