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NFC North 2015 Preview – Minnesota Vikings

This week in my NFC North preview of the Minnesota Vikings.

I’m weary of this team for the 2015 NFL season.

Last season, they were on the cusp of being a great time. The season record was 7-9, but they had some close games that could have gone the other way. When you see the Vikings on your schedule, you don’t get to automatically put it in the win category.

 

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2014 Vikings record

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last season had some new beginnings for the Vikings. It was the first under head coach Mike Zimmer. In fact, it was coach Zimmer’s fist season ever as a head coach. There obviously is a big learning curve heading into a head coaching position, so the 2015 season might be the time Zimmer starts to shine. Prior to that he was the defensive coach for the Bengals from 2008-2013.

Last season was also rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s first season. He did fairly well, especially with all the quarterback reshuffling over there. Remember Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Bridgewater were all fighting for the starting position. Ponder lost out to a fight between Cassel and Bridgewater with Bridgewater ultimately becoming the man in Minnesota.

 

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Teddy Bridgewater 2014 stats

 

Now, with Bridgewater as the clear starting quarterback going into the 2015 season, he will get all of training camp and all first team reps. It should be interesting to see how he progresses. His back up is veteran Shaun Hill.

Adrian Peterson is the biggest game changer for the Minnesota Vikings for the 2015 season. He only played one game for the Vikes in 2014 due to child abuse charges that were ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor for beating his 4-year-old with a switch. Peterson sparked public outcry and a national debate on how America views child abuse, and how cultural history plays a role.

The Vikings 7-9 record was due in part to losing the workhorse of the team. The team was centered around Adrian Peterson and the loss of him as their running back was detrimental. They did not make great adjustments. Peterson is one of only several running backs in history to break the 2000 yard mark in a single season. Of course the team is built around him.

There was a bunch of rumors in the offseason that Peterson would go to Houston or the Cowboys because Peterson didn’t want to play for Minnesota anymore. However, those rumors, while they may have been true, did not pan out. AP now has a 3 year contract with the Vikings and may finish his career there.

Greg Jennings was let go from the Vikings, which is interesting to me because as a Green Bay fan, it’s always interesting to see how wide receivers flourish under Mike McCarthy and seemingly do terrible once in another organization (think James Jones). It looks like the Vikings will be staying with Cordarrelle Patterson, Charles Johnson, and Jarius Wright.

Other Vikings departures

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So who did the Vikings pick up in the draft?

First round they picked up Trae Waynes, a corner back. Second round was Eric Kendricks, an inside linebacker. Third round they picked up Hunter, a defensive end, and Clemmings, and outside tackle.

Okay.

I get the corner back. The Vikings have some serious enemy wide receivers to contend with in regards to Calvin Johnson of the Lions and Nelson of the Packers. Not a bad move.

As for defense, the Vikings picked up someone that will inevitably be mentioned twice a year when the Packers play the Vikings. Casey Matthews, brother of Green Bay Packers star linebacker, Clay Matthews III, was a free agent and thus picked up. His previous team was the Eagles. I’m not sure his stats are so impressive.

Here is the current 2015 Minnesota Vikings roster as of today.

We shall see how the rest plays out.

As for coaching, I already mentioned Zimmer. The defensive coordinator is George Edwards. The offensive coordinator is Norv Turner.

On a side note, coaching on the Vikings seems to be a family affair. Zimmer’s son, Adam, is the linebackers coach. Scott Turner, son of Norv Turner, is the quarterbacks coach. Hmmm.

Here is the 2015 Minnesota Vikings schedule

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Good luck to the Green Bay Packers against these Minnesota Vikings. It’s definitely not going to be easy to win against them this year.

 

NFC North 2015 Preview – Chicago Bears

Bears logoIf you can believe it, the 2015-2016 NFL season begins Thursday September 10th on NBC at 8:30pm EST with the Steelers at the Patriots.

That means we only have a little over 7 weeks to go.

Sweet!

Really sweet, because now that the Women’s World Cup is over, it really is drought season.

Therefore, for the next four weeks, I will preview the NFC North division for the 2015-2016 season. I will save my favorite for last, of course, the Green Bay Packers.

Let us start with the team we all love to make fun of in the NFC North – the Chicago Bears.

The problem is, they make it too easy on us.

In my preview last year, I said the best off-season signing for the Green Bay Packers was that the Bears signed Cutler to a huge deal.

That is still the best thing to happen to us now.

It’s hard for the Chicago Bears to really make a lot of moves when there is still so much money tied up with Mr. Debbie Downer, a.k.a., Mr. Sad Face, a.k.a., Mr. Emo.

And moves they need to make. I must admit, I was even astonished when I looked up their record from last season. Gulp. Really? 5 wins? 5 measly wins? Yikes.

Back in the day, when Cutler first came to Chicago, he pushed to get Brandon Marshall to the glorious state of Illinois. However, those days have ended. Mr. Marshall is now a Gang-Green, which, by the way, as a nurse, just makes me think gangrene, which pretty much sums up the Jets as a horrible, stinking, rotting flesh of a team. Pretty accurate, huh.

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Brandon Marshall stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any who, word out of the internets state that Marshall said the best quarterback he has played for is Kyle Orton. Gosh, dang. Poor Cutler, even his go-to-guy didn’t set him in any good light.

Ouch.

So, who do the Chicago Bears have going into the 2015-2016 NFL season? Here is their depth chart.

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Hmm. That doesn’t tell me much.

Some positives to take away. They still have Forte and Jeffery. Green Bay is undoubtedly the team to beat in 2015, at least for now. I’d be very, very weary of those Vikings if I were you, but that is a story for another time.

What I’m saying is, the run is our weak spot. Perhaps if they can get some good run blocking this season, they will have a shot to split the meetings with us.

A super huge positive is the coaching change up.

I liked Trestman. I’m not gonna lie. However, liking someone and seeing results is another story. Winning 5 games is a way to get yourself fired. However, bringing in a new coaching staff for Cutler also doesn’t seem like something Cutler is  too willing to work with.

Interesting, Trestman is the new Offensive Coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. He is replacing Gary Kubiak as the Offensive Coordinator who is now the head coach of the Denver Broncos (who was once the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 1995-2005 leading them to 2 Super Bowl wins, one against Brett Favre and the GBP) … replacing John Fox because …

John Fox is the new head coach of the Chicago Bears!

Huh?

I gotta say Denver … what?!?!?!?

Fine, Denver wants to get rid of John Fox, but you always gotta ask yourself, who are you going to get better than who you already have?

Gary Kubiak is not it.

Here is Kubiak’s head coaching record. This is simply the fact that John Elway worked under him during those 2 Super Bowl wins. Otherwise, there is no reason for this.

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Kubiak record

 

Anyway, I digress. Back to Chicago and John Fox.

John Fox was essentially brought on in Denver when the team was in the same boat at the Bears are now. After multiple lack-lusters seasons, the last straw was the 2010 season for Denver (4 wins). They had a record even worse than what Chicago has now (5 wins).

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Denver record

 

Perfect timing for Mr. Fox.

The following season, 2011, broke even for Denver, and after that had winning records. Unfortunately, the post-season outcomes were not up to Elway’s demands. A humiliating loss in the Super Bowl against Seattle 2 years ago and last year being forced out of the race by the Colts was too much.

Now, onto Chicago.

Fox is bringing with him offensive coordinator Gase. Apparently, Peyton Manning loved him. That’s high praise from someone who can basically call all the plays on the offense and play QB at the same time. Gase spent 6 seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.

Fox also brought on board defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Not sure if this is John Fox’s doing, probably not, but I’ll just throw it in here as well … Ryan Pace will be the new general manager of the Bears.

Ultimately, this is a huge shakeup for the Bears. Much like in Denver, I at least see all of these changes bring the bears up to an 8-8 record.

That will be dependent on the schedule …

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Possible wins are as follows:

Raiders

Kansas City

Redskins

Tampa Bay

Jeez-Louise. I take it back. I see them going with 5 or 6 wins. I just don’t think they have the weapons.

That’s my recap for the NFC North Chicago Bears.

See you all next week!

I just don’t care about deflategate

I just don’t care about deflategate. I really don’t. I know, I know, but there are all these rules … and regulations … and people cheated …

Let’s make this simple.

My thoughts on this case

Tom Brady probably knew the balls were deflated –

I don’t care

There are rules about ball inflation –

I don’t care

It gave the Patriots an advantage –

Due to ball inflation? I don’t care

This taints Tom Brady’s legacy –

No it doesn’t

This taints the Patriots legacy –

No it doesn’t

The Patriots didn’t deserve to win the Super Bowl –

Don’t be absurd, of course they did

Tom Brady should be suspended for 8 weeks to the whole season –

Don’t be absurd, no he doesn’t

I feel like the NFL is making a much bigger deal out of this than they should. People are up in arms over the inflation of the ball and about the fact that a rule was broken. First off, get rid of the rule. If Aaron Rodgers likes the ball overinflated and Tom Brady likes it under inflated, who gives a shit? People who would complain about this type of thing (I’m looking at you Colts) are fucking ridiculous. The Colts should have invested their time into a better running back and not trying to operate some stupid fucking sting operation.

Also, I really don’t think the fans care about ball inflation. It’s an ancillary fact, a minor detail that is an individual’s preference. If an under inflated ball gave everyone an advantage it might move one millimeter up on my “who gives a fuck” meter, but that’s not the case. Aaron Rodgers has said he likes it overinflated. So there you are – case by case issue that’s not even an issue. The mere fact that Tom Brady had to sneak around the get the balls to feel the way he wants them to is absurd. Just fix the rule.

While we are at it, let’s talk about other things in the NFL I don’t give a fuck about.

These stupid marijuana suspensions. I don’t give a shit. Some player wants to smoke a little weed in his downtime, by all means, go ahead. Who cares? I know, I know, it’s about player reputation and how the kids view their idols. But dope? And suspensions over it? Come on.

Suspending a player because he doesn’t want to speak to the media. I don’t give a shit. Absolutely zero fucks given. Those post game conferences are so stupid they make my skin crawl. I can not imagine having to sit through them. Get rid of them. If they can’t be eliminated, then how about shorten them to two minutes. If you have an important question to ask, then it can be asked in two minutes. There is no need to drag out over, what, 30 minutes to an hour about why the Packers lost to the Hawks in the NFC championship game? How many times can they say they blew it? Asking how does Aaron Rodgers feel after a loss like that? How do you think asshole?

Things I do give a shit about?

NFL International series – you do realize how moronic that sounds .. National Football League International …idiots

1. Player safety.

Suh, Incognito, Raiola, and the entire Saints defense are the true scandals of the game. To go out and try and hurt another player is immoral. That’s a guy’s life – not just financially, but physically as well. The pain that some of these players will endure for the rest of their lives will be traumatic, why would a fellow champion of the NFL try and diminish another human’s quality of life? That is something I care about.

2. Getting the penalties and flags right in a game.

There is nothing worse than getting a call wrong. That’s something I care about, not stupid PSI.

3. Adding teams to the playoffs.

Just don’t do it.

stop smiling asshole

4. Games in London.

Just fucking stop with this bullshit already. There is no way it is fair for Seattle, Oakland or another west coast team to have to fly all the way to London for a game. An east coast team playing a west coast team in London is the definition of unfair.

NFL, stop being so fucking greedy. Play a damn preseason game over there if you want. No regular season games. Stop being assholes.

5. Women not getting beat by NFL players. Women not getting raped by now NFL players.

Ricky Williams wanting to smoke some pot doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s not even in the same spectrum. He didn’t knock someone unconscious. He didn’t pull up at a stop light and execute someone. Ricky Williams was suspended from the Miami Dolphins for 4 games for testing positive for weed. Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely, but low and behold, he won his appeal. Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder. We now have a number one draft pick with Jameis Winston, who is now counter suing his accuser. My, God. I would be so unbelievably pissed if the Packers had signed Winston. I know, I know, Aaron Rodgers isn’t going anywhere. I’m just saying in a world where the Packers needed a QB and Jameis Winston was available, I would disown the Packers if they drafted him.

Because that is something I care about. Not these piddly marijuana rules, not how much air should be in a ball.

Deflategate? Who gives a shit …

 

 

Go For Two: Green Bay Packers Draft Selection

Well, it’s over. We know who we drafted. Here is the list:

 

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I like the fact that overall our first two picks were defense. Clearly, that is our need. It was a bit tough on us this year in the draft as our designated picks in each round were quite late. That’s tough. However, in years past, we have received some great picks in later rounds, albeit a little bit earlier in the round.

Jordy Nelson: 2nd round pick 36 overall

Randall Cobb: 2nd round pick 64 overall

Davante Adams: 2nd round pick 53 overall

Clay Matthews: 1st round 26th overall

Greg Jennings: 2nd round 52 overall

Tramon Williams: Undrafted free agent (in my opinion one of the best)

What I can not understand is drafting another wide receiver. I best see someone on special teams returning the ball instead of Hyde and Cobb.

Everyone can speculate all they want as to who was a good draft pick and who wasn’t. I can’t imagine a world where Aaron Rodgers is not our QB. However, I could have said the same thing in 2003. Yet, in 2007, I was screaming during the NFC championship game against the NY Giants to put “whoever the fucking backup is” in the game. Farve just looked cold and like he didn’t want to be there. It was overtime. He threw an interception. It’s what he did. The reason he was so “fun” to watch was you never knew the outcome because he was always making great/break decisions.

Now, my favorite player of all time is Aaron Rodgers — over Favre. Well, that wasn’t a hard choice as Rodgers is more consistent, a nicer guy, and so far, hasn’t sent dick-pics and cried on stage about retiring only to try and come back the very same year.

Only time will tell. I look forward to seeing the outcome.

Go Pack Go.

 

 

 

Go For Two: My thoughts on the Green Bay Packers 2015 schedule

Yay! The 2015 NFL schedule came out!

A few days ago the NFL 2015 schedule came out. Yay! I love any and all information about the NFL. Well, save for the unending information that is coming out of the Philadelphia Eagles headquarters. Chip Kelly is really going bat-shit crazy with his new role as the Eagles personnel manager. He now has on his QB roster: Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Mark Sanchez. Although, Tim’s contract is for zero guaranteed.

Now there is talk that he is going to make a three-way trade to get Mariota.

On to the good stuff …

Here is the schedule for the Green Bay Packers.

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The first thing that jumps out to me is that we don’t have the NFL opening kickoff game. Phew. That has really stung us the last few years. There is a lot of talk about how the Packers have started the past few seasons with a 1-2 start, however that doesn’t take into account our opening games.

2014 Seattle Seahawks (NFL Opening kickoff game). GB lost in spectacular fashion in the NFC Championship game to the Seattle Seahawks. Started season 1-2.

2013 San Francisco 49ers (lost the year before to SF in the divisional round). Started 1-2.

2012 San Francisco 49ers. Started season 1-2.

2011 New Orleans Saints (NFL Opening kickoff game) Lost to the Giants this year in the divisional round. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. We went 15-1 this year.

So as you can see, we started the last 3 years with a 1-2 season, but we played the Super Bowl champions and the 49ers that have been our Achilles Heel the past few years.

We needed a first game break, and we got it this year. Although, we do see Seattle the second week. I don’t know that we are going to beat them this year either, however, in our favor is home field advantage. I do think the NFC Championship game would have turned out differently if we had had home field advantage last year.

Complaints: I think the NFL is over Green Bay. I do not think it is fair to have 4 back to back divisional games, especially in the middle of the season. If someone gets hurt there is no cushion. I think that is ridiculous. I also don’t love the fact that there are two Thursday games, although, we do play on Thanksgiving, as do the Lions, and the Lions also have back to back Thursday games, so at least there is some divisional fairness there.

 

Image courtesty of SFGGothamClub First thoughts on teams. Ugh. I really don’t want to have to play Seattle again, but our nemesis, the 49ers, are going to have an absolutely shit year. What idiots those losers are. To fire their coach (I don’t care what the press releases say, that was a firing), demolish their defense, and as for their offense … jeez. They have no running back. I’m not quite certain who their receivers are this year. I will say this, the Santa Clara Niners have unveiled that all the 2016 Super Bowl activities will be held in downtown San Francisco, in Herman Plaza and on Market street leading up to the Ferry Building. It is called Fan Village. Fuck you guys. We all know Santa Clara is awful. Niners – you want to move your team to Santa Clara? Then deal with the repercussions and get out of my (well, old) city. Don’t bogart the city you left. Try and entertain people in your strip malls in Santa Clara. Yeah, I’m hating, so what?

Thoughts on the division: Look, I don’t know what to say about the Bears. Jay Cutler seems to have lost the confidence of not only his locker room, but the entire NFL. The Bears just lost Brandon Marshall, which is a big deal for Cutler as he was basically the one who wanted Marshall brought over from Denver. Speaking of Denver, John Fox is now the coach of the Bears. That makes me nervous. I can’t think for the life of me why Denver let go of Fox to get … Kubiak? Overall, over 13 years, John Fox has 119 wins and 89 losses. His last 4 years with Denver he has a win record of 46 wins and 18 losses. That’s a .719 percentage. Gary Kubiak over 8 years has 61 wins and 64 loses. That’s a .488 percentage. Why on Earth would you make that trade? I think you always have to ask yourself, who are you going to get better if you let the current person go? If the answer is no one, then you stay with who you have.

Detroit is interesting this year as they have lost Suh. The Vikings are on the brink. They are teetering just at being a winning team. When I look at the GBP schedule, I do not think of the Vikings as an easy win.

The NFL Draft is coming up soon, I’m pretty excited. I still want to draft a defensive coordinator, but, from what I understand, that’s not what the draft is about. Darn it! I am looking to get a tight-end, even though Rodgers likes Rodgers. I would like more of a blocking tight-end. Mostly, on defense, we need to replace A.J. Hawk and we need a shutdown corner. That is what I would be looking for in the draft. Based on our schedule, with the Hawks, Niners, and Vikings, we need to draft someone who can stop a Quarterback from moving outside of the pocket, more specifically, making long runs like Kaepernick has done to us in years past and what Russell Wilson did to us in the NFC Championship game. You remember the play, the broken play where Ha Ha Clinton Dix was left standing there like an idiot and our outside linebacker #53 Nick Perry left his man.

Until next time!

 

 

Thank God for Randall Cobb

I was very worried that we were going to let Randall Cobb walk. It’s been known to happen before, for example, Greg Jennings.

 

However, hopefully both the Packers and Cobb came to the decision to remain in business together because of Greg Jennings.

 

Greg Jennings was our primary receiver in Green Bay before he left. We had the triple threat of Jennings, Nelson, and James Jones with the emerging Cobb. Up until 2013, we also had the threat of Jermichael Finley; despite his inconsistencies, he was still a match-up problem for defenses.

 

In 2013 we lost Greg Jennings and we then had our triple threat as Nelson, Jones, and Cobb. Cobb really stepped up to the plate by replacing Jennings. However, after week 7 of the 2013 season, we lost Finley to injury.

 

It became more apparent what a loss Finley and Jennings were.

 

Then, in 2014, we didn’t have James Jones either. With the loss of the third receiver, our production since Jennings left in 2013 seemed to be missing that killer edge. No longer did we have a consistent 3rd receiver. Davante Adams stepped up, but was still making rookie mistakes. We didn’t have a good tight-end that could consistently take the pressure off either. Every time the ball was thrown Rodgers or Quarless’s way, did you not hold your breath?

 

Which brings me back to the Cobb contract. If we had had a viable third option in the NFC championship game, we may have won the game. We only scored 6 points in the second half. A great defense like Seattle is going to have Nelson and Cobb covered, what we didn’t have was that third threat, certainly not a fourth. What made us so lethal for a few years was having Jennings, Nelson, and Jones + Finley; or Nelson, Cobb, and Jones + Finley. What if we had had Jones, Finley, or Jennings? I think we would have won.

 

We could not afford to lose Cobb, too. That would have put us with only Nelson remaining, no slot, no second receiver, and no developed tight-end. It would have been a huge problem.

 

Davante Adams seems like he will make the leap from rookie to second year receiver. Perhaps if Cobb’s contract was after the 2015 season, it would be a different story. Apparently, Aaron Rodgers loves tight-end Rodgers. Aaron states he has the best hands he has seen. Just think, now that we have secured Cobb, if Davante Adams can become that third receiver and Rodgers can become a well-rounded tight-end we will be as lethal as the year we won the Super Bowl.  A great well-rounded tight-end or 3rd receiver will also free up Lacy to being more productive as a running back. Plus, if Rodgers can block more too, then that will open running lanes as well.

 

The second thing that Jennings may have contributed to Cobb resigning with Green Bay is that Jennings looks miserable in Minnesota. His production has fallen off, and now, after only 2 years, the Vikes are considering releasing him. A similar situation has occurred for James Jones in Oakland. Yes, he was our third receiver and put up more yards in 2013 than any other receiver in the NFL, but once he went to Oakland, that production dropped way, way off. Leaving Green Bay has not been kind to these receivers. Cobb may have learned from their mistakes. Taking a few million less is the best deal because he can remain competitive in Packers nation, get himself in some record books, and perhaps win a Super Bowl. Us common folk know this for a fact — being in a crappy job is the worst thing. Coming to an environment that you hate is the worst. I would certainly take a small pay cut if that meant that my every day life would be better.

 

Here are some other things to look at. Cobb is the second best receiver on our team right now. People love the Packers. People love Cobb. Look at all of the endorsement deals that Aaron Rodgers gets. Greg Jennings even had old spice commercials while he was with the Pack. Matthews has endorsement deals, too. Cobb remaining with a good team and putting up good numbers will attract endorsements. That will by far make up the remaining difference between the contracts.

 

Look at how many endorsements Greg Jennings has now? None. What about James Jones? None.

 

Some say that with Cobb signing 4 years with the Packers may improve his chances at getting a large contract again when the 4 years are up. He will only be 28 years old at that time. This is another thing Cobb may have learned from Jennings. Yes, Jennings deal with the Vikings got him a big deal, but he might not even finish his current contract before the Vikings release him. Someone might sign him again, but chances are for very low money. By Cobb taking a few million less now, it may help a future contract if he has a Super Bowl under his belt and the same type of yards he has last season.

 

All I have to say is I am super happy to have Cobb on our team for the next four years. I love my team. I love the players. There isn’t a bad seed amongst them.

 

On a final note, I feel so bad for the Lions losing Suh. It’s excellent news for the Pack, but, oh, man, the Lions. That defense was what got it done. It is remarkable that Suh who is known for his bad attitude and crappy moral code, went to the Dolphins where the culture fits his had attitude. Man, how things work out.

 

 

Go For Two: February really is the loneliest month

Rodgers, you are so sexy; I’d be staring at you the whole time as well

February is the worst time of year. It begins the season of drought –my beloved NFL season is over.

This year, it is particularly hard to let go of the NFL for three reasons: the end of the season for the Packers was such a good one, an excellent, albeit, heartbreaking NFC Championship game, and a pretty spectacular Super Bowl.

The question in February is always, now what?

It’s not hockey. I just don’t like it; although, that is probably terrible of me to say, seeing as I’m from Detroit, a.k.a., Hockeytown. I’ve been to countless games; I still just don’t care.

I know what you are thinking … what about the NBA? The NBA has been a little lackluster lately. I recently moved to San Diego, and there isn’t a NBA team here. The closest are: LA Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Phoenix Suns.

Ugh.

You be you; thank you for that

I can’t root for the Lakers, because … let’s be serious. I can’t root for the Clippers after that Chris Paul statement. Nothing brings out the feminist in me more than stating: “If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”

Yeah. You know what’s not for me? Rooting for a team whose star player would say something like that.

As for the Suns. I don’t know … I don’t have anything against them, just … meh.

My Detroit Pistons are doing better this year, so I will probably watch a game or two, but not with the fevered intensity that I’m looking for in a sports event.

February really is the loneliest month.

Things will pick up in March though. I adore March Madness and will be ready with time scheduled for an intensive 4 day Sports Center viewing binge with brackets in hand. I love my Michigan State Spartans and wish them the best this year.

The only thing is, it’s just a brief reprieve – March 15th into the very beginning of April. April 6th is the Championship game.

Then, almost a whole month without any sports, until …

The best-of-the-best glimpse into what we are really missing! NFL football! The 2015 NFL draft will be held in Chicago this year (the first time it hasn’t been in New York since 1965) from April 30th to May 2nd.

However, on the boredom between NFL seasons debacle, there is good news this year. There is one more tasty treat to tie me over until the beginning of the 2015 NFL season. FIFA Women’s World Cup! I am so super excited for this. I am in love with our Women’s National Team. I can’t wait to see who will make the team (although, I just looked for my favorite player, Rapinoe, and I don’t see her! WTH?!). I wonder if my beloved Japanese team will be good this year? What about the German team? So many stories yet to unfold. That starts June 6th and runs until July 5th. Here is the FIFA Women’s World Cup schedule.

Then, nothingness. Zero until Thursday September 10th — the opening game of the NFL season. The Patriots get this honor and, although the team has not been determined yet, I do believe that it will be Denver or Dallas. They like to highlight a hard-fought battle from the year before, and those two teams look like the best choices. However, side note, go check out the 2015 Patriots opponents. They could repeat this year easily. Maybe not repeat a Super Bowl win, but repeat going to the big game. Jacksonville? Houston? Titans? Wow.

I know what you are thinking — I forgot baseball. Don’t be ridiculous. You go to a baseball game for the food and the beer in the cheapest bleacher seats you can find. You don’t go to watch the game. You certainly don’t stay home and put the game on. I have tried. My really good friend loves the San Francisco Giants. I watched a few select games from the playoffs. It’s just … not for me.

Ho-hum. I already miss you, NFL. I will fill the void with mere substitutes of you for the next few months, with the only real reprieves coming from March Madness and FIFA Women’s World Cup.

See you soon. Love you.

Go Pack Go.

 

Go For Two: Week 15

What the hell, man? Week 15! The season is almost over! No!!!!!!!!!!

Thankfully the next three weeks should be fantastic.

These are the NFL Week 15 games to watch …

Dolphins (7-6, 9th seed) at Patriots (10-3, 1st seed): I thought this would be a game of the week, and while I would very much enjoy watching it, when I researched playoff rankings, the Dolphins are currently the 9th seed. I’m not so sure they make it into the spectacular this year. So, if I am simply picking games based on playoff race, this puppy doesn’t make it into week 15 games to watch. That makes me sad and that’s why I am not erasing this as a slot in the game of the week. Love you Tannehill.

Broncos (10-3, 2nd seed) at Chargers (8-5, 6th seed): Everyone needs to stop with the Peyton is showing is age just because he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. You know what, I take that back, he is showing his age, through maturity. He wants to win. If a rushing TD gets him that win, that’s all he cares about. Dan Marino was the best of the best, never won a Super Bowl. Peyton wants the Super Bowl.

As for this game, the Chargers are barely holding onto that 6th seed. The Chargers will not take the AFC West division champs from the Broncos, so the Chargers really need to win this game by hook-or-by-crook to keep their wild card hopes alive. The Chargers, Steelers, Ravens are all 8-5. The Steelers (8-5, 5th seed), may or may not beat the Falcons, the Bengals (8-4-1, 4th seed) may or may not beat the Browns, but the Ravens (8-5, 7th seed) are going to beat the Jaguars. The Chargers still have the Niners (7-6) and the Chiefs (7-6, 10th seed) yet to go. The Chargers may be waiving bye-bye to their playoff hopes based on strength of schedule. Ravens have the Texans and the Browns left and the Steelers have Chiefs and Bengals. Ravens have the easiest schedule. Look for some movement over the next few weeks that does not bode well for the Chargers.

Niners (7-6, 8th seed) at Hawks (9-4, 5th seed): This will be such a good game. I hate the Niners, and I will love watching them implode during this game. I have never seen a bigger bunch of cry babies in the league — fans and players included. The Niners should move over to the English Premier League where whining, flopping, and throwing your arms up in the air over the littlest infraction is common place. It’s fine in soccer, it’s been like that forever. That’s not how you conduct yourself in the National Football League. Look at the Rams. People love the Rams because while they will not win the division or go to the playoffs, they conduct themselves with pride. The Vikings play every game with pride. Good for them and their fans. Niners fans are burning their Kaepernick jerseys. You know what? I bet the Niners of the past are glad that Candlestick closed. This new generation doesn’t deserve to be associated with the glory of the past.

Cowboys (9-4, 7th seed) at Eagles (9-4, 3rd seed): This is the game of the week. Eagles (3rd seed), Hawks (5th seed), Lions (6th seed), and Cowboys (7th seed) all have a 9-5 record. That makes this game between division rivals that much more important and to a lot of teams. Clearly, the wild card is hotly contested which makes winning the division that much more crucial.

These two teams are pretty evenly matched, statistically speaking, save for passing. The Eagles come in at 8th and outrank the 18th overall Cowboys. However, some of those stats are due to Foles, and not Mark Sanchez. Cowboys already lost to Philadelphia at home and this game will be in Philly. I have no idea how Tony Romo’s back is holding up, but I can’t expect well. I’m sure in years to come he will be complaining of mind-numbing pain all over his body and will realize that it wasn’t worth it at all. Some young punk will come on the Cowboys roster and Jerry Jones will be like “Tony who?” It’s the sad state of affairs in the league, well, any profession. There is always someone there to take your place.

Just like someone very well may take the Eagles place as the 3rd seed.

~Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at <a class=”skimlinks-unlinked” title=””

Go For Two: NFL Week 14 Games To Watch

What games should you watch NFL Week 14?

Seahawks (8-4) at Eagles (9-3): For me, this is the game of the week. The Seahawks, while a little sluggish there for awhile, have really worked out the kinks. Seattle beating San Francisco in such spectacular fashion was awesome. Not only did it help Seattle in their playoff hopes, but it seems to have stirred the bear in the Niners camp. That loss was locker room poison for the Niners. Now the GM is apologizing for his daughter’s tweets, people are calling for Harbaugh (Michigan just fired Hoke) to be traded, and now Colin Kaepernick is the worst quarterback and sucks. Jeez. I bet the Raiders would love to have the “problem” of having Harbaugh as their coach. He took them to the NFC championship game three years in a row. Colin Kaepernick? The kid has been using his legs this whole time with his happy feet and therefore is a little slow on the staying in the pocket curve that other quarterbacks have learned since Kid Kap has entered the league. He will learn his check downs.Yet, in the meantime, I fear the Niners playoff hopes have been dashed because of their internal inability to see the larger picture.

That’s what makes this game so important. With a Seahawks win and a Cardinals loss, the Hawks will be tied in the division. The Eagles will then be 9-4 and will be in jeopardy of sharing the lead with the Cowboys should they win against the Bears. The Bears, while terrible, are not an automatic win. Should the Cowboys lose the Eagles will have a little bit more leeway.

Eagles had an impressive win with Mark Sanchez over the Cowboys. Cowboys better get their act together because wins won’t come easy against the Bears and Colts, plus they have to face the Eagles again on Philly turf.

That’s what is so exciting about this game. It’s the time of year in football where so many scenarios can be played out. A loss for one team can mean a playoff for another. I love this time of year.

Ravens (7-5) at Dolphins (7-5): These two teams are both fighting for a chance to enter the playoffs. Right now, they are in a battle for the wild card. That could change with a Ravens and Steelers win. The Ravens still have a shot at being the North champ, but will still need this win to at least enter as a wild card. Dolphins, in my opinion, are only playing for a wild card. I like Tannehill … a lot. I hope for a Dolphins win.

Steelers (7-5) at Bengals (8-3-1): This is still anyone’s division in the AFC North. Both these teams have had their ups and downs this season. One week they look fantastic, and the next, awful. This is a game for those AFC North fans. It’s a good one to watch.

I don’t care who wins.

On a side note, your Go For Two writer as of Thanksgiving weekend now lives in San Diego. I won’t ever stop being a Green Bay Packers fan, but have always looked forward to rooting for my “hometown”. Sadly, that has never, ever happened for me. I did not like the Lions, even though I was born in Detroit. Then, I moved to San Francisco and abhorred the Niners. At least with the Lions I enjoyed going to the games and if the Packers weren’t in the playoffs, I could be happy about the Lions doing well. That never happened with the Niners. They are too ridiculous. Now, sadly, my home team is the Chargers. Ugh. Why? Why Phillip Rivers?I have been very vocal about disliking the completely unlikable Phillip Rivers. Once Rivers is out of a job, I may be able to become a Chargers fan. Yet, until that day, I am still unlucky in my home teams.

~Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Go For Two: NFL week 7 games of the week

What a week 6! Cowboys beat the Seahawks? God, now the Cowboys will never stop being the game of the week, or the game picked to be shown on regular television when the Niners or Raiders aren’t on. Blech.

Some things we learned, Patriots were counted out too early. Joe Flacco had a huge week. The Falcons are on a downward slide, and the Browns are a legit, winning football team? Well, let’s not get a head of ourselves, but they are 3-2 and are at .600.

Who’s the best in the NFC East? Well, the Eagles made fast work of the Giants, so they aren’t going to be too keen on all the glory going to the Cowboys.

The week had some very, very thrilling games. Green Bay Packers versus the Miami Dolphins goes without saying. It came down to the last 3 minutes and Green Bay needed a lot of heroics to win that game. A Rodgers fumble almost ended the game with 1:37 remaining, but a head’s up play by Lang occurred when he quickly fell on the ball. In all actuality, it really came down to the last six seconds. The play before went to a rookie, Adams, on a fake snap and the last play to a backup now starter (?) tight end in Quarless.

The Bengals and the Panthers went into overtime and they came out the other side STILL tied. San Diego and Oakland was a close game, but I didn’t see it, as I don’t give two craps about either of those teams.

This all begs the question, what surprises will come during week 7?

Week 7 games:

Bengals (3-1-1) at Colts (4-2): This should be a good game. The leads in the AFC North and AFC South will battle it out. It was a big disappointment when Cincinnati did not get a win against the Panthers. They had every opportunity. The kicker missed the big one, and that was that. The Bengals and the Colts have good offenses, but where this battle will be fought is on the Bengals defense, which is ranked 28th overall. Andrew Luck and company have the potential to put up big numbers and this Bengals defense is going to have it’s hands full. It could be a shootout, but if the Bengals defense doesn’t step it up, the Colts might do a repeat of the Jaguars or the Titans, and have a blowout.

Panthers (3-1-1) at Packers (4-2): This is a tough game. Even our Eligible Receiver writers can’t decide to get on, or off, the Panthers bandwagon. One week they look great, the next week, not so much. What will they bring against the Packers?

The Packers are obviously coming off a huge high from their last drive-for-a-win against the Miami Dolphins. The thing is, on paper, the GBP look like crap. 26th overall offense, 19th on overall defense. I get the offense because Eddie Lacy keeps shitting eggs every week, save for one – the Vikings game (not really too competitive eh?) I know this not only because the GBP are my favorite team, but I have him on my fantasy team and his ass is getting benched. If he improves later in the year, I’ll give him the start, but right now, come on dude — get it together.

A little more surprising is that the GBP are 20th in passing. Really, the great Aaron Rodgers isn’t up there in the stats? That’s concerning. We’ve been missing this season a great third receiver option. Perhaps after last week in Miami, Davante Adams, the rookie who had the head’s up play of the game by catching Rodgers faked spike, will now fulfill that role left vacant my James Jones from last year, and two years ago from Greg Jennings. (FYI, I always get a little happy when receivers leave a team for more money and then they wind-up on shitty-shitty teams. You’re welcome to the money Raiders James Jones and Minnesota Vikings Greg Jennings.)

49ers (4-2) at Broncos (4-1): These two teams are pretty evenly matched, save for the Broncos poor showing at the run. It will be interesting to see how the Niners do against the Broncos. Niners have won against two good teams, Dallas and Eagles, but were a little too close for comfort against the Rams who had to get their quarterback off the street and was actually released from the team at one point. One of their two losses was to Chicago, which is still trying to determine it’s identity. The Cardinals are also a mixed bag, as they are a good team with a lot of injuries. The Broncos will prove to be their hardest challenge yet.

As for the Broncos, they have handily beat all the teams they won against. Their only loss was to Seattle, in Seattle. I feel as if, much like the GBP Achilles heel is the Niners, so is Seattle the Achilles heel of Denver.

Therefore, the Niners will be a great challenge for Denver and I think that absolutely can win.

I look forward to this game. I do believe it is the game of the week.

Side notes:

Are you thinking I left out the Saints at the Lions. No, no I did not.

Also, as is the tradition this year, yet another horrible Monday night game. Honestly? Who picks these? Yes, Monday’s game between the Rams and the Niners ended up being better than we thought, but still, come on. That wound-up being a good turn-of-luck. This week, ughh. Steelers at home against the Texans. Why? Seriously, why?

Side notes 2:

Get better guys, we need our starting cornerbacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com