Tag Archives: Football

Red’s 2019 NFL Predictions – AFC North

Usually a tough division to pick (with the notable exception of the Cleveland Browns for about two decades). This season is no different. One betting site refers to the AFC North as “one hell of a puzzle box for NFL bettors.” Fortunately for you, Red is pretty damn good at puzzle boxes.

Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens have traditionally featured a ferocious defense, decent special teams and an offense just good enough to win close games. The Ravens are now an offensive juggernaut. Discount QB Lamar Jackson’s poor in the playoff game against the Chargers who lined up 7 defensive backs at times. LJ is a better passer than anyone knows right now and his legs will keep defenses honest. The additions of RB Mark Ingraham and rookie Justice Hill (Red’s pick for All Rookie Team) will add to a triple headed rushing monster for the Ravens. The Ravens ran more than any team last season and that clock-eating offense only helps what is still a very good defense – now shored up with Earl Thomas. Baltimore shocks a lot of folks going 12-4.
Cleveland Browns – The Browns were Red’s off the dung heap pick to make the playoffs last season and they almost pulled it off despite blowing at least 3 winnable games with questionable play calling and clock management. New Head (and former interim) Coach Freddie Kitchens won’t be making those same mistakes. He has lots of talent to work with in Baker Mayfield, OBJ and Nick Chubb and a decent O-line. Browns are 3-3 before their week 7 bye. They turn season around by beating Pats in Foxboro in week 8. A bit of a sugar high, but they hold on against the Broncos and Bills to be 6-3 and facing the easier part of their schedule. Cleveland is 10-6 and in as a Wild Card.
Cincinnati Bengals – Will not be as bad as expected. But won’t be very good either. They have an easy schedule but not easy enough. Cincinnati is 6-10 and continues league worst streak for lack of playoff wins.
Pittsburgh Stealers – The window is closed. Ben is tired and old and his main weapons are gone. JuJu will still be spectacular but it won’t be enough. The pathetic defense of last season did not get any better (15 takeaways in a division filled with turnover machines). They get drubbed by the Pats in week 1 and it is downhill from there. Pittsburgh brings up the rear at 5-11.

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Red’s 2019 NFL Predictions – NFC West

This division seems like the easiest of calls in 2019. That is exactly what worries Red. So here he is calling for the biggest upset of 2019. Overall this division probably has the toughest schedule with games against the loaded NFC South and the AFC North.  Fasten your seat belts.
Arizona Cardinals – Every season one team rises from the dung heap and makes the playoffs. This season it just might be the Cardinals. New coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offensive scheme is going to catch some offguard early in the season. It may not work over the long haul, but it just might work for one season. He has the guns to do it with Kyler Murray throwing to possession receiver and ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald and deep threat Christian Kirk – not to mention KK’s Red Raider buddy and still effective Michael Crabtree. A refreshed David Johnson rounds out the offense The Cards start 3-0 with wins over the Lions, Ravens and Panthers. They are 6-2 and the talk of the league at mid-season. Then they rip off another 3-4 wins before the challenging back to back roadies in Seattle and LA to end the season. If the Cards can win one of those they clinch a hard fought division title. You read it here first Cardinals go 10-6 and win the West.
Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are another team that Red frequently discounts frequently to his disadvantage in this prediction game. Red’s visceral dislike of Pete the Cheat has overwhelmed his judgment at times. The offensive line is very good and will make R. Penny look like the second coming of Walter Payton at times this season. Russell Wilson could use some more help from the receiving corps but as long as he is under center, the Seahawks offense is more than capable of scoring just enough points to win close games. The defense isn’t exactly the Son of the Legion of Boom, but it is more than adequate to keep the Hawks in most games. Seattle probably makes the playoffs at 10-6 but loses the division title on a tie-breaker with the Cards.

Los Angeles Rams – Despite putting on the worst Superb Owl performance since the Vikings in the 1970s or the Patriots in the 1985 (those were the days), the Rams would have to be considered the favorites in the NFC West. But Red has to pick at least one upset. Red thinks the Rams are going to have that all too familiar Superb Owl hangover that befalls teams that performed as poorly as the Rams did in the Big Show (may Red refer you to the Falcons here). The Sean McVay miracle lasts but two seasons. More importantly, the Rams play a tough schedule. An 0-3 start is not out of the question with games on the road in Carolina and Cleveland and the revenge-seeking Saints at home. At some point in the season Todd Gurley is going to out of action. If it comes at the worst time, then the Rams will also rack up losses to the Stealers, Bears and Ravens for another 0-3 stretch. After losing to the Cowboys on the road, the season is all but over and the Cardinals put a bullet between the horns in the season finale. Disappointment reigns in Los Angeles as the Rams slog to a 7-9 finish.

San Francisco 49ers – The Niners will be better. Unfortunately for them better is still not very good  But fear not, better days are on the way – if you have a time machine that will take you back to the 1980’s.  San Francisco brings up the rear at 6-10.

Red’s 2019 NFL Picks – NFC North

As he has mentioned more than a couple of times over the years, this is Red’s least favorite division when it comes to preseason picks. All four teams have made the playoffs in the past three seasons and there have been three different division winners during that stretch. If Red could skip this one he would, but that is not how the game is played.  And he has to pick it today because the NFC North has the honor of kicking off the 100th NFL season with the two oldest franchises still playing.  The Bears host the Packers in the Thursday night opener much to the chagrin of NFL Champion Patriots who are denied that traditional spot because of the 100 year anniversary. Oh, to be at Soldier Field tonight.
Chicago Bears – Da Bears are da team to beat in this division. Red expects Bears to come out of the box strong with win over the Pack in the historic season opener. By mid-point they should be 6-2 with a possible 5-0 start with a win over the Packers. The mid stretch of the season is the toughest with challenges from Saints, Chargers, Eagles and Rams. After that a break and then the Cowboys, Packers and Chiefs before a season ending laugher in Minnesota. If Da Bears win the games they should win and split the tougher match-ups they are in driver’s seat in what some are calling the best division in football this season. The only troublesome spot remains the redoubtable Mitch Trubisky who can be a turnover machine. The Bears won several games despite his lowlights. Look for the Bears defense to be even better and keep the team in enough close games to pull out more than a few. This could be Red’s best pick or his worst. Chicago has a solid season and wins division with 11-5 record.

Green Bay Packers – Things are not happy in northern Wisconsin. The Pack was in the hunt at mid-season in 2018 and then . . . Well, they didn’t quite fall off the radar, but the Bears put them in the rear view mirror. Remember when A-Rodg was the second coming of Joe Montana? That was a while back. Rodgers cannot carry a team like he used to. Fortunately he has help in a very good O-Line, Davonte Adams, Jimmy Graham (not quite tired and old yet – but check in with Red in November) and the all NFL Name Team wideout combination of Marquez Valdes-Scandling and Equanimeous St. Brown (Red picked him for fantasy on name potential alone). But it probably isn’t enough given the suspect situation at running back. Red likes Aaron Jones but can he play a full season without getting injured or suspended. If the Packers are going to have any success it will be because of an upgraded defense. Green Bay has seen better days (in the 1960s) 9-7 maybe works and maybe not.

Minnesota Vikings – Lots of pundits are going all in for the Vikings. Red will hold his chips for now. Red could never quite see what all the Kirk Cousins hype was about and if 2018 is any measure, Red was right. Red thinks the Vikings may play one of the toughest schedules in the league this year. They could lose to the Falcons, Packers, Bears (twice), Eagles, Chiefs, Cowboys, Seahawks and Chargers. If they don’t beat the Sad Sacks (Lions, Redskins, Giants and possibly Broncos), it will be a long season in the hinterlands. Minnesota misses out on chance to lose another Superb Owl at 8-8.

Detroit Lions – For more or less irrational reasons, Red has never liked the Lions. He is buying Detroit real estate however. Unfortunately for the Lions, the most exclusive real estate (their opponents’ end zone) will remain off limits for much of the season. Detroit wonders if Bobby Layne might still be available when it finishes 4-12.

Red’s 2019 NFL Picks – NFC South

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.

Red’s NFL Picks 2018 – Week 17

It’s wrong to have to be picking for 17 weeks (Yes, Red knows he missed a couple of weeks – so sue him!).  But it gives Red one last chance to pull a winning record out of his deflated Champ.  Red was 2-4 last week – meaning that he is 38-44 for the year and if he hits on all 6 this week – perfect mediocrity – which has kind of been Red’s life plan all along.

Your Game of the Week Game of the Week – Titans over Colts.  Not much doubt about the TGOTWGOTW this week.  Titans and Colts face off in the first playoff game of the season.  Winner gets the last Wildcard spot and loser goes home.  When all the chips are on the table, Red looks to defense and running game and home field.  Here the Titans are 3-0.  Yes, the Colts have a much better overall offense, but the Titans defense is just enough better and their running game is for real.  Throw in a raucous crowd getting ready for New Year’s in Music City and Red is going with the Titans – but in a squeaker.   Tennessee 19 Indianapolis 16.

Your National TV Game of the Week – Bears over Vikings.  As noted, the Bears really don’t have to score many points to win right now.  And with two top rated defenses and a playoff berth possibly on the line for the Vikings, expect a tight low-scoring contest decided by an extra point, safety or field goal.  And these two just might get to do it over again next week in Chicago if the Eagles falter.  Chicago 17 Minnesota 14.

Your Texas Game of the Week – Texans over Jaguars.  Texans need a win for a chance at a critical first round bye and home game in the divisional round – two things they have never achieved.  Of course, they need help from the Patriots – and good luck there.  The Jaguars have a decent shot at the 2018 Dead Man of the Year Award as a collective.  They entered the season with high apple pie in the sky hopes and instead got a shaving cream pie in the face from the get go.  Texans resurrected their season but fell apart late against the Eagles to most likely dash hopes of first round bye last week.  The cracks in the Texans offense are evident.  Watson holds the ball too long, he has one reliable receiver and the running game comes and goes.  The Jags are playing for pride and could be dangerous despite their pathetic excuse for an offense. If the Texans can’t score enough points to beat the Jags, then expect a quick exit from the playoffs.  Only the whole season is riding on this one.  Houston 28 Jacksonville 16.

Your Disappointing Game of the Week –  Bengals over Stealers.  Bengals put an end to season of disappointment and misery for both teams.  Both of these teams were legitimate playoff contenders if things broke right.  Needless to say they didn’t.  Cincinnati 17 Pittsburgh 14.

Your Time Zone Hex Game of the Week – Chiefs over Raiders.  There are always slim pickings in this category with Week 17 matchups featuring exclusively divisional rivalries.  Hardly any teams are out of their time zone.  Raiders have shown signs of life lately and conversely, the Chiefs are not the juggernaut of September and October.   Still the Chiefs have a lot on the line with a home field advantage throughout the playoffs on the line.  Mahomes has been the man all season and he closes out his MVP year with a spectacular performance this week.  Red calls for 5 TDs, one sack and a possible rushing touchdown.  All the crew joins in – except for the defense which as usual sucks.  Kansas City 48 Oakland 35.

This Week’s Shit Bowl – Falcons over Buccaneers.  Nineteen collective losses earns these two NFC chumps a spot in the final Shit Bowl.  Red had the Falcons playing for a championship and cannot figure out what exactly went wrong except that the Falcons have trouble putting together a decent season more than once about every five years.  The Buccaneers were a disaster waiting to happen that kept the masses entertained for a while with Fitzpatrick’s miraculous month.  Red cautions the foolish few who might actually watch this one to put away that brand new Walther PPK you got for Christmas from weird Uncle Al lest ye be tempted to attempt some target practice on that big 64 incher that Mrs. _______ put in your mancave as a surprise during the third quarter of this turgid turd tussle.  Atlanta 27 Tampa Bay 13.

Your Bonus If Red Can go 7-0 and Post a Winning Record He’ll Be Really Happy Pick of the Week –  Browns over Ravens.  The Browns deserve a winning season and the Ravens deserve to go home.  Enough said.  Cleveland 28 Baltimore 3.

Red’s NFL Picks 2018 – Week 16

Red was 4-3 last week and made a mistake in picking an extra game.  F#(%ing Cowboys! That puts Red at 36-40 for the season with only two weeks to pull some smelly scabrous mascot out of the hat.  As noted, Red has not been picking against the line this season and maybe that was a mistake as his work might have had some redeeming value.  As it stands, not so much.

Your Game of the Week Game of the Week – Stealers over Saints.  The Stealers found new life in survival against the Patriots last week.  That sort of hard fought win can propel a team into a desperately needed season-closing win streak or just be a dead cat bounce.  The Stealers offensive line is capable of taking over a game on a good week.  They do it on the Bayou this week and enjoy playing in the controlled environment for a change.  Make no mistake, the Saints may be the best team in the NFL right now – but even the best can be beat.  Pittsburgh 29 New Orleans 28.

Your National TV Game of the Week – Chiefs over Seahawks.  Yes, Red has prominently featured the Chiefs all season, but no team has played in more interesting games than the boys from the great plains.  This week is no exception.  The Seahawks need a win to keep pace in a jumbled NFC wild card race.  The Chiefs have clinched a playoff spot but need a win to keep pace with the hard-charging Chargers (sorry but it’s true).  Both teams need wins, both teams can win, both teams can lose.  Red is really on a triteness roll this morning.  Enough!  Watch this game.  Kansas City 41 Seattle 37.

Your Texas Game of the Week –  Eagles over Texans.  The Texans are just not playing very well right now.  It took a ridiculous number of field goals for them to dispatch the Jets – who don’t completely suck thanks to Mr. Darnold.  While watching the game, Mrs. Red exclaimed, “Is his name really Darn Old?”  Yep, he’s that darn old quarterback.  This week they face the resurgent Eagles with “big ass chip on his shoulder still” Nick Foles at the helm.  Nick has big money to play for.  He makes big time plays this week.  Philadelphia 25 Houston 21.

Your Disappointing Game of the Week – Bears over 49ers.  It seems that no team can stop  the mighty Bears right now – certainly not the smoking ruins of the 49ers once glorious franchise.  The only issue might be a slight hangover after having rolled and smoked the hated rival Packers last week.  It’s not enough but might make this one a bit closer than otherwise expected.  Chicago 20 Santa Clara 16.

Your Time Zone Hex Game of the Week – Chargers over Ravens.  The time zone hex has been a particularly poor indicator this season.  Red is left to wonder if the best days of the hex have been eviscerated by better front office planning and easier in-week workouts.   The Chargers do not need the hex factor to dispatch a mediocre Ravens team travelling on one of the 4-5 longest road trips possible in the NFL (Red believes Seattle-Miami takes the top spot but Boston- LA may not be far behind).  Chargers cost Red a shot at a much needed fantasy football championship last week by going for the win instead of taking the game to OT.  But he cannot fault balls.  No balls really needed this week – other than the oblate spheroid.   Los Angeles 45 Baltimore 22.

This Week’s Shit Bowl – Broncos over Raiders.  My how the mighty have fallen.  These are two teams that could have been somebody in recent seasons, instead of a bum which is what they are (with apologies to Marlon Brando).  But with a combined 19 losses between them they are both deserving of placement in the penultimate Shit Bowl.  Red kind of likes Case Keenum despite his having played at POS UH.  And after last season, it looked like a big mistake for the Texans to have let this guy get away.  Now, not so much.  15 TDs against 12 INTs and 32 sacks is not a prescription for success.  Throw in his 8 fumbles (of which miraculously only one has been lost) and you have about 4 semi-disastrous plays per game without much to offset it.  The overall lack of talent is clearly not his fault, but great QBs make those around them play better and that has not happened here.  As for the Raiders, the less said the better as they skulk their way out of Oakland for the second time in franchise history leaving the emaciated ghost of Dead Al Davis to wander for all eternity croaking “Just win baby” in a voice that can only be heard when the wind blows in from Mantica.  Denver 17 Oakland 3.

 

Red’s NFL 2018 Picks – Week 14

Red just can’t seem to get much traction – which he knows is not a big selling point as an introduction to a column that is supposed to be about picking winners.  Anyhow, Red was 3-3 again last week bringing the season total to an underwhelming 29-34.  At least your old buddy Red is honest about his powers of prognostication.

Your Game of the Week Game of the Week –  Bears over Rams.  Well Timmy, it’s time to go out on the limb and call another longshot.  It works about 10% of the time, but you gotta have some fun in this game or go crazy.  The Bears defense is more than capable of slowing down the Ramrod attack.  Can the offense score just enough.  Red calls it.   Chicago 25 Los Angeles 23.

Your National TV Game of the Week – Seahawks over Vikings.  Vikings were waxed by the Patriots when they had a chance to prove that they could have been somebody, a contender instead of bums which is what they are.  Seahawks are stumbling to a playoff spot in the crowded NFC wildcard race.  This is one more staggering step to a wildcard berth and a first round exit.  Seattle 24 Minnesota 17.

Your Texas Game of the Week  – Texans over Colts.  Texans likely wrap up another AFC South Crown with a win this week.  In September. the idea of this team winning 10 in a row was farcical.  Has Bill O the Clown become Bill the Genius?  Only the playoffs will tell.  Meanwhile, Colts are coming off getting skunked by the hapless Jags.  The will score points but not enough points.  This one might actually be entertaining.  Houston 34 Indianapolis 31.

Your Time Zone Hex Game of the Week  – Chargers over Bengals.  Chargers win on the road.  Chargers win at home – also on the road.  Chargers win.  Bengals are lost without Red Rifle and cannot overcome double time zone/reverse climate shift hex this week.  Los Angeles 45 Cincinnati 7.

Your Disappointing Game of the Week – Eagles over Cowboys.  Cowboys have surprised the Hell out of Red in holding the mighty Saints to 10 points last week.  That likely was the high point for a Dallas defense that relies way too heavily on having linebackers make incredible plays.  Meanwhile in Philadelphia it looked for a while like Nick Foles might get another chance.  But Mr. Wentz has taken charge – more or less – and a win on Sunday puts them in the driver’s seat in the sad sack NFC East.  Unfortunately that bus looks like it is headed over a cliff.  At the beginning of the season, the winner of this division looked primed to make a playoff run.  Not so much anymore.  Philadelphia 21 Arlington, TX 13.

This Week’s Shit Bowl – Bills over Jets.  This week’s stinkathon features two teams that have combined for 17 losses.  Note:  the Lions and Cardinals have also combined for 17 L’s but Red is tired of beating up on the Cards who actually beat up on the Packers last week and messed up Red’s chances at a winning week.  This smellarama will be a titanic clash of two of the worst offenses currently known to man.  The Bills have been especially atrocious in averaging under 15 points per game.  But the Cards have a more balanced awfulness to them as both their offense and defense reek while the Bills’ defense is actually playing reasonably well.  If attending in person, please wear your approved gas mask lest ye choke on the acrid fumes emanating from this exemplar of an an awful anal attraction.  Orchard Park, NY 10 New Jersey 3.