Tag Archives: Red’s NFL Picks

Red’s 2018 NFL Predictions – AFC North

The division of “so what.”  Red still has to pick ’em.

Pittsburgh Stealers – Ben “Big Ben” Rothlessburger may be tired but he isn’t old just yet.  This season may change that assessment and if so, the Stealers are in for a cold December – well make that a colder December.  BB should be helped by the presence of Antone “Big Time” Brown and the debut of the JuJu “No Need for a Nick Name” Smith-Schuster. The big ? – is Le’Veon “Will he Answer the” Bell.  If  not, then maybe James “Hey I Don’t Suck” Conner is the answer – or maybe not.  The Stealers defense is always there  and probably improves with the emergence of T.J. “Yeah He’s my Big Brother” Watt.  It all rests in the reasonably capable hands of Mike “Can You Believe I’m Still Here” Tomlin.  Red likes Mike and Pittsburgh does more than enough to win this division at 12-4.

Cleveland Browns – You read it here first, the Browns are going to the playoffs.  Red just had to choke back a spoonful of delicious Grazier’s whole milk, grass-fed yogurt when he wrote that and is now seriously contemplating the function of the back key – but the moving hand writes and when it is written moves on.  Sort of like Red’s bowels.  This could be the greatest prediction  of Red’s life or  . . .   Happy times in Cleveland at 10-6.

Cincinnati Bengals – Red really likes the Bengals.  He also likes Neapolitan ice cream even though he knows it’s just vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and the vanilla is always left at the end.  Sort of like the end of your typical Bengals season where there either challenge for a playoff spot or make the playoffs and lose to the Texans – an even worse fate.  This has to be the year for Marvin “Can You Believe I’m Still Here When I’m not Half as Good as Mike Tomlin” Lewis.  He cannot hang on any longer without at least one playoff win.  Marvin lets go of the rope.  Cincinnati comes close but not close enough 9-7.

Baltimore Ravens – Flacco Joe, Flaco Joe,  Flaco Joe.  Can Red just say no?  Okay then.  Baltimore 2-14.

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Red’s 2018 NFL Predictions – AFC South

Finally we get to a division that Red pays attention to – not that it matters.   This is the division of “Why do these towns have NFL teams anyway?”

Houston Texans –  Red was shocked to witness in person the offensive onslaught that Deshaun Watson led against the Titans in October.  That 57-14 ass whipping was as impressive an offensive show that Red has ever seen in a regular season NFL game.  It made Red a believer.  Red was also sadly present the next week when JJ Watt and Red favorite Whitney Mercilus went down in the space of about 57 seconds.  Losing Watson, Watt and Mercilus was the death knell for the Texans season.  Barring similarly crippling injuries this season, the Texans should be good enough to secure a playoff spot this year.  A lot rides on that first game in New England.  A win or even a credible loss will put this team on the right track.  Texans are 10-6 and in.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Lots of pundits are writing off the Jaguars as one-hit wonders and shitting on journeyman QB Blake Bortles.  BB may be mediocre but the rest of this team has enough talent to cover up the cracks.  Jaguars are also 10-6 and lose tiebreaker to the Texans.

Tennesee Titans – Red wants to believe.  Red also wants a job where you don’t have to show up and the money just sort of rolls in. Titans are 8-8 material.

Indianapolis Colts –  The Colts are just an Andrew Luck away from mediocrity.  They have no offensive line, one decent receiver, running backs???,  defense???, coaching???. Colts are 6-10.

Red’s 2018 NFL Predictions – AFC East

New England Patriots  –  This is where every year Red writes that it is spineless and weak to continue to pick the Patriots but that he will continue to do so until proven wrong.  Red has yet to be proven wrong.  Pats are a bit down but still finish atop a weak division even with a relatively weak schedule.  Red is looking forward to week 15 matchup with Stealers.  New England sits at 11-5

Buffalo Bills  – Red kind of likes Josh Allen who seems to have a bit of Carson Wentz – QB out of nowhere feel to him and will not be surprised if he moves in to the lineup at some point.  Sorry all you AJ McCarron fans out there – both of you.  It’s just too bad there is so little else to like about this team.   There is a good secondary on defense, but lack of offensive weapons is very troublesome.  Buffalo (Orchard Park) is 8-8 material

Miami Dolphins –  Red swears there are rumor that there is still an NFL team in the greater Miami region.  Beyond that Red is clueless.  Miami at 6-10.

New York Jets –  Meet the Jets, Greet the Jets, Step right up and beat the Jets.  Red still remembers an older fraternity brother singing that one at breakfast one bright shining morning.  Funny what you remember.  Funny what is still true.    Led by tired old Josh McCown (Sam Houston State for the Texas reference), the Jets are likely to be featured in at least half a dozen Shit Bowls this year.  Jets are 3-13.

Red’s 2018 NFL Predictions – NFC North

May Red just say, “He hates this division.”  Red is not entirely sure why, but he has always disliked having to pick winners and LOSERS from this one.  Which is curious because the NFC-North contains three of the most venerable franchises in the league.   The Lions started as the Portsmouth Spartans in 1929 moving to Detroit in 1934 and played in the first official playoff game – the 1932 Championship against the Bears (played because the teams ended the season tied for first place).  The Packers joined the league in 1921, the second official NFL season.  And the Bears can lay claim being one of the two original NFL franchises (as the Decatur Staleys) still in existence.  The Arizona Cardinals (nee Chicago Cardinals) are the other.  The Vikings are the upstart newcomer having joined the league in 1961 to increase the NFL to a whopping 14 teams.

Minnesota Vikings –  New quarterback – new offensive coordinator – new challenge with first place schedule –  all could add up to a tough season.  Many commentators are looking at a difficult schedule and predicting a big fall off for the Nordic warriors.  Red doesn’t see the NFC -West as all that tough as the Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams and 49ers are all overrated.  The NFC – East component should be even easier unless the Bills and Dolphins step up – and Red thinks the more likely scenario has those teams stepping in it.  Red is not high on Kirk Cousins but he made a really pathetic OTNAs team look decent at times. The big question is what to do about the running game with the loss of Jerrick McKinnon and no real answer for a solid replacement.  So why the Vikings?  Like he said, Red has to pick someone.  Minnesota sleds to a tough 10-6 record.

Chicago Bears  – Every season one formerly pathetic excuse for a professional football somehow picks itself up off the garbage pile and starts winning games.  Red’s pick for worst to (almost) first this season is the Bears.  Red’s just going with his ever growing gut on this one.  And Red will be putting an “I Like Mitch Trubisky” bumper sticker on his car – just so people will wonder – “Who the hell is Mitch Trubisky?”  To which Red could answer, “He’s the poor man’s Kirk Cousins.”  Chicago also goes 10-6 but only gets Wild Card spot – Maybe – stay tuned.

Green Bay Packers – Red admires the 200 some thousand Green Bay Packers, Inc. shareholders and the way this team has been run for almost its entire existence as a community project.  All professional sports teams should be owned and controlled in this fashion – not by some billionaire blowhard (Jerry Jones comes to mind for some reason) who could give a shit  about the average fan once he or she has paid for the season tickets.  The owner who won’t make sure the fans aren’t gouged at the concession stands and don’t have to sit in three hours of traffic to get home.  The owner who plays commercials at 120 decibels at every possible opportunity.  The “welfare queen” owner who sucks on the public tit and expects the taxpayers to make him richer just because he has deemed to grace their city with a professional football team – at least until there is greener turf somewhere else.  So while Red always wishes good things for the Packers, he also has to be honest with his readers and tell them – not this season.  A-Rodg carried them on his capable shoulders until going down last season.  Is he back?  If so, then maybe there is hope.  Or maybe not.  Green Bay is 8-8.

Detroit Lions –  The last good thing Red remembers about the Lions is reading Bobby Layne’s autobiography – Always on Sunday – in elementary school.  Red is not sure why his parents let him read about Bobby’s alcoholic womanizing, drunk driving, and non-stop partying but it sure opened Red’s eyes to the possibilities of life – or a certain kind of life anyway.  Unfortunately, Red’s athletic career and exposure to the side benefits of sports celebrity was cut short by a crippling lack of talent and a desire to keep his teeth.  Maybe Red was allowed to read this fascinating tome because Layne had been the hero at UT when Red’s parents were in school.  And maybe the curse of Bobby Layne is still hanging over this franchise.  Although possibly apocryphal, after he was traded to the Stealers in 1958, Layne supposedly responded to the trade by saying that “the Lions would not win for 50 years.”  Bobby apparently called for an extension at some point.  So while short on analysis here, Red has hopefully provided you some insight into the stupidity of this whole exercise.  Detroit stinks – 4-12.

 

Red’s 2018 NFL Predictions – NFC South

Today we move on to the NFC South – division which has produced two NFL Champions and a few runners-up.  This is the division of the nouveau teams as there is not a single member that predates the 1960’s.   But last year it was the “NFL Division of Excellence” with three teams advancing to the playoffs.

Atlanta Falcons –  This team was still smarting from the 28-3 letdown against the Patriots in 2016.  Still they had a 10 win season and made it to the divisional round losing in a low-scoring slug fest to the Eagles.  Pretty good for a team that finished in third place in their division.   There are no real surprises for this season.  There will be some changes on the defensive line and some help coming for the secondary.  On offense, new guard Brian Fusco shores up an already very solid line.  Freeman and Coleman are as solid a running back duo as there is in the league.  Jones and Sanu are about the same at wide-out.  Then there is Matty Ice.  Perhaps more than any other team, the Falcons fate rests in the hands of the ball handler. If Ryan returns to 2016 form (or even a close facsimile thereof), the Falcons will be flying high.  The schedule is reasonable favorable with the possible pathetic AFC North and the mediocre NFC East coming up. Atlanta wins this division with an 11-5 record.

New Orleans Saints – First a tip of the gold and black hat to long-time Saints owner and all round bon vivant Tom Benson who died in March at the age of 90.  He tried to buck the image of the No Fun League with his antics – but likely also bears some responsibility for the targeting and injury payola scandal that cost his coach a full season.  Benson also managed to create one of the most loyal fan bases in the entire league.  Red and family were in New Orleans for the OTNA’s home game last season and just about everyone in the city was wearing black and gold in some form or fashion. And just between him and you, Red has no problems with a gold lame miniskirt on the right person.   Red was watching at a local pizza parlor and when the OTNAs went ahead by 15 with just over 3 minutes left, it seemed to be an ugly Sunday night in NO.  But Brees led an incredible comeback to tie the game and the Saints won on a 51 yard FG with about a minute left in OT.  So Red is hesitant to say this is the last hurrah for 39 year-old Drew Brees as he keeps performing at a high level.  And with Ingram and Kamara in the backfield, Brees doesn’t have to do as much.  At this point, only Brady is better at reading defenses and getting his team in the right set.  And then there is this fact which may have slipped your notice  – Michael Thomas’ 196 receptions are the most by anyone in the first two years of an NFL career. Ever.  The Saints’ defense has been retooled over the past two seasons and this season will show whether the pieces are finally fitting together.  As for the schedule, it poses some interesting possibilities. The Saints start with a two consecutive home games against the weaker sisters (Bucs and Browns) and finish with two home games (Stealers and Panthers). That means they are on the road for 8 of 12 weeks in the middle of the season.  The three game road stretch beginning on Nov. 29 may determine the Saints’ playoff fate.  Red thinks the Saints are is still a Wildcard team at 10-6.

Carolina Panthers – Red once believed, but no more.  The 2017 season was tumultuous at best with owner Jerry Richardson firing GM Dave Gettleman weeks before the start of the regular season, followed by his decision to sell the team after facing multiple workplace allegations, including sexual harassment and racial allegations.   The team seemed remarkably unfazed and had a chance to win the division before falling to the Falcons in Week 17.  Still they made the playoffs but cratered lost a high-scoring battle with the Saints and went home.  The offense is probably there, but Red just doesn’t see this defense keeping the Panthers in enough games to keep pace with the Saints or Falcons in 2018.  It comes down to the last three games against the Saints, Falcons and Saints.   Carolina can’t close the deal and goes 9-7 and goes home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Does Red really have to comment on this team.  Jameis Winston did nothing to show that he is the mythical “franchise quarterback” every team looks for.  So maybe it is a good thing he is suspended for the first three games of the season.   Note to JW:  Hell hath no fury like a female Uber driver groped.  The Bucs pathetic excuse for a defense (last in the NFL in total defense, sacks and third-down percentage) can only be better with the addition of former Eagles tackle Beau Allen and end Vinny Curry.  Whether tired old Jason Pierre-Paul had anything left in the tank is another story.  Running back is a question mark and only Mike Evans is the only true offensive superstar on this squad.  They will improve from last year’s sad 5-11 mark – but not enough.  Tampa Bay is 7-9 material at best.

Red’s NFL Picks – Conference Championships

Red was 2-2 in the Semis last week.  He would have been 3-1 if he had the courage of his convictions and stuck with the Eagles.  As we head to the final 3 games of the NFL season, Red reflects back a bit on what looked like a promising season for several teams.

First, the Texans – who had a brief flash of brilliance and the highest single game point total of the year with Deshaun Watson under center and then after he went down – well Red will fall back on one of his favorite quotes from Homer Simpson – “I’ve seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.”  And yet Texans fans are still stuck with the Bill O’ the Clown show.

Next, the Cowboys – Red had a feeling deep down inside that Dak Prescott would suffer from sophmoritis and a steadily declining offensive line.  The Cowboys had a 6 week stretch early on in the season where they actually remembered that you have to score points in reasonable numbers to win an NFL game.  From Weeks 3-9, the Boys actually averaged almost 32 points per game – going 4-2 with losses to the hot hands of the Packers and Rams.  Then they remembered they were the Cowboys and managed score a total of 22 points in a 3 game losing streak that put the shoulder pads up against the wall.  And then they rallied against the lowlifes of the league until the Seahawks put them out of their misery with a 21-12 drubbing in Arlington.  It seems every move that Genius Jerry made this season was rather bone-headed.  Other than Ryan Switzer being established as a credible return man – nothing much seemed to work out for Jerry.

And the Packers – who once again proved that A-Rodg is year in and year out one of the MVPs of the league.

Finally, the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders who might have been the biggest disappointment in the league and also proved that Jack Del Rio is an excellent defensive coordinator and in over his head as head coach.  Also, it seems the Beast is done for barring an amazing revival.  They had Red believing – but turned out to be a novelty act of the worst kind.

Your AFC Championship Pick of the Week –  Jaguars over Patriots.  Red has a little bit of that stuff he was smoking last week left over from picking the Titans to knock off the Superb Owl champs.  It must be powerful because he is riding it uphill again this week in taking the Jags to upset the Pats on the road.  The only possible reason for this pick is that Tom Coughlin seems to somehow have the Pats number having whipped them twice for the NFL Championship – with Eli Manning to boot.  The Jags have a helluva defense – no doubt and a credible offense despite the specter of Blake Bortles hanging about.  To win this one, the Jags must get to Brady early and often.  Anything less than 4 sacks, 8 quarterback hits and multiple pressures just won’t cut it.  Either that or a concussion protocol – not that Red is rooting for that to happen.  Meanwhile, the Pats defense has carried the team.  After a shaky first 4 weeks, the Pats gave up more than 20 points just twice the rest of the way – losing to the Dolphins and eking out a Zebra assisted win against the Stealers.  But it’s not like the Pats offense are a bunch of slouches either.  If Jags can keep it close and low-scoring , they just might win this thing.  Jacksonville 27 New England 20.  

Your NFC Championship Pick of the Week – Vikings over Eagles.  Well sports fans, that was the most incredible finish to an NFL game since either the Music City Miracle or the Immaculate Reception depending on your point of view.  The Vikings probably deserved to win that game anyway, but really?  So can the Vikings come back down to earth in time to beat the Eagles Sunday night?  Well, Timmy (Red’s been waiting all year for this), that there Case Keenum fellow seems to have put the black magic fuckery in a Gatorade bottle and has the ability to break it out when needed.  But Uncle Red, “don’t the Eagles have a chance,” Danny asks.  Of course they do, Billy.  But you see there was this tall guy named Carson Wentz who old Papa Red picked out as the best in class a couple of years ago and well he got slobber-knockered a few weeks back and well, Jimmy, that was probably it for the Eagles.  Still, Willy, they have a slim chance if CK somehow decides he can still keep throwing up balls for grabs and not be punished like a repeat felon.  It’s called “ball control” and if the Vikings can hold on to the rock for say – 35 minutes Sammy, they can win this thing and be the first team ever to play on home turf in the Superb Owl era.  The odds were it had to happen some day Ricky, and Sunday is the day.  Minnesota 28 Philadelphia 24.

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!