Tag Archives: wordsofwistim.wordpress.com

Tim’s 2019 NFL Awards: Offensive Rookie of the Year

Welcome to the second annual NFL awards on this blog. Here’s to many more. We have a strong list of candidates for this year’s prizes after what has been a contentious, drama-filled and, at times, quizzical regular season. These nominees demonstrated the best their sport had to offer. We begin this year’s ceremony with the newcomers, the members who have burst onto the season as innovators and prodigies of the sport.

And the nominees are…

Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins

58 receptions for 919 yards, 15.8 ypr, 7 TDs

The Ohio State product was one of the year’s first breakout candidates. In his first five career games, McLaurin registered 23 receptions for 408 yards and 5 TDs. His numbers began to regress once quarterbacks started going in and out of the starting rotation in Washington but we’d seen a glimpse of what McLaurin was capable of in a rebuilding scenario. Imagine what he can do when the Redskins build a team around him.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

242 carries for 1,150 yards, 4.8 ypc, 7 TDs, 20 receptions for 166, 8.3 ypr, 1,316 yards from scrimmage

I always come clean when I’m wrong.

I did not like Jacobs’ tape out of Alabama. He didn’t have elite burst or eye-raising quickness nor did he possess overbearing strength. Jacobs was good at a lot of things but he didn’t seem particularly great at any one thing. I also found his limited reps in Tuscaloosa concerning.

This was one of the worst misses of my life. Jacobs started off with a bang, amassing 100 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in the opener, the first player to do so since the great LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001. All Jacobs did through 2019 was force 69 missed tackles, the most by a rookie according to Pro Football Focus and become the focal point of a bruising Raiders rushing attack, amassing over 1,100 yards in 13 games. Had it not been for injuries, Jacobs might have battled for the rushing title. For the first time since Carr’s career year (earned my MVP vote that campaign), the Raiders looked like a legitimate football team and the drafting of a running back few had a strong first-round grade on made all the difference.

Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

349/542 for 3,722 yards, 64.4%, 6.9 ypa, 20 TDs, 12 INTs, 55.8 QBR, 93 carries for 544 yards, 5.8 ypc, 4 TDs

Kyler Murray came into a firesale situation. No one expected the Cardinals to be good this year and they weren’t but Kyler was. He had growing pains but a few times each Sunday, you’d see a play that demonstrated the talent valuation of a first-round pick.

Murray was a versatile athlete throughout the season, doing a young Russell Wilson impression much of the year as he did his best to squeak away from a constantly crumbling backfield. Kliff Kingsbury’s first year in Arizona was raw and certainly had some questionable decisions, including one of the league’s worst red-zone offenses and a ppg average of 22.6 (16th) but the Air Raid scheme itself has a storied track record of success. Even if Kliff turns out not to be the guy, Kyler certainly is.

A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

52 receptions for 1,051 yards, 20.2 ypr, 8 TDs

Half of the gym rat duo from Ole Miss was one of 26 receivers to cap 1,000 yards this season. Brown also tied for eighth in 20+ yard receptions with 15 and finished sixth among receivers in yards after the catch (463).

It’s been quite a while since there was a dominant receiver in Nashville. The Titans have had one of the worst receiving corps in football over the last two decades. There are multiple years during this span none of their WRs finished top-50 (4!) The last WR to net 1000 for TEN was Kendall Wright in 2013 (also Nate Washington in 2011) but to find a Titans receiver who finished top-ten in yardage, you have to turn the clocks all the way back to 2004. Derrick Mason finished 15th with 1,168 yards that season but it was Drew Bennett (there’s a forgotten name) who finished in the top-ten, totaling 1,247. The quarterback that year? A duo of Steve McNair and Billy Volek.)

The Titans, finally, might have found their guy. Now, about that quarterback…

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

285/470 for 3,271 yards, 60.6%, 7.0 ypa, 21 TDs, 6 INTs, 42.6 QBR, 67 carries for 344, 5.1 ypc, 12 fumbles

Speaking of the Air Raid, Gardner Minshew played quarterback at Washington State where Air Raid figurehead Mike Leach called home. Minshew, under Leach’s guidance, took the program to a 10-2 regular season mark, tying a school record.

At the beginning of the season, QB Nick Foles goes down with a broken collarbone in his first start after signing a contract to be the franchise quarterback and sixth-round selection Minshew is thrust into the spotlight.

To say Minshew handled the pressure well would be an understatement.

Minshew would start with a 9/1 TD/INT split and end the year with a 21/6 ratio. The Jaguars developed an air attack for the first time since I don’t even know.

(Blake Bortles actually threw for over 4400 yards and 35 TDs in 2015, albeit 18 INTs. Before that? It’s been a while. You have to wade through the Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert years to 2008 when David Garrard threw for 3,620 yards but he also only threw 15 TDs to 13 INTs. The year before that though, in 2007? 18/3.)

Minshew Mania took over the sports world for a few weeks. Minshew’s play did take a noticeable dip in the second half of the season (He lost 12 (!) fumbles) but between Minshew and receivers D.J. Chark, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook, the Jaguars looked like an offense no longer playing with a handicap.

And the Oscar goes to…

Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

A few years ago, Josh Jacobs, his siblings and father were homeless. Now look where is he. In addition to a year that deserves recognition, Jacobs’ journey deserves applause as well.

I still have questions regarding his long speed and ability to accelerate but Jacobs displayed deceptive quickness and rock-like strength this year. He is by far the team’s most valuable player going forward. Where the Jacobs’ train goes, the now Las Vegas Raiders go.

Previous winners:

2018: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Review: Cats

“A cat is not a dog.”


I hate musicals, just to be clear.

My biggest qualm with the medium is the execution of many of the products. While I by no means consider myself even an amateur explorer in the factory of musical escapades (far from it), the few I’ve subjected myself to have generally been taxing experiences. Even Les Miserables, my personal favorite, has subsections which rattle the frontal lobe. Grease is still mostly watchable but my list of positive things to say regarding the niche of theater ends there.

Image result for cats 2019 movie poster free use"

Musicals often mistake their purpose. Theater’s purpose, as is all art’s, is to emote, often through story-telling and character expression. Let me be clear: art can express itself in any way it wishes. I’m not here to attack the virtues of creative expression. I applaud all sincere and genuine efforts by artists and how someone decides to tell a story is not what should be criticized, only the level of proficiency in which they use such an avenue.

I honestly find musicals lacking because they often fail to do this. Many run absent a true star character and a multitude seem to bypass the concept of a plot altogether.

Or maybe I’m just not jellicle enough.

Cats, you see, considers itself quite jellicle and if you don’t like it, well, maybe you’re just not embracing the jellicle nature of a jellicle film featuring jellicle cats of all jellicle shapes and jellicle sizes.

Hope you like the word “jellicle” because Cats is going to be saying it a lot and if you expect Cats to define the word then you clearly aren’t in the jellicle club.

After a box office bomb of an opening weekend, reeling in a paltry $6.5 million, Universal had to re-release the jellicle gem, sending out a further edited copy after being unanimously bashed for poor visual effects. Tom Hooper was certainly a capable director, furnishing films such as Academy Award winners The King’s Speech, the previously mentioned Les Miserables and The Danish Girl. Unsure where his attention to detail disappeared to because Cats is rife with jellicle discord and a lack of focus.

Also want to give Universal some serious jellicle kudos for releasing Cats during the same week as Rise of Skywalker. Bold strategy, Cotton.

So after the film was nuked by virtually every critic in the jellicle kingdom, I traversed to a local jellicle theater to see this jellicle jewel.

It is, as advertised, painful. As I bemoaned and groaned through the jellicle picture, a loyal defender of the jellicle production who had the fortune of joining me and my compatriots to that particular showing stood up and declared, “If we were going to be a bunch of assholes, why don’t we just leave?” to which I responded, “Wow, man, that’s not very jellicle of you.” and he proceeded to shut the hell up the rest of the way through a jellicle journey.

Jellicle from beginning to end, Cats displays true wizardries of incompetence early on, with computer graphic imaging that’s, well, let’s say jellicle. I don’t know what it means either, man. Just seems to be the thing to say here.

Hideous from head to toe, we must listen to these herds sing about being a cat and how lovely it is while at the same time looking forward to showcasing their talents in a competition to see who gets to die. Yes, really.

Rather than commit suicide, these jellicle cats must go to a jellicle ball and demonstrate jellicle skills before being chosen as the jellicle cat and flying into the jellicle sky in a jellicle balloon until it inevitably breaks and they fall to their jellicle deaths to begin a jellicle new life.

While Andrew Lloyd Webber is a well-respected individual and has penned many masterful manuscripts, Cats is effortlessly awful. The original musical made nearly $4 billion worldwide and it’s quite a jellicle mystery how something this terrible made that jellicle a sum. Few jellicle songs hit, with lyrics approaching insanity with the amount of repetition they’re utilizing. Let’s take a look at the opener, shall we?

“Because Jellicles are/And Jellicles do/Jellicles do and Jellicles would/Jellicles would and Jellicles can/Jellicles can and Jellicles do.”

If you need an explanation for the verse, it’s likely you aren’t in the jellicle mood or maybe you’re simply not jellicle enough to understand because jellicle.


That phrase will be rammed down your throat a thousand times over this quagmire’s quicksand running time of 110 minutes and if you’re hard of hearing, fear not, for the jellicle verse you might have just missed will likely be repeated in the very next jellicle line because that is what jellicles do and what jellicles do jellicles would and what jellicles would jellicles should and what jellicles should jellicles can and what jellicles can jellicles do.

If you think I’m being a patronizing prick, feel free to believe so but know this jellicle journal is but only as jellicle as the jellicle piece we’re discussing here on this jellicle day.

As audiences weave their way through emotions ranging from apoplectic to lifeless, Cats spends song after song discussing its jellicle contestants for the jellicle ball, including one tremendously poor effort surrounding James Corden’s character, in which this stupendously fat lard of a cat pronounces how much he loves being fat and how excited he is to be reborn so he can become fat all over again.

Yup, really want that guy to win. Seems like a real champion of jellicle cats.

Idris Elba’s Macavity is a magical cat who can teleport (!) for Christ’s sake and he has decided, for whatever reason (if you haven’t noticed already, Cats isn’t very caught up on the whole explaining things aspect of storytelling) that he is going to use this power to transport all of his fellow jellicle competitors onto a barge so he is the only remaining candidate for the one-way ticket to death, a ticket Judi Dench’s Old Deuteronomy (a totally normal and acceptable name for a cat) refuses to give Macavity because he isn’t jellicle enough; he doesn’t know the jellicle way.

With a plot dumb as nails, characters almost universally unlikable (one cat in particular, played by Jennifer Hudson, is ostracized and hated amongst the jellicle cats for some reason, a not-so-subtle nod to racism) and music, the meat and potatoes of a musical, directly and completely responsible for all ear cancer, there simply isn’t anything of substance to find in Cats.

But again, maybe I’m just not jellicle enough.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Batman BeginsThe MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTaken)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Spider-Man: Far From HomeDumb and DumberPokemon Detective PikachuThe Matrix Reloaded,Wanted)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (XXX: State of the UnionThe SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe Gunman)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The ExtendablesThe Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcast)

My score for Cats: 12.

This was the first film I decided to watch of the decade, pressured and punched by a dear friend and loving brother before I gave in due to a lack of additional shoulder muscle. I can say, with nearly complete confidence (George Clooney’s The American is awfully close) that Cats is the worst piece I’ve ever laid eyes on in a theater. Truly abhorrent, degrading and insulting material. I hope it wins all the Razzies.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

This is…*sigh*…not bad but also not what anyone was hoping for.

Solo will likely always be overshadowed for its price tag/wallet and was predetermined to suffer such a fate no matter how good this was. It’s unfortunate and a disservice to those who helped construct this artwork but where there are stalls in production and the termination of directors, there’s generally fire.

Ron Howard, under the tight reins of executive producers, ended up reworking nearly three quarters of the film.

The entire tonality of the film was flipped on its axle, leading stars actively questioning their roles, a major red flag for any production. Disney had botched this.Image result for solo star wars movie poster free use

But Disney, or any large megacorp, for that matter, would rather surge through the hurricane than wave the white flag and that they did. I discussed Disney’s reluctance to see straight on John Carter this summer (Was actually one of my better works this year. Worth a click).

Solo runs much smoother than broadcast but I use smooth as a detriment here. While Solo doesn’t scream panic on the screen, the story lacks narrative depth, no doubt a byproduct of a mosh pit of tonalities. The film was originally directed as a comedy since directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were expressly told to distance itself from a Star Wars taste and to instead look toward a character novella surrounding the famed smuggler.

And while I’d have no issue with a Star Wars comedy, producers were thoroughly against it. Some reports said Lord and Miller of Lego Movie fame were targeting a western more than anything. Whether space cowboy or straight comedy, all involved could agree that Han Solo deserved his own enterprise but there was enough vitriol in the disagreement to take an ax to the directing duo altogether, leaving all agreed to the “we need something different” statement but undecided on what qualified as different and what served as walking the plank.

In news that may shock some, the question of ambiguous texture arises on more than one occasion, making even “the dumb friend” in the group question what kind of park ride he got on. While Rogue One carries the Star Wars title, it also proudly states its individuality many a time across filming, a boastful demeanor which continues to magnetize audiences to this story in a familiar universe. Removed from that nostalgic environment, Rogue One still works on a narrative and character level. Being included in the Star Wars pages is simply a bonus.

Rogue One also didn’t reject the label like inheriting such a surname carrying tragic history.

Solo can’t decide if it wants to embrace the label with pride or trash it like a hand-me-down. If those are the only two options, given the Solo character is already part of the cannon, the former seems the right course of action but for whatever reason, the studios were deadset on something they deemed organic when the fragrance they’ve been churning out for forty years is still fresh.

And if western comedy is what you’re going with, that’s totally fine! Hell, might even be something *gasp* innovative.

Innovation scares people just like things and creatures people can’t understand. The unknown is unpredictable, not part of the plan and that upsets the schemers. (Sidenote: I’m in love with The Dark Knight. Truly a masterwork.) Films like Solo aren’t complicated or at least shouldn’t be. Complications arrive because of the parties involved.

And that truthfully sums it up, folks. Disney got too cute with this one and a bout of indecision during a dinner date with one of its finest suitors ended with some thrown handkerchiefs and dramatic exits.

Despite a clear miss at the shooting range, Solo, unlike John Carter, survives as an average endeavor. I give credit to Ron Howard, a man who’s been in the business a long time, and a crew who did what they could to make it all work. Star Wars has a family of its own and I believe those in Hollywood given the opportunity to add to the legacy do so with the utmost respect and reverence for the material.

Woody Harrelson’s bounty hero, along with most of the cast, can’t escape generalities, however, a pit Disney essentially pushed them into. I can almost visualize producers taking a far too active role in directing, correcting the cast’s portrayal of their vehicles at every turn, relaunching them onto a different set of tracks. If producers knew what was best for them, they’d put forward the funds and let the artists focus on the art.

Alden Ehrenreich is the picture’s best figure, an earnest and honest effort. There’s wit, showmanship and charisma here. Shame the script couldn’t have given the guy more to work with. Han Solo is begging for a comedy, howling for more one-liners. The producers stubborn resilience to frame this as a serious smuggler score rattles the mind.

Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Harrelson and company don’t execute anything poorly and I can’t emphasize enough that I hold no resentment toward the cast for this one. It’s hard to win five-card poker with a pair of sevens.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Batman BeginsThe MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTaken)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Spider-Man: Far From Home, Dumb and DumberPokemon Detective PikachuThe Matrix Reloaded,Wanted)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (XXX: State of the UnionThe SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe Gunman)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The ExtendablesThe Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcast)

My score for Solo: A Star Wars Story: 77. 

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a broken thoroughbred rounding the final bend of what was a promising start to the franchise. The original trilogy has aged tremendously and the prequels, while displaying poor acting and writing far more often than fans would like, are still watchable. The Force Awakens is arguably great despite being a near carbon copy of A New HopeRogue One may be better than any of the new trilogy installments.

Solo is the adopted stepchild who never finds a role to play in the family and despite promise, its parenting and circumstance prevent it from ever reaching its full potential.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”

It’s been far too long. I’d rather not blather on about my absence or make any promises regarding my publishing schedule. What gets done get done and I’d rather not chain myself to a planner. Just know I’ve missed this space and while I may disappear at times, I’ll always come back. Now, to our feature presentation.

The Marvel cinematic universe is quite an achievement. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy started it all, although Downey Jr.’s Iron Man gets most of the recognition (Iron Man has aged far better than when I wrote that review, by the way). Regardless, there have been a lot of achievements set by the comic superpower and very few missteps. The Thor franchise is a blight on the resume, with the first piece being average and the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, being a complete trainwreck. Ragnarok was the best of the three and Marvel, having recognized the underachieving so uncharacteristic of them, has green lit a fourth installment under director Taika Waititi’s helm. While Marvel has yet to fire a successful Hulk feature out of its cannon (and perhaps wisely so. They’ve plodded with this character for a while and now that Mark Ruffalo has cemented himself in the role and delivered in a supplementary space, best not to mess with the formula) and handed the public what I considered a copycat film in Doctor Strange, Marvel has been practically flawless otherwise, churning out premium content on a yearly basis for a decade. It was quite a period of prosperity for comic nerds and fans of heroes. Marvel has demonstrated finesse in discussing current events, aided by top-of-the-line casting and prestigious writing.Image result for SPIDERMAN far from home movie poster free use

This chapter, however, is now over. Infinity War, likely the best Marvel ever got or will ever be, followed by Endgame, put the final ink blotches on a stunning manuscript.

And so now, at least for me, appears uncertainty. With some of its best content explored and finalized, it is a question for me of how long they can keep this up. I said this once before and everything turned out fine. Of course, when Iron Man and Cap are part of the picture, you probably shouldn’t be too concerned. They are no longer here and less dominant works are naturally more difficult to adapt., so it comes as no surprise that Marvel turns to the Spider-Man well once again.

As I said, Marvel likely doesn’t consider making Iron Man if not for the success of Raimi’s trilogy. While I’m not a fan of rebooting a character every five years, the Spidey universe is quite extensive. They haven’t finished mining the caverns.

While Marvel and Sony together made a mistake with the Garfield entries (have not aged well and weren’t good to begin with. Further reading/research regarding the two projects reveals Raimi’s reluctance to make a fourth while Marvel decided to immediately reboot the saga with most of the same farmhands in place, leading to what was likely a burnt-out and heavily pressured creative team). Marvel was much smarter this time around.

Following a rights agreement between Sony and Marvel, a unified effort made the wheels go round in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Originally skeptical of a relative unknown (always will be. Comes with a lot of pressure), Tom Holland has worked well in the recipe Marvel has concocted. Straying away from the serious drama of Raimi and the repugnant bad boy of Marc Webb, Marvel has gone lighter, returning to the enhanced but overwhelmed teenager that makes Peter Parker so relatable and likable. Despite his reflexes, abilities and intelligence, Peter finds himself on the hunt for confidence and validation. Pair the immense shadow of responsibility with an even larger one from a lost mentor and Peter is gasping for air.

Hopefully an international field trip will do the trick.

Try as he might, you can’t run away from yourself and often not from your problems. Spider-Man: Far From Home is about Peter accepting and acting on that information. Peter wants a relationship with MJ but over the course of the film, begins to realize he needs to embrace himself before he can open up. Those feelings of vulnerability and helplessness are not something a relationship can cure. Those are monsters you have to conquer solo. Sometimes, doing things solo, even as a superhero, feels impossible.

You would think the introduction of superpowers into our lives would solve all our issues. Spider-Man, perhaps more than any other, proves otherwise. Yes, you can swing from rooftops but that’s not a skill highly pursued in a professional field. Being a superhero means sacrificing yourself and your life for the greater good and that is not a responsibility taken lightly. It also means having to always wear a mask, even in front of those you care about in plain sight. Everyone who knows is a potential target. If anything, superpowers make life, which is already difficult, impossible. And yet, despite all he loses by donning the mask, Peter does it anyway because he knows it’s what he’s been tasked with, what he’s supposed to do, who he is.

There are times where Peter questions it, deals with the same self-doubt many of us battle. Peter is human and Marvel’s depiction of these heroes’ humanity is one of their products’ best qualities.

Has Jake Gyllenhaal ever had a bad role? I’ve yet to see it. Samuel L. does his usual, the direction stays direct and perhaps most importantly, it stays true to itself. Plenty of pieces have become imitations rather than creations. Spider-Man: Far From Home never even dreams of it and we’re all the better for it.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Batman Begins, The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTaken)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Dumb and DumberPokemon Detective PikachuThe Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding Citizen)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (XXX: State of the UnionThe SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe Gunman)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The ExtendablesThe Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcast)

My score for Spider-Man: Far From Home: 89.

I’m excited to rewatch Spider-Man: Homecoming and put my thoughts down on that but until then, I’ll smile over Far From Home, a film which reminds us even the most powerful and most gifted sometimes feel weak.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Sports Report/NFL Week 2

Top 5

  1. QB Patrick Mahomes 30/44 for 443, 4 TDs, fumble, 131.2 passer rating @OAK

Yes, against the Raiders, I know but go back and watch this film. Disgusting. Mahomes’ Revenge is for real.

2. QB Lamar Jackson 24/37 for 272, 2 TDs, 104.8 passer rating, 16 carries for 120 vs. ARI

The gap between rookie Lamar and year two Lamar is huge. As I said in my power rankings, Lamar Jackson is the best of the 2018 qb class so far.

3. RB Dalvin Cook 20 carries for 154, TD, 3 receptions for 37 @GB

Cook had a rough 2018 behind a haphazard offensive line. Vikings make some changes and draft a first round center and suddenly Cook is one of the best backs in the league through two weeks.

4. RB Le’Veon Bell 21 carries for 68, fumble, 10 receptions for 61 vs. CLE

I watched the entirety of the Monday Night debacle that was Cleveland versus a third-string quarterback. It was brutal but I watched it through to the end because of Bell’s performance. He was a one-man offense. Have to respect that.

5. WR Demarcus Robinson 6 receptions for 172, 2 TDs @OAK

Robinson made some nice catches in his own right. Remove Tyreek and another speed demon takes his place.

Worst of the Worst

5. Jets embarrassed 23-3 at home.

Like I said, it was brutal.

4. Dolphins thrashed 43-0 at home.

Miami is a bad football team. Are they competing for the exclusive circle of unwinnables?

3. QB injuries

Two big stars, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees, left their games with injuries. Jets backup Trevor Siemian broke his ankle and Cam is now unlikely for the cats’ upcoming contest.

2. Kliff Kowardice

The Arizona Cardinals got inside the Ravens ten-yard line three times.

They kicked three field goals.

That cowardice cost Arizona a big road upset. For being a savant, Kliff coaches like a weasel. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and the NFL has no time for rodents.

  1. QB Kirk Cousins 14/32 for 230, TD, 2 INTs, fumble, 52.9 passer rating @GB

While every other facet of the Vikings team was in prime operation, Kirk did what Kirk usually does in big games: he choked.

Go back and watch the film (linked it in my power rankings for this week). Kirk throws one of the worst interceptions you’ll ever see in a crucial situation.

Steelers Recap

The playcall cancer known as Big Ben is out and Rudolph didn’t look like complete roadkill during the remainder of the contest. The argument could be made the offense looked better the instant Ben was taken out. Still, watching Russ run with nothing but green grass in front of him during a two-minute drill is torture. The idea of a QB spy apparently never came up.

And yet as awful as the Steelers have been two games in and with a now young backup at quarterback, I could see them winning against San Francisco. Don’t book it but I’m confidently taking Pittsburgh as 6.5 point underdogs.

Game of the Week: Ravens@Chiefs

Lamar Jackson and the best rushing attack in football face Mahomes’ Revenge. This is a likely playoff preview. Should be fun.

Week 3 Picks Against the Spread (Lines provided by ESPN. Lines may vary.)

Last week: 7-9, 15-17 season, 2-0 high confidence

TEN@JAC +1.5

When it comes to sports betting, I usually take the under for points in divisional games and take the points. Divisional games are always closer than they should be. After being robbed of a win by their own coach last week, Jacksonville comes home with a fire for Tennessee. The Titans weak offensive line against Sacksonville? Good luck. My pick: JAC +1.5

ATL@IND -2.5

Atlanta’s defense frazzled Wentz last week and bullied a top-five offensive line. Now they face another top-five offensive line in Indianapolis. If the defense shows up like they did against Philly, Atlanta should have the firepower on offense to overcome. My pick: ATL +2.5

CIN@BUF -6.5

Buffalo’s got a great defense (sorry, I’m a broken record) but their offense carries a walker. Lead back Devin Singletary is out and the receiving core is one of the weakest in the league (Zay Jones, John Brown, Cole Beasley). The Bills defense will likely thwart Cincy but the offense fails to take advantage of the extra possessions and Cincy finds a way to close the gap. Buffalo wins but I’ll take the points. My pick: CIN +6.5

MIA@DAL -21.5

I hate passing up that many points but I got scorched by Miami last week. Dallas is at home and their defense is stellar. I’ll reluctantly swallow the points. My pick: DAL -21.5

DEN@GB -7.5

Green Bay has a defense now and any capable defense against Joe Flacco is a great matchup. Denver hasn’t recorded a sack in two games. Clean pockets for Rodgers spells trouble. Oh and Green Bay’s at home. My pick: GB -7.5

DET@PHI -6.5

Philly’s slow starts have nearly led to an 0-2 start and they’re 0-2 against the spread. This is their last chance with me. Get it together, Philly. My pick: PHI -6.5

BAL@KC -6.5

Lamar Jackson is no Patrick Mahomes but he’s currently the best dual threat quarterback. The Ravens run game versus the Chiefs defensive front is a huge mismatch. I can’t bet against Mahomes to lose (he’s too good) but I will bet on a close contest against a historically strong Ravens defense. My pick: BAL +6.5

OAK@MIN -7.5

I’ve seen some spreads giving Oakland nine points so I consider myself grateful ESPN has only given them 7.5. The Vikings are a quarterback away from a serious contender. Calling Captain Kirk. My pick: MIN -7.5

NYJ@NE -22.5

Adam Gase is a fraud and poor Luke Falk has to start against the Patriots in Foxborough in his first start. Rough draw. Still like the Jets defense. As bad as the Jets were on Monday night, still only gave up 23. Despite New England being the best team in the league and the Jets one of the worst due to injuries, the Jets cover the spread and lose by 20. My pick: NYJ +22.5

NYG@TB -6.5

I hate betting on the Famous Jameis Bakery but with Daniel Jones starting I’ve changed my pick last second from Giants to Bucs. I played myself, didn’t I? My pick: TB -6.5

CAR@ARI +2.5

For whatever reason, ESPN is giving Arizona two with Cam out. Even if the spread was what it seems to be at other casinos (ARI -2.5), I’d still take Arizona. Carolina looked lost without McCaffery. One-dimensional offenses on the road don’t fill me with confidence. My pick: ARI +2.5

NO@SEA -5.5

Drew Brees is out but as I said in my power rankings, the Saints should be a playoff team regardless. Therefore, New Orleans getting a 5.5 point cushion seems generous especially given Seattle’s offensive line situation. My pick: NO +5.5

PIT@SF -6.5

The Steelers are a bad football team but they did lose a locker room cancer this past week. Hopefully (and this is a slim hope), Fichtner starts calling a run-based game plan with his run-strong roster. Despite all evidence to the contrary, this feels like the type of game Pittsburgh wins: a game against a superior opponent/coach on the road with a backup quarterback in his first start. Sounds like a recipe for disaster which means some baloney is gonna happen. Call it a hunch. My pick: PIT +6.5

HOU@LAC -3.5

This spread is just insulting. Houston played lights out against New Orleans and lost because of the Bill O’Brien Curse. Meanwhile, Los Angeles blew a sizable lead and had to go to overtime with the Colts and then blew another lead and lost to Detroit. Rivers hasn’t been himself to start the season. I get Deshaun and the team that’s playing better plus three points on top of that? Sign me up. NOW. My pick: HOU +3.5

LAR@CLE +2.5

I have high confidence in Atlanta and Houston this week but I’m putting the Rams down for my high confidence pick. Cleveland got wiped off the face of the map by Tennessee and then got a cakewalk last week yet still only managed 23 points. Rams just beat New Orleans handedly, Brees or no Brees. Goff is due to return to form, right? I’ll swallow 2.5 gladly. I would have swallowed 10. My pick: LAR -2.5

CHI@WAS +4.5

Chicago’s offense is a mess and Trubisky is a rather large elephant in the room that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. This game screams Washington, especially with the Redskins starting strong in their first two contests. And yet…who produces for Washington? AP against the Bears front seven? I like Terry McLaurin but Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn and Vernon Davis against the Bears secondary? The Redskins defense crumbled in the second halves of both predecessors because the offense couldn’t hold possession and I sense a familiar tale about to be told. Once again, Chicago makes it way closer than it should be but a victory nonetheless. My pick: CHI -4.5

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

1. Patriots (-) (W 43-0 @MIA) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

The evil empire continues onward with new secret weapon Antonio Brown. Despite their recent history in Miami, New England was unbothered, smothering the helpless fish. Expect New England to own this spot for the foreseeable future. Their next three dances? NYJ, BUF, WAS.

Oh and Antonio has been cut due to multiple sexual assault accusations. Good riddance but it doesn’t diminish New England’s superiority.

2. Chiefs (+2) (W 28-10 @OAK) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

Mahomes’ Revenge is continuing its plundering through the AFC. It’s been smooth sailing thus far but rough tides approach: BAL.

3. Rams (+3) (W 27-9 vs. NO) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

The rematch of the NFC Championship was dented by a Drew Brees injury but a win is a win and it was a dominant one despite another so-so performance from Goff. The NFC West is home to three undefeated teams, however. The Rams need to keep their foot on the gas.

4. Cowboys (+3) (W 31-21 @WAS) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

Dallas’ case is upended by a weak schedule but they still deserve a top-ten spot. This is likely high given they’re unproven against their peers but they’ll have a chance to prove their worth. Following a vacation in Miami, they have the Saints and Packers back-to-back.

5. Packers (+4) (W 21-16 vs. MIN) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

My top five teams all come in undefeated in games and against the spread. Green Bay’s offense jumped to life against one of the league’s most talented d-corps, putting up 21 unanswered. They then surrendered 16 straight and might have lost the game at home outright if not for the brainfart that is 2019 Kirk Cousins. Still, despite some concerns, Green Bay sits alone atop the North, the most competitive division in football.

6. Vikings (-4) (L 21-16 @GB) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Minnesota floundered early before rallying with 16 unanswered. Had they completed the comeback, they would have surpassed New England for my top spot due to strength of schedule. Instead, Kirk Cousins throws one of the worst interceptions you’ll ever see in professional football and Minnesota, despite two great performances, sits at 1-1. Dalvin Cook and the rushing attack are on a tear, the defense is rejuvenated but Kirk Cousins has been awful. Sunday he was 14/32 for 230, a touchdown and two interceptions, including the costly one in the end zone, and a fumble. That’s not what you’re hoping for when you shell out $27 million guaranteed.

Oh, and the Vikings kicking woes continue. They left four points on the board. They lost by five.

7. Texans (-2) (W 13-12 vs. JAC) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Sloppy divisional games happen. I think the team we saw in New Orleans is closer to the mark. Still, the Curse of Bill O’Brien has nearly dragged what should be a 2-0 team to 0-2. Houston needs a statement game against the Chargers this week. Please protect Deshaun Watson.

8. Ravens (+3) (W 23-17 vs. ARI) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Had it not been for Kliff Kingsbury kicking three field goals inside the ten, Baltimore likely loses this game. It was a regression and the only reason they move up in my rankings is the continual improvement of Lamar Jackson. It’s crazy what can happen in one summer. At this moment, Lamar Jackson, not Baker Mayfield, is the best quarterback of the 2018 class. Next week we see how good he really is when Mahomes’ Revenge comes to play.

9. Saints (-6) (L 27-9 @LAR) (1-1, 0-2 ATS)

The Drew Brees injury looms large. You could see the offense begin to stutter step when he left the huddle. Great teams overcome injury and the team’s performance without him will say a lot about their character and system. The Saints can and should be a playoff team without Drew Brees.

10. Eagles (-2) (L 24-21 @ATL) (1-1, 0-2 ATS)

Another slow start for the Eagles. Wentz looked awful in the first half, the worst I’ve seen him. He transformed in the fourth quarter and the Eagles nearly escaped playing half a football game. That’s a charade that won’t last against great teams. Philly needs to get their vehicle into gear.

11. Seahawks (+4) (W 28-26 @PIT) (2-0, 1-1 ATS)

The offensive line is an ongoing cause for concern but Russ finds a way, as per usual. DK Metcalf had some moments as Tyler Lockett becomes a WR1. Chris Carson is in danger of losing RB1 duties after multiple fumbles.

12. Falcons (+4) (W 24-21 vs. PHI) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Julio had a day but the evening belonged to the Falcons defense. They flustered Wentz most of the night and their defensive front was eating the Eagles offensive line throughout the contest. The Eagles have a top-five offensive line and it was a notable performance from a defense that has struggled to create pressure in recent years. Unfortunately, they play another top-five unit in Indianapolis this week. They can look at it two ways: an impossible expectation or another chance to prove themselves. With Brees and Cam out with injury, the division is theirs for the taking.

13. 49ers (+7) (W 41-17 @CIN) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

Vegas has underestimated San Francisco in back-to-back weeks as they’ve cruised with relative ease. Matt Breida is beginning to look like a starting running back. Kyle Shanahan is a great coach and now has the team to demonstrate it. Still, their journey to the playoffs is rocky. The NFC is a far tougher conference and their division one of the most formidable in the league.

14. Bears (-4) (W 16-14 @DEN) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Chicago has one of the best defenses in football but one of the worst offenses. They are some roughing the passer baloney and a long field goal away from being 0-2. Matt Nagy better find his offense quick before he lets his defense’s efforts go to waste.

15. Titans (-2) (L 19-17 vs. IND) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Divisional games are always tougher than they should be. Still, the offense looks so…bland. Remember when Corey Davis got drafted fifth overall? That hasn’t aged well and neither has Marcus Mariota. Two top-five picks and two players who haven’t been the maestros they were expected to be.

16. Colts (+1) (W 19-17 @TEN) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Nothing spices up the wagons like a road rivalry win. The Colts are still a good football team. Stop overlooking them.

17. Chargers (-5) (L 13-10 @DET) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Los Angeles has had no problems in the backfield but Rivers has been average two games in. A narrow win against a team missing their franchise quarterback and a splattered egg of a performance against the Lions. Not a way to get into my good graces.

18. Bills (+4) (W 28-14 @NYG) (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

Buffalo has an underrated defense (I’ll keep saying it) and Josh Allen hasn’t lost them games though he almost did week one before the Jets went full Jets. With the Dolphins tanking and the Jets wrecked by injuries and coaching malpractice, Buffalo is the clear runner-up in the division. That means a chance at a wild card.

What do you mean Devin Singletary’s out this week?

19. Panthers (-5) (L 20-14 vs. TB) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)

Carolina is in trouble. Cam is not himself. The core is older. McCaffrey and the corpse of Greg Olsen seem to be the only threats on offense. Cam is ruled out for the road game against Arizona. 0-3 looms.

20. Lions (+3) (W 13-10 vs. LAC) (1-0-1, 1-1 ATS)

Matt Stafford is in top form and Kerryon Johnson is a threat. Kenny Golladay ages better every day. The defense isn’t complete turdblossoms. If it wasn’t for the Lions going full Lions, they’d be 2-0. That tie stings.

21. Bengals (-3) (L 41-17 vs. SF) (0-2, 1-1 ATS)

Cincinnati played so well against Seattle and played so poorly against San Francisco. Joe Mixon is trapped behind a porous offensive line. Any news on A.J.?

22. Steelers (-1) (L 28-26 vs. SEA) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)

The playcall cancer known as Big Ben is out for the season following elbow surgery. In a development no one saw coming, the offense looked dramatically better with him off the field. The season is not over. Minkah Fitzpatrick comes in a historic blockbuster for Pittsburgh. For the first time in forever, the Steelers will be without a first-rounder. Minkah should be worth it. Now can they win a football game? Or at least cover a spread?

23. Jaguars (+1) (L 13-12 @HOU) (0-2, 1-1 ATS)

Jacksonville was a trash Doug Marrone play call away from 1-1 and capturing a crucial road rivalry win. How long is this talented roster going to be saddled with this pleeb?

24. Redskins (-5) (L 31-21 vs. DAL) (0-2, 1-1 ATS)

Washington has started off strong in two consecutive contests but remains unable to finish. This Terry McLaurin kid looks good at least.

25. Cardinals (+3) (L 23-17 @BAL) (0-1-1, 2-0 ATS)

If Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t a complete coward, Arizona would have upset Baltimore. Kicking three field goals inside the ten should be a fireable offense.

26. Raiders (-1) (L 28-10 vs. KC) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Oakland is not as bad as expected but also isn’t strong enough to compete with Kansas City. That is by no means an indictment. Most teams can’t.

27. Browns (-1) (W 23-3 @NYJ) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Congratulations. You won a football game. Against a third-string quarterback. I look forward to you getting plastered on national television by the Rams.

28. Broncos (+3) (L 16-14 vs. CHI) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)

Denver might have lost on Sunday but it felt like a win. An offense that outgunned managed to face a Chicago nightmare. Bravo. Turns out your heart is still beating.

29. Buccaneers (+1) (W 20-14 @CAR) (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

The Famous Jameis Bakery was closed on Thursday night and when it is, life is at least manageable at Raymond James Stadium.

What do you mean that was a road game? They don’t win those. Can’t be right.

30. Giants (-1) (L 28-14 vs. BUF) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)

At this point, might be time to start the Free Saquon campaign.

What do you mean Daniel Jones is starting?

31. Jets (-4) (L 23-3 vs. CLE) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)

The Jets started Thursday with their second-string quarterback and ended with third option Luke Falk. Still, the offense was a complete dumpster fire. Adam Gase sure looked like a football savant, I’ll tell you that.

32. Dolphins (-) (L 43-0 vs. NE) (0-2, 0-2 ATS)

The Dolphins had a chance to do something amazing on Sunday. New England had lost six of their last seven games in Finland and had Miami done the unthinkable, I think most of the country would have been overjoyed. I was just hoping they’d cover the 18.5 point spread and not embarrass the home crowd. It looked like they might do just that at half, down only 16.

The game ended in a 43-0 shutout. Miami is in full tank mode and Flores is on his way out before his career even started. Minkah Fitzpatrick got shipped this week. The only promising thing going in Miami is their 2019 draft capital.

What do you mean Josh Rosen is starting? Can someone give that guy a break already?

Biggest Climb: SF +7

Biggest Fall: NO -6

Tagged , , , , , ,

Tim Sports Report/2019 NFL Week 1

Top 5

  1. RB Christian McCaffrey 19 carries for 128 yards, 2 TDs, 10 receptions for 81 yards vs. LAR

McCaffrey was a human wrecking ball. At the top of his game, he’s one of not just the best backs but one of the best players in football. Shame the Panthers didn’t take advantage of the huge opportunity his performance provided.

2. WR Sammy Watkins 9 receptions for 198 yards, 3 TDs vs. JAC

Watkins is a wild-card and entirely unpredictable, leading to a 46-point performance against one of the best secondaries in football. With Tyreek Hill out with a shoulder injury, Watkins suddenly enters next week as WR1.

3. QB Lamar Jackson 17/20 for 324 yards, 5 TDs, 158.3 passer rating vs. MIA

Keep the performance in context. It was against Miami, geared for the number one pick come 2020. That said, Lamar still looked real good if you didn’t go back to watch the highlights. You could see the difference a summer made.

4. WR DeSean Jackson 8 receptions for 154 yards, 2 TDs vs. WAS

It was a fairy tale return to Philly for Jackson, who scorched Josh Norman for one of his long scores. Even at his age, DeSean can still thrill.


The first classic contest of 2019 did not disappoint. Bill O’Brien’s incompetence cost Houston a very impressive road win but nonetheless, both teams looked like Super Bowl contenders. Perhaps a preview of what’s to come?

Worst of the Worst

5. Receiver Donte Moncrief records three receptions for seven yards and four drops on ten targets vs. NE

Donte Moncrief had a rough evening Sunday night, putting up one of the worst stat lines for a receiver I’d seen in quite a while. Add to it this was his debut for his new team and it adds another touch of sour to the story.

4. Jameis Bakery hosts Weekend Sale.

Jameis’ 17th career game with multiple picks, he passed Sir Bortles for the most such games since 2015. Two pick-sixes were the cherry on top.

3. Jets lead all game, lose.

The Jets defense scored more points in the contest than their offense. To lose after steering most of the game is such a Jets thing to do.

2. Lions blow 18-point 4th quarter lead to Cardinals, end game in tie.

If it was almost anyone else, I’d start an uproar but it’s Detroit. It’s just part of the script.

  1. The Cleveland Browns hype train derails, explodes in 43-10 bombardment, recording more penalties and penalty yards than any team the last two seasons.

Baker Mayfield was gonna be a potential MVP candidate, throwing to the likes of Nick Chubb, David Njoku, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. The defense had multiple Pro Bowlers along the defensive line, a defensive rookie of the year nominee in the secondary. The curse was over.

Turns out you have to play the games before you can wear the crown. Cleveland. Remove Cleveland’s first drive of the game and the Browns looked the same as the Browns of old. They looked entirely unprepared and an inexperienced coach didn’t have the knowledge or experience to correct course. It was quite the comedy to behold.

Steelers Recap

As is usually the tale, the Steelers were manhandled on national television in Foxborough, outmanned, outgunned, outsmarted and outcoached. The offense was in a malaise for the entirety while the tender wounds of a scarred Steelers defense were ripped at once again. In an interview later this week, Ben Roethlisberger said “minor changes” needed to be made. I got news for Ben and everyone else on that roster. When you lose 33-3, you need to make more than minor changes. Something little isn’t why you lose a game by 30. Seattle has a better coach and a more experienced defense. I see 0-2 in the Steelers future.

Game of the Week: NO@LAR

Has to be the rematch of the NFC Championship Game. Last year’s was a classic. It’ll be hard to live up to that but I’ll be watching anyway. I’m taking the Rams, for the record.

Lastly, last week was my first time picking against the spread. I expect improvement as the year goes on. It was a rough week one, going 8-8.

Week 2 Picks Against the Spread (Lines provided by ESPN. Lines may vary.)

TB@CAR -6.5

Carolina fell to Los Angeles by three while the Jameis Bakery was alive and well. Gimme the Panthers and the McCaffery machine. My pick: CAR -6.5.

BUF@NYG +2.5

I don’t underestimate the Bills defense but I don’t have faith in Josh Allen. Their offense was anemic and I think the Giants have more of a chance to win then people are giving them credit for. I’ll take the home team and the points. My pick: NYG +2.5.

SF@CIN -1.5

The Bengals played better than expected in week one but not so good that they should be favored against the 49ers. San Fran looked solid against Tampa Bay and with this spread and the better coach, I’ll take San Fran again. They were my high confidence bet last week and I have a lot of faith in them this week. My pick: SF +1.5

DAL@WAS +5.5

Dak was unflappable, the offensive line is at full health and the attack has a coordinator not named Scott Linehan. Washington started great and fell apart in the second half, losing franchise back Derrius Guice once again. Dallas’ defense is strong and have too many chips on their side. A spread of less than a touchdown is the final straw for me. My pick: DAL -5.5.

LAC@DET +2.5

The Chargers week one performance was a flop. The back duo of Ekeler and Jackson looked strong but Los Angeles also faltered their way into overtime against Indianapolis. They need a statement win and against Detroit, a team that got sloppy in their own second half, they should get it. My pick: LAC -2.5.

MIN@GB -2.5

Minnesota had one of the league’s most dominant performances in week one. Green Bay’s offense was off balance. I think Minnesota has a real shot in this one. My pick: MIN +2.5.

IND@TEN -3.5

The Colts are an underrated team that fans and bettors alike will overlook because of their situation at quarterback. They played their way into overtime against the Chargers and they’re equipped to do it again, especially against a team who struggles on offense. Divisional games are always more competitive than they should be. I’ll take the points. My pick: IND +3.5.

NE@MIA +18.5

Miami is the worst team in football after week one, owing to the 18.5 point spread. Still, New England has lost five of their last six in Miami. I don’t expect that trend to continue but against logic, Miami narrowly beats the spread. My pick: MIA +18.5.

ARI@BAL -13.5

I don’t like betting on teams favored by double digits. 13.5 is a lot to swallow. It seems unlikely the Ravens score 40+ again but the other team is coached by Kliff Kingsbury. The Ravens defense is regularly among the league’s elite and I expect it to rattle Kyler early. My pick: BAL -13.5.

SEA@PIT -3.5

Pittsburgh was undisciplined and unprepared after months to prepare. Their lack of talent at receiver was blatantly obvious. As long as the playcall cancer known as Big Ben continues under center, expect the offense to stall. My pick: SEA +3.5.

JAC@HOU -9.5

Should be 1-0 after a great performance but the human incompetence known as Bill O’Brien made his curtain call with seconds left in the game. I should take the points, especially with it being a rivalry game but I’m gonna take the talent of Houston. My pick: HOU -9.5.

KC@OAK +9.5

I likely lost the last match for getting overconfident about the Texans roster. I won’t here, trusting in the rivalry game to be more competitive than it should be and that the Raiders Monday Night performance wasn’t a blip on the spectrum. My pick: OAK +9.5.

CHI@DEN +1.5

Matt Nagy was off his game on Thursday. The Bears allowed ten points to Aaron Rodgers during an off night for Nagy. Imagine how good they could be when he’s on. A 1.5 point spread is insulting. Put the Bears down as my high confidence pick this week. Hopefully, the curse of Mitch doesn’t come back to bite me. My pick: CHI -1.5.

NO@LAR -2.5

My game of the week is must-watch television. Goff was off last week and Gurley’s workload appears to be monitored. The Saints were great. Hard to bet against them but the Saints were the recipient of luck in O’Brien’s game management. Luck usually finds a way to balance itself out. This game would be the perfect occasion to balance the books. My pick: LAR -2.5.

PHI@ATL +1.5

Atlanta was dominated by Minnesota last week. I expect a bounce back but it’s not enough for the Return of Wentz. My pick: PHI -1.5.

CLE@NYJ +2.5

I had the Jets at the beginning of the week but since then, quarterback Sam Darnold, DT Quinnen Williams and LB C.J. Mosley have been ruled out. That’s too much talent off the board for New York. My pick: CLE -2.5.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1

After careful consideration, I’ve decided to scrap my preseason power rankings from this point forward. Trying to set up a ladder before anyone’s played a down is fruitless. Moving on to Week 1!

1. Patriots (W 33-3 vs. PIT)

New England established dominance in their own conference once again. They add Antonio Brown tomorrow. God help us all.

2. Vikings (W 28-12 vs. ATL)

Mike Zimmer is a great football coach and Minnesota looked like a great-coached football team on Sunday. Last year, they feel well short of expectations. This year, after a year to learn and grow, they have no excuses. They showed up in a big game. Atlanta is one of the best offenses in the league. Minnesota bottled them and threw them with the rest of the trash. Dalvin Cook and the run game looked far better than last year. Arguably the best receiver duo in football, Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith in the secondary, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr at linebacker and Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter at end. That’s a lot of problems. Now if Kirk can just start performing in prime time.

3. Saints (W 30-28 vs. HOU)

The Monday Night premiere provided week one’s best matchup. A thriller with two lead changes in the final minute. After all the years of Payton forgetting what a defense was, now he has one and the Saints are a Super Bowl contender because of it.

4. Chiefs (W 40-26 vs. JAC)

LeSean McCoy looked more than serviceable to me. Sammy Watkins played the best game of his career. He’ll have to have some more of those in Tyreek’s absence.

5. Texans (L 30-28 @NO)

They blew an 11-point halftime lead on the road and yet still had a chance to win. Up one, six seconds on the clock and Brees with possession at the 50, everyone knew what was coming next.

Except Bill O’Brien.

In a serious headscratcher, O’Brien called full prevent, a two man pressure with three defensive backs more than 20 yards off the ball. Brees took a gift-wrapped ten yards and kicker Wil Lutz kicked the game-winning points. The Texans looked excellent otherwise, with Deshaun Watson performing magic behind a turnstile of an offensive line. There’s no sugar-coating it. O’Brien cost his team a win and that’s one that’s gonna sting all year. This might be the year Houston makes it to a title game but if only O’Brien doesn’t mismanage it like his red zone offense.

6. Rams (W 30-27 @CAR)

Jared Goff’s progressions were off. He seemed out of sync the whole contest and yet, with their quarterback flustered, the Rams managed 30 points. Still lethal.

7. Cowboys (W 35-17 vs. NYG)

Dallas looked like a playoff team on Sunday.

A lot of teams will look like playoff teams when they play the Giants. Try to remember the context of the performance. The return of Travis Frederick gives the Cowboys arguably the best line in football.

8. Eagles (W 32-27 vs. WAS)

Philly’s start was troubling which is why they’re not higher on this list. The defense did not play well against one of the weaker offensive units in the league. This unsettles me. It’s a flaw Philly can’t afford to have if they want a legitimate chance at an NFC crown this year.

Carson Wentz, after shaking off the rust, looked like the MVP pick I slotted him for (My publishing schedule is off. I’m sorry.) and DeSean Jackson had quite the arrival back to Philly.

9. Packers (W 10-3 @CHI)

Offense looked bad but that wasn’t the story of the game for me. Hurdles arise with new coaching and playbooks but Mike Pettine returned as defensive coordinator and did excellent work with the improved unit given to him by general manager Brian Gutekunst. They looked like a swarm out there, something McCarthy rarely had or attempted to have while he was in charge. Defense is back in Green Bay and a more complete team makes for a more dangerous threat. It’s not a matter of when the offense gets going. It’s when and when it does, the league’s in trouble if Thursday night was any indication.

10. Bears (L 10-3 vs. GB)

When your defense holds Aaron Rodgers to ten points and you lose, all eyes turn to your offense. Mitch lost them this game. Hope it doesn’t cost them in the future. Also probably shouldn’t be giving Mitch the ball 45 times a game.

11. Ravens (W 59-10 @MIA)

If you started the entire Ravens offense in fantasy, you probably won your matchup. Was very impressive but remember the context. It was against the worst team in football.

12. Chargers (W 30-24 vs. IND)

I hope Melvin Gordon wasn’t watching on Sunday. The offense didn’t look serviceable without him; it looked great, running on all cylinders. Still, they blew a sizable lead. Would have liked to have seen them put up a more dominant performance.

13. Titans (W 43-13 @CLE)

Speaking of dominant performances, the Titans are outmatched on paper against Cleveland in every category except two: secondary and coach. Those two were the difference on Sunday. Well-coached teams beat bad-coached teams. #footballrules

14. Panthers (L 30-27 vs. LAR)

Christian McCaffrey put up one of my top-five performances of the week. That is one dangerous man. Meanwhile, Cam’s best days are behind him and you have to wonder if trigger fingers are getting itchy for a new franchise keeper.

15. Seahawks (W 21-20 vs. CIN)

Jadeveon Clowney looked good in a Seahawks uniform. It’s a shame that offensive line is still unsteady. They might want to think about doing something about it sometime. Maybe give the franchise quarterback the ball occasionally.

16. Falcons (L 28-12 @MIN)

Atlanta has a great offense but will struggle when they play more complete teams. Minnesota is a better team because they have a defense. Atlanta has struggled to develop defensive continuity due to injury. The clock is ticking on Dan Quinn. If there aren’t improvements with the defense this year, injuries or not, he should be let go.

17. Colts (L 30-24 @LAC)

Just because Andrew Luck is gone doesn’t mean the Colts season is over, even Colts fans think it is. They are a well-coached team and well-coached teams generally last until the end. Had Vinatieri not left seven points off the board, Indy would have nailed a huge road win against one of the best teams in the AFC with a backup quarterback. Teams and fans alike would be wise not to overlook them.

18. Bengals (L 21-20 @SEA)

Your 2019 passing leader through week one is…Andy Dalton? He threw for 418 yards, a career-high? Hmm.

19. Redskins (L 32-27 @PHI)

I told you not to underestimate Washington’s defense (I know the preview isn’t up yet. My publishing schedule got messed up. Sorry.) and they came to play Sunday. Washington was up 17-0 on the road against Philly. Then their coach showed up.

Jay Gruden is the definition of mediocrity and should have been fired two years ago. He should have been fired Monday morning after putting a healthy Adrian Peterson on the inactive list, a move that caused immediate karma for Gruden when Guice injured his other knee mid-game. Guice’s future in the league is now dismal at best, a player never capable of getting healthy and Washington has likely pissed (has pissed off everyone else in the locker room, including Trent Williams) the only man who wants to carry the football for them. Excellent asset management. Probably why the team is in Washington. It’s par for the course.

20. 49ers (W 31-17 @TB)

Jimmy Garroppolo has issues with his throwing mechanics. He was paid an exorbitant amount of money and made a franchise quarterback before he was truly groomed for the position. San Francisco has a promising young core and a great coach (the Shanahan system is a proven philosophy) but, similar to Chicago, can only go as far as their quarterback allows.

21. Steelers (L 33-3 @NE)

The Steelers’ coaching staff had months to plan for this game and this is what they came up with. A sweep on third and one, five wide on 4th and one and a field goal on the goal line. Teams that do those three things don’t win. The whole coaching staff should have been axed after last year and they’re only giving Steelers Nation more ammunition. Not one facet of the team looked ready on Sunday night.

22. Bills (W 17-16 @NYJ)

Buffalo was outplayed for three quarters and their offense was running on fumes. The fourth quarter came around and suddenly there was fuel. Do not overlook the Bills defense. This game should have been a blowout but the unit kept them in it. Josh Allen is mediocre (who could have saw that coming) but that defense is anything but.

23. Lions (T 27-27 @ARI)

The Detroit Lions were performing. It was unbelievable. The Detroit Lions were winning a game they should have been winning handedly, though not with much help from Kerryon Johnson (RIP, fantasy teams). An 18-point lead in the fourth quarter would surely be enough.

It wasn’t. Detroit squandered the lead, went to overtime and tied with a team they had outmuscled for three quarters and change. A must-win for Detroit, they couldn’t help but go full Lions. That’s why the Lions are the Lions. They take any potential opportunity and squander it. Matt Stafford’s never gonna win a playoff game, is he?

24. Jaguars (L 40-26 vs. KC)

At some point, the real Jacksonville Jaguars need to stand up. A team this stacked on defense shouldn’t be giving up 40 at home to Kansas City. Kansas City is an elite offense, don’t get me wrong, but Jacksonville has so much talent on defense. They should be able to do better than that. First rounders and established veterans all over the defensive line, linebacker corps and defensive backs. The reason the team continues to fall short is because of poor coaching. Jacksonville’s had poor coaching for a long time, even when they won the division in 2017. Marrone’s cowardice blew a ten-point fourth quarter lead in Foxborough and the team hasn’t recovered since. They need new leadership and with new signee Nick Foles potentially missing the year with injury, now would be the time to do it.

25. Raiders (W 24-16 vs. DEN)

Despite all of the drama and losing their best player days before their opener, Oakland came out and…played a good football game? Wow. Truly caught off guard by this one. The Jon Gruden contract is an ugly behemoth and bar the guy winning multiple Super Bowls during his tenure, is a loss for the organization. However, for the team to perform like that through all the scrutiny and press coverage was inspiring. Josh Jacobs looked like a first rounder for the first time in his career and the Raiders gave up no sacks against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Give credit where credit is due.

26. Browns (L 43-13 vs. TEN)

Cleveland had the better quarterback, receivers, running backs, offensive line, defensive line and home field advantage.

They lost by 30.

Even when all the cards are in their favor, the Factory of Sadness spurts out more glorious content for family and friends everywhere. Cleveland looked like a team coached by a guy overwhelmed by the moment. Refball was alive and well. Cleveland better get on track fast or this season will eclipse the 0-16 Browns for the most Browns season in Browns history.

27. Jets (L 17-16 vs. BUF)

The Jets commanded this game for three quarters. They had four takeaways in the first half and the defense scored a pick-six and a safety.

They also missed an XP and a field goal. Had they not, they likely would have won. Still, the Jets defense put up an excellent performance and the Jets reverted to typical Jets and buttfumbled a win.

28. Cardinals (T 27-27 vs. DET)

The revolutionary Kliff Kingsbury and prodigal son Kyler Murray were getting stomped on by Detroit. 58 yards of offense in the first half and 100 after three. They were who we thought they were. Until they weren’t.

Arizona mounted an 18-point fourth quarter comeback to push the game to overtime, where the teams would trade field goals before time expired, rendering the match a draw. Arizona had stolen a tie in a game they had every right to lose.

29. Giants (L 35-17 @DAL)

The Giants looked great on their first drive. Not so much the rest of the way.

30. Buccaneers (L 31-17 vs. SF)

Bruce Arians might have come to clean up Tampa Bay but first he’ll have to deal with Famous Jameis. Two pick sixes on Sunday were the difference.

31. Broncos (L 24-16 @OAK)

Was weird seeing Joe Flacco in another uniform. Offense was very bland against below average competition and defense was bad against one of the worst offenses in football last year. At one point in the game, ESPN commentator Joe Tessitore said, “Carr to throw. Why wouldn’t he?” A team with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the edges didn’t have any pressure, recording zero sacks. Through one week, looks like Matt Nagy deserves more credit for the Bears defense than Vic Fangio does.

32. Dolphins (L 59-10 vs. BAL)

The Dolphins gave up 59 points.

At home.

They weren’t just the worst team on Sunday. They were the worst-coached team on Sunday. Maybe Flores should spend less time on the playlists at his practices and more time on the practices.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

2019 NFL Power Rankings: Preseason

1. Patriots

The evil empire returns its coach and captain. As long as that’s the case, this team is volatile.

*hears commotion in other room

Whatdya mean they just signed Antonio Brown?!

2. Rams

Sean McVay is the best young coach in the game. Rams signed Jared Goff to an extension. Todd Gurley should be healthy. How does the team rebound after managing only three points in their Super Bowl loss?

3. Saints

Drew Brees is still here, Alvin Kamara is official RB1 and Michael Thomas signed his extension. Anything else, Cap’t?

4. Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes won an MVP his first year as starter. The Chiefs offense was the league’s most explosive. Did they find a defense?

5. Eagles

The Return of Wentz. Are you ready?

6. Bears

The league’s best defense has to be included in the top ten. Can Trubisky get out of his own way? (Based off Thursday, apparently not.)

7. Chargers

Gordon or no Gordon, the Chargers would be a division winner in most of the league’s sections.

8. Falcons

The league’s best receiving trio (Julio/Sanu/Ridley) return as does running back Devonta Freeman. Can their defense stay healthy for once?

9. Texans

Houston mortgaged its future at a time it didn’t need to. Will the immense gamble pay off or ruin a golden opportunity and division dominance?

10. Browns

Is this the year for a division crown or will the Browns go full Cleveland?

11. Vikings

Minnesota’s offensive line was their downfall last year. They return one of the league’s top-three receiver duos (Diggs/Thielen). Can Mike Zimmer get his defense back in shape and will the real Dalvin Cook please stand up? The team is too stacked on paper to miss the playoffs twice in a row.

12. Packers

Aaron Rodgers had a down year last year. He had a TD/INT split of 25/2. God help us if he has a good one.

13. Steelers

Two of three tumors have been removed from the Steel Curtain but will the final one do them in this year?

14. Cowboys

With the Zeke contract bout over, can the team focus on the season?

15. Seahawks

In a tough NFC, can Seattle make the playoffs? Perhaps more importantly, will the Seahawks give Russ the ball more? Please?

16. Ravens

They lost key cogs on defense. Can they overcome and enact a new offense?

17. Lions

The Lions have high expectations. Will they fall short of them yet again?

18. 49ers

As do the 9ers. Can Jimmy G take them there?

19. Titans

This team has a loss of identity on offense and Derrick Henry going off three weeks a season won’t change that. How many weeks does Mariota last this year?

20. Broncos

Vic Fangio made wonder with the Bears. Can we get a repeat in Denver?

21. Colts

The roster is full of promise but Luck’s retirement throws a wrench in the machine. Can they demonstrate resilience?

22. Panthers

McCaffrey’s future? Sky’s the limit. Cam’s? Not so much.

23. Bills

Josh Allen and the offense didn’t get it done last year. The defense did. Can the offense join the party?

24. Jaguars

Given the personnel on defense, this team could make the playoffs. Given the offense and coaching staff, they could go broke. Which will it be? Does Nick Foles success story have another chapter?

25. Jets

Time for Sam Darnold’s next step. Right?

26. Redskins

An underrated defense is anchored by a floundering aerial attack.

27. Giants

Welcome to the Saquon Show!

28. Buccaneers

Can Bruce Arians balance the Famous Jameis?

29. Cardinals

Kliff Kingsbury couldn’t win in college. Can he make all the doubters shut up?

30. Raiders

Antonio Brown is gone. Waive the white flag, Oakland. The Jon Gruden experiment is a failure, not that anyone could have told you.

31. Bengals

A.J. Green will miss the opener and the Bengals are…meh.

32. Dolphins

This year we’ll see how far a Dolphin can sink.


Week 1 Picks Against the Spread (Lines provided by ESPN. Lines may vary.)

GB@CHI -3.5

I get the home team and the best defense against a new coach and offensive scheme. I’m counting on the Bears holding Rodgers under 20. My pick: CHI -3.5

ATL@MIN -4.5

This should be a great contest. Minnesota is scary on paper but they were last year and managed to miss the playoffs. I’ll take the best receiver corps and the points but I think Minnesota gets the win. My pick: ATL +4.5

BUF@NYJ -3.5

Week one football is generally sloppy and divisional matches are often more competitive then they should be. The Bills defense is underrated. My pick: BUF +3.5

TEN@CLE -5.5

The Browns hype train may derail early but I watched the Titans play their starting offensive line against the Steelers. They were bullied. Tennessee will be without left tackle Taylor Lewan due to suspension. Against a Pro Bowl defensive line, Cleveland could run away with this one. My pick: CLE -5.5

KC@JAC +3.5

Jacksonville has a great defense on paper, going top-five in yardage and points allowed. Missing the playoffs with a top-five defense is impressive and a reflection of an incompetent coaching staff that’s returning for 2019. I’ll take Mahomes over Foles. My pick: KC -3.5

LAR@CAR +2.5

Cam Newton’s health is a concern but so is Todd Gurley’s. His health was a story that didn’t get as much traction as it should have. Even if he isn’t ready to go, I get a better coach and deeper roster against an iffy offense. I’ll swallow the points for the NFC Champions. My pick: LAR -2.5

BAL@MIA +4.5

The Ravens offense is a wildcard but 4.5 against the worst roster in football isn’t enough. My pick: BAL -4.5

WAS@PHI -9.5

Ten points is a lot but I also have high expectations for the Eagles. Wentz is my frontrunner for MVP. I’ll probably regret it but I’ll take the Birds. My pick: PHI -9.5

CIN@SEA -9.5

Another one I’ll probably regret but an improved defensive line for Seattle encourages me as does the combo of Russell Wilson and Chris Carson. The Bengals will struggle without A.J. Green. My pick: SEA -9.5

IND@LAC -2.5

This spread is just ridiculous. No Andrew Luck and the Chargers are still only favored by three at home? My pick: LAC -2.5

NYG@DAL -7.5

Divisional matchups are never gimme’s. Saquon makes it interesting and the Giants just beat the spread. My pick: NYG +7.5

DET@ARI +2.5

The only reason I’m not screaming to bet your life savings on Detroit against an unproven coach, terrible offensive line and rookie quarterback is because it’s Detroit. I still expect a win but likely closer than it should be. My pick: DET -2.5

SF@TB -1.5

This wasn’t the line on the sportsbook downtown but if it were, I would have been putting money on the 9ers. The return of Jimmy G, an underrated offense and a dynamo in George Kittle, a young but growing defense and Jameis is on the other team? Yeah, give me SF all day. This is my high confidence pick. My pick: SF +1.5

PIT@NE -6.5

Antonio Brown won’t be eligible to play but it hardly matters. With the exception of last year, the Patriots have been whipping the Steelers the last decade. I get the home team, better coach and better quarterback. The Steelers offensive line may keep them in it but the defense will keep them out of it. My pick: NE -6.5

HOU@NO -6.5

Houston is a dark horse conference champion. Hopkins was last year’s best receiver, the offensive line should perform better and the defense returned to form. Bill O’Brien’s coaching malpractice, especially in the red zone, costs them a big week one victory. My pick: HOU +6.5

DEN@OAK -2.5

After the release of Antonio Brown, I find it unlikely the Raiders are still favorites (multiple outlets have moved the line to DEN -2.5) but ESPN hasn’t updated their lines. Denver is easy money if you find a bookie dumb enough. My pick: DEN +2.5

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2019 NFL Preview: AFC East


KEY ADDITIONS: WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Benjamin Watson, LB Jamie Collins, TE Lance Kendricks, OL Jermaine Eluemenor, WR Antonio Brown

KEY DEPARTURES: TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Trey Flowers, OT Trent Brown, DT Malcolm Brown, QB Brian Hoyer, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Dwayne Allen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Chris Hogan, DE Adrian Clayborn

DRAFT: 1st round: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State   2nd round: CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt   3rd round: DE Chase Winovich, Michigan   RB Damien Harris, Alabama   OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia   4th round: G Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas   QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn   5th round: DT Byron Cowart, Maryland   6th round: P Jake Bailey, Stanford   7th round: CB Ken Webster, Ole Miss

SUMMARY: The evil empire returns for another campaign but this year without a key cog: tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is a Hall of Famer but had lost a step this past season. Still, in the game’s biggest moments, Gronk showed up. Even a down year for Gronk was an elite year for most players. It’s hard to replace that talent.

The two tight ends they brought in to replace Rob, former Patriots Benjamin Watson and newcomer Lance Kendricks, have both been suspended for the first four games of the season, leaving Matt LaCosse starting.

2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn likely starts at left tackle after missing his rookie year with injury. Patriots captain and center David Andrews has been placed on season-ending IR with blood clots, so the Patriots may end up plugging in former Raven Jermaine Eluemenor at center.

Still, the Patriots offensive line is stout, as it always has been since the arrival of Belichick and Brady. Touchdown Tom has been sacked 35 or more times only four times in his career, the most recent in 2017. In ’16? 15 times. In ’18? 21 and longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

Demaryius Thomas joins the Patriots on his retirement tour while Josh Gordon returns after rebuilding his mental health. Despite all the missed opportunities and lost time, Gordon offers upside.

Sony Michel broached the 1,000 plateau in his rookie year and behind a strong offensive line, should put up numbers this year.

Stephon Gilmore had an All-Pro nod last year in Foxborough and the defense finished 7th in points against (20.3)

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship and a strong chance at another Super Bowl trip.

Oh, and as I write this, AB just signed with the Patriots. Sounds like the season’s over already. The Patriots current depth at receiver reads: Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett.

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship for Belichick/Brady and a strong chance at another vacation to the Super Bowl.

Even if Antonio Brown’s dive into madness continues and he ends up not playing a snap for the Patriots, New England, these things are assured. If he does, God help us all.


White finished 2018 with 87 receptions, good for 15th-best in the league and third-best among running backs (McCaffrey, Barkley). Last year, he had a career-high 123 targets (19th best). I don’t like taking players off career years but White’s target share is consistent and the Patriots always scheme him into the game plan. Sony Michel and Julian Edelman are also on my board this year but White has done me well three years running and I don’t see a reason to back off him now.


Week 1: vs. PIT   Week 2: @MIA   Week 3: vs. NYJ   Week 4: @BUF   Week 5: @WAS   Week 6: vs. NYG   Week 7: @NYJ   Week 8: vs. CLE   Week 9: @BAL   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @PHI   Week 12: vs. DAL   Week 14: vs. KC   Week 15: @CIN   Week 16: vs. BUF   Week 17: vs. MIA


KEY ADDITIONS: LB C.J. Mosley, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Jamison Crowder, C Ryan Kalil

KEY DEPARTURES: G James Carpenter, CB Buster Skrine, QB Josh McCown, CB Morris Claiborne, WR Jermaine Kearse, RB Isaiah Crowell

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama   3rd round: DE Jachai Polite, Florida   OT Chuma Edoga, USC   4th round: TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia   5th round: LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota   6th round: CB Blessuan Austin, Rutgers

SUMMARY: The Jets did something very New York-like this offseason: they bought everything.

Between top-three adds C.J. Mosley, Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, the Jets spent $166 million. C.J. Mosley was an excellent linebacker in Baltimore and was a must-have. Bell, off a vacation year, is a wildcard with dangerous upside and Crowder, with a stable quarterback, has a chance to return to form. Ryan Kalil moves to center from Carolina and Quinnen Williams, a player with HOF talent, enters the middle of the defense. Quinnen likely makes life easier for Leonard Williams, the former USC first-rounder, and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.

The Jets lack depth at receiver (Robby Anderson/Quincy Enunwa/Crowder/Josh Bellamy) and Mosley is a linchpin in the linebacker corps. The corners are relatively thin behind Trumaine Johnson. That lack of depth put the Jets in 29th for points against last year. The additions on both sides of the ball should improve that number. Hard to imagine it being much worse but how much better can it be?

Teams that build through free agency generally don’t succeed. Teams are determined by their drafts and the Jets are notoriously bad at drafting. Their future will be determined by Darnold’s sophomore season.

He didn’t look like a third overall selection last year (2,865 yards and a 17/15 split) and was showed up by Baker in a worse situation (3,725 yards and a 27/14 split). Darnold needs to make dramatic improvement in 2019. Hopefully Adam Gase doesn’t sabotage the effort.

Despite being better, the Jets likely miss on the playoffs due to a tough schedule (AFC North/NFC East).


I have no interest in taking a running back one year older and one year removed from football. Bell has high upside, sure, but with a pick that high in the draft, I want to know what I’m getting. There’s no knowing what Bell puts out there in 2019 and for that reason, I’m taking Crowder. The Jets D/ST should be improved and may make a splash or two but I’m going to put my faith in Darnold’s improvement and Crowder’s upside (59/67/66 receptions in his first three years).


Week 1: vs. BUF   Week 2: vs. CLE   Week 3: @NE   Week 4: BYE   Week 5: @PHI   Week 6: vs. DAL   Week 7: vs. NE   Week 8: @JAC   Week 9: @MIA   Week 10: vs. NYG   Week 11: @WAS   Week 12: vs. OAK   Week 13: @CIN   Week 14: vs. MIA   Week 15: @BAL   Week 16: vs. PIT   Week 17: @BUF


KEY ADDITIONS: C Mitch Morse, WR Cole Beasley, WR John Brown, TE Tyler Kroft, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Frank Gore, CB Kevin Johnson, G Jon Feliciano, G Quinton Span

KEY DEPARTURES: RB LeSean McCoy, DT Kyle Williams, G John Miller, TE Charles Clay

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Ed Oliver, Houston   2nd round: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma   3rd round: RB Devin Singletary   TE Dawson Knox, Ole Miss   5th round: LB Vosean Joseph   6th round: S Jaquan Johnson, Miami   7th round: LB Darryl Johnson Jr., North Carolina A&T   TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

SUMMARY: The Buffalo Bills basically cleaned house on their offensive line this offseason. Oklahoma tackle Cody Ford will start while free agent acquisitions Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano and Quinton Span all slot in with the returning Dion Dawkins.

Removed from that, I’m rather unmoved by the Bills roster. Buffalo had one of the weakest receiving cores in football for Josh Allen’s rookie year. This offseason, they bring in John Brown and Cole Beasley as well as TE Tyler Kroft, all of whom were complimentary players on their former teams. These receivers won’t be able to bail Allen’s out of precarious situations. I’m already not high on Josh Allen. Wasn’t at the draft either. His offensive situation isn’t helping that stance.

While the defense may not jump out on paper, they were solid last year. They finished middle-of-the-road in points against (23.4) but second in yardage allowed (4,706). When a team on paper outperforms expectation, it is a result of players overachieving or coaching. I’m more inclined to give some praise to coach Sean McDermott, though it would be wrong to not applaud efforts from the unit, specifically Tre’Davious White, Lorenzo Alexander, Tremaine Edmunds and the defensive line.

In addition to an inept passing game, LeSean McCoy is now gone, headed for the Midwest. The Bills were right to alleviate a contract that had run its course but now are left with journeyman Frank Gore, rookie Devin Singletary and Jaguar T.J. Yeldon. The Bills offense has to come from somewhere. It’s hard to believe they could be any worse (30th yardage, 31st pass, 30th points) but if the Bills can’t replicate 2018’s ninth-best rushing attack, they might be. The Bills season depends on it.


With the offense as dead as a Buffalo winter, the defense is the only place to turn. They were the seventh-best defense in standard ppr last session. As they say, no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.


Week 1: @NYJ   Week 2: @NYG   Week 3: vs. CIN   Week 4: vs. NE   Week 5: @TEN   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: vs. MIA   Week 8: vs. PHI   Week 9: vs. WAS   Week 10: @CLE   Week 11: @MIA   Week 12: vs. DEN   Week 13: @DAL   Week 14: vs. BAL   Week 15: @PIT   Week 16: @NE   Week 17: vs. NYJ


KEY ADDITIONS: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Josh Rosen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Allen Hurns

KEY DEPARTURES: DE Cameron Wake, OT Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills, LB Kiko Alonso, OT Ja’Wuan James, WR Danny Amendola, RB Frank Gore, G Josh Sitton, S T.J. McDonald, DT Akeem Spence, QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Robert Quinn

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson   3rd round: G Michael Deiter, Wisconsin   5th round: LB Andrew Van Ginkel, Wisconsin   6th round: T Isaiah Prince, Ohio State   7th round: FB Chandler Cox, Auburn   RB Myles Gaskin, Washington

SUMMARY: The Dolphins finished 7-9 which is rather impressive considering their offense had a ppg of 19.9. Teams under 20 don’t normally fair well but one way or another, Miami managed seven wins.

They’ll be lucky to make half of that this year. The good news is that Miami is trying to tank for Tua. It would be very concerning if they were trying to compete and ended up being that bad.

With pretty much every possible tradeable asset gone, the Dolphins are a bare bones roster. A receiving core of bust DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns and Jakeem Grant will not scare anyone. The offensive line is relatively unknown and the verdict is still out on Kenyan Drake. Mike Gesicki could return to his Penn State form and provide a spark?

Xavien Howard and former Pat Eric Rowe will cycle in the corner spots with long-timer Reshad Jones at safety. The defensive line will be carried by Clemson first-rounder Christian Wilkins.


Miami’s passing offense finished 30th last year but Fitzmagic has come to town. As we saw last year in Tampa, Fitzmagic hasn’t died yet. He still has some magic left in the beard. The issue with magic is that it’s entirely unpredictable. Don’t draft Ryan but pay attention to his performances. He could go off at any minute. Be ready to jump on the train.


Week 1: vs. BAL   Week 2: vs. NE   Week 3: @DAL   Week 4: vs. LAC   Week 5: BYE   Week 6: vs. WAS   Week 7: @BUF   Week 8: @PIT   Week 9: vs. NYJ   Week 10: @IND   Week 11: vs. BUF   Week 12: @CLE   Week 13: vs. PHI   Week 14: @NYJ   Week 15: @NYG   Week 16: vs. CIN   Week 17: @NE

AFC NORTH   AFC WEST   AFC SOUTH  NFC NORTH   NFC WEST   NFC EAST   NFC SOUTH   Playoff Predictions   Preseason Power Rankings

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
CCY's Movie Reviews

Movies Worth Sharing!

Days Gone

Meeting the insanity that is reality


Imperfection is Perfection


Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists


EMPIRE'S 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME REVIEWED - to watch or not to watch?

Shit Jon Gruden Says

"Spider 2 Y Banana Shake?"


I will show the world( or whoever reads this) my passion for movies, sports, life and Jesus


A place for sharing, fleshing out, and fine-tuning thoughts and ideas

Mr. Movie's Film Blog

Film and Anime Reviews - New and older releases!

Thomas J

My Journey Through Film


A blog dedicated to television and movies

The Cinema Monster

unparalleled film reviews, news, and top 10s

Silver Screen Serenade

Praising the high notes and lamenting the low notes of all things film and television

Cinema Parrot Disco

Musings on Mainly Movies from a Table 9 Mutant


For those searching for wistim regarding life, sports, movies and more