Pay Stafford his money

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Published on : August 4, 2017

 

 

Lions training camp is underway and the team is looking to get back to the postseason for the third time in four years. This is a big change from the days when Detroit was bottom-of-the-barrel looking up at the playoffs. And quarterback Matthew Stafford is a big reason for this recent success. Because of that, management is working on getting Matt a new contract extension to lock up the young gunslinger for the next half decade. This is the move to make. The Lions need to open their checkbook and pay Matthew Stafford the big bucks he deserves.

 

Haters are going to say Stafford hasn’t won a playoff game yet so he doesn’t deserve $25 million+ per season. Or he throws too many interceptions. Or that Tom Brady isn’t even making that kind of money. Or that he sucks and Detroit needs to move on from him. These type of statements drive me crazy because they are so misguided. Talents like Matthew Stafford do not come around that often and the Lions are lucky enough to have drafted him, the franchise cannot afford to let a commodity like that walk away.

 

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The truth is, the NFL has a quarterback shortage. There are about 10-15 good to great QBs and 32 teams so you do the math. Most GMs are always looking for the next brilliant single caller. But they aren’t there. For comparison, Derek Carr was just given a 5 year/$125 million deal. Carr has never won a playoff game either. This just proves that the rate for a quality man under center has gone up. Carr helped set the price point. So forget all that talk about who is making what. All these numbers are going to shoot up. Stafford just happens to be next in line to get paid.  

 

Brady’s pay was cut because of the suspensions he was going to face. This allowed the team to pay him less in salary and give him most of his money via bonuses and performance incentives. Plus Tom is one of those guys that is already so rich that he doesn’t want to hamstring the rest of the roster with his huge contract. Keeps them so damn competitive. And in terms of interceptions, Stafford threw 10 picks in 2016. His fewest in 6 years. Also the 4th lowest total for QBs that played all 16 regular season games. Speaking of playing all 16 games, Matt was done that the last 6 years as well.  

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

On to the good stuff. Matt Stafford or as some of my buddies call him, Dad Stafford or Matt Dadford, has thrown for over 4,000 yards in all of the last 6 years. That’s bonkers. He is only 29-years-old but has a wealth of game management experience. Stafford is one of the best clutch players we’ve seen since John Elway. To date, Stafford has 28 comebacks in the 4th quarter or overtime. This is the guy you want to have with the ball in his hands. Plus the dude has a straight cannon. One of the best arms in the league. Hands down. Let’s not forget his legs either. Not known as a mobile guy but he routinely makes plays with his feet. AKA, the total package.

 

Matt Stafford is a recent father. He is maturing, becoming the leader the Lions needs. It’s time to reward him for all his growth and hard work. In the immortal words of John Malkovich’s character in the film Rounders:

 

Pay that man his money

 

Talk is that the contract could be worth somewhere around $30 million a year. That’s wild but Stafford earned every penny of that. And when he wins a Super Bowl, it will look like a real good deal.

 

Cash money.

 

 


2017 NFL Draft reactions

Written by :
Published on : April 29, 2017

 

2017 NFL Draft started on Thursday, live from Philadelphia. Part of this new format where the NFL Draft will move from city to city each year. Round 1 opened and from the gate there were huge trades, surprises and plenty of drama. Let’s look back at the first few rounds and cover all the big storylines.

 

Head scratchers

The Chicago Bears move up from #3 to #2 overall to select North Carolina quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky. Now, the pick isn’t necessarily bad but the Chicago organization gave up so much to make the move. They lost their 3rd and 4th round picks this year, plus a 3rd rounder next year. To make matters worse, Trubisky only ever started 13 games in college. Oh yeah, the Bears already gave QB Mike Glennon 3 years/$45 million and said he is the starter. So all those assets for someone fans wont even get to see play. They sure are putting a lot of pressure on this kid.

 

 

Titans add weapons

Tennessee can run the ball and they have a decent defense but they didn’t have much talent for QB Marcus Mariota to throw to. Until now. The team spent 3 of their first 4 picks on pass-catching standouts Corey Davis WR from Western Michigan, Taywan Taylor WR from Western Kentucky and Jonnu Smith TE from Florida International. This young core should have the Titans in playoff form sooner than most think.

 

Red flags

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon in round 2. Mixon is no doubt a talented runner but he also famously punched a woman and broke several bones in her face. This issue is being resolved in the legal sense but his character is clearly in question. In a similar instance, we have the Oakland Raiders first round choice Gareon Conley. This CB out of Ohio State is in the middle of rape allegations and could still be charged which would ruin his NFL career. I can’t understand how either franchise could pick these guys. It’s not only risky but it communicates that this type of behavior is acceptable. WHICH IT IS NOT.

 

 

College buddies

Five different teams drafted multiple athletes from the same school. The Dallas Cowboys picked DE Taco Charlton and CB Jordan Lewis from Michigan. The Detroit Lions took LB Jarrad Davis and CB Teez Tabor out of Florida. The Baltimore Ravens went all defense with their first 4 picks and two players from Alabama; CB Marlon Humphrey and LB Tim Williams. Washington got in on the Bama train by taking both DT Jonathan Allen and LB Ryan Anderson. And lastly, the Seattle Seahawks took two Michigan players, S Delano Hill and WR Amara Darboh. Rookie year will be way easier with your college buddy around.

 

Browns do great! Mostly.

Cleveland had 3 first round picks including #1 overall. That’s crazy. They also passed on all 3 QB’s that went in the round (Trubisky to Chicago, Mahomes to Kansas City, Watson to Houston). They did land some serious ballers in DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M, S Jabrill Peppers from Michigan and TE David Njoku from Miami. In round 2, the Browns found their QB in DeShone Kizer out of Notre Dame. This is strange because Kizer is raw and needs time and feels like a real project. Maybe this was an overreaction from day 1 to day 2. After everyone asked why the team hadn’t solved their long standing issue. In round 3, Cleveland added DT Larry Ogunjobi out of Charlotte. They still have 5 picks left and the defense is looking more and more fierce. The only question is, who is going to lead this unit on offense?

 

Only time will tell how any of these moves will pan out. So let’s all agree to meet back here in 4 years and we can have a really cool and retro 2017 NFL Draft conversation.

 

Pick me!

 

 


Blackout Bruno’s Wild Card Picks

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Published on : January 6, 2017

 

 

Oh snap, it’s Wild Card time. Deal me in and get me a drink. Seven and seven, please. Sorry about last post, I got New Year’s drunk, then angry drunk after the Lions game and time kind of got away from me. But I’m up and I’m ready to work. My final regular season record is 50-24-1. Pretty decent. Now, let’s flash ahead to the weekend and talk about the opening round of the NFL playoffs. These are Blackout Bruno’s Wild Card picks

 

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans

 

This game is such a crapshoot. Both crews are without their top QBs so who knows what will really happen. Someone has to step up. Because it’s so hard to call, I’ll rely on old stand by garbage about being at home and how much better the Texans are in Texas.

Winner: Houston

 

Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks

This is not the super awesome Seahawks crew that won the Super Bowl. They have been up and down all year. Russell Wilson and company normally take care of business at home but I can see how Detroit could surprise everyone. I don’t think you will find any sports pundit picking Lions but this will be a wild game to be sure. Look for Golden Tate to have an epic day and a late Matt Prater Field goal wins it.

Winner: Detroit 

 

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Dolphins are banged up. Matt Moore is starting and they are traveling to Pittsburgh to play outside, in the cold. Plus the Steelers have Antonio Brown, who can single handedly win you a game. I think Steelers win in a confident fashion.

Winner: Pittsburgh

 

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

 

Looking at the weekend slate, this screams to be the most intriguing matchup. Giants defense is a powerful unit. They should keep this thing close but I just know that stupid Aaron Rodgers is going to find a way to pull it off. Like he almost always seems to do.

Winner: Green Bay

 

Let’s hope these games excite and delight. Try mixing things up by trying a new cocktail. I love a good vodka martini. Up, dirty and with olives. Too boozy tasting for you? Go tiki and blend up some fresh fruit, fresh citrus juice with dark rum over ice. Maybe throw some coconut cream in there. Grab a straw, kick back and let’s hope Wild Card weekend is interesting.

 

Onward.

 

 


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.

 

 


Monday Night Football goes to Mexico

Written by :
Published on : November 21, 2016

 

 

Monday Night Football is going south of the border. The Oakland Raiders will play the Houston Texans on November 21st live from Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The league has games in London every year now. But finally, the NFL is returning to Mexico for the first time since 2005 when the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-14. The game is taking place in an amazing venue. Azteca Stadium can host over 100,000 people so it should be loud and electric.

 

The first funny thing to note is that this is technically a home game for Oakland. I know that sounds wrong but someone had to give up a chance to play in front of their own crowd. For Houston, this is just another road trip. If anything a much shorter road trip. I predict the locals will favor the Raiders. Mostly because they have more history, better uniforms, and the Texas team they really like in Mexico is the Cowboys. Sorry Houston.

 

 

In terms of the actual matchup, it looks pretty good. Two division leaders with very solid records. But Oakland (7-2) should have the edge over Houston (6-3). The Texans play very well at home but this isn’t their home, while the Raiders have won all their away games. Plus, the Raiders are the more balanced team. They can run, they can pass and their defense has been stepping up. Pair all that with a coach in Jack Del Rio who is ready to go for the kill and Houston just doesn’t stack up. RB Lamar Miller has been steady and WR DeAndre Hopkins is always a threat but this crew just doesn’t have enough.

 

Monday Night Football in Mexico is a great idea. Not only does it help build the league brand in a nation that loves sports but it’s an NFL story and actually has some good will. MNF has never traveled outside the Untied States before and it’s great that we gave Mexico a legit night and not just some more preseason garbage. Let’s hope this is just the start of more active sharing with our North American brothers. You too Canada!

 

 

The only thing missing now is a great game. For the NFL, ESPN, football fans and everyone in Mexico, let’s hope for two halves of intense action. Let’s have some sacks, fumbles, hits, long touchdown passes, crazy runs and trick plays. Multiple lead changes, maybe even overtime. Let’s start a new tradition of football in Mexico. It all starts now, on Monday night.

 

MNF.

 

 


Who are the 2015 Atlanta Falcons of this year?

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Published on : November 4, 2016

 

 

We all remember the 2015 Atlanta Falcons don’t we? They jumped out of the gates last season to start with a 5-0 record. They looked to be the class of the NFC South and of the conference overall. Hopes were high in Atlanta and it had people talking about them winning the division before the season had even hit its half way mark. They had a new head coach in former Seahawks defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn. And had as electrifying a quarterback/receiver combo as anyone in the league with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. On the surface, they seemed to have everything it takes to win the conference and play for the Lombardi Trophy.

 

Then it all came crashing down.

 

After being undefeated through the first five weeks of the 2015 season, the Falcons would go on to finish 8-8 and 2nd in the NFC South to the Carolina Panthers, who would eventually go to the Super Bowl. They got exposed as being too one-dimensional on offense by relying solely on the talents of Ryan and Jones to carry the team. The defense was sub-par, despite it being the specialty of the head coach, and there just weren’t enough pieces to keep winning consistently.

 

This was how the second half of the 2015 season felt for the Atlanta Falcons.

 

In 2016, there are multiple teams that are sitting pretty at the half way point. The New England Patriots (7-1) are in a league of their own, as usual. In Dallas, the Cowboys (6-1) are riding a potent offensive attack led by two rookie of the year candidates. The reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos (6-2) are in good position thanks to their defense and running game (sound familiar?), despite having an untested QB at the helm. These teams are, for the most part, balanced and capable of winning on any given day. They are headed to the playoffs.

 

There are two other teams that have only two losses that aren’t doing things quite as convincingly though. The Oakland Raiders (6-2) and the Minnesota Vikings (5-2) are both deeply flawed teams that seem to be on the verge of getting exposed. Let’s take a look at both squads and see which of them is destined to be this year’s 2015 Atlanta Falcons by falling flat on their faces in the second half of the season.

 

Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders sit at 6-2 almost completely on the back of their offense and their risk-taking head coach. They’ve had the good fortune of playing mostly middle of the pack teams (Saints, Titans, Ravens, Chargers, Buccaneers) and one bad team (Jaguars). They’ve beaten all of those squads. The surefire sign of a good football team is that they beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The two teams they’ve lost to are this year’s Falcons (5-3 and much improved over last year with one of the most prolific offenses in football) and the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2). Both of these teams pretty good so you can’t really fault them for dropping a couple to top competition.

 

In short, the Raiders are getting the job done, if not always in convincing fashion. It took a ballsy as hell 2-point conversion to win the game with 47 seconds on the clock instead of heading to overtime in New Orleans in week 1. Let us also not forget the 513 yard effort from QB Derek Carr and the equally ballsy touchdown pass on 4th down with 1:45 left to play in overtime. This likely helped the NFL avoid yet another tie game. The Raiders also committed an NFL-record 23 penalties for 200 yards. When you figure those two very unconvincing wins against two of the NFL’s worse teams and the rest of their wins came by an average of 7 points, it’s easy to see that this team has some issues.

 

 Can the Raiders survive on the strength of Derek Carr’s arm and the size of Jack Del Rio’s balls alone?

 

The most glaring issues are penalties, which reared its head in a big way in week 8, and the play of the defense. The Oakland Raiders are at the bottom, or near the bottom, in all categories that relate to both of those things. Coach Jack Del Rio has the offense all figured out. The Raiders can put up points with most teams in the league, but if they don’t get these other issues figured out then this team could very well end up like the 2015 Atlanta Falcons, on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

 

Luckily for fans of the team, both of these things can be corrected, especially the penalties. That’s simply coaching and practice. This team HAS to get more disciplined if they want this run to continue and it’s totally within the realm of possibility. A bit more tricky will be improving a defense which ranks at or near the bottom of the league in points allowed per game and yards allowed per game. But there is hope. The star of the defense, Khalil Mack, is finally starting to put it together. He posted a 2 sack, 7 tackle, 4 qb pressure, 1 forced fumble stat line in the week 8 win over the Bucs. The defense also allowed a season-low 270 yards. If this is the beginning of a trend then there is a good chance that the 2016 Oakland Raiders will not be the second-coming of the 2015 Atlanta Falcons.

 

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings were everyone’s favorite pick to win the NFC before the season began. Then the injuries started, most notably with Teddy Bridgewater’s dislocated knee in the preseason. An injury that has the future of the young QB’s career hanging in jeopardy. This injury forced them to trade for perennial NFL whipping boy, Sam Bradford, and at first the move seemed to have worked out pretty well. Through 6 games Bradford has, for the most part, played as good or better than at any point in his 6 year career. In combination with a defense that is first in the league in points allowed per game, it’s easy to see why this team had such high hopes before the season.

 

But the injuries just kept coming.

 

In September, the team was forced to place all-time great running back (and noted child abuser) Adrian Peterson on injured reserved. Losing the other cornerstone of the offense was a big hit, but it didn’t stop there. The offensive line has seen an endless amount of injuries including season-ending ones for tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith. With the rest of the offensive line battling their own injuries or underperforming in their roles, the running game has taken a serious hit. As a result the team is averaging an abysmal 2.7 yards per attempt on the ground and offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, was given his walking papers following week 8. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

 

 A team can overcome the loss of one or two players, but when the entire offensive line goes down…

 

A month ago, the Vikings were owning every team they played and people were talking about them as a shoe-in to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year. In the last two weeks, they have been exposed by a solid Eagles defense and a poor Bears team. The team scored just 10 points in both of those matchups and Sam Bradford has been sacked a total of 11 times over both games. And we all know that if any quarterback in the league thrives under defensive pressure, it is definitely NOT Bradford.

 

With the problems that this team faces on offense, there is a good chance that they are in real trouble. And dangerously close to repeating what the Falcons did last year. The issues with the offensive line and running game aren’t going anywhere. Anytime a contender is forced to fire their offensive coordinator mid-season, there is ample reason to be worried. The team signed former pro bowl tackle-turned-revolving door, Jake Long, to try and stop the bleeding at the left tackle position and it has been a resounding failure. The defense is AMAZING but that might not be enough to win the division, let alone the conference.

 

Both of these teams have their issues, but for one of them those issues will not be resolved this year. That’s right, it is the 2016 Minnesota Vikings who will be this year’s Atlanta Falcons. The offensive line is paper thin and it is going to get Sam Bradford exposed for the fraud that he was during his first 4 weeks of play. He is not equipped to carry the offense by himself and because of that there’s a chance that these Minnesota Vikings will finish right around .500 and miss the playoffs. Just like the Falcons did last year.

 

 


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?

 

 


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.

 

 


Week 4: Steve Smith is Gone and Matango AKA Attack of the Mushroom People

Written by :
Published on : October 6, 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 wolves have ceased howling, and the mummies have been wrapped.

 

Week 4: Steve Smith Sr. Knocks Over David Amerson For Lightning Quick TD

 

This was one of the week’s big ones, but I had to chime in too since Sr has always been one of my favorite receivers and I’m gonna miss him when his inevitable retirement comes. Small, but sturdy and with alacrity to spare, Smith, shows that he’s 37-years-ageless with this 50-plus yard catch for TD off the play action pass.

 

Flacco throws a bullet here that Smith has to extend on, but the coverage ain’t there so once old 89 gets possession, he wastes no time giving Oakland CB David Amerson the unkindest cut by shoving him down to the turf with his shoulder as the poor guy struggles to make a tackle. You can almost hear that authoritative “sit down” that we all imagine in our heads.

 

Hard to blame Safety Reggie Nelson for the total half-hearted whiff on the tackle attempt because Dad’s off to races on a play that cut more than half the field, lasted mere seconds, and resulted in a score.

 

That is the quickness right there.

 

Week 4: Matango AKA Attack of the Mushroom People

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Director: Ishiro Honda
Released: 1963

 

Earlier this season we talked about the great George A. Romero and how his legacy will always revolve around the flesh-eating undead zombie trope he pioneered. Ishiro Honda’s career is marked in much the same way with being the grandfather of Japan’s most important (my opinion) export: Godzilla. While the original Gojira (1954) is a lot darker and more violent than many of us remember, Honda basically spent the rest of his prolific career at the Toho studios churning out a long line of less serious, but no less destructive or fun Kaiju movies, including some of the genre’s greatest classics like Mothra (1961), Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), and Destroy All Monsters (1968).

 

But amongst all the slumbering reptilians asleep under the ocean, aliens, and his very own bizarre rendition of Frankenstein’s monster, one of Honda’s strangest cinematic fever dreams would sometimes be retitled as Attack of the Mushroom People.

 

matango_il_mostro_akira_kubo_ishiro_honda_002_jpg_fhnm

 

When a gang of pampered city-slickers become stuck on an eerie rock that even birds seem to avoid, this “Gilligan’s Island” from hell is a very slow build where the danger of sexual assault against the women castaways mounts uncomfortably and the diminishing food supply is a cold hard truth. Thankfully (for the viewer!) this island is covered in all manner of wildly proliferating fungi, and when one member of the party succumbs to the hunger in his belly it’s inevitable that things start to take a turn for the monstrous.

 

This is going to be one of the best looking pictures we screen in the dungeon this season, with lots of great production design that includes an entire derelict wrecked ship and of course the many vividly colored examples of the island’s eerie fungal flora. And while as previously mentioned, this is a very slow build, there is indeed an actual payoff of “Mushroom People” in a way that is satisfying to horror fans that want a little bit more than pure psychology to dictate their frights. The strong sense of craftsmanship, partially thanks to this actually having been made at a major studio also carries over to the photography and most importantly to the genuinely creepy sound design with unnatural and jarring sonic stunts that complement the nightmare island presented onscreen.

 

matango03

 

 

Take a nibble on these toadstools with the trailer here:
 

 

 

Or get fully weird with the entire picture for free!
 

 

 


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.

 

 


When the NFL Took Over MTV

Written by :
Published on : October 2, 2016

 

While researching the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” for a totally unrelated reason, I stumbled upon a horrifying discovery — this used to be a thing. During the mid-1980s, several NFL teams tried their hand at recording novelty songs. A few of these are great, some are really bad, and none are actually good.

 

“We’re the 49ers”

 

The San Francisco 49ers started the trend during the ’84-’85 season, releasing their song several months before “Super Bowl Shuffle.” Since the 49ers weren’t trying to copycat something popular, “We’re the 49ers” is set apart from the rest of the bunch. The biggest difference is how impersonal it feels. Sung by anonymous players in unison, it lacks the ragtag spirit of camaraderie that made “Super Bowl Shuffle” so fun. The lyrics are also pretty bland, and the beat sounds like generic disco pop.

 

“New England, the Patriots and We”

 

What a stinker. Released prior to their showdown with the Bears at Super Bowl XX, this New England Patriots effort rips off the aesthetic of 1985’s other novelty single, “We Are the World,” by crowding too-many singers around too-few microphones to sing a really bad song. A few Patriots players are featured and all wear matching MTV hats. The song also states, out-loud and repeatedly, that the Patriots will beat the Bears in the Super Bowl. That didn’t happen, but that’s not the only reason this thing should be forgotten.

 

“Cuz the Blue Wave is on a Roll”

 

Also released during the ’85-’86 NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks “Cuz the Blue Wave is on a Roll” is the anti-“Super Bowl Shuffle” — slick, well-produced and catchy. The video even has a narrative: spirits are low in the locker room until (linebacker) Michael Jackson enters and leads the Seahawks in song. The music rips off The Coasters’ “Yakety Yak” and none of the Seahawks can keep a straight face, but it’s that goof-off spirit that makes video so charmingly cheesy. How can you hate something that doesn’t even take itself seriously?

 

“Ram It”

 

Nobody loves a trend like Hollywood. In 1986, both Los Angeles football teams released their own personalized songs. Since the Rams have returned to LA, their song “Ram It” has begun to resurface, and thank the gods for that. This song is amazing. Completely over-produced with a studio-designed beat, this video is constantly trying to one-up it’s inspiration with multiple sets, shooting outdoors and cheerleaders. “Super Bowl Shuffle” may have nostalgia on its side, but “Ram It” beats it as a piece of 1980s “so bad it’s good” pop culture. It’s catchy as HPV too.

 

“The Silver and Black Attack”

 

The worst kind of imitation; a cheap knock-off that strives to copy something already successful but improve upon it by making it flashier. Like it or not, “Super Bowl Shuffle” was a phenomenon because it was sincere, singular and weird. The Los Angeles Raiders saw success and said, “We can do that too.” The result is a forgettable song with a boring music video. Future “Firestorm” star Howie Long pops up early on, but he’s about the only reason to watch.

 

Ram It baby.

 

 


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?

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 1: Derek Carr and The Giant Claw

Written by :
Published on : September 14, 2016

 

 

 

Welcome to my new digs blobs and ghouls! While the last NFL season was spent woozily sprawled out on the couch with the room spinning, this year I’ve decided to take refuge in my macabre sanctuary. A place where I can obsess over the week’s best play as well as the week’s weirdest movie in peace. Without the cruel admonishments of so called “tasteful” film critics.

 

Pull up an electric chair, lay back on the rack, and get comfy as I run the tape.

 

Week 1: Derek Carr Strong Run and Vault For First Down

 

 

Now those familiar with the old Pretzel know that I have a certain weakness for the defensive side of the ball. As such, I was hoping to start the season with a big sack, safety, pick, or crucial stop, but after reviewing all the tape I couldn’t get this one out of my head.

 

It’s a tie game in New Orleans well before the half, and the Saints send a couple of extra guys after Carr on a 3rd and 9. After a quick scan downfield, the Oakland QB scoots to the left and takes off, and while most of the focus rightly belongs on his acrobatic flip-dive for the first, I really like the determined run that got him to that point. Even in slow-mo, the guy’s legs are a blur. There’s something about this play that while risky, also smacks of the irrepressible excitement of football’s return. I’m not saying that Carr wouldn’t be able to repeat such a feat in say week 15, but I am saying that the likelihood of it is rarer than an ex-convict’s first steak out of the joint.

 

Week 1: The Giant Claw

Director: Fred F. Sears
Released: 1957

 

Giant-Claw-5

 

Val Lewton became deservedly famous for producing a series of fright flicks for RKO that traded in on atmosphere and what WASN’T seen, leaving the scares to your imagination and keeping the production’s budget manageable. But sometimes you just want to see the damn monster, and I want my monsters like this.

 

Behold The Giant Claw: A massive and indestructible flying chicken with the head of a vulture, a beak lined with rows of T-Rex teeth, and a bitchin’ Mohawk to boot. This one fits solidly into that 1950’s commie-hating, nuclear-annihilation-shit-scared, national-security-at-all-cost zeitgeist that gave us wonderful films like Them! and The Thing From Another World.

 

You’re obviously in this one for the ugly puppet, but television vet Jeff Morrow and female lead Mora Corday dabble in some genuinely clever and romantic back-and-forth dialogue that is much better than the usual filler these types of flicks tend to have between action scenes.

 

Behold the trailer!

 

 

And the entire thang for the craven and brave!

 

 

Until next week, gang… Stay creepy.

 

 


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?

 

 


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