Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys

Red’s NFL Picks – NFC East

Some call this the highest profile division in the entire NFL. It’s hard to argue with geography and tradition. When you have teams from the big cities in the Amtrak corridor (Giants, Eagles and OTNAs), and the hated and loved (but seldom indifferent to) Cowboys, not to mention three teams that have won multiple NFL Championships – then yes a lot of people are watching what happens here.  And maybe more than any other division, the NFC East in recent years has been up for grabs like a Matt Schaub floater in the slot.  No team has repeated as division champion since the Eagles in 2004.  And since 2011, every team has won at least one division title with the Cowboys and OTNAs each grabbing a pair.

Unlike the AFC East, this is a tough call. Smart money is on the Cowboys with 2016 ROY Dak Prescott and suspended girl-beater Ezekiel Elliott returning from unbelievable stellar rookie seasons. If all that JerryWorld had to worry about was a sophomore slump from those two, then the Cowboys would be an easy pick.  But hold on Hoss.  Forty percent of the best O-line in football is gone with the unexpected retirement of excellent RT Doug Free and coveted LG Ronald Leary heading to the Broncos. They are not easy to replace and a unit that played together for several seasons is not readily replicated.  Add to that, the near complete fruit basket turnover in the Cowboys secondary with CBs Claiborne and Carr and Safeties Chuch and Wilcox being shown the door.  That leaves Byron Jones as the only remaining starter.  Unless the pass rush is much better than anticipated, expect to see the secondary getting burned early and often by the excellent wide receivers in this division.  And don’t forget the tougher champions schedule.  The only potential nothing-burgers on the schedule are the Rams and 49ers.  Every other team can beat the Cowboys.  Red sees the Boys at 9-7 at best.

The Giants will have the best defense in the NFL this season. The line has been solid and the secondary took a big step forward with addition of Janoris Jenkins.  The big question for the Giants is the offense.  Young Manning is now 36 and coming off his worst season in years.  Maybe adding Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram helps, but unless the Giants can run the ball, look out for trouble.  As with the Boys, the Giants have a tough schedule.  The Week 2 matchup with the Cowboys could be critical since they will likely be coming off a loss to the Patriots in Week 1.  Realistically, the Giants are 8-8 material, but they could grab second with the Elliott suspension looming.

The OTNAs will blow and be lucky to hit 6-10.

The Eagles have done more than any other team to boost their offense at the skill position with Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery, Donnel Pumphrey, and LaGarrette Blount (aka the Fat Pig). The Fat Pig will function as the anti-Darren Sproles. Trading Jordan Matthews is a serious and unexpected blow, but the defense needed help. Most analysts think the Eagles are a year away.  Red thinks that the Carson Wentz workshop will be cranking out a bunch of touchdowns with his new tools and a solid O line.  Eagles score early and often.  The addition of Derek Barnett may give the Eagles the best pass rush in the NFL.  Red predicts Bosa, Barnett, Graham and Cox may combine to break the NFL team sack record in 2017.  And just so you don’t have to look it up that would be the Bears 72 sacks in 1984.  A relatively easy early schedule (at least compared to the division rivals) has the Eagles at 6-2 at halftime and with some breathing room.  It gets tougher and the season-ending matchup at home against the Cowboys will be loser goes home.  Eagles don’t lose.  Eagles win division with a hard fought 10-6 record.

Red’s 2017 NFL Predictions – the Annual Bitch Portion Thereof

Well it’s time for Red’s Annual Bitch about the favorable TV treatment afforded the Hated Arlington Cowboys franchise.  Hang on to your Stetsons.

 If for some unfathomable reason you are a Cowboys fan, most Sundays you can sleep late, linger over brunch, get in 18 holes, have an under-the-covers nap (aka siesta tradicional) and still be back in the recliner with nachos in hand in time for kickoff. It’s even better this season than usual for all you HAC fans.  All Red can say is – at least your team made the playoffs last season  and there is some slight justification for having a reasonable share of games on National TV – but nothing justifies this:

Week 1       Giants Sunday Night Game

Week 2       At Broncos Sunday Late Game

Week 3       At Cardinals Monday Night Game

Week 5       Packers Sunday Late Game

Week 7       At 49ers Sunday Late Game

Week 8       At Redskins Sunday Late Game

Week 9       Chiefs Sunday Late Game

Week 10     At Falcons Sunday Late Game

Week 11     Eagles Sunday Night Game

Week 12     Chargers Thanksgiving Late Game

Week 13     Redskins Thursday Night Game

Week 14     At Giants Sunday Late Game

Week 15     At Raiders Sunday Night Game

Week 16     Seahawks Sunday Late Game

So adding it all up, the Cowboys get:

3 Sunday Night games

8 Sunday Late Games with only 49ers and Broncos as time zone related

1 Monday Night Game

1 Thursday Night Game (mandatory)

And the traditional Thanksgiving game

For a grand total of 14 national TV appearances. That is well above the standard 11 national TV appearances that the league regularly doles out to America’s Team.

And if you are a fan of the hapless Texans (who have actually won more playoff games in the time of their miserable existence than the Cowboys have during that period) you had better plan ahead and expect that the games will totally mess up your Sunday afternoon plans.

Week 2       At Bengals Thursday Night Game

Week 5       Chiefs Sunday Night Game

Week 8       At Seahawks Sunday Late Game

Week 10     At Rams Sunday Late Game

Week 12     At Ravens Sunday Night Game

Week 16     Stealers Sunday Late Game

That’s 6 national TV appearances which is better than the usual schedule but only because of 2 west coast games against the Seahawks and Rams and the mandatory Thursday night game.

Red calls Bullshit.

 

The NFL Dead Man of the Year Award

Before every season, Red selects one unlucky soul as “Dead Man of the Year” for the previous season. The DMOTY goes every season to the player who Red reckons went from being an important cog in his team’s machinery to a completely useless tool sitting on the sidelines scratching his balls. That is, it recognizes the player who benefitted his team just about the same as would have a “Dead Man.”

And while injury alone cannot get you a DMOTY plaque to hang in your mancave, not being able to reclaim your job when healthy will factor into Red’s consideration. So as with last year, there really wasn’t much serious competition among the dead wannabes in 2016.  JJ Watt is not in the running because he had a season-ending injury.  Brock Osweiler lost his job in week 14, was on life support until Tom Savage went down and then he actually guided his team to a playoff win (albeit against the rudderless Raiders). Darrell Revis got scorched early and often but did make some plays. Cam Newton set a nearly impossible standard to match in 2015 and so his mediocre 2016 (behind a truly horrid offensive line) looks worse than it should.  Flacco Joe has been waiting in the wings for a DMOTY for almost decade – he was close in 2016 but his time will come.

And while there may never be another player as worthy of the DMOTY award as Johnny Football in 2015, Red is proud -mind you – proud to present the 2016 Dead Man of the Year Award to none other than Tony Romo.

The longtime Cowboys’ quarterback was injured in the pre-season and unavailable for much of the season. But despite his impressive career over parts of 10 seasons and the old adage that you don’t lose your job because of injury, TR was unable to get back in the lineup to replace a rookie until he played a series in the Cowboys meaningless last game against the hapless Eagles.  To give TR credit, he led his team on a 6 play scoring drive ending with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams.  Other than that – bupkis – as rookie Dak Prescott stole the ever pliable hearts of dedicated Cowboys fans – at least until the playoff game against the Packers when he did a reasonable “Tony Romo in the Playoffs” impersonation until a wild 4th quarter.  And even if it bends the rules just a bit, Red is more than happy to do so to name Tony as the 2016 DMOTY.  As it turns out, the 2016 DMOTY award may be the final trophy on the Romo family shelf – unless the dedicated golfer makes it to the Senior Tour.  Straight and long, Tony.

No Mo’ Romo (cont.)

ESPN is reporting that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will retire and take up a career in broadcasting.  This means that all of Houston can let out a collective sigh of relief (or cry of agony as the case may be).  Red for one is glad that the Texans will not fall for the trap of signing a tired, old Tony Romo to be their starting QB for what would likely be 3 games before he goes down for the season.   The idea that TR was the answer to the Texans’ quarterback problem always struck Red as ludicrous.  Romo had a track record of near abject failure in the playoffs and to think that would change in Houston was a pipedream.

Dallas is expected to designate Romo as a post-June 1 release, softening the blow against the Cowboys’ cap this season. Instead of counting $24.7 million in 2017, Romo would count $10.7 million this year and $8.9 million in 2018. The Cowboys would gain $14 million in cap space, but it would not become available until June 2. But after Tuesday, Romo will no longer be with the Cowboys.

Romo’s decision came down to his health, sources close to the situation told ESPN. Romo, who turns 37 on April 21, believes his family and his health are paramount at this time in his life. He was limited to playing in just parts of five games over the past two seasons because of collarbone and back injuries, and he suffered a compression fracture in his back last August that led to him ultimately giving way to Dak Prescott.

The upside for Red is that Romo is rumored to replace addled and incoherent Phil Simms in the booth next to overrated and annoying Jim Nantz.   Nothing would make Red happier than TR having to put up with prima donna Nantz and his smarminess on 18 weekends next season.

No Mo’ Romo

ESPN is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys (meaning Jerry Jones) will release veteran quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday.  The move will save the Cowboys some money against the 2017 salary cap although they will still take a major hit for a quarterback that has played in a handful of games over the last two seasons.  Red does not pretend to understand the intricacies of the NFL’s salary cap rules, but apparently if Romo is a June 1 designation (whatever the hell that means), the  Cowboys would take a $10.7 million hit on the 2017 cap and $8.9 million on the 2018 cap.   If released without the designation, the Cowboys will save $5.1 million against the salary cap but will carry $19.6 million in dead money (again whatever that means) for 2017.

Romo who was undrafted signed as a free agent with the Cowboys in 2003, but did not see the field until the 2006 season when he replaced Drew Bledsoe at halftime of the Giants game.  He never again left the field that season and led the Cowboys to a 9-7 record and a playoff spot.  His most infamous moment came in his first playoff game (against the Seahawks) when he botched the snap on a field goal attempt that would have secured the Cowboys first playoff win in almost a decade.  Red still remembers laughing uncontrollably for several minutes.

Romo finishes his career with the Cowboys with a record 78-49 as a starter.  His 34,183 passing yards and 248 touchdown passes are the most in team history.  Romo holds team records for most 300-yard passing games (46), multiple touchdown pass games (79) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass (38). He also holds the Cowboys records for most yards in a season (4,903 yards in 2012)  and in a game (506 against the Broncos in 2013), and the NFL record with a touchdown pass in 41 straight road games.

All of that is well and good, but Romo was 2-4 in the playoffs and never played in a conference championship game.  Thus, by Cowboys standards, he was a miserable failure as a quarterback.  Red dearly hopes that the Texans do not fall for a 37 year-old often injured quarterback with a track record of playoff failure.

Today in Texas History – January 18

From the Annals of the NFL –  The Pittsburgh Stealers beat the Irving Cowboys 21-17 in Superb Owl X at the Orange Bowl in Miami.  The Stealers scored 21 the hard way with 2 TD’s, 1 PAT, 1 Safety and 2 Field Goals.  The margin of victory might have been greater if not for Stealers’ kicker Roy Gerela being injured tackling Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson when the Cowboys ran a trick play reverse on the opening kickoff.  Gerela suffered bruised ribs and missed two short field goals and an extra point. Stealers quarterback Terry Bradshaw (who had been much maligned during the regular season) was an efficient 9-19 for 209 yards and 2 TDs, but it was the Stealers defense that won the day.   Cowboys’ quarterback Roger Staubach had one of his worst games throwing up 3 interceptions and getting sacked 7 times.   Still, down 21-10 in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys mounted a comeback driving 80 yards in 5 plays topped off with a 34 yard touchdown pass to tight end Percy Howard.  Remarkably, it was the only reception of Howard’s NFL career.  After failing to recover the onside kick, the Cowboys defense held and the offense came on with 1:22 needing a touchdown to win.  It was not to be as Staubach threw up his third interception in the end zone as time ran out.

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 2

Last week Red was 2-4  and most embarrassingly missing out on the Sure Bet of the Week in picking the Panthers to cover the spread and going with the over. That Timmy – is why you should not try this at home.  Leave it to the professionals who can afford to lose their lunch money – like old Uncle Red.  Face it, Red had a bad week but still was oh so ever close to “drinking coffee and smoking fine cigars” ala Johnny Cash.  The Panthers, Jaguars, Lions and Cardinals lost games by a collective 11 points and sank Papa Red’s first week.

Sure Bet Pick of the Week – Seahawks over Rams. After last week, Red is only going out on a really strong limb that is supported by a steel column driven firmly into the bedrock.  The Hawk are only giving up 6.5 on some books – which seems like a steal.  But Red is getting “NL” from a few sources – meaning blow out coming.  Red is indifferent about a 38.5 over under.  Take the Seahawks and give up to 9.5 points – but no more.  Seattle 28 Los Angeles 9.

Underdog Pick of the Week – Buccaneers over Cardinals. Four touchdown drives of over 75 yards have Red believing. Four touchdown passes to four different targets has Red believing. The Doug Martin-Charles Sims tandem has Red believing.  Then Red remembers it was a win over the Falcons.  Fortunately, Red is pretty good at that whole “willing suspension of disbelief” thing.   History says that this will be a close game.  History lies.  Tampa Bay 31 Arizona 17.

Rivalry Game Pick of the Week – Bengals over Stealers [sic].  When they last met the “Stealers” lived up (or down as the case may be) to their name when they stole a playoff win from the Bengals.  In reality, the Bengals’ loss was self-inflicted with incredibly stupid penalties by Vontaze Burfict and Adam (formerly PacMan) Jones allowing the Stealers a chance at a last second field goal to win.  SI had the headline right – “Bengals lose all control as all hell breaks loose in loss to Stealers.”  Red salutes SI as it is hard to use lose, loose and loss in one headline and actually get it right.  Bengals are back at full strength with Red Rifle at the helm. Stupidity is kept in check on Sunday in Steeltown.  Cincinnati 28 Pittsburgh 17.

Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Texans over Chiefs.  Speaking of recent playoff humiliation – Red can’t really recall one worse than the 30-0 ass-whomping the Chiefs put on the Texans in January.  It looked like a Division 6A team playing a six-man squad.  There is no real reason to think that the Texans can compete with the Chiefs – even though Red has the Chiefs as the most overrated team in the league.  But a man can dream can’t he?  Houston 25 Chiefs 23.

Prime Time Pick of the Week – Vikings over Packers. This could be Red’s NFL Game of the Week.  Packers came out sharp in the first half of the Week 1 win over the Jaguars. The furious second half field goal fest (2 for each team for a total of 12 second-half points) showed that the Pack has some work left to do.  Meanwhile, the Vikings walked over the doormat Titans. No such scheduling luck this week.  Shaun Hill showed enough to hold on to the starter’s job for at least another week.  He surprises everyone this week by taking Player of the Week honors in a big win over the Pack.  Minnesota 27 Green Bay 24 .

Shit Bowl Pick of the Week – OTNA’s over Cowboys. The OTNA’s put a merciful bullet in the head of the Cowboy’s season when these two old rivals last met in January. Of course, the OTNA’s had something to play for.  They were 5-7 with four games to play after a humiliating loss to the Cowboys in Week 13.  But they rallied to win four in a row and the NFC East while averaging an incredible 33 points a game.  Much has changed since then, but the Cowboys still look like the dogs of the East.  Landover MD 35 Arlington 20.