The NFC South has a chance at being the premier division in the NFL in 2019. The Saints, Panthers and Falcons all could make the playoffs and the Buccaneers are not totally shabby – although still pretty shabby. It’s likely that only two are playing in January. New Orleans Saints – Red has given the Saints short shrift for years thinking that tired old Drew Brees would actually become tired and old. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t happened yet. They tell Red, that there is nothing like attending a Saints game in person and Red believes it after having just been in New Orleans on a Sunday afternoon game day and seeing a plethora of gold lame miniskirts together with Saints jersey, caps, hoodies, sweats, dinner jackets and every other possible combination of black and gold being proudly worn by all. It just kind of makes a body want to root for the Saints because there will be so much happiness (and excessive drinking – not that there won’t be excessive drinking in N’Awlins anyway). So despite departures Mark Ingram, Ben Watson, Alex Okafor et al, with Brees, Kamar, Thomas and others will be trying hard to erase the sting of getting screwed in the NFL Championship game when Rams’ cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman pretty much tackled Saints receiver TommyLee Lewis on what could have been the game winning play. And to the dread of many (but not Red) that one play brought about a rules change for 2019. Rule 6c states: “For one year only, expands the reviewable plays in Instant Replay to include pass interference, called or not called on the field.” Somewhere Mike Renfro is smiling. The Saints will be not happy with anything short of a Superb Owl appearance. New Orleans wins division at 11-5.
Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons have been slip sliding away (with apologies to P. Simon) since blowing a 28-3 lead in SB LI missing the playoffs altogether after a wretched 2018 campaign. Fortunately for the F Troop, all of their tough non-division games are at home (Rams, Eagles and Seahawks) and feature two triple inverse time zone hexes. They do play two non-division 2018 playoff teams on the road (Colts and Texans) but come on (see Red’s AFC South Picks later). There is enough talent on the offensive side to put up points with Matty Ice, Julio and Davonte and others. And with Dan Quinn taking over as DC, expect the Falcons defense to step it up as well. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they have to play in the same division as the Saints. Atlanta 9-7 and a possible wild card spot. Carolina Panthers– After another disappointing 7-9 season (after a 6-2 start oops), HC Ron Rivera will be coaching like a man on a hot seat having taken a big shit and realizing that there is no toilet paper. In other words, he will pull out all stops to post a winning record in 2019. A word of advice: don’t delve too deeply into Red’s analogies. RR’s hopes rest on the surgically repaired shoulder of Cam Newton and the dual threat of All Pro Christian McCaffrey. The loss of the Kalil brothers will hurt the O line, but Rookie Greg Little and new center Matt Paradis shore things up. On defense, signing pass rusher Bruce Irvin and drafting some linebackers should help. But not quite enough. Carolina goes 9-7 and misses out on a tiebreaker. Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Red was high on Jameis Winston at one point. Apparently that’s not all Red was high on. With an almost record setting turnover pace at Head Coach (5 in the 10 years since Jon Gruden left), the Bucs have made exactly zero playoff appearances in the last decade. And now un-retired broadcaster and new Head Coach Bruce Arians gets to extend that streak. Enough said. Tampa Bay sucks gas and finishes 6-10.
Ah the NFC East, aka the division of former champions. Red had never thought about it and it wasn’t actually true until the 2017 season, but the NFC East is the only division that features four teams that have won the Superb Owl. Philadelphia Eagles
The only question for the Eagles is whether Carson Wentz can actually stay on the field for an entire season. There will be no all-world backup Nick Foles to fall back on this season. But Red thinks the Eagles have a decent chance of going undefeated in the NFC East and owning all tiebreakers against their division rivals. Look for the Eagles to possibly have the best running game in the NFC with an almost entirely new crew led by Jordan Howard with Miles Sanders and Wendell Smallwood in the wings. Yes, those aren’t big names but they will get a lot of space because of the big play possibilities with CW at the helm. Red also thinks there is a decent chance that Jadeveon Clowney is traded to the Eagles at some point which immediately ups their somewhat no-name defense (quick name Red a defensive starter). Red has Philadelphia going 10-6 and winning this division.
Red begins with his annual bitch about the incredibly favorable TV treatment afforded the Cowboys year after year – despite the now decades long stretch of mediocrity of this franchise (3 playoff wins in the last 21 seasons). This season the Cowboys have only 4 noon starts one of which is the traditional noon start on the last Sunday of the season to avoid intentional playoff maneuvering. They have 6 late afternoon games – none of which are time zone related (Giants, Packers and Rams at home and Jets, Patriots and Eagles on the road). Then there are 3 coveted Sunday night games (Eagles, Vikings, Saints), one Monday nighter (Giants), the obligatory Thursday night appearance (Bears) and the sweet late afternoon spot on Thanksgiving (Bills). Maybe watching all of these Cowboy games will make you as sick of winning as Trump claimed he would – but don’t count on it. In the battle of the big egos between Jerry Jones and Zeke Elliot, Red will take JJ everytime – even if it means sacrificing a season. The once vaunted offensive line is tired and old, but otherwise the Boys are remarkably young. There is really no reason why they shouldn’t be competitive. But the schedule looks brutal albeit with a relatively easy start against the Giants, OTNAs and Dolphins and the Boys could be 3-0 by the end of week 3. Then things get rough with the Saints, Packers, and Eagles (with the Jets thrown in as a palate cleanser). Now they are 4-3. A couple of week breather gets them to a respectable 6-3, but then Patriots, Bills, Bears, Rams and Eagles are next and they are 9-6 at best. Here is the kicker, they have to play the Pats, Bills and Bears in 12 days. Red doesn’t think they survive that stretch and the OTNAs beat them at home in the last week to knock them out of the playoffs. Arlington goes 9-7 and misses the dance.
New Jersey Giants
It has been fruit basket turnover in the Meadowlands. GM Dave Gettlemen ditched OBJ and has brought in a host of free agents and ten count ‘em ten draft picks. Many have concluded that the Giants reached to select Duke QB Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick. Red thinks the Giants will be glad to have a warm body to take the snap once it is proven that Eli Manning is a likely front-runner for the 2019 NFL Deadman of the Year Award. The Giants will cause some trouble with all-world RB Saquon Barkley behind a decent O line. But really this team will go only as far as SB can carry them. New Jersey is a 7-9 team on a good day.
As noted above, the highlight of the OTNA’s season will be knocking the Cowboys out of the playoffs. Look, Red likes Case Keenum – he should still be the Texans backup quarterback, but the idea that he is going to lead the OTNAs to glory just doesn’t fly. And starting rookie QB Dwayne Haskins would be a recipe for disaster with as little support as there is available. Maybe Adrian Peterson has something left in the tank – but Red thinks last season was the last hurrah (and quite a hurrah it was) for AP. The defense will be much improved by the addition of Montez Sweat and Landon Collins. Does Red really need to say anything else. Landover, MD will be lucky to finish 6-10.
Team USA Coach Greg Popovich on San Antonio Spur’s guard Patty Mills after Mills destroyed Pop’s USA team while playing for the Australia Boomers in a warm up game for the FIBA World Cup. It was the first time Australia had beaten the US in any game. For the completely clueless, Popovich also coaches the Spurs and actually thinks the world of Mills.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. This truism works for the NFL prediction game as well as major political and military blunders. As such, every season, Red does a light critical analysis of his previous season predictions. Red usually isn’t too far off the guys and gals who actually get paid for such heavy lifting. Last season was no different. Well, maybe a little different. NFC – Red had the Eagles, Falcons, Vikings and Rams as division champs and the Bears and Saints as wild card entrants. That was 4 out of the 6 playoff teams. Red missed bigly on the Falcons who had a horrid start and have never regained their 2016 form. The Vikings just plain sucked. The biggest surprise here was the Cowboys 7 of their last 8 and then eking out a win over the Seahawks in the playoffs. AFC – Red had the Patriots, Stealers, Texans and Chiefs as division winners and the Chargers and Browns as wild card winners. Again 4 out of 6. The Colts making the dance were the biggest surprise to Red – especially starting 1-5 and then going on a tear culminating with them ripping the Texans a new one in the first round of the playoffs (on the road no less). The Ravens earned their spot the hard way starting 4-5 and lucked out when Flacco Joe went down and Lamar Jackson rallied the troops. The Stealers had too many injuries, holdouts and other excuses, while the Browns blew at least 3 games they should have won which would have put them in the hunt. Overall – Picking 8 of the 12 playoff teams is about Red’s average. He had 10 correct one year, but most years he bounces around between 7 and 9. So, if you had gone to Vegas on Red’s picks to make the playoffs, you might have done okay. Playoffs – Red had the Chiefs as his NFL Champion (beating the Falcons – ugh!). And as for the rest of the playoffs, Red screwed the pooch with his only correct prediction being the Chiefs actually playing in the AFC Championship game. Well, they were just one completion (and/or an overtime rule change) short of beating the Pats and if that had happened the Superb Owl would have been something with the high-powered Chiefs and Rams offenses marching up and down the field. Instead, there was a pathetic 13-3 snooze-fest won by the undeserving Pats. Oh well.
Every season Red kicks-off with the Annual Deadman of the Year Award – which goes to player who contributed about as much to his team’s success last season as would a dead man. The award can only go to a player who at times has shown signs of actual life in being a true contributor on the field. And injuries rarely factor into the DMOTY Panel’s decision making.
There were several worthy candidates. Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles endured an awful start to the season losing 9 of his 12 starts while boasting a QB rating of 79.8 and ultimately making way for Cody “Who’s He” Kessler. New Jersey Jets WR Terrelle Pryor was similarly unimpressive totaling 14 catches in the six games he played before being escorted to the door only to be picked up by the Bills and released again after two games. Pittsburgh Stealers K Chris Boswell cost his team at least 2 games with errant kicking and made only 65% of his attempts – making only 5 of his 10 attempts from 40-49 yards (he missed 5 PATs to boot). Red discounts the candidacy of Washington OTNAs QB Mark Sanchez because he might have been technically dead since 2016.
But the undisputed winner of the 2018 Dead Man of the Year Award goes to Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford (make that former Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford). After signing a one-year $20 million contract in March, Bradford was expected to start for a full season while highly regarded rookie Josh Rosen learned the ropes. SB lasted all of three games before being dumped in a ditch in the desert. In his three starts Bradford went 50 for 80 (not awful), for 400 yards (quite pathetic), 2 TDs (aaarg!), 4 INTs (that don’t work) and 2 lost fumbles (oops). Amazingly, no other NFL team picked up SB (instead of Colin Kaepernik). And although the oft-injured Sad Sack Sam has never really had what one could call a “good NFL season”, he has not been horrid since 2011 when playing for the hapless St. Louis Rams. Still his remarkable 2018 season of ineptitude will not go unnoticed here at PinH. Congratulations Sam, you are last season’s Dead Man of the Year.
PS: Red likes how the only trading card image he could find of Bradford shows him in training camp attire.
“You know, I was looking at a story recently…where Antifa is posting, you know they want to come down to El Paso and do a 10-day siege. Clear message to Antifa: Stay out of El Paso.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the wake of the slaughter of 20 people in El Paso by an avowed white supremacist.
Remind Red how many people Antifa has killed over the last decade. Oh that’s right – absolutely none. Leave it to Pontificating Patrick to aim in precisely the wrong direction while throwing some red meat to his base.
The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that Thomas Gourneau of Cedar Hill has been charged with criminal harassment after sending a penis-shaped chocolate candy bar to a McLennan County Sheriff’s employee. The prank, which targeted Tracy Chance who formerly worked for the Sheriff and is now a jailer, was based on a romantic rivalry between the two men over Gourneau dating Chance’s ex-wife.
The posting of the problematic pecker has been turned into a criminal case by an overzealous prosecutor likely because the target worked in law enforcement. Even though there are allegations of long-standing animosity between Gourneau and Chance, it is hard to imagine that a local DA would be interested in such antics if the target of the prank had not been working for the Sheriff. The chocolate cock was sent anonymously, so it required actual detective work investigating Gourneau’s bank and credit card records. Red is glad to see that the McLennan County Sheriff and DA are doing God’s work after completely botching the prosecution of bikers in the wake of the fatal Twin Peaks shootout. But it’s no laughing matter for Gourneau who faces up so six months in jail and a $2000 fine for his actions in sending the delicious dick to Chance.
Gourneau’s attorney, Cody Cleveland, questions the motives behind prosecution for sending a phony phallus. In his interview with the Tribune-Herald, Cleveland expressed his dismay with a complaint over a succulent schlong.
“I question whether if I or somebody not involved in law enforcement had called 911 and said we had a matter that needed to be investigated and told them I had received a chocolate candy bar in the shape of a penis, how long I would be sitting before they arrived at my office or my house to investigate that crime,” Cleveland said. “I wonder whether or not there would be any kind of follow-up as far as a warrant issued or an arrest made. I just think because this guy works for the sheriff’s office and it got delivered to him at the sheriff’s office that it was easy for him to walk across the hall and get a detective to look into the case. That’s the reason they went forward.”
Well, Waco has never been known as the most tolerant of Texas towns. So if you are thinking of sending any edible genitalia (vanilla vagina?) in that direction, be forewarned.