Tag Archives: Professional Football

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.

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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.

Today in Texas History – February 8

Dallas Texans Logo | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

From the Annals of Professional Football – In 1963, Lamar Hunt moved the Dallas Texans to Kansas City and renamed the team the Chiefs.  Hunt owned the AFL’s Dallas franchise which began playing , owner of the American Football League franchise in Dallas, TX, moved the operation to Kansas City. The new team was named the Chiefs.  It started operations in 1960, the first AFL season and the same year as the Dallas Cowboys. The team immediately faced serious competition from a new franchise in the older more established league.  The Texans had a strong home-state identity with quarterback Cotton Davidson (Baylor), fullback Jack Spikes (TCU), and running back Abner Haynes (North Texas State). Haynes, was named the league’s Player of the Year after leading the AFL with 875 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns. The Texans were an offense-centric, high scoring team, but three closes losses kept them from challenging for the division title.  They finished the 1960 season in second place in the West with an 8-6 record.  The Texans averaged 24,500 for their home games at the Cotton Bowl, the highest average in the league. Hunt is considered to be the founding father of the AFL and one of the main reasons the league was able to survive until it merged with NFL in the Super Bowl era.

Hunt’s team is not to be confused with the 1952 incarnation of the Dallas Texans.  That was an NFL team which was a transplanted version of the New York Yanks.  The team lasted only one season in Dallas and was the last NFL franchise to fold up shop when owner Giles Miller sold the ailing franchise back to the league.

Red desperately wants a Dallas Texans t-shirt with that logo.

The San Antonio Raiders?

Last year, Mark Davis, Oakland Raiders owner and scion of Al Davis, visited San Antonio as a possible prelude to an unlikely move to the Alamo City.  It seemed like a mere tease to induce either Los Angeles or Las Vegas to come up with a plan (and a lot of dough) to move the Raiders out of Oakland to a more desirable location in the Pacific Time Zone.  But now, the Las Vegas plan is falling apart after loathsome billionaire Sheldon Adelson took his money and went home, Los Angeles already has a team (or two) and San Diego is unlikely to cough up money for the Raiders when it wouldn’t do so for the beloved Chargers.  Oakland isn’t coming up with $1.5 billion for a new facility, so what are the Raiders to do?

Maybe San Antonio is back on the table.  SA has always been a Cowboys town, so anything that will cut into the Cowboys’ fan base is all right with Red.  Red is admittedly a bit concerned about the emaciated walking ghost of Al Davis haunting the hallowed grounds of the Alamo or stirring up the placid waters of the River Walk – but some risks are worth taking to get another NFL team within easy driving distance.