Saturday, September 20, 2014

THE NFL WEEK 3: Follow me into the desert as thirsty as you are.

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Since my wife isn’t fat I don’t listen to Howard Stern so it won’t surprise you to learn that the antics of his people in public are strange and new to me. I had no idea what a “Benji Bronk” is and why it so lamely disrupted Goodell’s press conference, when it deserved so much more of a disruption. You know, once in Russia protesters sent a flying dildo buzzing around a guy’s face, eventually having it swatted down by a security officer in the most epic dildo-spike ever filmed. Step up your game, Stern, is what I’m saying. You can’t tell me you don’t have access to a lifetime supply of dildos. If ever there is a guy in need of multiple dildos it’s you.

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No. That’s your thumb, asswipe.  

Roger Goodell didn’t step down and claims he has the support of all the NFL owners, which just makes me pissed at them. If the latest news report is true, then not only will Goodell get fired, but Baltimore Ravens owner and former California Raisin stuntman Steve Biscioti will probably have to sell the team… I hear Donald Sterling is flush with cash at the moment. It’s tough to live up to the ownership standards of Art Modell, but Bisciotti is doing his best.

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"I thought I died in Season 2 of the Sopranos." 

THURSDAY

Buccaneers at Falcons (-6.5)

My pick: Falcons (cover)

Actual result: Falcons 56, Bucs 14

I only got to see the third quarter of this game when the score was 56-0. So good for the Bucs for actually scoring a couple of meaningless touchdowns for whatever Fantasy Football owners that had all your players on your bench.

SUNDAY

Chargers at Bills (-2)

Winner – Bills (cover)

The Bills are in the same position they were a week ago. If they win, their 3-0 start doesn’t really mean a whole lot at this point in the season. If the 1-1 Chargers win in Buffalo, however, then they’re a legitimate playoff team. The Bills have become a lynchpin game for every team except their own. I’m going to need to see a victory over the Patriots before I belly-flop atop your bandwagon, Bills, but we’re all paying attention. And when’s the last time that happened?

Cowboys at Rams (+1)

Winner - Rams

The Rams get their third cupcake in a row to decide how their season is going to go. They blew it against the Vikings in Week 1, but beat the abysmal Bucs last week and escaped Tampa without catching some Ebola-Captain Trips-ian STDs, so really that counts as two victories.

The Cowboys blow so much ass Kenye West is suing them for plagiarism. Austin Davis won his first start and while I’m not ready to call him Kurt Warner Jr, I’ve lived through Tony Banks and Marc Bulger, so I’m ready to adopt Davis as my son.

Fun fact: Amy and I were in Golden, Colo. Thursday and Friday and I saw a busboy that looked exactly like Marc Bulger at the Bridgewater Grille. So it was probably him.

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"You guys need more bread over here? No? Awesome."

Redskins at Eagles (-7)

Winner – Eagles (do not cover)

Seven points is too much against a rejuvenated Redskins team with their real quarterback at the helm. A full on Washington victory here wouldn’t surprise me, but Jim Haslett is still the defensive coordinator and hasn’t been escorted from the facility at gunpoint, so I’m sticking with the Philadelphia. 

Texans at Giants (+2.5)

Winner – Texans

The Giants and the Steelers are two teams I just can’t get a handle on. So I’m picking Houston to start the season 3-0? God, I guess so. I feel like Eli is probably going to light them up for six touchdowns because I picked against him just to spite me. And I deserve it.

Vikings at Saints (-9.5)

Winner – Saints (cover)

Way to stay strong, Minnesota. First you look at the photos of Adrian Peterson going all 12 Years a Slave on his 4-year-old son and you say, “Sure, that’s our guy. We love him. He’s playing.” Then, shockingly, everybody on planet Earth has a problem with that. Something about beating a baby in the balls with a stick bothers people. Who knew?

Titans at Bengals (-7)

Winner – Bengals (do not cover)

Ugh. The Bengals. I see it. I see a good if not great team there with a few problems that don’t have to hurt them in January. But they’re still the Bengals and by God this is exactly the kind of game they lose after looking like the best team in the league last week without A.J. Green. Andy Dalton was throwing touchdowns to fucking Skyline chili cooks and they still beat the shit out Atlanta.

Ravens at Browns (+0.5)

Winner – Ravens (cover)

What’s with the +0.5 line? Does football award a half-point that I’ve never seen? Is it like a drop-kick? Some ancient leather-helmet shit?

Packers at Lions (-1)

Winner – Packers

Green Bay’s bandwagon has emptied faster than an elevator after a Rush Limbaugh fart. I don’t get the Lions’ line, but since Calvin Johnson is on my fantasy team, I do hope they make it a game. I still think Green Bay is your NFC Champion, but I’m waffling. I’m waffling!

Colts at Jaguars (+6.5)

Winner – Colts (cover)

Indianapolis got screwed so hard by the refs in the Eagles game that Vivid and Brazzers are in a bidding war for the game tape. That line is too low.

Raiders at Patriots (-14.5)

Winner – Patriots (do not cover)

The Raiders don’t come into Foxboro and beat New England, but this Patriots team is wheezing. Tom Brady’s Ugg-Booted feet can only take them so far, especially when he collapses under any kind of pressure in his face. And you’d think Brady would be used to taking it in the face.

49ers at Cardinals (+2.5)

Winner – Cardinals

The skid continues for San Francisco. Do you really see Colin Kaepernick completing clutch passes against Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie? How legal is marijuana in San Francisco right now? Drew Stanton is starting at QB for Arizona and they lost their running back because of the sexiest headbutt on record, but they should have plenty of offense to win after Kaepernick spots them 14 points.

Broncos at Seahawks (-4.5)

Winner – Broncos

Were the Seahawks exposed by San Diego, or did a team just actually run a real offense against them without 10,472 screen pass attempts. Who can say? Denver has 11 new starters, mostly on defense and Marshawn Lynch is hurt. Yes, Seattle is a tough place to play as it’s the suicide capital of the United States, but Denver should be pretty happy on legal weed and Papa John’s pizza, so they should be fine.

Chiefs at Dolphins (-4.5)

Winner – Dolphins (cover)

One of the best games I watched was a 1990 playoff game between the Chiefs and Dolphins. Miami won the game 17-16 with two Dan Marino touchdown passes in the fourth quarter after trailing 16-3 with no hope in sight. Just an epic game that saw vintage Dan Marino face off against the best Steve DeBerg that he ever was. Fun memory. I will not watch a single minute of this game.

Steelers at Panthers (-3.5)

Winner – Panthers (cover)

How can the Steelers look so good (yes, it was the Browns, but still) in Week 1 and look so shitty against a Ravens team that even Ravens fans wanted them to beat a week later? This is the second team that karma dictates the Steelers should beat, but I’ve lost trust in you Pittsburgh. I’m trapped in a Fudrucker’s bathroom of emotion.

Bears at Jets (-1)

Winner – Bears

How are the Jets favored in this game? Has Geno Smith’s contact lens prescription been updated? Is Brandon Marshall dead? The football news sites are no help.

Last week: 9-7

Season: 15-17

Against the spread:

Last week: 8-8

Overall: 12-21

Saturday, September 13, 2014

THE NFL WEEK 2: It’s good to see you lying there in your Superman skivvies.

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The NFL took such a black eye this week that Ray Rice asked it to marry him. The week opened with TMZ releasing the Ray Rice “elevator video” that Roger Goodell masturbates to every night. The evidence in the video is clear – Ray Rice is left-handed and would be completely useless in any situation where he had to hide a dead body. I’ve already removed him from my friends and family plan.

There was universal outrage after the video got out, with a third group to see it after the the NFL and everyone associated with the Baltimore Ravens have been trading Vines of it for months. This third group – known as the public – was kind of pissed that Ray Rice was still able to hold footballs to his chest professionally and rightly demanded that both he and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should be strapped to a Chinese Long March rocket and blasted into the sun. Sadly, this has yet to happen but the White House petition is gaining steam.

After a week of the public demanding Roger Goodell resign every day on Twitter, Facebook and every sports website on the planet, something even worse happened. Adrian Peterson beat his four-year old son (I think his name is Platt) with a switch and was arrested in Texas, normally a state where black children are nearly beaten to death by white people. Truly progress has been made.

Now to talk about something truly important – How shitty I did in my week one picks. For a season of retribution/redemption/revenge, opening up 6-10 was not the way to go. But, honestly, I don’t feel bad about it. I’m going to rend my garments after the Bills beat the Bears and the Dolphins beat the Patriots? The Bengals – Ravens, Saints – Falcons, Titans – Chiefs, Chargers – Cardinals and Raiders - Jets games were all coin flips and I guessed wrong on five of them. And while before the week opened the Seahawks – Packers game looked like another “either team could win” type game, Seattle shut that thought down pretty quick. Damn.

So that’s seven games that could have gone either way with a field goal and two pretty outrageous upsets of teams some people are picking to go to the Super Bowl. I’m lucky I picked five games right, is what I’m saying.

And I already opened this week with a loss.

THURSDAY

Steelers at Ravens (-2.5)

My pick – Steelers

Actual winner – Ravens

If there was ever a time for Pittsburgh to win one for everybody, this was it. And they completely blew it, losing in a very St. Louis Ram-like manner, 26-6. And by comparing the Steelers to the Rams, I have delivered the worst burn possible. Enjoy it.

SUNDAY

Dolphins at Bills (+ 0.5)

Winner – Bills

Am I a believer in the Bills or do I feel like the Joe Philbin/Ryan Tannehill tandem on the road against a decent defense is a recipe for a defeat? There are two odd facts about this game. 1 – If the Bills win they’ll be 2-0 and it will have no bearing at all on how their season will end. And 2 – If the Dolphins win they’ll be 2-0 and might be on their way to not only the playoffs but competing for an AFC East title. Bizarre.

Jaguars at Redskins (-6)

Winner – Redskins (cover)

Seeing the Redskins favored by a touchdown in any game is so strange that, without even looking at their opponent, you would almost have to assume it’s Jacksonville.

Cowboys at Titans (-4)

Winner – Titans (cover)

Dallas, since you’re on the clock, it’s time to start talking yourself into not pulling the trigger on Marcus Mariotta and sticking with Romo. Enjoy that.

Cardinals at Giants (-2)

Winner – Cardinals

Another coin flip game shows up, which probably sucks for me. I can’t figure Eli and the Giants out, so maybe this game will help. Arizona spent half a football game looking very St. Louis Ram-like before deciding not to suck in the fourth quarter. Maybe that will roll over to this game. Also, the idea of Interception Eli facing off against Antonio Cromartie and Patrick Peterson should be making the Cardinals regret all those performance clauses they put in their contracts.

Patriots at Vikings (+3)

Winner – Patriots

The Patriots usually don’t lose two games in a row and since Adrian Peterson is in Texas testing the durability and elasticity of acacia limbs, Minnesota might have trouble moving the ball. Cordarelle Patterson needs to think about adding a few more “Rs” to his name. Cordareller Prattersorn. Yeah. That sounds good.

Saints at Browns (+6)

Winner – Saints (cover)

 Six points? Are they kidding? Any word on that Johnny Manziel Amber Alert?

Falcons at Bengals (-5)

Winner - Falcons

The Bengals never start 2-0, even when they’re good and they certainly are good. But they still won’t start 2-0.

Lions at Panthers (-3)

Winner – Lions

Am I falling for the team that looked a little too good in week one? Probably. But karma is against the Panthers right now thanks to the inability to find a video tape of Greg Hardy piledriving his girlfriend into a pile of AK-47s.  Cam Newton can’t be completely healthy and if he doesn’t start, does anyone think Derek Anderson can play competently two weeks in a row and still have possession of his immortal soul?

Rams at Buccaneers (-5)

Winner – Rams

How stupid am I? I actually believe there is no way the Rams can play worse than they did in Week 1. A week that they, unquestionably, looked like the worst team in professional football. Jeff Fisher says that the opening week loss will not define his team’s season and if that is true he should win coach of the fucking year.

Seahawks at Chargers (+5.5)

Winner – Seahawks (cover)

That +5.5 is a slap in the face to the Seahawks who, as of this writing, are not guilty of smacking any of their significant others in the face. But, you know, it’s Saturday so…

Texans at Raiders (+3)

Winner –Texans (cover)

I’m picking Ryan Fitzpatrick on the road, but a rookie QB against J.J. Watt should result in a pretty lengthy rape conviction for the Houston All-Star.

Jets at Packers (-8)

Winner – Packers (cover)

If Mike McCarthy was any more over his head last week Barack Obama would tab him as his next Secretary of State. How do you prepare for a game and give up Richard Sherman’s entire side of the field? Horrible play calling, horrible game plan and it really showed a weakness in Aaron Rodgers game…. He actually listens to his stupid coach. Time to score 50 and New York is presenting itself like a Bonobo.

Chiefs at Broncos (-13)

Winner – Broncos (do not cover)

I’m only sticking my neck out slightly by saying the Broncos won’t cover. That 13 points is huge and Kansas City has been known to play NFL football from time to time. Their pass rush and defensive backs are a strength of the team and while they’ll still lose, I’m seeing more a 30-20 kind of game. Congratulations, Chiefs. You could suck worse.

Bears at 49ers (-7)

Winner – Bears

Hey, San Francisco. I know you’re feeling pretty good after winning 28-17 over a team that a good squad would beat by 50 last week. In fact, that you could only score 28 on the worst defense in the NFL should scare the shit out of you.

MONDAY

Eagles at Colts (-3)

Winner - Colts (cover)

Chip Kelly brings his overrated Eagles to Indianapolis to face a real team with a legitimate coach. It’s like Chip Kelly’s Kryptonite.

Last week: 6-10

Against the spread: 3-13

 2014 AFC Preview

2014 NFC Preview

Thursday, September 4, 2014

THE NFL WEEK 1: I got a gun for a mouth and a bullet with your name on it.

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“Lo there do I see my father.

Lo there do I see my mother, my sisters and my brothers.

Lo there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning.

Lo, they do call to me. They bid me take my place among them.

In the halls of Valhalla where the brave may live forever.”

                                                            -Viking Prayer

                                                             from the Criminally Underrated 13th Warrior                         

And thus begins my redemption… my rebirth… my ultimate revenge. That 150-116-1 record from last season hangs around my neck like a dead albatross with a boner. And nobody wants a dead albatross with a boner anywhere near them. Seriously. It’s fucking gross.

This year I’m adding a pick against the spread just to spice things up. Ultimately, all I care about is the straight-up pick so the spread pick is just a bonus for you degenerate gamblers out there to help you finally figure out if that ring around the lid of your grandfather’s cremation urn is made out of real gold.

THURSDAY

Packers at Seahawks (-3)

Winner – Packers

Yes, picking against the Seahawks cost me all the way through last season and this certainly doesn’t bode well for the Packers in this game. But I watched Green Bay in the preseason and they look insanely good and they have the quarterback, the receivers and the running game to exploit the specific weaknesses Seattle’s defense has (outside of their emotional and psychological issues on display in every postgame interview).

Saints at Falcons (+2.5)

Winner – Saints (cover)

The Falcons are going to be very disappointed to lose this game just like they did last season. The difference this year will be that it won’t send Atlanta’s season down the toilet. The Falcons have three straight wins on their schedule after this and this one won’t be an ass-whipping. Just some light S&M with the Falcons as the bottom.

Vikings at Rams (-3.5)

Winner – Rams (cover)

The Rams open the season with three delicious cream-filled cupcakes and if they drop any of them on the floor, not only will they be covered in ferret hair, but any possibility of a playoff season or even a record over .500 is probably gone.

Browns at Steelers (-6.5)

Winner – Steelers (cover)

Every Steelers fan in America comes into this game completely crestfallen as any chance of watching the Pittsburgh defense cram Johnny Manziel into the Heinz Field turf like a cigarette butt is probably gone. But fear not, Steeler Nation, you’ve got to feel like you’ve got a better than 60 percent chance you’ll knock Brian Hoyer out of the game in the first quarter.

Jaguars at Eagles (-10)

Winner – Eagles (cover)

Regardless of their record last season, it should be obvious I’m not a big Eagles believer despite the fact that they’ll tear through the Jaguars like a greasy taco shell. Blake Bortles is the man in Jacksonville this season… literally. He’s the only NFL player I can name on their roster.

Raiders at Jets (-4.5)

Winner – Raiders

It’s time for the Oakland Raiders to play football for at least eight weeks out of the next 52. I have no idea what anyone is seeing with the Jets. I continue to read predictions of an 8-8 record or better and I wasn’t aware that Wes Welker had been sharing his Molly with the sports writing community.

Bengals at Ravens (-2.4)

Winner – Ravens (cover)

The Bengals have made the playoffs for three seasons in a row and are the defending AFC North Champions so the fact that the Ravens are favored shows a complete lack of respect that I, for one, completely concur with.

Bills at Bears (-6.5)

Winner – Bears (cover)

The Bears make up the primary scoring tandem of my fantasy football team so there’s no bigger jinx anyone could have put on them. But, like a priest-blessed rabbit’s foot covered in four-leaf clovers the Bills come to town at the perfect time to save my Fantasy team and keep Chicago’s playoff hopes alive until at least Halloween.

Redskins at Texans (-2.5)

Winner – Texans (cover)

The chess match between Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and Houston QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the contest of the day. Then they’ll put the board and pieces away and play a pretty shitty football game.

Titans at Chiefs (-4.5)

Winner – Chiefs (cover)

I don’t feel good about this game. I feel like the Chiefs are a good enough team to barely miss the playoffs, but so are the Titans and they actually have a real coach. The difference is the quarterback situation. Kansas City has a proven starter in Alex Smith and Tennessee has Jake Locker who shouldn’t be trusted to work the hose at a charity car wash.

Patriots at Dolphins (+4.5)

Winner – Patriots (do not cover)

The Dolphins are one of the AFC East teams that accidentally beat New England last season and it could happen again. The Patriots have made a habit of dropping openers over the last few years, especially if there’s an eastern glare causing problems with the Patriots video equipment. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, New England has invested in some lens hoods so they’re good.

Panthers at Buccaneers (-1)

Winner – Panthers

There seems to be a consensus that the Bucs will somehow be worth half a shit this season and that’s exactly 50 percent of a shit too much. That -1 just shows that this insanity is spreading and I’ve been on the phone with the CDC all day but no one will take me seriously. Why won’t you bastards listen to me?? It’s viral and it’s airborne, you fools!

SUNDAY EDIT: Cam Newton is out so I’m going with the Bucs and they cover. I will probably regret this. 

49ers at Cowboys (+6)

Winner – 49ers (do not cover)

San Francisco and Dallas was one of the great rivalries of the 1990s and hopefully you’ve got those games on a VHS tape somewhere because these two teams are going to blow ass this season.

Colts at Broncos (-7)

Winner – Broncos (cover)

Peyton Manning begins his redemption tour and there’s no better place to start than beating his former team. A team that beat the Broncos last season in Indy. Andrew Luck is the next guy, but Manning will probably throw 50 touchdowns this season too and along with an improved defense and whatever orangutan steroid gland Wes Welker is chewing on at horse races, the Broncos will be hell to play.

MONDAY

Giants at Lions (-4.5)

Winner – Giants

One mediocre season from Eli Manning and everybody’s ready to write off the Giants faster than a Wesley Snipes tax deduction. The dream of returning to the playoffs for Eli begins in Detroit which is weird, because Detroit is usually where dreams go to die. 

Chargers at Cardinals (-3)

Winner – Cardinals (cover)

Both these teams will be fighting for a playoff spot this season and are loaded with offensive talent. Philip Rivers has a habit of choking games away late and Carson Palmer has a habit of being Carson Palmer, so this is not a pick I’d feel comfortable with either way. I’m going with the Cardinals at home, but I expect this to be one of the better games of the week.

Last week – THE NFC PREVIEW

Before  that – THE AFC PREVIEW

Saturday, August 30, 2014

2014 NFC PREVIEW: You can put me out on the street. Put me out with no shoes on my feet. But put me out, put me out, put me out of misery.

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It’s been a rough week or so here at stately Greene Manor. What looked like a tremendous, exciting and far-too-long-in-coming St. Louis Rams playoff season took a header into a woodchipper last Saturday when Sam Bradford clutched his knee (as he often does), collapsed to the turf (as he is wont to do) and was promptly knocked out for the season with his second ACL tear in a calendar year.

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Classic.  

While this, legitimately, had me wallowing in depression for a good solid day, I’m mostly over it. I’ll discuss it more in the Rams section, so let’s get on with the predictions. My resolve has not weakened. I will make up for last year’s tipped over porta-toilet of a picks season. And it all starts with these predictions.

NFC EAST

y – New York Giants 11-5

You know who should never county out Eli Manning? Everyone on planet Earth. I know he had an off season last year, but that just means he’ll probably win a Super Bowl this year. It’s kind of his thing.

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"Stop tickling! Stop tickling!" 

Losing Justin Tuck off the defensive line to the Raiders is a real blow, not only to the Giants’ defense but Justin Tuck, who I’m sure enjoyed being on the television and playing in the postseason every other year or so.

Philadelphia Eagles 7-9

Buffalo Chip Kelly’s flavor of the month offense will likely be a little sour this season. Not that his team isn’t actually loaded, because they are, it’s just that there’s no trick to winning games and scoring in the NFL consistently. You have to play actual NFL football. Every now and then somebody will come up with some “revolutionary” wrinkle like the run and shoot or the wildcat or even the read-option and the very next season that same offense is more ineffective than Michael Moore’s wife trying to convince him to order the salad bar.

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"Is there pudding? There better be pudding Goddammit!"

Washington Redskins 5-11

Remember when people thought the Rams made a bad deal trading away the Robert Griffin III pick for multiple other picks including three first-rounders? As RGIII continues to get beaten out by his own back-up quarterback, you can be forgiven for not focusing on what the Redskins gave up to get him.

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Hey. You are welcome. 

Washington actually made a handful of good offseason moves, but they don’t have enough weapons on offense or players on defense to make up for their shitty quarterback play. I wouldn’t trust Jay Gruden with a pair of sharp scissors, let alone an actual NFL tream…even if they only have 25 or so actual NFL players.

Dallas Cowboys 3-13

Hey Cowboys fans. Yeah. It’s finally happening. But, you know, this is a time for great rejoicing. You’ll get a high draft pick and your coach and his entire horrible staff will be fired. How in the fuck do you put Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Derek Dooley on the same coaching staff? This Dallas Cowboys season will be a dumpster fire of wharf rat abortions.

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"It’s a nightmare and I can’t wake up!" 

NFC NORTH

z – Green Bay Packers 13-3

If Aaron Rodgers looked any sharper this preseason Ray Rice would eventually use him to murder his wife. Green Bay may have to win a lot of games 42-35, but there are only two teams in the NFL that can score with them – the Saints and the Broncos. Which should probably give you a preview of how my whole season predictions are going to work out. 

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"Careful. I’m going to need that arm to throw about 50 touchdowns this season." 

Chicago Bears 9-7

It’s difficult, looking at the weapons the Bears have on offense, to pick them to miss the playoffs, but luckily for me I can remember back over the last couple of years when they had many of those same offensive weapons and missed the playoffs with impunity.

The only thing I’m more confident about Jay Cutler missing than the playoffs is his kid’s graduation… his wife’s birthday… an AA meeting in 2021.

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His daughter’s dance recital… His fifth straight dentist appointment… His father’s funeral…  

Detroit Lions 6-10

I’d like to think the only reason the Lions hired Jim Caldwell is because they couldn’t figure out a way to hire Jim Schwartz again, Wayne Fontes is probably dead (I’m not checking) and the Redskins already snapped up Jay Gruden, who, at this moment, can’t tie his shoes because both his hands are stuck inside Pringles cans. 

They say some men are chess players and some men are checkers players, but Jim Caldwell would choke on a marble halfway through a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

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"What if I’m the one who’s hungry?" 

Minnesota Vikings 4-12

The Vikings did the right thing by drafting Teddy Bridgewater, they did the right thing by naming Matt Cassel the starter and now they need to do the right thing by trading Adrian Peterson to the Ravens, Jets or Chargers. I don’t think the guy made that deal with Satan to come back even better after his ACL tear for this. That’s some Monkey’s Paw bullshit right there.

NFC SOUTH

y – New Orleans Saints 12-4

There are four full-on legit teams in the NFL this season that could win it all and the NFC has three of them. The Saints wasted an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl last year with some of the worst offensive playcalling seen outside Pat Schurmer’s dream journal. Hopefully they’ve tossed out the “let’s run a million ineffective screens” strategy and replaced it with a “let’s use all these big fast receivers and tight ends and just cross our fingers and hope it works” approach. But I’m not an offensive genius like Sean Payton.

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x – Atlanta Falcons 11-5

The Falcons have way too much talent, especially on offense, to stay in the toilet for another year. The sad fact for Atlanta is that their Super Bowl window has slammed shut and mashed Matt Ryan’s fingers in the process.

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"Mediocrity awaits!" 

Carolina Panthers 6-10

The Panthers have made some baffling moves this offseason, seeming to believe that Cam Newton could both throw and catch his own passes. Of course, playing quarterback and running pass routes took its toll and now Newton is hurt and there’s a question of whether or not he’ll start Week 1, leaving a gaping hole at quarterback, wide receiver, head cheerleader and the will-call ticket booth.

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Cam must be on his smoke break. 

Tamp Bay Buccaneers 5-11

Yes. Tampa Bay still has an NFL team. Kind of. A new coach, Lovie Smith, will field pretty much an identical roster that got Greg Schiano fired a year ago. The Bucs did add a good rookie wide receiver that won’t be a factor until the end of November (Mike Evans) and kept the same quarterback, Mike Glennon, depriving the world of the greatest Subway Sandwich artist that’s never been.

NFC WEST

z – Seattle Seahawks 12-4

To quote former President George W. Bush, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me… fool me, fool me… we won’t be fooled again.” I was wrong about the Seahawks from Week 1 of last season all the way to the Super Bowl and beyond. The irony is that while I don’t think the Seahawks will go to the Super Bowl this season, I think they’ll be a better team. One that’s probably not going away. Dammit.

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For such a good guy, RW makes me surprisingly miserable.  

x – St. Louis Rams 10-6

As I wrote at the beginning of this article, Sam Bradford’s second ACL in 10 months has caused a great rending of garments and gnashing of teeth for me. Shaun Hill isn’t a disaster and looking at the guys the Rams could have drafted if they hadn’t made the RG3 trade, or guys they could have drafted since… I’d rather have Hill and the picks.

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"But look at the bright side. I’ve been awesome for you on Madden." 

Arizona Cardinals 9-7

Carson Palmer has looked very Carson Palmer-like in the preseason and will probably give birth to Robert Quinn’s baby nine months to the day from their Nov. 9 match-up. The Cardinals won’t fall so much as they’ll be caught by other teams. Arizona has been hurting at quarterback since Kurt Warner retired and while Palmer is an upgrade from the platoon of Applebees dishwashers, amnesiac hobos, peg-legged pirates and bystanders chased onto the field by swarms of bees that they lined up under center before 2013, he’s still Carson Palmer. He’s the best guy they can get. So that sucks for them.

San Francisco 49ers 6-10

Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games, missing out on what I hoped would be a lengthy Guantanamo stay after threatening to blow up an airplane in the offseason. The 49ers tried to ship Jim Harbaugh out of town while at the same time ensuring Colin Kaepernick couldn’t leave. Everything has gone wrong for San Francisco including a preseason offensive showing that’s had Kaepernick searching for his mouthpiece as well as his precious Dolphins cap.

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"Found it! My face looks like a gonorrhea scrotum!" 

WILDCARD GAMES

Rams at Seahawks – Winner = Rams

Falcons at Giants – Winner = Giants

DIVISIONAL ROUND

Rams at Packers – Winner = Packers

Giants at Saints – Winner = Saints

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Saints at Packers – Winner = Packers

SUPER BOWL

Broncos vs Packers – Winner = Broncos

Next Week - The season begins with Week 1 Picks.

Last Week - The AFC Preview. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 AFC PREVIEW: Ain’t nothing wrong with this chemistry. Ain’t nothing wrong with this blasphemy.

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The AFC has been downright annoying with its predictability over the last decade or so. Even not factoring in the New England Patriots cheating their way to multiple Super Bowls, the American Football Conference has been represented primarily by three teams since 1996 – The Patriots, the Broncos and the Steelers.

Those three teams account for 13 of the last 18 Super Bowls and only three of them shouldn’t count because of JUSTICE.

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Pictured: JUSTICE 

Throw in two appearances by the Colts and two by the Ravens and the AFC is more predictable than the plot of The Monster at the End of this Book.

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Spoiler: It was Grover all along. Well, a buried cannibalistic necrophiliac multiple personality of Grover’s created by an abusive grandfather.  

So there’ll be no surprises again in my AFC picks, and none for anyone else’s either. Unless somebody’s been firing model glue right up his nose, in which case you might see a Super Bowl pick of the Cincinnati Benglas. And you really shouldn’t be doing that with model glue. We’re supposed to be boycotting Hobby Lobby.

Key: z = home field advantage, y = division winner, x = wild card

AFC EAST

y – New England Patriots 11-5

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New England has owned this division by default since every other team in it has accidentally been playing soccer for the last 10 years. That has not changed. And while all the teams in the AFC East should be better this season, it’ll be like Chris Christie dropping five pounds – hard to see a difference.

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"It’s mostly water weight. And sausage gravy." 

As long as Tom Brady is alive and reasonably well protected, the Patriots should win double-digit games. Brady’s days of handling the pressure or even being willing to get hit are long gone, lost somewhere in Giselle’s clutch purse right next to his balls.

New York Jets 8-8

The Jets made a tantalizing run a few seasons ago, making it to two consecutive AFC Championship games before becoming a monster truck tire fire. Geno Smith appears to be entrenched as the starting quarterback, exciting no one but opposing defensive backs. Michael Vick hasn’t tossed a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel into a woodchipper in months and because of that his game has suffered and he hasn’t been able to sustain an erection. Unless Vick sees a basenji tossed into a barrel of battery acid soon his career is probably over.

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"Anything I can do to help." 

Miami Dolphins 6-10

The Dolphins distracted their way to an 8-8 record last year, and improved their team significantly by getting rid of both Richie Incognito and the object of his desire: Jonathan Martin. They should be better, but like Ryan Tannehill looking at his offensive playbook, I find it hard to give a shit. 

Buffalo Bills 5-11

It’s hard to quantify the bust I feel like E.J. Manuel is going to be at quarterback for the Bills. I mean, so many players have busted so hard and so magnificently, burning out like neutron stars at the quarterback position and causing rips in space time that have, in Oakland and San Diego, unleashed a flock of zombie Gastornises on an unsuspecting, and mostly high on oxycontin, populace.

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"We’re prehistoric killer parrots!" 

Will Manuel be a JaMarcus Russell? Not unless he can close down a Golden Corral. Will he be a Ryan Leaf? Only if he throws more interceptions than incompletions. No, I feel like Manuel will be his own special kind of bust. The mediocre, forgettable waste of a draft pick that sets a franchise reeling for half a decade. A Blaine Gabbert if you will.

AFC NORTH

y – Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4

An 0-4 start doomed the Steelers last season to a second-straight year without a Santa Claus or playoff spot. Pittsburgh went 8-4 the rest of the way and won its last three games and six of its last eight. While the Steelers were outdrafted at nearly every position by the Ravens, on the plus side it’s been at least 36 months since Ben Roethlisburger was accused of raping an Buffalo Wild Wings hostess, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice. 

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"Thank you Jesus and Tammy at Fudruckers!" 

x – Baltimore Ravens 11-5

The Ravens had a playoff spot settled last year until two pathetic end-of-season losses to the Patriots and the Bengals. Ray Rice celebrated his off time by putting in some quick work on the speedbag, then dragging it out of an elevator in front of a security camera. For his transgression NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saw fit to suspend him a whopping two games, exactly 14 fewer than Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon for being caught with half a doobie in a 7-11 cup.

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Cincinnati Bengals 9-7

It seems shitty to knock the Bengals back a few games after they’ve won the division two straight seasons and did nothing but add players to an already pretty loaded team. The problem is the same problem they’ve had for the last two seasons: Andy Dandytale Dalton. And no amount of banjo picking can change that.

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"I think you’ll change your mind when you hear my steamboat version of ‘Oh Susanna!’

Cleveland Browns 7-9

With news of Johnny Shitball getting his just desserts and warming the bench like the worthless piece of shit that he is, the Browns might even push for an 8-8 record. They also might go 4-12. If Josh Gordon’s year-long suspension holds up (I don’t think it will), that 7-9 might be a tough mark to reach. And I’m not saying I’m a hero, but the effort it took to write about the Browns without making a turd, shit or toilet joke was downright Herculean. 

AFC SOUTH

y – Indianapolis Colts 12-4

I picked the Colts to go to the Super Bowl last year with good reason. Indianapolis has holes everywhere, but Andre Luck and a handful of other key players are so good that they’ll have this team contending for the next 15 years and maybe sneak a title or two into town, depending on how well they draft in the 20s every season. That’s all contingent, of course, on Luck tossing about 30 or so fewer interceptions in the postseason. You know… cut his total from this last playoff run.

Tennessee Titans 9-7

I like the Titans. Living in Tennessee, they’re actually a pleasure to have around. As a sportswriter I’ve met and interviewed some of their players and staff. I think they’ve hired the right coach in Ken Whisenhunt and I don’t even hate their quarterback situation, especially when they drafted Zach Mettenberger out of LSU and brought in Charlie Whitehurst as a backup. Jake Locker isn’t a nightmare either, though he might just end up being a back-up quarterback himself. They went 7-9 last season with most of this crew, so a two-game bump should be attainable, if not expected.

There’s still not enough there to catch the Colts and not enough to get to the playoffs unless the AFC is in a total collapse. Much like Bill Clinton’s eventual autoerotic asphyxiation-related “suicide,” a playoff run for the Titans is still a year or two away.

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"If it’s not obvious at this point, I’m not picky." 

Houston Texans 5-11

Houston fans are going Clowney crazy and they should be, but to have a successful NFL team you need two things – a coach and a quarterback and I’m not sure the Texans have either. I liked Case Keenum last year, but the kid let me down at every turn. Tom Savage will need years to develop and Ryan Fitzpatrick, barring injury, is probably going to start all 16 games. 

Since being busted for injecting Megalosaurus steroids into his taint, linebacker Brian Cushing has had trouble staying on the field, playing a total of 12 games the last two seasons. Unless he’s got his hands on some ground gigantopithicus testicles or something, I wouldn’t expect that to change.

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"As a primate my balls were probably shockingly small!" 

Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12

Since the Jaguars went 4-12 last year and actually did upgrade their team this offseason, this prediction might seem off. But Jacksonville could have improved its team by driving their bus into the Everglades. Drafting Blake Bortles was the right move, but losing Justin Blackmon, who was just about to make “the jump” to legit NFL receiver, for violating the NFL’s drug policy by not beating his fiancé unconscious and dragging her limp body out of an elevator, is a blow that’s going to be hard to recover from. It’s something their fans in Mexico City, Toronto or London are really going to struggle dealing with two seasons from now.

AFC WEST

z – Denver Broncos 13-3

There were a lot of jokes and memes going around during the Broncos’ horrible meltdown in February’s Super Bowl where Peyton Manning had been secretly replaced by his brother Eli. That was completely unfair… to Peyton. After all, Eli doesn’t lose Super Bowls.

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"Suck it loser!" 

Denver upgraded its team across the board, so it’s difficult to not pick them as the presumptive Super Bowl favorite… unless Peyton Manning’s arm gets ripped off like he just beat a Wookie at hologram chess, they should be good.

x- San Diego Chargers 10-6

The Chargers are, literally, my wild card team in the AFC, taking the place of the Chiefs and the Bengals on everyone else’s predictions, I’m sure. They went 9-7 and made the playoffs last year. San Diego has above average to legitimately great players at every position. Is it good enough to catch the Broncos? No way. Is it good enough that it can get past Philip Rivers’ inherent talent at choking away three touchdown leads? Eh… I give it a 50-50 chance on that. 

Kansas City Chiefs 9-7

The Chiefs and Chargers switch places and really have only resurgent Ravens and Steelers teams keeping them out of the playoffs. There’s a scrum of teams at about this level in the AFC, you know… first round playoff game losers. 

Kansas City has tons of talent all over the field and you never know if this is the year they could put it all together and make a real run for something. The presence of Andy Reid on the sideline doesn’t make me excited, though I guess I’d feel a lot differently if I owned a Hardees franchise inside the city limits. 

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"I hope it’s one of them with the Red Burrito too!" 

Oakland Raiders 8-8

I made my Raiders thoughts clear in my 10 Bold Predictions column last week since the curse of Al Davis was lifted by Death’s icy eternal embrace. There’s a team there somewhere on that roster and in a conference with eight squads that could all hover around .500, the Raiders making it doesn’t seem impossible. 

It really all comes down to how fast they want to start Derek Carr at quarterback. Carr will win fewer games this season than Matt Schaub, but in the long run it could actually lead to double-digit wins for Oakland sometime in the middle of the next presidential administration. Schaub was run out of Houston after giving away pick sixes last season the way that Paris Hilton gives out cold sores. Schaub could bounce back to the quarterback he was in previous years – a mediocre starter with a suspect arm and losing playoff record. 

WILDCARD ROUND

Ravens at Patriots – Winner = Ravens

Chargers at Steelers – Winner = Steelers

DIVISIONAL ROUND

Ravens at Broncos – Winner = Broncos

Steelers at Colts – Winner = Colts

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Colts at Broncos – Winner = Broncos 

NEXT WEEK – The NFC Preview

Last Week - 10 Bold Predictions for the 2014-15 NFL Season

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The 2014-15 NFL Season Begins: I feel the need planted in me millions of years ago can’t you see the ocean’s size?

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Looking back now on the Clusterwank/Trainwreck of Dildos that I unleashed on an unsuspecting public last season with my NFL picks, I was surprised to revisit my 10 Bold Predictions from 2013 and see what an awesome job I did. It is as if I had my supple finger on the thread of the multiverse, plucking truths into our plane of existence and typing it up to make it real to a public who, based on my site traffic, would much rather read about Bigfoot.

Still, there were quite a few of you last year who rode with me the whole way and for that I am grateful. The “likes,” the “notes” and the “shares” make writing this for free more fun, so please continue to do that. I take pride in being the only picks column in existence that can successfully tie together string theory, cognitive psychology, probability calculations, the nature of evil, extrasolar exogenesis and jokes about dolphin penises. I dare you to find another sports column that will use the word “cloaca.” Go ahead. I’ll wait.

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I’m a grower, not a shower. 

I read that Bold Predictions column from last year and I see a solid 3.5 guesses that I got right. I was one Rams victory and a Buffalo Bills field goal away from getting 5.5 right. That’s how close I was to having my finger on the pulse of destiny. Close enough to get its smell on me.

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Smells like… like victory. 

So forget that I had the worse picks season of my professional life last year. Ignore that 150-116-1 regular season record, the 4-7 playoff record and the first Super Bowl loss I’ve taken in five years. Put all of that out of your mind. This is a new day. And I’m making…

10 MORE BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2014 NFL SEASON               

10. The Falcons will return to the playoffs, but not make it past their first game.

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Atlanta took a bizarre fall last season and effectively missed its Super Bowl window for good. The Falcons are far too talented to stay below double-digit wins again this season and having an excuse to keep the Hard Knocks cameras away for good may be all the extra motivation this team needs… to get to the playoffs and lose immediately.

9. Sammy Watkins will NOT lead all rookie receivers in catches or yards this season and will not pass 1,000 yards.

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Of all the overhyped draft picks in recent memory, Sammy Watkins is the Charlie Browniest. Watkins is a good player and a fine draft choice… that Buffalo will in no way put to good use. After drafting Watkins they promptly traded the best receiver they had on the roster, Stevie Johnson, to the 49ers, ensuring that Watkins will get all the attention from opposing defenses. And that might not even matter since the Bills wasted their first round pick last season on E.J. Manuel, then backed him up this year with Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis. And if you have no idea who those other two guys are, that only puts you slightly behind the Bills’ offensive coaching staff.

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Jeff Tuel action shot. 

The Bills do have three tremendous running backs they are wasting, so let’s hope Sammy can block.

8. Cowboys head coach Jason Garett will be fired before the season ends.

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Because…

7. The Cowboys will be battling for a top three pick in Week 17.

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The disaster in Dallas will finally come to a head this season thanks to the (sometimes intentional) loss of multiple key defensive personnel on a team that didn’t have that good a defense to begin with. Do you really think Tony Romo can win eight games with this team, when every single win or loss will come down to the last drive with 42-35 kind of scores? Is this the first time you’ve seen the Cowboys play?

6. The Raiders will win more games than the Eagles, the Texans and the Redskins.

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Not combined, but just more. The Raiders spent the last decade of Al Davis’ life exemplifying every way you could ruin a franchise. With his death, something odd has happened. The Oakland Raiders seem as if they are attempting to field an actual NFL team with a professional football roster. Hey, we’re all shocked.

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Al Davis, in happier times, celebrates the Raiders’ Super Bowl XV victory over the Eagles in 1981.  

An important note on this pick. I’m not saying the Raiders will have a winning record, though 9-7 is completely possible. They may win six games. But that just means I think the Eagles, Texans and Redskins will not win more than five. 

5. The Jim Caldwell Detroit Lions will win no more than six games, a game less than the Jim Schwartz Lions of a year ago.

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And make no mistake, the Lions should have fired Jim Schwartz. They should have fired him the way Bill Murray fired Bobcat Goldthwait in Scrooged, timing his exit from the facility down to the millisecond until he is finally forcibly dumped by security on the curb with a box of shit from his desk.

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That bamboo plant is company property, Todd. 

But you don’t fire Jim Schwartz and replace him with Jim Caldwell. You are better to go without a coach than hire Jim Caldwell, using some sort of Wildcat version of a coaching staff. Jim Caldwell is the guy you hire to coach your World Cup Mouthbreather Squad. He’s the guy you bring in to turn around you Pan-Am Staring Contest Club. Need somebody to fire up your National Dangling a Long String of Drool from Your Bottom Lip Championship Team, Caldwell is your guy. But football? I don’t see it.  

4. Barring injury or blowout, Johnny Manziel will not play a significant down of football this season.

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There is no world where Johnny Shitball beats out Brian Hoyer this season. All Hoyer has to do is keep his spine from being ripped out by the Predator, and he starts all 16 games. And the Browns will probably win about seven of them.

3. The 49ers will finish the season with a losing record.

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Because….

2. The 49ers will lose eight games in a row.

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And that streak starts with a loss at Arizona on Sep. 21 and will end with a victory over the Redskins Nov. 23. The 49ers have had a worse offseason than Barack Obama, and they didn’t even get in a good game of golf. San Fransico opened the offseason mess by actively trying to ship its head coach to Cleveland, before that deal fell through. Then Aldon Smith threatened to blow up a plane in an airport and their second best offensive weapon, Vernon Davis, is holding out. Add to that the fact that they’ve locked Colin “Barely 50% completion percentage” Kaepernick in as their starter for the next few years means that 49er fans can go ahead and make travel plans for January. Put down that nonrefundable deposit. You’re good.

1. The St. Louis Rams will win the Super Bowl.

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I’m being bold, by God. And that’s as bold as I can make it. I just bolded all over the place and now I need a nap.

NEXT WEEK: THE 2014-15 AFC PREVIEW

Monday, April 28, 2014

The 2014 NFL Mock Draft Part 4: This is the time that we let it go. These are the words that will take us home.

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And we have arrived. Together. You and me. Let’s not make it weird.

This is the end of my first round mock draft and, to steal a phrase from our president, let me be clear, there is no way the draft will go down as I have predicted it here in these four articles. There are always draft-day trades, reaches, dumb shit the Dallas Cowboys do. It’s all really too unpredictable and yet here I am doing it anyway.

Here’s Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. 

The Chargers are a surprisingly loaded team heading in 2014 and if it wasn’t for Phillip Rivers finding new and exciting ways to choke away sure victories, you might be tempted to pick them to win something real this season. Regardless of that, San Diego doesn’t have a lot of needs except in one spot. So there’s no reason not to address it here and steal a pretty good player off the board. With the 25th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers select…

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25. Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame – San Diego Chargers

And we return now to Cleveland, who has already given away its 2015 first round pick to the St. Louis Rams to keep Jacksonville from taking Blake Bortles. They got this pick from the Colts for Trent Richardson, a trade I still believe the Colts will get the better end of the deal with. Which would make it all kinds of hilarious if the Browns took a running back like Auburn’s Tre Mason here.

But I’m going against all my instincts in saying that with the 26th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns select…

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26. Marqise Lee, WR, USC – Cleveland Browns (from Colts)

The Saints made a killing in the free agency market by signing Jarius Byrd alone. Still, they need more help on the outside when they face Julio Jones and Vincent Jackson four times a year, not to mention some pretty good quarterbacks.  Rob Ryan is going to convert his flowing silver mane into mini dreads because with the 27th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the New Orleans Saints select…

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27. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – New Orleans Saints

The Carolina Panthers made the baffling move of letting the best player in the history of their franchise, wideout Steve Smith, leave town in free agency even though he was Cam Newton’s offensive security blanket and suicide hotline speed dial. The Panthers have more open holes on their team than Tila Tequila, but they need to start with the biggest one. For Tila, God only knows which that is, but with the 28th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Carolina Panthers select…

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28. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State – Carolina Panthers

Have I mentioned lately that I hate the New England Patriots and everything they represent not only in professional football but on planet earth as well? I haven’t? Is it because I haven’t written anything since the end of the football season? Okay, then.

The Patriots have needs on the defensive line, the offensive line and at wide receiver. But mostly they need to get right with the Lord, the evil bastards. With the 29th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the New England Patriots select…

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29. C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama–New England Patriots

When you pick this late, you go with the best player available, even if you aren’t really the soooper genius the NFL Network wants to pretend you are. As always, fuck you Bill Belichick. 

Since the 49ers’ best defensive lineman might spend this season in Guantanamo Bay, it might be time to look for his replacement. With the 30th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select…

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30. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn – San Francisco 49ers

The Broncos have been treating free agency like Aldon Smith does his medicine cabinet. Everything is going inside them, whether they need it or not. What they do need is another corner, so with the 31st pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Denver Broncos select…

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31. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – Denver Broncos

We’re here. Our mock draft ends with the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The team that baffled me all last season and won a title when I could see how to call a game to slice up their defense from my couch. Seattle doesn’t have many needs, but they could use a little more help with their run defense up the gut, so with the 32nd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Seattle Seahawks select…  

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32. RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota – Seattle Seahawks

Extras:

As I’ve been writing this over the past month more and more mock drafts show up online and most of them lately have the Texans taking Jadaveon Clowney with No.1. And while it makes sense to take the consensus best player in the draft with the top pick, I still think they won’t. They have to get a QB. I still think they’ll pick Manziel. If anything, they’ll trade out of the top pick and grab Manziel later. I don’t see how you run an NFL franchise as a business and not take him if you’re Houston. I don’t.

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Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater aren’t going to drop into the second round. And Houston will not take Derek Carr. So they have to get a QB in round one.

I still see multiple drafts from real people who should know better with the Rams taking Sammy Watkins at No. 2. The only thing less likely than that is the Houston Texans taking him at No. 1. The Rams probably won’t take a receiver in this draft at all in any round, though I wouldn’t mind them grabbing Jordan Matthews in round two if he falls to them.

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The only way St. Louis drafts Watkins is if he’s there at No. 13. And even then some team will want to trade up for that pick and offer their draft. So it’s just not going to happen.

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Missouri DE Michael Sam will be drafted in round three or four by a team with a 3-4 defense, probably the Steelers or the Patriots, and will be a Pro Bowl-caliber outside linebacker in two seasons.

The Rams will most likely draft a quarterback in this draft as Sam Bradford insurance.

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My guess is Aaron Murray in rounds three-five. Also, I’d like for the Rams to get another tackle in the mid rounds, maybe Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson.

Murray may not be there in Round three. I foresee a run of quarterbacks in the second round, with the Raiders, Vikings, Titans, Cardinals, Bengals and even the Jets probably looking hard at the position. My guess is Carr goes first to the Raiders (poor bastard). Tom Savage (Pitt) goes to the Vikings. A.J. McCarron (Alabama) goes to Tennessee. Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) will be a Cardinal and if the Bengals are smart (and they are not), they’ll draft Zach Mettenberger or even Murray. 

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If the Browns didn’t give away their No. 2 pick in round two (which they will), Tre Mason will be there for the taking (and they should take him).

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Better than where they’ll be drafted (or picked up as UDFA):

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Brandon Baker (5-11, 204), RB, Carson-Newman University – A prototype NFL running back with power, break-away speed and the best spin move in college football for the last two seasons. He’s this year’s Arian Foster.   

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Bo Cordell (6-0, 201), QB, Tusculum College – The best passer in the history of NCAA Division II and the Drew Brees of his generation.

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Martavis Bryant (6-4, 211), WR, Clemson – I think he’ll end up with better rookie stats than Watkins.

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Tajh Boyd (6-1, 222), QB, Clemson – Ran out of Tennessee by Lane Kiffin, I wouldn’t mind seeing him back in the state as a late round pick.

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Ed Reynolds (6-1, 207), FS, Stanford - He’s projected as a fourth-rounder. I think he could start as a rookie. If I’m the Rams, I have this guy penciled into my roster already.

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Antonio Richardson (6-6, 336) and Ja’ Wuan James (66-311), OTs, Tennessee – I like both these guys as pros. Hidden by shitty Derek Dooley Tennessee teams. Same with…

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Daniel McCullers (6-7, 352), DT, Tennessee - He should go in the third or fourth round. He’ll be an NFL star by his second year.

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Jordan Matthews (6-3, 212), WR, Vanderbilt - He’s the most productive wide receiver in SEC (yes, NFL LITE SEC) history. Why this guy isn’t a first rounder on everybody’s board is something I do not understand. Somebody is going to rob the draft blind when they draft him in round two or three. (And if I had to guess, he’ll be a Pittsburgh Steeler or a Tennessee Titan). 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The NFL 2014 Mock Draft Part 3: Put this down for the record. It’s more or less uncheckered.

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We now enter the second half of the first round, where the picks get a little more surprising and harder to guess ahead of time. Which all makes it sound a lot less boring than it actually is. Unless there’s somebody like Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles sitting in the green room anxiously watching each pick go by as it becomes clearer and clearer he’s going to be there a while (or even the next day, right, Geno Smith?), then it becomes entertaining in a Faces of Death kind of way.

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Pictured: Not Faces of Death. 

But I already think those guys will be gone and nobody that’s left in the green room in my draft here should be surprised unless Derek Carr really believes he’s going to sneak into the first round. Spoiler alert: He won’t.

If you’d like to recap before we start, here’s picks 1-8 and here’s picks 9-16.

When he was hired as the Ravens new offensive coordinator, failed Houston Texans head coach and former John Elway valet and back-zit popper Gary Kubiak said of his star running back Ray Rice, “I think as he goes, we’ll go.” And since Rice is probably heading to prison for doing the same thing to his fiancé he did to my fantasy football team last season, things don’t look good for Baltimore. Perhaps this might be the time to look beyond their incarcerated runner and replace him with a guy that, as yet, has not dragged a woman by her weave out of an elevator. At least that we know about.

But they won’t. Not because they’re in love with Rice, but they’ve got to find a way to make that mammoth contract they gave to Joe Flacco last offseason worth it. They cut bait with Michael Oher, in spite of the fact that Sandra Bullock has already signed on to a Blind Side sequel, so with the 17th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Baltimore Ravens select…

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17. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame – Baltimore Ravens

The Jets have made plenty of moves this offseason that should already make them significantly better, including running Mark Sanchez out of the building. There’s talk of a wideout here and maybe Calvin Pryor would make sense, but with a fragile starting quarterback (Michael Vick) and a newly acquired hot-rod in Chris Johnson, I think that with the 18th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the New York Jets select…

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18. Xavier Su’A-Filo, OG, UCLA – New York Jets

You might not have heard the news, but the Miami Dolphins lost a couple of offensive linemen last year for non-football related, but definitely vagina and asshole-related reasons. So they don’t have a choice where they need to go and they need to go there early so with the 19th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Miami Dolphins select…

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19. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama – Miami Dolphins

Making it the second pick in a row I would pay money to hear Steve Harvey read on stage.

The Cardinals barely missed the playoffs last season and sat at home with a worthless 10-6 record. They don’t need a whole lot and may think about taking the “quarterback of the future” with this pick and they would, if any of the big names beside Derek Carr were still on the board. With the 20th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Arizona Cardinals select…

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20. Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville – Arizona Cardinals

The Packers have needs at wide receiver for sure after losing two starters in consecutive seasons, but what they need most is help on defense since their starting nose tackle the last few seasons has been former St. Louis Rams bust Ryan Pickett, who I wouldn’t trust to anchor the tug of war for the CBS team on the  1972 Battle of the Network Stars. That’s why with the 21st pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Green Bay Packer select…

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21. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State – Green Bay Packers

The last two wide receivers are still on the board and look at who is about to make a desperation pick after cutting DeSean Jackson because his cousins looked mean. With the 23rd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Philadelphia Eagles select…

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22. Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU – Philadelphia Eagles

Kansas City doesn’t have a lot of needs on offense or defense, but a real starting outside receiver besides Dwayne Bowe would be nice. So with the 23rd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Kansas City Chiefs select…

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23. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State – Kansas City Chiefs

The Cincinnati Bengals have 52 good players but a quarterback ain’t one. The Bengals are loaded at every other position except maybe linebacker, but they at least have a serviceable three. Not only should be Bengals take Derek Carr with this pick, they should take a quarterback with their second-round pick too. And with their third round pick while they’re at it. Cincinnati should not leave this draft without a real quarterback on its roster, no matter how many picks it takes so Andy Dalton can fulfill his destiny to become one of the best back up quarterbacks of his generation.

The Bengals are wasting their time with Dalton. They are wasting an elite team around him. There’s no question what they have to do. So with the 24th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Benglas select…

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24. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri – Cincinnati Bengals

Yep. 

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Next week we wrap up the draft with picks 25-32. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

The NFL 2014 Mock Draft Part 2: Me and my friends understand the future. I see the strings that control the systems.

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The second section of the draft is usually where most of your trades happen. Last year, for instance, there were three trades out of this area. In 2012 there were three. In 2011 there were two and in 2010 there were four. So, basically not a single pick I’m making here will probably happen, at least not at the draft number I’ve put them.

As we discussed last week, the St. Louis Rams enter this area of the draft in dire need of an offensive tackle. So they, with that need not addressed with the Clowney pick, might try to trade up if they feel they might lose out on one of the three big tackles on the board because, with the ninth pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills select…

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9. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M – Buffalo Bills

So Matthews, the tackle the Rams most want (and the one I most want them to get) is off the board and only Taylor Lewan remains (unless they want to reach for Zack Martin from Notre Dame). There’s a chance the Rams might trade into this pick, but it’ll cost a No. 2 for sure and I don’t think they’ll make the deal (unless they got an extra No. 2 from Cleveland, which is possible because Cleveland is Cleveland). More than likely Buffalo sits here and takes Matthews, solidifying their offensive line along with Cordy Glenn for the next 12-15 years.

I have, just a moment ago, looked at a mock draft on Sports Illustrated where the writer, legitimately, had the Lions taking a defensive tackle at this spot. You might as well have them taking a wide receiver if you’re joking. That still hasn’t stopped people from writing, with no sense of irony, that the Lions are going to trade up for Sammy Watkins. Nothing would be funnier if they did. Still, I say with the 10th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions select…

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10. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan – Detroit Lions

There are two big time corners in this draft not too far apart. It makes more sense for Detroit to take the one from Michigan, because he’s used to living within its Hellscape and less likely to flee the country.

There’s another big-time corner here so with the 11th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Tennessee Titans select…

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11. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – Tennessee Titans

The Giants are next and I really like the idea of them taking Eric Ebron, the big tight end from North Carolina with this pick to help out Eli Manning, but they’ve been gutted on the defensive line in free agency over the last two years so it’s time to reload. With the 12th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the New York Giants select…

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12. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh – New York Giants

And here come the Rams and the gamble has paid off, just barely. With the 13th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the St. Louis Rams select…

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13. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – St. Louis Rams

In my heart, I like Lewan. Honestly, if I was in charge of the Rams draft it would be difficult for me not to take Matthews at No. 2 and then still nab Lewan at No. 13 and take care of both tackle positions long term. They still get two starters out of the deal, plus an extra first rounder next year. Because the Browns are moving up from No. 4, I don’t have any doubt about it. And if for some reason the Texans leave Manziel on the board after the first pick, Cleveland may give the Rams three No. 1s.

The Bears have some needs on the back end of their defense, but they can’t pass up some offensive help at this spot, not with Jay Cutler at quarterback, and he’s a dick, so why not making him happy here? So with the 14th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears select…

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14. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – Chicago Bears

The Steelers have been decimated enough over the last few seasons that they’ve actually signed a real free agent, spending the heretofore unheard of amount of $25.5 million for Carolina safety Mike Mitchell. With needs at corner and wide receiver and already spending big money (for the Steelers at least) on a safety, it might surprise you to see with the 15th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers select…

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15. Hasean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s time for the Steelers to start thinking about life without the world’s best dandruff fighter. Plus, I’m sick of looking up how to spell Troy Polamalu’s effing name all the time and Clinton-Dix’s name is still weird enough to fill that requirement.

The Cowboys have spent the offseason making more curious moves than Jerry Jones’ plastic surgeon. The worst of which is cutting DeMarcus Ware, the best player they’ve had since Troy Aikman could remember his wife’s name. The pick here is such a no-brainer that it kind of makes me want to change it because it makes too much sense. But I’m sticking with my choice, so with the 16th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys select…

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16. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – Dallas Cowboys

But watch them take Brandin Cooks (WR – Oregon State) or Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – LSU).

Read picks 1-8

Next week: Picks 17-24

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

THE NFL 2014 Mock Draft Part 1: Might not be the face you’d expect but he’s clearly insane.

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I’m not just dipping my toe in Mock Drafting this year, my friends. I’m doing a naked, face-first belly flop and, if you caught sight of me since we came back from the first leg of celebrated New York Times Bestselling Author Amy Greene’s month-long book tour, you know that’s going to displace quite a bit of water. 

Mock drafts never really present much more than a diversion before the actual draft happens. None, and I mean not even one, has ever been right past the first few picks and sometimes, when the trades start to happen, they go off the rails quick.

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Much like an acting career after two embarrassingly bad Sci Fi Movies in a row.

And the trades. You can factor in trades or leave them out of your mock. I have never witnessed a trade in a mock draft that actually came to fruition on draft day. It’s like some balding guy sitting alone at a desk next to full ashtray and half a bottle of Natural Ice rolling a bullet between his fingers while an empty .38 sits, not silent, but shouting, right at arm’s reach on his desktop doesn’t have a direct psychic link to the Cleveland Browns draft team. 

In short, I have never read a correct Mock Draft in my life. So there’s no reason I shouldn’t do one myself.

There are a few ground rules in going into a Mock Draft this season, both as a writer and a reader. The first is this – if you see a mock draft with the St. Louis Rams taking Sammy Watkins or any quarterback with their first round pick, you just go ahead and exit out of that browser window immediately. The person that wrote that is a complete and total shit-eating dumbass or worse, a writer for The Bleacher Report.

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If my hits are high enough I get a coupon for a free order of onion rings at Hardees! 

The second thing is, the Rams have to get an offensive tackle in the first round. They have no choice. So that first pick then becomes that tackle, or a calculated gamble that they’ll be able to get one of the big three – Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews or Tyler Lewan at No. 13. They’d be rolling the dice. And they might.

The third thing is there are teams - the Texans, the Jaguars and the Browns – that have to draft a quarterback high. They have no choice. There’s an argument to be made that the Texans might take Jadeveon Clowney and bank on a good QB being there at the top of the second round, but there’s a problem with that. That first-round grade QB that might be there? He’s Derek Carr, brother of former Texans first-round bust QB David Carr. Any other team might take that chance but the Texans? No way. Not when they’ve been burned before.

So who is the best quarterback in this draft? It doesn’t matter because Johnny Manziel is in it. And if you’re the Texans and you don’t draft the most popular player to come out of your state in the last 30 years and who is, at worst, the third best QB in the draft, you are fools. That’s why with the first pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select…

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1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – Houston Texans

Now here’s what that pick does. First off, it sells out the Texans for the next three seasons for sure. Second, it gets them a couple of pretty good national TV games and a shit-ton of press that you can not pay for. They instantly have the best-selling NFL jersey in the country. Any other move… drafting any other player… is just too stupid to even write about.

Third – it leaves every mock draft’s favorite wild card QB Blake Bortles available and, the guy that was the consensus best QB entering the draft back in January, Teddy Bridgewater, there too. Also, you have the most talented player in the draft still on the board, Clowney. That makes the No. 2 pick held by the Rams, via the brilliant trade with the Washington Redskins two seasons ago, pretty valuable. The Rams want to trade it. Some teams are definitely going to want it to grab one of those quarterbacks or Clowney.

So much like every gold-digging 23-year-old in South Carolina who just started ovulating today, let’s do Clowney first. Who wants to trade into that two-spot to get him and is he worth it to the Rams just to keep the pick and take him?

It’s going to take multiple first round picks to jump into that spot. The Rams charged the Redskins three No. 1s three years ago for the Robert Griffin III pick, but they won’t be able to get that this time. But two No. 1s is doable.

I’ve seen a lot of trades where the Falcons give them up to switch spots with the Rams and grab Clowney, and that would make sense for the Falcons if they hadn’t just given up multiple first rounders a couple of seasons ago for Julio Jones. They can’t afford to do it again and, at six, are guaranteed to get a guy they like and need anyway. Atlanta will not make a trade.

You have to factor three things into any potential trade here after the Falcons are taken out of consideration. 1 – The Rams will not trade lower than No. 5, 2 – The Jaguars are definitely taking a quarterback at No. 3 and 3 – The Raiders need a quarterback just as bad as everybody else, but since they just traded for Matt Schaub, may try to grab Carr in Round Two. Plus, and I can’t stress this enough, it’s going to take two No. 1s to get that pick. So who makes the deal?

The Cleveland Browns, that’s who. They have two No. 1s in this draft thanks to the Trent Richardson trade with the Colts last season. And Bridgewater is right there. The guy that has done nothing but strengthen his stock as probably the best QB in this draft all through his final season at Louisville, the combine and workouts since. So, it should go without saying that after a trade with the St. Louis Rams the Cleveland Browns select with the second pick of the 2014 NFL Draft…

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2. Blake Bortles, QB, UCF – Cleveland Browns (trade with Rams)

Yes. They’ll take Bortles instead of Bridgewater. And the main reason they jumped to No. 2 was to keep Jacksonville from taking him at No. 3. In addition to that, my bet is that the Browns won’t even trade both this year’s No. 1 picks, which makes the most sense for them as a team, but instead trade their No. 4 this year and their first-rounder next year for it. Which, trust me, will be high. The Browns. You can bank on them.

That leaves the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting with the third pick of the 2014 NFL Draft…

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3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags can’t afford to screw around with any trade downs. There’s one guy left of the big three and unless they want to roll the dice with Carr, they take Bridgewater and thank whatever multi-armed elephant god Shahid Khan believes in.

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And here we are again. The Rams have traded down. They’ve picked up an extra 2015 No. 1 (could even end up being the No. 1 pick) and all three tackles and Clowney are still on the board. Remember, the Rams have to get a tackle in this draft and since the Rams already have the best pass rusher in the league in Robert Quinn and a tremendous defensive end on the other side in Chris Long, Clowney really isn’t a need. That’s why with the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the St. Louis Rams select…

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4. Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – St. Louis Rams (via trade with Browns)

Yep. They still take him. There’s just no way they can pass him up at No. 4. So the Rams roll the dice on their offensive tackle. Let’s see if it pays off…

With the fifth pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders select…

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5. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – Oakland Raiders.

And thus ends a promising NFL career before it even starts. If it’s any consolation to Sammy Watkins fans, this is the exact pick Al Davis would have made if his corpse was still animated by that voodoo curse.

The Falcons have a lot of needs for a team lots of us (specifically me) thought was a Super Bowl contender last season. They also need a big time tight end with Tony Gonzalez retiring and taking about 30% of their offensive production with him. But if you ask me, their pick at this point is a no-brainer. So with the sixth pick of the 2014 NFL draft the Atlanta Falcons select…

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6.  Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – Atlanta Falcons

The Bucs, at seven, need everything. All your linebackers are still there and that makes a lot of sense, but I’m going to pretend they want to score some points since they actually have one WR, a RB and at least think they have a QB. So with the seventh pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…

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7. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We’ve reached the final pick of Part 1 of my mock draft and I’ve already improved all these teams immensely, except for the Browns, a team which has no hope. The Vikings need a quarterback as bad as the rest of these teams, but it’s too early to take Carr and they already pulled the worst QB reach of all time a few years ago with Christian Ponder. Matt Cassell is still on the roster too, so they can take a round to actually improve other areas of their team. So with the eighth pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Minnesota Vikings select….

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8. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA – Minnesota Vikings

Lovie Smith loves linebackers and Barr or Khalil Mack would fit well there. I put Barr here because he’s from a bigger school and I’m beginning to think that matters when it comes to making an immediate impact on a team.

Next week – Picks 9-16. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The NFL 2013/14 Season Wrap-Up: Start tearing the old man down, run past the heather and down to the old road.

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It’s taken two weeks for me to wrap up this Super Bowl and 2013-14 NFL season for no other reason than I’ve been marathoning Breaking Bad like I’m on its product. If you’ve been checking in on the site since the Super Bowl, excited to watch me eat shit over the Seahawks’ domination of the Broncos, I’ve been very disappointing. And I’ll continue to disappoint you.

The problem with that is, of course, the Seattle Seahawks. They are, unquestionably, a team I did not believe in at all since the season began. If I had picked every regular season Seahawks game right, they would have probably finished 4-12. Instead, they’re Super Bowl Champions and stand as a perfect symbol of the shittiness of my NFL Picks season.

Hating the Seahawks is tough, in spite of Richard Sherman’s best efforts. I don’t dislike Pete Carroll, I love the city and Russell Wilson seems like such a good kid, even getting mentioned in an Eminem song doesn’t make me hate him. Something that, a year ago, would have been almost impossible.

I’m still shocked the Broncos lost as bad as they did. As wrong as I’ve been on my actual picks this season, I’ve had the Seahawks’ defense pegged. Protect the QB. Throw deep. Repeat. You do that and you win. All you need is a QB and wide receivers with NFL speed. Because Seattle’s defensive backs can’t run with them. It’s how the Cardinals and the Colts beat them. It’s how the Bucs, Texans and Rams almost beat them with QBs that should be working the grill at Fudruckers.

It’s why the Saints would have beaten them in the playoffs if they hadn’t tried 7,482 screen passes. You can run on Seattle up the middle and you can throw on them deep. That’s how you beat them. When the Broncos came out and started those little pissant crossing routes and, unbelievably, screens? That’s how you get beaten 43-8.

OH, PEYTON

As a native of Tennessee, I’ve missed out on the unrealistic Peyton Manning expectations my neighbors seem to have. Manning is still the most popular University of Tennessee player of all time. There’s a generation of kids, boys and girls, named “Peyton” here.

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"That I know about…"

And I don’t get it. Because all the “choking” stuff that’s dogged him in the pros was evident when he was under center for the Vols too.

So is this game going to put a hit on Peyton’s legacy? Sure. But it wasn’t all on him this time like the loss to the Saints was a few years ago. This game was won in the coaches’ meeting rooms before it even started. Manning wasn’t the whole problem this time. Just a part of it. A lot of people wanted to compare him with Eli on Twitter and Facebook after that performance, creating memes like it was really Eli out there in Peyton’s uniform, but that’s just not fair. If Eli was out there the Broncos would have won. Eli Manning does not lose Super Bowls.

PROPER BETTING

Though I lost the actual game pick, I kicked ass in the prop bets and, if I had actually wagered any money, I would have been a whole $200 richer come Feb. 3.  My biggest win was that Renee Fleming wouldn’t wear gloves. She didn’t. My most confounding loss was “Beast Mode” being said more than twice in the game. It wasn’t said once.

THE 2014 NFL DRAFT

We’re a little over a week away from the NFL Combine and three months away from the draft. I’m putting together my own mock draft and will run it toward the end of April. Of course, there are already enough mock drafts out there they can’t be counted with conventional math, so let me give you a quick rule of thumb so that you can know how serious to take the draft projection you’re looking at.

Does it have the St. Louis Rams taking a wide receiver with their first first-round pick? If yes, then just move your pointer up to the top of your browser window and close out that page immediately. If the mock has the Rams taking a QB with either of their first round picks, never go back to that website again. It’s obviously part of some terrorist or mafia money-laundering operation.

What are the Rams going to do with that No. 2 pick? Trade it, probably. Hopefully to the Browns for two firsts, this year’s and next year’s (which could likely be a No. 1) unless the new Browns’ regime wants to open the NFL season without a quarterback for the 12th season in a row. I don’t see the Rams dropping lower than No. 5 and there’s only two ways they don’t draft Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews is if he’s gone when they pick or if Jadaveon Clowney turns in such a beastly performance at the combine it becomes impossible not to pick him.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Rams take two tackles with those first round picks, frankly. It’d probably be smart. They will draft a QB in this draft, probably in the third or fourth round. My pick would be Georgia’s Aaron Murray, but who knows who’ll be there when they decide to pull the trigger?

The biggest draft news right now was Missouri Defensive End, All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam stepping out of the closet and immediately sacking intolerance. Sam was supposed to be a mid-round pick before he announced his butt preference and that shouldn’t change. He’s probably a 3-4 OLB and would fit in great with the Steelers, Ravens or even, God forbid, the Patriots.

This kid was already going to be a good player. But to draft him now, when he’ll come in fired up wanting to prove every idiot wrong and make up for every time he heard “faggot” from the stands from a piece of shit he could crush against his head like a beer can? He’ll work hard not only because he’s good, because he is, but because of what he represents in the world. If that’s not the kind of guy you want on your team then fuck you. You don’t deserve a team.

And as for players like Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma who don’t know how they’ll react if a gay teammate looks at them naked? Hopefully flattered if he likes what he sees.

FINAL STATS

Before I list everything, I want to thank Jason Kumpfmiller, who saves you from reading a page full of typos every time I post these.

If you’re in a panic over what you’ll do without reading my NFL musings every week (and really, why wouldn’t you?) none to fear. I’m planning on a Weekend Update-style column to run on Fridays at some point and, if you can’t live another minute without me, you can always follow me on Twitter and friend/follow me on Facebook.  

Songs quoted:  

Sabotage – Beastie Boys

Mind Your Manners – Pearl Jam

One that Got Away – The Civil Wars

Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum

Sirens – Pearl Jam

Hurt – Nine Inch Nails

Carry On – Avenged Sevenfold

Sail – Awolnation

Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones

Pet Cemetery – The Ramones

Sweet Jane – Velvet Underground

It’s Time – Imagine Dragons

Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Thank You – Alanis Morrisette

Long Road – Pearl Jam

We’ve Got Tonight – Bob Seger

Do The Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid

Dammit – Blink 182

Same Old Trip – Chevelle

Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold

Losing My Religion – R.E.M.

Operator – Jim Croce

The Touch – Stan Bush

Omaha – Counting Crows 

Last Week: 0-1

Pro Bowl: 1-0 

Playoffs: 4-7 

Overall: 150-116-1 (20 games under last year)

All-Time Super Bowl Record: 22-7

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The SUPER BOWL: You’re at your best when the going gets rough. You’ve been put to the test, but it’s never enough.

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If you’ve been to this site more than once, even by accident while searching for Bigfoot erotica, you already know who I’ll pick to win the Super Bowl this Sunday. So let’s put that off for a minute and talk about something more important – money, specifically betting.

A “Prop Bet,” in football terms, is a side bet to the actual contest in question in which you wager on a specific event, outcome or statistic that has no bearing on the winner or loser of the game. If you still don’t get it, you will as I talk about, and predict the outcome of, my favorite Super Bowl Prop Bets for Sunday.

The Bet: Will Renee Fleming wear gloves when she sings the national anthem? Yes (-300) No (+200)

Me: I have no idea who Renee Fleming is and have avoided Googling her to keep that personal streak going. Unless she has a sex tape or flashes a nipple Sunday, that’s not going to change. Her glove preference is a complete mystery to me. But that money line up there is pretty tempting on the “no” side. That’s so high for a lady I’m relatively sure will have sat for a manicure that day before the game. Plus, it’s going to be like 44 degrees at kickoff, so I’d take that action all day. Pick: NO GLOVES

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The Bet: Will Renee Fleming mess up at least one word of the national anthem? Yes (+250) No (-400).

Me: This is a suckers’ bet across the board. Sure, the payout of +250 looks good if she pulls an Enrico Palazzo like Christina Aguilera did in 2011, but that’s the only time I remember it happening in my life. And risk $400 for the chance to win $100 if she doesn’t mess up, just seems like the perfect time for God to teach you a lesson about how shitty gambling is. Stay away from this bet, but I say Renee makes NO MISTAKES

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The Bet: How many field goals will be made in the game? 4.5 (o/u +250/-325), 2.5 (-220/+180), 1.5 (-150/+250).

Me: The answer to this one is simple. There will probably be three field goals in this game, maybe four. It’s very unlikely there’ll be more than four and it’s almost ridiculous, considering the two teams that are playing, that there will only be one. So knowing that, and looking at those money lines, what you need to do is clear. Stay the hell away from this prop. But if you had to take it because you have major self control issues, take the OVER 2.5 and take the piddling money you win and send it to your ex-wife to catch up on your child support.

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The Bet: How many times will “Beast Mode” be said during the game? 2 (o/u +110/-150)

Me: Oh my God. This is a license to print money. TWO? Vegas? You are proposing that “Beast Mode” will only be said twice during the Super Bowl contest in which Joe Buck, the most cliché, boring, lazy and hackneyed announcer in sports will be speaking his dull, monotone voice into a microphone device? That’s your best guess. Two. Verily I say to thee IT WILL BE OVER TWO.

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The Bet: How many times will Peyton Manning say “Omaha” during the game? 27.5 (o/u -135/-105) 

Me: If you look up “sucker bet” on Wikipedia, it needs to be this money line. Stay clear, but I SAY OVER. 

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The Bet: What will the temperature be at kickoff? 32 degrees (o/u -140/Even) 

Me: I know it’s -140, but this is another easy money opportunity for the degenerate gambler in your life. Take the chance that every weather predicting site and meteorologist is probably right and buy your stripper girlfriend something pretty. I SAY OVER. 

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The Bet: How many total touchdowns in the game? 5.5 (o/u Even/-130) 

Me: Have you watched a football game this season? Have you seen these two teams? Can Seattle score at least two touchdowns in this game? Somebody’s nephew is going to have a fishing accident over this money line. I SAY OVER.

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More sucker bets: Will Seattle Score a defensive or special teams touchdown? Yes (+225) No (-285) I SAY NO. Will it snow during the game? Yes (+200) No (-300) I SAY NO. Total turnovers in the game? 3 (o/u Even/-130). I SAY UNDER. Which team will score first? Seattle (-105) or Denver (-125) I DON’T KNOW and if you place a bet on that one, you need to call a hotline and go cry in your wife’s lap for an hour. 

Broncos -2 ½ (15-3) vs Seahawks (15-3) 

The line on this one opened as Seattle – 1 ½ which defies all reason. Yes, it’s outside and Seattle had the best defense in the league this season, but the Broncos have what is probably the best, most loaded, offense of all time. Plus the guy that’s probably the best quarterback of all time behind center. So, of course, every early bettor in America loaded up on the Broncos when that came out and then started lighting their farts with $100 bills. 

I thought the line would move up to around -5.5 by the end of the week, but it’s stayed below three because apparently some people think a blizzard is going to hit New Jersey or that Peyton Manning can’t play in 44-degree weather that I routinely wear flip-flops in. 

Is it the Richard Sherman hype? Because I promise you the only Broncos wideout he can run with is Wes Welker, a guy he will never be asked to cover in the game. 

My pick: Broncos 38, Seahawks 24

Last Week: 1-0 (but it was the Pro Bowl so it didn’t count) 

Playoffs: 4-6 

Overall: 150-115-1

All-Time Super Bowl Record: 22-6

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The NFL Pro Bowl Week: I’ve learned to take it well. I only wish my words could just convince myself that it just wasn’t real. But that’s not the way it feels.

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Since it’s Pro Bowl Week I considered taking a day off just as the NFL players in the Pro Bowl game surely will Sunday. But then I made that sweet Tom Brady Crying header and had to use it.

We’re going to talk about what we learned last week and then waste some time with the Pro Bowl, again, just like the players will be doing Sunday.

Last week:

The game: Seahawks 23, 49ers 17

My prediction: 49ers 27, Seahawks 16

Result: What you get when you come at Richard Sherman with a sorry-ass receiver like Michael Crabtree.

There are maybe a handful of times I’ve been happier to be wrong on a pick than I was when Colin Kaepernick coughed up his nuts at CenturyLink Field. Yes, I hate the Seahawks, but my 49er hatred is pure and goes back to the days of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott, the man that coined the phrase “Same Old Sorry Ass Rams.” So screw them, they lost.

A lot has been made of Richard Sherman’s call out to Ric Flair and the rest of the Four Horsemen during his postgame rant next to Erin Andrews, who asked him “Who was talking about you?” like a concerned aunt. It was funny. It was ridiculous. But ultimately it was all it was. If anything, he was wrong to call out 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree. Kaepernick tossed such a dumb, shitty pass that it could only have been completed if Sherman and Malcolm Smith had both been taken out by Vulcan nerve pinches before he threw it.

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I would pay upwards of $10,000 for a vial of those sweet, succulent tears.

It was the third turnover for Kaepernick, who his coach calls “clutch” in the game. It should have been the fourth as his TD pass to Anquan Boldin would have been picked off by Earl Thomas if he hadn’t forgotten to refill his Adderall prescription the day before.

So let’s dissect Sherman’s assertions –

1. Richard Sherman is playing at a superior level than any of his contemporaries at the cornerback position.

2. Michael Crabtree is an inferior receiver of the football and when someone of his lesser ability throws down the gauntlet at Sherman’s feet, surely this final, consistent and regrettable consequence must be expected.

Is Sherman the best corner? I don’t think so, but he’s probably in the top three. I’d find it very difficult to pick anybody over Arizona’s Patrick Peterson. Sherman doesn’t have top-level NFL speed and guys like T.Y. Hilton, for instance, can burn him alive (and did this year). Rams wideout Chris Givens’ rookie year highlight tape was filled with shots of Sherman flailing in the background. Sherman’s bio says he’s a high 4.5, but that’s crazy. He’s a mid 4.6 on his best day and 4.3/4.4 guys like Givens, Hilton and, say, Demaryius Thomas can just run by him and have. Consistently.

Is Michael Crabtree a sorry receiver? No. Is he a great receiver (as Jim Harbaugh suggests)? No. He’s right in the middle of the pack. Crabtree, like Sherman, is capable of putting a mid 4.5 time down, but he doesn’t play that fast. He plays at about 4.6/4.7 and uses his body size and Mr. Fantastic arms to make plays. He’s good. He’s a legitimate NFL starter, but with his size and play-speed he’s an ideal match up for Sherman. And Sherman can shut him down. Which he did.

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"Who was talking about you?"

Can Sherman be both right and wrong at the same time? Michael Crabtree is a good wide receiver who is (actually less than) mediocre when facing Sherman. Sherman has no fear of Crabtree because he knows he can blanket him all day. And while Sherman may not be the “best corner in the game,” he probably does have the best cover skills. And when matched up against a guy that can’t run away from him, he can make him completely disappear. The only reason any of us are talking about Crabtree this week is because Sherman magically made him visible again by making fun of him on the TV.

My dislike of the Seahawks obviously comes from them playing the NFC West and beating the fake Rams a lot during the Marc Bulger debacle. It’s an earned hate, but it’s not that strong. Not like the hate I have for the 49ers. And nothing like the soul-rending animosity and disgust I have for the New England Patriots. It’s not even in the same time zone.

Is it going to kill me if the Seahawks somehow beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl? No. And it all comes down to one guy – Russell Wilson. Dammit.

He’s a good dude. He’s super respectful of all the other teams in the NFC West when he talks about them. And the thing that really got me was during this week’s Inside the NFL, the cameras caught him asking Terry Bradshaw on the podium what he needed to do to win the Super Bowl. Just like a sweet little kid and Bradshaw responded in kind, giving Wilson advice and then following it with an “I’m proud of you.”

I am not made of stone.

The Game: Broncos 26, Patriots 16

My Prediction: Broncos 31, Patriots 24

Result: A 4-hour erection that forced me to seek immediate medical attention.

I don’t care about Peyton Manning’s stats and how they compare with other games he’s played. He’s thrown for more yards. He’s thrown for more touchdowns. But last Sunday Peyton Williams Manning played the finest game of his career and he rubbed it in Tom Brady’s face like a dog turd. I’m still giddy.

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Expect a lengthy, inappropriate and overly-long hug if we ever run into each other. 

Peyton so emphatically took the “best QB” belt in this game that it’s weird to even think it was up for debate a week ago. Instead of Tom Brady solidifying his legacy by beating Manning after Spygate, it showed exactly how different all those past games between the two men would have been if the Patriots hadn’t cheated their asses off. This was Peyton Manning righting a wrong with a fucking Hattori Hanzo sword. He figuratively Killed Bill. If I keep writing about it I’ll have to see my doctor again…

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Monday, Bill Belichick, with no sense of irony whatsoever, actually had the gall to accuse the Broncos, specifically wideout Wes Welker, of cheating on a pick play that resulted in an injury to New England cornerback Aqib Talib. The NFL, in a rare moment of clarity, answered him back with a “Pbfffft.” The entire incident made the post-Patriots defeat all that much sweeter and, dammit, I’m really going to need to put on a looser pair of pants.

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Boo hoo, you piece of shit.

And now the Broncos and the Seahawks, only the second No.1 seeds in the last 21 seasons to advance to the Super Bowl, will play for it all next week in New York on Sunday. Hopefully. If the NFL doesn’t have to move gameday because of the weather. God, Roger Goodell. You suck so, so hard.

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The reason that you’re cool is ‘cuz you’re from the old school and they know it.

My pick that will in no way surprise you comes next week.

The Pro Bowl

Team Rice over Team Sanders

And I’m not counting this pick, even if I win it. The NFL, in an attempt to “save” the Pro Bowl completely destroyed it with a new player draft system. Each team, one led by Jerry Rice and the other by Deion Sanders, was filled by players picked out of a common All-Star pool. Whatever. I’m going with Team Rice because Robert Quinn and Johnny Hekker are on it and that will encompass my entire rooting interest in the game…which I’m sure I’ll still watch every minute of.

Because it’s football and it’s precious.

Last Week: 1-1

Playoffs: 4-6

Overall: 150-115-1 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The NFL Championship Weekend: Consider this, the slip that brought me to my knees, failed.

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Here we are. This sucks. We now will face at least one nightmare scenario in the Super Bowl: Either the Patriots, 49ers or the Seahawks will play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and there’s only one man who can stop all of them. This guy –

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Oh God.

Let’s just go ahead and get these picks out of the way because I’m talking about them all together.

SUNDAY

Early Game - Broncos (14-3) over Patriots (13-4)

Late Game – 49ers (14-4) over Seahawks (14-3) 

Believe it or not, and you shouldn’t if you’ve been reading this picks column all year, I know a lot about football. If you’re shocked you should be. In my defense, last season I went 170-95-1, which was better than 90 percent of the talking heads on TV. I have picked exactly two Super Bowls wrong in the last 11 years (Packers over Steelers in 2011 and Steelers over Cardinals in 2009). I’ve picked exactly three wrong in the last 14 years (Patriots over Rams in 2002). 

On Super Bowl Sunday I will turn 40. I began paying attention to NFL Football in 1985. Since then I have been wrong in my Super Bowl pick six times. (Bengals in 1989, Bills in 1991 and Packers in 1997). I’m 22-6 in the big dance. I have picked at least one of the Super Bowl teams correctly in the preseason 10 times and picked the Cardinals vs Steelers match-up outright in August of 2008 when nobody had either team even in their conference title games. I’ve done alright.

Bill Simmons writes about his gambling manifestos every year around this time and how they change over the years. And while I don’t gamble, it’s safe to say I’ve picked up a few truths along the way in my NFL game-picking life.

1. The Super Bowl is rarely ever the match up between the two best regular season teams. Especially in the modern salary cap/free agency era. 

The last time the two No. 1 seeds met in the Super Bowl was 2010 (Saints over Colts). Before that you’ve got to go back to 1993 for the next No. 1 seeds meeting in the Super Bowl (Cowboys over Bills I). And again, that’s before our current era. 

Every seed has gone to the Super Bowl and (I’m not looking this up), I’m pretty sure every seed has won it since they’ve gone to a 12-team bracket. Only once have two No. 1 seeds met it the Super Bowl.

2. Two teams that played home games, regardless of seeds, on Championship Weekend meeting up has happened only four times in the last 10 years. 

So the odds of a Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl, the best possible match-up for my sanity, seem astronomical.

3. Two teams that played road games, regardless of seeds, on Championship Weekend meeting up has happened only once in the last 10 years. 

And that was last year with the Ravens and 49ers. A Patriots-49ers match-up is just as unlikely as two No. 1 seeds meeting up. The odds are against it based purely on how shit seems to work. 

Up there, I’ve picked the Broncos and the 49ers to win based on this pattern. If the Patriots win in the early game, I have no doubt that the Seahawks will win in the second. I may have just blown your mind, but come back here Sunday night after the games and read this over. I will be 2-0 for the week or 0-2. I would almost bet a finger on it. The pinky finger on my left hand, but still.

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Completely ruining my Mirror Universe Dr. Evil impersonation. 

Let’s talk about the quarterback match-ups, because, regardless of how the pundits want to rend their garments and talk about defense and coaching, it’s going to come down to this.

4. The team with the better quarterback almost always wins.

NFC Championship

49ers at Seahawks (-3)

Colin Kaepernick is a complete and total piece of shit who I do not catch sight of without wanting to cobra kick him in the pie hole. He’s selfish. He’s an asshole. And all of his endzone celebrations and just the way he wears flat-billed caps and fucking headphones around his neck in postgame press conferences piss me off. He is a tool and I will enjoy actively rooting against him for the next three or four years until his career fizzles out and he falls away into obscurity, spending his last two seasons as Nick Foles’ back up in Philadelphia before being tossed away by the NFL for good. 

Russell Wilson is a good person. He is a leader of men that excels on the field despite his physical and talent limitations. He has maxed out his capabilities as a quarterback and as a person. This makes it very hard to root against him, but I still somehow manage to do it.

Wilson is a high-end back-up QB like Andy Dalton, who is good enough to win when his defense and running game play at a high level. Unlike Dalton, Wilson will rarely cost you the game. I have no faith at all in his ability to defeat the 49ers Sunday or the Patriots in the Super Bowl on a neutral site in three weeks. I hate the Seahawks. But I hate New England so, so, so very much more. 

Kaepernick is a better QB than Wilson and the 49ers are the better all-around team. Unless they turn the ball over early (which has been a killer in these playoff games), they’ll win. Not huge, but San Francisco is going to the Super Bowl. It’s time we all face it. (Fun fact: I hate the 49ers much, much more than I do the Seahawks). 

49ers 27, Seahawks 16

AFC Championship

Patriots at Broncos (-5.5)

Thank God this is the early game. As of this writing, one man has, indisputably, had the best quarterbacking season of all time. That man is not playing in this football game. Yet. 

The guy that currently holds that title is Kurt Warner, who in 1999 tossed 41 touchdown passes (then the third-highest total ever) and, here’s the important part, WON THE SUPER BOWL. Oh shit. Wait a minute while I pick up this microphone I just dropped. 

Kurt Warner’s total is now tied for ninth all-time with 2011 Matt Stafford. Including Stafford and all eight spots above Warner and the five men that hold those spots, exactly none of them as of right now won a Super Bowl the same year. Dammit. I just dropped that pesky microphone again. 

Peyton Manning, two years removed from maybe never playing another NFL down has thrown more touchdown passes than any other QB in history, again, with 55 TD passes. Peyton Manning has the chance to own the best season of any NFL QB in history right now. And I don’t know if anyone else will ever come close to it. (55, for God’s sake!). 

So history. That’s what’s on the line in this game. And, again, it doesn’t matter how much Phil Simms doesn’t like it, the legacies of both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are tied up in what happens over the next three Sundays. The winner of this game will be known as the best quarterback that has ever played the game. That’s all that’s at stake. You know, everything.

Peyton Manning has the reputation of a guy that chokes in the big games, in the playoffs. He didn’t help himself in that regard when, in the Broncos’ first game against these same Patriots this season, he absolutely gagged himself blue-faced in the second half, allowing the Patriots to come back from 24-points down. But if Peyton wins Sunday? If he wins the Super Bowl, none of that matters. This era is his. He is the best QB of it and probably of all time, putting down a single-season mark that may take 30 years even to match. 

Tom Brady’s legacy is much more complicated. The New England Patriots cheated their way to three Super Bowl titles early in the last decade. There’s just no disputing that. They admitted it and were punished for it. The only thing that is in dispute is the exact nature and heinousness of the cheating and that we will never know because the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, destroyed the evidence against them like the good dog that he is. 

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I picture Goodell covered in way more dog shit. 

If you question the extent of what Goodell could have destroyed and why he destroyed it, I can only point you to the New Orleans Saints Bountygate scandal. A scandal in which no evidence was destroyed, even to this day. Where names were named and people received season and potential lifetime bans from the NFL. A scandal where the commissioner himself leaked audio tapes to the media to back up his ruling. 

None of that happened in Spygate. And there’s a reason for that. But there’s no reason to get into it. The main point is this: Tom Brady and the Patriots “Won*” three Super Bowls in the cheating era. They haven’t won one since, though they’ve had two chances to do it. 

So there’s a pall on Tom Brady’s career. There’s a stink. A man with three Super Bowl rings and a Supermodel wife shouldn’t have to worry about asterisks and fans wearing camera hats and shirts covered in every spy camera available from the Skymall catalog when he’s inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame. But that’s going to happen. 

Karma has strapped on a spiked dildo and it has been reaming the New England Patriots’ assholes out since 2007. And I would be lying if I said that hasn’t made me incredibly happy. 

Tom Brady has grown his hair out. He’s cut it off. He’s worn multiple colors of Ugg boots and more scarves than a Project Runway designer. His cardigans and turtlenecks have done no good. This is a hole inside him, this 0-2 record when not cheating in the Super Bowl and it’s killing him. God, I am smiling so hard right now.

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Just look at that handsome bastard. 

Everybody… EVERYBODY hates the Patriots. It’s near universal at this point. Maybe they aren’t your most hated team, but unless you grew up in Boston or Vermont or anywhere up there in Syrup Country, you fucking hate the Patriots. And the fact that they were caught cheating and haven’t won a Super Bowl since is such sweet nectar that we’re never going to let it go. 

If string theory is right there’s another universe out there where the Patriots didn’t cheat their way to three Super Bowl wins. That New England team either didn’t go to the Super Bowl in 2001 and 2003 or they lost both those games. That non-cheating Patriots team probably got vindication in their third appearance, beating the Eagles to avoid being only the fourth team to lose four Super Bowls. Then, in 2007 they went undefeated and won another Super Bowl. Two seasons later they won it again, beating the Giants for a second time. That non cheating Patriots team is still 3-2 in Super Bowls, but they’re beloved. They’re the guys that didn’t give up or get down after heartache. Tom Brady’s 2007 where he threw 50 TD passes, that’s the best QB season in NFL history.

That Tom Brady is facing his greatest rival in the AFC Championship game this week too, that universe’s Peyton Manning, who probably also has tossed 55 TDs. But alternate universe Tom is set. He’s the best. He’s had an undefeated season. He has three rings already and could end up with a fourth. No matter what happens in this game, that U’s Peyton Manning will forever be second-best.

But we’re in this universe and our Tom Brady and his Patriots are the bad guys. They’re the villains and it will simply be an injustice if they win this game and then the Super Bowl. It won’t shut us up on the cheating, but it will certainly take the sting out of the allegation. It would be like Barry Bonds hitting 71 home runs without steroids, proving he never needed them in the first place. That’d be good for him. But fuck him. And fuck Tom Brady. Fuck the Patriots.

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Ugh. Fucking prick. 

Tom Brady has to have this to stake a claim at being the best, to make the argument that the cheating, regardless of the extent, didn’t really matter. He’ll have four rings, only the third QB to do that in NFL history and he will have beaten Peyton Manning 55 to get them.

That just can’t happen.

Broncos 31, Patriots 24.

Last Week: 1-3

Playoffs: 3-4

Overall: 149-114-1

Friday, January 10, 2014

The NFL Divisional Round: You should have known the price of evil. And it hurts to know that you belong here.

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I could celebrate going 2-2 last week in my playoff picks right now. Not because going .500 is good, but because everybody else did so very bad. Right now that 2-2 has me right at the top of the heap. My archnemesis Keyshawn Johnson went 0-4 and even the Skynet Terminator computer over at CBS Sports managed to do no better than to tie me. I should feel pretty good.

But I don’t. Because all nightmare Super Bowl scenarios are still in play. Not only has that hindered my enjoyment of this NFL Playoff season, but it’s affected my picks this week, I’m sure of it. I’ve picked the following games based on my real perception of who will win. I’ve also picked them with my heart, based on who I hope will lose. Each of these has produced the exact same pick. That can’t be good.

I’m too emotionally involved. This was supposed to be a heartless transaction and now I’m in a montage while these picks try on various formal dresses to the tune of a Roy Orbison song. This is bad.

The worst nightmare scenario should be obvious to anyone who’s read my column more than once – A Patriots vs. 49ers Super Bowl. Other than a DC Comics Supervillian showing up and caving the stadium in, such a match-up would force me to do the unthinkable – root for the 49ers.

The other worst nightmare scenario would be a Patriots vs Seahawks Super Bowl. Not only would I then have to root for the Seahawks, a ridiculous notion on its face, but I would have no doubt whatsoever that the Seahawks would lose, since the Super Bowl isn’t being held within a restraining order’s distance from Pete Carroll’s house.

I hate the 49ers and I hate the Seahawks, but even combined I do not hate those teams anywhere close to as much as I hate the New England Patriots. So which of these scenarios is worse? My two most hated teams (Pats and 49ers) facing off for the title or my most and third-most hated teams (Pats and Seahawks) facing off when I’d bet a finger that the Seahawks would lose. I can’t even bear to think about it.

Third worst is the Patriots even going to the Super Bowl at all. Fourth is the 49ers going (which happened last year, dammit) and fifth is the Seahawks going. All five are still a possibility as of today.

It’s up to you, other NFL playoff teams, to make sure none of those things happen. We all, each and every one of us across the country and spanning the globe, are counting on you. Don’t let us down. But if two of you have to, please just make sure it isn’t the Colts.

Fuck the Patriots.   

SATURDAY

Saints (12-5) over Seahawks (13-3)

And so we begin. There are a lot of reasons to like the Saints in this game, other than the fact that they aren’t the Seahawks. First off, the Saints come in with a tough road win already under their belt in a much shittier stadium. Seattle is 1-2 against the last three decent teams they played, with that lone win coming against the Saints. That usually doesn’t bode well in the second match up. (Spoiler alert: I’ll be going against this logic exactly two picks from now).

The Saints have all the tools needed to beat Seattle: An actual quarterback and NFL-caliber wide receivers. End this farce, New Orleans. Oh, and since I’m the only person on Earth picking the Saints to win in this game, they might as well grab that “nobody believes in us” tag too.

Colts (12-5) over Patriots (12-4)

Not only did the Colts complete one of the best comebacks in NFL history last week and not only are they going against my most hated sports franchise on the planet, but the Colts are also my preseason AFC Super Bowl pick. And they’re still in it.

Andrew Luck, Tom Brady and Gisele’s kid needs a new dad since Eli Manning isn’t in the playoffs this year. Can you step up and be the man Benjamin Brady needs as a father? I believe in you.  

SUNDAY

Panthers (12-4) over 49ers (13-4)

Remember two picks ago when I said the Saints had the upper hand over the Seahawks because they lost a few weeks ago? Forget all that.

The Panthers have been in playoff mode for the entire last part of the season and have lost all of one game since Oct. 6. In that span, they’ve beaten the 49ers, the Patriots, the Dolphins and the Saints. Before that stretch they beat the Steelers, the Ravens and the Bears. All teams either in the playoffs or in the playoff hunt on the last day of the regular season. That sounds like a Super Bowl team to me.

Fun little piece of trivia – in the 1998/99 playoffs the 49ers scored a dramatic, last-second victory over the Packers in the Wild Card round. Afterwards, everybody was crazy excited and then 49er QB Steve Young told his teammates something like, “If we don’t win next week, all this means nothing.” They then went out and promptly lost to the Falcons in the divisional round.

Broncos (13-3) over Chargers (10-7)

And now I’m back to my original logic. The Chargers beat the Broncos not too long ago. This time the Broncos should get them. The good news for Peyton Manning is all the hellish Hoth-like cold has already swept through the country and by Sunday night it should be in the mid 40s in Denver. So maybe the stars have aligned for Peyton to get that second ring this season. And if the Broncos win this week… watch out.

Last week: 2-2

Playoffs 2-2

Overall: 148-111-1