2021 NFL Preview & Prognostications

Just a few days ago I was pretty excited about the return of football with capacity crowds and business as usual, but now The Sickness has grabbed headlines again and it seems as though that sense of normalcy could be in jeopardy. At the moment no sweeping proclamations have been made, but stay tuned. In the meantime we shall proceed.

The biggest news outside of Covid related chaos is the NFL’s expansion to a 17 game regular season. To achieve that teams played one less pre-season game, so the only people really affected are the fringe players trying to make a team’s roster. There are always old faces in new places, teams with new coaches, and overhyped rookies looking to become the next Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Randy Moss, or Lawrence Taylor, and we’ll have a much better idea in a few months how all of that might shake out. For now it’s all guesswork, but atleast it’s fun, and I am glad that I feel encouraged enough to bring back this preview after a one year hiatus. As always the team’s record from the previous season is in parentheses, with the predicted record for this season following it. And remember…no wagering. I am not a professional and most of the time I’m not very good at this.

North

Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) 10-7

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) 10-7

Cleveland Browns (11-5) 9-8

Baltimore Ravens (11-5) 8-9

I think Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow is the real deal, and he’s going to surprise a lot of people. The Browns might be a bit of a surprise too, but I don’t believe it will be in a good way. Everyone assuming they are the presumed division champs will likely be wrong. Am I undervaluing the Ravens?? Perhaps. But every team can’t have a winning record and make the playoffs, and in a highly competitive division my vibe is that Baltimore will run into some problems and fall short of expectations (actually those problems have already began with the loss of starting tailback JK Dobbins to a torn ACL).

East

Buffalo Bills (13-3) 11-6

New York Jets (2-14) 8-9

New England Patriots (7-9) 8-9

Miami Dolphins (10-6) 7-10

The Bills have to be considered amongst the favorites in the conference. To be honest I thought QB Josh Allen was a bad choice as the 7th overall pick in the draft a few years ago, but he’s doing a pretty good job of proving me wrong thus far. There’s no reason to believe Buffalo won’t dominate a division that is a mess otherwise. I think the Jets may have finally found a decent quarterback, and they also added some other pieces on both sides of the ball that make me think they won’t be the dumpster fire we’ve come to expect. The Patriots aren’t the same team without Tom Brady, and I’m not as confident in their rookie signal caller Mac Jones as I am in New York’s rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. The Dolphins might take a step back this season, but I hope they aren’t dumb enough to give up on second year QB Tua Tagavailoa. I believe they are building a solid team around him and good things are ahead, but it might take another year to gel.

West

Los Angeles Chargers (7-9) 11-6

Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) 10-7

Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) 7-10

Denver Broncos (5-11) 7-10

No one has been talking about the Chargers this offseason, and that might be a good thing. I always prefer to sneak up on people rather than have the pressure of lofty expectations. QB Justin Herbert acquitted himself quite well in his rookie campaign and there’s no reason to expect anything less this year. The Raiders & Broncos aren’t going to be any better than they were a year ago. I expect both teams to utilize multiple quarterbacks and need their defense to lead them to some victories. The stunner here is the KC Chiefs. Most talking heads will consider them legit Super Bowl contenders, but I think they’ll lose a dogfight for the division, sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard, and be watching the Super Bowl at home like the rest of us.

South

Tennessee Titans (11-5) 12-5

Indianapolis Colts (11-5) 11-6

Houston Texans (4-12) 5-12

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) 5-12

The Colts acquired QB Carson Wentz from Philly in the offseason, but will that do them any good?? Wentz can’t seem to stay healthy, and at the moment it’s a tossup as to whether he’ll be ready to go Week 1. That leaves the door open for Tennessee. RB Derrick Henry is a stud & receiver Julio Jones came over from Atlanta a few months ago. He’s 32 years old, but with AJ Brown in the lineup Jones won’t have the pressure of being the top wideout. Replacing tight end Jonnu Smith won’t be easy, and that may be the chink in the armor of the Titans’ offense. I’m not sure what to make of the Titans’ defense, although they did add former Steelers’ linebacker Bud Dupree. Watch time of possession in their games. I think they’ll dominate that and win a bunch of low scoring grinders. Everyone has heard more than enough about the Deshaun Watson situation in Houston and there are still a ton of questions. Will they trade him?? Will he be suspended for a big chunk of the season?? If Tyrod Taylor takes most of the snaps I think the Texans are in for a long season. I don’t have much faith in the Jags either, although I think new head coach Urban Meyer will build around rookie QB Trevor Lawrence and have his team in the playoff conversation a year or two from now, but losing first round draft pick Travis Etienne in the preseason doesn’t bode well for this season.

Playoff Teams: Bengals, Bills, Chargers, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Steelers

AFC Champion: Tennessee Titans

 

East

Washington Redskins (7-9) 10-7

Dallas Cowboys (6-10) 9-8

New York Giants (6-10) 7-10

Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) 5-12

I’m still not buying the Cowboys as legit Super Bowl contenders, although I believe QB Dak Prescott will be just fine returning from the ankle injury that torpedoed his season last year. I suppose the Giants could surprise me and be much better than they were a season ago, but my vibe is that they are just kind of treading water. It blows my mind to see how far the Eagles have fallen since winning the Super Bowl less than five years ago. Can Jalen Hurts make the leap from excellent college quarterback to solid NFL starter?? I think Philadelphia has a bunch of very good players on both sides of the ball, but they have lacked cohesion the past few seasons and I’m not sure that’s going to change. That leaves Washington as the favorite. Is their enough FitzMagic left in the 38 year old signal caller now playing for his ninth NFL team?? Having an elite defense led by Chase Young, Montez Sweat, & Landon Collins will certainly help.

West

Arizona Cardinals (8-8) 11-6

Los Angeles Rams (10-6) 10-7

Seattle Seahawks (12-4) 9-8

San Francisco 49ers (6-10) 7-10

This race is going to be fun to watch. Arizona & the Rams both made moves this summer, and whether or not they work out well one has to give them credit for not standing pat. Los Angeles thinks they have a better chance of advancing in the playoffs with 33 year old veteran QB Matthew Stafford than with 2016 top overall pick Jared Goff, who they shipped to Detroit. I think it might be a positive chain of events (eventually) for both guys. The Rams lost starting RB Cam Akers to injury but traded for former Patriot Sony Michel so I don’t believe the team will be negatively affected all that much. The defense, led by All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, should be stout. Having said that, I am giving a slight edge to the Cardinals, who added receivers DeAndre Hopkins & AJ Green and have a defensive unit featuring newly acquired defensive end JJ Watt, first round LB Zaven Collins, and a very talented secondary. Seattle has won 10+ games seven out of the past eight years and Russell Wilson is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but I feel like they’ll drop off just enough to miss the playoffs. ‘Frisco needs to decide on a quarterback, and once they do that I think they can get back on track, but that might be a couple of years from now.

North

Minnesota Vikings (7-9) 9-8

Green Bay Packers (13-3) 9-8

Chicago Bears (8-8) 6-11

Detroit Lions (5-11) 1-16

Or as ESPN’s Chris Berman used to call it, The Norris Division. I am sure I don’t have to rehash the Packers/Aaron Rodgers drama that has dominated offseason news, but I think it might be just enough of a distraction to cost them the division. The Lions have stunk most of my nearly five decades on the planet and I don’t think that will suddenly change in 2021. Much like the 49ers the Bears have a quarterback conundrum. Conventional wisdom says the smart thing to do is start either journeyman Andy Dalton or former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles under center, but we all know the pressure from fans & the media will lead to rookie Justin Fields being handed the keys to the kingdom. That decision will likely pay off down the road, but it creates chaos right now. So why am I so high on the Vikings?? I don’t know to be honest. Kirk Cousins isn’t spectacular, but he can be a very good quarterback at times and he has solid weapons at receiver & running back. The secondary could be one of the best in the NFL, and guys like Danielle Hunter & Anthony Barr should disrupt opposing offenses often. It won’t be pretty, but I think the Norris goes to the Vikes by a nose.


South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) 13-4

New Orleans Saints (12-4) 8-9

Atlanta Falcons (4-12) 6-11

Carolina Panthers (5-11) 5-12

I’ve stopped waiting for Tom Brady to fall of a cliff. That whole regimen of 25 glasses of water per day, fruit smoothies, fish, and lots of veggies apparently works because he proved a year ago that he deserves much more credit for the Patriots “dynasty” than Bill Belichick. I don’t expect much to change this season, and it helps that the rest of the division will probably struggle. New Orleans has named Jameis Winston as their new starting QB after the retirement of Drew Brees, and Winston is going to have to prove himself before I start to believe in him. I don’t anticipate much improvement by the Falcons or Panthers. Carolina must stop opposing defenses from stacking the box to stifle premier RB Christian McCaffery, and for that to happen former Jets first rounder Sam Darnold will need to finally live up to his potential. Atlanta got rid of receiver Julio Jones and I’m just not impressed by what remains.

Playoff Teams: Redskins, Cardinals, Vikings, Bucs, Cowboys, Rams, Packers

NFC Champion: Green Bay Packers

 

Tennessee Titans 24

Green Bay Packers 19

Top Five Picks in 2022 NFL Draft

1 Detroit Lions

2 Houston Texans

3 Jacksonville Jaguars

4 Carolina Panthers

5 Philadelphia Eagles

 

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 16

Better late than never, right?? We weren’t going to pick the Thursday night game anyway, so it’s all good. This is a pretty neat weekend for football fans. Not only are there NFL games on both Saturday and Sunday, but the college bowl season gets underway as well. I hope y’all have your Christmas shopping finished and can stay home vegging out & watching football. Last week was pretty rough for yours truly, as I went 0-5. The blow was softened just a bit when I won an exciting game in my dynasty league and made the playoff, so I’m excited about that. Zach fared a little better at 2-3, which means that he’s taken back the season lead. We’ll see what happens after this weekend.

My Season:        46-45

Z’s Season:        47-44

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia (-7.5)      at      NY Giants

Holy quarterback condundrums Batman!! The Eagles have lost QB Carson Wentz for the remainder of the season to a torn ACL. The good news is that they’ve already clinched the NFC East, and as far as backups go there are worse options than Nick Foles. The Giants have Eli Manning back under center after firing their coach a couple of weeks ago, but other than that I’m not sure there is any good news for them. The Giants are actually worse than the Jets right now. Who would’ve predicted that a few months ago?? Having said that, The Vibes are whispering to me. While I think Foles is a decent quarterback and Philly is obviously a talented team, any thoughts of them being a legit Super Bowl contender have gone away, and I think The G-Men might actually steal this game. Zach disagrees and is making the more logical choice.

My Pick:     NY Giants

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

 

Green Bay          at      Carolina (-3)

As opposed to the folks in Philadelphia the Cheeseheads have good quarterback news. Aaron Rodgers returns from injury this week, and the sports media has been slobbering all over themselves. It’s going to be an uphill climb for Green Bay to sneak into the playoffs, but it is still mathematically possible. The Panthers are in a dogfight for a playoff spot as well. They’ve won 5 out of their last 6 games after a rough first half of the season, and feel like they could become a formidable post-season threat. I’m all for heartwarming fairy tales, but I think Rodgers’ comeback might not go as well as many hope it will. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Carolina

Z’s Pick:     Carolina

 

 

 

Tennessee                  at      San Francisco (-2)

I really thought that the Titans were solid favorites to win the AFC South this season, but I don’t believe anybody saw the success of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the horizon. That being said, Tennessee is only one game out of first place and are in good wildcard position. Conversely, the 49ers are dwelling at the bottom of their division as has been the norm the past few years. I understand that it’s commonplace for the home team to be favored by about three points in NFL games, but I’m not sure why that would hold true in a game like this where the visiting team is clearly superior. Zach feels like Tennessee is too inconsistent and ‘Frisco is much better with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     San Francisco

 

 

 

LA Rams            at                Seattle (-2.5)

The Rams hold a one game lead in the NFC West, but Seattle’s home field advantage is one of the most daunting in the NFL. The Seahawks have been more…erratic…this season than we’re used to seeing, but when the chips are down in big games it’s hard to bet against QB Russell Wilson, meaning that if they can get into the playoffs all the questions & inconsistency will quickly be set aside. Meanwhile, the Rams, with all of their young talent, have really put things together this year, though they’ve also been a little up & down. If this game were being played in Los Angeles I might be inclined to take the underdogs because that’s just how I roll. However, the home field is just too much to overlook in this case. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

 

 

 

Atlanta (-6.5)               at      Tampa Bay

The NFC South is really interesting, with three teams being possible playoff contenders. One of those three, however, is not the Buccaneers. They’re currently on a three game losing streak, and that’s not even their worst skid of the season. I haven’t been paying enough attention to know exactly what has gone wrong, but I don’t foresee things suddenly turning around this weekend. The Falcons haven’t had smooth sailing this year after being in the Super Bowl last season, but they’ve done enough to still be in the playoff hunt and feel like they might be peaking at the right time. Zach likes Atlanta to win big.

My Pick:     Atlanta

Z’s Pick:     Atlanta

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 15

Greetings fellow football fans!! Since we are picking the Thursday night game this week and I am woefully behind I shall not be verbose today. ‘Tis the season, and yours truly has been a busy elf without actually getting anything accomplished. I’ve been meaning to curb my inclination toward procrastination for years but haven’t quite gotten there yet. At any rate, I was 4-1 in picking the conference title games, while Zach was 3-2. I have a few thoughts about how all of that worked out, but I’ll include them with our bowl picks. Stay tuned. For the purposes of this fun little weekly competition we move on to the NFL for the stretch run. Enjoy.

My Season:        46-40

Z’s Season:        45-41

 

 

 

 

 

New Orleans (-1.5)     at      Atlanta

The NFC South is rather competitive. There’s a good chance that two teams from the division will end up in the playoffs, but finishing first would obviously be preferable. This is the Thursday night game, which players reportedly hate but fans kind of enjoy. It’s interesting to me that the Falcons aren’t favored on their home field. Zach likes the Saints’ running game to take some of the pressure off quarterback Drew Brees.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     New Orleans

 

 

 

Indianapolis                at      Buffalo (-3)

It’s been a rough year for the Colts. They are completely lost without quarterback Andrew Luck, but it seems like a 3-9 team probably has more than just one issue. Meanwhile, the Bills have dropped 4 out of the last 5 games and have not only fallen four games behind New England but wouldn’t even qualify for a wildcard if the season ended today. They also have quarterback issues, as the coaches are seesawing back & forth between Tyrod Taylor and rookie Nathan Peterman. Taylor is injured and might not be available this week, and that’s bad news for Buffalo. Zach is aware of the Bills’ quarterback conundrum, but believes that Indy is so bad it doesn’t matter.

My Pick:     Indianapolis

Z’s Pick:     Buffalo

 

 

 

Minnesota (-2.5)                   at      Carolina

Vikings’ QB Case Keenum has been a topic of conversation this week. Is he legit?? Or can he ever really shed the stank of “journeyman backup”?? He’s done pretty well so far in 2017, to the point that there’s buzz about a Vikings Super Bowl run, which would conclude in February on their home field. But let’s not count out the Panthers just yet. They’re right in the mix in the aforementioned NFC South and have won 4 out of their last 5. The matchup to watch is Carolina quarterback Cam Newton versus the Minnesota defense, and I am a firm believer that defense wins championships. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Minnesota

Z’s Pick:     Minnesota

 

 

 

Philadelphia                at      L.A. Rams (-2)

In my season preview I predicted these teams to go a combined 11-21. Obviously I was wrong. Second year Rams QB Jared Goff has emerged as one of the best in the league, but of course so has Eagles QB Carson Wentz. I’m not sure Los Angeles has much of a home field advantage, but I can’t resist leaning in that direction. Zach thinks Philly will bounce back from last week’s loss and prove to be just a little better than the Rams.

My Pick:     L.A. Rams

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

 

Seattle                          at      Jacksonville (-3.5)

Ask most football fans and they’ll likely tell you they’re not quite ready to believe in the Jags just yet. It’s hard to get past the whole Blake Bortles thing. Conversely, the Legion of Boom has imploded and Seattle is a game behind in the NFC West, but a lot of folks would still consider them among the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. Fair?? Probably not, but that’s the situation. Jacksonville needs this win to quiet the doubters, while the Seahawks seeks to keep pace with the Rams. If the game were being played in Seattle it’d be an easy pick, but since it’s not there is reason for hesitation. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 8

kickoff_footballFirst, a few random thoughts.

  • I was wrong…the Carolina Panthers have indeed fallen victim to the Super Bowl curse. I honestly never saw it coming.
  • I am perfectly aware that my WV Mountaineers have virtually no shot to make the college football playoff, even if they go undefeated, something that I don’t think is going to happen anyway. However, recent comments by former NY Giants DB turned talking head Jason Sehorn were unprofessional & unnecessary.
  • Alabama is such a machine that I’ve grown bored with them.
  • I’m not surprised that the New England Patriots are that damn good…I’m just not happy about it.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is the starting QB on my fantasy dynasty team. Thank God Derek Carr is my backup.
  • What the hell is wrong with the Big 12?? The number “12” is in the name…they should be compelled to add two members!!
  • I’m really surprised about how much Notre Dame & Michigan St. have fallen since last season.

Okay, so last week Zach was 3-4, while I went 5-2. Yay…I’m above .500!! Let’s see how it goes this week.

My Season:        21-20

Z’s Season:        14-28

 

 

 

 

BYU                 at             Boise St. (-7)

byuThe Broncos are 6-0 and ranked 14th in the country, having defeated some pretty solid competition. However, let’s BOISE-ST-LOGOnot overlook the 4-3 Cougars, who lost those three games by a total of 7 points. They’ve got a RB named Jamaal Williams who will be playing on Sundays next year. I’m going to roll the dice and pick the upset. Conversely, Zach has concerns about BYU’s defense and thinks Boise will win in a blowout.

My Pick:   BYU

Z’s Pick:   Boise St.

 

Miami, FL                at             Virginia Tech (-6)

miamiu2Ahhhh…it’s a battle of former Big East foes, both of whom abandoned the conference for the ACC and killed the Big East. At Virginia_Tech_Hokies2any rate, both programs seem to be on the cusp of relevance again. I know the Hurricanes have lost two in a row and the Hokies were beaten by Syracuse last week, but I still think both can win 9 or 10 games and get a major bowl bid. Obviously the winner of this game will be in better shape. Tech is getting the home field bump, but I believe Miami is the better team. Zach can’t overlook the home field advantage and likes the favored Hokies.

My Pick:   Miami, FL

Z’s Pick:   Virginia Tech

 

 

Arkansas                at             Auburn (-10)

Okay…so, neither of these teams have a snowball’s chance in Brazil of winning the SEC or even their division. But the Razorbacks, at 5-2, and the arkansas-razorback-logoTigers, at 4-2, can both still have great seasons. A victory here would certainly help. Auburn is getting a big home field bump, but that seems odd. The points are a bit much and I’m not buying it. Zach concurs.

My Pick:   Arkansas

Z’s Pick:   Arkansas

 

 

NY Giants (-2.5)      vs.   L.A. Rams

laramsBefore the season I predicted that the Rams would go 3-13. They’ve already gotten three wins and we aren’t even to the Giants Logomidpoint of the season. More surprising than that is the fact that they’re doing well with Case Keenum under center and #1 overall draft pick Jared Goff hasn’t even smelled the field. Imagine what they could be doing if they’d chosen Carson Wentz or Paxton Lynch. Meanwhile, the always unpredictable Giants are also 3-3. They really need to find a better running back, but as long as Odell Beckham is around being an elite receiver they have a fighting chance. This game is being played in London and will start at 9:30am here in America. In other words no one will be watching. I’m going to walk on the wild side and pick the upset…for no apparent reason. Zach likes OBJ to have another big day and lead the Giants to victory.

My Pick:   LA Rams

Z’s Pick:   NY Giants

 

Minnesota (-2.5)     at     Philadelphia

Everybody has been impressed with rookie QB Wentz, but after a 3-0 start the Eagles have lost two straight. Meanwhile, Sam Bradford, who was vikingstraded to Minnesota from Philly a couple of months ago, has led the Vikings to a 5-0 record. When QB Teddy Bridgewater was lost to injury I assumed Minnesota’s playoff hopes had ended, but I was wrong. Really wrong. I suppose they’ll lose at some point, but I don’t think it’ll be this week, even in enemy territory. Zach likes the Vikings’ defense and believes that will be the difference.

My Pick:   Minnesota

Z’s Pick:   Minnesota

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

cfoot2As I sit here writing this there is an NFL game, hockey’s opening night, the MLB playoffs, & a college football game all on at the same time. It’s the most stimulating experience I’ve had in many moons. At any rate, bonus picks didn’t really work out so well for either one of us last week, but I’m nothing if not persistent so we’re going to try again. Zach was 3-5, while I broke even at 4-4. We picked LSU/Florida, but they didn’t play because of Hurricane Matthew. That game has been rescheduled for mid-November. As of right now Alabama, Clemson, Washington, & the winner of Ohio St./Michigan look like the favorites to get into the NCAA playoff, while the NFL is being dominated by the Vikings, Cowboys, Broncos, & Falcons. Of course the cool thing about sports is that all of that could change in a single day.

My Season:        16-18

Z’s Season:        11-24

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama (-13)              at      Tennessee

tennessee_volunteers_football_iphone_wallpaperThe Tide hasn’t really been challenged much this season, winning every game by atleast 19 points with the exception of a 5 AlabamaCrimsonTide2point thriller against Ole Miss. The Vols were on a roll until they ran up against Texas A&M last weekend. Perhaps they were looking ahead to this game. When revealing my pre-season Top 25 I opined that “it would surprise me less if this team actually lost 3 or 4 games than it would if they’d go undefeated”. Of course I also had Oklahoma & LSU in my Top 5, so what do I know?? As a fan I am hoping for a great game, and that would necessitate something closer than 13 points. I’m not all that confident about it, but that’s the direction I’ll go. Conversely, Zach has faith in ‘Bama’s defense and believes they’ll win by a comfortable margin.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     Alabama

 

 

Northwestern              at      Michigan St. (-4.5)

Northwestern_WildcatsNeither team is going to win the Big Ten (which has 14 teams), but with identical 2-3 records this is a game that could swing Michigan_State_Spartansthe momentum one way or the other and lead to a season to either feel alright about or flush completely from the memory. I’m no psychologist, but I assume that the rocky start isn’t a shock for the Wildcats, and a win here would be a giant boost to their morale. Conversely, the Spartans have been very successful in recent years, especially last season when they were in the playoffs. Recent events have to be rather disconcerting to them. I think Northwestern comes into this contest hyped up and ready to turn things around, while Michigan St.’s spirit may have already been broken. Zach thinks Northwestern is too inconsistent and believes Michigan St.’s defense will get the job done.

My Pick:     Northwestern

Z’s Pick:     Michigan St.

 

 

Stanford                       at      Notre Dame (-3)

photo.stanfordtreeUsually this is an important game between two highly ranked teams. This year…not so much. The Irish lost half their team to NotreDame1the NFL and are currently 2-4. Stanford has seen the Heisman buzz for RB/WR Christian McCaffrey virtually disappear in the throes of a two game losing streak that has them at 3-2. Part of me believes that Notre Dame HAS to win this game, since pride & defending their home turf are about the only worthy goals remaining, but I can’t fight this feeling that Stanford…atleast for this season…is the better team. Zach likes Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer and thinks he’ll lead the Irish to victory.

My Pick:     Stanford

Z’s Pick:     Notre Dame

 

 

Ohio St. (-10)               at      Wisconsin

I didn’t have the Badgers anywhere near my pre-season Top 25. I just didn’t see any room for them to succeed in the loaded Big Ten. However, they WisconsinBadgersare capably filling the Top 10 spot I thought would be held by the faltering Iowa Hawkeyes. Of course no one is surprised by the 5-0 Buckeyes, who’ve barely broken a sweat thus far. That’ll change this week. I’d be surprised if Ohio St. lost, but I don’t think they’ll win by double digits on the road. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Wisconsin

Z’s Pick:     Wisconsin

 

 

Philadelphia (-2.5)      at      Washington

Washington_Redskins_logoThe NFC East might be the best, most competitive division in the NFL. Dallas is better than I thought they’d be, and the NY philadelphia_eagles-3715Giants are hanging around. This is an important game for Philly & the Redskins since the winner would stay on pace with the Cowboys. Rookie QB Carson Wentz has been impressive for the 3-1 Eagles, while the 3-2 Redskins don’t have much of a running attack and have relied completely on QB Kirk Cousins. It’s interesting that Washington isn’t getting the usual home field bump. The oddsmakers clearly have an opinion on which is the better team, but I’m going to go against the grain and pick the upset. Zach literally flipped a coin…I think…and is going with the favorites.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

Carolina (-3)                 at      New Orleans

New-Orleans-Saints-Logo-244x300In my NFL Preview I stated that I didn’t think the Panthers would fall prey the usual foibles of Super Bowl losers. That assessment CarolinaPanthersmay have been wrong. Not only is Carolina 1-4, but QB Cam Newton has been concussed and missed last week’s game. It looks like he’ll be back this week, and fortunately for he & his struggling team they face the equally dismal 1-3 Saints. Or is it fortunate?? The Superdome will be rockin’, and what better way to right the ship then for Drew Brees to lead his troops past the defending NFC champs?? I’m not sure either team can catch the Atlanta Falcons in the division, but a win here could conceivably catapult the victor into wildcard contention. Zach is looking for a high scoring game and thinks Newton will lead his team to a win.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     Carolina

 

 

Dallas                           at      Green Bay (-4.5)

Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetThis should be a really good game. Rookie QB Dak Prescott has been better than Cowboys fans could have ever expected in thedallas-cowboys-logo2 absence of Tony Romo, and fellow rookie Zeke Elliot might be the best running back in the NFL at the moment. I am not among those that think that Romo has already lost his starting gig, but I’m sure he’ll be on a short leash upon his return. For the powers-that-be in Dallas it’s a nice problem to have. Meanwhile, the Packers seem like a forgotten team, lost in the shadow of division foe Minnesota. If Prescott can go into the unfriendly environment of The Frozen Tundra and snag a victory I’ll be more than impressed…but I don’t believe that’s going to happen. Zach, on the other hand, likes the Cowboys’ offensive line a lot and thinks they are a legit title contender.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 6

football2I don’t feel particularly verbose today. Last week Zach was 0-5, while I fared a little better at 3-2. In an effort to get back on the right track we’re doing some bonus picks this week. It will either help right the ship, or it’ll totally blow up in our faces. We’ll see.

My Season:         12-14

Z’s Season:          8-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington (-8)                   at      Oregon

oregonThe Huskies are for real folks. They proved that by destroying Stanford and pretty much nailing the coffin shut on Christian washington2McCaffrey’s Heisman hopes. The Ducks are 2-3 and have dropped completely off the grid. However it should be noted that two of those three losses have been by 4 or less points. I have a difficult time fathoming that a team that has been highly ranked and super competitive for several years now has all the sudden become terrible overnight. That doesn’t mean that I believe they’ll win this game, or that I’m not sold on Washington. I just think that, especially in the friendly environment of Eugene, it’ll be much closer than 8 points. Zach is all in on Washington and thinks that Oregon looks like a team in a rebuilding phase.

My Pick:     Oregon

Z’s Pick:     Washington

 

 

Arizona               at      Utah (-9.5)

The Utes were on a 4-0 roll until being upset by the Cal Bears last weekend. Conversely, the Wildcats are an up & down 2-3. The points concern me utah2just a little, but I’m going to take a chance and predict that Utah covers. Zach thinks both of these teams are a bit unpredictable, but he too is picking Utah.

My Pick:     Utah

Z’s Pick:     Utah

 

 

Texas                  at      Oklahoma (-10)

TEXAS LONGHORNS.1271817676They used to call this the Red River Shootout until the PC Police got their panties twisted, so now it is dubbed the much tamer oklahoma2Red River Rivalry. Word on the street is that the powers-that-be in Austin are ready to shove head coach Charlie Strong out the door. A 2-2 start was not what they were hoping for. Of course things at Oklahoma haven’t been that much better thus far, as they have an identically mediocre record. The Sooners are clearly the better team at this point, and they do have the home field advantage. However, human beings are capable of great things when our backs are against the wall, and I believe the Longhorns will put up a heck of a fight for their coach. I’m not sure it’ll be enough to win, but it’ll probably be enough to cover. Zach is going in the opposite direction, predicting that Oklahoma should win by more than two TDs.

My Pick:     Texas

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

LSU  (-3)             at      Florida

The Bayou Bengals have already made a coaching change, and it seemed to work out well last week. I don’t think Ed Orgeron will get the gig lsu_logopermanently in Baton Rouge, but if he guides the team to a successful season after a rocky start perhaps he can snag a head coaching position elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Gators are a solid 4-1 and a fairly quiet Top 20 team. All things considered I am stunned that the oddsmakers aren’t even giving Florida a slight home field advantage. I have to assume that they know something I don’t and go with it. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     LSU

Z’s Pick:     LSU

 

 

Tennessee                  at      Texas A&M (-7)

The Vols are off to a fantastic 5-0 start, but only a miraculous Hail Mary saved them from defeat last weekend. The 5-0 Aggies are surely the toughest 10015tenn_vols_w_helmetopponent Tennessee has faced, and the game is in College Station. Both are Top 10 teams just a tick away from playoff contention should a couple of higher ranked teams go down. I’m going to predict that A&M wins this game…by a field goal. Zach likes Tennessee to get the victory.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     Tennessee

 

 

Florida St.          at      Miami, FL (-3)

miamiuThis used to be one of the biggest games on the schedule, but then the Hurricanes fell on tough times. And now that Miami Florida_State_Seminolesseems to be on the cusp of being back the Seminoles are having a tough year. A month ago I would have picked Florida St. without a second thought. If this game were in Tallahassee I’d still pick them. But given recent events and the fact that the game is being played in Miami it seems the momentum lies with the favorites. Zach disagrees. He’s such a rebel.

My Pick:     Miami, FL

Z’s Pick:     Florida St.

 

 

Philadelphia (-3)                   at      Detroit

Rookie QB Carson Wentz is the real deal. The 3-0 Eagles should have no problem beating the 1-3 Lions. I can’t believe the point spread isn’t higher. philadelphia_eagles-3715Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Philadelphia

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

Washington       at      Baltimore (-3.5)

Washington_Redskins_logoThe Redskins, at 2-2, are having a tougher year than I anticipated. Conversely, the 3-1 Ravens are better than I expected. There Baltimore_Ravens2is only 40 miles separating DC & Baltimore, so I don’t think the home field is that big of an advantage. The Vibes are telling me to go with the upset. Zach feels differently and he’s picking the home team.

My Pick:     Washington

Z’s Pick:     Baltimore

 

 

Houston             at      Minnesota (-6)

Could it be that Sam Bradford was as good of a quarterback as a #1 overall draft pick is supposed to be all along and has now finally found the kind of vikingshelmet1good team he’s needed to shine?? It’s an interesting hypothesis. The Vikings’ defense is undeniably great, and there seem to be a plethora of weapons on offense. The Texans aren’t too shabby either, but they are playing on the road. I’m a big believer in Big Mo, and I think that rests with Minnesota. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Minnesota

Z’s Pick:     Minnesota

Winning & Musing…..Volume 5.16

I’ve been trying to avoid making The Manofesto too sporty, but this time of year it is really difficult. For you sports fans out there this isn’t an issue, but I know not everyone falls into that category.

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh_Pirates2The baseball season is winding to a conclusion and my Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t going to make it into the playoffs. The slight decline wasn’t completely unexpected, and after two decades of losing I can’t hardly complain about three straight playoff appearances followed by a season where the team isn’t mathematically eliminated until deep into September. Having said all that, I wouldn’t be opposed to some changes. I’m not sure that general manager Neil Huntington is the right man for the job at this point, and as great of a guy as he seems to be I think maybe manager Clint Hurdle needs to be politely shown the door. Kudos to those men for bringing back our Pirates from the abyss of interminable futility, but it seems as if they’ve taken the team as far as they can. Much like Moses observing the land of milk & honey from Mount Nebo I suspect that when the Pirates finally make it to the Promised Land of the World Series Hurdle & Huntington will be watching from afar.

 

 

As predicted FoxSports 1 has new acquisition Skip Bayless starring in a replica of First Take, his old ESPN show. I haven’t undactually watched a single episode and have no plans to do so, but I did check out a couple of clips online. The new program, called Undisputed, pairs Bayless with former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe, which makes me laugh. Honestly, one really needs subtitles to make sense of anything Sharpe says. He is not a good fit for television. I am quite sure that Bayless & Sharpe try to top each other with outlandish & controversial opinions, and I suppose some people enjoy that shtick. I’m just not one of them. As maddeningly leftist as ESPN can oftentimes be it is clear that FS1 isn’t on the same level and will remain a second tier channel as long as they continue to make desperation moves such as hiring blowhards like Bayless and fellow Bristol refugee Colin Cowherd.

 

 

arnieA fat guy in a wheelchair would probably be considered by most to be an unlikely golf fan, but from a young age my father instilled in me an abiding fondness for the game. By the time I got into it though Arnold Palmer had long since moved onto the Senior Tour before retiring altogether a decade ago. However, way before the world got to know Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, & Jordan Spieth I was hearing stories and learning about Palmer. It helped that he became a pitchman for various products and an ambassador for the game, therefore never really disappearing from the pop culture consciousness. He, Jack Nicklaus, & Tom Watson were the first golfers that I became a fan of, even though I am too young to have seen many of their greatest moments. Most of the time death is a sad & tragic event, and fans of golf will undoubtedly miss ol’ Arnie, but in his 87 years on the planet the man certainly made an impact and created unforgettable memories, and we can’t be too sad about that.

 

 

Early thoughts on the NFL season:

  • Eagles’ rookie QB Carson Wentz looks like the real deal. I wish I would have drafted him in my fantasy dynasty league.
  • In my season preview I pondered whether or not RGIII would rejuvenate his career in Cleveland. Now I feel stupid for even asking the question.
  • Who will be the first coach to lose his job?? Rex Ryan (Buffalo)?? Gus Bradley (Jacksonville)?? Mike McCoy (San Diego)?? nfl-footballJay Gruden (Washington)??
  • I was way wrong about the Minnesota Vikings. The desperation trade for QB Sam Bradford after losing starter Teddy Bridgewater in the pre-season was a masterstroke. Even after noted child abuser Adrian Peterson went down with a knee injury the Vikings haven’t missed a beat. Their defense has been amazing. This team looks like a legit Super Bowl contender.
  • As much as I hate the New England Patriots I have to give credit where credit is due. It doesn’t seem to matter who plays quarterback…the team just keeps right on rolling. Belichick is an evil genius. Oftentimes I emphasize the evil part of that equation, but I’d be remiss not to give a respectful tip o’ the cap to the genius part.

 

 

marvI’ve expressed my opinion on the whole Colin Kaepernick anthem protest thing already, but let me just add a thought. What is more troubling than the hoopla itself is the fact that these types of demonstrations are spreading to college & pro football and other sports altogether. Suddenly it is cool & fashionable to disrespect our flag & the national anthem. It doesn’t help that the media has run the story into the ground and somehow made Kaepernick into a trailblazing hero. The whole thing makes me sad.