Author Archives: Red from Texas

About Red from Texas

I'm proud to be Red. I have lived most of my life in Texas and I love this place. Here are a few things you should know about me. 1. I am happily married and intend to stay so. 2. I live in a house that is older than you, unless you are really old. 3. I own 2 rifles and a shotgun. I think handguns are just trouble. 4. I have never killed a man, but have taken out some deer and hogs. 5. I was a good student, but never close to being valedictorian. 6. In no particular order I like the Houston Texans, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Astros, FC Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, Texas Longhorns and Houston Dynamo. 7. I hate Dallas but always have a good time when I go there. 8. I was a Dallas Cowboys fan for 26 years but declared that I was no longer a fan during the 1987 strike. 9. I don't own any pets. I like cats, and a good dog and I have met at least 3 of them in my lifetime. 10. I think the best part of Texas is west of I-35. 11. I own two pairs of cowboy boots, but don't wear them very often. 12. I don't have a pronounced Texas accent, but can affect one when needed. 13. My last meal would be fried shrimp with tartar sauce, a baked potato with all the fixins', a dinner salad with 1000 Island dressing, yeast rolls and chocolate fudge pie for dessert. 14. I'm an old Dad, but my children are none of your business. 15. I have two degrees from UT-Austin and somehow managed to fall in love with and marry an Aggie. 16. Most of my family are right-wing nut jobs but I love them anyway. 17. When I get to play golf on a regular basis, I shoot in the low 80's. 18. I don't get to play golf on a regular basis. 19. I think Fort Worth is the best town in Texas by a long shot. 20. I have a mean herb garden. Regards, Red P.S. Remember it's not a color, it's a state of mind.

Red’s 2021 NFL Predictions – NFC North

NFC North

Red hates this division.  Red got chased through the bus station in Detroit by an angry man after a nice young lady changed her seat because he was being so nasty to her.  Red got food poisoning in Chicago.  Minneapolis was never the same after Lou Grant decamped for LA and while he has never been to Green Bay he wonders why he would ever go other than to see a Packers game.

And because Red hates this division so much he may just find something to talk about this year other than the actual football teams. 

Green Bay (13-4).  Red still sympathizes with the good citizens of Milwaukee who haven’t seen a home game played in their fair city since 1994.  For decades the Packers played 3 home games in Milwaukee. And believe it or not, the Packers actually won an NFL Championship at State Fair Park in Milwaukee in 1939 crushing the New York Giants 27-0.  They also won a playoff game beating the Rams 28-7 at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1967 on their way to the first ever Superb Owl win (not called that at the time).  Alas, on December 18, 1994, the Packers dispatched the Falcons 21-17 and left Milwaukee forever – or at least until now.  The Packers did do the Milwaukee fans a solid offering them the “Gold” season ticket package (2nd and 5th home games and one preseason game).  The home town Packer fans got the “Green” package (the remaining 6 home games and a preseason test).    As for actual football, Red believes that Aaron Rodgers will go out in a blaze of glory in his final season before he takes over for a couple of years in San Francisco.  Either that or they ride him out of town on a rail. 

Chicago (10-7)  Perhaps it just seems like the Bears have been playing at Soldier Field forever.  In truth, the Bears played at Wrigley Field for 50 years winning 8 NFL Championships while there.  The Bears did not move to Soldier Field until 1971.  So as of this season, the Bears will have played at Soldier Field for as long as at “The Friendly Confines.”  Soldier Field has not been as kind as the Bears have only one Superb Owl win and but two appearances since the shift.  Not much changes this year with the Red Rifle at the helm.  Still a very good defense might just have them in the playoffs as the last wild card.  Or maybe not. 

Minnesota (10-7)  The Vikings played their last game at Metropolitan Stadium on December 20, 1981 against the Chiefs.  Surprise it was snowing.  After that it fell into disrepair and was torn down to build the Mall of America.  As with the Bears, the Vikings only era of glory (sort of) was winning 4 NFC crowns while putting up four of the most pathetic Superb Owl performances ever in the 1970s.  This year Red is decidedly unexcited about the prospects of the Vikings, but they just might sneak in as the last wild card if the Bears don’t.

Detroit  (2-15)  The last game the Lions played in Tiger Stadium was a 31-27 loss to the Broncos on Thanksgiving Day in 1974.  It was also the game that ended 1969 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens’ career when his cleats got caught in the turf right as he got blindsided.  The Lions have never been the same since leaving Tiger Stadium.  The only glory years in Lions’ history were in that era with NFL Championship in 1952, 1953 and 1957.  But this year, the Lions will be serious contenders along with the Texans, Eagles and Jets for the 1st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.  Sis Boom Bah. 

Red’s 2021 NFL Predictions – NFC East

Talk about blowing it.  For most of the season, it looked like the NFC East had a real shot at being the worst division ever in all of NFL history.  That distinction still belongs to the 2008 NFC West with a combined record of 22-42).  Sadly, the NFC East finished with a combined record of 23-40-1 missing out on their chance in the record books.  Still for a good while it looked like Red’s decades long dream (since the 2002 realignment if you’re keeping track) of a 6-10 team making the playoffs was going to finally come true. But after Week 16, that dream died as either Washington or Philadelphia had to win the Week 17 matchup (Red discounts the possibility of tie here but a 6-9-1 team making the playoffs would have been almost as good). It was really the Eagles improbable 24-21 win over the Saints in Week 14 that probably sunk the deal.  The Cowboys did their part losing to the mediocre Giants in Week 17 to finish 6-10 in a tie with said Giants for the runner-up spot.  Alas, hope springs eternal.  With the new 17 game schedule, Red now hopes for a 6-11 team to make the playoffs and still submits that it is statistically possible (although highly improbable) for a 5-12 team to sneak in. 

Dallas Cowboys (7-10)  Following the long-overdue departure of Jason Garret, new head coach Mike McCarthy had a rough introduction to start his tenure as the latest pawn in the Jerry Jones Game of Coaching Thrones. That he wasn’t fired mid-season was something of a surprise, but when the ship is sinking that quickly, maybe the Captain has other problems to deal with.  Mike Mac is capable and certainly smart enough to know that everything he does will be second-guessed and that his input on decisions will be minimal. Everyone laughed at JJ signing Amari Cooper to a $100,000,000 5-year deal, but AC lived up to his end of the bargain with 92 catches, 1114 yards and 5 TDs for the season.  All that while the Red Rifle was in charge for most of 11 games.   The Cowboys were all but left for dead at 3-9 after 13 weeks, but a remarkable 3 game win stretch against some bad teams left them with some hope, but as noted above the Giants squashed those hopes in Week 17.  With the return of Dak Prescott as even a mid-level presence under center, the Cowboys should be better.  A lot falls on the steady shoulders of Zeke Elliott. But he is entering that crucial 6th season where an NFL RB either shows that he is an unstoppable force (ala Emmitt Smith, Adrian Peterson, Walter Payton or LT) or enters that slow or fast decline due to overwork (ala Earl Campbell and too many others to name).  Who knows?  In any event, the Week 1 Thursday night matchup with the reigning Champs shall give us an early clue – are the Boys contenders or pretenders?   As for the images on this page, there is a common theme.

Washington Football Team (fka OTNAs) (7-10).  Maya make a prediction for Ute to consider.  The FTs will still be Yuki, but won’t Sauk as much as last year  There’s nothing to Crow about, but Yamasee some improvement with venerable Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. Unfortunately, a winning record is too much to Hopi for. He’s not a Mobile QB and easy to Sac.  If you think the FTs will win a playoff game, Red warns you to stop taking the drugs Huron.  But if you want to make that bet, Shoshone the money and get ready to Paiute.  That’s not to say it’s a lost Coos.  What can you say about the teams in this division other than TesuqueCanarsee the FTs making the playoffs if there is three-way tie in this division?   Red has to Callum like he sees ‘em.  Eno of this. Red has Spokan.   Miwok here is done.   (Red apologizes in advance but this was his last chance to make fun of a team that used an Offensive Term for Native Americans as its mascot for almost 90 years).

New York Giants (7-10)   Are you sensing a trend here? There are some things to like about the Giants. It’s easy to forget that as a rookie, Saquon Barkley covered 2028 total yards from the line of scrimmage. Scrimmage – that’s a funny word. Every hear of someone scrimming? But Red digresses. But instead, Red will throw in a little quiz here. Who are the two modern era (we’ll call that since 1950) Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks to have never started and won a playoff game? See above for hints.  

Philadelphia Eagles (5-12) Red has finally figured out what is wrong with the Eagles.  They suck.  The only real question may be will they suck more or less than the Texans.  Red thinks just a bit less.  Some prognosticators are giving the Eagles a chance to win this flaming bag of dog doo of a division left on Pete Rozelle’s front porch. Red used to smoke the stuff these guys are huffing but quit when the Oilers lost to the Bills in 1993 playoffs. As for the quiz – Yeah, he played for the Eagles too.

Red’s 2021 NFL Predictions – NFC South

Red was shocked, frankly shocked, when this division produced its first NFL Champion since the Saints back in 2007.  Don’t expect a repeat. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5).  The Bucs had a decent season at 11-5 and then had all the cards fall into place to be the first team to both play in and win a Superb Owl in their home stadium.  In the regular season, it’s hard to pick out more than one quality win (Note: Red defines a quality win as one over a playoff team or a team with at least 9-10 wins depending on the schedule).   In the regular season, the Bucs beat exactly one team with a winning record – with a rousing 38-10 home win over the Packers in Week 6.  The only other teams with winning records (Saints, Chiefs and Rams) dispatched them.  A weak season ending schedule, however, had the Bucs coasting into the playoffs as a wild card.  There they drew the easiest possible Wild Card game against the winner (Washington FT) of the pathetic excuse for a professional football division that was the NFC East.  It got harder from there.  The Saints lost by coughing up the ball 4 times including an uncharacteristic for INTs for Drew Brees.  Green Bay had plenty of opportunity to beat the Bucs but made a mess of their last series allowing TB to run out the clock.  And Red need not say anything about the Superb Owl.  Ugh.  The Bucs have a greased skid to the playoffs again in 2021 with the 4th easiest schedule on the pre-season books.  The toughest games are likely to be against the Colts, Rams, Bills and Saints.  Other than that they get to play the weak sisters in the NFC East and the rather shallow AFC East.  Plus they return every starter on the Championship team.  Don’t expect the Bucs to beat a single decent team in the regular season. But you know what – it won’t matter.  Crawl don’t run to put your money down on the Bucs to win this division.  

New Orleans Saints (11-6). The Saints were probably the best team in the NFL last season but couldn’t get past division rival Tampa Bay in a rather pathetic showing in the playoffs.  The big question following Drew Brees’ retirement is of course the situation at quarterback.  Do they go with the error-prone but potentially explosive Jameis Winston or the multi-talented Tayson Hill.  Red says go with both.  Under guidance Winston plays good like a quarterback should and Hill can provide the spark when needed.  And they can use multiple formations with both players in the game.  Alvin Kamara likely has another outstanding season in his pocket.  Put him down for at least 1700 total yards in a 17-game season.  The other big question concerns the status of all-world wideout Michael Thomas.  Marquez Callaway may be able to fill that gaping void for a few weeks, but if Thomas’ injury lingers the Saints could be in serious trouble.  Like the Bucs, the Saints have a favorable schedule and with “all of us” could well snatch the division crown from Tampa Bay with a season sweep. 

Atlanta Falcons (6-11).  It’s unlikely the Falcons start off 0-5  or close the season 0-5 as they did in 2020 putting a premature end to any hopes for the playoffs and Dan Quinn’s head coaching career.  There was a middling stretch (4-2 record from Weeks 6 to 12)  where the Falcons were a simulacrum of a professional football team.  You just kind of knew that it wasn’t going to be the Falcons year after the Cowboys game in Week 2.  The Falcons had a 39-24 lead with less than 9 minutes left.  The Cowboys cut that to 39-30 – foolishly going for 2 after an impressive TD drive.  With less than two minutes left and no timeouts the Cowboys successfully convert what should have been an easily handled on-side kick. Maybe they just needed a big red arrow to show them where the ball was. Anyhow, the Cowboys recover and win the game on a Greg Zuerlein field goal as time runs out.  It was pretty much all downhill from there for the Falcons. This year Arthur Smith has decamped from Tennessee where his excellent work in turning Ryan Tannehill into a respectable NFL quarterback earned him a spot as the Falcons head coach.  Unfortunately, AS has an over-the-hill and never quite up to snuff QB in Matt Ryan, what could be the worst running game in the NFC – if not the NFL and a defense that  gave up more than 30 points 6 times last year.  That said Calvin Ridley is a Top 5 wideout, the addition of Kyle Pitts at TE will help and Matt Ryan is at still serviceable.  The Falcons will score enough points to win some games against the lesser competition and as noted above – there is plenty of that for the NFC South teams this season. 

Carolina Panthers (2-15).  Repeat after Red.  Darn Old Sam, Darn Old Sam, Darn Old Sam.  Darn Old Sam.  Not even the perhaps premier running back in the league (C. McCaffery) can help this train wreck.  The Panthers definitely have a shot at being the worst team in the NFL if the Texans get lucky. And believe him, if Red could find another spot to sneak this picture in he definitely would.

Red’s 2021 NFL Predictions – AFC West

If you bet the over on the win total on the Chiefs (11.5) and Raiders (7.5) last season you won.  If you bet the under on the Broncos (7) and the Chargers (7.5) you won again!  This season the bookies have high expectations for this division with these win total O/U’s:  Chiefs (12.5), Chargers (9.5), Broncos (8.5) and Raiders (7).  Red doesn’t get the higher rating on the Broncos and the discount on the Raiders.  So in the only pre-season betting advice Red is likely to give take the Over for the Raiders and the Under for the Broncos.  Of course, factoring in a 17 game season on such matters is a bit difficult.  Full disclosure:  Red is an amateur prognosticator and does not bet on sporting events.

Kansas City Chiefs  (13-4).  Humiliating, emasculating, devastating, ass-whomping, embarrassing and debilitating all apply to describe the pathetic show the Chiefs put on in the Superb Owl.  Red really did not believe that Andy Reid was so unable to adapt to the Bucs defensive scheme of rushing 5-6 guys on every play and leaving the short middle of the field wide open.  Pat Mahomes was forced make a miracle throw for the Chiefs only touchdown that no other NFL QB can probably make. See above. If the Chiefs had put this kind of pressure on Brady, he would have been carried off the field in a basket. But don’t expect the Chiefs to do the Falcons Fold and stink in 2021.  Immediate attention was given to rebuilding a credible offensive line with the additions of former Patriots guard Joe Thuney, trading for Orlando Brown, Jr. and bringing Kyle Long out of retirement as a likely super-backup.  Mahomes is the scariest QB in the league when he is not running for his life.  And no one has more talent around him.  If the defense improves even marginally, the Chiefs will be in every game and wining most of them. 

Why the Chargers Left Los Angeles - Tales from the AFL

Los Angeles Chargers (10-7).  Some forget that the Chargers started life in the Los Angeles Coliseum, but decamped to San Diego after failing to draw anywhere close to a respectable home crowd. See above. The more things change . . . Last season wasn’t one to get the Chargers’ fans’ butts back in the seats of even a multi-billion dollar stadium. The Chargers had to really struggle to pull defeat from the jaws of victory multiple times last season. After a “rousing” road win against the Bengals, the Chargers went on to drop 9 of their next 11 games with two overtime losses to the playoff bound Chiefs and Saints and 5 other one score losses thrown in.  The nadir of the season was a 45-0 pasting by the Patriots in front of the “home crowd” in LA.  But after that, the Chargers closed with 4 wins (impressive even with discounting the final game win against the Chiefs second string).  NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert was the best looking rookie QB since Dak Prescott in 2016 – even if the results weren’t there.   The Chargers come out of the box hot this season with wins over the Football Team and the Cowboys.  Then comes a tough stretch with the Chiefs, Raiders Browns and Ravens.  Expect 2-2 from that run at best.  After that the rack up a 5-1 record against some of the weak sisters before coming back to earth against the surging Chiefs.  The Texans provide a palate cleanser and if they split with the Broncos and Raiders in Weeks 17 and 18 – they just might have a shot at a wild card spot. 

Las Vegas Raiders  (9-8).  The Raiders have not won a playoff game since the 2002 season when they beat the Titans in the AFC Championship game in what will be the last playoff game ever played at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum before losing to the Buccaneers in one of the weirdest Superb Owls ever.  See above. That almost two-decade drought probably doesn’t end this season. That’s not saying the Raiders did not do their best to plug some holes.  The defense should be better with DC Gus Bradley taking over and getting some help from free agent picks like Yannick Ngakoue, Quinton Jefferson and Casey Howard, Jr. On offense despite much moaning and groaning there is absolutely nothing wrong with having David Carr as your quarterback if you put enough talent around him. In that regard, top target and putative TE Darren Waller (Red has never seen a TE more averse to actually hitting someone than Waller) is back and the hope is that second-year WR Henry Ruggs, III steps up with his seeming big-play potential.  Running back by committee may be a problem as no true No. 1 back appears to be in the stable.  

Denver Broncos (6-11).  Some prognosticators are picking the Broncos to finish second and earn a Wild Card slot. Red disagrees. Red likes Teddy Bridgewater – always has.  He was a steal for a sixth round draft pick even if he doesn’t win the starting job. But how long can a guy bounce around, moving from system to system and keep fighting for a starting job?  Apparently a long time in this league.  Unfortunately, the Broncos will not be a very competitive squad this season.    

Red’s 2021 NFL Predictions – AFC North

Red always struggles a bit to remember exactly who is in this division.  As a young boy, the Baltimore Colts were in the NFL West conference and for years Red thought Baltimore was somewhere between LA and San Francisco.  And to continue on the Baltimore theme, the first time Red actually drove through Baltimore in the 70’s he was convinced it was the worst looking place he had ever seen in his life – and Red had been to Nuevo Laredo.  

Cleveland Browns (12-5).  The Browns had their best season in this millennium last year.  Yet, an 11-5 record was only good enough for a third place finish in this the Light Heavyweight Division of the NFL.  Otto Graham sneers at the thought of making the playoffs with a third-place finish.  See above.     This once proud franchise who was the NFL Champion in the year of Red’s birth (Red will leave you to guess) has been a laughing stock for too long.  Knocking off the Stealers in the Wild Card round was nice and there wasn’t much shame in losing to the defending champion Chiefs the next week.  Adding a real TE in Austin Hooper will add to the arsenal at the disposal of B. Mayfield who makes a legitimate bid for league MVP – depending on the breaks and a timely snowmageddon.    Their reward for a good season – getting to face the Chiefs at Arrowhead in the featured late game on opening Sunday.  After that it gets easier for a few games.  The make or break point of the season comes in Weeks 12-14 with the anomaly of playing the Ravens – followed by the off week  – followed by the Ravens.  If the Browns split with the Ravens, they still face a tough closing stretch with the Raiders, Packers and Stealers.  If the division is still up for grabs in Week 18 , the Browns have the luxury of facing the likely to be hapless Bengals.   

Baltimore Ravens (11-6)  “No football matter in Baltimore is more urgent than the state of the Ravens’ offensive line” according to Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun.  Hopefully, the unit that takes the field in Las Vegas on the first Monday of the season will include several starters that are currently sidelined because of injuries.  Bozeman, Zeitler and Stanley better be ready or else Lamar Jackson’s obsession with winning  the Superb Owl (and Jazz Hands! – see above) will be as much of a pipe dream as his ranking last season as the No. 1 talent in the league.  Note to LJ:  You are now rated No. 24 – the biggest drop of any player.  And lest ye forget, the Ravens are the biggest post-season floppers of the past two seasons.  The mighty 12 points they put up against the Titans in the Divisional Round against the Titans in 2019 was only exceeded in infamy by the incredible 3 points they managed to score against the Bills in the Divisional Round after wrecking revenge on the Titans in the Wildcard game. In 2019 regular season the Ravens only scored less than 23 points once (a 20-17 win against the Niners).  2020 was much more up and down with 3 games scoring 20 or fewer points and 8 games with more than 30 points on the board.  Who know which Ravens team shows up this year.  Red sure doesn’t.  The targets are in place for LJ with Watkins, Brown and Andrews, but the running game is sketchy.  The defense was similarly inconsistent last season.  The Ravens are good enough to make the playoffs as a wild card entry, but beyond that . . .    

Pittsburgh Stealers (10-7).  One discounts the Stealers at one’s peril.  Red has made that mistake more than once.  But it really seems the window behind the Steel Curtain is closing on the Big Ben era who will be moving on to star in the remake of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams [JB1] (get out of the way Dan Haggerty).  And in his own version of 5 Bold Predictions Red offers up this:

  1. Ben Roethlisberger is old
  2. Hines Ward is retired.
  3. Dwayne Haskins sucks.
  4. Mike Tomlin gets the boot.
  5. The Steelers miss the playoffs.
Allens Boots - Austin, TX

Cincinnati Bengals (6-11).  Red has no ill will towards the hapless NFL franchise in southern Ohio.  The Bengals really don’t need any help in that department.  They remain in a dogfight with the Lions for the current longest playoff win drought having last had the sweet taste of playoff victory in 1991 (The Lions won a playoff game in 1992).  That’s 30 years for the math challenged out there.  Red actually does have some shoes that are older than that – a pair of cowboy boots that he purchased at Allens Boots in Austin in 1989. They have been resoled at least twice but Red thinks that those well-crafted canoes just might outlive the Bengals playoff win drought.  He will leave them in his last will and testament to Red, Jr. just in case.  To understand exactly how pathetic this 30 year streak is – all you have to do is accept the unbelievable fact that the Jaguars won a playoff game in 2018. 


 [JB1]

Red’s 2021 NFL Predictions – AFC East

For nigh onto two decades, Red professed that it was spineless and cowardly to continue to pick the Patriots to win this division – and then did just that.  Since the 2002 realignment, the Pats have failed to win this division all of 3 times.  First in 2002, again in 2008 and then last season when the Bills took charge.  Throw in a bunch of NFL Championships and you have the story line for 20 years.  Conversely to real life, the more things change in the NFL the more they don’t stay the same.  Change is afoot.  It is now spineless and cowardly to pick some team other than the Patriots to win this division.

Bills Stadium lease negotiations will cost Erie County ...

Buffalo Bills (13-4).  The latest rumors have the Bills considering a move to Austin, Texas in the event that the Greater Buffalo area does not cave in and pony up for a new stadium.  Red for one is very tired of the blackmail routinely pursued by NFL owners.  Say what you will about the Cowboys, but when they sought a home away from the Cotton Bowl in the 70s – they figured out a way to pay for it themselves and Texas Stadium was built.  Of course, Jerry Jones regressed to the norm and now sucks mightily on the taxpayers’ teats in Arlington – a city desperate to find relevance in the hinterlands between Dallas  and Fort Worth.  Red finds the idea of an NFL franchise in Austin almost laughable.  Red for one cannot see UT – Austin, Jerry Jones or professional walrus imitator Cal McNair letting an NFL team encroach upon their hallowed turf.  But enough about politics.  Red sees the Bills as a dominant franchise for at least a few more seasons.  Josh Allen is securely in the building with a new record-setting contract.   As for the schedule, it could be a lot tougher given that the Bills are a division champ.  All of the AFC East has a favorable draw in getting to play the NFC South  with potential walk-overs against Atlanta and Carolina and the AFC South which features two weak sisters in Houston and Jacksonville.   Plus Red thinks the Bills will go 5-1 in division and at least split the games against the other divisions.  That means the Bills have to pick up three wins from among Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Tennessee, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Washington and Tampa Bay.  It’s easy to see that happening and Bills fans celebrating another division title and a first round bye. 

Roster Moves: Dolphins Sign LS Rex Sunahara

Aug 06, 2021 at 11:17 AM

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins today announced that they have signed long snapper Rex Sunahara.

Sunahara joined Miami’s practice squad on Nov. 16, 2020 but was waived on July 23, 2021. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted college free agent with Miami on Aug. 1, 2020. Sunahara was a three-year letterman (2017-19) at West Virginia, where he played in 25 career games.

Roster Moves: Dolphins Waive LS Rex Sunahara

Aug 09, 2021 at 06:02 PM

  • MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins today announced that they have waived long snapper Rex Sunahara

Sunahara spent part of last season with the Dolphins practice squad and had multiple stints on the active roster this offseason. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted college free agent with Miami on Aug. 1, 2020. Sunahara was a three-year letterman (2017-19) at West Virginia, where he played in 25 career games.

Miami Dolphins (9-8)   Full disclosure – Red is a Brian Flores fan.  He has basically taken a rag-tag squad often led by the redoubtable bearded one (aka Ryan Fitzpatrick) and turned them into an almost viable contender. But with Fitz decamped to the nation’s capital to play for the “Football Team”, BF will have to choose between unproven Tua Tagovailoa, Jacoby Brissett and some guy named Reid Sinnett to run the offense. Such dilemmas are why being an NFL head coach is almost worse than managing your average local Little League team.  That and having things like what is shown above  on your webpage.  It gives the average fan such a sense of confidence that the team knows what it is doing.   

DDD38852-watermarked

New England Patriots (8-9)  If anyone thought that Bill Bellichek was going to make a graceful exit stage right, think again. With success comes hubris.  With hubris comes self-delusion. And with self-delusion comes a fall from grace.  If BB needs a lesson in how this works, Red can think of a disgraced former president to observe as he sinks deeper into the throes of denial and mendacity.  In any event, it has been clear for many seasons that the key to the Patriots dynasty was outstanding defense and special teams and a guy named Brady.  Apparently all 3 parts of the equation were needed and last season one had headed for sunny southern climes and the others were not up to par.  Well that and a dismal 2-6 record on the road – the nadir being a shocking loss to a truly pathetic Texans team in Week 11.  Combine that with a 1-3 record in non-conference play against the NFC West (beating only the Cardinals) and you get the Pats first losing season in oh-so-many years.  Sadly for Pats fans about all you can expect is to break even in 2021.  Maybe they switch places with the Dolphins for the runner-up spot and a long shot at the playoffs – but probably not.  See above photo from tryouts for new punter. Red admires the excellent form.    

The Jets May Be Turning Sam Darnold Into Mark Sanchez ...

New Jersey Jets  (5-12).  It is with some trepidation that Red declares – “The Jets cannot be worse than they were last season.” ESPN has ranked the Jets as the No. 2 “most improved team” behind the Jags.  That’s kind of like saying the aesthetic appeal of a turd has improved. With apologies to Mel Brooks, Red asks,  “What could possibly be worse?”  “Could be raining.”  And cue the lightning, thunder and pouring rain.  To be fair, the Jets are trying.  Seeing Darn Old Sam hit the bricks is probably a plus.  But losing at least competent WR Breshad Perriman,  tired old RB Frank Gore, 6 of the top 10 defenders (in terms of snaps played) and some others is a wash at best.  Of course all eyes are upon QB Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 draft.  If he doesn’t get hauled off in a basket or  killed first (ala David Carr –just pick a season any old season or Patrick Mahomes in the Superb Owl), Wilson hopefully will have some time to develop into a respectable NFL QB.  He has at least one target in newly acquired WR Corey Davis.  The Jets are better but no one is going to write home about a 4-12 record. 

Red’s 2021 NFL Predictions – AFC South

Red used to refer to the AFC South as “The Division of Excellence” or something like that because like Rodney Dangerfield it “got no respect” from most of the pundits despite frequently having among the best collective records of any division in the NFL.   Of course, the AFC South has all of one – count it one – NFL Championships coming with the Colts win over the Bears in 2006.  The Colts accounted for the division’s only other AFC Championship but lost to the Saints in the 2009 Superb Owl.

Last season, the division was dominated by two excellent squads with Tennessee and Indianapolis both posting 11-5 records while the Texans (4-12)  and Jaguars (1-15) soiled the bed linens.  Neither the Colts nor the Titans could make it out of the Wild Card round as the Titans lost a tough game against the Ravens while the Colts almost knocked off the Bills. 

Moving on to this season, Red doesn’t see much reason for change at the top or the bottom of this division.

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Tennessee  Titans (11-6).  Red picks the Titans to repeat as division champs.  Admittedly, it is hard to look at the Titans 2021 schedule and not wonder how exactly 10 wins will be forthcoming.   Other than the 4 games against the Texans and Jaguars there appears to be only one soft spot on the schedule in week 4 against the Jets.  But with loyal fans like Jana (originally from Germany but now woefully ensconced somewhere in Florida) who had her car “wrapped in the Tennessee Titans logo” and whose “biggest wish is for the team to autograph my car” – how can this team miss?  With the amount of offensive firepower Coach Mike Vrabel and new OC Todd Downing have at their disposal, this team should easily be among the AFC leaders in points scored if not for the fact that they play in the same conference with the Chiefs, Bills, Ravens and Browns.  Geez guys you got A J Brown, Derrick Henry and Julio Jones.  Even All-Mediocre QB Ryan Tannehill should be able to do something with that bunch. Red also likes the addition of wily veteran Jackrabbit Jenkins to the secondary  and Bud Dupree to linebacking corps.  JRJ earns the wily designation because he has scored 10 career touchdowns ranking first among active defensive players (JJ Watt may beg to differ).  If Dupree is fully recovered from his torn ACL he gives the Titans another legit edge rusher.  

99 DT DeForest Buckner

Indianapolis Colts (9-8).   The most exciting news out of the Colts training camp does not involve who will replace P. Rivers under center, but rather the Throwback Game on November 28  against the NFL Champion Buccaneers.  The big feature of the throwbacks will be the double horseshoes on the back of the helmet.  Red for one can hardly wait to see the ghosts of  Weeb Eubank, Jonny Unitas , Don Ameche and Tom Matte rallying the Colts to an OT win over the hated Buccaneers.  And for Dad, the Colts Cheerleaders (claiming to be the NFL’s first cheer squad) will also be sporting throwbacks.  Sorry no pictures available.  As for the team, who knows?  Sam Ehlinger from Texas could be the starting QB by Week 13 when the Colts come to Houston.  Ehlinger is undefeated at NRG having trounced Rice in 2019 and Missouri in the 2017 Texas Bowl.  The Colts could do worse.  As with the Titans, the Colts don’t have a favorable schedule and one that is possibly harder than the Titans with the matchup against the aforementioned defending champion Bucs.  Other than the weaklings of the AFC South and the Jets, every game looks like a toss-up. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars (6-11).  No team in the league has tried harder to get better with fewer results than the Jags.  Given the current pathetic state of London’s favorite team, it is hard to believe that the Jags were one touchdown away from playing in the Superb Owl in 2017.  Things do change fast in this era.  In the biggest news since Donald Trump professed his undying love for North Korean Dictator Kim Jung Un, new Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer recently declared, “I love Bobby Bowden” while mourning the death of his long-time Florida football rival at age 91.  Oh yeah, and in addition to adding the second most successful college coach of the last 20 years, the Jags have a new QB who is the latest in a long line of “can’t miss” top of the draft class rookies.  Red thinks the book is out on Trevor Lawrence until at least a couple of chapters are written.  Ask Jonny Manziel, Sam Bradshaw, Jamarcus Russell, David Carr, Vince Young, Andre Ware and Joey Harrington about this.  Coming into a sad-sack franchise often plays a role in the transformation from an NFL career back to being a working stiff (albeit a rather wealthy stiff) in civil society – and the sacks don’t get much sadder than they do in Jacksonville. 

Houston Texans (3-13-1).  Hey Bill, how many games do you think the Texans will win this year without your brilliant leadership skills? See photo above for answer.  Well the Texans would be right in claiming that  “Bad luck and trouble -my only friends.”  Perhaps the Texans were born under a bad sign.  Red won’t recount his personal travails with the franchise (like the 1422 days after the franchise opening win against the Cowboys and attending another game in which they eked out a win).  The fallout from the Bill O the Clown era will be with the team for a good while.  If there has been a more incompetent team leader, Red sure can’t summon up the name.  BO the C routinely gave the store away in trades, ran off good players, pissed off the media and the fans, repeatedly showed his incompetence in game management and yet, somehow managed to win four AFC South division titles and two playoff games.  Notably, BO the C only had one season with more than 10 wins in 2017 but then his team got gobsmacked by the Colts in the Wild Card round.   Admittedly, some blame has to be placed on the shoulders of Team President (and leading candidate for starring in a Captain Kangaroo revival) Cal McNair whose only qualification for the job is being winner of the lucky sperm club.  Oh enough whining Red.  Last year it took Red about 2 seconds to take the Texans up on their generous offer to defer purchasing season tickets.  This year it took Red at least 5 minutes to pull the plug on his 20 year run as season-ticket holder.  All that said, Red thinks the Texans will surprise a few teams.  Make  that embarrass.   Oh, and Red hears there is some news about DeShaun Watson.  Do tell.