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4th and Krol: Picks, Week the 4th!

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D.T.: Things fall apart. The Steelers have lost Cheeseburger to the QB-eating machine that is the Rams defense, the Cowboys already show signs of struggle without Bryant and Romo, and the 49ers had a swift reality check after thinking they were going to bounce back. Dreams of playoff runs burst like fireworks in the night.

"Really?"

“Really?”

It was an absolutely brutal week for a lot of teams, filled with injuries to players, heartbreak for fans, and pure comedy for me and Krol. There was also that game between the Lions and Broncos that was just painful for everyone, and there was nothing funny about it.

BMK: So far, the quality of football this season has sort of sucked. I’m not sure if it’s just the schedule getting the dreck out of the way or if the sport has taken a step back.  That’s possible. It happened to basketball, post-Jordan and pre-Lebron.  Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s Goodell’s fault.

"Don't blame me for the Colts, Krol."

“Don’t blame me for the Colts, Krol.”

———-
RAVENS at STEELERS
D.T.: Here’s where the Ravens start to turn things around, at least for a little while. What should have been a rough divisional match this week has been made much softer with the removal of Roethlisberger from the equation. The Ravens haven’t been a bad team this season, just one with shitty luck. Last week’s game against the Bengals was pretty spectacular on both sides, with some of the craziest tackle shedding I’ve seen in ages. Any more amazing and the players would have been shooting off sparks.

"Dude, what the fuck is this?"

“Dude, what the fuck is this?”

Now the Ravens get to direct all of that ferocity and pent up desire for a win against an ailing rival. Yes, Mike Vick is a good QB2, but I guarantee that offense doesn’t operate like it does with Big Ben taking snaps. Expect the Ravens secondary to take back their good name.

RAVENS

BMK: I’m writing this on Saturday.  But I feel pretty good about my pick.

STEELERS

"Really?"

“Really?”

I’m kidding. I picked the Ravens. I have the text I sent to DT if you don’t believe me. Really.

RAVENS

———-

JETS at DOLPHINS

D.T.: The Dolphins are on a losing-to-lesser-teams-tour, and the next stop is a massively disappointing display against their rivals, the New York Jets. The only good thing about this game is the fact that it’s being played in London, so it technically doesn’t count, right? The Jets are on a meteoric rise, and the hire of head coach Todd Bowles is a boost the team desperately needed after the fiasco that was Rex Ryan, last season. The Dolphins will continue their dud of a season.

"So that's how this week is going down, huh?"

“So that’s how this week is going down, huh?”

JETS

BMK: London games are so hard to predict.  What do you expect, making the players—some of whom went to schools like FSU—play in a foreign country where they don’t speak the language.

 

"I’m going to ring the authorities and have them deal with this cheeky arsehole Krol. Right after I scoff an apple."

“I’m going to ring the authorities and have them deal with this cheeky arsehole Krol. Right after I scoff an apple.”

Anyway, the Jets are on an upswing. So long as Brandon Marshall doesn’t lateral the ball to anyone this week, I like their odds here.

JETS

———-

JAGUARS at COLTS

D.T.: The Jags had a nice time beating the Dolphins in week two, but like a great Fourth of July display, all good things must come to an end.

"Why are you doing this?"

“Why are you doing this?”

They lost in devastating fashion against the Patriots last week, and the Colts’ middling efforts at an early season comeback will continue with a win on Sunday. Maybe we’ll be fortunate enough to see Andrew Luck go rogue against an easy opponent and prove to Pep Hamilton what a terrible Offensive Coordinator he is.

COLTS

BMK: The Colts have to win sometime, right?

COLTS

———-

GIANTS at BILLS

D.T.: A fun match-up here. With the way things are going, I’m inclined to think that the Bills defense will strike hard, and light up Eli Manning’s offense.

"Ugh..."

“Ugh…”

The Bills have been ferocious so far this season, and even gave the Patriots a run for their money, while the Giants’ offense and game management have been less than stellar. If the Giants give the Bills any quarter, Buffalo will run away with it. And given history as an example thus far, I’m comfortable making that my prediction.

BILLS

BMK: The only person the Giants scare is DT, and that’s only when he Googles John Pierre Paul. Rex Ryan has the Bills going in the right direction and I think they take care of the Giants this week.

BILLS

———-

PANTHERS at BUCCANEERS

D.T.: Last week, the Panthers were all but promised a win, when Drew Brees was ruled out with an injury. And that’s what they got, even if they failed to set the world on fire with their victory.

"I'm not even paying attention anymore."

“I’m not even paying attention anymore.”

The Bucs, on the other hand, lost out to the Texans defense, just as I suspected. As with any NFC South game, we can expect a Battle of the Bad, but I think Cam’s poise will win over Winston’s bravado, and the Panthers’ defense will help secure the win.

PANTHERS

BMK: The Panthers do nothing for me here. NOTHING! So, I’m taking the Bucs in my Upset Special of the Week!

BUCCANEERS

———-

EAGLES at REDSKINS

D.T.: The Eagles, somehow and someway, pulled a win away from a defense that’s been blowing away the opposition.

"..."

“…”

Is it the start of an upswing for the Philly squad? Was it a fluke win fueled by sheer determination and emotion? Or is just impossible to predict the Eagles this season? Well, against the Redskins, I think it’s fair to predict another win.

EAGLES

BMK: Oh my god, is this matchup a stinker.  Who the hell would watch this game?

This guy, I guess...

This guy, I guess…

Anyway, this game is basically unwatchable trash for a variety of reasons. I’m taking the Eagles since … well, crap. I have no idea. I’m going with my gut. And when has that ever steered me wrong?

EAGLES

———-

RAIDERS at BEARS

D.T.: Raiders. Boom.

"You didn't even fucking TRY on that one!"

“You didn’t even fucking TRY on that one!”

RAIDERS

BMK: The Raiders are doing a lot of good things this year. Derek Carr looks like he could be the real deal, and Amari Cooper looks like a young Larry Fitzgerald. Chicago, on the other hand, looks like the stuff that comes out of Harry Dean Stanton after a night of drinking whiskey and doing Molly.

RAIDERS

———-

TEXANS at FALCONS

D.T.: I have to say, Matt Stafford looked composed as he threw for 285 yards and a pair of touchdowns on Sunday — even if it was against a tenderized Cowboys squad. The real star of the show, however, was Devonta Freeman, who found the end zone three times. He gave a performance that one would easily call explosive.

"Saw that one coming."

“Saw that one coming.”

If the Falcons can maintain that focus against the Texans’ defense, I see them taking another win this week, and maybe even being considered a contender for this ailing division.

FALCONS
BMK: The Falcons are the best team in the NFC South.  Which is like being the best break dancer in a minefield.

Don’t get that metaphor? Neither do I!

FALCONS

After that nonsense, you deserve this:

It's so hypnotic...

It’s so hypnotic…

———-

CHIEFS at BENGALS

D.T.: It was a foregone conclusion that the Chiefs would lose last week in Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers kept the no-interception-streak alive, despite one minor scare, and outside of some poor game management and slowing down on Green Bay’s part, they kept the game well in-hand.

"I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt on that one, asshole."

“I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt on that one, asshole.”

With the Bengals playing as well as they are, the the Chiefs finding ways to lose games, I expect the Red Rifle and his band of tigers to secure another home win and come out… dare I say it… 4-0.

BENGALS

BMK: The Bengals are on a hot streak, that’s for sure.  With Roethlisberger out, the Ravens sucking, and the Browns being the Browns, they’re going to run away with the AFC North.

———-

BROWNS at CHARGERS

D.T.: I wasn’t wrong for picking the Browns/Raiders as my game of the week. The game ended up being pretty damned exciting, considering both teams were fighting NOT to lose to the other. The Raiders continue to impress and show a spark of greatness on both sides of the ball.

"Man, you already used SPARK!"

“Man, you already used SPARK!”

Wait, shit… I’m supposed to say something about the Browns here. Well, they’ll maybe not lose too badly to the Chargers? By the way, I thought about driving out to this game for no other reason than field-level tickets, right behind the bench on the 50 yard line are going for $250. That’s cheaper than fucking Rams tickets last season.

CHARGERS
BMK: DT and I were thinking about attending this game (see above), but then he fell ill and my cat needed 1500 bucks worth of Thyroid therapy. A shame. I was hoping to live out my inner Hunter S. Thompson and turn in a Fear and Loathing version of this column. Oh well—such is life.

Oh, yeah, I need to pick this game. Uh…Chargers.

"Don't drag me into your nightmare existence, Krol."

“Don’t drag me into your nightmare existence, Krol.”

———-

PACKERS at NINERS

D.T.:

Packers fans: get there late, enjoy a quick beer and leave before the end of the fourth quarter. Your team is going to win – big time – and you don’t want to be anywhere near groups of Niners fans when it happens. Levi Stadium will be set to go off like a powder keg.

"That one was actually pretty good."

“That one was actually pretty good.”

PACKERS

BMK: I’ve actually thought about attending a game at Levi’s Stadium. A few things hold me back. 1) It’s a nightmare to get there from where I live in the Bay Area, 2) I’d have to root for the other team, which would open me up to getting my legs ripped off by thickheaded 49ers fans. Seriously, it’s like Lord of the Flies down there.

Anyway, the Packers are going to kill the 49ers.  Incidentally, you cannot imagine the angst and consternation the Cardinals victory caused on Bay Area sports radio. As a Cardinals fan, it was delicious.

PACKERS

———-

RAMS at CARDINALS

D.T.: You might have noticed a theme running through my part of the column this week. It’s not because I’m a complete dick and have no cares when it comes to serious injuries that could have been prevented by being a responsible adult. It’s in tribute to the St. Louis Rams, who failed spectacularly this week in trying to speed up their move to LA by burning down their fucking stadium with fireworks.

Everyone knows you're supposed to start the fire in the opposing team's locker room. Come on!

Everyone knows you’re supposed to start the fire in the opposing team’s locker room. Come on!

When their plan blew up in their faces…

"Yeah, I hate you again."

“Yeah, I hate you again.”

…they took out their frustration on Ben Roethlisberger, and took out his knee, as they are wont to do with opposing QBs. This ensures the Cardinals’ win streak will carry on into week 6, when they face a Ben-less Steelers squad after defeating the Rams this week and the Lions after that. Seriously, even I’m shocked at how solid the Cardinals look on both sides of the line. I was worried and already calling out their new defensive coordinator for being under-experienced. The Cardinals will take this win, though I’d be perfectly fine with head Coach Bruce Arians letting Carson Palmer sit and not risk being the next victim of that St. Louis defense.

CARDINALS

BMK: This is a hard one to call. The Rams are not a good team offensively. Not with Nick Foles at QB (and how does that trade with the Eagles look now?). But they are very good defensively. Especially along the defensive line. But then again, the Redskins took them apart with Alfred Morris and the Steelers handled them pretty well.  It seems like this team just gets pumped for the interdivision games and sort of reverts back to the mean outside the division. It’s like they’re all about playing the spoilers and then forget that they have ten other games they should probably win.

As a sports guy, I like the Cardinals to win. As a Cardinals fan, watching the team’s first and second QB go down against this team, I don’t care if they win so long as Palmer isn’t injured. So should I do what I normally do and pick against them?  It worked last week. Then again, I’m still ahead of DT in the picks… THIS IS THE HARDEST DECISION ANYONE HAS EVER HAD TO MAKE!

F it.

CARDINALS

———-

VIKINGS at BRONCOS

D.T.: Holy shit, what the fuck was that on Sunday night? Even Trent Dilfer would be unable to find things to scream about, as the Lions and Broncos plodded up and down the field like they all had someplace better to be. If either of these teams played like they wanted to win games, they’d be truly dangerous to any team they faced. That said, the Broncos aren’t about to lose this week and break their (questionably-earned) win-streak at home against another NFCN team. I’m hoping each week brings us closer to either Peyton clicking with that new offense, or Elway and Kubiak finally caving and letting him run the show.

"You forgot something."

“You forgot something.”

Oh, right. Something-something-fireworks.

BRONCOS
BMK: The Broncos have problems.  But they’re going to handle the Vikings easily.

By the way, I want credit for not doing the obvious 99 Problems joke.

BRONCOS
———-

COWBOYS at SAINTS

D.T.: Sean Payton says that we’re being saved from a Battle of the Back-ups on Sunday night. Brees is expected to appear and participate fully in practices leading up to the game. If he comes back healthy, this could be New Orleans’ chance to bounce back and gain some confidence in a high-profile, prime-time win. But, you know, I’ve gotta go with my gut on this one and say the Weeden-led Cowboys find a way to win against the utterly-downtrodden Saints. It’ll be a win for Dallas, but don’t expect a blowout.

"Are we almost done with this shit?"

“Are we almost done with this shit?”

COWBOYS

BMK: This game sums up the problem with this week. None of these matches have any real drama. Does anyone think the Cowboys won’t beat the Saints? Anyone who’s not in New Orleans and on their fifth Hand Grenade of the day?  No. All the teams that are supposed to win this week will win. Boring, I say. Boring.

COWBOYS

———-

LIONS at SEAHAWKS

D.T.: After their lethargic display against a Broncos team that could have been beaten, the Lions don’t seem to have much hope or desire this season. Against a Seattle squad more or less back at full strength and looking to regain their mental edge, the Lions are going to be little more than a better warm-up than the Bears to work out the kinks and kick off the rust. And if you’re as apathetic as the Lions have been, playing in CenturyLink Field will be crushing. The energy in that place is popping.

"Popping. Yeah, great. I'm just gonna -- who the FUCK replaced by music with 'Firework' by Katy Perry?"

“Popping. Yeah, great. I’m just gonna — who the FUCK replaced by music with ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry?”

SEAHAWKS

BMK: I wish it wasn’t so, but the Lions aren’t going to win this week.  Maybe Matt Safford can prove me wrong? Maybe. Maybe Kat Dennings will break down in front of my house next week and need to use my phone.

Here's a glimpse into my inner life.

SEAHAWKS

———-

D.T.: Well, I definitely had a blast writing this week’s article. However, the nightmares I’ll suffer after Googling Jason Pierre-Paul so many times will haunt me for years to come. Seriously folks, don’t fucking Google Jason Pierre-Paul. Ever. Google should block that shit forever. I need a drink…

Thanks for reading! Next week we have a bunch of really shitty games on the docket so enjoy this week as much as you can!

BMK: If this column seems a little light on my end this week, you’re right! I thought about just doing straight picks so I didn’t interrupt what DT was doing with JPP, but then I realized that our brand is DT doing the good stuff while I ruin everything. Mission accomplished!

Thanks for reading.  See you guys next week.

 

Guess who's still on top?

Guess who’s still on top?

And now, for your weekly dose of Kat Dennings…

Kat Bike

This post was written and compiled listening to house music, math rock, and that nagging voice inside my head that’s telling me it’s later than I think…

Written by B. Michael Krol

October 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm

4th and Krol Picks: Week 3

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Week Three!

Week Three!

D.T.: Upset City! Holy shit, the Raiders, Buccaneers, Jaguars and Browns all won a game. And wait… the Redskins won, too?

"Yeah, bitches!"

“Yeah, bitches!”

So, that’s five picks right out the gate that Krol and I BOTH got wrong. I’d be upset, but I’m actually happy to see shit hitting the fan, and these teams making things interesting (and not least of all, glad for the Redskins in helping my Cardinals lock in the only NFC West win this week). At this point, I don’t know what’s up, what’s down and I’m convinced the league reads this little blog, and is deliberately fucking with us. So, here we go — WEEK THREE, BEGIN!

BMK: Week Three is interesting.  We’re getting towards the end of the first quarter of the season. Teams start revealing themselves now. In hindsight all those upsets we didn’t see coming will make a lot more sense.

We’ll still have no idea what happened to Andrew Luck though…Jesus Christ, Andy, what did you do? Did you run over a Gypsy’s dog?

On to the picks!

———-

REDSKINS at GIANTS

D.T.: The Giants did exactly what I said they would, and got themselves into a shoot out with the Falcons last week, before shitting the bed with poor game management at the end. This week they host the Redskins and unless they completely underestimate them like the Rams did, they should secure a bounce-back win.

 "Let's see... mentioned poor game management, gave us a half-ass pick to win. Posted a photo of me making a face... yep. This part of the article checks out."


“Let’s see… mentioned poor game management, gave us a half-ass pick to win. Posted a photo of me making a face… yep. This part of the article checks out.”

GIANTS
BMK: After the Eagles self-immolation on Sunday and Romo being knocked out of the game, a lot of people were ready to hand the division to the Redskins because of the way the beat the Rams, who beat the Seahawks. Football people love the transitive property apparently (“The Rams beat the Seahawks who are a good team, and the Redskins beat the Rams which means…TEH REDSKINS ARE AWESOME!!!111!!!”). Slow down there, pickle.  The Redskins beating the Rams says more about the Rams than the quality of the Redskins. They’re not a good team. Something the Giants will make abundantly clear on Thursday. Unless Manning the Lesser blows another 4th quarter lead.

GIANTS
———-

FALCONS at COWBOYS

D.T.: This one would have been an easy pick. But now, the ‘Boys have lost Dez Bryant and Tony Romo. They’re basically done for the season, and if I had to pick a winner for the NFC East at this point… I guess it would have to be the Giants. Yeah, the Cowboys still have a decent offensive line, but when you’ve got no one behind it or coming through it, what’s the point? Vultures will feast on the corpse of the Cowboys. And I don’t mean Jerry Jones.

"Ah'm still alive, ya somesabishes!"

“Ah’m still alive, ya somesabishes!”

FALCONS

BMK: I feel really bad for Tony Romo. He’s a good quarterback, a decent father, and, in this era of Russell Wilsons, he seems like a nice guy. But he plays for the Cowboys, whose fans are human garbage.  So after breaking his clavicle—again!—Bubbas are going to crawl out of the trailer park questioning his toughness and commitment.  These same people would weep like Dick Vermeil if they missed Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster.

Romo is a tough SOB that plays one of the most violent sports in the history of the world. Dallas fans don’t deserve a QB that good.

That said, I think they beat the Falcons this week since all the Falcons have is Julio Jones.  Not a bad player to have, certainly, but if my years of Cardinals fandom has taught me anything, it’s that it’s okay to cry at Football games.  That and one elite wide receiver isn’t enough to win, generally.

COWBOYS

———-

COLTS at TITANS

D.T.: The Colts are officially in trouble. After their terrible loss to the Jets, head coach Chuck Pagano – in his usual, reserved manner – called out both Andrew Luck and General Manager Ryan Grigson in his post-game press conference. Andrew Luck is phenomenally talented, but he’s held back by possibly the worst offensive coordinator in the league, and he’s surrounded by a piecemeal team without any cohesion. Top it all off with a coke-head owner and a long-standing feud between Pagano and Grigson, and you’ve got a recipe for a disastrous season for the Colts. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt in saying they’ll rebound against the Titans (who had a weak showing against the Browns of all teams), and get themselves their first win.

COLTS

BMK: Biggest mystery so far this season: what the hell happened to the Colts? Once they signed Frank Gore and Andre Johnson, I was pretty sure they’d win the AFC South, despite being in the same division as the Houston JJ Watts. Given how the top talent in this division is playing, I have no idea who’s going to win the AFC West.  Maybe Jacksonville?

Anyway, this Sunday, we’ll see the Colts take on the Titans.  Unless Love it or List It is on HGTV.  Then I’m all like see ya!

COLTS

———-

RAIDERS at BROWNS

D.T.: Well, shit. Before last week, I could have written this game off with a single joke and moved on. But after the showing both of these teams put on, it’s actually looking pretty interesting. The Raiders managed to squeeze out a narrow win against a still-decent Ravens offense, and sobriety is apparently agreeing with Johnny Manziel.

"It ain't for everyone, though."

“It ain’t for everyone, though.”

I can see this one being a… holy shit, I’m about to say this… a fun, and exciting football game. If both of these teams come in hungry after their last wins, thinking they’re going to snatch a win from the other, we could be in for a dirty, ugly, fun game.

 

"Did someone say snatch?"

“Did someone say snatch?”

I’m going to give it to the Raiders. Derek Carr is looking sharp, and his chemistry with Amari Cooper is becoming impressive. And Khalil Mack will keep that Cleveland offensive line in check. Fuck it, I’m all in: this is my Game of the Week.

RAIDERS

BMK: I’m seriously starting to worry about DT’s obsession with Jim Irsay. It’s getting creepy.

Did some one say creepy?

Did someone say creepy?

RAIDERS
———-

BENGALS at RAVENS

D.T.: After their humiliating loss to the Raiders, the Ravens will be out for blood, and a home win. The loss of Terrell Suggs is already showing in their defense, and the Bengals are looking sturdy. Still, the Ravens need and really want this one. I’ll bet they force out a win on sheer will alone.

RAVENS

BMK: I don’t see it. Without a strong defense keeping the opposing offense in check, the Ravens are a shell. I think the Bengals take it. If for no reason other than keeping the whole “Is Joe Flacco elite?” question going. For my money, you can never talk enough about Joe Flacco.

BENGALS

———-

JAGUARS at PATRIOTS

D.T.: Confidence, dreams, self-esteem and balls will all be deflated. And the only thing on that list belonging to the Patriots will be the balls.

"Hee hee... he said balls. W-wait a second..."

“Hee hee… he said balls. W-wait a second…”

PATRIOTS

BMK: Jesus Christ.  Just look at that guy.  I’m pretty sure when they’re in the huddle, Gronk asks Tom Brady to tell him about the rabbits.

And Tom Brady looks down and whispers, “No.”

PATRIOTS

By the way, so far in this column, I’ve used the word immolation, and I just referenced Steinbeck and Alan Moore.  When’s the last time a football column did that?  And Draftkings or Fanduel are nowhere to be found! THIS IS A TRUE VICTORY

Crap...Spoke too soon.

Crap…Spoke too soon.

———-

SAINTS at PANTHERS

D.T.: The Panthers have made it tough to count them out, despite the loss of their prized rookie Receiver. Cam Newton had a pretty fantastic showing on Sunday morning, bombing out passes and doing front flips over a defense I was sure would stomp him flat. Divisional games are always the toughest to predict, and I don’t think I see Drew Brees accepting an 0-3 start to his season. I think this is the Saints’ time to step up and get some kind of momentum going, and the chaos of an NFC South match-up is as good a place as any to do it.

SAINTS

BMK: I think this game is a tough one to call. The Panthers are playing better than anyone expect them to, and the Saints are playing worse than anyone expected them to. Normally in a situation like this, I’d go with the best QB in the match-up, which is unquestionably Drew Brees. However, Cam is playing better lately, and seems a bit more mature than at the start of his career.  Maybe he’s getting it?  I don’t know.
I agree with DT that I don’t see Brees going 0-3 to start this season. But I’m not sure he can do anything about it.

PANTHERS

———-

EAGLES at JETS

D.T.: Chip Kelly will be headed back to college. He left under bad circumstances, but his parade of nonsense and quarterbacks hasn’t gotten him anywhere, and with decent players leaving the roster left and right, and the team absolutely floundering on the field, he’s not long for the pros. The Jets defense was fucking incredible against one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and they’ll rip Sam Bradford apart. Against that Eagles offense, you could probably just put Darrelle Revis on the field and call it a day.

JETS

BMK: Dear God, the Jets defense against this Eagles team?  Here’s an animated GIF that expresses how well this matchup will go.

Call me crazy, but this is sorta hot...

Call me crazy, but this is sorta hot…

If even that well.

JETS

———-

BUCCANNERS at TEXANS

D.T.: An interesting match-up. A rookie quarterback who found a bit of confidence in a win, after a humbling week-one loss to his contemporary. A defense looking to capitalize on the lack of experience and force some mistakes. I don’t care how carefree and casual you make yourself out to be, seeing JJ Watt come after your ass at full speed has got to be one of the scariest things on the planet. Scarier than half the monstrous creatures in the Australian Outback.

"Scarier than ALL the monstrous creatures in the Australian Outback."

“Scarier than ALL the monstrous creatures in the Australian Outback.”

I mean, scarier than ALL the monstrous creatures in the Australian Outback. The Texans defense will get what they want out of Jameis Winston, I think.

TEXANS

BMK: DT’s right about the scary monstrous outback creatures. He’s also right about the match-up here.

"Look upon my works, ye mighty and despair!"

“Look upon my works, ye mighty and despair!”

No, not that Outback…

Quick! Of the two, who has the better statistical defense after two games? If you said the Texans, you’d be wrong!  Who has the better offense after two games? If you said the Buccaneers, you’d be wrong!

So, I don’t get it.  I’m going with the safe Pick.

TEXANS

———-

CHARGERS at VIKINGS

D.T.: Did you know that Philip Rivers set the NFL record for the longest run of completed passes after the Chargers’ week one game against the Lions? With 20 consecutive passes?

"I thought everyone knew that."

“I thought everyone knew that.”

It was ended in their loss to the Bengals in week two, but it’s still an impressive stat. And it goes to show how far under the radar the Chargers fly for most everyone in the nation. I think they’re entering their week three game against the Vikings as not an underdog, but a cipher of sorts. Rivers is an excellent quarterback, and we’re still waiting to see what sort of show Melvin Gordon can put on. Against the weak Vikings defense, I say they turn some heads and make the country a little more aware that they exist. And yeah, Adrian Peterson will probably put on a good show and score once or twice, too. Yawn.

CHARGERS

BMK: The child-beater versus the child-breeder?  Pass…

CHARGERS

———-

STEELERS at RAMS

D.T.: Rams, thank you so much for shutting down the Seahawks in week one. That was really fun, but then you shit the bed and lost to the freaking Redskins. You rode high on that early win, then crashed in Icarus-like fashion with your hubris and overconfidence. The Steelers will defeat you again this week, because they’re just a better team and they do their homework.

STEELERS
BMK:  The Rams surprised everyone when they beat Seattle in Week One.  Everyone who wasn’t paying attention to them, that is. I think in the Seattle game, we saw a case of one team’s strength aligning perfectly with one team’s weakness.  I’m not sure how this dynamic will play out with the Steelers.  Center Maurkice Pouncey is out, but the Steelers offensive line held up pretty well against the 49ers, and Roethlisberger is abnormally hard to take down. However, the Rams have a very good front seven, and the only way to keep the Steelers from another Secondary Carve Fest is to pressure Roethlisberger into bad throws. I know it, they know, now you know it.

I think the Steelers take this one. The Rams have improved, but they’re not ready for the big time yet.

STEELERS
———-

NINERS at CARDINALS

D.T.: The Cardinals made some bad mistakes in the first half against the Bears last week, but adjustments made by the defense and the unfortunate shoulder injury Jay Cutler sustained rallied the Cardinals to win 48-23. Larry Fitzgerald caught a career-record-matching three touchdown passes, and rookie Running Back David Johnson’s cleats and jersey were added to the Hall of Fame in Canton, after he made the second-longest opening kick-off return in league history, and also found himself the first rookie to ever score a passing, receiving and kick-off return touchdown in his first two career games.

The Niners also played a game last week, and lost. I’m afraid any hopes that the effects of their awful offseason were an exaggeration were false. When up against a well-structured and run team, they faltered, and I believe the same will happen when they visit Glendale, AZ this week and try to take on a Cardinals team firing on all cylinders on both sides of the line of scrimmage. If the Cardinals maintain focus and don’t underestimate Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde, they’ll secure a win — albeit, I believe a narrow win.

CARDINALS

BMK: This game makes me nervous.  Of course, as my partner DT can attest, every time the Cardinals play it makes me nervous. However, this week I think I’m on to something.

The Cardinals have a hard time stopping mobile quarterbacks and Kaepernick—along with that burgeoning headcase in Seattle—is the prototypical mobile QB of this era.  I think the 49ers are out to avenge their embarrassment from last week and I think the Cards might be ready for a reality check. Screens and passes out in the flat are a good way to slow an aggressive defense, and the Cardinals have a very aggressive defense. I think the 49ers dink and dunk themselves to a victory.

Of course I’m doing all of this to make sure they win. There’s only one last thing for me to do ensure that victory…

49ERS

"Krol picked the Niners? Good...everything's going according to plan..."

“Krol picked the Niners? Good…everything’s going according to plan…”

———-

BILLS at DOLPHINS

D.T.: The Bills failed to defeat the Patriots after much hyperbolic ranting and raving from Rex Ryan. Still, like Leonidas failed to kill the God-King Xerxes, but proved that even a God-King is vulnerable and can bleed, so did the Bills show the world that the Patriots are not invulnerable. This metaphor works better if you imagine Leonidas as being a loud-mouthed asshole, and Xerxes being a little less masculine.

Yeah, I said "less masculine". I stand by it.

Yeah, I said “less masculine”. I stand by it.

The Bills are kind of impressive so far this year. You can’t really fault them for losing to the Patriots, who are the superior team despite their defense being lacking. The Bills are meaner, with a large chip on their shoulder – exactly how Rex Ryan is breeding the team to be – and seeing what they did to the top of their division makes me think they can pull out a win against a Dolphins team that lost to Jacksonville in week two.

BILLS

BMK: The Bills have a good defense, and that should beat the Dolphins…in theory. In theory, New Coke was a good idea. In theory, evolution exists. In theory, I shouldn’t be writing this column. IN THEORY!

The Bills are a tough out, but I like Tannehill over Taylor in this matchup.  Particularly since the fish have a top-ten passing attack.

Kat's mad about that evolution joke.

Kat’s mad about that evolution joke.

DOLPHINS

———-

BEARS at SEAHAWKS

D.T.: The Seahawks begin an incredibly soft stretch of scheduling with this game, against a soft Bears team in a home game. Seattle comes out of this one 1-2, and the next several weeks of wins causes everyone to forget about Kam Chancellor, aside from the few times ESPN and color commentators force him in our faces.

SEAHAWKS
BMK: This pic sums up everything about this game you need to know.

"My kind might be going extinct and my habitat is being destroyed because humans lack the political willpower to end Climate Change, but at least I'm not Jimmy Clausen facing the Seattle defense!"

“My kind might be going extinct and my habitat is being destroyed because humans lack the political willpower to end Climate Change, but at least I’m not Jimmy Clausen facing the Seattle defense!”

The Seahawks are going to win, and it’s going to be ugly.

But hey, what’s the difference between that cute bear and Jay Cutler’s brood of children?  That bear is vaccinated! Hiyo!

SEAHAWKS
———-

BRONCOS at LIONS

D.T.: I’m a Broncos fan, as well as a Cardinals fan, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading and researching what the hell is wrong with Peyton Manning. And discovering some compelling testimonies, I’ve reached agreement with the folks who think it’s the fault of Gary Kubiak’s new offense. Watching their week two game against the Chiefs, it was clear that Manning was so much more comfortable, aggressive and accurate during the rare cases the Broncos went into a Manning-directed hurry up offense. The rest of the time, his footwork suffered and he failed to throw with any kind of confidence. The sooner Elway and Kubiak realize this and let Manning finish out his last year with some dignity, the better it’ll be for Denver’s season.

"Please-just-let-me-fu-cking-plaaaayyyy..."

“Please-just-let-me-fu-cking-plaaaayyyy…”

As for the Lions, they enter the game at 0-2, and face questions about about what’s happening with their offense, as well. Matt Stafford managed to connect with Calvin Johnson for some points, but they still lost – quite terribly, at that – against a Vikings team that fell over themselves losing to the mess that is San Francisco. Against Denver’s stout defense, I don’t think they steady themselves this week, and they suffer a home loss and come out 0-3.

BRONCOS

BMK: This is a must win game for the Lions and they’re going to lose it.

"It's okay bro, China is adopting cap and trade. That polar bear will be okay."

“It’s okay bro, China is adopting cap and trade. That polar bear will be okay.”

BRONCOS

———-

CHIEFS at PACKERS

D.T.: Aaron Rodgers is fucking surgical in Lambeau, and he’ll have an easier time picking apart the Chiefs’ defense than he did Seattle’s. It’s almost unfair for the Packers to even have home games at this point, and the Packers sent the Seahawks home with an 0-2 record to the tune of a ten point differential. Eddie Lacy’s status remains uncertain after an ankle injury in Sunday night’s game, but that offense proved more than capable of succeeding without him, even against a top defense.

"No one throws to Sherman's side? Heh... watch this."

“No one throws to Sherman’s side? Heh… watch this.”

The Packers also showed decent fortitude on defense, managing to fully contain Marshawn Lynch and hold him to a shocking 41 yards rushing. If the Pack can contain Jamaal Charles anywhere near as well, they should hold down the fort and continue the win streak to three.

PACKERS

BMK: The Chiefs are much improved, but Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at Lambeau since Ford was in the Office. The Pack are going to shut down Charles the way they shut down Lynch, and they’ll be sitting pretty at 3-0, marching towards their annual meltdown in the NFC Championship game.

———-

BMK: That’s it for week three. There’s not a lot of drama this week, since we’re getting a good sense of who teams are and several key injuries take a lot of uncertainty out of many games. Anyway, the competition between DT and I continues apace! Who’ll be ahead next week?  Tune in and find out.

Or just keep ignoring us.  Eventually we’ll get you. DT and I are like Morrissey, bitch: the more you ignore us, the closer we get.

When’s the last time a football picks column referenced Morrissey, eh?  When’s the last time anything related to the NFL referenced Morrissey? Besides Terry Bradshaw singing How Soon is Now at his daughter’s wedding, that is.

And now, for your weekly dose of Kat Dennings, the woman I call the Goddess, and the woman the State of California calls the plaintiff in Dennings v. Krol.

Undergrad TAs never looked like this when I was at school.

Undergrad TAs never looked like this when I was at school.

D.T.: Week three is a wrap, and you know what that means: week four is coming up! We’ve got divisional games galore, a few solid non-divisional match-ups and another few throw-away games that will make Krol and once again look like we have no idea what we’re talking about (spoiler alert: we don’t). Pretty soon everyone will stop saying “it’s only the first few games of the season” and fanbases will start panicking and jumping out windows, or touting their team as a lock for Super Bowl 50 Champions. Tune in next week: same Krol time, same Krol channel–er, website.

Cheers!

 

This post was written and complied listening to a lot of crap because it took several days to finish due to lots of stupid shit happening in my life, the latest of which involved a trip to urgent care this morning.
Also, DT never sent me the graphic with our records on it.  So here’s a bonus picture of Kat Dennings.
Resting bitch face never looked so good.

Resting bitch face never looked so good.

The Debut of 4th and Krol! Week Two Picks!

with one comment

Here We Go...

Here We Go…

BMK: Our longtime reader may have noticed a different logo this week.  To him/her I say: you’re right! We’ve changed the name of the column.

There isn’t any exciting reason why we changed the name beyond the fact that the original site where NFL Tackle appeared had no real desire to keep publishing it.  DT and I like writing this column and so we decided to keep working together. However, neither one of us felt comfortable keeping the NFL Tackle name so we decided to change it.  See? Simple story.  If only Brady had taken that approach several months ago…

Anyway, the plan is to slowly ramp up an empire that will result in DT and I being wealthy enough to buy ESPN.  And while we’re executing that plan, we’ll still be writing this column, under this name, for the foreseeable future. We’re also planning a podcast to discuss the NFL week that was and any other silly thing that crosses our domes.  So, if you like what we’re doing here, rest assured there will be more. If you don’t like it, then screw you.

D.T.: Well… that was a hell of a first week of football. Overall, I think we were pretty damned accurate, aside from the crazy shit that no one could have predicted. Like Marcus Mariota absolutely wrecking Tampa with only 16 passes, and Andrew Luck forgetting it was Football Day.

 

"Sorry, dudes... by the way, where's Trent?"

“Sorry, dudes… by the way, where’s Trent?”

So, while Tennessee starts building their Church of Mariota, and San Francisco pretends that Monday night’s hysterical display of ineptitude from both SF and Minnesota is proof that they’re not as bad as we thought they would be, we’re back at it!

———-

BRONCOS AT CHIEFS

D.T.: Alright, I’m officially getting nervous. Peyton played off the Broncos’ poor performance on Sunday with his usual Southern charm and sarcasm, but he’s failed to throw a touchdown pass in his last FIVE regular season games. Alex Smith, however, finally threw a touchdown pass for the first time in over a SEASON and looked pretty good doing it, overcoming Houston’s tough defense and winning by seven points.

Thursday Night Football is going to be rough on the Broncos, who are on the road in a divisional match-up just four days after their season opener. Unless Manning has worked out the kinks, this one will play out for both teams the same way their week one games did: Broncos will attempt to compensate on defense, and the Chiefs will look for ways to keep the passing streak alive. Kansas City is surprisingly hard to play in, and the Broncos always struggle there. I see the Chiefs taking it by a narrow margin.

CHIEFS

BMK: Today I have come to bury Manning, not praise him.  What we’re witnessing is the slow death of one of the great ones. Unfortunately, he was cut down by physical maladies.  If he wasn’t, who knows how many more years Peyton Manning could continue to lose in the post-season.

This stop on the Manning retirement tour will not go well for Denver. The dude is done,and Denver doesn’t have much besides Manning.  And Talib can’t have a pick-six every game…or can he?

He can’t.

CHIEFS

I did a Google search image for Sad Peyton and this came up...

I did a Google search image for Sad Peyton Manning and this came up…

———-

TEXANS at PANTHERS

D.T.: Last week I predicted an upset, and early on, it looked like I might have been right. But, Jaguars will be Jaguars, and the Panthers shut them down with a 20-9 win. However, Cam Newton and his lacking receiving corps are going to find themselves in a very different situation against the Texans defense. J.J. Watt came out of last week with two sacks and nine tackles. His razor-sharp focus will be solely on shutting down Cam Newton…

I mean seriously: he's still trying to maintain eye contact. Talk about focus.

I mean seriously: he’s still trying to maintain eye contact. Talk about focus.

…and even Cam’s dad can’t pay his way out of this one. And with Luke Kuechly likely sidelined on Sunday, the Texans take this one.

TEXANS

BMK: A lot of the national media have picked the Panthers to win.  I don’t get it. The Panthers offense is in the toilet and they’re about to face a very good front seven.  Maybe it’s because the Texan’s offense is just slightly out of the toilet?

I don’t know. All I know is this will be one crappy game to watch.

See what I did there?

See?

TEXANS
———-

NINERS AT STEELERS

D.T.: During Monday night’s travesty and affront to the Football Gods, Carlos Hyde ended up looking like he was in one of those commercials where a pro athlete is goofing off with a bunch of kids. You know how football games have highlights? This one had highlight. Singular. Look at this:

Yeah, it was a sick move, but look how utterly lost everyone else on the field looks

Yeah, it was a sick move, but look how utterly lost everyone else on the field looks.

Niners Fans, after finishing their parking lot fights and dusting themselves off, have declared Monday night a wake-up call for the rest of the league that their funny-at-first-then-painful-to-watch offseason is a thing of the past, and they’ll be just fine. Bullshit. They’re playing an actual, honest to goodness Professional Football Team this week, and if they think Cheeseburger and Antonio Brown aren’t going to eat the SF defense alive, they’re even more delusional than we’ve been led to believe.

STEELERS

BMK: I live in the Bay Area, and my God, you should have heard the 49er fans warbling on about their victory over the Vikings.  You’d think these clowns took down the 85 Bears.

Listen up Sizzle Chest: MN is a mess and had the 49ers faced a vaguely competent team, that game would have been over in the first half.

Face the facts.  Your team’s flirtation with respectability is over. Get used to being in the cellar of the NFC West. Again.

STEELERS

———-

BUCCANEERS AT SAINTS

D.T.: We all thought Jameis Winston – with the slightly better overall team surrounding him – would be the rookie QB to put on the better showing on Sunday. Instead, he looked rattled, ill-at-ease and defeated by the end of the day. This week, he’s visiting the Mercedez-Benz Superdome which, if it were any darker and more green would look like the fucking Matrix.

Winston is going to need night vision goggles just to overthrow his receivers.

Winston is going to need night vision goggles just to overthrow his receivers.

The Saints are a decent home team, and will be looking to bounce back after losing to Arizona in week one. I say they do it.

SAINTS
BMK: Drew Brees had a decent outing last week, despite losing the game. Like DT, I think they come back and win since they’re at home and the Buccaneers aren’t good.

SAINTS
———-

LIONS AT VIKINGS

D.T.: The other half of the Worst Football Game Ever™, the Vikings get to host a divisional rival after a humiliating loss in week one. That’s like accidentally shitting your pants in school and having the only person you run into on your way to the parking lot be the school bully. Things are only going to get more shitty for the Vikings in week 2.

The Lions failed to contain the Chargers as they rallied for a comeback win, and Stafford wasn’t able to connect with an oft-double-covered Megatron. After seeing Minnesota’s display last week, I’d expect them to quadruple cover Megatron, and still allow him to break away and score. Lions get an early boost this week to help them chase the Packers in the NFC North.

LIONS
BMK: Colin Kaepernick picked apart the Vikings. Colin Freakin’ Kaepernick.  Can you imagine what a good quarterback would do to that defense?  Luckily you won’t have to. Just tune into this game on Sunday. Or, be like most of America, and don’t.

LIONS
———-

CARDINALS AT BEARS

D.T.: The Bears didn’t look terribly bad in week one, and actually held their own pretty well against the Green Bay Packers. They ran out of steam in the end however, and let Rodgers close out the game with a nice TD pass to Cobb and let the world know that they’ll be just fine, even without Jordy Nelson.

The Cardinals defense had a hitch in their step in week one against Drew Brees’ offense, but this week… well, we’re talking about Jay Cutler. I’d say that offense needs a real shot in the arm, but Cutler’s a notorious anti-vaxxer, so I guess they’re fucked.

Cutler: "Personal foul on D.T. for roughing the passer" Ref: "Shut the fuck up, Jay."

Cutler: “Personal foul on D.T. for roughing the passer”
Ref: “Shut the fuck up, Jay.”

The Cardinals compensated well for losing Running Back Andre Ellington, and Carson Palmer’s offense looks sharp. Arizona’s real weakness will come from covering Martellus Bennett and while the Bears will likely look to exploit that, Arizona will come out of Chi-Town with a 2-0 record.

CARDINALS

BMK: So I picked the Cardinals and they won. For a while, it didn’t look good. We can apparently add screen passes to the list of things the Cardinals can’t defend against.  That said, the Cardinals shut down the New Orleans rushing attack and did enough to Drew Brees to keep the Saints from winning.  This week, they’re facing Jay Cutler, who’s not a great Quarterback. Even Geno Smith laughs at Jay Cutler (albeit, through his clenched jaw). But, the Bears have a great TE and pretty decent RB. Whether the Cardinals succeed this week will be dependent on doing what no NFL team can do anymore, which is stop a tight-end.  I’m not optimistic.

But I’m not fatalistic either.

CARDINALS
———-

PATRIOTS AT BILLS

D.T.: What the fuck happened in Indy last week? I mean seriously. Are the Bills a legitimate team this year, or was it all a freak occurrence? We’ll see when they host divisional rivals the New England Patriots this Sunday. Nasty-looking defense versus an offense of… well, let’s just say questionable ethics, in a grudge match. One thing’s for sure, this division needs to be flipped upside down, and if the Bills manage to pull a win they’ll shatter the egos of Patriots fans everywhere, but do football fans in general a service by making things more interesting in that part of the country.

"Is he gonna do it? Is D.T. gonna pick us to win...?"

Nah.

"YOU MOTHERF--"

“YOU MOTHERF–“

PATRIOTS

BMK:

Hey...My Man Krol's gonna pick us, right?

Hey! My Man Krol’s gonna pick us, right?

No.

You bastard...

You bastard…

PATRIOTS

———-

CHARGERS AT BENGALS

D.T.: The Chargers rallied against the Lions in what ended up being a pretty decent game, while the Bengals humiliated the Raiders while everyone kind of shrugged and said “Yeah, and?” Still, the Chargers suffered injury to their offensive line, and the Bengals’ defense is looking pretty good. It’s a game that’s hard to get excited about unless you have a vested interest in either team, but I think one might actually turn into a tussle worth paying attention to. Bengals are decent enough at home to stick out a win here.

BENGALS

BMK: Philip Rivers vs Andy Dalton? What a snoozefest.  This is the Ned Flanders of football games. Watching this game means you’re a degenerate football junkie. Betting on this game means you need help. Bad.

BENGALS

 

You're Gonna Get Diddly Yours Krol...

        You just made some powerful enemies, Krol…

———-

TITANS AT BROWNS

D.T.: Marcus Mariota’s eventually going to come up against a worthy opponent in week 3 when he meets the Colts (though if week one for Indy was any indication, maybe not). Kid better be careful, or he’s going to get a big head, winning all these easy games early in his first year.

Johnny Manziel vs. What Cleveland Hoped Manziel Would Be.

 

TITANS

BMK: Before everyone jumps on the Titans bandwagon, let me remind you all that there is a reason they had the second overall draft pick last year.  Football teams don’t change overnight.

So what’s going to win out here?  The Titans who are still pretty bad, Mariota’s excellent game against the Buccaneers notwithstanding, or Cleveland being Cleveland. This is the irresistible suck meeting the immovable sucking.
If the Browns had Josh McCown starting I’d like their chances.  Which is the first time in the history of the human race someone wrote that sentence and was sincere.  Here’s another sentence no one has ever written before: Giant Antarctic penguins think Neil Peart is a pussy.

TITANS
———-

FALCONS AT GIANTS

D.T.: I sense another wacky game on the horizon. This one will play out like both teams’ week one games. A shoot-out till the end where it comes down to clock management .The Falcons succeed when it gets to that point, while Tom Coughlin’s medication starts to wear off, and he forgets where he is.

"What the fuck are you all doing on my lawn?!"

“What the fuck are you all doing on my lawn?!”

FALCONS
BMK: Matt Ryan is the vanilla ice cream of Quarterbacks: sure, it gets the job done, but are you really satisfied?

Yeah, the Falcons won on Monday and the Giants lost but who cares? Week One is almost as bad as the preseason when it comes to determining overall outcomes.

I’m taking the Giants at home.  Mostly because I’ve been sitting here for five minutes trying to decide what to say about this game, and that’s more time than Eli Manning deserves in my beautiful mind.

GIANTS

Jerome Boger is flagging DT for using the obvious Tom Coughlin is old joke...

Jerome Boger is flagging DT for using the obvious Tom Coughlin is old joke…

———-

RAMS AT REDSKINS

D.T.: The Rams and Seahawks ended up being the game I knew it would be, and a bitter fight until the end. The Rams won’t find nearly as much resistance in DC, and with Bradford out in Philly, the Rams don’t have to worry about their QB running in the exhausted quarry Dan Snyder calls a stadium, and ruining his knees again. Rams look fucking tough this year, and the Redskins look… about the same as always.

RAMS

BMK: The Rams are going to be a tough-out for anyone this year, even with Generic White Guy Foles behind center.

His a fun bit of behind the scenes trivia: I was going to Google who the Redskins starting quarterback is since I don’t know it off the top of my head, but then I realized it doesn’t fucking matter.

RAMS

———-

DOLPHINS AT JAGUARS

D.T.: Sorry, Jags. I gave you a shot last week against a team on the ropes, and you dropped the ball. Got no hope for you this week.

DOLPHINS

BMK: Florida is like Texas, only without all the brainiacs.

DOLPHINS

———-

RAVENS AT RAIDERS

D.T.: Fuck me, the 4:05 EST block of games on Sunday is shaping up to be a real pile of shit.

RAVENS

BMK: I picked the Raiders last week because I was seduced by the preseason.  I learned my lesson.

RAVENS

———-

COWBOYS AT EAGLES

D.T.: Now we’re talkin’. The saving grace of the late afternoon Sunday games, and my personal choice for GAME OF THE WEEK. In week one, the Cowboys lost Wide Receiver Dez Bryant to a broken foot, possibly until the last few weeks of the season. Still, Romo showed a clutch display of daring and precision and led the team nearly the entire length of the field in Dallas to close out a tough game against the Giants, who forgot the fundamentals of clock management. Where that Tony Romo was the rest of the game remains a mystery.

"And then I was like, WAIT A SECOND! I KNOW HOW TO FOOTBALL!"

“And then I was like, WAIT A SECOND! I KNOW HOW TO FOOTBALL!”

Sam Bradford looked okay last week against the Falcons, but the Eagles have a lot of problems to try and sort out, not least of all Kicker Cody Parkey, who seems to be struggling with the new kicking rules in the NFL. Take the easiest job in the league and make it a little more difficult, and suddenly it’s actually a challenge. The Eagles made some killer plays though, and I want to point out Kiko Alonso’s spectacular interception, because it was every bit the spectacle as OBJ’s touchdown pass, but I can’t help but think we’ll never hear about it again.

Eagles

As for the outcome of this game, it’s tough to say and that’s the hallmark of a great match-up. If we see Clutch Romo come out of that tunnel and command the game like he did that final drive of week one, then it goes to the Cowboys. If we see him falter, I see the Eagles offense correcting past mistakes and securing a home win. I’ll give the Eagles the edge here.

EAGLES
BMK: To echo my comrade-in-virtual-arms, this is a good matchup.  I’m not on the Eagles bandwagon, especially with Bradford as the QB.

Normally I’d go with the home team, but Romo is a far superior quarterback than Bradford, and he engineered a marvelous drive without Dez Bryant. Romo is going to pick apart the Eagles secondary and their pass rush isn’t getting past one of the best offensive lines in football.

COWBOYS
———-

SEAHAWKS AT PACKERS:

D.T.: Kam Chancellor’s hold-out continues, as Seattle moves on from their narrow divisional loss to the Rams and towards Green Bay. These two teams have had explosive, unpredictable games in recent years, and with the uncertainty surrounding both, this will be no different. With Jordy Nelson out, the Legion of Boom will have some real choices to make on who their backfield will cover, and Aaron Rodgers can use that to his advantage. The man is damn-near unstoppable in Lambeau, having not thrown an interception at home since 2012. With a reduced Seattle defense due to a certain someone’s greediness, A-Rod will look to keep that streak alive.

This is going to be a close game. It might even be a damn good game, with both of these teams coming in fairly fresh, in perfect football weather, and both with something to prove. In the end, I say Rodgers and the Packers prevail by a narrow margin.

PACKERS

 

BMK: This is my game of the week.  I’m very interested to see how the Seahawks bounce back from their loss at St. Louis. I’m not ready to completely write off the Seahawks yet, but I do think they’ll take a step backwards this year, especially with Chancellor holding out (a situation thornier than the Cuban Missile crisis…but with much, much lower stakes).

 

The Rams demonstrated last week what everyone should realize by now, and that is Russell Wilson cannot beat you on his own. He needs help, and when the Rams took away Marshawn Lynch, he didn’t have that help and things got back. Now, the Rams have one of the best defensive front sevens in all of the NFL (maybe even the world!), and the Seahawks are weak up front, especially in the interior of the line. So did they lose because the Rams strength overtook Seattle’s weakness? Or is something more rotten than Soundgarden up in the Pacific Northwest?  Only time—and this game—will tell.

 

I’m picking the Packers this week because Seattle’s secondary isn’t what it used to be and Aaron Rodgers is an amazing QB, especially at home (seriously, you should try his scones!). But I’m less confident about this pick because their defense consists of Clay Mathews and a bunch of guys. But I want to make my friend Dave Bushey happy, so I’m sticking with the Pack.

 

PACKERS

———-

JETS AT COLTS

D.T.: Whereas the Cowboys/Eagles game is hard to predict because both teams are decent and evenly-matched, the Jets and Colts game is hard to predict because who the fuck knows which version of these two teams will show up. The Jets destroyed the Browns last week, but y’know… big deal. I think the Colts severely underestimated the Bills and failed to adjust their gameplan. I bet they’ll spend all of this week studying the Jets’ game film, and will come prepared. If they lose to the Jets in their home opener after that awful display, there will be hell to pay for Chuck Pagano.

And I wouldn't want this fuckin' nutcase pissed at me.

And I wouldn’t want this fuckin’ nutcase pissed at me.

COLTS

BMK: I think Andrew Luck is a beast, but that game last week shook my confidence in the man. That said, they bounce back this week.

COLTS

———-

D.T.: And so ends the NFL TACKLE, and so begins 4TH & KROL. The king is dead, long live the king. I feel like we’re experiencing some growth and progress, and actually getting better at this, as opposed to the Washington Redskins. I’m psyched to see how week to plays out, and where these early-emerging storylines take us in the coming weeks.

BMK: Here endeth the picks. This week has some real snoozer matchups. Next week should be better…right?

Next week, look for the debut of the 4th and Krol Podcast.  DT and I will be recording it on Tuesday and hopefully we’ll have it posted somewhere on Wednesday. WATCH THIS SPACE FOR DETAILS!

Well, maybe not this space specifically, but you get what I mean.

By the way, looks who’s leading.

That's a pretty commanding lead, aint it?

That’s a pretty commanding lead, aint it?

And finally…

No, this isn't a candid shot. I keep those on my special hard drive.

No, this isn’t a candid shot. I keep those on my special hard drive.

 

This post was written and compiled listening to the Violent Femmes discography and the wailing of my teenage soul.

Written by B. Michael Krol

September 18, 2015 at 9:14 pm

NFL TACKLE 2015: Week One Picks

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Week One, let's have some...fun?

Week One, let’s have some…fun?

 

D.T.: Am I crazy, or did this off-season go by very quickly? Maybe the NFL was smart to drag out Deflategate (something I plan on not referring to ever again, this year), and fill up the last six months with endless drama and speculation. All I know is, it certainly wasn’t fuckin’ baseball that made the time go by.

So, we come to the 2015-16 NFL season. The NFL has – in their brilliant, anything-but-subtle manipulation of the media and public at large – scheduled the Patriots to play in the season opener. Let’s just get right into it, rather than talk about the small army of players once again sidelined by knee injuries, that ridiculous bit of bullshit between the Patriots and the Shield (which again, shall henceforth not be mentioned).

BMK: For me, this off-season dragged.  I live in the Bay Area, so I had to put up with the Golden State Warriors winning a title (good Lord, is there a stupider nickname than “The Splash Brothers?”), and then all the goddamn baseball talk up here.  Seriously, the only thing worse than listening to people break down baseball games is watching them, and the only worse than watching baseball games is finding a rabid wombat in your shorts. F baseball.

As far as Deflategate goes (and please, please, please, can we drop the –gate suffix for any generic controversy), I was happy talking about it. A) because it wasn’t baseball, and B) I love it when football guys complain about Goodell. But more on that later this season…

ON TO THE PICKS!
———-

STEELERS at PATRIOTS

D.T.: The Patriots have their golden boy under center, but they come in with a heavily reduced defense. Revis Island went off to chase money in New York (and he probably won’t have to punch anyone on his team to get it). I love the fact that his wikipedia page says “currently plays for the New York Jets”, because who the hell knows where he’ll chase the money next. Vince Wilfork went off to chase barbecue in Houston, leaving a sizeable gap in the New England defensive line.

 

And he's left, er, made no bones about it.

 And he’s left, er, made no bones about it.

Still, they’re up against a weakened Steelers offense. Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will keep the Patriots’ backfield busy, but with Le’Veon Bell and LeGarette Blount serving their annual early-season suspension (and joined by Martavius Bryant, this year), it’s going to leave them wanting. Gillette Stadium is going to be electric, full of devout Patriots fans elated that their idol has escaped persecution, and the team will have a large chip on their shoulders this season in trying to shed their cheater reputation. I expect them to take a home win.

PATRIOTS
BMK: I’m picking the Patriots. Brady at home, with key players missing from the Steelers, makes the Patriots an obvious pick.

PATRIOTS
———-

PACKERS at BEARS

D.T.: Even without Jordy Nelson, the Packers shouldn’t find any real difficulty in taking a win, here. Randall Cobb is capable of stepping up, and Eddie Lacy is projected to have a massive year. Seriously, playing with him in the new Madden is like using a cheat code.

Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Fuck Your Shit Up

   Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Fuck Your Shit Up

The Bears will continue to be a dumpster fire this year, and even the most devoted of fans have resigned themselves to a quiet year and a high draft pick next April. John Fox is a very conservative choice after firing Marc Tressman, and I expect only the defense will benefit from the shake-up.  Even their one glimmer of hope in freak athlete Kevin White (WR) was dashed when he suffered a shin injury that’ll keep him sidelined for half the season, if not more. Cheeseheads, enjoy your Sunday.

PACKERS

BMK: The Packers – again—are the sexy pick to get to the NFC Title game.  I’m not quite as sold on them as some (see injury to Nelson, Jordy), but they’ll be in the mix at the end.  With Rodgers at QB how can you not be? I’m not sure I’m ready to put them into the Superbowl yet (their defense still leaves a lot to be desired), but there’s more than enough firepower to get by the Midgets of the Midway.

PACKERS

———-

CHIEFS at TEXANS

D.T.: The Texans come into the new season with another new quarterback taking snaps: former Patriots/Steelers/Cardinals/Browns quarterback, Brian Hoyer. Houston saw him in the shelter at a low price and with all his shots, and hopefully the guy has found his forever home. Andre Johnson might argue this, but Houston has got to be a step up from the indecipherable mess that is the Browns organization, and I expect Hoyer to make a strong effort to give them something in return. Jadaveon Clowney is also returning, which should – if he can keep his legs in one piece – make their defense fucking terrifying. And against a Chiefs offense that failed to complete a single passing touchdown last year, I think they’ll have themselves a feast.

TEXANS

BMK: The cult of JJ Watt is starting to really irritate me.  Yeah, he’s a great player. Yeah, we all saw the Hard Knocks where he kept some poor kids at the facility late so he could practice more. He’s got a great work ethic. Hurray.  But, unless JJ Watt is going to throw the ball to JJ Watt while JJ Watt pass protects, I don’t see the Texans getting past the Colts to win the division.   9-7 could get them a Wild Card in the weak AFC, but we’ll see.

That said, they’ll beat the Chiefs.

———-

BROWNS at JETS

D.T.: It’s the Jets here. There’s no two ways about it. Todd Bowles should have waited for a better head coaching job to come along, but he’s a defensive genius and he’s inheriting a decent unit with plenty of room to improve. Darrelle Revis will protect the skies from what little threat the Browns’ passing game offers, and on the flipside, the Jets dominant running game will play well, even without their third wheel runner, Chris Johnson (formerly of 2,000 rushing yards fame).

Ryan Fitzpatrick is probably a step up from Geno Smith (formerly of eating solid foods fame)…

"Grr frrk yrsrrf..."

   “Grr frrk yrsrrf…”

…and he’s got Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker receiving. You could do much worse for wide outs.

JETS
BMK: Um…Jets?

Seriously, no one outside of Cleveland cares about this game. And who cares about Cleveland?  Not me, that’s for sure. F Cleveland.

I'll never pass up a chance to make a sleazy joke...or to oogle late 90s era Rose McGowan

I’ll never pass up a chance to make a sleazy joke…or to ogle late 90s era Rose McGowan

———-

COLTS at BILLS

D.T.: I make no bones about thinking Rex Ryan is a joke, and not a funny one. Okay, sometimes a funny one.

 

Better off just getting that tat removed, rather than changing it each time you get fired.

 Better off just getting that tat removed, rather than changing it each time you get fired.

 

The Bills are in for another season of hurt, and Shady McCoy is going to be hard-pressed to find a way to make something happen on the ground. Because it ain’t happening in the passing game. I couldn’t even tell you who ended up as their starting QB after the preseason ended, and I watched nearly every game. The Colts, on the other hand, are poised to take the AFC South once again. Frank Gore is a huge addition to their offense, and if their running game is able to take some of the stress off Andrew Luck, Indy could be even more of a force this year.

COLTS

BMK: Thanks, DT, for putting a shirtless picture of Rex Ryan into this column.  Excuse me while I go scrub my eyes out with bleach.

And no, it’s not because Rex Ryan is fat.  It’s because he’s a Ryan brother.

Later Krol...even I can't help erase shirtless Rex Ryan.

   Later Krol…even I can’t help erase shirtless Rex Ryan.

COLTS
———-

DOLPHINS at REDSKINS

D.T.: In the bizarre exodus of players from an okay Eagles team to horrible teams in dire straits, DeSean Jackson split and went to Washington. Even if I’m playing for a possible racist and definite social pariah like Chip Kelly, I still wouldn’t leave for fucking Washington. That’s jumping off a sinking boat and into a shark’s mouth. That’s dropping the One Ring down on the ground and jumping into the fires of Mount Doom. It’s like finding out you’re going to lose your foot to diabetes, and deciding to have both arms removed.

DOLPHINS

No, not those Dire Straits

No, not those Dire Straits

BMK: For my money, Dan Synder has to be the least sympathetic owner in professional sports.  And that, my friends, is a high bar to cross. Especially when Jerry Jones and Mark Davis’s hair still walk the Earth.  I think Dan Snyder secretly hates his team. That’s the only explanation that can account for all of his actions since buying the team.  This cat can’t even do the right thing cut RGIII from his squad.  No, he’s going to force Gruden to keep him on and let the poor kid suffer the indignity of sitting on the bench behind Cousins and McCoy. RGIII might be a complete tool, but what happened to him isn’t exactly his fault. He doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him down there.

Of course, if they cut him, he’ll just end up as Derek Carr’s back up in Oakland.  But hey, the weather’s nicer here than in Virginia.  Anyway…

DOLPHINS

———-

PANTHERS at JAGUARS

D.T.: The Panthers’ situation going into 2015 would be precarious and scary for any team outside the NFC South. Wide Receiver and break-out star Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season with an ACL injury. Oft-suspended Defensive End Greg Hardy has gone off to Dallas. Cam Newton has been outed as a sociopath.

Dude's in the middle of a fight and he looks like he's at a job interview. Unnerving.

  Dude’s in the middle of a fight and he looks like he’s at a job interview. Unnerving.

But, unless the Falcons can get their shit together, the Panthers will still be the forerunner in that division. As for the Jaguars, I actually think they’ll improve and turn some heads. I like Bortles for the team, and the addition of Tight End Julius Thomas (without the pressure of operating with Peyton Manning) should be a solid offensive combination. You know what? I’m going to call the first upset of the season.

JAGUARS

 

BMK: Cam Newton is a nutball. But he’s a nutball that’s more talented than Bortles.

PANTHERS

———-

SEAHAWKS at RAMS

D.T.: To say nothing of being haunted by that last play in Super Bowl 49, the Seahawks had a rough offseason. Their quarterback went off the deep end, firing off claims that a sports drink protected his brain for a concussion and decided to abstain from sex before marriage with his new girlfriend.

Because not fucking has definitely helped this guy's playing.

 Because not fucking has definitely helped this guy’s playing.

Safety (and anchor member of their stellar defense) Kam Chancellor continues to hold out and is likely to start missing regular season games. The Seahawks have prepared for him to stupidly and selfishly miss the entire season. So, a Seattle team that’s lost its way is coming up against a Rams squad on the brink of possibly finding themselves. I’m making this my Game of the Week, because it has the potential for the most legitimate drama and ugliness. I’m eager to see how Foles operates behind that Rams offensive line, and I’m eager to see how Russell Wilson’s energy drink will protect his brain from the Rams’ stout defense. I think Seattle walks out of STL with a win, but a difficult and tiring win.

SEAHAWKS

BMK: The Seahawks are the easy pick here, but I’m not taking them.  DT must be drinking Wilson’s recovery water if he thinks they’re going to beat the Rams at home, with both of their starting Safeties either missing or hobbled.  The Rams always play their NFC West rivals tough, and they beat Seattle at home last year.  So, no, Mr. Carel, the Seahawks aint winning.

But this is the game of the week.

RAMS

———-

SAINTS at CARDINALS

D.T.: Two of the Arizona Cardinals’ biggest weaknesses are both defending Tight Ends and finding a good one for their system. It remains to be seen whether the latter is solved, but the Saints have taken the guessing game out of former, shipping Jimmy Graham off to Seattle for a first round draft pick. Brees will continue to throw like a stud this season, and Brandin Cooks will make him look good doing it. But the Cardinals defense won’t have a tough time containing the Saints’ ground game, and with Carson Palmer allegedly back in Heisman shape (and with a receiving corps full of sleepers ready to go off), I see a win for my boys in red in their season opener.

CARDINALS

BMK:  Our long time reader will remember that I never picked the Cardinals last year. I did this because they’re my favorite team and if I pick them I’ll end up jinxing them.

So I’m torn here. It’s a new year, and on-paper the Saints are a winnable game for the Cardinals.  That said, it’s Drew Brees, and the Cardinals don’t really have a good pass rush and their secondary is missing Cromartie, so leaving the corners in single coverage while the defense blitzes the fuck out of the offensive line is probably not a good idea.

Crap.  F it.

CARDINALS.

"Great...Krol picked us..."

“Great…Krol picked us…”

———-

LIONS at CHARGERS

D.T.: A healthy Megatron is some scary shit, even against San Diego’s decent defensive backs. Now that he’s healthy and comfortable again, we can expect him to come off “decoy” status, and be a massively-productive part of the Detroit offense again. The Chargers will be without star tight-end Antonio Gates, and that takes away a strong San Diego advantage, as the Lions struggle against Tight Ends. To compensate for that gap in their offense, I’m eager to see how San Diego uses rookie Running Back Melvin Gordon, and how he performs from behind that San Diego O-line. Call me crazy, but I prefer Gordon over Todd Gurley.

"You're crazy..."

“You’re crazy…”

I see the Lions pulling a win out of their first week match-up, as long as Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford connect.

LIONS

BMK: Normally, I’d take the Chargers here, since the Lions defense sucks and no one in the league can cover a decent Tight End, but Gates aint playing and I looked up who the starting running back is for the Chargers and my first thought was “Who?”

But hey, it’s time for some, hashtag, Real Talk on the Lions. This season, the Lions will be to football what Rocky was to boxing. The only hope these cats have is to pour on the points and hope that opposing teams can’t stop them or keep up.

Crap. I just talked myself into taking the Chargers.  Oh well… c’est la vie.

CHARGERS

———-

TITANS at BUCCANEERS

D.T.: Think the NFL did this on purpose? The two high-profile rookie quarterbacks, taken first and second in this year’s draft, squaring off in the first week of the new season. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston comes in with an advantage though, with a stronger defense, a veteran pro-bowler wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, and a head coach that doesn’t kill rookie quarterbacks’ careers for sport. I just feel bad for Marcus Mariota — I like the kid, and he did some great things with Oregon. But until his rookie contract is up or a miraculous change occurs in Tennessee, he runs a very high risk of joining the ranks of Matt Leinart and fellow Titan Zach Mettenberger as first-year quarterbacks trampled on by Whisenhunt’s ineptness.

BUCCANEERS

BMK: This is another tough one for me to call.  DT gets all the serious analysis right, and I’m probably taking the Buccaneers, but Winston is such a Grade A Tool I have a hard time wanting to pick them to win.

Maybe when he plays his first regular season game on the road, people will throw fake crab at him or something. That’ll make me sleep better at night.

BUCCANEERS

———-

BENGALS at RAIDERS

D.T.: The Raiders will surprise people this year. They still won’t be a good team, but they won’t be the unmitigated disaster they were last year. Derek Carr looks decent under center, Amari Cooper is explosive, and Khalil Mack is just a fucking beast. Andy Dalton will remember the smell of Mack’s aftershave for the rest of his life, but the Bengals will still pull out a road win against a Raiders squad that’s putting all the pieces together, but are still another couple of years  away from making it all work as a unit.

BENGALS

BMK: I agree with my Phoenician friend above. I think the Raiders will surprise people, especially after adding Aldon Smith to their linebacker corps. Normally, you just pencil in the Raiders at the bottom of the AFC West, but with a clearly waning Peyton Manning, Denver’s stranglehold at the top of the division is not guaranteed.  Now, don’t misread me. I’m not suggesting that the Raiders will win the AFC West, but I think they’re much more in the mix than normal. 9-7 could get a wild card berth in the AFC, and every year some team rockets from the cellar into the playoffs.  Why wouldn’t it be the Raiders this year?

RAIDERS

———-

RAVENS at BRONCOS

D.T.: As a Broncos fan, this season makes me nervous. I’m no fan of John Fox, but bringing in Gary Kubiak, who had himself a heart attack a couple of years ago under the stress of coaching the Texans and got himself fired, doesn’t seem like a smart move. Even less intelligent is the idea of installing a brand new offense, when you have an all-time great quarterback who has already mastered the current scheme. Especially when said quarterback has announced that he can’t feel his fucking fingers.

"I can still feel my foot in your ass, D.T."

“I can still feel my foot in your ass, D.T.”

Still, the one advantage Kubiak brings to the Broncos (this week, anyway) is the fact that he was the offensive coordinator for the Ravens last season. That helps an already tough Denver defense anticipate and adjust. Despite their quarterback being on his farewell tour, and a running game in real question this season, I see the Broncos taking a home win.

BRONCOS

BMK: The Ravens are another sexy pick this season that I’m not sure I buy into. I think they’ll win the AFC North this year, but that’s about it.

BRONCOS

———-

GIANTS at COWBOYS

D.T.: The Giants recently announced that Defensive End and former fireworks enthusiast Jason Pierre-Paul “isn’t quite ready” to return to the field. When asked to elaborate, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin explained that his great, great grandchildren told him about a documentary called The Amazing Spider-Man, where a one-armed scientist uses lizard DNA to regrow his missing limb. Coughlin believes the same medical procedure could work for JPP’s missing finger, but they’re nervous about him possibly mutating and turning into a large reptilian beast.

"We certainly don't want Lizardgate", Coughlin concluded before heading back to the home for a tuna melt, strawberry Jell-o, and of Wheel of Fortune.

“We certainly don’t want Lizardgate”, Coughlin concluded before heading back to the home for a tuna melt, strawberry Jell-o, and of Wheel of Fortune.

Despite themselves, the Giants are in a position for a decent comeback. The offense now has both Odell Beckham, Jr. and a returning Victor Cruz lining up to catch passes, and even Eli can’t fuck that up. The Cowboys have lost last season’s highest rated running back to the Eagles, but even I could run the ball from behind that Dallas offensive line. This… could turn into a really fun game, actually. I think Dallas holds down the home turf, though.
COWBOYS
BMK: The Giants are a mess and the Cowboys are at home.
COWBOYS

———-
EAGLES at FALCONS
D.T.: A bird game kicks off the Monday Night double feature. As you’ll remember, dear readers, Dan Quinn left his post as Seattle’s defensive coordinator to take on head coaching duties for Atlanta. That’s a pretty big step up for the franchise, whose defense in the last few years could be classified as “existing” at best. Matt Ryan is the goods at quarterback, and there’s no reason he can’t excel if that team can find balance.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have mixed things up quite a bit. Chip Kelly managed to scare off several of his star players from last season, but that freed the Eagles up to acquire DeMarco Murray. If Murray returns in top form, that’ll take some of the stress off new Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford, who already suffered a scare this past off-season, after coming back from yet another knee injury. The big question here though, is that Atlanta defense. If Dan Quinn has worked some kind of magic, the Falcons have a shot. If not, that multi-faceted Philly offense will have themselves a day.
EAGLES
BMK: Oh Christ, really? The Bird Bowl? The NFL is trolling us.
Now, who the hell am I supposed to pick here? Again, the Eagles are a sexy pick this year. Why? Because they have Bradford at QB. Does this scream success to you? The only reason Bradford is still in the NFL is because he got the last big rookie contract (and man, how that must Burn Mr. Newton, when he thinks about it…), and cutting bait on this stinky fish would mean some billionaire owner would lose millions, so that aint happening.
But Falcons are a mess too. Yeah, Julio Jones is back, and that’s good for Matt Ryan, but that’s it. So I think I’m going with the Eagles on this game, but don’t you think for one second—NOT ONE GODDAMN SECOND—it’s because I buy into the Grand Wizard’s system.
EAGLES

———-
VIKINGS at NINERS
D.T.: Kaepernick should have taken a pay day, like his contemporary, Russell Wilson. Wilson fought for a huge new contract and set off a chain reaction of greed that’s left Seattle’s defense hurting. Kaep on the other hand, had to be the good guy and take a contract structured to allow the team to pursue talent and improve.

That sure fucking worked out for all parties, didn't it?

That sure fucking worked out for all parties, didn’t it?

It’s gonna be rough for the Niners. Prepare for it. Harbaugh’s left to fail cleaning up the mess that is University of Michigan’s football team. Crabtree swam across the bay to Oakland. Frank Gore went off to improve Indy’s offense. And there’s no way that patchwork defense is going to contain Adrian Peterson in his return to the field.

VIKINGS

BMK:

49ers

That’s what I think of this game.

VIKINGS

———-

D.T.: And that’s week one, in the books! It’s going to be a weird, fun season. There’s a ton of mix-ups across the board, and all kinds of wacky shit is set to start happening in each division (except the NFC South, which will still be a depressing mess). Here’s to fewer injuries on teams, lighter hangovers on Monday mornings, and the Cardinals winning their first Super Bowl. Cheers!

 

BMK: Cardinals in the Superbowl?  I hope so, since it’ll really piss off the Niners fans, but I think DT is a little drunk here.   But hey, another column in the books!  That’s good! Right?

Kat does not approve of this column...or the use of her image therein.

Kat does not approve of this column…or the use of her image therein.

This post was written and compiled while listening to Moby, Huser Du, and millions of voices crying out in terror and suddenly being silenced.

Written by B. Michael Krol

September 11, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Posted in NFL Picks

NYC Midnight Screenwriting Contest Results

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Ah…the salad days of youth…

After getting a disappointing result in the NYC Midnight Short Fiction contest, I decided to sign up for their screenwriting one, since I had an extra $45 and nothing to lose. Anyway, I got the results last night and I moved on to round two, which is really exciting.

Round two starts this Thursday and I have four days to write an eight page screenplay. Like all their contests, I get assigned a new genre, subject, and character in each round, so I have no idea what I’m going to write about. In a lot of ways that’s freeing; limitations, I think, inspire the most creativity.

Anyway, here is the link to the screenplay if you’re curious. It has a lot of warts, but I still like it. I hope you do too.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm

NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge

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Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I found this lovely little short story challenge sponsored by the fine folks at NYC Midnight.  Basically, on a certain date, you get a character, subject, and a genre and you have eight days to write a 2500 word short story.  That’s round one.  The next round is the same format, except that you have less time to write and fewer words.  The third and final round is limited to 1000 words and a 24 hour turn around.

I’m glad I took a crack at it, even though it was tough. I got Romantic Comedy as a genre, meteorologist for character, and a cheap motel for a subject.   What follows is the result.

 

 

Taking a Chance

 

The Hotel Monument Valley is a dilapidated little dump on the wrong side of the disappearing desert in Mesa, Arizona. My lawyer, Jermaine, called me and said someone needed to meet me there. I figured it was a fan. Being the meteorologist for the second most trusted news program in the Phoenix area has its perks, but it also has its responsibilities. Interacting with the public on Saturday is one of them. Or, maybe, it was someone from a national network that wanted to recruit me, incognito style. That sometimes happens too.

Aesthetics-wise the hotel’s offensive. Built during the kitsch era that infected Phoenix some decades ago, it looks like a miniature Spanish mission, with lots of tannish-pink stucco and dark wood beams sticking out of the walls. The surrounding area isn’t much better.  Condos and apartment buildings in various stages of construction were encroaching the formerly pristine desert like hyenas closing in on wounded prey.

We pulled into the gravel parking lot and got out of the car.  Jermaine, a thin, bird-like man with a sharp nose and thinning hair, opened his arms wide like he was presenting me with a new car and said: “Huh?  What do you think?”

“I think this is a place good taste forgot.”

“I know, right? It’s just terrible.”

I expected the interior to match the out-of-date kitschy exterior, but the lobby was quite nice. It looked sort of like an upscale Mexican restaurant, with terracotta tiles, Native American rugs, and polished dark wood, all under a soft light. Overall, not bad, even with the teal Kokopellis plastered everywhere.

I turned the corner and saw the proprietress.

She stood behind the registration desk, in front of the crisscrossed mail slots, wearing a white shirt and a navy blue cardigan with its sleeves pushed up, and leaning on her out stretched arms.  She styled her curly strawberry blonde hair into a Bettie Page pin-up look, complete with bangs. She looked very young; she had no wrinkles in the skin around her green eyes.

My eyes were drawn to hers. I felt a warmness spread through my body and I had a sudden urge to grin. Jermaine started to introduce us but I didn’t wait.  I swept in and extended my hand, which she took. Her skin was soft and inviting.  I felt like I could hold her hand all day. It felt natural in mine.

“Hi, Chance Emerson. Nice to meet you…” A slow smile spread across her face and she held up a polished brass and wooden nameplate that read: Fidelma Mulroney.

I took it and looked at it closely. “Fee dell ma?” I said with an unsure lilt in my voice.

“Got it. First time, even. You’re good.”

“You have no idea, Fidelma,” I said and flashed my best TV smile. “Unusual name. Scottish?”

She laughed. “Irish, actually. It means faithful.”

“Nice to see you two getting along,” Jermaine said. “So, what do you think Fidelma? Will he do?”

Fidelma’s posture stiffened up. “Wait – this is your plan? He’s your plan? This guy is going to rally the public to our cause? A weatherman.”

“Meteorologist,” I said, frowning. “What is she talking about, Jermaine?”

Jermaine rubbed the back of his neck and looked away from me. “Well, we were sort of hoping—”

“We?” Fidelma said.

Corrected, Jermaine continued. “I was sort of hoping you could lend your presence to the historical society’s campaign to save this place. So I brought you here to meet the owner.”

“This plan doesn’t work for me,” Fidelma said. “I’m rejecting it.”

“First of all,” I said, “I can’t get involved in your campaign. The network will hate it and I’ll lose my job.  My very cushy and well-paying job. And you should know that, Jermaine.”

Jermaine tried to say something but I cut him off.

“Second of all,” I said turning my attention to Fidelma, “you don’t get to reject me. No one rejects me –”

“Yet here we are,” Fidelma said, smiling.

I paused my tirade after that.

“Look, let’s just take a step back here,” Jermaine said in a firm but calm voice. I’ve seen this before.  I call it his reasonable attorney façade. “Fidelma, we need a public face to bring attention to your cause.”

“Yeah, but him? Look, he’s a handsome guy, and I watch his show –”

Oh good. She’s a fan.

“—but c’mon. He’s not exactly respected around here, is he?  All those dumb commercials he does. ‘Take a Chance with Emerson?’ It’s silly.”

“Hey – I like my commercials,” I said.

“And I like the slogan I came up with,” Jermaine said.

“I’m not seeing it,” Fidelma crossed her arms.

“Fidelma, you’re not looking at this in the right way,” Jermaine said. “It’s not about respect. It’s about visibility.  Bob Barker raised a ton of money for animal causes and he was a clown on a game show.”

“Bob Barker?”

“He was that guy in Happy Gilmore,” I said, rubbing my brow.

“Happy Gilmore?”

“I give up,” I said.

“Regardless,” Fidelma said. “He doesn’t want to help out anyway. He can’t lose his cushy job.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t. I cannot take any public position on any controversial topic. It’s bad for business.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to be bad for business.  Lord knows we need more crappy condos and apartments around here.” She sighed. “What time tonight, Jermaine?”

“The meeting’s at 7:00, with the land developer’s attorney.  Tempe Historical Society. In the basement.”

“I’ll be there. Nice meeting you Chance.” She said.

Her tone of voice suggested it wasn’t nice.

 

 

Jermaine dropped me off at my condo in downtown Phoenix. I chastised him the whole way back. You do not spring a meeting like that one someone. Especially me.

After I laid into him, I watched the side of the freeway. The landscapers put light-green bushes on the freeway embankments. As Jermaine drove, the bushes blurred together; they looked like streaks of green paint smeared on a faint pink canvas.

Then something strange happened. In my mind, the green from the plants melted together and Fidelma’s eyes appeared. I could see her face as distinctly as Jermaine’s dashboard in front of me. Her face looked so soft. I imagined what it would be like to hold it in my palms, bring her to me slowly, and kiss her alluring, voluptuous lips. I could actually feel her lips pressing against mine; I could feel her warmth, her breath against my face as I turned to kiss her neck.

The image was so strong and pleasing I shut it out of my mind immediately. I changed the subject to our basketball team, the Suns.  It gave me and Jermaine something to talk about that didn’t involve Irish hotel proprietresses.

At sunset, I walked out on my balcony.  The desert air smelled fresh in the fiery red sunset. As the sun sank behind the horizon, shadows spilled over the Valley beneath me and gathered like pools of rainwater during a storm. Streetlights appeared in the darkness, blinking on like stars on a clear night. Everything was calm, serene, and wonderful.

Fidelma’s words echoed through my brain all afternoon.  She was right: Phoenix didn’t need more crappy condos and apartments. The constant development of cookie-cutter housing ruined Phoenix’s natural desert beauty. When I was younger, I would take night drives out by the city limits. You could see the clusters of stars that made up our galaxy.  Now, it’s all condos and strip-malls. The dark night sky is gone, replaced by the harsh amber glow of street lights, obscuring everything except the brightest stars.

I looked at my watch: 6:28 pm.

Plenty of time to make it to Tempe.

Or so I thought.

 

 

I arrived at the Tempe Historical Society at 7:08. Late. Meteorologists should not be late.  Inaccurate, sure, but never late.

I ran into the stone and glass building and down a large suspended staircase that led to the basement. When I got there, all the conference rooms were empty. Except for one. I went to it, composed myself, and inhaled deep – just like I did before each broadcast.

I grabbed the doorknob. In my mind I counted to three, turned it, and pushed the door open quickly.

Sitting at the far end of the table, facing me and the door, were Fidelma and Jermaine. Both had that “just been tax audited” look on their face.

Then Fidelma saw me. When our eyes met, her face burst into a smile and the fluorescent lights danced in her eyes. At that same time, I felt a squeeze on my heart. I had never been happier to be in a drab conference room than I was at that moment.

Jermaine still looked like someone receiving a colonoscopy.

Then the attorney turned around.

In August, violent thunderstorms called monsoons hit Phoenix. Each storm is preceded by a wall of dust and wind called a haboob. Being caught in one is scary. Your visibility drops to nothing and the only thing you can see is brown, if it’s during the day, or dull gray if you’re stuck in one at night. When I was an intern, I used to stand on the 15th floor of the news building downtown and watch the haboob roll through the valley like the wrath of God smiting the city.

I saw a similar look in the attorney’s eyes.

“No, don’t get up,” I said as I walked around the conference table to the empty chair between Fidelma and Jermaine.

I extended my hand to the attorney.  She didn’t take it.

“Hi, Chance Emerson.”

“Yeah, I know. Alison Woods.” Alison furrowed her brow. “Why are you here?”

I put on my TV voice. “I have just signed on to be the face of this issue.”

“You must like losing,” Alison said.

“Alison,” I said, taking a calm and reasoned tone, “I’m sure we can find some common ground here and come to a mutually beneficial solution. For all parties involved.”

Alison folded her hands and leaned on the table. “There is no common ground. There is no solution beyond what my clients have already proposed.”

“We have acquired the rights to Ms. Mulraney’s property through eminent domain and we have given her a very generous offer for what we believe the land is worth – an offer that is decreasing with every minute, Ms. Mulraney.” Alison tilted her head back, regarding us. “Ms. Mulraney has two options. She can take our offer, make some money, and move on with her life. Or, she can heed the advice of TV clowns and their friends, and file some kind of Hail Mary injunction to stop us.

“On that point, I’ll be blunt,” Alison said, flipping her long blond hair out of her face.  She wore designer jeans and a grey t-shirt that had Boston University Law written on it in red lettering.  I’d imagine she’s dressed down since this meeting is on a Saturday. Either that or she didn’t respect Jermaine. Which is possible.  I’m not sure how much I respect Jermaine.

“You have no case,” Alison said. “I know that, you know that, and if you ask for an injunction, the court will know that. You will lose.  And you will lose badly. It’ll be like a high school JV team going up against the Harlem Globetrotters.”

“With all due respect Ms. Woods…that’s, uh, your interpretation,” Jermaine said.

After that zinger, I made a mental note to find new counsel.

Alison smirked. “You’re right. That is my interpretation. I based it on the law, the facts, and common sense. I’m assuming you’re basing your position on the ramblings of a derelict.”

“He wasn’t rambling,” Jermaine said.

Alison rolled her eyes, gathered up her papers, and got up from the table. “Ms. Mulraney… Fidelma… I know I’m not your attorney, but take the offer. Don’t listen to these guys.”

“Ms. Woods, we’re prepared to fight  you anyway we can. We’ll give you a PR mess you never dreamed of,” Fidelma said.

“How?” Alison said. “With D-list celebrities like Chance?” She shook her head and smiled tightly. “With all due respect, Ms. Mulraney, do not take a chance on Emerson.”

“Hey! Don’t twist my slogan.” I said.

“Sorry,” she said, half-laughing. “So, what’ll be Willard Scott? You going to put your face on this losing bet and ruin your career? Are you going to let Ms. Mulraney throw away a significant amount of money? Are you going to let your friend here embarrass himself in court?” Alison looked right at me. “What do you say, Chance?”

That’s when the reality of the situation hit me. I will lose everything I worked for. I would have to look for another job, and there are few jobs that are easier than meteorology in Phoenix. I pictured myself at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, wearing a wrinkled white shirt and cheap tie, tracking a storm front on a computer that was new when Eisenhower was President.

But then another image entered my brain, one that pushed out all other concerns. I pictured Fidelma and I lying on shamrock green hills, the kind you see in Northern California after the rainy season. A pure azure sky overhead, with cumulus clouds floating by on soft winds. I would tell her the science behind what we were seeing. I would spell out the chaotic intricacies that created the wonderful scene that she and I alone were enjoying. She would smile and kiss me on the cheek and I would thank whatever god that powers the universe for such a perfect moment.

My chest and face felt warm, the kind of warmth felt on the first spring day after a deep winter, or when seeing a radiant smile from a strawberry blonde.

“I think we’ll see you in court…counselor.”

“Suit yourself.” Alison gave us a head nod and left.

After a few moments of silence, Jermaine said: “That went well.”

I closed my eyes and rubbed the middle of my forehead. Fidelma lightly touched my shoulder and I felt a tingle that went from my shoulder to my toes. She smiled at me. “Thanks for coming. I’m sorry about your job, though.”

“Don’t worry about that.” I felt a rush of power as I spoke. “What’s important is that you’re going to keep your hotel.  Or my name’s not Chance Emerson,” I said in a bold and cheesy voice.

“It’s not really Chance Emerson, is it?” Fidelma said.

“Brandon,” I said sheepishly.

“Brandon, Alison’s probably calling the network right now,” Jermaine said. “There’s a good chance you’re getting fired.”

I shrugged, “Is your hotel hiring, Fidelma?”

Written by B. Michael Krol

January 28, 2015 at 7:39 pm

NFL Picks: The Final Week

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Week 17,  looks like I picked the wrong week to quit methamphetamine.

Week 17, looks like I picked the wrong week to quit methamphetamine.

D.T.: We come to it at last… the final week, and one giant divisional blow-out to end the 2014-15 NFL regulation season. By the time all six of our readers are taking a gander at this final regular season column, they’ll have gained five pounds from pies, fudge, glazed ham and…

 

"Yamps! Sweet po-tay-to yamps...!"

“Yamps! Sweet po-tay-to yamps…!”

 

 

Gifts will be returned or exchanged. A few head coaches will be returned or exchanged. We’ll all be settled in for one last semi-glorious overdose of all our favorite teams’ back-ups locked into sloppy divisional match-ups for one last day of excuses why it’s okay to drink at 11am.

 

Or in Ryan Lindley's case, as soon as the alarm goes off.

Or in Ryan Lindley’s case, as soon as the alarm goes off.

 

It’s gonna be a weird day of football that probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone other than the NFC South. Shall we kick this mother off, Krol?

BMK:  Yes lets.  This week features some hot, division-on-division action. A couple of the games actually mean something, even!

And DT, it’s always okay to drink at 11am.  That’s what Chuck Bukowski did, and who can argue with Bukowski?

Seriously, look at this dude...

Seriously, look at this dude…

—–

BROWNS at RAVENS

D.T.: The Browns are completely out of playoff contention, while the Ravens have a chance at landing the sixth seed. What they definitely need to accomplish is a victory over the Browns (which is entirely plausible, and my prediction for the outcome — spoiler alert!) and for the Chiefs to beat or tie with the Chargers… which could be a little more difficult. The Browns are back to Hoyer the Destroyer to try and force an upset, but I don’t think it’ll happen. The Ravens have a lot on the line, they’re playing at home for a place in the post-season, and they’ll come into this game looking for blood.

RAVENS

BMK: Yeah, the Browns don’t stand a chance here.  I wish the Browns could have done something this year after their promising start.  Oh well.  Like Browns fans always say: maybe next year.

I do think it’s funny that after drafting Johnny Football the team is reportedly exploring all options at quarterback.  Imagine that. A kid with very few NFL quality football skills and a work ethic worse than mine isn’t making it at the next level of professional sports. Let’s be blunt: Manziel has all the charm and personality of the average tubesteak, but that’s not what really burns my ass about him. No, it’s the fact that, when it comes to Manziel, I actually agree with Merrill Hoge. I see eye-to-eye with Merrill’s analysis of Manziel and his game and that bothers me more than I care to admit.

Suggs scares the stuffing out of me.

Suggs scares the stuffing out of me.

Anyway, later Browns. You were good while you lasted.

RAVENS

—–

COWBOYS at REDSKINS

D.T.: The ‘Boys have all but secured the number three seed in the NFC playoff picture, and have knocked off all three of their division rivals. I know how everyone in DC had Christmas dreams of seeing RGIII play in the post season, but sorry, Skins fans: there’s no Santa.

 

 

"What about Hanukkah? Do we still have a chance there?"

“What about Hanukkah? Do we still have a chance there?”

 

Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin get one more go-round on the worst field in the league, before their uncertain futures are decided in the coming off-season. Expect the ‘Boys to rest their starters, and for those starters to enjoy a nice victory over a crushed team.

COWBOYS

BMK: I’m pulling for the Cowboys in the post-season this year, since I don’t want Seattle to win another Superbowl and the only way to beat them is with a strong running game, which the Cowboys have.  Hopefully they can knock out Seattle in time to get beat later in the post-season, since the only outcome worse than a Seahawks Superbowl is a Jerreh Superbowl.  Either way, the Cowboys’s job is done for the regular season. Time to give Romo a rest.

The Redskins…man, what a dysfunctional franchise.  The next question is who goes first: Gruden or Griffin?  I’m thinking Snyder sides with his QB and ships Gruden off to the Isle of Misfit Coaches (San Diego).  After that, RGIII gets another year and another coach to kill and then he’s off to be a career backup somewhere (not Arizona, please not Arizona).

This game also gives me an opportunity to use one of my favorite graphics from DT...

This game also gives me an opportunity to use one of my favorite graphics from DT…

COWBOYS

—–

COLTS at TITANS

D.T.: What the fuck happened to Andrew Luck last week? Heading into the last stretch of the season, he’s been in a bit of a slump, but their match-up against the Cowboys was ridiculous. He played like the Quarterback version of Trent Richardson.

 

"Football! Come back, football!"

“Football! Come back, football!”

It’s staggering just how much of the Colts’ success is placed on Luck’s shoulders, and how horribly the team falls apart if he has a bad day. Still, the Colts locked up an easy division and they’re headed for the fourth seed in the AFC. Expect Luck to play a quarter at most, and a game more than worth skipping. Honestly, the 2-13 Titans should just stay home, too.

COLTS

BMK:  Really DT?  It’s surprising to you how much the Colt’s success is dependent on Luck? This team was a perennial powerhouse when Manning was in charge, then went 1-15 the year Manning was out, after which it became a powerhouse again after Luck was drafted.  That pretty much spells QB dependent to me.

COLTS

—–

SAINTS at BUCCANEERS

D.T.: The car-crash of a division that no one but those directly involved in care about, but none of us on the outside can look away from. Once again, first place in the division has changed hands — this time to the Panthers. The Saints, Panthers and Falcons are all locked up at 6 wins, with the Panthers ahead by an inch because of that tie with the Bengals. It’s incredible that such an anomaly has had this big of an impact on their division. At any rate, both the Saints and Bucs are out of the post-season running, so here’s another game that no one other than die-hards and coaching staffs will be watching.

 

"Fuck that. I'm finally going to get caught up on Breaking Bad!"

“Fuck that. I’m finally going to get caught up on Breaking Bad!”

The winners in this game are the Saints, for finally being put out of their misery.

SAINTS

BMK: I’m going with the Bucs here. I’m behind in picks so I need to start doubling down and winning big.  Don’t let me down, Lovie.

BUCS

—–

EAGLES at GIANTS

D.T.: Eli Manning’s crowning achievements have been finding a wide receiver who won’t drop his passes, and Peyton Manning throwing more career interceptions than him.

 

"Hey, Pey."

“Hey, Pey.”

 

"Hi, 'Li."

“Hi, ‘Li.”

 

"Just wanted to let you know that you can suck it. I have two rings and fewer INTs now."

“Just wanted to let you know that you can suck it. I have two rings and fewer INTs now.”

 

"That's nice, Eli."

“That’s nice, Eli.”

 

"And also, I'm Dad's favorite now. So, go Omaha yourself."

“And also, I’m Dad’s favorite now. So, go Omaha yourself.”

 

"Eli, that doesn't even --"

“Eli, that doesn’t even –“

 

"Cooper is and always will be my favorite son."

“Cooper is and always will be my favorite son.”

 

"..."

“…”

 

 

"..."

“…”

 

 

"Merry Christmas, fuckheads."

“Merry Christmas, fuckheads.”

EAGLES

BMK: Is the Sanchise still playing? Or have they gone over to Foles? I guess I can google it…Oh well, F it.

EAGLES

—–

BILLS at PATRIOTS

D.T.: The Patriots have clinched the division and secured home field advantage for the playoffs. Which means they’re likely to be the team representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Bills and Dolphins had a nice season too, though, with the Fins likely to eek their way above .500, and the Bills… well, it’s a significant accomplishment for them to have reached 8-8. Maybe the Patriots will be cordial and sit their starters and let the Bills finish with a winning record.

"Or how about not."

“Or how about not.”

PATRIOTS

BMK: This ought to be a barn burner.

PATRIOTS

—–

JAGUARS at TEXANS

D.T.: Believe it or not, the Texans actually have a snowball’s chance in hell of making the playoffs. If that snowball was really, really big and dense, and Satan was kind enough to turn down the heat for a little while.

 

"Or how about not."

“Or how about not.”

 

They pretty much have to win their next game (likely), the Chargers have to beat the Chiefs (possible) and the Browns have to beat the Ravens (nope) for them to be gifted a sixth seed spot in the post-season. That’s way too many variables to fall into place, but stranger things happen. sadly, we’re probably looking at two teams with no real shot at the playoffs instead of just one. Still, the Texans get to go out with a winning record, and a triumphant home game to end on.

TEXANS

BMK: A lot of people think hell is hot. It’s not. It’s cold and snowy. Like Buffalo in the winter.  Anyway, the Texans will win this game, JJ Watt will not win the MVP, and the Jaguars will stink again next year.  You can take these predictions to the bank. Though I’m not sure why the bank would care…

TEXANS

—–

CHARGERS at CHIEFS

D.T.: The Chargers have a chance to land the sixth seed, and their fate is their own to control. With no stipulations coming from other teams, all they need to do is beat the Chiefs at home. Which lands their chances at about 50-50, really. Divisional games are always wacky, and Arrowhead is a tough place to play. The Chiefs are looking to play the spoiler here and ruin Philip Rivers’ New Year. But, I have to say, I think Phil is hungry for a post-season appearance, and he’ll pull out all the stops to achieve it.

CHARGERS

BMK: Alex Smith isn’t playing this game since he has a lacerated spleen.  That sounds painful. And gross. But I think the Chargers will win this game since they’re be facing the dude not good enough to beat Alex Smith out of a starting job. Which is as pathetic as it sounds.

CHARGERS

—–

JETS at DOLPHINS

D.T.: It’s Rex Ryan’s going away party, and they’re having it in sunny Miami! There are worse places to walk into, knowing you’ll be fired.

RGIII

 

 

The Jets will put up a fight, as they’re known to do in AFC East games, but it’s the Fins last hurrah in a winning season that – by their standards – isn’t too shabby.

DOLPHINS

BMK: I heard a report this morning that Rex Ryan is already cleaning out his office, and that everyone’s assuming GM Idzik is getting fired too.

I sort of feel bad for Rex Ryan.  Yeah, he’s a blowhard with a foot fetish, but these last couple of seasons humbled him a bit.  I’m thinking he’ll still be a good head coach somewhere (SF?), but it’s probably time to leave the Jets for greener (har har) pastures.
I don’t know anything about Idzik at all. Except that he can’t pick a QB.

DOLPHINs

—–

BEARS at VIKINGS

D.T.: The NFC North belongs to the Packers and Lions, with those two teams battling it out for the division championship. Meanwhile, the Bears and Vikings are also playing a game. Merely out of formality and contracts and stuff, I guess. The Bears are all out gas, and the Vikings will end the season with a losing record, but not in last place in their division. Which, much as it is in the NFC South, is a victory in itself.

VIKINGS

BMK: I’m so mad at the Bears.  I really wanted them to have a good year since that Brandon Marshall kid is so charming on Inside the NFL.  But they beat the 49ers a while back, so that’s all that matters.

VIKINGS

—–

RAIDERS at BRONCOS

D.T.: The Broncos are headed to the playoffs, and the Raiders get news that they’re staying. They just can’t fucking win, can they?

 

Cheer up, dude. There's always nex--well, maybe not. You're pretty well fucked.

Cheer up, dude. There’s always nex–well, maybe not. You’re pretty well fucked.

BRONCOS

BMK: The Raiders are staying for 2015. They can still – oh, yeah, they’re fucked.

—–

CARDINALS at 49ERS

D.T.: Ryan Lindley showed us that Whisenhunt wasn’t 100% to blame for the utter failure of the Cardinals’ 2012 season. Keeping his not-a-single-touchdown-thrown streak alive, and likely to maintain that record for whatever’s left of his NFL career, he’ll likely be benched in favor of rookie Logan Thomas. The Cardinals had a meteoric rise this season, but they’ve come back down to Earth hard and fast. They’re still playoff-bound, regardless of the outcome of this game, but I don’t expect any more wins out of the injury-devastated team.

NINERS

BMK: This game – and all its implications — is too depressing to talk about.

Pictured: Harbaugh's meeting with Trent Baalke after the season ends.

Pictured: Harbaugh’s meeting with Trent Baalke after the season ends.

NINERS

—–

LIONS at PACKERS

D.T.: Finally, a game that means something. These two teams are tied up for the division lead, with the winners looking to enjoy a chance at the number two seed, and the losers dropping down to battle it out for the wildcard spot. Looking at the slump these two teams have been in the last couple of weeks, it’s tough to pick a clear winner.

 

 

"Oh, I think there's a clear winner. You don't see Stafford hanging out with Dana Carvey, do you?"

“Oh, I think there’s a clear winner. You don’t see Stafford hanging out with Dana Carvey, do you?”

I’ll trust that Aaron Rodgers brings his A-game this time around, knowing exactly what’s on the line, and knowing that he’s up against a dangerous Lions defense. But, if Matty Stafford can figure his shit out and come to play as well, we could be looking at a fun divisional shoot-out, and the best game of the week.

PACKERS

BMK: This definitely is the game of the week (are we still doing those?) for all the reasons DT mentioned. This is the kind of game that the NFL had in mind when it started scheduling all division game late in the season, not that Buccaneers/Saints dreck that those poor people in Tampa Bay will be forced to watch.

I’m hoping the Lions win this one since I don’t think Green Bay is built for a deep playoff run.  Yeah, Aaron Rodgers can play lights out, but their defense leaks like an Adult Baby’s Diaper. The Pack will never beat Seattle with that defense (or with that attitude!), so it’s best just to get Green Bay fans’s inevitable disappointment out of the way early.

LIONS

—–

RAMS at SEAHAWKS

D.T.: The Seahawks keep showing us that in a battle of stout defenses, it’s the team with the offensive edge that will win. Such will be the case here. If Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch’s current hot streaks aren’t enough to convince, consider the fact that winning this game lands them the division title, and they’re playing at home. You made us proud with your scrappy refusal to give up, Rams, but here’s where your heart-warming story comes to a close. Here’s to next year.

SEAHAWKS

BMK: This game is like the recent Hobbit sequel: it’s long, it’s unnecessary, and the outcome doesn’t change anything for anyone.  One question though: when will the Rams figure out Jeff Fisher aint a good coach?

SEAHAWKS

—–

PANTHERS at FALCONS

D.T.: Whoever wins this game wins the division and hosts a game in the playoffs. So, what we’re basically looking at is the opportunity for a team to win a fucking mess of a division, then lose at home in the first round of the playoffs. Might as well be the Falcons, I guess, because I don’t think Cam Newton’s going to get it done.

FALCONS

BMK: I’m going with the Panthers here.  Mostly because I’m hoping against hope that the Cardinals face them in the first round and maybe get a win.

PANTHERS

—–

BENGALS at STEELERS

D.T.: Both of these teams are headed for the playoffs, and the Bengals likely to yet another first-round elimination. Anything can happen in the NFL (and sometimes does), but they’re a team of such highs and lows and that doesn’t cut it when you’ve reached the highest level of competition in arguably the most physically competitive professional sport. The Steelers will find a way to win at home, clinch the division and move up into the number three seed in the AFC.

BMK: Oh Andy Dalton…you’ve burned me so many times before this year…but not as bad as you burned the Brown family with your contract. Hiyo.

Anyway, these two teams are going to the playoffs but neither will go very far. The AFC belongs to the Patriots. And to Jesus. But mostly to the Patriots.

—–

DT: And that’s that. As we move on to the playoffs portion of the article, I’d like to thank those of you who’ve been reading all season (hey dad), and thank my esteemed and hilarious partner, Krol, for inviting me on board to knock this bad boy out each week. It’s been a privilege being your personal suicide hotline during each Cardinals game, and spending Sundays laughing like idiots at things Colt McCoy’s neck problems.

Oh, and I’m totally ahead in picks again, but we’re having a moment, so I won’t gloat.

 

BMK: Thanks to all the readers and thanks to DT. This column could be done without DT, but it would suck.  So a very public thank you to a guy that’s been my huckleberry these past 17+ weeks.

Also, thank you to Nick Nunziata. We couldn’t of done this – oh, wait.  We did.

Anyway, this has been a lot of fun. Especially when we took cheap shots at people and teams we don’t like.  Which is pretty much everyone. So ha-ha. SUCK IT BUFFALO!

Finally, some pictures of the Goddess herself…

Kat 2 Kat

Even she gets distracted by how heavenly she is...

Kat

 

 

Thanks again...it's been a blast.

Thanks again…it’s been a blast.

 

DTs victory should come with an asterisk.

DTs victory should come with an asterisk.

This post was edited and compiled while listening to Spotify’s Deep Thinking Playlist and your mother telling me she told me so…

Written by B. Michael Krol

December 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Posted in CHUD Football Picks

Tagged with ,

THUD: Week Sixteen Picks

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Week 16 -- your records aren't what they seem.

Week 16 — your records aren’t what they seem.

D.T.: Welcome to the NFL, Johnny. Hope you had fun, because it looks like you won’t be doing that again until next year.

"Yeah, it was a great time."

“Yeah, it was a great time.”

The beginning of the Manziel Era came and went like a wisp of smoke, as the Bengals hazed him in an embarrassing 30-0 shut out. I hope Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine made whatever point he was aiming for, because I’m sure his ass is on the line now, too. The rest of the week was far more interesting. The Panthers continued to befuddle us all by grasping first place in the NFC South… for a day. The Seahawks placed a big fat period at the end of the Harbaugh Story in San Francisco, and the Cowboys revenged the Eagles after the nasty beating they took on Thanksgiving.

We’ve got one last week before all the playoff teams bench their stars to rest them up for the playoffs. Let’s make the most of it!

 

BMK: The thing that interested me last week was the Seattle game.  As I predicted, the 49ers went run heavy and were winning.  Then everything went kerplooey.  Like Harbaugh’s coaching tenure.

By the way, Harbaugh’s going to Oakland. A man with his ego aint going back to coach college. Plus, his wife submarined the Cleveland trade because she didn’t want to move away from Palo Alto. I live across the Bay from Palo Alto, and it is very nice.  I also live across the Bay from Facebook. Whenever I drive to Ikea to pick up that month’s yuppie provisions, I always see morons getting their pictures taken by the Facebook sign, which is a large Thumbs Up picture.  As Bugs would say, what a bunch of maroons…


—–

TITANS at JAGUARS

D.T. …and we’ll start making the most of it right after this travesty of professional sports is over with.

JAGUARS?

BMK: Is it too early in the article for Krol Facts? Probably.

JAGUARS

—–

EAGLES at REDSKINS

D.T.: …okay, maybe we’ll start making the most of it after THIS travesty of professional sports.

EAGLES

BMK: Washington and Philly? Whoever wins, good taste loses.

EAGLES
—–

CHARGERS at NINERS

D.T.: Fuck me. Seriously? We get four days of NFL football this week, and the first two are complete crap?

"Sorry, bro."

“Sorry, bro.”

CHARGERS

BMK: Saint Francisco vs. Saint Diego. I like Saint Diego. Actually, not really. Saint Francisco was sort of bad ass. But for this game I like San Diego. Or something.

What do you want? I’m drunk.

Pictured: Krol at the office Christmas party.

Pictured: Krol at the office Christmas party.

CHARGERS

—–

VIKINGS at DOLPHINS

D.T.: This game’s still not great, but I’ll take it. Last week, the Vikings held divisional rivals, the Detroit Lions, to a 14-16 game, keeping Matt Stafford to around 153 yards and a single touchdown. It wasn’t a pretty game for either side, but it kept the Lions in competition with the Packers for the division title. The Fins fared far worse, being spanked mercilessly by the Patriots in a textbook definition of a rout. They’ve dropped down below the Bills (more on that in a bit), and they’ll be looking to rebound fast in order to keep up. I think they’ll have an okay time achieving just that.

DOLPHINS

BMK: I’m getting a feeling in my gut here that the Vikings are going to win. That could be the Mexican food I ate today too. Take my word for it kids, don’t eat cased meat cooked by a vendor on the side of the street in San Francisco’s Mission District. And if you do, don’t get mayo and jalapenos on it either.

VIKINGS

—–

RAVENS at TEXANS

D.T.: Last week, the Texans’ quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, busted his leg. They’re going through quarterbacks faster than the Arizona Cardinals, having lost both Fitzpatrick and back-up Tom Savage in the same game. Up next is… holy shit, the Texans tracked down Case Keenum and resigned him?

"Everyone keeps calling me Ryan, and asking how my leg is and why I shaved my beard."

“Everyone keeps calling me Ryan, and asking how my leg is and why I shaved my beard.”

It’s going to be a fun trip to Texas for the Ravens.

RAVENS

BMK: Case Keenum? Holy crap. Baltimore in a rout.

By the way, does Terrell Suggs scare anyone else but me? That dude looks terrifying.

RAVENS

—–

LIONS at BEARS

D.T.: There’s a little bit of a shit-storm happening in Chicago, as Bears Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer made some pretty disparaging criticisms about Quarterback Jay Cutler. When asked about how he felt about the situation, Cutler asked “Who’s Aaron Kromer?”

"Does he play on defense, or something?"

“Does he play on defense, or something?”

The continued implosion of the Bears franchise calls into question the future of a lot of jobs, and has left the team deflated and aimless. Their lack of enthusiasm, athleticism and drive against the Saints last week illustrated this, and now with the news that the Bears are planning on benching Cutler? I don’t expect them to pick up the pace against the rival Lions squad. The Lions should have a spectacular week.

LIONS

BMK: Just like in the wilds of Detroit, lions will eat the bears. Oh my.

LIONS

—–

BROWNS at PANTHERS

D.T.: So, as I mentioned, the Browns decided to start their high-profile rookie quarterback in a fierce rivalry game, when they were only two games behind a tie for first in their division. Manziel getting a start was an inevitability, but doing so this late in the season, in a gamewhere you know your opponents will be firing on all cylinders? It was a fucking stupid choice, and the Cleveland front office got what it deserved.

Again, I... probably wouldn't say this to his face.

Again, I… probably wouldn’t say this to his face.


If they start Manziel again this week, I would expect more of the same, as the Panthers are back in the fight for the NFC South, and will be looking to keep in pace with the rest of their division. And at this point, can the Browns afford to look wishy-washy with their roster choices?

PANTHERS

BMK: Manziel’s ignominious start warmed my black heart. It was so gratifying watching that little ne’er-do-well get intercepted and sacked as much as he was. But, between you and me Johnny, you need to hit a weight room. You look like a boy out there.

PANTHERS

—–

FALCONS at SAINTS

D.T.: After getting hammered by the Panthers two weeks ago, the Saints rebounded against a flat-lining Bears team. The Falcons, however, didn’t do so well against the Steelers, but they were pretty much outclassed. This week, both of these unpredictable, on-and-off teams are going to have to be on. The race for the playoffs in this division may look like like it’s taking place between retarded blind dogs with no legs, but it’s still a race.

"Retarded blind dogs with no legs? Hmm... pass."

“Retarded blind dogs with no legs? Hmm… pass.”

With these two teams tied for first and the Panthers hot on their heels, I’d like to expect a better game from both squads than we’ve seen of late. And I’d like to think the Saints will pull ahead for a win, because when they’re at their best, they’re a better team overall than Atlanta.

SAINTS

BMK: A question I’ve been asking all year: what the hell happened to the Saints? These guys used to be money at home. This year 3-4 at home. What the H, bro?

Normally, I’d be inclined to take the Falcons in this Powerhouse Division matchup, but Julio Jones is injured. So I’m going with the home team.

SAINTS
—–

PACKERS at BUCCANEERS

D.T.: The NFL must be somehow cashing in on making sure the ratings are all squarely landing on the Saints/Falcons game. I don’t think even Aaron Rodgers will be paying much attention here.

PACKERS

BMK: Can I ask a question? What are they thinking with those stupid Hans and Franz commercials? When was the last time those characters were relevant at all? What demographic are they going after with them? Good god…

Oh, yeah, um…

PACKERS

—–

CHIEFS at STEELERS

D.T.: This game has some serious post-season repercussions, as the loser will find it a bit more difficult to reach the Wild Card. With the AFC North in a three-way tie, the Steelers need this win to keep up. The Chiefs find themselves three games behind Denver, but still have a glimmer of a chance. I don’t know if the Chiefs can stand toe-to-toe with Cheesburger, Bell and Brown at home. In fact, I’m willing to go with the Steelers here by a modest margin.

STEELERS

BMK: I don’t trust the Steelers D any more.

CHIEFS

—–

PATRIOTS at JETS

D.T.: The Jets become the spoiler, with their entire season in flames, and with nothing left to do but fuck up the last two Sundays for some other team. Wacky shit happens when the Jets play their divisional rivals, and even the Patriots aren’t immune to it. However, I don’t think the Jets’ death rattle will keep the Pats from chalking up one more win in their dominance of the AFC East.

PATRIOTS

Rex

BMK: There’s still football in New York?

PATRIOTS

—–

GIANTS at RAMS

D.T.: The Rams have looked good, the last few weeks. They may have lost to the Cardinals by a narrow margin, but they still held the Arizona squad to zero touchdowns, and that’s their third week doing so. It’ll be interesting to see how the St. Louis team will match up against the Giants, and if they’ll have an answer for phenom wide receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr. My guess is the Giants will break the Rams’ defensive streak, but I’m not expecting a high-scoring game.

GIANTS

BMK: The Rams have a strong defensive line nucleus. I’m not sure what they’re going to do at QB next year, but if they keep building on the defensive side of the ball, I could see them challenging the 49ers for the 3rd spot in the division.

RAMS

—–

BILLS at RAIDERS

D.T.: I’m proud of the Bills for taking on a powerhouse like the Packers and shutting them down. This past season has given Bills fans more hope than they’ve had in the last decade, and one more win this week will be icing on the cake. Enjoy, Buffalo.

BILLS

BMK: Yeah, the Bills fans have some hope. Which is especially cruel, because most of them live in Buffalo. Which sucks.

BILLS

—–

COLTS at COWBOYS

D.T.: Does this game come down to DeMarco Murray’s ability to contribute? He just had surgery, and he’s questionable for Dallas’s visit from Luck and the Colts. If he’s unable to contribute, then the Cowboys’ goal of reaching the post-season (which, despite a stellar upturn for them this year) hangs in the balance. If Murray can’t come to play, that effectively cuts Dallas’s offense in half, and leaves the Indy defense with the ability to focus on the pass rush and slow the ‘Boys down. If Murray is in, then the Colts will be hard-pressed to evenly distribute the coverage.

On the flip-side, Indy’s pass offense is lethal. Yes, Luck is likely the overturn the ball early on, as he has a weird cycle of coming into each game cold and warming around halftime, but the alleged return of TY Hilton gives The Neckbeard a nice compliment of weapons, even against the decent Dallas defense (how’s that for some fuckin’ alliteration?). I’m going to be a lame cliche analyst and say that if Murray plays, Dallas will win. If he’s sidelined, then the Colts will have a stronger chance.

COWBOYS (Conditionally)

BMK: Wait? What is this conditionally shit, DT? TAKE A STAND MAN! PICK A SIDE!

I’m going with the Colts here. Dallas’s secondary isn’t great, and a hobbled or absent Murray will mean a greater workload for Romo, who’s not great in December (to say the least).

COLTS

—–

SEAHAWKS at CARDINALS

D.T.: Battle of the Birds, and possibly the game that decides the fate of the NFC West Championship. Also known as the reason why I’ll be drinking on Sunday. The Cardinals are down to third-string quarterback and known-dumpster fire, Ryan Lindley. Ryan Lindley you’ll recall… from nothing, actually. No one remembers Lindley from the mass of rotating Quarterbacks Ken Whisenhunt rolled out in Arizona in 2012.

Pictured: Ryan Lindl--wait. Fuck, that's John Skelton, isn't it?

Pictured: Ryan Lindl–wait. Fuck, that’s John Skelton, isn’t it?

It’s fair to give him the benefit of the doubt, since he has likely-two-time Coach of the Year Bruce Arians guiding him, but the kid is still terrible even with a strong offensive line. The Cardinals are an excellent home team and will find ways to contain Marshawn Lynch. The cypher here is Russell Wilson, and the Cardinals’ ability to hold him into the pocket and allow the Arizona defensive backs to control the game. It’s going to be a defensive, low-scoring game all around. So, between the scrappy team that refuses to give in to injury, and the former champs rediscovering their fire? Fuck it, I’m going to be a homer and go against my gut.

CARDINALS

BMK: If Stanton was playing, the Cardinals might have a chance if their resurrected running game continued. With Lindley…I just don’t see it. I don’t think the Seahawks are as unbeatable as everyone else; if you can run against them you can beat them. Last week Gore and Hyde were having their way against the Hawks and it looked like SF could pull the upset. But then Gore went down, as did Hyde, and worse for SF, their starting interiror linebackers went down too. Without those players, Seattle just did what Seattle does: run Lynch, protect against the pass.

Anyway, I’m going with Seattle.

SEAHAWKS

—–

BRONCOS at BENGALS

D.T.: The Bengals had themselves a day against the Browns last week, tormenting and terrorizing a rookie quarterback who, let’s face it, needed to be tormented and terrorized at least once, if he has any chance in hell of succeeding at a professional level. But now it’s back to work, and they’re going against one of the top 5 offenses and defenses in the league. I’m going to be frank: the Broncos are going to win this. The one adjective that describes one team and not the other is “consistent”…

"What about handsome?"

“What about handsome?”

…and the Bengals have been shown to often be their own worst enemy. Peyton Manning will be healthy again, and Julius Thomas is likely to return and be hungry to rebound in front of a prime-time audience. Sorry Cincinnati fans, but this one has Denver written all over it.

BMK: If Manning plays, then yeah, this game will be Denver’s. That said, Manning is questionable for the game. If you ask me, he’s questionable for a lot of shit. Really Peyton? Planning that keep-a-way game? That’s iffy, bro.

DENVER

—–

D.T.: And there we go! Week (Sweet) Sixteen is set to go off, and I can’t wait to watch the fireworks (as soon as Thursday and Saturday are over…). There’s lots of bids for the playoffs on the line, lots of teams throwing gasoline on the fire, and we’re closing in on one of the most dramatic and entertaining endings to a season in some time. Enjoy folks, and come back next week for one last hurrah!

BMK: Last hurrah? LAST HURRAH! We have the playoffs, son!

Well, maybe it’ll be the last hurrah. But cheer up CHUD heads, maybe DT and I will do a Superbowl special column with us checking out the scene in Phoenix. We’ll do it up Fear and Loathing style.

DT, as your attorney, I’d advise you to have another beer…

We're still tied...for last.

We’re still tied…for last.

This post was edited and compiled to the sound of silence. No, not that sound of silence.  Literally, there was no sounds at all.  Except the sound the keyboard makes. But, you know, that should go without saying…

Written by B. Michael Krol

December 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

THUD Week Fifteen

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Week 15 -- here comes the regression to the mean!

Week 15 — here comes the regression to the mean!

 

D.T.: Cam Newton finally gets his shit together, and then injures his back in a car accident. The Rams put up historic, back-to-back shut outs right as they’re being pushed out of playoff contention. The Raiders beat the shit out of the Niners. Krol finally caught up to me in picks. Ain’t football a bitch?

 

"Yes."

“Yes.”

We were ragging pretty hard on week 14 for being a series of shitty games and, for the first time this season and maybe in our whole lives, ever, there’s a slight, miniscule chance that Krol and I were wrong. I mean, who expected the Packers/Falcons game to be as high-scoring as it was? Who expected Andrew Luck’s mistakes to turn the Colts/Browns game into a nail-biter? Well, if you were pleasantly surprised like us, you better hold on to your ass, this week.

BMK: Yeah, this last week turned out to be better than I thought it would be.  Especially since the Raiders beat the 49ers.  As an avowed Harbaugh hater, that was just delicious.  This week we got some hot Division on Division action. Let’s get biz-zay!

—–

CARDINALS at RAMS

D.T.: Somehow, the Cardinals managed to squeeze out a win against the Chiefs. Many would argue that poor officiating helped, and to them I say… yeah, probably. The Rams defense is looking pretty incredible, and they’ve developed a knack for picking off hurting teams. The injury-plagued Arizona team will have to really step it up on offense to survive. They’ve certainly got more on the line, and if they can keep clear heads and utilize the tools they’ve got left, they just might squeak out another W. Maybe. I hope.

CARDINALS

BMK: A lot of hay is being made out of the Rams blanking the Redskins and the Raiders. It’s an impressive feat, but I think the media is overplaying the Rams abilities.  Don’t get me wrong, their pass-rush is scary, but who do they have on their secondary? Who’s their offensive playmaker?

That said, I’m picking them this week. Thursday night games this year have been insane. I’m going with the home team.

RAMS

—–

STEELERS at FALCONS

D.T.: I’m as shocked as anyone that the Falcons managed to score as much as they did against the Packers. Julio Jones had himself a freaking day, and topped out at 260 yards and a touchdown, and Matty Ice tossed for 375 yards and four TDs. Maybe something has awakened in the Falcons and they just realized that someone from their division MUST go to the playoffs, and it might as well be them. But, their visit from the Steelers won’t help that cause — their defense is far too weak to stop Cheeseburger and LeVeon Bell. Sorry, Dirty Birds.

STEELERS

BMK: I’m picking the Steelers here too. Mostly cause I can’t figure out why I shouldn’t.

STEELERS

—–

REDSKINS at GIANTS

D.T.: At this point, both the Redskins players and fans must be eagerly awaiting the sweet relief of the off-season. Giants fans are more than likely indifferent, and placing all of their attention and enthusiasm on the incredible season Odell Beckham, Jr. is having. This wasn’t a great season for them, but next year they get to look forward to seeing that kid line up across from Victor Cruz. That’s a scary thought, indeed. Oh, and they’ll win this week.

GIANTS

BMK: Ugh, the Redskins.  They’re like the Jets, but without the excellent football.

I feel sorry for the fans of that team, since most of the problems with the Redskins come from a bad owner.  Before Michael Bidwell took over, the Cardinals were in a similar situation, just constant dysfunction and mediocrity or worse.  This off-season will be interesting down in Virginia, that’s for sure.

GIANTS

—–

DOLPHINS at PATRIOTS

D.T.: Divisional match-up, ahoy! Wacky shit happens when these two teams face off, and the last time they did, the ‘Fins put the Pats away with a two-possession lead. That, however, was before the Patriots began enjoying their revitalization on both sides of the ball. The Miami defense has been struggling of late, and I expect to see Brady, Gronk and Blount capitalize.

 

And, sadly, we'll probably see less of this.

And, sadly, we’ll probably see less of this.

 

 

PATRIOTS

BMK: The Patriots do not lose at Foxboro.  They just don’t.

PATRIOTS

—–

RAIDERS at CHIEFS

D.T.: I’m sure Alex Smith enjoyed watching his former team struggle against the worst team in the league.

 

 

"Colin-what? Kaeper-who?"

“Colin-what? Kaeper-who?”

But, will he be able to avoid the same thing happening to him? All signs point to yes. The Chiefs will be fortunate to finish the season in second place in the AFC West, but at least Smith isn’t still on that sinking ship. And he’s got easier divisional rivals to beat up on.

CHIEFS

BMK: I think the Raiders got a decent QB in Derek Carr. Or, at the very least, they have a decent prospect to develop further.  Other than that, there’s not much to like about Oakland.  Despite their sweet, sweet, victory last week, they’re still a two win football team.  They’re not beating the Chiefs at home.

CHIEFS

—–

TEXANS at COLTS

D.T.: A tricky divisional match-up. The Texans’ playoff dreams are still alive, but they have to go through the 9-4 Colts to get there. This week, literally. Indy Quarterback Andrew Luck has been struggling with turnovers lately, and the loss of Reggie Wayne to a tricep injury stings a little bit, but the Neckbeard has historically played great against this divisional rival squad. I expect the same to occur here, as they host JJ Watt and professional spectator Jadaveon Clowney at home in Lucas Oil.

 

 

I spend $40 a month for RedZone. He gets $22 million to watch from the sideline. Fuck this guy.

I spend $40 a month for RedZone. He gets $22 million to watch from the sideline. Fuck this guy.

COLTS

BMK: The Colts are soft on defense and JJ Watt is a wrecking machine. However, Andrew Luck is at home and he’s an amazing QB.

COLTS

—–

BENGALS at BROWNS

D.T.: And so begins the Manziel Era. Both the Bengals and Browns have been prone to unpredictability this season, and tossing in a hot-headed, untested Quarterback into the mix makes things all the more interesting. I have to say, I don’t think it’s wise of Pettine to gamble on Johnny Football/Foot-Tall/Eight-Ball at this point in the season.

 

Though, I probably wouldn't say it to his face.

Though, I probably wouldn’t say it to his face.

It seems like a real risk to put a divisional game on the line, when you’re only a win behind a three-way tie for the championship. I’m not sure what statement the Browns franchise is trying to make, and I wonder if they’re banking on a fresh QB being able to best a team that nearly lost to the Buccaneers, and lost quite badly to the Steelers in week 14. Should be an interesting experiment, and I suppose I can see it working out for them, if the Bengals are in Shitstorm-Mode this week.

BROWNS

BMK: A rookie QB in a divisional game?  With holes in the offensive line? Hard pass….

BENGALS.

—–

JAGUARS at RAVENS

D.T.: Right now, Marcus Mariota is thanking the Football Gods that the Jaguars drafted Blake Bortles last year.

 

"Heh. No shit."

“Heh. No shit.”

 

 

 

RAVENS

BMK: The Misfits are an American punk rock band often recognized as the progenitors of the horror punk subgenre, blending punk rock and other musical influences with horror film themes and imagery.

Founded in 1977 in Lodi, New Jersey by singer and songwriter Glenn Danzig, the group had a fluctuating lineup during its first six years with Danzig and bassist Jerry Only as the only consistent members. During this time they released several EPs and singles, and with Only’s brother Doyle as guitarist, the albums Walk Among Us (1982) and Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood (1983), both considered touchstones of the early-1980s hardcore punk movement.

After a series of legal battles with Danzig, Only and Doyle regained the rights to record and perform as the Misfits. They formed a new version of the band in 1995 with singer Michale Graves and drummer Dr. Chud. This incarnation of the Misfits had a sound much more rooted in heavy metal, and released the albums American Psycho (1997) and Famous Monsters (1999) before dissolving in 2000. Jerry Only then took over lead vocals and recruited former Black Flag guitarist Dez Cadena and former Ramones drummer Marky Ramone for a Misfits 25th Anniversary tour.

—–

PACKERS at BILLS

D.T.: The Buffalo Turnover Machine vs. Aaron “Only Three Interceptions in 2014” Rodgers. The Bills continue to play solid defense, and Green Bay’s continues to be their weakness. If Orton, Watkins and Jackson can hold it down, they might give the Packers a sizable challenge. In the end, however I see the Packers chalking up their sixth win in a row. But I hope the Bills cause some turnovers and knock that Green Bay homer out of my fantasy playoffs.

PACKERS

BMK: Conventional wisdom says the Packers win this game, and why wouldn’t it? Aaron Rodgers is playing lights out and putting up all sorts of gaudy stats.

But I don’t trust Green Bay’s defense. At all.

Of course, I don’t not trust it enough to buck conventional wisdom. Just saying, we’ve seen this movie before: Gaudy Green Bay lights up the regular season but goes home early in the playoffs.

PACKERS

—–

BUCCANEERS at PANTHERS

D.T.: Cam Newton picked a good week to get his truck knocked over, and fracture his back. If Carolina decides to rest him this week, their back-up Derek Anderson is capable of taking on the Tampa team. Anderson had a fun time back in week one against the Bucs, throwing for 240 yards and a couple of touchdowns. I’m sure they’re working on building up his chemistry with the receiver corp right now, and I expect Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin to be his safe, dependable targets for a fairly easy victory.

PANTHERS

BMK: [JOKE COMPARING NEWTON’S CAR CRASH TO PANTHER’S SEASON].

PANTHERS

—–

JETS at TITANS

D.T.: Whoever wins, some poor son of a bitch draft pick loses.

Um… TITANS?

BMK: I’m going with the Jets.  Why the fuck not?

JETS

—–

BRONCOS at CHARGERS

D.T.: As predicted, the Chargers suffered defeat at the hands of the Patriots, but not before making Brady plop himself on the field and throw a temper tantrum like a baby. The Chargers are less likely to elicit that type of reaction from Peyton Manning, who is currently enjoying three-win streak, and a cakewalk of a final stretch. Sorry, Phillip, it’s Manning’s year. At least he has other things to fill his heart, like collecting bolo ties. And small children.

 

"I keep them all in the same closet!"

“I keep them all in the same closet!”

 

BRONCOS
BMK: I sort of feel sorry for Philip Rivers. Mostly for his fashion sense, but also for the fact that is one great QB that had the misfortune of playing in the same era and conference as Brady and Manning.  He’ll never make it to the big dance. However, he’s photogenic, and has 207 kids, so he’ll be an on-air “personality” enough. Maybe FOX can retire Terry Bradshaw the way Deckard retires Replicants and plug Rivers in there.  That way, I can avoid everything that annoys me on Sunday.

BRONCOS
—–

VIKINGS at LIONS

D.T.: The Lions enjoyed a leisurely victory against Tampa Bay last week, with Matt Stafford and Friends continuing on the up-trend. Stafford tossed for 311 yards and a hat-trick, while Megatron chalked up 158 yards and a TD. Joique Bell picked up over 80 yards rushing, 50 receiving, and a couple of touchdowns. Bell shows no signs of slowing, even with the return of Reggie Bush, and this trio should have themselves an excellent day against their oft-struggling rivals.

LIONS

BMK:  I don’t foresee an upset here. The Lions have a stout defense and a pretty good offense.  More than enough to handle Bridgewater and the boys.

LIONS

—–

NINERS at SEAHAWKS

D.T.: The Niners are done. Colin Kaepernick’s success as a mobile quarterback was only destined to last as long as the small window of opportunity would allow. Which is sad, because the kid has a decent arm and I don’t think he’s the horrible douchebag people* want to believe he is. At any rate, the Niners are in for a massive overhaul in the offseason, and lots of changes – some expected, and likely some painful and unexpected – will occur. This week’s game in Seattle will be the final nail in the coffin for the Harbaugh Era. A team this defeated and dysfunctional doesn’t stand a chance in CenturyLink.

SEAHAWKS

* Bryan

BMK:  I’m going with the Niners here.

Seattle is great against the pass but they’re vulnerable against the run. The 40000ft view reason the Seahawks are killing everyone is because most NFL teams have abandoned the concept of power running. Think about it: who, amongst the “elite” teams this season, has a great ground game?  No one.  Now, the Cowboys and Chiefs both have very good rushing attacks, and guess what? They both beat the Seahawks.

If the Niners can run Frank Gore effectively – and I’m betting they can – they’re going to win the game.

NINERS

—–

COWBOYS at EAGLES

D.T.: Another Thanksgiving Day rematch that didn’t go so well for one of these teams. The ‘Boys may have rebounded with a solid win against the Bears the following week, but they’ll still have the taste of stale turkey and dry stuffing in their mouths. Will they pull off a revenge on the Eagles’ home turf? Tough call. Dallas claims that Romo is in better health and they’ve got the advantage of more time to prepare. While he took pain medication to bolster himself against the Bears, it was decided against shooting Romo up when they played the Eagles on Turkey Day. So, will a drugged up Romo make a world of difference this time around?

 

"Hey, you guys see them pink elephants? What are those pink elephants doin' at football?"

“Hey, you guys see them pink elephants? What are those pink elephants doin’ at football?”

 
Is it smoke and mirrors to excuse themselves from an embarrassing loss? I have trouble thinking the Philly’s earlier win was a fluke, but at the same time, I think Dallas will come out swinging. It might be the most interesting game this week. I’ll go with Philly at home.

EAGLES

BMK: I’m inclined to agree with the Gentleman from Maricopa County.  The Cowboys’s main weakness – besides an insane GM – is their defense.  I’m pretty sure the Sanchise will rebound from the Seattle loss by beating up on the Boys.

—–

SAINTS at BEARS

D.T.: How will the bizarre story of the NFC South end? The Saints and Falcons duke it out for the dubious honor of first place in the worst division in football, and both come into this week “boasting” 5-8 records. I have serious doubts that the Falcons will best the Steelers, which opens the door for the Saints to secure the lead — at least for this week. But, after their shocking loss against the Panthers last week, who’s to say? In a division as (horribly) competitive as the NFC South right now, I have doubts that New Orleans purposefully took it easy last week in preparation for their final stretch. Any loss, especially in their own division, is dire for their post-season chances, and a possible two-win lead is far preferable than a possible one-win lead.

I’m honestly at a bit of a loss here. Both of these teams are a mess, but the Saint’s upside outweighs the Bears’, so I guess I’ll put my fictional money on Brees.

SAINTS

BMK: The Bears are a complete mess.  Their best receiver is out, their QB is a wreck, and their defense puts up about as much fight as Lindsay Lohan does when someone offers her cocaine for sex.

SAINTS

—–

D.T.: And there you have it. Next week, we have football on fuckin’ Saturday, which means four days of waking up hungover and regretful, instead of three. It also means Krol and I have to work harder and faster, since we’ll have less time to crank this bad boy out. A fair trade off!

May the wind always be at your backs, dear readers. And may you always be upwind of Oakland.

BMK: Harder and faster? What are you, my wife, amirite?

Recap

 

This post was written and edited to the Sons of Anarchy and the sounds of men all around me losing their heads…while I was keeping mine…

Written by B. Michael Krol

December 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm

THUD Picks Week 14

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Week 14 -- it's a total dream!

Week 14 — it’s a total dream!

D.T.: I’m going to be straight up, folks. This is not going to be a good week of football. The final stretch of the season – through some weird happenings with scheduling – is chock full of divisional match-ups… and this week is the calm before the storm. While we have  Eagles/Cowboys and Seahawks/Niners rematches to look forward to in week 15, this week we have… the Patriots and the Chargers.

Tom Brady's reaction to being told he can't simply take next week off.

Tom Brady’s reaction to being told he can’t simply take next week off.

 

 

What say you about this week, dear Krol?

BMK: This week is yet another lineup of blah matches.

Many commentators will point out that this is because of parity in the NFL. And if by parity you mean a sea of mediocrity, then yeah, I agree with you. Anyway…on to the picks.

—–

COWBOYS at BEARS

Last week, the Bears lost miserably to their feline divisional rivals in the triumphant return of Megatron and Stafford to relevance. Cutler tossed for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but that’s where the good times stopped rolling. Their top rusher for the week, Ka’Deem Carey, maxed out at… 8 yards.

 

"Y'know what, guys? This has been fun, but I think I'll go back to U of A."

“Y’know what, guys? This has been fun, but I think I’ll go back to U of A.”

Over the last few years, the Bears have dominated the Cowboys, but I don’t see them having a good week this time — even though the ‘Boys themselves had a shitty time against the Eagles last week. Look for the Cowboys to rebound and keep themselves on the Eagles’ heels.

COWBOYS

BMK: I’m going with the Cowboys on this one. I don’t trust the Bears at all or Jay Cutler, and while the Cowboys have some good weaknesses, I don’t think the Bears will be able to exploit them in a meaningful way.

—–

STEELERS at BENGALS

D.T.: Sadly, the Steelers have placed Defensive Lineman and locker room-leader Brett Kiesel on injured reserved, after the big man suffered a torn tricep. That leaves the Steelers defense hurting, alongside my chances of seeing Troy Polamalu use his beard as a staging point for a surprise attack.

 

 

"Surprise, motherfuckers!"

“Surprise, motherfuckers!”

Even with the absences of Kiesel, Harrison, Jones and others, they’re still looking better than the unpredictable Bengals team that barely held their own against the Buccaneers last week.

STEELERS

BMK: What in the hell happened to the Bengals? Sadly, the Ginger of Doom is going to fuck this one up good, again.

STEELERS

So I was going for the obvious Dexter Doakes reference, but I found this instead, which is way funnier.

So I was going for the obvious Dexter Doakes reference, but I found this instead, which is way funnier.

—–

RAMS at REDSKINS

D.T.: It’s kind of starting to look like the Rams might catch up the 49ers. They’ve got a forgiving schedule in this home stretch, and it starts off with the Redskins. True, Colt McCoy threw for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns against the Colts, but Indy’s never been known for having a truly exceptional defense (Vontae Davis notwithstanding). The Rams are garnering a reputation for just that. I’m going to give it to the Rams this week. Mostly because fuck Gruden and Snyder.

RAMS

BMK: This game is one of the more interesting ones this week. There’s a couple of angles here.  1)Will RGIII start? 2) How will Gruden’s obvious contempt for RGII play out the rest of the year, and 3) Can the Rams make some noise in the final stretch of the season? I think they will.

RAMS

—–

GIANTS at TITANS

D.T.: The Giants will win, and Odell Beckham, Jr. will score nine touchdowns for my fantasy team. Fuck you, a man can dream.

GIANTS

BMK: Without a decent QB, Whisenhunt looks like the Ewok hating poor coach people said he was in AZ.

GIANTS

—–

PANTHERS at SAINTS

D.T.: Cam Newton is officially a problem. Krol and I like to spout off commentary to one another on Sundays, and one observation I had that I particularly liked (out of hundreds, of course) is that Cam Newton is quietly pulling an RGIII this season. He had himself a nice year last year, and after the first instance of injury, he’s completely lost his confidence and seemingly his will to play and command a game. It’s hard to argue against the idea that the Panthers’ season has fully hinged on his decision to contribute or not. The guy’s got a lot of weapons at his disposal and has forgotten how to put a play together.

The Saints, on the other hand, are slowly starting to remember how to win.

SAINTS

BMK: The Saints should have remembered how to win when they played the 49ers.

Anyway, to extend off DT’s point, I think we’re seeing the end of the whole “Mobile QB’s NOW AND FOREVER!” stage of the NFL’s development. And before any of you jokers out there start pointing out Russell Wilson, let me ask you a question: would Russell Wilson still be Russell Wilson if he had Dallas’s secondary?

—–

JETS at VIKINGS

D.T.: This game can fuck off. But, because I’m contractually obligated to make football picks, or lose my endorsements…

 

Actually... shit. Why don't I have any endorsements?

Actually… shit. Why don’t I have any endorsements?

 

…VIKINGS. I guess.

BMK: I’ll always endorse you man.

JETS

—–

RAVENS at DOLPHINS

D.T.: An interesting game, if for no other reason than the chase for the wild card in the playoffs. The Dolphins’ sloppy victory over the Jets put them back in the running, while the Ravens’ narrow loss to the Chargers held them back. Looking at these two teams on paper, I’d say the ‘Fins will take it, but who’s to say how Justin Forsett will handle himself against the 6th-ranked Miami defense? Or if Flacco decides to have himself a day and toss another hat-trick into the endzone?

DOLPHINS

BMK: I’m only two picks away from you and I’ve been picking against the Cardinals all year. So I’m taking the Ravens…AND VICTORY!

Mostly just the Ravens.  But speaking of Victory, it’s a great movie. Everyone should see it. It’s worth the price of an XBOX rental just to see the Pele bicycle kick repeated three times while Max Von Sydow looks on dreamily, probably picturing his massive residual checks from Flash Gordon.

RAVENS

—–

COLTS at BROWNS

D.T.: Looks like we may finally have that inevitable Quarterback controversy in Cleveland. After throwing his second of two interceptions into the hands of the Bills, Mike Pettine benched Brian Hoyer in favor of Johnny Manziel, who lead the team’s offensive unit 80 yards to Manizel’s first touchdown as an NFL quarterback. It wasn’t enough to save the team from a defeat, but it was enough for Pettine to take the first half of this week to decide on who to start against the Colts.

Uncertainty and doubt in your team’s on-field leadership is not a great way to wind down a season. They may as well gift-wrap this game as an early present for Christmas.

 

...or Hanukkah? The beard throws things off a bit.

…or Hanukkah? The beard throws things off a bit.

 

COLTS

BMK: Manziel was going to play sometime this year.  It was only a question of when.  I hope it’s sooner rather than later because I want to see this massive douche go down in vinegar scented flames. Seriously, this kid is worse than getting syphilis from an ape at the zoo.  Because, in that scenario, you’ll have an ape buddy. And apes are cool.

Of course, you’ll still have syphilis, but hey – it’s better than having Johnny Summer’s Eve as your starting QB.

COLTS

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BUCCANEERS at LIONS

D.T.: The Lions finally got their shit together last week and pummeled the Bears. If they can hold it down, this’ll be a nice boost for them in the narrow NFC North race.

LIONS

BMK: This should be an easy win for the Lions. Which is why I’m nervous.  Not nervous enough to pick Buccaneers, but I’ll be scared all of Sunday.  And not just because I’m planning an A Nightmare on Elm St. movie marathon at my sleep over tonight, either.

LIONS

—–

TEXANS at JAGUARS

D.T.: I think it’s time for our weekly KrolFact™.

 

TEXANS

BMK: Currahee Mountain is a mountain located in Stephens County, Georgia near Toccoa. The name appears to be derived from the Cherokee word ᏊᏩᎯ (quu-wa-hi) meaning “stand alone.” Technically a part of the Georgia Piedmont or “foothill” province, Currahee Mountain rises abruptly about 800 vertical feet (240 m) above the local topography and is the highest peak in Stephens County. Part of the mountain is in the Chattahoochee National Forest. On clear days, the peak’s 1,735-foot (529 m) summit is visible for many miles and is a prominent landmark to the southeast of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountain crest.

The mountain was made famous internationally by Tom Hanks’ and Steven Spielberg’s television miniseries Band of Brothers, in which it was featured as a training site of the American Paratroopers at Camp Toccoa, Georgia where they ran up and down Currahee. The name of the mountain became the motto for these paratroopers including the famous quote: “3 Miles up, 3 Miles down”. The nickname of the 506th Infantry Regiment, of which Easy Company was a part of, is “Currahee”.
TEXANS
—–

BILLS at BRONCOS

D.T.: You got another one for us, Krol?

BRONCOS

BMK: No.

BRONCOS

—–

CHIEFS at CARDINALS

D.T.: What started off as a promising, almost meteoric rise of a season for the Cardinals has leveled off, and ever-mounting injuries now threaten what looked like a clear path to the playoffs. Safety Tyrann Mathieu, Offensive Tackle Jared Veldheer and Running Back Andre Ellington are the latest victims, each taking a huge chunk of their respective unit’s effectiveness with them.

There was real opportunity to bounce back against the weak Falcons defense, and the Cardinals offensive unit failed to meet the challenge. Quarterback Drew Stanton looks wholly under-confident, and the possibility of losing Jared Veldheer for a week or more leaves him exposed and likely running for his life against the Chiefs defense. With the Arizona defense currently under-performing, the doors open wide for Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles to have themselves a nice day in the perfect Arizona weather.

CHIEFS
BMK: Perfect weather my ass.  It’s still too hot in that God forsaken state.

Anyway, I’m going with the Cardinals on this one.  I got a gut feeling they’ll have a decent game again.  Especially since Fitzgerald is playing.

CARDINALS
—–

SEAHAWKS at EAGLES

 

THUD GOTW

 

D.T.: Okay, now it’s fair to say the Seahawks are enjoying a return to Championship form — at least on defense. I wasn’t wholly impressed with their sloppy win against Arizona (bias notwithstanding), but that secondary’s performance against San Francisco on Turkey Day was energized.

 

"Mmm, roasted Kaepernick. Just like mom used to make."

“Mmm, roasted Kaepernick. Just like mom used to make.”

Holding the Niners to a single touchdown, and causing a Thanksgiving-serving of turnovers lead the Seattle squad to a 19-3 victory. We’ll see how this revitalized defense holds up against the renaissance the Eagles offense celebrated last week as Mark Sanchez and LeSean McCoy lead their team to a shocking 33-10 victory over the Cowboys. Sanchez looks to be in control — perhaps overly so, as we saw him yelling at his receivers in Manning-like fashion, and even popping Riley Cooper with the ball after twice failing to run the correct route.

 

"If he screws up again, I'll shove the ball up his ass. Wait, hold on..."

“If he screws up again, I’ll shove the ball up his ass. Wait, hold on…”

 

 

Taking all things into consideration, the Eagles of week 14 are decidedly not the Niners of week 13. As much traction as their defense may be gaining, the Seahawks will find a whole new challenge in a Philly offense that’s rediscovered their confidence. Just to make things interesting, I give it to the Eagles.

EAGLES
BMK: DT makes some good points, but we’ve seen what Seattle’s secondary can do to really good QBs, and while I like the Sanchise, he’s no Peyton Manning.  Hell, he’s no Peyton Reed*. So I’m expecting a large type Seattle victory here.

SEAHAWKS

*I don’t get it either.
—–

NINERS at RAIDERS

D.T.: God damn, Saint Louis. You snatched up the little bit of dignity the Raiders had secured for themselves, and ate it slowly, salivating and moaning as they watched on in tears. I love you for that. Will the Niners be able to do the same? After the last couple of weeks they’ve had, I don’t know. I do think they’ll win, however, but by a margin much more respectable for the Raiders.

NINERS

BMK: Ugh. This game.  I was thinking about attending it in person but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, and Raiders tickets – normally hovering in the 35 dollar a head range – jumped up about a 100 bucks at the minimum.  So I guess I’ll need to find a way to expose myself to sub-moronic, thickheaded numbskulls beating each other up in a completely disgusting venue.

Maybe I’ll have lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.

NINERS

—–

PATRIOTS at CHARGERS

D.T.: And so ends the Chargers season. They managed to surprise us with a one-point win against the Ravens, but their last four games (Patriots, Broncos, Niners, Chiefs) will see to it that they don’t catch up to their divisional rivals. It’s the Chiefs and Broncos who will take the AFC West, and the Patriots will have an easier time against Filipe Rios and his band of cohorts than they did in Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood last week.

 

"I object! On the grounds of fuck you!"

“I object! On the grounds of fuck you!”

PATRIOTS

BMK: I don’t think the Chargers season ends here. Their last four games are tough, true, but I think the Chargers can beat both the Niners and the Chiefs.  What’s more – they HAVE to.

They won’t beat the Patriots here though.

PATRIOTS

—–

FALCONS at PACKERS

D.T.: The week wraps up with another dud waiting to happen. I mean, really. This game is like a reward for the Packers for beating the Patriots last week. Eddie Lacy is going to truck through injured Desmond Trufant, then pick him up and eat him as a snack on the way to the end zone. And still be hungry. Aaron Rodgers is going to play with his helmet on backwards. Jordy Nelson is going to staple pictures of himself having sex with the Falcons’ Cornerbacks to the back of his jersey, and even that won’t motivate them keep up. I’m exaggerating, but —

 

"No, no, keep going. I especially like the part about sex."

“No, no, keep going. I especially like the part about sex.”

 

— this is a lame match-up to end a terrible week. This isn’t even going to be interesting if you’re a Packers fan. I feel bad for the guy in my fantasy league who has to play the Packers homer who drafted Rodgers and Nelson. That dude’s going to lose in the first round of the playoffs. This game is just going to fuck everyone’s week up.

PACKERS

BMK: Let’s see, the Falcons are iffy on the road, iffy in the cold, and iffy on defense.  Yeah, they’re beating the eventual Superbowl Champions…

PACKERS

—–

D.T.: Let’s wrap up the week with a tribute to the winning-est teams from Week 13!

Cheerleader 3 Cheerleader 2 Cheerleader 1

Even she gets distracted by how heavenly she is...

Still better than any cheerleader I’ve seen.

BMK: Thanks again for reading us folks. Next week it’ll be better…I promise.

Current Recap

This post was written/compiled while listening to The Return of the King soundtrack and a little voice inside my head saying don’t look back, you can never look back.

Written by B. Michael Krol

December 6, 2014 at 5:52 pm