Tag Archives: Pro 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.

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 – Week 7

Image result for ernie nevers card

Last Week Red was 5-1 on the pure picks putting him at an excellent 23-13 for the season. Against the money line, Red did okay:

Buccaneers to cover –  Bust (but J. Winston went down)

Saints to cover – Paid $

Saints/Lions Under – Bust

Texans to Cover – Paid $

Eagles to Cover – Paid $

Eagles/Panthers Over – Paid $

Answer to Last Week’s Trivia:  On November 28, 1929, Ernie “Big Dog” Nevers scored all 40 points in the Chicago Cardinals’ 40–6 victory over the Bears. Nevers scored on six touchdowns (also an NFL record) and four extra points.

This Week’s Trivia:  Which player kicked the longest field goal in NFL history?  Bonus points for getting the yardage.

Your Ass Kicking Pick of the WeekRaiders over Chiefs.  The NFL game of the week is not usually on Thursday night, but this has the makings of a barn burner.  The Chiefs came down to earth last week losing to the resurgent Stealers.  The Raiders have struggled and losing to the Chargers is frankly embarrassing even given that “on any given Sunday” nonsense.  Raiders need a win because a 2-5 record will get you an early vacation 9 times out of 10.  Raiders need to figure out what is wrong with the Beast and get offense moving.  Raiders are getting 3.  They probably need more.  If they win it will be close.  Red does like the over at 47.  Oakland 28 KC 27.

Your High Kicking Pick of the Week: 49ers over Cowboys.  Red is high on the real thing – Jesus, Coke Zero and Premium Sausage Sticks – in picking the 0-6 Niners to beat even a sagging 2-3 Cowboys squad.  But a guy can dream can’t he? And there is always the Red Rule – Score 14 points and beat the Cowboys.  Take the Niners and 6 and the under at 47.   Santa Clara 17 Arlington 10.

Your “Kick Me” Pick of the Week: Rams over Cardinals.  The Cards 32nd ranked rushing game got a pick-me-up from Adrian Peterson (of Palestine, Texas) on Sunday.  It’s amazing what you can get for a 6th round draft pick these days. The Cards and AD both needed that one.  Red thinks that continues this season, but not necessarily this week.  The Rams are well balanced and happy to be winning before uncaring “crowds” in the Coliseum.  After this win, the Rams are 5-2 and suddenly a hot ticket in the City of LA.  The Rams getting 3.5 is not the bet of the year, but take it anyway.  Red also likes the over at 47 – but he doesn’t like it a whole lot. Los Angeles 31 Arizona 24

Your Kick Starter Pick of the Week: Bengals over Stealers.  Red has to pick six games every week under this rubric.  Yawn!  Red is sure this game matters to someone, he just doesn’t know who.  The Bengals getting 5 points does get Red’s attention and he will jump on that one given the problems with the Steel ShowerCurtain.  The O/U at 41 is mysterious and opaque and to be avoided.  Cincinnati 23 Pittsburgh 21

Your Kick Butt Pick of the Week: Falcons over Patriots.  The Falcons could easily be like 1-4 as they have been unconvincing in any game this season.  The 4-2 Patriots are on schedule for a less than exhilarating 12 win season.  This is a road bump, however, and if the Falcons can’t get it up for the team that humiliated them before a world-wide audience in February, they need to pack it in and let a real team lead the way in the NFC.  Red takes the Birds and 3.5, but will avoid the hefty 56O/U line. Atlanta 28 (sound familiar?) New England 24.

Your Kickapoo Joy Juice Pick of the Week: Jaguars over Colts.  My how the tables have turned. This one is too easy really.  But who said Red had to work hard on Thursday.  Take the Jags giving up a three-spot and the Jags to cover the over at 43 by their lonesome.  J’ville 44 Indiantown 2.

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 2

“In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.” Jean-Paul Sartre

Red knows that ol’ JPS was talking about that other football, but you have to admit that his insight is fairly universal for the world of team sports. And only Red mixes French existential philosophy with a good old-fashioned slobberknocker.

Your Opposite Pick of the Week: Raiders over Ravens. Raiders looked weak and pathetic in losing to Bengals at home last week. And Ravens were not much better against Broncos. Red’s antipathy for Flacco Joe is well known. But even still, Ravens should be a clear favorite against a once proud Raiders franchise that has set marks for futility for more than a decade. Red knew the Raiders were bad, but was surprised that they have not had a winning season since losing the 2002 Superb Owl to the Buccaneers. That’s a long downhill slide. What is overlooked is that the Raiders were 3-3 in their last 6 games in 2014. And that was with the overrated Derek Carr at the helm. Ravens can’t overcome triple reverse time zone hex combined with West Coast spiritual adjustment factor. The long slow climb back to respectability for the Raiders begins this week. Oakland 24 Baltimore 21.

Your It’s Complicated Pick of the Week: Packers over Seahawks. Clearly Red’s Game of the Week in northern Wisconsin featuring the class of the NFC. This early season rematch of the NFC Championship game has all the bells and whistles. A top flight offense for the Packers, what was thought to be an excellent defense for the Seahawks, mutual dislke, a grudge match atmosphere and a national TV audience in the coveted Sunday night spot. Which makes it a tough call. The Seahawks seems addicted to making bad calls at the end of games. They do it again Sunday when PC calls for a blitz and Rodgers makes them pay with a last second TD to win a close one. Green Bay 31 Seattle 28.

Your French Philosopher Pick of the Week: Titans over Browns. The first matchup of Heisman Trophy winners this season. Will there be another – Red doesn’t have time to do everything for you. Just enjoy this one. Tennesee 24 Cleveland 13.

Your Dirty Hands Pick of the Week: Patriots over Bills. The Bills are a sexy pick right now, but keep in mind that this is a Rex Ryan coached team going up against the filthy master. In other words, don’t get too excited. Belichick went 9-4 against Jets teams coached by Ryan from 2009-2014. Brady, however, was sub-par against Ryan defenses with a 59.1 QBR against the Jets over that period. Lord knows what ol’ Hoody is cooking up for this weekend, but expect him to serve it fresh and hot to the Bills. New England 41 Orchard Park 17.

Your No Exit Pick of the Week: Eagles over Cowboys. Bradford almost passed the test of fire on Sunday night. For a couple of drives he showed what can happen when Chip Kelly’s offense is clicking. And then when it really counted he yutzed on his cleats. Meanwhile, the Cowboys escaped with their lives on Sunday night thanks to some embarrassingly awful clock management by the Giants. Don’t expect the Eagles to make those mistakes. Eagles pound out 175 rushing yards and sweep aside the Cowboys rather easily. Philadelphia 35 Arlington 17.

You’re The Flies Pick of the Week: Texans over Panthers. The Texans make what is likely to be the first of many regular appearances this season in the weekly Shit Bowl against a troubled Panthers team. Word is that Ryan Mallett will replace much-maligned Brian Hoyer as the Texans’ helm. Without an effective running game until the return of Arian Foster, the Texans have turned to a big man with a big arm and hopefully not a big propensity for throwing up a duck farm. Red admits he liked Hoyer and clearly the loss to the Chiefs was not all on him last week – but when a team only has to go 20 yards because of turnovers, well something was going to change. Panthers still have a steady leader in Newton, but the defensive front has never lived up to the hype. Fight off the urge to give yourself a swirly during the 2 minute warning if you dare to watch this malignant merd match. Houston 18 Carolina 13.