Tag Archives: New England Patriots

Red’s NFL Picks – AFC East

Ah, the NFC East – also known as the “uncontested lay-up” division for all pundits.

Patriots. As long time readers know (and Red hopes they are both awake and not hungover this morning), this is where Red always writes that it is “cowardly and spineless to pick the Patriots year after year” and then confirms his cowardice and utter lack of vertebral support by picking the Patriots anyway. In fairness to Red, look at the rest of this division – details to follow below.   Red has finally come to terms with the fact that Brady and Bellicheat long ago made a pact with the Dark Lord and while their souls may be damned for all eternity at least they will both end up in the Hall of Fame. Realistically, Red thinks this may be the season where Tom Brady finally looks tired and old and Bellicheat gets his playbook stolen by Russian hackers.  That coupled with a brutal stretch after the Week 9 bye; from November 12 to December 17 the Pats play 5 of 6 games on the road against real competition (Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins and Stealers).  Oh, for crying out loud. Quit kidding yourself Red, you know you have no balls when it comes to this division.  Save your foolishness for the NFC West. Who on the schedule can beat the Pats even on a bad day?  Maybe the Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Falcons and Stealers? Certainly not the Texans as long as Tom Brady is in the house.   New England breezes to another divisional crown with a 12-4 record.  Red really hates himself today.

Bills.  The Bills have not made the playoffs in 17 years – the longest active post-season drought in the NFL (yes – worse than Cleveland even).  Red sees no reason that streak ends anytime soon.  Yes, the inevitably flawed “Rex Ryan as a head coach” experiment ended up with broken glass on the floor and poisonous gasses filling the laboratory/locker room.  Trump supporter Ryan failed in his promise to make Bills’ fans “tired of winning.”  New coach Sean McDermott will at least not be flaunting absurd predictions  of success.  Rather, the Bills seem to be building an offense suited to the limited repertoire of QB Tyrod Taylor.  Coordinator Rick Dennison is implementing a version of the vaunted “West Coast Offense” with short routes mixed with long bombs and quick decisions.   If Sammy Watkins can stay on the field, he leads a corps of competent wideouts.  And then there is the redoubtable LeSean McCoy.  Red isn’t about to guess what to make of his 2017 season.  On the defensive side, out is the Ryan family’s complicated 3-4 scheme and back in with a traditional 4-3.  The Bills seem headed in the right direction after years of aimless wandering, but that probably only translates to a less than awful season.  Orchard Park is reasonably happy with an 8-8 campaign.

Dolphins.  The Dolphins at least went 10-6 and made the playoffs last year. But against the Pats, they were behind 31-3 in week 3 before rallying to lose by only 7 and then were blown out 35-14 in week 17.  In the playoffs the Stealers pushed them aside like a Latvian President and that was it for the aquatic mammals.  The Dolphins cupboard is not bare with up and coming talent like Jay Ajayi and others.  But when your season depends on Jay Cutler . . .  [insert bad thing happening here].  Miami regresses to 7-9.

Jets. The Jets have been a reality TV show for the last several seasons – and a really bad reality TV show at that.  Of course, when the White House is pretty much a reality TV show, maybe Red is on the wrong side of this issue.  Probably not, but Red is an open-minded sort of guy.  But the Jets! What is going on with this franchise? When Red went to the Jets  official website – they did not have a depth chart posted!  Maybe when your choices for starting quarterback include the appropriately named Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty it’s just as well to keep everyone in the dark.  What is going on is a massive roster dump to get the first draft pick next season – thought to be USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Every season Red’s fondest wish is for a 6-10 team to make the playoffs.  His runner-up wish is for a team to go winless.  The Jets love Red this season –  0-16 Baby!

Advertisements

Red’s 2017 NFL Picks – AFC East

As long time readers know (and Red hopes they are both awake and not too terribly hung-over this morning), this part of the annual predictions is where Red always writes that it is “cowardly and spineless to pick the Patriots year after year” and then confirms his cowardice and utter lack of vertebral support by picking the Patriots anyway.

In fairness to Red, look at this division.

Patriots. Red has finally come to terms with the fact that Brady and Bellicheat long ago made a pact with the Dark Lord and while their souls may be damned for all eternity to the lake of fire at least they will both end up in the Hall of Fame – which may not be an altogether bad trade-off. Realistically, Red thinks this may be the season where Tom Brady finally looks tired and old and Bellicheat gets his playbook stolen by Russian hackers.  Quit kidding yourself Red, you know you have no balls when it comes to this division.  Save your foolishness for the NFC West. Who on the schedule can beat the Pats even on a bad hair day for Tom?  Maybe the Chiefs, Raiders, Falcons and Stealers?  “Maybe” being the operative word here.  New England breezes to a 13-3 record.  Red hates himself today.

Bills.  This team hasn’t made the playoffs in 17 years – the longest active post-season drought in the NFL (yes – worse than Cleveland even). Do they deserve a second look in 2017?  Anquan Boldin quit on them. Emphatically not! The misery continues in Orchard Park 6-10.

Dolphins. At least this team went 10-6 and with some help made the playoffs last year. But against the Pats, they were behind 31-3 in week 3 before rallying to lose by only 7 and then were blown out 35-14 in week 17.  In the playoffs the Stealers pushed them aside like a Latvian President and that was it for the Fish.  There is a void in the backfield. And to the rescue comes Jay Cutler? At least he has rising star Jay Ajayi to hand the ball to.   Red holds out some hope for the Dolphins in 2017.  He also still plays the lottery.  Miami 8-8.

Jets.  When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way, from your first losing bet, to your knees for to pray. When you’re a Jet, you lose the division.  The Jets have been a reality TV show for the last several seasons – and a really bad reality TV show at that.  What is going on with that franchise.  Go to their official website – they don’t even have a depth chart posted!  Maybe when your choices for starting quarterback are the appropriately named Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty it’s just as well to keep everyone in the dark. Jets 2-14.

Red’s NFL Picks – Superb Owl

NFL Picks 2016 – Superb Owl

It’s very hard to imagine how big a deal the Superb Owl is until it comes to your town. Red happened to be in downtown Houston last Thursday night and walked over to Discovery Green.  DG is a wonderful little urban park on the east side of downtown across from the massive George R. Brown Convention Center.  For the Superb Owl, DG, the GRB and the surrounding area have been turned in ground zero for all things NFL and SB in particular.  At 9:30 on a Thursday night more than a week before the game, there were probably 75 workers hard at it.  Fox has built what appears to be a 10,000 sq. ft. temporary studio on the main lawn. There is a massive temporary café/bar, a full concert stage, a huge NASA display, light show in the pond and other attractions.  That doesn’t include the other four square blocks all tented up for music, food, conviviality and possibly lots of drinking.  Or the entire “NFL Experience” set up inside GRB.  There are also massive projections on nearby buildings and of course the mandatory barriers, metal detectors and road closings that accompany any such event nowadays.  Red estimates that somewhere between $15-25 million has been spent in this one area of downtown alone and maybe much more than that.  Who knows what is going on at NRG park – maybe just a game.

Red was a dismal 0-2 in the Conference Championship games. He was hoping against hope that the Stealers would show up and not terribly surprised when they did not. So, we have the Patriots in the SB again. Can we hear a vigorous “Ho Hum” from everybody?  Red thought so.

Red was taken aback, however, by the Packers pathetic performance. We knew the Falcons offense was fearsome, but what has made them a true contender for the Lombardi Trophy is the turnaround from the front 7 on defense.  That should have ultimately been expected with Dan Quinn in charge, but the arrival of a top caliber defense is ahead of schedule.

With apologies to Ray Magliozzi, Red has to say “Well, it’s happened again, you’ve wasted another perfectly good NFL season, reading Red’s bad NFL weekly picks.” Why stop now?

Your Last Pick of the Week – Falcons over Patriots

They used to say that defense and rushing wins championships.   They used to say that cheaters never win, too. Bill Bellicheat and Tom Brady put an end to such nonsense. Don’t misunderstand, the Pats have had respectable defenses and managed to turn stiffs like LaGarrette Blount (aka the Fat Pig), Antowain Smith and Stevan Ridley into reasonable facsimiles of real NFL running backs for brief periods of time.  Inter-column quiz:  Who is the Patriots all-time leading rusher?  Had to think didn’t you?  It’s Sam “Bam” Cunningham for Christ sakes – who was with the team for 9 seasons and gained all of 5453 yards.  He also had more career fumbles than touchdowns.  There is not a single running back in Patriots history headed for the Hall of Fame or even the Hall of Very Good.  The Hall of Mediocrity might accept one or two, but that’s it.  This season is no different.  BB has figured out that you really don’t need a superstar back if your offensive scheme is good enough.  Just plug in a horse that you use to exploit defensive weakness and go on about your business.

The Pats defense is another story. It was the best defense in the only category that matters – scoring.  The Pats allowed fewer points than any other team in the league and that kept them in a few games when the offense was not clicking – a very few.

But let’s look at who the Pats beat this season. They beat 3 playoff teams (if you include the Texans as a playoff team – a questionable proposition).  They beat the Stealers, Dolphins (twice) and the Texans.  Their two losses were to the Bills (sans Brady) and the Seahawks.  They also had very few close games – posting only four (4) one-score victories. Two of those were in the first two weeks of the season when they beat the Cards and Dolphins in close contests. The later beat the Jets and Ravens by one touchdown each.  Other than that, they either lost or pretty much blew out their opponents.  Defense was the key to cruising to victory most weeks.  Only the Cards, Dolphins, Bills, Seahawks and Ravens could score more than 20 points and only the Seahawks scored more than 30.

Meanwhile in Georgia, the Falcons offense was keyed by a successful running tandem all season. Freeman and Coleman were the best backfield all season.  Good for two guys who were mid round picks in 2014 and 2015.  That is not to say that the Falcons’ incredible passing attack should be overlooked.  It is simply incredible how Julio Jones and his posse can tear up opposing secondaries.  But the respect for the running game that opposing defenses must show, makes the passing attack all that much more fearsome.  How fearsome?  The Falcons failed to score at least 23 points only once all season in an inexplicable loss to the Eagles after a 10-day layoff.  They scored more than 30 points 11 times and more than 40 points 5 times.  They lost 3 games by a total of 13 points with only the bizarre loss to the Eagles coming by more than one score.  The analyst could say, the Falcons will find a way to lose a close game.  The analyst should shut up.

The Falcons defense is not on par with the Pats. But it has steadily improved all season and clearly was in full stride against the Packers.  That performance must have built a new level of confidence.  They will need it against the Pats.

The Pats are favored by 3 and the over/under is around 58. Red really likes the Falcons and 3 points.  If they lose, it will be close.  If you can get 3.5 points, take it and run.  Red wonders a bit about the O/U.  SB’s can be notoriously slow starting on the offensive front.  Ah, screw it.  Go with the over and hope for an exciting game that doesn’t last 4 hours.  See you next season. Atlanta 33 New England 28.

Red’s NFL Picks – Conference Championships

“The stash of games is getting low.”

Said many years ago by an old stoner friend of Red’s (who loved football almost as much as he liked the weed). Indeed, it is. Indeed, it is.

Red Rates Himself – For Round 2 of the Playoffs Red was 2-2. For the season Red is now 58-46. Omaha, Omaha.

Your Rocky Mountain High Pick of the Week: Broncos over Patriots. Red is breaking tradition and all the rules by picking the Broncos – even though the Patriots were his preseason AFC Champ. If this game were in Foxboro, Red would call it the other way. If you didn’t notice, every home team won last week and every game was a “one score” game in that one score by the losing team would have won or tied the game. Red expects the same this weekend. There will be no blowouts of the last teams standing but the home field advantage in this type of game is enormous. The Patriots strategy last week was to pretend like the solid front 7 of the Chiefs defense simply did not exist and throw, throw some more and keep throwing the entire game. There was a mere pretense of a running game – not surprising since the Pats were down to retired retread Steven Jackson as their main option in the backfield. No knock on Jackson who had a solid career but expecting him to come out of retirement a couple of weeks before the playoffs and rush for 100 yards is a little much even for the Pats. That strategy will not work against the best defense in the league. Miller, Ware, Jackson and Wolfe will be turned loose on Brady. Pressure will be the key. So what will Belicheat pull out of the hat this week in the face of the team who gets after the QB better than anyone else? If Red knew that he wouldn’t be working for a living.   Red expects the Broncos’ sputtering offense will need to score 24 to win and they can do that with smart game management and a decent game from the disappointing C.J. Anderson. The Broncos need at least 130 yards on the ground and the clock chewing that entails, if they are going to win. And PMS needs to not suck – a tall order right now. Red likes the Broncos plus 3, but the O/U at 44.5 scares him. Denver 24 New England 23.

Your Wildwood Weed Pick of the Week: Panthers over Cardinals. Cardinals surprised Red last week. He thought that the Packers wild finish would finish off a team that had to be wondering “What the Hell just happened?” But Larry Fitzgerald put an end to Red’s dream of correctly picking both Superb Owl teams – so now he hates them. On the other side, the Panthers have simply been the best team in the league all season. Notwithstanding the Seahawks furious comeback in the second half, what the Panthers did to the Hawks in the first half ought to be illegal. Red expects a similarly fast start to this one – again followed by a spirited rally that falls short. And although, Red would desperately like to see the first ever all Mountain Time Zone Superb Owl (with the only two teams that could possibly make that happen), he can’t go against a Carolina team that has bested all comers but one – and looked pretty snappy doing so. Red likes the Panthers giving up 3 and the over at 44.5.   Carolina 35 Arizona 29.