Biggest Fantasy Busts of 2017

Written by :
Published on : December 14, 2017

 

 

If your fantasy team is still playing that means you made it deep into the playoffs. Congrats. The rest of us are back to the role of spectator. I made the postseason in one of my two leagues and was instantly bounced. It’s been a rough few months for me. But for once, this isn’t about BRUNO ARKADY TYSH. This is about fantasy football. So looking back at the regular season, we can see some interesting trends that may have lead to the doom of your team. These are the biggest fantasy busts of 2017 fantasy football season.

 

Mike Evans WR, Tampa Bay
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This was a top 10 pick in most leagues. Everyone was expecting huge things from him this year. But that production never really came. Not one game over 100 yards and only 4 touchdowns. He had a few great games but for your number one pick you need solid and excellent production and this wasn’t it. Evans also got himself suspended for one game during the year which is another strike against him.

 

Jordan Reed TE, Washington 

Pre-draft, Reed was just after names like Gronk and Kelce in the tight end department but nagging injuries have mostly kept Reed on the sideline. What’s worse is that it looked like Reed was just a step away from returning to his old form. He even teased owners with a 2 touchdown game mid season just to further trick everyone.

 

Eric Decker WR, Tennessee 
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Decker came to the Titans to be a top weapon for Marcus Mariota but the surehanded wideout never really carved out a consistent role. 1 touchdown and only 1 game with more than 4 catches is not even within the shadow of flex play. That’s the definition of a fantasy bust.

 

David Johnson RB, Arizona

It’s hard to get mad at a someone who got hurt but this was the guy and he got hurt in the middle of the first game. The consensus number 1 overall with a major injury right out of the gate. Ouch. Those owner’s odds of making the playoffs went way down immediately.

 

Odell Beckham Jr WR, New York Giants
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Speaking of injuries, we must talk about OBJ. Not all hurt players are busts but when the hype is so high and the player only plays a few games then that pushes it into bust territory. Sorry Odell. Who I took with my first round pick. In the league where I missed the playoffs.

 

Martavis Bryant WR, Pittsburgh

Bryant was supposed to be the number two behind Antonio Brown on a very high scoring offense. That also never really happened. And after a few games of low targets, Bryant seemed unhappy and asked to be traded, then retracted his comments. Also, this was paired with the rise of rookie, Juju Smith-Schuster, who was seeing more and more attention. After only a few weeks, Bryant went from starter to free agent on the waiver wire.

 

Matt Ryan QB, Atlanta
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Look, Ryan is an excellent QB but his stats last year made expectations maybe unrealistically high. But that’s the world of 24 hour news cycle. Matty Ice is currently the 16th highest scoring QB one year after being NFL MVP. That fall is enough of a drop that it lands in bustville. I also have Ryan in my other league, where I lost in the playoffs. Where Ryan got me 9.6 points in the first round.

 

New England D/ST

They are currently the 19th best unit which means not ownable in any format. The selection of a defense isn’t a huge deal but any time you miss on a draft pick is a blown opportunity and somebody drafted the Pats. Fantasy bust.

 

Jay Ajayi RB, Philadelphia
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The day one starter in Miami, had a rough first few weeks, then was traded to Philly’s crowded backfield and looked to be the first option but more mediocre play turned the situation into a time share. On the year, he has only scored 1 rushing TD with plenty of opportunities. Busty bust.

 

Jordan Mathews WR, Buffalo

The Bills moved on from Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods then added Mathews. The thought was Mathews would become the number one option but for many reasons that move never panned out. Womp womp.

 

Kelvin Benjamin WR, Buffalo
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Then the Bills traded for Benjamin, he became the new top receiving threat supplanting Mathews. But shaky QB play didn’t give Kelvin enough touches to truly make an impact. Another big name that didn’t live up to the potential.

 

Donte Moncrief WR, Indianapolis 

There was a time where Donte thrived playing along side T.Y. Hilton in an air attack lead by Andrew Luck. But with Luck out, the luck ran out for Moncrief. His big play ability all but dried up leaving him as a fantasy afterthought.

 

Jameis Winston QB, Tampa Bay
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As mentioned with Mike Evans, the Tampa Bay offense simply isn’t that good this year. Many hoped for much more and were greatly disappointed. 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions just isn’t enough for a top QB. Better luck next year.

 

These dudes did not pan out and many fantasy owners are still reeling because of it. This all goes to prove a valuable lesson about fantasy football, each season there will be names that you know that fall off and new faces that step up. Championship squads navigate this razor’s edge. Time to start working on next year’s draft board.

 

Bust a move.

 

 


6 teams that should sign Colin Kaepernick right now

Written by :
Published on : September 8, 2017

 

 

The NFL season is finally here and it’s a total fucking joke that QB Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job. There are many teams that lack a real answer under center, so it makes you wonder what’s really at play here? Save the talk of the bad press. Losing is bad press. Losing gets you fired. Kap is under 30, competed in a Super Bowl, has the arm and the legs to play at a pro level. Plus, he’s healthy. That resume could help at least half a dozen squads win some games. Here are a few organizations that would instantly improve by adding Kaepernick.

 

New York Jets

Who is their starter? Josh McCown? And if that doesn’t work then who? Christian Hackenberg? Bryce Petty? Those sound like NASCAR drivers, not quarterbacks. Kap would be a major upgrade. Or maybe the plan is just to keep tanking and draft someone next year.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Both Blake Bortles and Chad Henne have failed to inspire. People keep saying that the Jags are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. That may be true but it means nothing without someone solid driving the car. Be bold, Jacksonville, decide this is the year you are going to move out of the NFL’s basement.

 

Indianapolis Colts

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Who knows when Andrew Luck will actually be back? And what if he gets hurt again? The current backup is Scott Tolzien. He was named the week 1 starter. But he looked so bad in preseason that the Colts traded WR Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots for their 3rd string QB, Jacoby Brissett. They should have just called Colin and saved themselves a wide receiver.

 

Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson may be the future but the current reigns are in the hands of Tom Savage. It feels like the Texans always have some mediocre signal caller. Their defense is legit but they need a true leader on offense. Plus Kaepernick could be a great mentor to Watson, as both play a more athletic version of the position.

 

Cleveland Browns

Much like the Texans’ situation, the Browns have their QB of the future in DeShone Kizer (or at least they hope). But Cleveland is starting the rookie day one. We shall see how fast the kid learns but maybe it would have been nice to groom the young talent while a real starter shows him the ropes. Or just throw the kid in the deep end and pray he doesn’t drown.

 

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San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick’s old team. They moved on from Kap but never got anyone better. Their current starter is Brian Hoyer. The guy who couldn’t hack it in Cleveland or Chicago. Plus if Colin came back then all the bay area fans could bust out their old jerseys.

 

Those are just the first six I could think of. One could argue that Denver and Chicago need quarterback help as well. Either way, there will be a big QB injury sometime this year, it’s just bound to happen. And when it does, I hope management gives Kap a chance. More likely, that GM in question will just say “fuck it” and see what Tony Romo is doing.

 

Call the guy.

 

 


Blackout Bruno’s NFL picks for week 17

Written by :
Published on : January 3, 2017

 

This article was penned the weekend leading up to week 17 but I got really drunk and forgot to post it. No picks were harmed or changed in the making of this. The correct picks are marked after each guess, along with my record so far.

 

Saturday, January 31st, 2016 –

Woah, just woke up from a 16 hour nap to discover I went 13-3 in week 15. Not bad for a guy with a severally damaged liver and brain. That brings my selective season total for picks to 40-18-1. That record could be even better if I didn’t pick my Lions to win against the Giants. Still mad about that game. Don’t even get me started on that awful Dallas fiasco on Monday night. I mean, Dez Bryant has a handful of facemask but the refs– I said DON’T get me started. Let’s all calm down with a cold one and the picks for week 17.

 

Quick note: many of these games are meaningless as the playoffs are all but set. So some younger players may see some snaps which may throw off the traditional wisdom.

 

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

 

Ravens were 9 seconds away from beating the Steelers last week and having a shot at the postseason but Antonio Brown had other plans. Because of that, they come out mad and take it out all over a depleted Bengals crew.

Winner: Baltimore Bengals (0-1 so far)

 

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

This should have been the showdown for the AFC South crown but the Titans lost to Jags in week 16 and lost their star QB Marcus Mariota. This is a perfect time for the playoff bound Texans to learn how to win on the road.

Winner: Houston Tennessee (0-2)

 

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs need a win and some help to get to the dance, plus they are playing at home and have motivation on their side. For the Panthers, this is the last game of their Super Bowl hangover. I’m sure they just want the season to be over.

Winner: Tampa Bay (1-2)

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianpolis Colts

 

Despite all their preseason hype, the Jags are one of the league’s worst. While Andrew Luck and the Colts can flash moments of awesome. That is more than enough for Indy to take care of business in front of their home crowd.

Winner: Indianpolis (2-2)

 

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

Miami is currently the 6th seed in the AFC going into the playoffs. That projects them to travel to Pittsburgh (outdoors) for the Wild Card. That’s not great for the Dolphins chances, a win against the Pats could get them the 5th seed which pits them against Houston (indoors). Pair all this with the idea that New England may sit some starters and you have upset written all over.

Winner: Miami New England (2-3)

 

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Bears are garbage. Vikings defense is good. Case closed.

Winner: Minnesota (3-3)

 

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

 

Speaking of garbage, the New York Jets everyone. They can’t stop anyone and they have no answer at QB. The Bills are better than their record and can run the ball effectively.

Winner: Buffalo New York (3-4)

 

Cowboys Dallas at Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas has it all locked up and is waiting for the divisional round of the playoffs. They will be mentally checked out. While the Eagles and their young QB are trying to grow and learn with each snap.

Winner: Philadelphia (4-4)

 

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Browns just got their first win last week. I was as shocked as you. But that mostly just proves you can never count on the Chargers for anything. None of that matters, Steelers run all over Cleveland.

Winner: Pittsburgh (5-4)

 

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

 

Falcons are playing for a potential first round bye and they rock at home. Don’t count the Saints out as Drew Brees flashes some vintage magic to make this interesting but it’s not enough.

Winner: Atlanta (6-4)

 

New York Giants at Washington R-words

The G-men’s D is solid and but for Washington, this is their whole season. Should be a tough divisional matchup. I can see it either way but I’ll give New York the edge. True they have less to play for but they know it’s important to hit the postseason with some momentum.

Winner: New York (7-4)

 

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

Both these organizations had high hopes for 2016. Those hopes were dashed weeks ago but the Cardinals are still miles ahead of the lowly Rams.

Winner: Arizona (8-4)

 

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

 

What happened to Denver? Suddenly they can’t run the ball and that promising start isn’t enough to get them back to the playoffs. The Raiders will hand the offense over to Matt McGloin in place of injured QB Derek Carr. An ugly game but McGloin gets the win.

Winner: Oakland Denver (8-5)

 

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers

Chargers lost to the winless Browns last week and will keep the crappy play going against the red-hot Chiefs. Look for super weapon Tyreek Hill to make fools out of the San Diego coverage units.

Winner: Kansas City (9-5)

 

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

HAHAHAH! Niners just fired everyone for the train wreck of season they are having. I kind of thought they were going to give Chip Kelley another year. Whatever. Seattle rolls in this tuneup game.

Winner: Seattle (10-5)

 

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

This game will determine who is King of the North! So conflicted here. If I pick the Lions they will lose. But I can’t bring myself to pick the Packers out of principle so I guess it will be a tie. Go Lions.

No Winner: Tie Green Bay (10-6) 

 

That’s it for the regular season picks. If I’m not in jail, I’ll try and get some Wild Card predictions in for you to enjoy. Until then, make your favorite cocktail and hold your loved ones close. Who knows what the future holds.

 

Playoffs?

 

 


Blackout Bruno’s NFL picks for week 15

Written by :
Published on : December 15, 2016

 

Sorry for the long absence. I’m still sweating out this hangover after my recent trip to New Orleans. My record last time out was 10-4 (week 10) which gives me an overall record of 27-15-1. Not bad. I’ve done better and better each week, let’s keep this streak going. Let’s streak through the quad and into the gymnasium. These are your booze inspired picks for week 15.

 

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Seattle bounces back after a dismal showing against the Packers and stomps a Rams team that just fired its head coach. These crews are headed in opposite directions. Seahawks rack it up.

Winner: Seattle

 

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

 

No Tannehill? No problem. Dolphins focus on the run and push over a terrible Jets team. New York is at home but just barely, the game is on Saturday so the Giants can have all day with the stadium on Sunday. It’s clear which New York squad is liked best.

Winner: Miami

 

Detroit Lions at New York Giants

Two offenses that can’t really run the ball. Both have played in lots of close contests. both have better records than most want to give them credit for. Lions are the hotter team having won their last 5 but the Giants just slayed the mighty Cowboys. It’ll be a nail-bitter but the Lions pull it out, again.

Winner: Detroit

 

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

It may be closer than most expect but Green Bay will win. I know this because I need them to lose, so they won’t. It’s nearly guaranteed. Rodgers and company keep moving the ball down field and link up on several deep bombs.

Winner: Green Bay

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

 

Jags are bad and already thinking about draft picks while Houston needs this game to stay atop the division as the Titans and Colts nip at their heels. Texans also play way better at home and pull away in the second half.

Winner: Houston

 

Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills

Cleveland will not win a game this year. Buffalo is better than their 6-7 record and they are going to prove it all over the Browns. Shady McCoy runs for over a 100 yards and adds a few touchdowns. Cleveland adds some points late but it’s never close.

Winner: Buffalo

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens

Bird battle. Ravens are mad salty after the loss to the Pats. They bring their A-game plus that wicked defense. Wentz turns it over late and that seals it. Baltimore keeps their playoff hopes alive.

Winner: Baltimore

 

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs

 

I’m taking a real risk here. KC is very good in all phases of play. Also, they are nearly bulletproof playing at Arrowhead but they just lost LB Derrick Johnson. The Titans run the ball very well and have been rocking lately. They steal a win on the road.

Winner: Tennessee

 

Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings

Both crews need a W to stay in the postseason conversation. Andrew Luck turns on the magic and hits Hilton for a big score. Colts play spoiler and the Vikings will kick themselves for losing this one. Especially since they play Green Bay next.

Winner: Indianapolis

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

The simple truth is that the Steelers score too many points for the Bengals to hang. Wether it’s through the air to Antonio Brown or on the ground with Le’Veon Bell, it’s too much for Cincinnati. Big Ben gets his boys one step closer to the postseason.

Winner: Pittsburgh

 

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals

 

Two teams with vet QBs and sub .500 records. Everyone was expecting more. Who will step up? I give the edge to the Cards because of their strong run game. For viewers sake, let’s hope this is a barn-burner because entertainment is all they are playing for.

Winner: Arizona

 

San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons

Oh boy, this may be the most lopsided contest in week 15. Falcons need the victory to hold off the surging Bucs in the NFC South. The game is also in Atlanta and the 49ers stink. Matty Ice torches them for 350 yards and 4 TD’s.

Winner: Atlanta

 

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

This isn’t the Peyton Manning Broncos and Tom Brady is rolling. How can you pick against the Pats after their big win on Monday night? They lit up that solid unit from Baltimore and are looking to do the same in Mile High.

Winner: New England

 

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

 

The Raiders get back on track in this game but it won’t be easy. Nothing ever is with the Chargers. Their whole team is injured but Philip Rivers keeps slinging. This will come down to the last two possessions but the Oakland defense comes up big.

Winner: Oakland

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys

You can normally just pencil in a Cowboys win each week but they looked like mere mortals in their loss to the Giants. Tampa Bay is a solid squad that has won their last 5 and could prove to be a handful. Still have to think Dallas pulls it out.

Winner: Dallas

 

Carolina Panthers at Washington R-words

This game probably sounded like a fun matchup on paper last year but the 5-8 Panthers aren’t much of a draw for Monday Night Football. Washington is still in the wild card hunt so they will be jacked up and ready to ball.

Winner: Washington

 

Alright, get me a bloody mary and a nap. The playoffs are around the corner, oh and I guess Christmas too. So scratch that bloody and get me a bourbon eggnog, unless you started making it already. In which case, I’ll have both and a beer.

 

Let’s order delivery.

 

 


NFL Turkey Day Priveiw 2016

Written by :
Published on : November 23, 2016

 

For many, watching NFL action on Thanksgiving is as essential as mashed potatoes. Most of my Turkey Day memories include the Detroit Lions and eating way too much. Then watching watching the Dallas Cowboys and eating a little more. Then complaining about how the Lions played while having coffee and pie. Let’s look at the menu for Thursday’s football feast.

 

9:30 am (PT) – Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

 

Time to wake up and jump straight into fire. The lead in the NFC North hangs in the balance as both teams are 6-4 and coming off wins. Lions beat the Vikings in OT just a few weeks ago and this looks to be another close one. The winner will have a commanding lead with only 5 games left. All while Green Bay continues to implode and Chicago celebrates the Cubs. This Thanksgiving day game may decide the division.

 

Make at least a light snack during or before the game. Better yet, do a full breakfast or meal. You may think skip the early meal and save the room for dinner but it’s the early calories that kick start your metabolism and allow you to consume the most food possible. When you skip an eating, your body goes into reserve mode where it burns calories slowly. That’s not what you want, you want a roaring fire of an appetite. Let there be meat! Let there be football! Glorious Turkey Day to you all!

 

Good news for Minnesota is that their defense is legit and that will keep them in any contest. Good news for Detroit is that all 10 of their games this season (NFL record) have been decided within 7 points and Stafford seems to have a knack for winning it late. So we know this is going to come down to the last few possessions. Great, another holiday filled with screaming and tension.

 

1:30 pm – Washington R-words at Dallas Cowboys

 

Another tough divisional bout. NFC East leading Dallas defends their 9-1 record against 6-3-1 Washington who have found their stride recently, winning the last two. It’s hard to pick anyone to beat the Cowboys in Texas but Washington is sneaky. Alright, time to eat. First plate strategy is to get a small taste of everything the dinner has to offer. This may be tough depending on how many side dishes your Aunt brings. Resist the urge to make some mountain of first portion or else there will never be seconds.

 

I’ve mentioned this before but why does the league always schedule the Cowboys against one of the Native American themed franchises on Thanksgiving? Washington is in the division, so that kind of makes sense but it seems more than just luck. It’s kind of like someone at the NFL thinks it’s cute to play cowboys and indians on Turkey Day. Also, I’ve stopped using the Washington mascot name in my writing and I hope Washington ownership makes a change.

 

Good news for the Cowboys is that rookie QB Dak Prescott is playing great and limiting turnovers. Good news for Washington is they found a spark with RB Robert Kelley and QB Kirk Cousins is slinging. Time for a second plate. This time load up on all the best stuff, extra gravy please. But do it quick, the second half is about to start. The Washington defense needs to slow down the Dallas rushing attack or there is no chance they can win. Let’s hope Washington can score enough so this stays interesting.

 

5:30 pm – Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts

 

More football? Pile it on. This third game was added a few years back and can be any two teams, while Dallas and Detroit always host games. The last matchup features two 5-5 crews that both need the win to keep their playoff dreams alive. Grab a strong cup of black coffee, cream or sugar not needed because of what’s next: a piece of every pie, cake, pie or pie that’s available. Add ice cream or whipped cream where applicable.

 

Indy has trouble slowing down opposing offenses and Pittsburgh knows how to score a gang of points but those 5-5 records means we aren’t really sure who is going to show up. The Steelers’ ground game is solid with Le’Veon Bell and Big Ben to Antonio Brown is money in the bank but they don’t always seem to be able to put it all together. The Colts and QB Andrew Luck are building some steam with back-to-back wins over Green Bay and divisional foe, Tennessee.

 

Good news for Indy is they are at home and indoors which doesn’t sound like much of an advantage until you consider playing outside, at night, at Heinz Field. Good news for Pittsburgh is that QB Ben Roethlisberger has feasted on the Colts in his career. Ben Hungry. This could be a shootout. Which is the best case scenario because we are all very sleepy, so if this isn’t gripping, I’m napping.

 

nfl-thanksgiving-madden-jpg

 

Remember, Thanksgiving is day is about family and those close to your heart. Eat, drink, be merry but take a second to thank those around you. If you are away from the ones you love, call, text or fax. And if you go out into the world on Turkey Day, please be appreciative of the men and women who are working on the holiday.

 

Nap time.

 

 


NFL Halfway way report for 2016

Written by :
Published on : November 3, 2016

 

 

NFL Week 8 is in the books are we are officially halfway through the 2016 season. Damn, things are moving fast. Don’t blink because the postseason is around the corner. Let’s look back at the first part of the year and see what we’ve learned so far.

 

The Standings

The quickest and most superficial way to know a squad is by looking at their record. Who did they beat? Who did they lose to? Was it at home or on the road? These are all telling bits of information. Your current division leaders are:

 

NFC North: Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys (6-1)

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons (5-3)

NFC West: Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1)

 

 

AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

AFC East: New England Patriots (7-1)

AFC South: Houston Texans (5-3)

AFC West: Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos (both 6-2)

 

With Brady back under center, the Pats are the best team in the league. They are the first to 7 wins and should be the favorite in every game for the next 8 weeks. The Cowboys are the only other 1 loss team and they lead the only division where all members have a winning record. The NFC East is finally playing some good football. Houston and Minnesota both seems like crews that could get pushed out of their current standings. The AFC West should be a three horse race going down the stretch as Kansas City starts to string wins together. Stats aren’t everything but number of wins is still huge in the playoff picture.

 

Surprises

One of the biggest shockers of the year has to be the Oakland Raiders. The 6-2 record is nice but it’s the 5-0 on the road that makes you double-take. They are on track for their first playoff appearance since 2003. The second longest postseason drought in football (only the Bills have been waiting longer). I hope they get there. Either by winning the AFC West or locking up a wild card spot.

 

 

How awful the Carolina Panthers are. They are 2-5 and last in the NFC South. Talk about a Super Bowl hangover. I don’t think anyone, including Cam Newton saw that coming. Their D is weak, Cam is getting lit up and nothing is clicking.

 

The Cowboys getting it done with rookies at QB and RB in Dak Prescott and Ezekial Elliot. Enough with the Romo talk. Prescott is winning, you don’t mess with success. Let Tony ride the bench for awhile. Maybe he can come back during the playoffs just time to to throw an interception.

 

How average the Packers look. They are 4-3 but have lost to every team over .500 they have played. Eddie Lacy is on IR, they can’t run the ball and defenses aren’t giving Rodgers all day to throw. This football giant seems very killable.

 

Less Surprising

The Jacksonville Jaguars still suck. Many talking-heads hyped the Jags in the preseason as some sort of dark horse. Their offense (mostly through the air) worked last year and they drafted all these great defensive players but it’s not that simple and this franchise is still years away. Also, what’s with the jerseys in the photo below? They look like the knock-off/unlicensed NFL uniforms from Any Given Sunday.

 

 

The Steelers are good. Even without some of their stars, this roster steps up and fills holes. They started without RB Bell because of a suspension, then QB Roethlisberger got hurt, but Pittsburgh keeps winning. Look for them to make another playoff run.

 

Everyone on San Diego is hurt. I can just save this part and copy-paste it next year because it’s the same story every time. Tons of talent and potential, awful luck and injuries leaves Phillip Rivers in a hole fighting for his life. One almost has to wonder, what would the Chargers look like healthy? A bizarre and perverse thought. Don’t linger on it.

 

The Colts can’t stop anyone. They are wasting QB Andrew Luck. Every game, Luck is forced to throw it downfield because they are playing from behind. Great for fantasy, not for reality. Kind of reminds me of Matthew Stafford. Anyway, Indy needs to shore up both sides of the line and spend some draft picks retooling the whole defensive unit.

 

 

The best part about all of this is there is still time. 8 games is a lot. Go 6-2 over the second half and you may just be in the playoffs. Stranger things have happened. At this moment, I can only guarantee maybe 5 teams will make it. That leaves plenty of spots for your team. All they have to do is get hot.

 

Playoffs?

 

 


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.

 

 


Blackout Bruno’s NFL picks for week 7

Written by :
Published on : October 18, 2016

 

 

My week 5 record was 8-6. Not great. But it’s a start and it’s something to build off. Now get your favorite uncle Bruno a drink and I’ll tell you the winners of NFL week 7.

 

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

The Bears aren’t very good, plus they have a short week of practice because they are playing on Thursday and it’s in Lambeau. All signs point to a double digit win for Green Bay. Rodgers throws 4 TDs and this one stops being competitive early.

Winner: Packers

 

New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams

 

Rams lost a close one to the Lions, while OBJ woke up for the G Men and racked up 222 yards and 2 TDs. I see both these trends continuing. New York wins after Odell Beckham Jr posts another monster performance. Los Angeles has one last shot at the end of the game but they come up short.

Winner: Giants

 

New Orleans Saints at Kansas City Chiefs

This is a tough one to call. The Saints are better than their 2-3 record suggests but it’s hard to earn a W in Arrowhead Stadium. It should be close but the KC defense holds Drew Brees in check and Jamaal Charles gets up to speed in a big way.

Winner: Chiefs

 

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles

This should be a low scoring affair because these are top defensive units. Vikings have the best D in the league but the Philly crew has also been excellent. Can’t pick against Minnesota the way they are playing. Don’t care where the game is.

Winner: Vikings

 

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

 

I keep thinking Tennessee is weak and picking against them, and they keep proving me wrong. Well, I’m turning the corner on the Titans. They run all over the porous Indy defense and win a close one despite Andrew Luck’s late-game heroics.

Winner: Titans

 

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Miami is hot garbage. They somehow beat the Steelers but I still don’t believe in them. The Bills have a legit D and enough weapons to score the points they need against a Dolphins crew that can’t get out of it’s own way. I still don’t understand how a roster that loaded plays so poorly.

Winner: Bills

 

Washington at Detroit Lions

I’m super hesitant to pick Detroit to win but Stafford is playing at an elite level right now. He has 7 TDs and 0 INTs in the last two games. Washington comes to Detroit on a four game winning streak but Stafford out duels Cousins who throws 2 picks in the loss.

Winner: Lions

 

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

 

The Browns are a dumpster fire. They are the last bad team in Cleveland. Maybe the Browns didn’t get the message that the city’s teams were going to stop sucking. The Bengals win the battle of Ohio with a balanced attack that Cleveland can’t stop.

Winner: Bengals

 

Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland is coming off a loss and should get back on track against a Jags team that isn’t scoring many points. Jacksonville has won their last two games but a weak running game makes them too one dimensional for a balanced Raider crew.

Winner: Raiders

 

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets

The Jets do not look good. Their QB throws the ball away, they have trouble running the ball and their secondary gets burned deep regularly. Baltimore loves the deep ball. Joe Flacco has a field day and torches the jets who fall to 1-6.

Winner: Ravens

 

San Diego Chargers at Atlanta Falcons

 

San Diego always seems to be in this rough spot of having tons of injuries and losing close games in the 4th quarter. The Falcons on the other hand are flying high and finding success in all levels of the game. Atlanta should smash the Chargers at home.

Winner: Falcons

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers

Tampa is better than I think most give them credit for. They have talent on both sides of the ball and they are facing a 49ers team that doesn’t do much effectively. No matter who the QB is, San Fransisco will turn over the ball and the Bucs will turn that into easy points.

Winner: Buccaneers

 

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers

This should have been the best game of the week 7. But QB Ben Roethlisberger is out with a knee injury and that changes everything. Tom and the boys will have their way with the Steelers on their home field.

Winner: Patriots

 

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

 

Arizona started the year slowly but are finally rolling. David Johnson continues to prove he is one of the league’s most complete backs. Seattle is a good football team and this divisional matchup should be a great game. Johnson, the ground game and playing at home should give the Cards the edge.

Winner: Cardinals

 

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

AKA “the Brock Bowl.” QB Osweiler left Denver for Houston in the offseason. Time for Brock to prove he made the right choice (beyond the huge payday). A hard fought battle but the Broncos defense at home will be too much to handle.

Winner: Broncos

 

 

That’s it. Nap time. Wake me when the pizza gets here. Or if the house is on fire. But please don’t disturb me for any other reason.

 

Liver spots.

 

 


Blackout Bruno’s NFL picks for week 5

Written by :
Published on : October 5, 2016

 

It’s late and I’ve had a few. Let’s go over the upcoming matchups in the NFL and I’ll tell you who is going to win. This is Blackout Bruno’s picks for week 5.

 

 

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Both are 1-3 but someone has to win. Carson Palmer may not play after leaving with a concussion last Sunday, so look for a steady diet of David Johnson running the ball. 49ers D won’t have an answer.

Winner: Cardinals

 

New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns

Tom Brady’s first game back from suspension. Tom will play angry and the offense will score early and often. This shouldn’t even be close.

Winner: Patriots

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions

 

Two squads trending in the opposite directions. The Lions can’t stop anybody and Wentz and crew are full of confidence. Even at home, Lions won’t do enough to beat a fresh Philly team coming off their bye.

Winner: Eagles

 

Chicago Bears at Indianpolis Colts

Two flawed teams. I see lots of points and a close one but Andrew Luck gets the ball last and drives the field for the game winning score.

Winner: Colts

 

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins

I don’t like either side. Titans can run the ball but the Fins are at home. Miami’s passing game should be able to get rolling versus a weak Tennessee secondary.

Winner: Dolphins

 

Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings

 

Minnesota’s defense is at the top of their game. Houston has some play makers but not enough fire power to win on the road. Watch for Bradford to find TE Rudolph for another TD and the Vikings to stay undefeated.

Winner: Vikings

 

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers

Jets defense is giving up a lot of points and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick keeps throwing the ball away. The Steelers on the other hand, are coming off a big win and want to keep that momentum going at home.

Winner: Steelers

 

Washington at Baltimore Ravens

This should be close but the Ravens are solid enough in all three phases of the game that they edge it out. I see Kirk Cousins throwing a late pick and then kicker Justin Tucker will seal it for Baltimore.

Winner: Ravens

 

Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos

 

I like Atlanta’s balanced attack but asking anyone to win in Denver seems like quite the task. Denver runs well enough to go play-action for a few scores. Matt Ryan makes a late 4th quarter comeback but falls short.

Winner: Broncos

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys

I went back and forth on this one. The Bengals should be able to score enough points to put pressure on the rookies (Prescott and Elliot) of the Dallas offense. This extra pressure leads to some turnovers that will ultimately decide the contest.

Winner: Bengals

 

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Is it finally time for Oakland to shine? They have a good young QB, a variety of offensive options and are 3-0 on the road. I see them getting their first home win over a Chargers team that is still finding themselves.

Winner: Raiders

 

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams

 

Another total crapshoot. Who knows? The Rams are somehow 3-1 after their week 1 blowout loss. The Bills just beat the Pats at home. Still not sold on either. I’ll give the edge to my adopted second team, Go Rams.

Winner: Rams

 

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

The Packers are coming off their bye and are playing at home plus their D line is shutting down the run. All bad signs for New York. Throw in Odell Beckham Jr’s uneven play and it doesn’t look good for the G-men.

Winner: Packers

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

Tampa beat Atlanta in week 1, and Atlanta just took apart Carolina, so by the power of bullshit transitivity (joking this never works in sports) the Bucs the win. Honestly, Cam Newton may be out and that D is not what it was last year.

Winner: Buccaneers

 

 

Take what I say with a grain of salt. Or a salted rimmed margarita. Or a pitcher of margaritas. Okay, that’s all for now. I’m going to pass out. Who knows what week Blackout Bruno will return.

 

Broken picker.

 

 


Overreaction: NFL Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 20, 2016

 

 

Week 2 is over. The 2016 season is officially off and running. Some would say it’s still too early to know anything about the identity of teams but those people have obliviously never met me. Listen up while I spout off wild, speculative snap judgements on all 32 NFL teams after only two games completed.

 

– The Bills are 0-2 and their season is already over. It was fun while it lasted Buffalo. Maybe they should have let Rock Star Bon Jovi buy the team a few years back.Well, better luck next time. Living on Prayer.

 

– The Jets offense is great as long as Matt Forte stays healthy and keeps moving them down the field. Without him, this team is doomed to be a sub .500 unit.

 

– The league office still hates the Detroit Lions. The conspiracy continues. In the 15-16 loss to the Titans, the Honolulu Blue and Silver were flagged 17 times for 138 yards. None worse than the two fantom calls that negated TD’s on back-to-back plays. Those calls completely changed the landscape of the game.

 

 

– The Titans are now 1-1 but this crew showed me little to make me believe in them. They exploited a super injury-weakened Lions D and scored some late points but that seems more situational than skill. It was mostly just smart play calling. I’m obviously still salty about this but this team sucks plain and simple.

 

– The Panthers got back on track in week 2 with a solid performance against the 49ers. Cam had 4 TD’s with two going to Kelvin Benjamin. This offense is even better than last year because Benjamin is back. Panthers look bound for another deep playoff run.

 

– San Fransisco blew out the Rams last week and no one knew what to make of them, but hanging with Carolina tells me they are more complete than most think. They leave the bottom of the barrel of last campaign and join the blurry middle of the pack.

 

– The Cincinnati Bengals cannot beat the Steelers. They melted down in the playoffs last year and failed again at Heinz field this Sunday. Marvin Lewis needs to figure a way to slay this dragon or else they might never get Andy Dalton that postseason win.

 

– The Steelers are legit. They score bunches of points and this is all without star running back Le’Veon Bell. If Big Ben stays off IR than the steel city boys are eyeing another division crown and maybe a meeting with the Patriots in the conference finals.

 

 

– Speaking of the AFC North, the 0-2 Cleveland Browns still suck. What’s new? Week 3 may see the Browns start their third QB of the year. Ouch. This team is done. Go hang out with the Bills. Your year is over.

 

– Baltimore is 2-0, sounds great but they barely came back against Cleveland and squeaked by Buffalo week 1. Two close wins against the worst of the NFL does not inspire confidence.

 

– Washington is 0-2 after losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. Kirk Cousins is playing on the Franchise Tag trying to prove he is worth a big contract. So far, he hasn’t shown that moxie of 2015. Things better turnaround quick or the D.C. area may have to start rebuilding, again.

 

– The Cowboys got their first win with rookies Dak Prescott at QB and Ezikel Elliot at RB. This young team is lead by that great offensive line but I don’t see them going too far with all that inexperience running the show.

 

– Giants are looking good. I talked shit about them before but at 2-0 they are now the favorites to win the NFC East. The defense has played well and they have showed guts in two close contests.

 

 

– The Saints are winless. It feels like the same story every year with these guys. They can score lots of points and Drew Brees keeps it close but they can’t string the W’s together. No chance at the playoffs.

 

– The Miami Dolphins. A squad full of talent and names that never seems to be able to put it all together. Another slow start at 0-2 and Arian Foster is already dealing with health issues. Call the nurse, we have another dead team. Sorry not Sorry.

 

– The New England Patriots are undefeated and playing without Gronk or Brady. Their next two games are at home and untested rookie, Jacoby Brissett, may start at QB for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. If the Pats are ever going to lose, it may be next week against Houston, but after that, they will probably run the table. As per usual.

 

– The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are 2-0 and the most complete team in the division. I’m sure JJ Watt can’t wait to introduce himself to Brissett on Thursday night.

 

– Kansas City Chiefs are a hard team to read. They beat the Chargers week 1 but lost to the Texans. They will hang around the Wild Card spot most of the year only to drop off at the end.

 

 

– The Los Angeles Rams are one of the worst teams in the league. It pains me to type that because they are now my second favorite. It’s a mystery how they beat Seattle but it was a 9-3 ugly affair. They should start planning their draft picks now.

 

– The Seahawks are 1-1 after that bizarre game with L.A. that saw injuries to Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson. Russ stayed in the game but was clearly ailing. Seattle will weather the storm and make a serious push for the playoffs.

 

– Arizona lost a close one with the Pats in week 1 and took their anger out on the Bucs in week 2. This is a solid team top to bottom. They will be hosting a postseason game. Hopefully Carson Palmer can last that long.

 

– Tampa Bay is 1-1. They have some nice pieces across the roster but don’t get too excited. They are not ready for prime time. Maybe they can finish second in the NFC South. No postseason though.

 

– Jacksonville Jaguars were a breakout pick from many talking heads in the sports world. I’ll admit they have many promising players but they still suck.

 

 

– San Diego Chargers are once again battling the injury bug. Already, key starters Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead are done for the year. This trend will unfortunately continue because that’s what happens in San Diego.

 

– The Falcons sit at 1-1. Matty Ice leads an even attack that is more than effective but the lack of close out defense will limit Atlanta’s potential. No playoffs for you, one year.

 

– The Raiders have all the tools needed to make the postseason and they will finally punch their ticket this year. Move over Warriors, Oakland’s true love is going to the dance for the first time since 2002.

 

– The Colts can’t stop anybody so they will keep losing. They are 0-2 and have zero chance of winning their division.

 

– Broncos will be playing without DeMarcus Ware for a bit but it’s okay, that defense is still so nasty that they will be in every game. Look for Denver to have another serious playoff run.

 

 

– Green Bay is 1-1 after a win over the Jags and a loss to the rival Vikings. Jordy Nelson doesn’t look 100% and Eddie Lacy is still fat. I hope and pray the wheels fall off but they will probably turn it around all over the my Lions this Sunday.

 

– The Sam Bradford project is working in Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers which is all you need to do to win over the locals. The team is 2-0 but may have lost Adrian Peterson for extended time. I still see them in the hunt for a Wild Card birth.

 

– Carson Wentz looks good in two games. The Eagles are 2-0 and those monsters in Philly must be smiling. Just wait for some adversity and those cheers will turn to boos. The Eagles can’t keep this up.

 

– Bears are really bad. Jay Cutler is worse. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier. At least the Cubs are good.

 

Is it week 3 yet?

 

 


Concerns about the Lions defense

Written by :
Published on : September 15, 2016

 

 

In typical Lions fashion, the team gave up a late lead with less than a minute to play on Sunday. In not-so-typical Lions fashion, they managed to drive down the field and win the game with a late field goal. Much like the first game of last season, the team built up a 21-3 lead in the first half, only to watch it slip away as their defense withered against Andrew Luck. If not for superb play from Matt Stafford, and a long lost running game that showed up big time, this team could very well sit at 0-1 right now.

 

The offense was a pleasant surprise. The line held up fairly well (against a weak Colts defense), and the Detroit backs and receivers more or less did as they pleased all day. A win is a win and in the NFL, you have to take them where you can get them. It’s encouraging that the offense seems to be picking up where it left off last season with Jim Bob Cooter calling the shots. But there might be some cause for concern on the other side of the ball. After a strong first quarter, the Detroit Lions defense regressed as the game wore on. The way things unfolded in the second half has me wondering if the Lions defense might be in trouble. Here are some of my biggest concerns at each level of the defense.

 

Piss poor pass rush

Early on in the game, the Colts offense looked lost and the Lions defense looked pretty tight. I was specifically impressed with the play of the defensive line, going as far as to voice my pleasure on Twitter…

 

 

As usual, I was premature in my praise. Early on, the pressure was constant and guys like Kerry Hyder Jr (one of the last players to make the 53-man roster) were making plays. The team was using stunts and disguising the rush in order to confuse the Colts offense. Andrew Luck looked uncomfortable and the pocket was collapsing with regularity, causing some difficult throwing situations for the young QB.

 

About midway through the second quarter that began to change. The Lions had built up a comfortable lead and then it seemed like defensive coordinator Teryl Austin took his foot off the gas. The play calling went vanilla as the Lions switched almost exclusively into a two-linebacker package, after working the 4-3 with Kyle Van Noy early on in the game. The four man rush was inept and the guys looked slow off the ball. Big boys like Haloti Ngata got pushed off the line much more often than they should have been. Devin Taylor wasn’t much of a factor either, giving a bit of legitimacy to my original concerns about him being a full time starter.

 

 Ziggy just couldn’t get there.

 

There just wasn’t much going on up front and Andrew Luck took full advantage of it. Even when there was pressure the boys couldn’t get home. Like on the Colts final drive, when Ziggy Ansah allowed Luck to narrowly escape a sack that could have been a big boost to the defense. By the end of game, hell, by mid-game, the defensive line looked worn down. This is despite a pretty constant rotation of bodies. The defensive line has got to be the heart and soul if this defense is going to thrive. If they play against top level offensive lines like they did Sunday, then there are going to be some painful moments in Detroit this season. Two sacks against that Colts is unacceptable.

 

Linebacker issues

Tahir Whitehead started the game pretty strong. He made some big hits and looked good in man coverage. But as the game progressed, and the team asked him to play more zone coverage, he got exposed. Teryl Austin was clearly asking him to do more than he could handle. There were some suspect coverage hand-offs in zone that left me thinking Whitehead may have been out of place or indecisive about where he needed to be. The team should let him do what he does best and let other players who thrive in more complex coverages do their thing. That’s what we have our other stud linebacker for, right?

 

The only problem is that he didn’t look so great either. DeAndre Levy played a total of 17 snaps in 2015, and only a handful during this year’s preseason, but was on the field for all 70 defensive snaps in week 1. By no means was he a liability (except on that shit head taunting penalty), but he didn’t live up to what we expect from him either. He was solid enough but also much slower to react than Lions fans have become accustomed to with him. It was his killer instinct and quick reflexes that helped earn him a big contract extension before last season, but this was not the same bearded beast we are all used to seeing. It was obvious that there is some rust to be knocked off with Levy, but if by some unfortunate chance his play doesn’t improve, this defense could be in trouble. They need him to be game changer not an average guy.

 

Second(ary) Thoughts

We all know that the Lions have at least one star in the secondary with Darius Slay. They also happen to have one above-average safety in Glover Quin, although he had a bad game against the Colts. In the NFL, that’s the foundation of a pretty good secondary. If those guys do their job and you can get just a few more players to play up to, or slightly above, their potential then you can have some real success. On Sunday that didn’t really happen.

 

It remains to be seen if Tavon Wilson and Rafael Bush can combine to form a serviceable safety tandem, but they sure as hell aren’t going to do it if the defensive line can’t get any pressure. Slay and Quin can only do so much on their own, and without a consistent pass rush the entire unit will be a failure. Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs have shown that they can be better than adequate when given a fair shot in a defense that is functioning properly at all levels. When that was not happening on Sunday they couldn’t keep up and they shouldn’t be expected to. This secondary can thrive, but much like the defense as a whole, that is predicated on the defensive line.

 

 Nevin Lawson getting beat for a TD.

 

With all of that in mind, we have to remember that this is only the first week of the season. Many of these issues will probably get resolved as the team plays itself into game shape and the boys knock off some of that rust. With the limited amount of full contact practices during training camp nowadays, many teams need a couple weeks to get back up to speed, and after the last two seasons it’s clear that the Lions are one of those squads. This team seems to come out of the gate in sluggish fashion every year.

 

We often don’t see a team’s true self until they have played a few games. I suspect that may be the case with these guys too. DeAndre Levy had played only a handful of snaps in more than a year before Sunday. Time will tell if he will ever get back to being his pre hip injury self, but I’d be willing to bet that once he gets into shape we will see a better version of him than the one we saw against the Colts. Jim Caldwell and his staff once again has failed to have his football team prepared for 60 minutes of regular season gameplay coming out of training camp.

 

Speaking of the staff, defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, deserves a big chunk of the blame for how the defense played Sunday. He displayed an unwillingness to play to the strengths of his players and the team suffered. By simplifying his schemes once the team had a comfortable lead, he gave Andrew Luck the window he needed to mount a comeback. It was a repeat of last season in San Diego all over again. This year, they were lucky enough to come out with a win in week 1, but they had better hope they get up to speed soon.

 

 


Preseason Questions for all 32 NFL Teams

Written by :
Published on : August 17, 2016

 

 

The sports gods have answered our prayers and brought NFL football back to us mortals. Huzzah! It’s only preseason action but it’s better than nothing. These early practice games are great because they give us a chance to see the team for the first time. Naturally, many questions will bubble to the surface about each squad. Will this rookie make an impact? Will this player stay healthy? Who will win the starting the job? There is tons of buzz out there but these are the big questions facing each NFL team. Find your favorite franchise below and see what they are dealing with.

 

AFC North

Browns – Can RGIII stay on the field for 16 games and be the QB Cleveland needs to move forward?

Steelers – Can this team stay healthy and out of jail?

Ravens – Will the defense improve enough to make them competitive again?

Bengals – Can Andy Dalton be the guy who takes them deep into postseason? Or just win one single  playoff game?

 

 

AFC East

Patriots – Can New England survive Tom Brady’s four game suspension under Jimmy Garoppolo and still win the division?

Dolphins – Will this squad ever play up to their potential?

Bills – How will Tyrod Taylor fare under center in his second year?

Jets – With Fitz back at QB, can the Jets score enough points to win games?

 

AFC South

Colts – Which Andrew Luck will we see? 2014 or 2015?

Jaguars – Is this the season everyone wakes up and believes in the Jags passing attack?

Titans – Tons of new pieces, how will they all work together?

Texans – Is Brock Oswieler really the guy?

 

brock osweiler

 

AFC West

Broncos – Will Mark Sanchez butt-fumble in Denver?

Chiefs – How long will Jamaal Charles last?

Chargers – Can anyone on the team stay off Injured Reserve?

Raiders – Can the Raiders finally get out of their own way?

 

NFC North

Lions – Can the o-line hold up so Stafford finally has some time?

Packers – Is Eddie Lacy too fat?

Bears – Why is Jay Cutler still there?

Vikings – Can AP carry them to another division title?

 

 

NFC East

Cowboys – Who will get hurt first: Tony Romo or Dez Bryant?

Giants – Is Eli Manning still good?

Eagles – What is the identity of this team? Seriously. And don’t say Sam Bradford.

Skins – Can Kirk Cousins keep up his play from the end of last year?

 

NFC South

Saints – Does Drew Brees have any tricks left up his sleeve?

Panthers – How does Cam respond to losing the Super Bowl? Is there any hangover?

Falcons – Can the defense figure out how to stop anyone?

Buccaneers – Bucs took a kicker in the 2nd round of the draft, how many misses before fans freak out?

 

 

NFC West

Cardinals – Is David Johnston really all that? And a bag of chips?

Niners – How much of a mess will the offense be under Chip Kelly?

Seahawks – Is this the year they start throwing Jimmy Graham the ball?

Rams – Can Todd Gurley keep up his dominance? Or will opposing defenses finally figure out how to stop him?

 

Real-deal NFL games are only a few weeks away. So close, I can almost taste it. The regular season starts Thursday, September 8th. Until then, let’s enjoy the rest of the preseason and hope no one gets badly injured. Leave any questions you may have in the comments.

 

Are you ready for some football?

 

 


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.

 

 


Post Draft/Free Agency Minnesota Vikings 2016 Win/Loss Predictions

Written by :
Published on : June 5, 2016

 

 

Technically, free agency isn’t over, but the big name signings (Anquan Boldin, where you at?) are over.  The draft was a month ago and now I’ve had time to process how the Vikings will do against their 2016 opponents.

 

Week 1 @ Titans

USA Today recently ranked Mike Mularkey as the worst head coach in the NFL.  I have to agree here and the move to hire him as the head coach is baffling.  The Vikings will start out slow but explode in the 2nd half.  Harrison Smith returns a Marcus Mariota interception for a TD early in the 4th quarter that seals the game.  Treadwell scores his first NFL touchdown on a 5 yard back shoulder fade.  Vikings win 31-17

 

Week 2 vs Packers

I don’t like the fact that the Green Bay Packers are the new stadium home opener at all.  The Packers will be coming off a blowout win against the Jaguars and be extra confident in thinking they’ll spoil Minnesota’s big night.  However, this isn’t the cutesy Leslie Frazier era of Vikings football.  Vikings can win a close game here versus Green Bay.  This game screams “Adrian Peterson rushes 20-160-2” stat line.  Rodgers keeps it close with some ridiculous throws late but the Vikings get a critical sack from Everson Griffen on 4th down to seal it up.  Vikings win 21-18

 

 Look for more of this.

 

Week 3 @ Panthers

Carolina is easily the most well rounded team in the NFC and it’s not even close.  Cam Newton had a fantastic MVP campaign in 2015 and he continues to roll coming into week 3 versus the Vikings.  The Vikings can hang with Carolina, much like they did vs Denver in week 4 last year, but Carolina’s weapons will be too much for the Vikings.  Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess (aka Fun-Fun according to Cam Newton) will make Rhodes and Newman look silly in a tight contest.  Cam Newton gives the Vikings fits by rushing for 60 yards and a score.  Vikings can expose the middle of the field (if Kuechly is blitzing) with crossing routes and deep posts with WR Stefon Diggs.  Vikings lose 27-23

 

Week 4 vs Giants

Ah, I’m sure the world is waiting for a Giants vs Vikings primetime match up.  The last two times these two teams have met in primetime?  2015: The Vikings obliterated the Odell Beckham Jr.-less Giants 49-17 on Sunday Night Football.  2013: THE JOSH FREEMAN MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME.  Holy hell, does anyone remember that game?  I was on tour in Providence, RI watching this game on a day off and I had such high hopes for Freeman.  Turns out he was concussed early in the game and the Vikings kept him out there.  I drank a bunch of bad craft beer and had 20 buffalo wings to drown my sorrows out.  Also, I’m pretty sure Freeman threw 4-5 footballs out of MetLife Stadium that night.  Anyways, the Giants spent a grip of money on high priced defensive free agents (DE Olivier Vernon, DT Damon Harrison, and CB Janoris Jenkins) and actually drafted a productive-in-college WR in Sterling Shepard to go across Odell Beckam Jr.

 

Their OL is a bit of a concern and RB Rashad Jennings turned 31 this offseason.  Beckham is going to make Zimmer an extremely angry coach this night and Rhodes or Newman might get chewed out by halftime.  I really hope Zimmer is mic’d up for this game.  I think Adrian Peterson and McKinnon can 1-2 punch this game for the Vikings and they win a close contest with a much improved New York Giants team.  Rudolph becomes a nice target for Teddy Bridgewater and gives the Giants fits all night.  Eli throws a late game pick to Captain Munnerlyn that sets up the Vikings in the red zone.  Adrian rushes for a 20 yard TD to put the nail in the coffin.  Vikings win 28-21

 

Week 5 vs Texans

Houston spent a ridiculous amount of money on a QB (Brock Osweiler) who played 7 games last year and got benched in Week 17 for a revived corpse version of Peyton Manning.  I think Bill O’Brien is an interesting coach (probably the best Bill Belachick student) and has gotten the best out of the talent he has but Houston does absolutely nothing for me.  Houston wins this game if JJ Watt plays QB, RB, and all of the defensive positions.  DeAndre Hopkins is a top 5 WR in the NFL and will more than likely make Rhodes look silly on a couple of plays, but I get the feeling Brock Osweiler throws multiple picks and is strip sacked for a touchdown by Danielle Hunter.  Teddy won’t have to do much and can lean on the running game to win this game after the defense sets the offense up with great field position on multiple drives.  Vikings win 30-14

 

Week 6 BYE

 

Week 7 @ Eagles

It’s anyone’s guess as to who will be the Eagles’ starting QB in week 1, but I think by this time the Vikings are going to see Sam Bradford.  The Eagles are rebuilding, however, they force a good amount of turnovers and Sproles is still dangerous in the return game.  I get the feeling Anthony Barr is asked to play coverage against Eagles TE, Zach Ertz, a handful of snaps this game.  New Eagles coach, Doug Pedersen, loved to utilize the TE position in Kansas City under Andy Reid’s offense.  The WRs that Philadelphia has can be contained, and feel like Munnerlyn can handle his own vs slot WR, Jordan Matthews.  Bold prediction:  Bradford is benched at the half and we see Carson Wentz take over.  Vikings win 27-17

 

Look for some Barr on Ertz action in this one.

 

Week 8 @ Bears

Halloween Monday Night Football at Soldier Field.  The Vikings finally won at Soldier Field in 2015 for the first time since 2007.  However, I think this will be a Halloween nightmare for the Vikings.  I’m actually impressed with the personnel the Bears have landed on defense this offseason.  This has the makings of a rainy, cold, sloppy mess of a game.  Cutler seems to shine from time to time against the Vikings and I think Alshon Jeffrey and Kevin White have monster games.  Harsh conditions are not helpful for an average armed QB like Teddy Bridgewater and the Bears defense looks like a legit unit.  Vic Fangio is one of the better defensive coordinators in the game and he’s starting to get guys (OLB Leonard Floyd, ILB Danny Trevathan, ILB Jerell Freeman, DL Akiem Hicks) he can mold for his system.  Fangio was the defensive coordinator for the 49ers from 2011-2014 who had players such as: Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, Dante Whitner, Eric Reid, etc.  Vikings lose  24-14

 

Week 9 vs Lions

The Vikings should be thankful they played the Lions in the first half of the season last year.  Matthew Stafford was absolutely money the end of the season and the Lions finished with a semi-respectable 7-9 record after starting the year 1-7.  I cannot figure out the identity of this team now that Calvin Johnson is gone.  The Lions made protecting Stafford a priority during the draft by selecting OT Taylor Decker in the first round.  If the Lions can get RB Ameer Abdullah going to take pressure off Stafford, this could be a scary team.  Golden Tate is a really nice WR and adding ex-Bengals WR, Marvin Jones, wasn’t a horrible move.  The Vikings are the better overall team and will prevail by a Cordarrelle Patterson kickoff return for a TD late in the game.  Vikings win 27-20

 

Week 10 @ Washington

I had predicted Jay Gruden getting fired last year, but hey, turns out his team won the division at 9-7 with Kirk “YOU LIKE THAT?” Cousins at QB.  WR Josh Doctson was a nice grab for Washington in the first round in the draft.  Between Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis (you never know with this guy), Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Josh Doctson, and Matt Jones, the Vikings will have their hands full.  They can win it if they force turnovers and get to Cousins.  Vikings lose a heart breaker in the final seconds of this game.  Vikings lose 21-20

 

Week 11 vs Cardinals

The Vikings hung with the Cardinals in a 2015 matchup pretty well.  Arizona ended up winning the game (23-20) on a brilliant strip sack by Dwight Freeney.  Carson Palmer got exposed by Seattle (Week 17), Green Bay (Divisional Round), and Carolina (NFC Championship) last year but I think part of that had to something to do with his finger injury.  He had hardly any zip on his throws during those games but Palmer knows this year is his best shot for a Super Bowl and will have another great regular season.  Vikings hang with the Cardinals but lose in close fashion again due to David Johnson being a monster.  Vikings lose 24-21

 

 David Johnson will be too much for the Vikings to handle in this one.

 

Week 12 @ Lions

The Vikings haven’t played on Thanksgiving since facing the Cowboys in 2000.  Randy Moss was known for lighting up the world during the 1998 and 2000 Thanksgiving games and I think Laquon Treadwell will get his chance in this game.  Vikings defense sacks Stafford 5 times and Teddy and Treadwell connect for two touchdowns.  Vikings win 31-21

 

Week 13 vs Cowboys

Thursday Night Football usually is a stinker, but thankfully both the Vikings and Cowboys play on Thanksgiving and will be coming off a normal weeks of rest.  Dallas has an elite level offensive line and Ezekiel Elliot will make life for Romo so much easier.  Mike Zimmer coached the Cowboys’ defense from 1995-2007 and it’s fair to say he probably knows about some of Tony Romo’s tendencies.  This is nail biter game where Tony Romo throws a late pick to Harrison Smith and Blair Walsh successfully converts on a time expiring field goal to clinch the win.  Vikings win 27-24 

 

Week 14 @ Jaguars

Remember how the Raiders were going to destroy the Vikings in their 2015 matchup?  There’s no way Minnesota’s defense can handle the Raiders ariel attack!  The Jaguars hype train comes to a crashing end in a blow out game vs the Vikings.  Bortles will throw 2-3 interceptions, giving Teddy Bridgewater excellent field position for 3 touchdown scoring drives.  Adrian Peterson daggers the game late with a 60 yard touchdown run to put the Vikings up by three possessions.  Vikings win 38-17

 

Week 15 vs Colts

Andrew Luck has thrown 55 interceptions in 3.5 seasons.  He had the worst QB rating in the league last year (when healthy) and struggles versus stingy defenses.  Though, I still can’t figure out how he picked apart Seattle in 2013 but looks lost versus defenses like the Jets, Patriots, and Bills.  The Colts drafted a good center in Alabama’s Ryan Kelly to protect Luck, but the Colts are going with 33 year old Frank Gore as their starting running back.  Adrian Peterson goes wild versus a soft Colts defense and cruise to an easy victory.  Vikings win 28-20

 

 We’ll be getting a good look at that classic Andrew Luck interception face.

 

Week 16 @ Packers

This game is for the division and will be played in horrible winter weather on Christmas Eve.  Packers RB, Eddie Lacy, is in a contract year and is currently slimming down with the P90X founder.  Rodgers gets quick completions to Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson to wear out the corners and grind Eddie Lacy to wear out the Linebackers and Defensive Line.  Adrian Peterson has a nice day to keep this close, but ultimately the Packers take the NFC Division Championship.  Vikings lose 24-17

 

Week 17 vs Bears

Thankfully the Lions lost their week 16 game and the Vikings have clinched a wild card spot.  Zimmer is furious and makes his starters play versus the Chicago Bears.  The Vikings look sharp and refocused and take it to the Bears in all three phases.  Chicago will be a 7-8 team at this point and will be playing for pride.  Cordarrelle Patterson returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown and the Vikings never look back.  Teddy shows poise and throws for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns (Diggs, Treadwell, and McKinnon each with a score).  Zimmer’s defense rattles Cutler into forcing 2 turnovers and one for a score. Vikings win 45-18

 

Vikings will be the #5 NFC seed in the playoffs at 11-5.

 

BOLD PREDICTION:  Mike Zimmer is the AP Coach of The Year.

 

                                               Mike Zimmer probably yelling at Jeff Fisher

 

 


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