NFL Halfway way report for 2016

Written by :
Published on : November 3, 2016

 

 

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

 

The Standings

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

 

NFC North: Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys (6-1)

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons (5-3)

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

 

 

AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

AFC East: New England Patriots (7-1)

AFC South: Houston Texans (5-3)

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

 

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

 

Surprises

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Less Surprising

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Playoffs?

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 8: Colton Schmidt Makes Up For Dropping Ball and “The Mask of Fu Manchu”

Written by :
Published on : November 2, 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 potions mixed, and the black cat curled up snugly.

 

Week 8: Bills Punter Colton Schmidt Makes Up For Dropping Ball

 

Sometimes when you make a big time boo-boo it’s best just to fix it yourself before taking any heat. Bills punter Colton Schmidt straight up drops this ball on the turf way back in Buffalo territory. Total tragedy. Maybe picking it up and punting again is possible, but a turnover on downs or a Pats fumble recovery is the most likely option. It’s best not to think about it too hard, and Colton Schmidt doesn’t.

 

After the drop and another failed attempt to retrieve the pigskin, Schmidt, decides to run like some kind of terrified animal as he finally gets a grip on the ball. Head down, looking to the sideline, he churns those legs until he’s past the first down marker and out of bounds with at least three big Patriots players breathing down his neck.

 

It almost looks like Brandon Bolden could have made the tackle, had his teammate Jared Mayo not made a dive at Schmidt. You gotta imagine the meticulous Belichick wasn’t too happy about his special teams performance on this one. On the other side of the ball, Schmidt gets to apologize to special teams coordinator Danny Crossman while his teammates smile, laugh it up, pat him on the back, and continue the drive.

 

Week 8: The Mask of Fu Manchu

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Director: Charles Brabin
Released: 1932

 

With a title like this, and with its 1932 theatrical release date you know you’re not going to be seeing the most culturally sensitive movie out there. The premise alone (lifted from a Sax Rohmer novel) is cringe-worthy with the mad Dr. Fu Manchu (Boris Karloff) questing to find the golden mask and scimitar of Genghis Khan, so he can rally all of Asia behind him and destroy white Christendom.

 

The picture provides an interesting mashup between the adventure and horror genres with its square-jawed English archaeologists in exotic locals pitted against a rival who is fond of esoteric means of torture, and a daughter who possesses a wicked and wildly pre-code penchant for sadism (a wonderful if underutilized turn by Myrna Loy).

 

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As obnoxious and offensive as the film’s general premise is, most of the actual racism onscreen is boneheadedly unspecific with a cultural hodgepodge of costumes and set decorations. The sets in particularly are gorgeous, and along with the expected chinoiserie there is statuary and bric-a-brac that actually impressively displays a whole catalog of ancient art styles from Central and East Asia. If the depictions on the screen may be juvenile and troubling, there is at least the sense that the production designer and art director took great care and love in seriously replicating ancient art from the region.

 

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If you can get past the backwards insensitivity, there’s some truly weird thrills to be had here: torture scenes involving a perpetually ringing bell, a pit of alligators, and a slowly closing room of spiked walls, a hypnotism serum made from the blood of venomous animals and “seven sacred herbs,” a knife throwing assassin, black musclemen in loincloths serving as Fu Manchu’s guards, the lavish tomb of Genghis Khan himself, a machine that arcs electricity all around the room that will later turn into a super laser-like weapon, and the ironic conceit that Dr. Fu was highly educated at a variety of top western universities (he’s a Harvard man amongst other things!).

 

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This is obviously the kind of picture that gets laughed at more for its ridiculousness than offensiveness, however there is a final joke in the last seconds of run time involving an Asian porter ringing a dinner bell that is genuinely mean-spirited and hard to stomach. I could picture that being a deal-breaker for many a viewer, so be warned.

 

The trailer can be found here in this triple-bill promo. Skip to 00:32 for your Karloff fix:

 

 

Full movie here

 

 


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