Posts Tagged ‘Tom Brady’

Overall: 163-101
Last Week: 3-1

Patriots @ Broncos

Red Forehead

Fuck Tom Brady. It’s infuriating to still see everyone credit Tom Brady when the clear difference-maker on the Patriots is Rob Gronkowski. Brady immediately regressed to mediocre when Gronk was hurt, but he’s back to being a world-beater who gets rid of the ball in less than two seconds when that monster is roaming the field. The New England Patriots trained a polar bear to catch passes. Gronkowski doesn’t need to be open to catch passes. Gronk will just maul whatever unfortunate soul is around him and grab the ball mid-air in his teeth. This isn’t Brady vs. Manning as much as it is Gronkowski vs. The World.

The Gronk’s Prayer is a thing that exists…

Our Gronk who scores in sevens,
Hollowed be thy brain.
Thy kingdom dumb.
Thy will mix rum,
On turf as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily meat spread,
And don’t forgive us our trespasses,
As we don’t forgive those who double-cover against us,
Lead us directly and repeatedly into temptation,
But deliver dat sexy body from evil.
For spikes in the endzone,
With great power, bring you glory,
Forever.
Way-men.

Rob Gronkowski is One Man Gang. There’s no question who the man is in New England. Gronk is the straw that stirs the drink—and then proceeds to pound that drink and drink everyone else’s. But I have to believe that Good finds a way. Everyone but Peyton Manning knows this is the last hurrah. How sweet it would be for Peyton to bring his record against Brady to 3-2 in the playoffs, and a shot at riding off into the sunset with a ring. A man can dream. Peyton is pulling out all the stops, he even rope-a-doped the Steelers last week by falling down (without being touched) only to get back up to throw and make the biggest play of the game. The Patriots are back at full strength while Denver is limping into the game with a still-injured Peyton Manning. In 2009, I was at the 4th and 2 Game in Indianapolis—the only NFL game I’ve ever attended. It’s not quite the same with Manning at the end of his career, but he’s the only player I’ve witnessed get in Belicheat’s head. Manning brought the Colts back from the brink, and there was no way the Patriots wanted to give him the ball in those final moments. Everyone in that stadium knew Manning was marching down the field to win that game. No question about it.

In order for the Broncos to win this game, it is going to take a similar heroic effort from Peyton Manning AND a monumental defensive stop to finish the game. Those odds aren’t great. But there’s a chance. Even if it is just for old times’ sake, I want to believe Good will triumph over Evil.

Win: Denver Broncos

Cardinals @ Panthers

The Nature Boy once said, “To Be THE Man, You’ve Gotta Beat THE Man! WOOOOO!!!!!”

WOO

The Panthers made Ric Flair (Carolina hometown boy) proud last week by beating the Seattle Seahawks. Carolina eclipsed the NFC’s Super Bowl representative from the last two years. But the Panthers aren’t alone on the mountain top yet. Arizona is coming to town as the last remaining obstacle in the Carolina Panthers’ path to the Super Bowl. Carson Palmer has been shaky since injuring his finger, and the Cardinals are lacking the depth—namely, on defense and running the ball—to finish out this final stretch. If Carolina contains David Johnson out of the backfield and puts the clamps on big plays, then Arizona is going to have a tough time hanging with the Panthers. As the best running team in this Final Four, Carolina has an advantage by being able to run the ball down anyone’s throat. Arizona has a chance because of Bruce Arians’ ballsy play-calling, but that also can backfire real quick if Carson Palmer turns the ball over. Last year, Cam Newton proved he could walk away unscathed after rolling his car. It’s going to take a lot more than a car wreck for the Cardinals to stop him today.

Win: Carolina Panthers

Overall: 160-100
Last Week: 3-1

Chiefs @ Patriots

Fuck Tom Brady. The Chiefs predictably pounded the Texans last week. But that’s where the improbable Alex Smith run ends. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the Patriots choke a home playoff game away. I sincerely doubt the probability of that happening against Alex Smith’s Kansas City Chiefs as coached by Andy Reid. Since Jamaal Charles’ injury, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware have been running the ball. With Jeremy Maclin very likely out for this game, all Belicheat has to do is take Travis Kelce away in order to stifle Kansas City’s offense. Unless Alex Smith plays out of his mind, the Patriots will post too many points for the Chiefs to catch up to by kicking field goals.

Win: New England Patriots

Packers @ Cardinals

In terms of pure entertainment value, Green Bay against Arizona might be the sneaky best matchup of the week. The Packers are not a good football team. Green Bay wins and loses on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers. Their offensive line hasn’t given Rodgers enough room to operate, but the Packers looked vastly improved last week. I would not be shocked to see Aaron Rodgers create havoc for Arizona’s defense—particularly if Rodgers uses his legs to breathe new life into broken plays. The Cardinals are a good football team. But like all things Arizona, they are rather unspectacular. Bruce Arians will put the Cardinals in the best position to win, but I just don’t know if Arizona can survive if Green Bay bottles up David Johnson on the ground. A shootout favors Arizona with their penchant for big plays, but the Packers could pull off a mighty upset with another dominating running attack. The Cardinals (especially their annoying bandwagon fans) are still riding high after recently wiping the floor with Green Bay, but Arizona should be on red alert with Rodgers lurking.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Seahawks @ Panthers

Fuck the 12th Man. Hipster Michael Myers did it again. After being left for dead yet again, Seattle rose from their grave and continued their crazed murderous streak. The Seahawks had no business winning that fucking game. This team is so fucking insufferable. It’s torturous listening to Russell Wilson give generic athlete speak and credit God for all things good. He’s a soulless pod person. Since Seattle doesn’t deserve to be in this game, the Seahawks will continue personifying Michael Myers by stabbing Cam Newton in the chest on their way to claiming a victory in Carolina. You know it is happening. Collectively, everyone outside of the Pacific Northwest hates this boring team too much for them to not unjustly advance to another round. If the world is as cruel and unforgiving as I fear, we’re headed straight for a Super Bowl rematch.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Steelers @ Broncos

Grimace

If the Broncos beat the Steelers this week, Denver owes bounty hunter Vontaze Burfict his dues for taking out Le’Veon Bell ($10,000) and Antonio Brown ($8,000) and maiming Rapistberger ($2,000). We all deserve one last Brady-Manning battle before Peyton sets off in the sunset. Let’s hope that Week 17 wasn’t an aberration because it would be a shame to see Manning’s health break down yet again. Denver shouldn’t be sleeping on the Steelers. Rapistberger has a long history of over-exaggerating injuries to build himself up to hero status so don’t be shocked to see that happen again. If Pittsburgh is going to win, they need Big Ben to turn back the clock. The Broncos defense is susceptible to being passed on, but I don’t believe the Steelers will be able to put away Denver without their full complement of weapons. However, Mike Tomlin will surely pull out all the stops in a desperate attempt to upset Denver so all trick plays and onside kicks are on the table. I wouldn’t trust Gary Kubiak with anything mildly important, which scares the shit out of me when watching the final moments of any close Broncos game. We don’t know the true health of either QB so this could be a complete toss-up.

Win: Denver Broncos

Overall: 18-14
Last Week: 6-10

Redskins @ Giants

Eli Face
I can sleep easy at night knowing that when Peyton retires at the end of the year, I’ll still have Eli to hold me over until I have to wait nearly 20 years for Peyton Manning’s twins—Marshall and Mosley—to enter the NFL. For years now, I’ve made the argument that Eli is a Top 10 QB. While Eli seemingly enjoys mirroring his career after a teeter-totter, I still believe he can elevate a mediocre team and make enough plays to be elite. The Giants aren’t as bad as their recent blunders suggest and no one wants to see insufferable Redskins fans with their racist owner enjoying an undefeated start.

Win: New York Giants

Raiders @ Browns

Cleveland was threatening to become interesting under John Football. As a result, no more fun can be had so it’s back to the bench for Li’l Romo. I like Josh McCown, he seems like a cool enough guy—maybe it’s because he’s a Dolph Lundgren impersonator. But having Josh McCown as your starting QB is a sign to get ready for the coming football apocalypse. Watch out, the Raiders are verging on punchy. This will be a horrible game to watch, but it’ll give Oakland a reason for optimism if Derek Carr can lead the Raiders to a victory against a stout Cleveland defense—a week after pulling off a surprising upset against Baltimore. At least the Browns can learn how well Johnny Manziel can hold a clipboard.

Win: Oakland Raiders

Falcons @ Cowboys

Weeden 1

Weeden 2

Weeden 3

Oh my God, that’s BRANDON WEEDEN’s theme music! Cue the hilarious montage of Brandon Weeden moments. With Tony Romo and Dez Bryant out for lengthy stints, the Cowboys place all the pressure on the shoulders of Brandon Weeden and notorious shoplifter Joseph Randle. Staked with a 2-0 start of the season, Dallas will probably be fine. But in the meanwhile, we get to enjoy Brandon Weeden doing Brandon Weeden things. Atlanta might be getting overhyped now after a fluky win over the Giants last week—combined with their opening domination of Philadelphia, which could’ve been because the Eagles suck. Matt Ryan better take care of business on the road and beat Brandon Weeden.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Colts @ Titans

Ryan Grigson looks like a used car salesman. At the least, he looks like a sleazy insurance salesman. Whatever he’s selling, I’m not buying. Adding Frank Gore and Andre Johnson has aged Indianapolis’ offense 10 years. The offensive line is and has always been utter shit. After Boom Herron provided some moxie last year, the Colts now have zero depth behind Frank Gore—who I love, but it’s a miracle his career actually happened considering how blown up both of his knees were in college. They are so desperate that re-signing Ahmad Bradshaw is an option. And he would be an improvement. Until his leg snaps again. Andrew Luck deserves better. His development has been stunted since Bruce Arians left. Pep Hamilton is just awful. Somehow, the Colts have two above average tight ends that never get used, and it’s not like they’re busy railroading in the run game. But still, Indianapolis is playing Tennessee. If the 0-2 start extends to 0-3, then there will be a mutiny. Jim Irsay might have a few belts with some magic pills and fire both Grigson and Pagano before flying back home. In that case, Jim Irsay becomes King as GM/Coach of the Colts. Daddy would be so proud! Please free Andrew Luck from this tyranny.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Steelers @ Rams

St. Louis shit the bed on the road against Washington. If the Rams buck up at home and beat the Steelers, then I give up. Although my hatred for bandwagon Steelers fans is steadfast, I do love that Mike Tomlin has decided to forgo standard NFL conservatism in favor of exploiting the advantage of going for 2 points instead of a 1-point field goal. I would hope the same of Jeff Fisher, but that mustache screams conservative and his growing belly screams for more food.

Win: Pittsburgh Steelers

Chargers @ Vikings

A bland matchup between two equally boring teams. Both are okay. I don’t give a shit about this game. So let’s just say the AFC is better than the NFC and call that the reason San Diego wins.

Win: San Diego Chargers

Jaguars @ Patriots

This seems like the game where LeGarrette Blount lumbers to 4 TDs. Fuck Tom Brady.

Win: New England Patriots

Eagles @ Jets

Do you smell that? The tire fire in Philadelphia has such thick, black smoke pluming that the shitcloud is moving over New Jersey this weekend. I sincerely hope that the Eagles continue to suck. It’s just so entertaining to see Chip Kelly fail miserably. He’s an angry little Cabbage Patch doll with an undeserved sense of arrogance. Unfortunately, things have to balance out eventually. Right? If the Jets defense continues to swarm and overwhelm Sam Bradford, then that sound you hear in Philadelphia is every sports talk radio host orgasming at the same time. But I don’t trust Ryan Fitzpatrick with anything important, and New York could be operating with a wounded running attack.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Saints @ Panthers

Remember what I said about having Josh McCown as your starting QB is a sign to get ready for the coming football apocalypse? Well the football hellscape has already swept through Louisiana. Drew Brees’ shoulder was held together by staples, voodoo, and the souls of young children. Last week, a fatal blow befell Brees. Now the star of Verizon’s current commercial campaign, Luke McCown, is your starting QB of the New Orleans Saints! Shine, you little star! The apocalypse has begun in the bayou. Carolina should be so embarrassed that they cease to exist if they lose to the little McCown reject.

Win: Carolina Panthers

Bengals @ Ravens

Baltimore blows off their own foot last week against Oakland. It doesn’t make much sense to expect a better showing against the Bengals, but I’m betting against Andy Dalton nearly every time. Even without Suggs, the Ravens should be able to scheme themselves into a win by pressuring Dalton.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Buccaneers @ Texans

Enjoy your shit sandwich, local NFL fans in Tampa Bay and Houston! This artisan turd will leave a horrific taste in your mouth. By my NFL Chaos Theory, the Texans will win this home game and the Colts will take care of the Titans on the road to give us a 4-team tie in the AFC South. Parity!

Win: Houston Texans

49ers @ Cardinals

Will there reach a point when Cardinals fans stop cringing at every shot Carson Palmer takes below the belt? Even if Palmer makes it off the field against San Francisco in one piece, there’s always the chance some 49ers fans will attack him in the parking lot. Never discount that possibility.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Bills @ Dolphins

Who could have imagined Ndamukong Suh would be so terrible after having trucks of money pull into his driveway? Did we learn nothing from the Albert Haynesworth debacle? Suh has no incentive to be any good. He’ll continue to swim in money in South Beach. Miami is the worst. I never gave any thought to the Dolphins imploding against Jacksonville. I mean, it’s the Jaguars. But the choke job is proof they aren’t a serious contender with Joe Philbin coaching. Buffalo is still the same mediocre offense and incredible defense. I hope the Bills enjoy being the new Jets. Who cares who wins this?

Win: Buffalo Bills

Bears @ Seahawks

Congratulations, Chicago. You managed to gather together the most unlikable quarterback duo possible with Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen. That overwhelming wave of depression hitting the Windy City is what I like to call the Clausen Effect. Seattle gets to use Jimmy Clausen as the sacrificial lamb in their slaughtering ritual that starts them on the right path back to becoming a Super Bowl contender.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Broncos @ Lions

In Peyton I Trust. Sure, he needs a couple people to undress him after games. That’s what all that sweet Papa John’s money is for—he can afford to be bathed like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. I don’t trust Gary Kubiak with anything, much less the end of Peyton Manning’s career. The one positive out of the Kubiak hiring is that ex-mall Santa Wade Phillips is coaching up that Denver defense. I don’t know what he’s doing, but that jolly fat man sure is fun to watch on the sidelines. Hopefully, this is the week that C.J. Anderson gets healthy and helps restore balance to the force. If not, then we’ll be in store for another 50+ shotgun passes from Peyton while the defense is tasked with winning the game.

Win: Denver Broncos

Chiefs @ Packers

Aaron Rodgers is an absolute joy to watch. Those starry blue eyes. That cannon firing off at odd angles. Blessed with the ability to turn water into wine, the Packers trot out scabs and scrubs that are somehow playmakers like James Jones’ corpse. Kansas City turtled against Denver and choked away last week’s game. The Chiefs specialize in close games, but Aaron Rodgers will find some way to will Green Bay to victory. If Eddie Lacy misses the game, then expect James Starks to inexplicably run for 100 yards.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Overall: 12-4
Last Week: 12-4

Broncos @ Chiefs

Despite all the heartbreak, Peyton Manning has personally given me so many football memories. I’m going down with the ship. Obviously, Peyton Manning isn’t the same. How could he be? His neck surgery threatened Peyton’s way of life as a father, let alone as a football player at the most important and demanding position. He still cannot feel his fingertips. And that sensation is not coming back. Can we please appreciate at the medical marvel that is Peyton Manning? Even if Peyton is 75% of his old Hall of Fame self, his diminishing capacity is considerably better than what backup Brock Osweiler would provide for Denver. Peyton’s Week 1 struggles were the result of an atrocious offensive line that could neither keep Peyton upright nor could they generate any semblance of push to create holes for the running game. The 2015 season will not be easy for Manning and the Broncos. Denver will have to fight for every single win and the onus is on the defense to make them a Super Bowl contender. I still believe. The Broncos need luck on their side, but the window is narrowly open one last year.

Win: Denver Broncos

Patriots @ Bills

I hate the Patriots. And I hate Tom Brady. My appreciation of Rob Gronkowski is steadily growing into annoyance. New England should beat Buffalo handily. But I cannot root for that. As unlikeable as I find Rex Ryan, my hatred of everything about the cheating abomination in New England is much more intense. Does anyone truly believe Tom Brady did anything wrong? You can get away with cheating without consequences, but that doesn’t absolve you from guilt. Let’s all just remember that when the media is giving Brady a golden shower of praise later this year. Without polar bear Gronk rumbling and grumbling over everyone, this Patriots team would be merely average with a mediocre Tom Brady. I want to live in a world where Buffalo can win this game. Considering the bleak dystopian landscape of Buffalo, this matchup has probably been elevated to the most important game in the last 20 years of Bills football. Rex Ryan teams have a penchant for playing New England tough. I don’t think Tyrod Taylor is much more than a knockoff version of an older, less athletic Michael Vick, but I could see his athleticism extending plays to give the Patriots problems. I doubt LeSean McCoy is healthy enough to inflict serious damage, but there’s enough talent on Buffalo for the Bills to make this a close game.

Win: Buffalo Bills

Cardinals @ Bears

Another new coach has brought another new season of guarded optimism among Bears fans. Could this finally be the year that Jay Cutler puts it together? No, no it’s not. The new leadership of John Fox and Adam Gase will do their best to prevent Cutler from making stupid decisions. But this is Smokin’ Jay Cutler we’re talking about. Chicago couldn’t hang with the Packers last week despite a heroic effort from Matt Forte. This week, the Bears will feature Matt Forte once again against an Arizona defense that is stout versus the run. However, the Cardinals got shredded by running back screens against New Orleans last week, which Chicago will use as a blueprint. As the Bears have found out, you can only ride a running back so far. Jay Cutler will likely need a clean performance with 3 TDs today to outpace Arizona. Carson Palmer will bank impressive numbers against Chicago’s hot garbage defense. Unless the Cardinals kill themselves with mistakes, this seems like a close game early that gets out of hand later in the second half after Cutler implodes under pressure.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Chargers @ Bengals

It’s tough to find a matchup of quarterbacks that I find more unlikeable. Who do I hate more: Philip Rivers or Andy Dalton? Although Andy Dalton has his own sense of undeserved self-esteem, I feel like that ginger knows he isn’t good deep down in his soul. Or maybe it’s true that gingers don’t have souls. When I see Philip Rivers jawing at opposing teams, I can’t fight the urge to shove my foot in his stupid face. I’ve never grown accustomed to the way he throws like a girl and his awful personality is why I want him to get swallowed up in an earthquake. San Diego is the same mediocre team they’ve always been and will be with Philip Rivers. On the other side, Cincinnati is similarly hamstrung by their own quarterback as well. The Bengals will continually fight for a playoff spot and the right to an early exit with Dalton airmailing passes and stalling and otherwise steady offense. Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard should dominate the opportunities in this game so Dalton only needs to connect on a few passes to A.J. Green in order for Cincinnati to secure the victory.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Titans @ Browns

Ugh, I never know what is going on with the Tennessee Titans. Over the past few years, the Titans have been mostly terrible yet somewhat unpredictable. Tennessee can appear impressive against good competition and then proceed to shit the bed against inferior teams. Could this week serve as another Jekyll and Hyde performance? Right now, I’m going to bet on Marcus Mariota stabilizing the sinking Titans ship. Captain Ken Whisenhunt could still steer the ship into an iceberg, but I’ll certainly side with Mariota over Manziel for this game at least. Cleveland is a dumpster fire of a city and football franchise.

Win: Tennessee Titans

Lions @ Vikings

So much for all of that Teddy Bridgewater hype. I wasn’t buying it, but I expected more from Minnesota in the late Monday night game against San Francisco. The Vikings made Jim Tomsula look competent for a week. I don’t know what Norv Turner was thinking trying to feature Bridgewater from the shotgun. Especially when it came at the expense of Adrian Peterson. Detroit and Minnesota are equally matched division rivals, but neither are in the same stratosphere as Green Bay. Maybe one of these teams could challenge for a Wild Card spot in the NFC, but you aren’t going very far with either Matthew Stafford or Teddy Bridgewater. In this matchup, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Stafford since he has the better offensive weapons and defensive supporting cast. I wouldn’t be shocked if Minnesota wins at home, but this is an unremarkable game that people only care about because of fantasy implications.

Win: Detroit Lions

Buccaneers @ Saints

You are out of your element, Jameis. Tampa Bay needs to be prepared for a long, arduous season. After getting embarrassed by fellow basement dweller Tennessee last week, expect the Buccaneers to get shredded by Drew Brees and a New Orleans offense starving for some numbers.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Falcons @ Giants

A tantalizingly boring matchup of slightly above average teams. Atlanta showed more than I expected in the opener, but the Falcons wouldn’t be a contender in any other division. On the other side, New York already gave away their first game of the season. Since Atlanta surprised Philadelphia and New York giftwrapped the win to Dallas in Week 1, I’ll go with the law of averages in Week 2 and predict an illogical victory for the Giants at home. It doesn’t make much sense and I don’t have any faith in Tom Coughlin to remember to take his pills—let alone guide an NFL team. But a lot of stupid shit happens in the NFL. Even after a dominant performance last week, Atlanta’s defense could easily fall on their face.

Win: New York Giants

49ers @ Steelers

Jim Tomsula

Similar to the theory above, Pittsburgh can’t be as bad as they were against New England and San Francisco can’t be as good as they were against Minnesota. Perhaps the 49ers could be better than we all thought after nearly every defense starter either left or got arrested. But I’ll bet on the Steelers showing something more than their terrible Thursday night NFL kick-off opener.

Win: Pittsburgh Steelers

Rams @ Redskins

St. Louis is the early favorite for the overhyped sleeper that falls apart later in the season. But I have to give the Rams credit for once again pulling out all the stops and riding some amazing special teams plays to an overtime upset against Seattle. Playing a division foe extremely tough is a staple of a Jeff Fisher team. While I concede St. Louis might be a little better than I thought, the Rams aren’t going anywhere in the NFC West. I hope Jeff Fisher has the balls to once again send out every player St. Louis acquired in the RG Knee trade to the coin toss. And the perfect troll move would be for the future Los Angeles Rams to pick Griffin up from the scrap heap next year so they can add him to the group every time they face Washington. Dan Snyder continually needs his nose rubbed in his own shit. I will be thoroughly disappointed if Washington pulls off the win in front of their rapidly diminishing home crowd. It would be perfect poetic justice if this is the week where RG Knee is thrust into action and St. Louis injures him to trigger that ridiculous clause where Washington has to guarantee all his millions next season. I can dream.

Win: St. Louis Rams

Texans @ Panthers

Another contender for shittiest game of the week. Regardless of whether Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer starts, Houston isn’t any good—especially without Arian Foster. Unless J.J. Watt manages to play the part of Bane by snapping Cam Newton’s back, Black Superman should be able to put the Panthers on his back for the victory. Then again, Carolina isn’t very good and occupies the same status as Atlanta—a contender in their division only. It’s possible the Texans could eek out a win. But I wouldn’t call it probable. Maybe questionable at best.

Win: Carolina Panthers

Ravens @ Raiders

Baltimore will be hungry for a win after choking last week in Denver. Oakland is without David Carr, which puts Matt McGloin in at quarterback for the Raiders. Yes, that is a true statement and not a pitiful simulation of reality in a Madden video game. The Ravens would need that human pelican Joe Flacco to shove footballs in his gullet to choke badly enough to lose against this pathetic Raiders team.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Dolphins @ Jaguars

By definition, every game involving the Jaguars is guaranteed to be an awful television experience. Fortunately for Jacksonville, the Titans/Browns game is the shittiest matchup of this week’s slate. If Miami cannot dominate their in-state competition, then we will know the Dolphins are pretenders rather than contenders. After nearly giving away last week’s game to Washington, my level of faith in Miami is fading. Ryan Tannehill’s ceiling may simply be that of a more mobile Alex Smith. Even at his worst, Tannehill is substantially better than what Blake Bortles has shown in his stint as an NFL QB. I cannot even envision what would need to happen for the Jaguars to win this game. Ryan Tannehill would basically need to have the worst performance of his career. Even career backup Matt Moore should be capable of guiding the Dolphins to a victory.

Win: Miami Dolphins

Cowboys @ Eagles

It was so satisfying to see Chip Kelly’s offensive philosophy fail so spectacularly last week. On the other hand, it would have been nearly as satisfying to see Dallas choke even after New York put them perfectly in the position to win last week. Again, these things seem to balance themselves out sooner than later. If the Cowboys can get out to an early lead and control the clock, a victory would be a monumental early step distancing themselves from every division foe. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like it will be that easy.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Seahawks @ Packers

Just copy + paste my rant about the Patriots here. Let’s not forget about the rampant PED abuse in Seattle over the past few years. Cheating and being unlikeable is a bad combination. Although Seattle seems likely to even their record, it won’t be easy on the road at Lambeau in Green Bay. The Packers will need to ride Aaron Rodgers and his health is back to normal compared to the last time Green Bay gifted Seattle another stroll to the Super Bowl. Hopefully the rest of the supporting cast is up to the task of helping Rodgers secure a 2-0 record with a home victory on the not yet frozen tundra.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Jets @ Colts

After predictably embarrassing themselves against Buffalo, the Colts better be ready to play the same type of swarming defense that gave them trouble. Indianapolis still has an offensive line patched together with Frankenstein parts protecting the most indispensible NFL QB. Oh, and the defensive is just as awful. Fortunately, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets starting QB and the team has little to no talent in the supporting offensive cast. If Indianapolis doesn’t want Marcus Mariota cruising to a division crown, then the Colts need to prove they can beat the Jets.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Steelers @ Patriots

Fuck Tom Brady. Despite Brady’s 4-game suspension being lifted, is there any rational human being who believes Tom Brady and the Patriots did nothing wrong? New England escaped scot-free after being caught red-handed spying and illegally recording opposing teams. Belicheat even went so low as to disguise a team employee to gain locker room access and steal the opponent’s first 20 scripted plays. The Patriot Way: Lie. Cheat. Steal. In no way have the Patriots been vindicated. Instead, they now get to cling tightly to their victim complex and will make a point to obnoxiously pile up scores in meaningless occasions—just like in the aftermath of SpyGate. The only thing stopping New England from home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is an injury to Rob Gronkowski. Make no mistake, Gronk is the heartbeat of this team. Without that big dumb polar bear manhandling defenders and just generally wrecking shit, Tom Brady would turn back into the thoroughly mediocre shell that more closely resembled Alex Smith. Remember when we thought Brady’s career was over? Before his skeletal system was secretly infused with adamantium as part of the Weapon-X Program, Gronk used to have bones made of glass. He was so brittle that Gronk once got hurt on a fucking extra point attempt.

Here’s to hoping Magneto makes a cameo to dismantle Gronk and tear apart the Patriots.

Goodell should automatically force New England’s opponents to sign current free agent safety Bernard Pollard every week just for the chance that he can work some of his patented Patriots-killing magic.

Win: New England Patriots

Colts @ Bills

Rex Ryan

I love Andrew Luck. Unfortunately, the Colts seem destined to waste his career in the same manner as Peyton Manning. You can draft or sign all of the offensive skill position players available, but that’s not what turns NFL teams into perennial Super Bowl contenders. I’ve never seen anyone command an offense like Peyton Manning. In his prime, he was a surgeon in total control. But that’s only one side of the ball. Fast forward a decade and the front office still has the same philosophical issues. The offensive line is a laughable sieve (after misplacing millions investing in inferior talent) and Indianapolis’ defense is similarly inept. I hope I’m wrong about this game, but I expect the Colts to have too many issues containing Tyrod Taylor and preventing anyone from running all over them. With so many media darlings selecting the Colts, Dolphins, Rams, and Vikings as their beloved underdogs, one or all of these teams will shit the bed to start the season. Frank Gore and Andre Johnson are five years or so past their prime and assuredly not the answer to what ails Indianapolis. Fuck Rex Ryan and his gross foot fetish.

Win: Buffalo Bills

Packers @ Bears

It’s a fresh new start for Smokin’ Jay and the Chicago Bears. Sadly, it still has the same stale stench of old cigarette smoke. Can you imagine the screaming and horrified looks on the faces of Packers fans if the Bears pull off this upset? Everyone would be proclaiming the sky is falling. Even if Randall Cobb gets hurt, Aaron Rodgers won’t let that happen. Green Bay could bring Donald Driver’s decrepit corpse out of retirement, and Aaron Rodgers would still perfectly place enough passes to throw him open for 10 TDs. Unless Rodgers gets hurt, the Packers will roll and make it an ugly start for the John Fox Era.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Seahawks @ Rams

St. Louis is the new Tampa Bay. For some reason, everyone has hope that this will be the Year of the Ram. After the first few weeks, that dream comes crashing down and the realization sets in that they’re still the same mediocre team. Nick Foles is an improvement on the revolving door of backups St. Louis has recently employed once the inevitable Sam Bradford injury occurred. Good news, Rams fans, Todd Gurley might now give you the running back equivalent of Sam Bradford! I can’t wait to never find out if Gurley can ever reach his full potential. Foles isn’t capable of carrying a ragtag group of receivers and the random default faces running the ball. Although Seattle isn’t the same dominant team, this game against the Rams probably won’t serve as evidence of that notion.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Browns @ Jets

Congratulations to the NFL for creating an opening week match-up that the team’s own fanbases don’t want to watch. Are you ready for some FOOOOOOOTBAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!

Win: New York Jets

Dolphins @ Redskins

Miami might have the best shot at stealing the division away from New England (except that’s not going to happen), but the Dolphins are bland and slightly above average. Joe Philbin is not going to outsmart many coaches, but it’s a toss-up when Jay Gruden is involved. Washington gives a bad name to three-ring circuses with their awful abomination of a franchise. Even if Dan Snyder claims to be honoring Native Americans with the nickname Redskins, it’s an embarrassment to be associated with this franchise. It would be so Redskins for RG Knee to be forced into action so he can get injured and guarantee his millions due in 2016. Let’s all collectively put this on our dream boards of hate.

Win: Miami Dolphins

Panthers @ Jaguars

Carolina is definitely one of last year’s playoff teams that will not be returning to the Promised Land. At least the Panthers won’t languish in NFL Hell like Jacksonville. The Jaguars might be improved, but they’re still a doormat that should have never existed. Carolina will go as far as Cam Newton is able to drag them on their back. Fortunately, the Panthers are in a division where 7-9 could actually be the best record. According to the NFL, that is parity, not mediocrity.

Win: Carolina Panthers

Chiefs @ Texans

Alex Smith vs. Brian Hoyer! If Kansas City wants to surpass Denver and distance themselves from San Diego, they need to win these gift-wrapped games against cellar dwellers. Expect Jeremy Maclin to record Kansas City’s first TD to a wide receiver in over a year. Over the long haul, TE Travis Kelce will likely dominate receptions for the Chiefs as Alex Smith’s blankie on underneath passes.

Win: Kansas City Chiefs

Saints @ Cardinals

While delusional Cardinals fans won’t acknowledge it, Arizona and New Orleans are in the same tier of NFL hierarchy. Arizona has somehow managed to be incredibly lucky over the last two seasons despite suffering substantial QB injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. Both Logan Thomas and Ryan Lindley actually played for the playoff-bound Cardinals last year. Arizona’s makeshi(f)t offensive line will likely lead to more injuries before the season is through. But have no fear, Matt Barkley is here! All of the pressure is on the Cardinals defense to steady the team. Although talented, Arizona has placed the defensive responsibility into the hands of a coordinator without any experience. Learning on the job is not exactly ideal, but the Cardinals have enough playmakers like Tyrann Mathieu to at least be an 8-8 team. New Orleans has a higher ceiling if everything clicks, but the Saints’ boom-or-bust potential is likely to go kablooey with a mid-season Rob Ryan firing to make him the scapegoat.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Lions @ Chargers

A perfect match-up for people who only care about Fantasy Football. In all likelihood, this will be a high scoring game that is still boring. I have zero faith in Matt Stafford. But I hate Philip Rivers even more than my distrust in that big-jawed yokel. Both Detroit and San Diego could challenge for the crown in their respective divisions. A more likely scenario is what we’ve seen in recent years: average teams with disappointing finishes to end the year.

Win: San Diego Chargers

Ravens @ Broncos

Peyton Manning has earned my undying faith. Although he can’t feel his fingertips, I expect Manning to still lob his fair share of lame duck TD passes again. Gary Kubiak looks like a cheesy villain in a Bond movie rather than an NFL head coach. If there’s a brain rattling around in his thick skull, Denver will limit Peyton Manning to fewer than 30 pass attempts each game with a stronger commitment to running. You can anticipate an early struggle for Manning, but the Broncos are a playoff contender even if Peyton is doing his best late-career Pedro Martinez impersonation getting by on pure guile and grit.

Win: Denver Broncos

Bengals @ Raiders

Cincinnati would be the same team with David Carr instead of Andy Dalton—if not better. On the other hand, Oakland would be considerably worse with that erratic ginger. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders take a stride towards respectability. The Bengals are a prime candidate to stagnate like pond water. In this match-up, Cincinnati’s defense should do enough to secure the victory.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Titans @ Buccaneers

Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston aren’t enough of a reason to watch this game. Maybe it’s proper motivation to check out the “highlights”, but a Week 1 match-up of rookie QBs is a recipe for shitty football. The difference between Tennessee and Tampa Bay is the talent surrounding these rookies.

Win: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Giants @ Cowboys

Why haven’t the Giants gotten Eli any help over the past few years? Odell Beckham Jr. flashes superstar potential, but a dynamic No. 1 receiver is probably the easiest weapon to contain with double coverage. New York still doesn’t have a running back to alleviate pressure off Peyton’s dumb looking brother. And this isn’t the same Giants defense that dismantled the Patriots in two Super Bowls. The most interesting thing about the Giants this year is whether or not we’ll see Jason Pierre-Paul’s mangled stumpy hand. I want to see the aftermath of that damage more than any New York game this year. Dallas will take a step back without DeMarco Murray and worse talent on defense, but they just need to fend off Philadelphia.

Win: Dallas Cowboys

Eagles @ Falcons

Hopefully this Chip Kelly Experiment will explode in spectacular fashion with a string of racial slurs when Sam Bradford suffers another catastrophic leg injury. As long as he manages to stay healthy, Bradford will light up the scoreboard and have Eagles fans foaming from their mouths…even more than usual. How many weeks will it take for Atlanta to realize that hiring Pete Carroll’s most recent defensive underling does not mean you will build the same defensive juggernaut? I would be shocked if Philadelphia doesn’t rack up 400+ total yards on offense against the awful Atlanta Falcons.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Vikings @ 49ers

What will be more entertaining this year: Jim Tomsula’s press conferences or the actual 49ers games? I, for one, have my money on Tomsula comparing his team to a sandwich and evading the most bland, basic questions. I feel slightly bad for Tomsula being the cemetery caretaker for this dumpster fire of a franchise.

Win: Minnesota Vikings

Overall: 170-96
Last Week: 0-2…but not really

Patriots @ Seahawks

Who the fuck cares about this game?

This year’s Super Bowl is the least interesting match-up in a long while. Outside of New England and the Pacific Northwest, who seriously cares about either the Patriots or Seahawks? Both franchises feature so many obnoxious and downright unlikable players like Tom Brady, LeGarette Blount, Russell Wilson, and Richard Sherman. For as much shit that has been thrown at Marshawn Lynch for his refusal to speak with the media, no player in the history of sports has quit his way to success like Patriots RB LeGarette Blount. I haven’t even mentioned the patriarchs of each team—Despicable Me evil villain Bill Belicheat and Coach Double Rainbow (yeah, dude, bro) Pete Carroll.

For the record, I’m fine with someone dropping a nuclear bomb on the Super Bowl. I would die from the blast or the fallout would reach me 30 minutes away from the stadium. But at least I would die knowing that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, and Richard Sherman all died horrible deaths. Somehow, Rob Gronkowski would emerge from rubble unscathed and dancing shirtless.

Try as I might, I cannot hate him. Rob Gronkowski is a polar bear.

Polar Bear

Even if Gronk carries the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory in a decade, I personally feel the entire run of New England under the Belicheat Regime is (at the least) tainted or (at the worst) invalidated. In their 3 Super Bowl wins in the early 2000s, the Patriots beat their opponents by a combined 9 times. Heap all the adoration you want onto Tom Brady’s shoulders, but New England won every Super Bowl on the strength of an Adam Vinatieri game-winning field goal.

While the topic of underblown balls has become completely overblown, you would think Seattle’s laundry list of PED suspensions (including Richard Sherman’s reversal on a shady Adderall claim) might be newsworthy. Especially since it coincides with the recent success of the Seahawks over the last few years. Maybe Seattle just has a bunch of players with short attention spans and learning deficiencies. Or the Seahawks have found a convenient excuse for PED usage because teams don’t truly have to release the real reason behind a positive test.

Despite the hype of DeflateGate, the most revealing aspect of this scandal is that New England is still trying to do everything possible to gain an unfair advantage. Clearly, the removal of draft picks is not a sufficient deterrent after New England was already caught red-handed videotaping other teams. What happened to those tapes? In all his infinite wisdom, Roger Goodell destroyed the goddamn tapes.

Why? You can’t have evidence of the greatest coach in NFL history blatantly cheating.

 

Oh, and remember that time the Patriots harbored a murdered? The Aaron Hernandez murder trial of Odin Lloyd starts tomorrow. Apparently, jurors can watch the Super Bowl as long as Aaron Hernandez isn’t mentioned—monitored by the judge. But the jurors must leave the room if his name comes up. If the media coverage leading up to the Super Bowl is any indication, the jurors will get to watch the game uninterrupted. How many teams can say they drafted a player who went on to savagely murder several people? Right now, I believe the body county has climbed to possibly 3 in which we’re presently aware—not mentioning a handful of questionable instances during college.

Regardless, the Patriots are willing to do anything in the name of winning. When Aaron Hernandez finally got caught, Bill Belichick tore a hamstring running to the waiver wire to release him. Just like that, the entire Patriots franchise stepped back from any responsibility and washed their hands of the whole situation. It’s not our fault.

Accountability seems to be a perpetual issue for the Patriots. From last week’s batshit crazy press conferences, it was abundantly clear that both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were brazenly lying to the general public. Tom Brady can continue to be Teflon under pressure in football games, but I found out all I needed to know about Tom Brady as a human being when he cracked in the face of rather mundane media questions. There’s no need to be rattled if you’re only telling the truth. Instead of admitting that he ordered employees of the Patriots to rub down and deflate his balls, Tom Brady gave a fake laugh and immediately tried to brush off the controversy in a radio interview after the AFC Championship. Remember, Tom Brady led the charge years ago to allow road teams to prepare the footballs before games.

Tom Brady can just flash that smile and everything goes away. Everyone already forgot about Tom Brady’s hair plugs. Speaking of rugs, scandals don’t matter when you’re successful because anything can get swept under the rug.

Lie, cheat, and steal: The Patriot Way.

Patriot Way

Win: New England Patriots, 28-25

Overall: 170-94
Last Week: 3-1

Last week, I went 3-1 but lost the only game that mattered. I would gladly trade that meaningless 3-1 for a 1-3 record if it meant we got to watch Peyton Manning in another AFC Championship match—preferably against Tom Brady. But it was clear Peyton Manning was 60-65% with a partially torn quad.

Everyone knows we’re destined for a Super Bowl showcasing Patriots vs. Seahawks. And Bill Belicheat will uncover a new evil genius way to skirt the rules, but Tom Brady will still get all of the credit.

Because “clutch” exists. The thought makes me want to vomit. In two weeks, the likes of Bill Belicheat, Tom Brady, Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman, and Russell Wilson will invade Arizona—where I currently reside. I hate these people with a fevered passion. I think I will have to leave for a while so I am not within 30 minutes of them at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Since the Super Bowl slate seems inevitable, I’ll throw caution to the wind and put any ounce of power I possess into making the arguments on how the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts can pull off the upset win. Why? Because the thought exercise will make me happier than continuing to mope about seeing more of the Patriots and Seahawks. I don’t care if I get both games wrong this week. Hopefully there’s some karmic influence that can create an Aaron Rodgers vs. Andrew Luck dream Super Bowl.

Packers @ Seahawks

If Aaron Rodgers were 100% healthy, I could find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the Packers against the Seahawks and Coach Double Rainbow (Pete Carroll). But without complete mobility to escape the pressure of Seattle’s quick defensive front, Green Bay will struggle to convert on 3rd Down. The Packers will need to give Eddie Lacy a healthy dose of carries to knock Seattle around. James Starks also needs to be involved to provide a change of pace and quick burst on screen passes. And just when the Seahawks can’t take the abuse of being run ragged, Green Bay should start Randall Cobb in the backfield and shift him all around to gift him separation and the opportunity to make plays.

Aaron Rodgers is great, but executing a lethal running attack is the way the Packers win. Mike McCarthy may not have the commitment to stick with the run if it falters for any stretch, but a limited Aaron Rodgers needs to be limited and simply pick his spots. When the ball is near the goal line, only then should Rodgers risk scrambling. The way Rodgers performed last week against the Cowboys was admirable, but that was the Dallas defense playing a lot of prevent packages. Seattle will blitz and put pressure on Green Bay’s offensive line, which means Rodgers needs to have a quick trigger with smart decision-making skills.

It’s not impossible, but a Green Bay win in an uphill climb. The Packers need more than just Aaron Rodgers to win this game. Focus on a strong, punishing running attack should do wonders to help keep the game close—especially limiting Seattle’s chances to score more than 24+ points. The recipe is there if the supporting cast can step up, but Green Bay can’t avoid many mistakes.

Win: Green Bay Packers, 26-23

Colts @ Patriots

Andrew Luck was the silver lining to last week’s unfortunate outcome for an injured Peyton Manning. As a franchise, the Colts couldn’t be in more capable hands than Andrew the Giant. Watching Andrew Luck play is a different experience than any other QB. Luck oozes a certain intensity and physicality that’s typical from a linebacker. While the confidence is much-deserved, the decision-making isn’t always rational as Luck attempts to rocket passes into tight windows through multiple defenders. Just like his face, it isn’t always pretty. Indianapolis was lucky that Luck’s interceptions were glorified punts.

It didn’t cost the team the game, but it might this week against New England.

In order for Indianapolis to win, Andrew Luck needs to play his greatest game ever. New England’s defense has a stout front line, versatile linebackers, and a Hall of Fame cornerback that enables Bill Belicheat to be creative and scheme different ways to dissect an offense. Luck needs to kill the Patriots scrambling with his legs and using his physical prowess to simply overpower everyone.

Luck Slobber

Marshawn Lynch can have his Beast Mode, but Andrew Luck needs to unlock Caveman Mode.

“I’m pretty sure Luck spends his offseason training with grizzly bears, pulling salmon out of the White River with his horse teeth, and fueling Bigfoot sightings all over rural Indiana.” – Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Don’t be surprised if Andrew Luck steals a page out of Peyton Manning’s playbook by employing Peyton’s patented double-stiff arm—where he stuffs the football under his chin and just pushes everyone out of the way with both arms. I’m afraid Indianapolis played their best all-around game against Denver. A repeat performance against a stronger, healthier Patriots team seems so unlikely.

Along with Luck and luck, the Colts will need an inhuman performance from Daniel Herron. Running up the gut with a small RB that likes to call himself Boom will result in Vince Wilfork eating him whole and digesting his bones. Indianapolis needs to use their lateral quickness against New England’s linebackers instead of going right into the bellies of their fat defensive linemen.

The only time I’ve stood in an NFL stadium was November 19, 2005. It is now known as the 4th and 2 Game. With a few seconds before the two-minute warning and the Patriots up 34-28, Bill Belicheat didn’t want to give Peyton Manning the ball so Tom Brady went for it on 4th and 2 with a short pass to Kevin Faulk. Maybe it was a crazy call since New England was around the 30-yard line in their own territory.

But I would still defend that call. I was in that stadium. The feeling in that stadium was palpable. It didn’t matter what the distance was to score the touchdown. If you gave Peyton Manning the ball, he was driving the length of the field and he was scoring that touchdown. No one doubted it.

Once the Colts drove Kevin Faulk into the ground, Peyton Manning predictably drove the length and threw that TD for a Colts win, 35-34. History might repeat itself in this game. Even at this early stage, Andrew Luck has reached that point where the opponent is afraid what will happen when he has the ball. Anything can happen. Success or disaster is only a throw away.

Maybe, just maybe Andrew Luck can pull that horseshoe out of his ass.

Luck Yay!

Win: Indianapolis Colts, 35-34