SBS Stadium Series: The glass palace of Minnesota

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Published on : October 12, 2017

 

 

The Michigang is back in action for our annual Lions road game meet up. This year takes the crew to Minneapolis, Minnesota for Detroit’s first divisional game against the Vikings.

 

This year’s trip was extra special because we got to visit the newest football arena in the country. US Bank stadium will be home to this year’s Super Bowl and it is clear why. The building is enormous and gorgeous. Let’s get inside and explore the new digs in this installment of the SBS Stadium Series.

 

 

First impressions of Vikings Village (the area outside the building). Kind of lame. All beer stands, which I love but no food, which sucks. Because I was starving and needed something in my belly besides booze. There was also this terrible band playing covers. I wont even dignify them with a joke. Overall, the best part of Viking Village would have to be the view. The glass face of the building is super dope. Also the local train has a stop right in front which is really convenient. But it’s getting close to kickoff so it’s time to head inside. As we made our way to the front gate we came across the witches protesting for social justice. The witches kick ass. Fuck racism and white supremacy.

 

 

The lines to get in moved so fast. Best I’ve ever seen at sporting event. Inside, they scan your tickets like a boarding pass with this fancy laser podium. It’s straight The Fifth Element. First steps inside US Bank are breathtaking. It’s like a football cathedral. The roof is so far above you at all heights. The scale is truly massive.

 

We take the escalators up to the the top level and as we move through the crowds it is clear. There are some Lions fans but not many. Probably the smallest number of Honolulu Blue I’ve witnessed on the road. Bobby joked “these Vikings fans sure do travel well”. We were outnumbered but not outclassed. Our Michigang was 14 deep and rocking our matching custom t-shirts. We drew a lot of attention. But that might be because we were chanting and yelling almost the entire time.

 

 

We find our seats and get ready for the show. But first, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of a football game, the national anthem! I did not stand for the anthem. Because Trump called NFL anthem protesters, “sons of bitches”, so I stayed seated. Because criticizing protesters who are speaking out against inequality is a trash move. But I did stop eating my pizza which I thought was a very reasonable compromise. From behind me, I hear “it would be nice if all the Lions fans would stand”. I didn’t turn or respond. Facebook comment threads have taught me how to recognize a trigger situation and I’m finally (hopefully) adult enough to not always get sucked in.

 

Then, an epic DRUM BEAT on a brontosaurus sized drum. Like Game of Thrones style viking shit. The room shouts “SKOL!”. Everyone knew what was happening. Everyone but the 14 of us. The crowd claps their hands above their heads with each beat. The drumming gets faster. It’s pretty intense. And admittedly cool. It crescendos it a roar of applause. Super loud. Maybe the loudest I’ve ever heard. This is all being lead by the Skol Line (get it, it’s like goal line) a drum line band that maybe lives in the stadium. Not totally sure on that. But they do get the crowd pretty hype. Also what’s the deal with all the Skol stuff? Do they really like chewing tobacco that much? Apparently they do. Because the entire building is smokeless. No smoking deck or area period. Maybe they have a vape zone? Also not sure on that.

 

 

Finally, it’s kickoff. I get the butterflies in my stomach. I add two beers, a pretzel with cheese and a second slice of pepperoni pizza to that stomach to kill the butterflies. The game is tight. Both defenses are balling. It’s going to be a close one the whole way I can just tell. But hot damn look at the field. The whole place feels so open and new. At one point during the second quarter, the sun peaked from behind the rain clouds and shined down on the glass of the wall and ceiling. The whole building lit up like it was magic in a Disney movie. It was beautiful.

 

Each time the Vikings have a positive play, they blare this awful horn. I’m sure the fans like it. But it gets old quick. The drum is way better than the horn. The NFC North rivals trade points until it’s Detroit 14 and Minnesota 7. But there’s plenty of time left in the game so anything can happen. And for the record, the Viking fight song they play after a touchdown is real bad and I should know, the Lions fight song is not great. But this one is rough. The clock is ticking down and now the gentlemen behind me start chirping. They keep trying to bait me into something. But I surprisingly play it real cool and don’t engage. This was no easy task by the way. I’m petty and very quick with a mean joke so this is kind of my unfortunate specialty but I swallow my insults and let the Lions defense do the talking.

 

 

Lions grind out the clock with a solid ground game and it’s over. We win. 14-7. The row busts into our favorite chant “three and one, three and one, three and one” or for s fun variation, “four and o with an asterisk”. Another huge road win. Seriously, winning on the road in our division is not something I’ve experienced too much of. It was a shock and a real joy. I will remember that day forever.

 

Overall, the stadium is perfect. Not a single flaw to mention. Other than that damn horn. The total experience was great. The Vikings fans were mostly very nice. For example, most had a hard time with trash talk. One guy saw us and yelled “Go Vikings” and then we yelled “Go Lions” and then he went “but seriously that Stafford is my something, I’d say he’s probably my favorite player in the league”. Or another guy tried to heckle by shouting, “Funny hat!” at Tomas with his lion head beanie. Sick burn you guys. It’s almost cute.

 

They say that people who build glass stadiums shouldn’t throw touchdowns. And the Vikings didn’t that day. Go Lions. And who knows, maybe the Michigang will be back in Minnesota watching the Lions in the Super Bowl. A boy can dream can’t he?

 

SKOL.

 

 


Bears to sign Mike Glennon, NFC North rivals rejoice

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Published on : March 9, 2017

 

The NFL’s new league year is beginning and with it we are seeing a flurry of new signings. This is one of my favorite times of year as teams begin to retool and build their rosters for the new season. It’s an exciting time for fans, who get to play amateur GM and imagine how they would best build their favorite team. And when teams don’t go along with the fan’s ideas of what’s best, they get to light the torches and get out the pitchforks, only to realize once games start that they had no idea what they were talking about. Aside from being excited about what your team might be doing, fans get to revel in the mistakes of their rivals. That’s why I am so excited for what the Chicago Bears are rumored to be working on.

 

 Get this man in a Bears jersey!

 

The Bears are being connected to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Mike Glennon. As a Lions fan, I would love to see the Bears sign Mike Glennon. They will have gone from Jay Cutler, a sub-par, but proven and somewhat talented quarterback to a guy that hasn’t seen the field in two years and has one mediocre rookie season as his body of work. Regardless of what the delusional fans in the Windy City want to believe, the Bears have been the gutter trash of the NFC North for a few years now and this move would make sure that trend continues. With the Packers always awesome (even when they suck) and the Vikings riding their defense, I feel like the Bears being respectable again would be too much for my Lions to handle. Better that they sign a garbage quarterback and leave the competitive football to the big boys.

 

This might be unfair to Mike Glennon. The Buccaneers did offer to make him the highest paid back up QB in the league, after all, so he has to at least have some talent. The Bears are reported to be offering him $14.5 million per year. When you say that out loud it seems like a ton but when you’re talking about a starting quarterback it isn’t really that crazy an amount of money. In fact, it puts him right around 21st when you rank starting QB yearly salary in the league. The Bears are betting big on Glennon’s potential and the fact that tons of people in the Buccaneers organization love the guy, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has only ever won five football games in his career.

 

 John Fox might not survive the Mike Glennon experiment.

 

This move reeks of desperation and that should have the the Lions, Vikings, and Packers licking their chops at the prospect of playing Chicago twice a year. Glennon might have the size (6’6″, 225 lbs), potential, starting experience (albeit limited) and knowledge of the game (he has been watching from the sidelines since Jameis Winston was drafted), but he is definitely unproven. He is also going to a team that just decided to let their best receiving option walk in free agency. When this move inevitably blows up in their face and they win five or six games, they will probably be looking for a new head coach. It seems unlikely John Fox will survive another bad season in a city that so loves football. All of that adds up to another three to four years of mediocrity in Chicago. And that most likely has the rest of the NFC North praying for Mike Glennon in a Bears uniform.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 17: Minnesota Defense and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

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Published on : January 5, 2017

 

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 bloodlust is sated, and tarantulas crawl over virgin flesh.

 

Week 17: Minnesota Defense With Team Effort in Strip Sack For TD

 Celebrating the TD.

 

Watch Video: Here

 

Sure there’s always gonna be one or two high drama games in week 17 in terms of playoff hopes, but for the majority of squads, the die was cast back in weeks 15 and 16. The best games in the regular season’s final week are invariably those between two teams already locked out of the playoffs, playing for pride alone.

 

Minnesota has had a high caliber defense all season and this play against a hapless Matt Barkley shows us that scary pass rush in all its glory. Three different Vikings D-men get in on the action here, starting with Linval Joseph. The Defensive Tackle doesn’t so much strip the ball as he puts a hard shot on Barkley that knocks the ball loose. Anthony Barr comes in with the smart play to goose the ball down the field in the other direction when he realizes there’s no whistle, and that Charles Leno Jr. of the Bears is about to recover. Finally Everson Griffen scoops it up with the sure hands and brings it home.

 

My Lions are going to the playoffs this season, leaving the Vikings behind, but I’m not looking forward to facing that Minnesota defense again next year

 

Week 17: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

Brain

 

Director: Joseph Green
Released: 1962

 

Operating on a level that may be the closest to the platonic ideal of what this column is about, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die serves up enough monsters, kink, and weirdness to satisfy most obsessives of obscure cinematic horror.

 

Once again, we have mad science to thank for the majority of this film’s pleasures with an ambitious Frankenstein-like doctor brilliantly, but unethically, pioneering new transplant technologies including the successful reviving of his fiancée’s severed head!

 

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“Jan in the pan” isn’t thrilled about her new predicament and begs to be taken offline for good, but Doc Cortner won’t have any of it as he prowls the streets, strip clubs, and beauty contests in search of a proper body to affix Jan’s noggin to. Meanwhile, in the laboratory basement, Jan’s tortured melon begins to communicate telepathically with a giant monster locked behind a heavy wooden door…

 

The-Brain-That-Wouldnt-Die

 

Lots of good stuff here, particularly Virginia Leith’s performance as Jan, with her husky voice and barely concealed rage expressing a Medea-worthy madness. The sex angle is pure sleaze and gets a pulp slant when the bad doctor introduces a two-faced burn-victim and former beauty queen into the scenario as Jan’s body-to-be.

 

The monster is no joke either with a seriously ugly makeup/prosthetics design that’s of a higher quality than might be expected. His inevitable violent rampage includes an arm ripped from the socket, and a throat chewed open. The whole experience is dizzyingly unwholesome. Just what the doctor ordered.

 

brain4

 

Cop that trailer:

 

Full flick here:

 

 


The New Normal

Written by :
Published on : November 26, 2016

 

 

SOL – A term meant to convey the feeling amongst fans of the NFL’s Detroit Lions that the team will forever be mired in mediocrity due to the fact that they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Same Old Lions.

 

For years and years, the Detroit Lions have been among the worst teams in all of football. Only 8 years ago, the team set the record for most losses in a season by going 0-16. That is no easy feat, regardless of how bad you are. You’re almost guaranteed to win one game just by accident. From Matt Millen to Joey Harrington to Rod Marinelli, fans of the team have had to put up with a whole lot of garbage. They have one playoff victory since 1957. It’s easy to see why SOL is a common term. When you’ve been beaten down by so much losing it just comes to seem like the way of the world. Like it’s normal.

 

Being a fan of the Lions has never been easy.

 

But this year is different, and there just might be a new normal for Lions’ fans.

 

The Detroit Lions sit at 7-4, on top of the NFC North with a full game lead on the Minnesota Vikings. After a 16-13 win over Minnesota on Thanksgiving, things are starting to get a little weird. As a fan of the Lions, I’m not sure how to react to this success, but I think I could get used to it. There’s still a ton of football to be played but the Lions control their own destiny at this point and a spot in the playoffs is their’s to lose.

 

It’s not to say that these 7 wins have been pretty, or necessarily convincing, but a win is a win. What looked like a fluke after 3 or 4 victories, is starting to look like a real football team that knows how to win. The Lions have had all 11 of their games decided by 7 or less points, so even in their losses they are keeping it close. They have also been trailing at some point in the 4th quarter of all 11 games. Since 2008, there have been 8 teams who have done that, and they are a combined 4-73. The fact that this team has pulled 7 wins out of that stretch is a testament to the beginning of a new era of Detroit Lions football.

 

What is at the center of this new normal?

 

 THE BOSS.

 

That’s hard to tell but it seems like a change in organizational culture associated with new owner Martha Firestone Ford (wife of former owner, the late William Clay Ford Sr) and first year general manager Bob Quinn, along with QB Matthew Stafford taking full ownership of the Lions’ identity are what separates this Lions squad from the rest. Bob Quinn came from the New England Patriots organization and knows what it takes to build a winner. He has brought a new style of management to the team and early returns have been very good on his first draft class. If the first season is any indication, this roster will continue to improve markedly from year to year.

 

Matthew Stafford has been the guy in Detroit since 2009, but with the retirement of Calvin Johnson last offseason, the spotlight is now fully on him. He has stepped into the role and delivered in a big way. Statistically he is having the best season of his career and where Calvin Johnson led by example, Matthew Stafford is a vocal leader on the field who commands the respect of his teammates and opponents. He is the type of quarterback that the Lions have needed for decades. He is the man, the King in the North.

 

 The King in the North.

 

For the first part of this season, the Lions were forced to relay almost solely on Stafford to win games, but now the entire team is contributing. The defense has now held opposing teams to 20 points or less in five consecutive games, something the team hasn’t done since 1991, which is also the last time they won a playoff game. Multiple times this year, a win has been sealed by a big play from the defense and they seem to step up when they are needed the most.

 

Add in the two special teams touchdowns and a kicker in Matt Prater who is now 25-for-25 on kicks that tie or win the game in his career, and it’s clear that the Lions are a more complete team than people give them credit for. They may not be big blowout wins, but they are team wins. And in football that means a lot. Who knows what will happen in the team’s last five games, but whatever happens they have sent a message to their fans and the rest of the league.

 

This is not the Same Old Lions. They are nobody’s doormat anymore and this team will give anybody a run for their money. They might even win a few games too. Don’t sleep on Matthew Stafford or his team of cardiac cats will bite you when you least expect it. No lead is safe against them. There is finally a new normal in Detroit.

 

 


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.

 

 


Sam Bradford is now a Viking

Written by :
Published on : September 5, 2016

 

 

When the Eagles traded up for NDSU Quarterback Carson Wentz in the April draft, Sam Bradford was not thrilled. Bradford, who finished the 2015 season with the Philadelphia Eagles in good fashion, demanded to be traded. Understandably, NFL teams balked at what it would cost to get Bradford, as NJ.com reported, it was going to cost, “more than a second round pick.” Fast forward to Tuesday, August 31st: The Eagles got more than they could ever bargain for by trading Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2017 1st round pick and a 2018 4th round pick.

 

Bradford has never lit up the league or taken any teams to the playoffs, but in his defense, the playmakers around him over his years with the Rams and his one year with the Eagles were rather non existent. The best name to come out of that group was Danny Amendola in St.Louis. Bradford now goes to a team with Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs on the outside, Kyle Rudolph at TE, and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. There’s also Laquon Treadwell waiting in the wings to take over Charles Johnson’s starting spot.

 

Several talking heads in the NFL considered the Vikings to be contenders for the Super Bowl with Bridgewater under center and now there’s no reason why Minnesota couldn’t have the same hopes and dreams. Mike Zimmer has built the Vikings to be a contender with an old school style of ball. Zimmer is going to grind Adrian Peterson to the bone with Jerrick McKinnon as a change of pace running back. It doesn’t hurt that the defense is filled with young studs (Barr, Smith, Floyd, Kendricks, Hunter) and savvy veterans (Newman, Griffen, Joseph) and were at the top of the league last year in points allowed (17.1 per game).

 

 

When news broke about QB Teddy Bridgewater’s injury last Tuesday, I immediately was banging the drum for Colin Kaepernick to get to Minnesota. The idea of Kaepernick, McKinnon, and Peterson coming out of the backfield and making people look foolish with their legs sounded really intriguing over potential vanilla veterans that Vikings’ offensive coordinator Norv Turner has worked with: Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer, or current backup Shaun Hill. Most people around the league never thought that Vikings General Manager, Rick Spielman, would make such a bold trade to try and save the season. Bradford does’t need to put up elite stats for the Vikings to contend for a playoff birth. Zimmer is going to preach ball control and mistake-free football. It’s exactly how Zimmer wants Teddy Bridgewater to run the offensive unit. Bradford can do the same, and arguably push the ball down field a bit better.

 

Here’s an interesting fact from Pro Football Focus: “Last season, Bradford played with the worst receiving corps in the league, a group that dropped 7.6 percent of his passes to lead the league. He missed all of 2014, and while there was some early-season rust, he was one of the top-graded quarterbacks during the second half of the season. On the year, he actually finished 12th in PFF quarterback grades, at 85.3, one spot ahead of 13th-place Bridgewater at 82.6.”

 

Spielman was indeed bold with this move, but the Vikings are built to go deep into the playoffs now. It’s not so much that they don’t trust Shaun Hill to win a couple of games, but I don’t think the front office viewed him as a 16 game starter and remaining healthy. Bradford has been bitten by the injury bug since joining the NFL, but he won’t have to throw as much with the Vikings. My only concern is that the Vikings run the most plays with 7-step drop backs and frequently use the play-action pass. Getting Bradford up to speed on the playbook will be a priority for the Vikings and we’ll more than likely see Hill split reps with Bradford during practices.  Another thing to consider: Bridgewater may not be ready to go next season.

 

 

One major plus going for Bradford in Minnesota is that tight ends coach, Pat Shurmur, was Bradford’s offensive coordinator during his rookie campaign in 2010 with St.Louis and his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia last year. Although Shurmur doesn’t call the plays, I am guessing that Shurmur and Norv Turner can help Bradford with the playbook and the terminology at an accelerated rate. For me, this doesn’t stink of another Josh Freeman disaster.

 

One thing that the Vikings will miss with Teddy Bridgewater being out: mobility in and out of the pocket. Teddy Bridgewater has underrated wheels and elusiveness and the fact is Bradford just doesn’t match up with him there. I had the Vikings at 11-5 with Bridgewater as the QB, but I think they drop off a game to go 10-6, but still make the wildcard spot for the playoffs.

 

Take a deep breathe Vikings fans….it’s either going to be a really smooth or really rocky flight.

 

 


The NFC North will be the most competitive division in 2016

Written by :
Published on : August 21, 2016

 

 

Everyone is always talking about the great rivalries NFC West, or the AFC East, or even the NFC East. People love to stroke the egos of teams like the Cowboys and Giants, Broncos and Chiefs, or Patriots and Jets, but what about the teams that have been playing each other the longest? I’m talking about rivalries that began in years like 1921 and 1930. The real old school heated rivalries lie in the snowy lands dominated by the NFC North.

 

The Packers, Bears and Lions have all been playing each other since the prohibition era. The Vikings joined the fun later on in 1961, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be included in the conversation. This has been one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL over the history of the game and I think that this year will be no different. The talking heads are already handing the division title this year to either the Packers or Vikings, and I get it. These are going to be two of the better teams in the league but I also think people are unfairly dismissing the Lions and Bears.

 

By the time December rolls around, I could see a situation where there may be somewhat of a three team race in the NFC North. This situation involves the Vikings and Packers jockeying for first place in the division and one of the other two teams sitting in striking distance and not yet mathematically eliminated. With most of the NFC North’s teams all playing each other toward the end of the season, who knows what could happen. Maybe my Lions hang around long enough that they steal away the division title from Green Bay at home in week 17. This is of course following a Packers loss at home to the Vikings in week 16 and a Vikings loss at home to the Bears in week 17.

 

There are reasons on each of these teams for fans to be optimistic. The division is going to end up being a lot closer than most people think at this point. Here are a few reason any given team could take home the title of NFC North Champion.

 

Green Bay Packers

 

This is the historical darling in the division. The Packers are always good because even when their roster isn’t all that great (you know like last year and maybe even this year?), they still have the man who is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. That’s right, Aaron Rodgers is still among the best of the best at his position. It’s starting to get old, but the fact is that this guy is awesome. Sure, they still have Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews is back to his natural position, but it’s because of number-12 that the Packers are always in the hunt. Last year they had injuries all over the field, including their top receiver Jordy Nelson, and their running back was a bloated mess and Aaron still almost won them the division. This team lives and dies with Aaron Rodgers and if they win the division it’ll be off of his arm.

 

Minnesota Vikings

 

The Vikings are everybody’s trendy pick to win the division for the second consecutive year in 2016. If that does indeed come to pass it will be for two reasons. The defense and Adrian Peterson. I’m still not sold on Teddy Bridgewater, but all he really needs to do at this point is not make mistakes so big that it loses his team the game. The defense has the tools to have the top squad in the league and because of that, they should be competitive in every game they are in this year. Anthony Barr & company play as a unit and can stifle opposing offenses. If Adrian Peterson can continue to be dominant, as he has been almost every year of his career, the Vikings will be a very good team. If they can get competent and mistake free quarterback play they could be downright great. Last year they were an 11 win team and if they can build off of that campaign then they are a lock to win the division.

 

Detroit Lions

 

Admittedly, we have to start grasping at some straws when looking for reasons why these last two teams will win the division. Most people find it laughable to suggest that the Lions might win the NFC North this year but just bear with me. Matt Stafford looked awesome during the last 7 or so games in 2015. If he can carry that performance over to this year, and the Lions can find and sustain at least a mediocre run game, then the offense should be good enough to supplement the real reason the Lions have a shot at the division, the defense. In 2014, the Lions had one of the scariest defenses in the league. In 2015, they took a big step back due to the loss of Ndamukong Suh, but more importantly due to the fact that DeAndre Levy missed all but a single half of one game with a hip injury. In 2016, there are rumors that the retooled defensive line might be one of the leagues best and it looks like DeAndre Levy will be back and healthy. When combined with the fact that the Lions secondary could be much better than the last few years, the Levy factor along with a nasty d-line led by Ziggy Ansah, could return the Lions’ defense to greatness. If that happens, there’s a good chance the Lions are contenders in the NFC North.

 

Chicago Bears

 

If the Chicago Bears are to somehow win the division in 2016 it will be completely on the back of the defense. I hate this offense. They may have been able to retain Alshon Jeffrey, but they don’t have much else and as long as Jay Cutler is still behind center they will continue to turn the ball over on offense. For as many reasons as there are to be pessimistic about the offense, there are as many to be optimistic about the defense. The team brought in Danny Trevathan (who I wanted the Lions to sign) and Jerrell Freeman to bolster the linebacker corp and give Pernell McPhee a little help. The secondary isn’t awe-inspiring but if McPhee, Eddie Goldman, and rookies Leonard Floyd and Jonathan Bullard can generate a consistent pass rush, they might not need to be. With the pieces in place for a decent pass rush and two linebackers who excel against the run, anything can happen. Who knows, if Jay Cutler doesn’t shit the bed for a few weeks in a row, the Bears could be in the hunt come December.

 

I don’t care what anyone else says, the NFC North is the greatest division in the NFL. This year most of the teams are bookending their seasons with division games, with the end of the season being particularly loaded with rivalry games. Everybody thinks they have it figured out until the games are played and all preconceived notions get turned upside down. We’ve seen it all before. Once the games start it will all get sorted out, but at this point the division could belong to anyone and that’s that the NFL is all about. The NFC North is up for grabs. Will our team seize it or will they fall on their faces?

 

 


Detroit Lions 2016 Win/Loss Predictions

Written by :
Published on : June 20, 2016

 

 

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

 

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

 

Week 1 @ Colts

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

 

Week 2 vs Titans

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

 

 Look out for Levy in this one.

 

Week 3 @ Packers

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

 

Week 4 @ Bears

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

 

Week 5 vs Eagles

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

 

Week 6 vs Rams

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

 

Week 7 vs Washington

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

 

 Look for a win against Washington.

 

Week 8 @ Texans

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

 

Week 9 @ Vikings

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

 

Week 10 BYE

 

Week 11 vs Jaguars

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

 

 Look for Ameer Abdullah in the end zone in this one

 

Week 12 vs Vikings

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

 

Week 13 @ Saints

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

 

Week 14 vs Bears

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

 

Week 15 @ Giants

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

 

 Eli will rule the day in week 15

 

Week 16 @ Cowboys

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

 

Week 17 vs Green Bay

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : September 23, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

I seem to be developing a pattern of mediocrity as far as it concerns these NFL Picks Against the Spread. It’s like I’m the Bengals or something. With an 8-8 record last week and a 15-16-1 record overall, I just haven’t been able to take that next step. That’s all going to change this week. Now that the identity of these  NFL teams is a little more clear, I’ve got this thing figured out and am sure that these picks are on the money. Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy these winners.

 

Winning picks in italics

 

Redskins at Giants (-4)Giants

The Giants have now lost 2 games that they should have won and they are going to come out pissed as all hell. The Redskins on the other hand, are going to show that last week was a fluke. Eli goes off and the Giants get their first win, at home, in a big way.

 

Steelers (-1) at Rams: Rams

This is a tough one for me because it’s going to be Le’Veon Bell’s first game back with the Steelers, but I think the Rams defense is going to shine. The home field advantage is going to play a big part here and we are going to see a repeat of what St Louis did when Seattle came to town in week 1.

 

Chargers at Vikings (-2.5): Chargers

The Vikings were lucky to be playing a Lions team last week that seems to have no offensive line whatsoever. They will not be so lucky this week with Phillip Rivers & Co heading the land of 10,000 lakes. Rivers and Keenan Allen will get back on track and cover the spread in what will be a high scoring matchup.

 

Buccaneers at Texans (-6.5): Buccaneers

Can somebody please explain to me how the 0-2 Texans are a 6.5 point favorite? Don’t worry I’ll wait….. Exactly, it makes no sense. Vegas obviously knows something that we don’t (as usual) but regardless I’ll take Jameis and those points all day.

 

Eagles at Jets (-2.5): Jets

The Eagles are a mess. They can’t run the ball and Bradford looks like a fat, steaming pile of dog shit on the field. The Jets, however, look surprisingly good. And they’re at home. Jets FTW.

 

Saints at Panthers (-7.5): Saints

I know Drew Brees is probably about to miss this and perennial bum, Luke McCown, is likely to back him up, but 7.5-points in a division game? I’ve got to go with the Saints here and hope that Sean Payton can dial up some serious magic to keep this one somewhat close.

 

Jaguars at Patriots (-13.5): Jaguars

There’s no way I see the Jaguars having a chance at winning this game straight up, but they did beat the Patriots’ division rivals, the Dolphins, last week. The Pats will go up early and then let their older starters get some rest. That’s when Blake Bortles is going to get some garbage-time TDs and cover this ridiculous 13.5-point spread

 

Bengals at Ravens (-2.5): Ravens

The Bengals have looked damn good so far this season, and the poor Ravens are 0-2, including an embarrassing loss to the Raiders. But this is their home-opener and it happens to be against a division opponent. The Ravens are going to come out fired up and smack the Bengals back down to Earth.

 

Raiders at Browns (-3.5): Browns

The Raiders have some young talent, probably more so than the Browns, but they are on the road and they got lucky last week against the Ravens. This is going to be a real dumpster fire of a game and surely going to piss off both fan bases, but home field rules and Johnny Football gets the win.

 

Colts (-3.5) at Titans: Colts

Andrew Luck has got to get his shit together at some point, right? This is the perfect time to pull his head out of his own ass and lead the Colts to a big win.

 

Falcons (-1.5) at Cowboys: Falcons

If Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were on the field this pick would be different, but the Falcons have actually looked good this year. Brandon Weeden is going to fumble-fuck all over this game and get the Cowboys their first loss.

 

49ers at Cardinals (-6.5): Cardinals

Has Carson Palmer ever even been injured? I mean seriously, he looks amazing out there. The 49ers are headed into a world of pain when they travel to Arizona this week. The Cardinals will get after them early and often, and run them right back to Santa Clara (They don’t actually play in San Francisco anymore).

 

Bears at Seahawks (-14.5): Bears

The Bears were already so bad and now Jimmy Clausen is set to start in Seattle this week. Fans in Chicago should be shitting themselves right about now. The Seahawks haven’t looked great but they are vastly superior to the Bears. That said, just like with the Pats-Jags game, I can’t see past that spread. Call me crazy, but I take those 14.5-points, Matt Forte and the Bears.

 

Bills at Dolphins (-3): Bills

When Ndamukong Suh was with the Lions he was my favorite player. When he left for the Dolphins I was sad but wished him the best. Now I would be lying if I said it didn’t please me just a bit to see that defense under-achieving. The Bills, however, are looking great on defense and seem to have the offense more figured out than I would have thought. I think they win straight up, but if you’re giving me 3, I’m gonna take it without thinking twice.

 

Broncos (-3) at Lions: Broncos

Until they show me otherwise, I give up on the Lions. After seeing what their o-line has looked like against the likes of the Chargers and Vikings, it make me sick to my stomach to think what Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are going to do to sweet, handsome Matt Stafford. Get your 40 oz ready Lions fans, cuz we might be pouring out a little liquor for our dead quarterback on Monday.

 

Chiefs at Packers (-6.5): Packers

What can I even say about the Packers. It doesn’t matter who they play or how many people on their team get hurt, with Aaron Rodgers all they do is win. And they are at home? So long, Chiefs. The god damned Pack wins again.

 


Last week’s record: 8-8

 

Season record: 15-16-1

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2015

 

 

Well, my week 1 for NFL Picks Against the Spread didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. I came away with 7 wins, 8 losses and 1 push. Which is ok, but I strive for greatness and will use the lessons learned about teams to push up my win percentage this week. There are some nice divisional matchups coming up that are going to make it a little tricky. Surely, there will be some surprises and some upsets, but with a few big underdogs, I’m confident that I’ve got a full helping of winners here for you guys.

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Broncos at Chiefs (-3): Chiefs

Both of these teams came away with wins last week. The Broncos won at home in underwhelming fashion and the Chiefs won on the road against a disappointing Texans squad. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the hardest places in the league for opposing teams to play, and with Manning’s arm looking about as weak as previously rumored, watch the Chiefs defense to get all over him.

 

Patriots (-1) at Bills: Patriots

Both the Bills and Pats were very strong last week, and the Bills defense neutralized a Colts offense that was one of the most explosive in the league last season. That said, the Patriots are going to continue to play angry and stick it to Roger Goodell, one win at a time. Even though it’s a divisional game and they are on the road in Buffalo, with the Bills only getting 1 point, the Patriots are the right pick.

  

Titans (-1) at Browns: Titans

How about that Marcus Mariota guy? He looked very, very good last week as he led the Titans to a week one win against the top pick of the draft in Tampa Bay. The Browns on the other hand, are looking like they will be as bad as I thought they were going to be. Mariota is going to pick that defense apart and get win number two in Cleveland by a wide margin.

 

Texans at Panthers (-3): Panthers

The Panthers didn’t look great last week, but still managed a 21-9 win on the road in Jacksonville. They welcome a Texans team that lost by 7 on their home field last week. I see the Panthers winning this one with some help from a couple of broken plays that Cam Newton extends with his legs.

 

Cardinals (-1.5) at Bears: Cardinals

The Bears put up a very good fight against the Packers and had a real chance to come away with a huge win last week. Then reality set in, of course. This week they welcome in a Cardinals team that beat the Saints last week, but lost their starting running back in the process. Carson Palmer looked pretty sharp in his first game back from injury and I think he will overcome the 1.5 points being given to the Bears, while passing the ball all over them. Cardinals win.

 

Chargers at Bengals (-3): Bengals

The Chargers had a huge second half last week to overcome a Lions first half 21-3 lead, and get a 33-28 win. While the Bengals destroyed the lowly Raiders for the entirety of the game. Both of these teams are good and will probably be battling each other for a wild-card berth this year. With the Bengals being at home, I think that gives them the advantage and they beat the spread.

 

Lions at Vikings (-3): Detroit

For one half of football, the Lions seemed like they could be one of the best teams in the league, then they were severely out-coached in the second half and lost. They now head to Minnesota and play a team that didn’t look for good for any sustained period against the 49ers. The Lions defense and offensive line will want to prove that they aren’t as bad as they looked in that second half last week.

 

Buccaneers at Saints (-10): Buccaneers

I think the Saints win this one at home straight up. I just can’t resist the urge to take the 10 points that the Bucs are getting here. I think Jameis has a much better game than last week and does enough to keep this one close.

 

Falcons at Giants (-2.5): Giants

The Giants should have won their game last week against the Cowboys, but they at least did enough to cover the spread. They are going to be heartbroken after that division loss last week and are going to come out strong at home against the Falcons. Look for them to win by a touchdown and for Odell Beckham Jr to have a few big plays.

 

49ers at Steelers (-6): 49ers

Neither of these teams looked all that great last week, but the Steelers defense still looks like a work in progress and they remain without Le’veon Bell for one more game. They win straight up but the 49ers keep it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Rams (-3.5) at Redskins: Rams

The Redskins are bad and are going to get murdered by Aaron Donald & Co as that Rams defense gets all over them. Enough said.

 

Ravens (-6) at Raiders: Raiders

The Raiders got a big scare when Derek Carr went down with a hand injury against the Bengals. He was back to fully practicing this week and should be good to go at home against the Ravens. If he wasn’t playing then the Ravens would be the easy pick, but with Carr and Amari Cooper on the field, I think the offense keeps it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Dolphins (-6) at Jaguars: Dolphins

There might be a point sometime soon when the Jaguars are decent, but they clearly aren’t there yet. The Dolphins defense and offense is going to continue to improve, especially against the Jags this week. Add to that the fact that there will probably be more Dolphins fans up in Jacksonville, and it should work out essentially like a home game for the ‘Fins. They are are going to beat them up and run them out of their own stadium.

 

Cowboys at Eagles (-5): Cowboys

The Cowboys had an inspiring comeback win against another division rival at home last week.  This week they travel to Philly to take on an Eagles team that was less than inspiring against the Falcons. This will be another NFC East slugfest that is decided by less than the 5-point spread being offered up by Vegas. Take the Cowboys

 

Seahawks at Packers (-3.5): Seahawks

The Seahawks aren’t getting any favors from the schedule makers by having to travel to St Louis week one and then into Green Bay for week two, but luckily for them, the Packers defense looked pretty awful last week. Look for Marshawn and the Seahawks to keep it very close, even if they don’t pull out the win.

 

Jets at Colts (-7): Jets

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Colts will win this one at home, but it’s another case of me not being able to look past the points being given by Vegas. The Jets looked pretty good against a bad team last week and with a defense that is supposed to be strong, I think it stays close enough for the Jets to be the pick here.

 


Last Week’s Record: 7-8-1

 

Season Record: 7-8-1

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2015

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Here are your ScoreBoredSports NFL staff picks for week 2:

Week 2 Picks

 

Week 1


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

Written by :
Published on : September 8, 2015

 

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

 

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Pittsburgh at New England (-7): Pittsburgh

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

 

Green Bay (-7) at Chicago: Green Bay

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

 

Kansas City at Houston (-1): Houston

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

 

Cleveland at New York Jets (-3): Jets

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

 

Indianapolis (-3) at Buffalo: Indianapolis

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

 

Miami (-4) at Washington: Miami

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

 

Carolina (-3.5) at Jacksonville: Jacksonville

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

 

Seattle (-4) at St Louis: St Louis

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

 

New Orleans at Arizona (-2.5): New Orleans

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

 

Detroit at San Diego (-3): Detroit

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

 

Tennessee at Tampa Bay (-3): Tampa Bay

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

 

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Oakland: Cincinnati

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

 

Baltimore at Denver (-4.5): Denver

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

 

New York Giants at Dallas (-6): Giants

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

 

Philadelphia (-3) at Atlanta: Philadelphia

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

 

Minnesota (-2.5) at San Francisco: Minnesota

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

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 1

Written by :
Published on : September 7, 2015

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Alex

 

SBS Staff Picks - Week 1

 

 


NFL QUICK HITS FOR THE UPCOMING 2015 SEASON

Written by :
Published on : September 6, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

-Will this be the end of the Madden curse?

What curse?

 

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

 

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

 

2,500 Rushing Yards for Adrian Peterson? Really?

Keep it… 2,500.

 

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

 

Year of the Rookie Wideouts: Part 2?

Can the rookies top last year’s class?

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

What “D” word?

How NOT to hit in today’s NFL.

 

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

 

Super Bowl or Bust.

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC North Predictions

Written by :
Published on : July 29, 2015

 

With the rise of the Lions from laughingstock to “that team no one believes in,” combined with a schizophrenic Vikings squad and a Bears crew struggling to hang on to mediocrity, the NFC North has gotten a little goofy. Besides the Packers no other team is currently considered a viable Super Bowl threat.

But I’m a Lions fan, and the NFC North is my home sweet home, so I’ll be following it much closer than the guys who actually get paid to write about it. Granted, the people who get paid to write about it are professionals as opposed to a disgruntled old crank who talks to his cat.

Enough pretense! The visions are taking substance…

Minnesota Vikings:

 photo vikings_sbs02 copy_zps1tbp8x9j.jpg

The good folks in Minnesota love Teddy Bridgewater, and I can’t blame a fan base hungry for a franchise quarterback, but I found it a little irksome that the media fawned over this kid from the get go. It happens all the time in a hype-fueled profession, but I wish some of these guys could be held accountable for their big mouths. At least put them in a dunk tank or something with Brett Favre throwing footballs over his shoulder at the target. I saw a lot of potential in Bridgewater, but I also saw a lot of kinks that needed ironing out. He can scramble and hit some good passes on the run, but for all those nifty highlights, there were costly interceptions as well.

The return of Adrian Peterson in purple and gold surprised me. I thought the reconciliation to this uncomfortably troubled marriage was possible, but I wasn’t counting on it. Hey, the crystal ball is cloudy after all. Now that AP is back in the game, I’m fascinated to see what happens. I don’t care how good he is: age and expectations are going to be a factor.

The crystal ball says:

Teddy’s gonna have a decent season, but he’s more of a long term threat than a breakout stud. Talking Heads will continue to praise him to high heaven until the last fourth of the season when they turn on him and ask whether or not he’s any good. He’ll stay the same, continuing to grow and improve unless he proves injury prone. Adrian Peterson will have a solid season, keeping his hyperbolic god-like status, but he’s going to be eclipsed on the stats sheet by some of the hungrier young guys.

Chicago Bears:

 photo bears_nfc_zpsihxng6qh.jpg

Da Bears are hurting right now, and I think there’s an inevitable degree of soul searching going on in the organization regardless of the coaching change. John Fox is certainly going to liven things up as much as he can. Fresh blood will flow, the slate will be cleaned, but there’s no getting around the elephant in the room: Jay Cutler’s competency, commitment, and the club’s decision to stick it out with him. Personally, I’m not as down on Cutler as many people are, but I do feel that his remaining presence in Chicago has metastasized into an untenably toxic relationship. Even if they win a few more games this season with Cutler, the team’s long-term success is going to be in the hands of their next quarterback. And let’s not act like a break with the Bears would be bad for Cutler: he could gracefully transition to a lower-tier team and play with a squad that would actually appreciate him. Not the worst way to play out the rest of your career.

The crystal ball says:

Another abysmal year for Soldier Field’s finest. There’s little hope in restructuring and re-growing without faith in your lynchpin. Chi-town will spend a year taking its losses while John Fox settles in and shows off what he has to offer.

Green Bay Packers:

 photo greenbay2_zpsyo76ecnz.jpg

Green Bay is easily the least fun team to pontificate on in the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers is currently in top form with a rock solid team behind him. I won’t be surprised if this group keeps on clicking and humming along together, giving opposing NFC North fans fits. The crew is well-oiled, well-managed, and has that “cool factor” of playing in an open stadium during the rudest of Midwest winters. You can certainly criticize The Pack when it comes to the league as a whole, particularly that they don’t deal well with unexpected loss, but in the NFC North, this is the team that everybody wants to dethrone.

The only real worry is keeping Rodgers healthy. We’ve seen in the past how this team has collapsed without its sometimes-mustachioed heart on the field. If I were Mike McCarthy, I would be spending an inordinate amount of time working with that O-line on QB protection.

The crystal ball says:

A clear division victory for The Cheeseheads, with Detroit and possibly Minnesota nipping at their heels. However, the entire house of cards collapses if Rodgers misses four or more games.

Detroit Lions:

 photo lions_zpsmbfs5wgb.jpg

Like last season, Detroit has a great chance of giving the Packers a run for their money, but it’s not going to be easy. Detroit is currently a team full of potential and unanswered questions. I’d love to see the defense as dominant as it was last season, a tall order considering the loss of Ndamukong Suh. Yet the return of Stephen Tulloch and acquisition of Haloti Ngata are hard to dismiss. Of course I’ll be watching that offensive line closest. It’s the single factor in Stafford having as productive a season he did in his INT-happy, record-breaking slinger days, though he’s likely to have a more disciplined system that actually wins games this time around.

The run game is going to be the x-factor. I love Joique Bell, but he can’t carry the team like a Marshawn Lynch or a Jamaal Charles. He gets you three yards on a 3rd & 2, and punches his way into the end zone in short yardage situations, but he’s not going to break off 15 yard chunks with any regularity. And sure, there’s Theo Riddick and a very “maybe” George Winn. I’m hopeful for Ameer Abdullah, but I also think there’s a lot of bluster and hype for the second round pick.

Crystal ball says:

Detroit has so much talent on the roster, but also has trouble putting it together. I see the defense not being as strong as last year, but staying damn close to that caliber thanks to the prior season’s proof of concept. The offense is going to pop more this year in the passing game, but the running game will remain blue-collar. Green Bay has a good chance of winning both games vs. the Lions, but the really exciting divisional games are going to go down with the Vikings. The division title will most likely go to Green Bay, but the Lions will make the wild card slot and head to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

 

 


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