All posts by rmaccallum

NFL: Week 5 Picks


Call me an idiot, but yes, I picked Ryan Mallett/Brian Hoyer laying points last night. But, in my defense, I was picking against a 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck who was in the ER at 2 a.m. the night before. And by the way, anybody who wants to start using Hasselbeck’s 2-0 record as an indictment on Andrew Luck, just stop it. Hasselbeck beat the Jaguars in overtime, and almost went to overtime against the Texans who didn’t really know what they were doing on offense. Yeah, he played as well as the Colts could’ve hoped for, but with him at the helm, they have a 0% chance of beating the Patriots next week. At least with Luck they’ll have about a 0.5% chance, but more on that later.

Another takeaway from last night, are we sure the Texans aren’t one of the worst teams in the NFL? They’re 1-4, their one win was against the Buccaneers, and the only games they were somewhat competitive in were seven-point losses to the Colts and Panthers. Remember what Bill O’Brien said to open Hard Knocks? He said he was sick and tired of the disrespect everyone showed their quarterbacks. He said both of those kids could play, and one of them was going to get the chance to do it. Both of them have gotten a few chances through five games, and neither has looked any good at all. The best either of them has looked is in a relief role. Maybe they should just start one guy and no matter how well he’s playing put the other guy in after the first quarter. You hear that Bill O’Brien? I’m coming for your job. On to this week’s picks. Home teams are in all caps.

CHIEFS (-9) over Bears

If the Chiefs don’t look good in this game I’m just going to go ahead and call them a bad team. They’re 1-3, and while I know their three losses are “good” losses, they haven’t looked any good. Apparently Andy Reid’s offense doesn’t involve throwing a pass further than ten yards. But, the Bears are not a good team. Even with Cutler. I think the Chiefs have sort of a breakout game and win this one comfortably.

Seahawks (+3) over BENGALS

Everybody loves the Bengals right now. Here is where I advise caution. Remember last year after four weeks when everybody was jumping on the Bengals and throwing dirt on the Patriots because they had just gotten embarrassed in a Monday night game? Then the Patriots went and beat them 43-17 in Week 5. I’m not saying that’s going to happen here, I do think the Bengals turned some sort of corner when they beat Broncos at the end of last season, but I love the Seahawks getting points coming off a week where everybody is doubting them and talking about them needing an apparently blown call to beat an 0-4 Lions team.

Redskins (+7) over FALCONS

The Falcons are due for a let down. I think this team is good, but they’re not as good as they looked last week, and the Redskins are a better team than they were supposed to be. I’ll gladly take this many points against an overconfident team that’s played a little bit above their heads to this point.

BUCCANEERS (-2.5) over Jaguars

If you watch more than five minutes of this game and you’re not a fan of either team then you have a problem. I’ll take the home team with (I think) the better quarterback.

EAGLES (-5) over Saints

This could be a loser-goes-home game. Drew Brees made a nice throw on the overtime touchdown pass and looked good on what should’ve been the game-winning drive last week, but everybody in the world besides Jason Garrett knows he can’t throw deep anymore. I expect the Eagles to make him throw deep, and a more confident Sam Bradford (who played ok last week) to make some plays against a Saints defense that gave up some deep throws to Brandon Weeden last week.

RAVENS (-6.5) over Browns

The Browns are a tough out, but the Ravens need to win this game, and can you really expect Cleveland to go two weeks in a row without being embarrassing? The Ravens are coming off of a Thursday night game so they’ve had extra time to prepare, they have the far superior quarterback, and like I said, they need to win this game. I’ll swallow the points here.

Rams (+9) over PACKERS

This is way too many points. The Rams have a chance in this game to show that they are for real in this one, and they’re built to not only cover a nine point spread against the Packers but beat the Packers. They have the best defensive line in the league, so they can not only take away the running game but also get pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Todd Gurley looks really good, and this team can run the ball and keep Rodgers off the field. They also don’t turn the ball over and won’t give away any free points. This is one of the best bets of the week.

Bills (-2) over TITANS

This is probably the best bet of the week. The Bills are a real team, and they’re coming off a home loss and need to win. While they’re beat up offensively, the Titans don’t have a great defense. This line is low because a lot of people have become enamored with Mariota and the Titans are coming off of a bye, but now that there’s three games of film on Mariota, and with one of the best defensive mind’s in the league putting together a gameplan this week, the promising rookie could get a harsh dose of reality in this one.

Cardinals (-3) over LIONS

The Lions are not a good team. Their offensive line is a mess right now. Granted, they’ve had to play against some good defenses lately in Denver and Seattle, but there are no running lanes and Stafford has not time to do anything. I don’t expect anything to change against the Cardinals, who are another top defense. The Lions are coming off a short week, and the Cardinals will be motivated coming off of a disappointing loss. I think they win this one easily.

Patriots (-8.5) over COWBOYS

New England coming off of a bye in the continuation of their “F-U-NFL” Tour against Brandon Weeden and a bad Cowboys defense. They’ll cover this easily. Don’t overthink it. By the way, the Patriots play the Colts next week. I don’t care what the spread is on that game. The Patriots could be favored by 30 and I’d still pick them. The record for most points scored in one game is 72 by the Redskins in 1966. I think the Patriots could break that record. Seriously, what is the biggest reason Tom Brady is as good as he is? There’s a lot of things that make him good, from his pinpoint accuracy to his ability to pick apart defenses at the line of scrimmage even to the system he plays in. But above all of that is the chip on his shoulder, and playing against the team that almost cost him four games and his entire legacy along with a massive headache for seven months will make that chip the size of a boulder. So there you go, I’m already giving you two bets, so you’re welcome.

RAIDERS (+4.5) over Broncos

I love the Raiders in an upset this week. They have the better quarterback in 2015, and they’ll be motivated coming off a bad loss to possibly the worst team in the league. I don’t buy this Broncos team, and as good as their defense is, a good defense can be beaten by a good coach and quarterback, and I think the Raiders have both. Plus the Broncos have made all of their games a lot closer than they should’ve. I think this is going to be a close game and I’ll take the 4.5 points for the home team.

GIANTS (-7) over 49ers

I know Odell Beckham is good, but can we please stop acting like every catch he makes is the greatest thing that’s ever happened in a football game? Last week Beckham caught a pass out of bounds with one hand. It was a nice looking catch, but really unnecessary as he had no chance of landing in bounds. This was an actual tweet from the Sportscenter Twitter account after that catch, “Odell Beckham just had probably one of the greatest out-of-bounds catches in NFL history. WOW!” Thanks Sportscenter, why don’t we go through all the great out-of-bounds catches in the history of football and compare them. That would be more meaningless than trying to predict whether LeBron or Jordan would win a one-on-one game. Seriously, who cares? And honestly, he could’ve caught the pass with two hands if he wanted to. It would’ve been smarter, he’s less likely to drop it. Most NFL receivers can catch balls with one hand, this isn’t some new talent he has. For more complaining about Odell Beckham Jr., follow my buddy @Grantenacity on Twitter.

CHARGERS (-3) over Steelers

I’m not picking Michael Vick with only three points on the road. He looked horrible and unconfident last week, and the Steelers have to be a little shaken after finding a way to blow the Ravens game last week. Plus the Chargers really need a win where they look good.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Texas (+16.5), Ohio State (-32.5), Michigan (-8), California (+7), Missouri (+5), Georgia, UConn, and Nebraska straight up.

NFL Record Last Week: 6-8-1

NFL Record Overall: 32-32-2

College Football Record Last Week: 3-5-0

College Football Record Overall: 17-15-0

NFL: Week 4 Picks

Last night the Ravens finally got off the hook, beating the Steelers in overtime 23-20, and more importantly covering the three point spread. That game wasn’t really about the Ravens. Let’s admit it, they’re not a good team. They finally were able to run the ball in the fourth quarter, but their offensive line is terrible, and their only reliable receiver is Steve Smith, who’s health is now something to watch. And above all, they’re 1-3.

The important thing from last night’s game was this: the Steelers NEED Big Ben back as soon as possible. Michael Vick is a nice story. I really like how he came back from his jail stint and really rehabilitated himself as a person. But he’s not the same guy he was five years ago. Last night he seemed very indecisive, held onto the ball too long, got sacked a lot, and missed a lot of throws. The consensus report is that Roethlisberger will miss six weeks. That means that counting last night, he will miss at San Diego, Arizona, at Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Oakland. If they win two of those games they’ll be doing good, and that would put them at 4-5. Who knows how far behind the Bengals that puts them. And even if they get Big Ben back with a 4-5 or 5-4 record, they’ll still have games remaining at Seattle, Cincy, and Baltimore, along with home games against the Broncos and Colts. All winable games, but loseable also. I think 9-7 is a realistic goal for the Steelers this year, assuming Big Ben doesn’t come back for another five weeks, and that’s too bad, because I think this is a really good team. 9-7 won’t win that division, and may not get a wild card. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m wrong a lot. I was wrong seven times last week, let’s take a look at this week. Home teams are in all caps.

Jets (-1.5) over DOLPHINS

This game isn’t actually in Miami, it’s in London. Maybe more Dolphins fans will show up. The Dolphins are definitely the biggest disappointment through three weeks. A lot of people, myself included, liked them as a possible playoff team. Shame on us for not knowing they quit on Joe Philbin in August. It wouldn’t surprise me if he “accidentally” get’s the wrong flight information on the way home and they just leave him in London. That would probably be the best way the Dolphins have handled a situation since the way they handled their offensive line in 2013. Moving on…

Jaguars (+9.5) over COLTS

Andrew Luck has to carry this Colts team, and now he’s “legitimately questionable” for this game. That sounds like BS, he’s going to play, but a compromised Luck means a compromised Colts. And the Colts aren’t very good to begin with. The days of them running through this division might be over. I think they’ll still go 5-1 or even 6-0 in division, but they’re not all going to be blowouts like the last few years. I’ll take the Jaguars getting that many points.

Giants (+5) over BILLS

Buffalo is for real, but the Giants getting five points coming off of a long week sounds good to me. The Bills had a big win last week, so Rex Ryan will again have them think they’re winning the Super Bowl. But make no mistake about it, the Bills are for real. Their defensive personnel is scary good. And Tyrod Taylor is a perfect fit for them. They don’t need him to go carry the team. They just need him to manage the game, not turn the ball over, and occasionally make some plays. Is Taylor the last quarterback to sit and learn for a few years and then step in and play instead of getting thrown into the fire as a rookie? That’s kind of a lost art, but he’s got a big arm and is very mobile. He might be good. But Buffalo is due for a let down, and the Giants are flying under the radar. Their offense is legit and keeps getting better each week. I’ll take the points in a close game.

BUCCANEERS (+3) over Panthers

Carolina is a pretty weak 3-0 team. I think the Bucs are going to be ok. Jameis Winston doesn’t look overwhelmed, and he’s getting more comfortable with Mike Evans. A lot of people are jumping on the Panthers because they’re 3-0. The teams they’ve beaten are a combined 2-7 and they’ve won by an average of about 7.5 points. That’s not great. I’ll take the Bucs getting points at home.

Eagles (-3) over REDSKINS

The Eagles seemed to solve a lot of their running game issues last week. Now they need to get DeMarco Murray going this week. I don’t think that’ll be much of an issue, he’s a special talent. An improved running game will help out Sam Bradford, who really needs to build confidence right now. And something vastly overlooked with this Eagles team is how good their defense is. They should feast on a turnover-prone Kirk Cousins.

Raiders (-3) over BEARS

Call me crazy, but I think the Raiders might have the best chance to dethrone the Broncos in the AFC West. Seriously, which quarterback has played the best in the division thus far? You could make a real argument for Derek Carr. He continues to develop a great connection with Amari Cooper, and they have one of the best young pass rushers in the league in Khalil Mack. Plus they play a last-place schedule, and the Bears are a grease fire. I think the Raiders should win this one easy.

FALCONS (-6.5) over Texans

I’m a little nervous considering the Falcons gave up 28 points to Brandon Weeden last week, but they did figure it out in the 2nd half. Devonta Freeman ran wild, and while the Texans have a much better run defense than the Cowboys, the Falcons have a very balanced offense. Kyle Shannahan has been very good as their offensive coordinator. He keeps finding ways to get Julio Jones open, and that guy might be the best receiver in the NFL. Also this team is very well coached, and their defense has improved. Plus the Texans have scored 20 points, 17, and 19 respectively so far this year. That’s not going to cover against Atlanta. I’ll swallow the points here.

Chiefs (+4) over BENGALS

Beware the Monday night loser. Everyone saw the Chiefs get embarrassed in Lambeau, and teams that get embarrassed on a national stage usually play well the following week. And seriously, how long can Andy Dalton go before he just has one of those bad Andy Dalton games where he throws like four interceptions? I’ll take the points.

CHARGERS (-7) over Browns

San Diego has not looked good at all this year. Their only win was against an even more unimpressive Lions team, and they still needed a big comeback to win that one. All that being said, I look for them to have a big game this week at home against the Browns, a team that’s not very good and has to fly out west. The Browns locker room is slowly starting to divide, because believe it or not they once again mishandled a big decision and benched Johnny Manziel despite playing well in Josh McCown’s absence. Cleveland, as always, is a dumpster fire.

49ers (+9) over PACKERS

The Packers are on a short week and have to make a west coast flight. The 49ers were embarrassed last week, and like I said before, teams that were embarrassed the week before usually play well the following week. Everyone’s beginning to realize how much Jim Harbaugh elevated Colin Kaepernick, but he should play better this week. The Packers don’t have as opportunistic of a defense as Arizona. Their run defense has been excellent so far this year, however, but it’ll be interesting to see how the 49ers run game which goes around the edges a lot more fairs against it. I’ll take the points in this one.

CARDINALS (-7) over Rams

Everyone overreacted to the Rams after Week 1, and now we’re seeing what they really are. They scored six points against the Steelers last week. Six. That’s like a high school game. And the Steelers don’t even have a great defense. Arizona’s aggressive defense should eat up Nick Foles, and Carson Palmer is playing as well as any quarterback in the league not named Rodgers or Brady. I’ll take the home team in this one.

Vikings (+7) over BRONCOS

Denver is the weakest 3-0 team in the league. Their defense is legit, but defense doesn’t win in this league anymore. The reason they didn’t put Peyton in the shotgun/pistol to begin the year is because they know that’s not going to win in November, December, and January, but they found out quickly that they can’t do what they need to do to win in cold weather. The Vikings are also looking very good. Throw out Week 1, because that late Monday night game to open the season is typically a terrible representation of how good teams are. Just look at how the Vikings and 49ers have faired since. I love Minnesota getting this many points.

SAINTS (Even) over Cowboys

Luke McCown vs. Brandon Weeden on Sunday Night Football. I can’t wait. Actually it looks like Brees will at least try to play, but in all honesty it doesn’t make much of a difference. The Saints are a rebuilding team, and the difference between 2015 Drew Brees and 2015 Luke McCown isn’t as much as you might think. The Cowboys defense is atrocious, shame on whoever said they’d carry the team without Romo. That being said, this is one of the most winnable games Dallas has without Romo, but I’ll take the Saints at home.

SEAHAWKS (-9.5) over Lions

There’s a lot of question marks with this Seahawks team, but don’t bet against Seattle at home in a primetime game. Detroit has been a major disappointment this year. Their offensive line has been crap, and it’s unclear whether or not Calvin Johnson just isn’t what he once was or if they’re just not using him the right way. Jim Caldwell might be Joe Philbin’s biggest competitor for the first-coach-fired-competition. Seattle honestly didn’t look that great against the Bears, but of course still won 26-0 because it was the Bears. I see them improving a little with Kam Chancellor having another week of practice under his belt. I’ll swallow the points and take the 12th man on Monday night.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Air Force (+5.5), Michigan State (-21.5), Northwestern (-4), Arizona State (+13.5), Michigan (-16), Georgia, South Carolina, and Notre Dame straight up.

NFL Record Last Week: 9-7-0

NFL Record Overall: 26-23-2

College Football Record Last Week: 7-1-0

College Football Record Overall: 14-10-0

Week 3 Picks

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 21:  at Heinz Field on December 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

We are through two weeks of the NFL season.Normally I would reflect on Week 2 right here, but honestly, it was not a great NFL weekend. It was an awesome college football weekend though. From Nebraska/Miami to Stanford/USC to Ole Miss/Alabama, it was an awesome day, and Sunday couldn’t help but being a little bit of a let down. Then of course, the Cowboys and Eagles played perhaps the worst football game in 30 years. Seriously, it was awful. It was unwatchable. But apparently everybody kept watching the Brandon Weeden/Sam Bradford showdown, because it got a 19 rating. There’s the power of the NFL right there.

Anyways, the 2-0 Cowboys are without Romo and Dez, the Eagles are 0-2 and look like they have a lot of kinks to work out, the Redskins are the Redskins, and now the 1-2 Giants are sitting pretty. I had the Giants (-3) last night, I thought there was no way they would start 0-3. This is a good team, don’t kid yourself. Eli still hasn’t thrown an interception, his completion percentage is close to 65%, Odell Beckham is one of the best receivers in football, Larry Donnell is turning into a good weapon at tight end, and their running backs are very diverse and dynamic, while their defense continues to make plays despite all the injuries to their pass rush. And of course the Redskins are the Redskins. Let’s dive into this week. Home teams are in caps.

Falcons (-1) over COWBOYS

I’m a little surprised the Cowboys are only getting a point without Romo. Even at home. Seriously, without Tony Romo their toast. He had to carry the franchise for three years until last year. Now they have no Romo, no Dez, and no DeMarco Murray. As good as their offensive line is, that can only get you so far. Of course, according to Jerry Jones, “This quarterback Weeden can drive the ball down the field. He’s a thing of beauty on throwing the football. His passing motion and his arm, frankly, you won’t see a more gifted passer.” Ten minutes later he traded for Matt Cassel. If I can disagree with Jerry just for a second, I’m going to go out and say Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, and Peyton Manning are more gifted passers than Brandon Weeden, and there’s a lot of guys that I left out, but hey, that’s just one man’s opinion, and I’m not the GM of a professional football team.

Colts (-3) over TITANS

Don’t write the Colts off. Forget that sentence, don’t write Andrew Luck off. They’ve done a terrible job building this team. They keep drafting wide receivers even though they have one of the worst offensive lines in football, no running game, no pass rush, terrible safeties and bad linebackers. But hey, let’s go ahead and draft Philip Dorsett in the first round to be our fourth receiver. But their still going to be fine. Andrew Luck has carried the franchise his whole career, why shouldn’t he be able to now? No Luck hasn’t played particularly well, but don’t try and blame their 0-2 start on him. He’s a special talent, don’t try and over-criticize just because he’s the quarterback. They’ll still run through this division, and that starts this week with the Titans.

Raiders (+3.5) over BROWNS

I told you the Raiders would be ok this year, they just waited until last week to start being ok. Amari Cooper is going to be a star, maybe as early as this year. And of course, whenever the Browns are giving points, you bet against them. Seriously, why would the Browns ever lay points against another NFL team? Yes the Raiders are an NFL team, I think. Let’s move on before I change my mind.

RAVENS (-2.5) over Bengals

There’s a chance the Ravens just aren’t very good this year, but I’m not going to give up just yet. The Bengals have clearly been the better team through two weeks, but I’ll take Flacco over Andy Dalton in their home opener for now. Check back with me in a week. If the Ravens are still bad, I’ll jump ship.

PATRIOTS (-13.5) over Jaguars

I don’t expect the Patriots to play soft coverage and put zero pressure on the quarterback the way the Dolphins did against the Jaguars last week, so I think they’ll win. Seriously, the Dolphins had such a terrible defensive scheme last week they made Blake Bortles look like an NFL quarterback. He had time, he was comfortable, and he could make throws. That won’t be the case this week. And Tom Brady is playing the best football of his career, and he’s 38 YEARS OLD! His F-U tour continues and I have no problems laying 13.5 points. Go look at their schedule. I know it’s early, but it’s not inconceivable to see them going 16-0. Let’s move on before I say something stupid and arrogant. I already did? Let’s move on anyway.

PANTHERS (-3) over Saints

The Panthers coming off a good win against a Saints team that doesn’t want to admit their rebuilding with Drew Brees’ status uncertain only giving three points? Ok. I’ll take it. And by the way, even a healthy Drew Brees isn’t what he was three years ago. This Saints team is a long ways from the one that went to the Super Bowl and was making playoff runs every year. I’ll take the Panthers.

Eagles (+2) over JETS

I’m going to keep backing the Eagles. If by Week 6 this offense is still this terrible, I’ll admit I was wrong. The Jets are a nice team. Todd Bowles will be a good coach. But this 2-0 start doesn’t mean he’s going to win the Super Bowl in his first year. Calm down a little bit. Just let Ryan Fitzpatrick be Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Eagles running problems are correctable. Remember how bad the Patriots offensive line was the first four games last year? The Eagles can fix that. Bradford needs a running game to depend on, because right now he has no confidence, and he’s extremely gun shy. I’ll take the Eagles getting points.

Buccaneers (+6.5) over TEXANS

How can the Texans seriously be laying 6.5 points? They have no offense. I watched a good portion of their game against the Panthers last week. Seriously, that was almost as unwatchable as the Eagles-Cowboys game. They can’t run the ball, and they can’t throw the ball. They can catch the ball a little bit, but that doesn’t really matter if you can’t throw it. The Bucs looked good last week, and that was without Mike Evans being much of a factor. I’ll take Tampa in this one.

San Diego (+2.5) over VIKINGS

This feels like a toss up to me, so I’ll go ahead and take the team getting points. But I’m not confident in this pick at all. The Vikings are a decent team, but don’t overreact to last week. The Monday night loser is always a great pick the next week. The Chargers are traveling for a second straight week, but I’ll still take them getting points.

Steelers (-1) over RAMS

Don’t sleep on the Steelers. This is a very good team. When the Patriots are rolling everyone halfway through the season, that opening game will look competitive. Mike Tomlin is also ahead of the curve going for 2 every time. It’s kind of like the three point shot in basketball. Think about it, if you convert more than 50% of your two-point conversions, then you score more points than you would’ve hitting all of your extra points. And with an offense like the Steelers that has Big Ben, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, and getting Le’Veon Bell back this week, they could really score a lot of points this year.

CARDINALS (-6.5) over 49ers

The San Francisco team you saw last week in Pittsburgh is a lot closer to what they really are than the San Francisco team you saw in Week 1. This is a severe coaching mismatch. Colin Kaepernick is still a below-average passer, and an opportunistic Cardinal’s defense should pounce on that. Also, Carson Palmer is 15-2 in his last 17 starts. Give me the Cards at home.

DOLPHINS (-2.5) over Bills

This is a tough one to pick, but the Dolphins have to turn it around, right? Rex Ryan hasn’t changed at all. Good defense, talks too much, clueless offensively. Coming home, with their backs sort of against the wall, I think the Dolphins come out and play inspired football. And don’t kid yourself, Tyrod Taylor isn’t winning games for you.

SEAHAWKS (-14.5) over Bears

Who thought a 13.5 point New England spread wouldn’t be the biggest of the week? Kam Chancellor is back. Jimmy Clausen is starting for the Bears. The Chicago defense is still awful. Seattle played well last week in Green Bay. But right now they’re 0-2 and need to win this week. I expect them to play inspired football at home where they are very good, and I seriously don’t expect Jimmy Clausen to cover a 20 point spread, let alone 14.5.

LIONS (+3) over Broncos

I’m throwing away my rule to pick the Broncos every game for the first eight games and pick against them the last eight. Peyton’s done, everyone can see it. He can put some good drives together, but he can’t play a whole game. He’s wildly inaccurate, especially on deep throws, and he’s been sacked seven times already. The Broncos have an excellent defense, but I like how the Lions tall receivers match up with them. Also, Detroit is getting points at home in a primetime game. I love the Lions in this one.

Chiefs (+7) over PACKERS

I think the Chiefs might win this game straight up. They’re coming off a long week, and scored 24 points against that Denver defense while turning it over 5 times. They’ll fix that, and I expect them to come out playing motivated and the Packers may have a little bit of a hangover after a big win over Seattle last week. Give me the Chiefs in a Monday night upset.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Vanderbilt (+24.5), Iowa (-25), Texas Tech (+7), Utah (+11), USC (-5), New Mexico, Tennessee, and Oklahoma State straight up.

NFL Record Last Week: 7-9-0

NFL Record Overall: 17-16-1

College Football Record Last Week: 2-6-0

College Football Record Overall: 7-9-0

2015 NFL Season: Week 2 Picks

We are now out of the least meaningful week in the NFL season. Hurray! I went 9-6-1 against the spread last week, and admittedly botched a couple games badly. My biggest advice to you is this: don’t be that guy that overreacts to Week 1. Remember, the Patriots, Packers, Colts, Cowboys, and Ravens all lost in Week 1 last year, and all five of those teams made the playoffs. There are a few things I was very wrong on though, and I will go into those. Let’s start with last night.

Last week I wrote to pick the Broncos in every game the first half of the season and pick against them in every game the second half of the season. I went against my own rule last night, picking the Chiefs (-3), and of course got burned. But I stand by that pick. Look, everybody is going to make all the excuses they possibly can for Peyton Manning. I applaud Jim Nantz and Phil Simms for figuring out a way to blame everything possible for Peyton Manning’s struggles besides Peyton Manning. It’s his new offense, it’s the offensive line, it’s the play calling, it’s the blitzes by the Chiefs, blah, blah, blah. I love Peyton, I think he’s a great dude and a top 3 quarterback of all time. But it’s done. He can’t put a whole game together right now, let alone a whole season. Yes, give him credit for getting through that game last night. But let’s be honest, he had two good drives. When his first read was open, and he got rid of the ball in two seconds or less, he was fine. He looked a little bit like the old Peyton. But if the pass rush was able to even get close to him, he missed the throw, usually badly. Sometimes he had time, and still floated a throw five yards away from his receiver. His arm has never been great, now it’s below average.

Give credit to an incredible Bronco defense, and say thank you to the Chiefs for playing so terribly. It’s not just that they had five turnovers, it’s that every one of those turnovers seemed to come at the worst time. Jamaal Charles fumbled inside the ten, costing them a field goal. Alex Smith’s first interception pretty much gave Denver a touchdown. His second interception came when they were driving down the field. And then of course there was the Charles fumble returned for the winning touchdown with under a minute left. The only non-costly turnover was the fumbled punt, which gave the Broncos the ball around the 30, and they missed a 4th and 1 instead of kicking a field goal. I’m going to hurt my head if I keep writing about this, so let’s just go to this week’s picks. Home teams are in all caps.

Houston (+3) over PANTHERS

The Panthers won last week because they played the Jaguars. The Jaguars scored nine points, because that’s what they do. The Texans certainly have some huge quarterback issues right now, and I think eventually they’ll settle on the more talented Ryan Mallett. They need to get that quarterback situation figured out, because J.J. Watt looks a little less terrifying when he’s down by 20 points. The Panthers offense struggled last week, they will again against a great Texans defense. This one’s easy.

STEELERS (-6) over 49ers

Can there be a less impressive 20-3 win than what the 49ers had late Monday night? I’ll be honest, that second Monday night game on opening weekend is always one of the worst games of the year. The Vikings offense was horrible, and San Francisco couldn’t move the ball consistently. I still think the Steelers are going to be really good. They didn’t play well against the Patriots, but a lot of people don’t. Big Ben still won’t have Bryant or Bell this week, but he’ll have a lot more success against the 49ers than Teddy Bridgewater did. Don’t forget, Pittsburgh moved the ball pretty well between the 20s in New England, they just couldn’t finish drives. They will this week.

Buccaneers (+10) over SAINTS

I know Jameis Winston and his offense looked terrible last week, and the Tampa defense gave up 4 touchdowns to Mariota in his first career game, but a 10 point spread is too much for me in an NFL game. The Bucs should get Mike Evans back this week, and that’s huge for a rookie quarterback. The Saints will move the ball well, but they weren’t great against the Cardinals, and I don’t expect them to cover.

Lions (+2.5) over VIKINGS

Forget everything I said about the Vikings last week. They still have a lot to improve on. Carlos Hyde ran all over them. Bridgewater was horrible against what was essentially a brand new defense. They couldn’t move the ball at all. The Lions had a pretty big collapse in San Diego, look for them to be motivated playing a Vikings team on a short week and I expect them to win rather handily.

Cardinals (-2) over BEARS

I’m really only giving the Bears two points in this game? Ok. The Packers beat them by eight and they didn’t play well. Arizona always flies under the radar, and if their spreads are going to be this low all year, keep betting on them. Other than a running game, they have all the pieces. Give me the Cardinals going away in this one.

Patriots (-1) over BILLS

Do not, I repeat, do not overreact to week 1 from the Bills. Remember, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. I repeat, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. Now, give them some credit. They probably have the best defensive personnel in the NFL, and now they have one of the best defensive coaches in the league. But seriously, Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see what Rex comes up with to cover Gronk, that’ll be the big difference between the Pats and Colts. Also, Rex probably has them thinking they’re going to win the Super Bowl after one week, so they’ll be in for a let down. Once again, don’t be that guy that overreacts to week 1.

Chargers (+3) over BENGALS

I feel a little weird picking all of these road teams, but I’m not going to put a ton of stock into what the Bengals did last week. The Chargers were impressive in their comeback last week. Like I said, I’m expecting Philip Rivers to have a big year, he’s extremely motivated after all the rumors that swirled around him this offseason. Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are rising stars. Give me San Diego in this one.

BROWNS (+1) over Titans

Mariota is definitely due for a letdown this week. After being that good in his debut, he can only go down from here. Give him a full season, maybe two or three before we crown him as the savior. Yes, I’m picking the Browns this week. What am I doing? I’ll take the home team getting points, yes, even if it’s the Browns.

GIANTS (-2.5) over Falcons

Despite how horribly they botched the 1st and goal from the one last Sunday, I think the Giants showed some good things. That defense can be good, they have a very good tandem of corners in DRC and Prince Amukamara. The Falcons were good, but they still were a missed field goal from blowing that game. I’ll take the Giants at home with Atlanta coming off a short week.

Rams (-3.5) over REDSKINS

I’m pretty nervous with this one, it seems way too obvious. I feel like a lot of people are going to jump on the Ram’s bandwagon after last week, and I don’t feel good about putting a lot of faith in Nick Foles. But the Redskins are not good. a 17-10 home loss was impressive for them. Their quarterback situation is a mess, the RG3 soap opera is still hanging around them, and I don’t think Jay Gruden is going to be a very good coach. I’ll take the Rams to cover, but expect it to be low scoring.

Dolphins (-6) over JAGUARS

I might end up picking against the Jaguars every game this year. Seriously, what is there to like? Blake Bortles is not good. Julius Thomas is already wasting away in this offense. There’s no offensive line or running game to speak of. The defense is nothing special. What am I supposed to like? The Dolphins should bounce back after struggling with the Redskins. And might I point out that despite struggling, they still covered. They’ll cover easily in this one.

RAIDERS (+6.5) over Ravens

I’m crazy for picking this, but I’m not going to jump ship on the Raiders after one week. The Ravens offensive line is horrible right now. I know they were facing a terrific pass rush in Denver, and an underrated defensive tackle in Malik Jackson, but they couldn’t run the ball to save their lives. The only time they moved the ball down field at all was their final drive running the two-minute drill. The Raiders will be ok. They still have a ways to go, but give them some time before you say they are as bad as they usually are. I’ll give them this one at home with the Ravens making the cross-country flight.

EAGLES (-5) over Cowboys

This line is a little big for me, but I really like the Eagles in this one. Their offense will be explosive. I think after reviewing the film Chip Kelly will realize he needs to run the ball more, and they’ll do really well with that. Sam Bradford found his groove in the 2nd half and looked really good when he did. Their secondary looked bad, but should gain some confidence against a depleted Dallas receiving core. As much as I love the Cowboy’s offensive line, their running game was not good last Sunday. I’ll take the Eagles to cover at home here.

PACKERS (-3.5) over Seahawks

This is a tough one to pick, but Green Bay is playing really well right now. The Seahawks’ offensive line didn’t look very good against St. Louis. Russell Wilson had no time to let deep routes develop. The absence of Kam Chancellor matters, don’t kid yourself. Aaron Rodgers walked right into Seattle in the NFC Championship last year and should’ve beat them on one leg. I’ll take the Packers right now in Lambeau.

COLTS (-7) over Jets

Yes the Jets were good on Sunday, but yes it was against the Browns. This Colts offense should get right back on track. Remember, they were playing at Buffalo, against the best defense in the league. That’s right Seattle, the Bills are the best defense in the league, at the moment. I expect Andrew Luck to get back on track, and I don’t see any reason the Jets should score enough points to cover.

If you’re a college football fan or just a degenerate gambler who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. My picks for this week are: Louisiana Tech (+9), Ole Miss (+6.5), Purdue (+6), Cal (-6), TCU (-37.5), Colorado State, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska straight up.

For more useless sports banter, follow me on Twitter @rory_maccallum

NFL Record: 9-7-1

College Football Record: 5-3-0

Week 1 Picks

Last night, the NFL returned to our lives. College Football had center stage last weekend. And it was a great weekend. But now, we have all the football that we could ask for for the next 5 months. We’ll have an NFL game on Thursday night, sometimes a decent college game also. On Friday night, if you live in a town with a good high school football program, you’ll have that. All day Saturday you’ll have great college football games. And then on Sunday and Monday night, you’ll have a full slate of NFL games. Yes, the best part of the year has come again. I really missed you football, I always knew you’d come back.

The Patriots came out last night with a Deflategate-sized chip on their shoulder and beat the Steelers 28-21. I had the Patriots -7, and would’ve been right if it weren’t for a late Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with two seconds left that covered the spread. So that game was a push. Let’s dive into the rest of this weekend’s games. Home teams are in caps.

Packers (-6) over BEARS

I don’t care that Jordy Nelson isn’t playing. The Packers are easily one of the three best teams in the NFC, and if I had to rank them I’d still put them number one. Not that Nelson isn’t a great player, but Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league, and he still has Randall Cobb along with a rising star in Davante Adams. Eddie Lacy is one of the best backs in the league, and with a healthy Clay Matthews, defensively they’ll be good enough. The Bears, on the other hand, are a dumpster fire. Jay Cutler is imploding. He lost one of his top threats in Brandon Marshall, and their defense was one of the worst in the league last year. The Packers won the two matchups last year 38-17 and 55-14. This one could get ugly.

Chiefs (+1) over TEXANS

I think both of these teams are going to be good this year, but I’ll take the team with the better quarterback. Alex Smith has the best receiver he’s ever had in Jeremy Maclin, maybe a receiver will even catch a touchdown pass for the team this year. Jamaal Charles is still an elite running back, Travis Kelce is an emerging wide receiver, and they have a strong offensive line. Defensively the Chiefs are very good, just like the Texans, and Andy Reid is going into his third year as Kansas City’s coach. Brian Hoyer will be an upgrade at quarterback over the crap they had last year, but I still think J.J. Watt might be the Texan’s best hope at quarterback. Seriously, go watch the last episode of Hard Knocks, the guy can throw. I’ll take Kansas City in a close one.

JETS (-3) over Browns

If I watch more than three seconds of this game then I must have to do something that I really don’t want to do. I think the Jets will be a little better, as I like Todd Bowles, but they’re still a long ways off from being good. The Browns, as always, have no clue what they’re doing.

Colts (-2.5) over BILLS

Seriously, Andrew Luck is only laying 2.5 points against a Rex Ryan-coached team that’s starting Tyrod Taylor at quarterback? This is the best bet of the week. The Colts have given Luck more weapons, and while they haven’t really helped him on the offensive line, he’s done a tremendous job of overcompensating for that to this point. Luck is a top three quarterback in the league right now, and it’s very easy to argue he’s number one. The Bills have Pro Bowlers all over their roster, but they’re so weak at coach and quarterback, and with a shaky LeSean McCoy, I have no confidence in Buffalo.

Dolphins (-3.5) over REDSKINS

Forget what I said in the last pick, this is the easiest bet of the week. The Redskins have no clue what they’re doing at quarterback. It won’t take long for the locker room to divide, and while they have some good players, this is going to be another tough year for the Skins. The Dolphins, on the other hand, are a playoff contender. They added the best defensive player in the league outside of J.J. Watt, and while they had to lose depth because of that, a defensive line with Cameron Wake and Suh is scary to think about. They’re not great but they’re good at quarterback, and the offensive line is an ongoing improvement. The Dolphins should roll in this one.

Panthers (-3) over JAGUARS

The Panthers aren’t great, but the Jaguars are pretty damn bad. Cam Newton doesn’t have a legitimate receiver without Kelvin Benjamin, but let’s admit, he was pretty good at the end of last year. Luke Kuechly is one of the top linebackers in the league. The best player on the Jaguars is a tight end who doesn’t have a quarterback. This one is easy too.

Seahawks (-4) over RAMS

This one isn’t as easy as it looks. The Seahawks won’t have Kam Chancellor, and that’s a big deal. I’d argue he’s better than Earl Thomas. Of course, the Rams biggest strength is their defensive front, and the Seahawks have a smart, mobile quarterback that’s the perfect answer. And of course, that defense is still littered with stars playing against an average quarterback (Nick Foles) playing his first game in a new system.

CARDINALS (-2) over Saints

I feel like I’m picking too many favorites here, but the Saints need to prove something to me before I pick them on the road over a playoff team a year ago. Arizona is a legitimate threat to the Seahawks in the NFC West. Bruce Arians is probably the most underrated coach in the NFL, they still have an elite defense, and they made the playoffs without a real quarterback. Now Carson Palmer is back, and presumably healthy. The Cardinals should win this handily but not easily.

CHARGERS (-2.5) over Lions

I really like the Chargers this year. I think Rivers is going to have a bounce back year after all the rumors flying around him this year, and I like the additions of Orlando Franklin and Melvin Gordon. The Lions have a good team, they were a legitimate playoff team last year, but playing out in San Diego with no Ndamukong Suh and a questionable running game, this should be the Chargers game.

BUCCANEERS (-3) over Titans

How great did the NFL do with its scheduling? The top two picks in the draft were both quarterbacks, and they’re going to face off against each other in their first NFL games. I don’t think either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota are going to be franchise quarterbacks in the long run, but I will say I’m rooting for Mariota a lot harder. I think Jameis is a little more talented, but Mariota makes up for that by being infinitely more mature. The difference early on will be Winston’s receiving core. Mike Evans is one of the best in the league, and Vincent Jackson still has something left. I’ll take the Bucs at home.

RAIDERS (+3) over Bengals

Get all your Raiders jokes out now, because in a year or two they’re going to be good again. You heard it here first. Derek Carr got better as the year went on last year, which is the best you could hope for from a rookie quarterback. They added Amari Cooper, who is might be better than any rookie receiver last year. His route running, physicality, and overall athleticism is mind boggling. Jack Del Rio is a pretty good coach. The Bengals are getting older, and Andy Dalton is, in the words of the great Colin Cowherd, “a boring water pistol.”

BRONCOS (-4) over Ravens

If you bet on the Broncos every game for the first eight and bet against them every game for the last eight, I think you’ll win money. I say that without having taken one look at the schedule beyond this week. The Broncos are going to look really good at the beginning of the season. Peyton Manning will be healthy. They’ll have an improved running game. They have a lot of stars on their defense, from Von Miller to Aqib Talib. But then, Peyton’s going to wear down. He’ll get hurt. It’ll linger. He won’t heal as fast. The offensive line has one proven starter in Louis Vasquez, and another All-Pro guard in Evan Mathis who was just brought in a couple of weeks ago. At least two rookies will play a significant role on the line this year. The Ravens will be a good team too, but in Week 1, at home, I’ll take the Broncos.

Giants (+6) over COWBOYS

The Giants will be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this year. They addressed their offensive line issues in the draft. It still won’t be great, but it’ll be better. Eli Manning had a good year last year, and with a (cross your fingers) healthy Victor Cruz lining up across from Odell Beckham Jr., along with a healthy Rashad Jennings playing with Andre Williams in the backfield, I think they can be vey good defensively. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Jason Pierre-Paul, as I don’t think they can be a playoff team without him unless another pass rusher emerges. The Cowboys will be good, but I don’t see them replicating what they did last year. They were 5-1 in one possession games a year ago, expect that to scale back a little this year, especially with a reduced running game. Defensively, they haven’t improved, and they’re without their best corner now. Give me the Giants in the upset.

Eagles (-3) over FALCONS

Everybody likes to criticize the moves Chip Kelly made this year, but they’re going to look silly when they realize he upgraded at running back, linebacker, corner, and quarterback, while maintaining the receiving core at the same time. He’s won ten games each of his first two years, I think he’ll win more this year and win the division. The Falcons have improved their pass rush, but failed to address their offensive line, I think the Eagles put up a lot of points and don’t expect Atlanta to keep up.

Vikings (-2) over 49ERS

The 49ers are not in a good place right now. They’ve lost practically their entire defense, along with Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore. But the biggest loss they’ve suffered was Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh walked right into a shaky locker room and took them to the NFC Championship, one play away from winning it, then two more NFC Championship games, won one, came a play away from winning the other, and came one play away from winning the Super Bowl. Then they go 8-8 in an injury-riddled season and everyone’s ready to run him out of town. Their loss. And San Francisco will have a lot of those this year, starting this week, against a team that I think will be a playoff contender with a second-year Teddy Bridgewater and the return of Adrian Peterson.

For all you college football degenerate gamblers, or just people with gambling problems that will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em, so here’s my picks for this week. Minnesota (-6), Penn State (-20.5), Hawaii (+40), Michigan (-15.5), Tulsa (+4), Michigan State, Tennessee, and LSU straight up.

For more useless sports banter, follow me on Twitter @rory_maccallum

NFL record: 0-0-1

College Football Record: 0-0-0

Goodell Open to Changing Discipline System

<> on August 12, 2015 in New York City.

Roger Goodell was on ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning on Tuesday, and as you might’ve guessed, much of the interview centered on his role in Deflategate. Goodell said that he is, “open to changing [his] role,” as essentially the NFL’s discipline czar. After four years of the current CBA, Goodell has finally realized what everyone else has; it’s not a good system.

Goodell said his role has been, “extremely time-consuming” and that he has to be “focused on other issues.” Basically, Goodell came up with a good excuse to step aside. The commissioner has been embarrassed as of late. A year ago, they lost the Adrian Peterson case in court. They completely botched the Ray Rice situation. After suspending the running back a measly two games for knocking his wife unconscious, Goodell happened to find the full video tape many months later, once it was released to the public, and changed it to an indefinite suspension that lasted most of the year, and to this point has essentially ended Rice’s career. If you want to go back even earlier, Goodell quickly laid the hammer down on several Saints players in the wake of Bountygate, and later had the man he succeeded, Paul Tagliabue, come clean up his mess as best he could.

The commissioner’s track record on discipline isn’t necessarily the issue here; everyone knows it’s terrible. Roger Goodell himself has now come to realize that it’s terrible. But, the ego-driven commissioner won’t come out and say he’s done a bad job, instead he’s coming out and making excuses. It’s too time-consuming. I can’t do it on my own. Obviously you can’t do it on your own, you’ve displayed that multiple times. Yet, you wanted that absolute power when negotiating the current CBA. Instead of implementing a system of checks and balances, like we have in every other industry in America including the U.S. government, Goodell made himself the discipline czar of the NFL. And believe it or not, it hasn’t worked.

The most Goodell was willing to concede is that the NFL needs a “better discipline system.” Handing out punishments in the NFL, a league where there are plenty of punishable crimes committed, is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and if it isn’t done with great care, it is done horrendously. Goodell’s way of doing his job has basically been to make it up as he goes along. That works with some jobs, not with his. The NFL desperately needs a new discipline system, because right now it’s spiraling out of control, and the longer they continue with it, the worse it’s going to get.

The NFL is appealing Judge Berman’s decision to vacate Tom Brady’s suspension. Most people believe this is part of unwillingness by the league, and Goodell especially, to accept defeat and admit their wrongs. While that might be part of the reason, it’s a small component. There’s a much larger issue the league is afraid of. The fact that Brady fought his suspension in court, and won, opens up a nightmarish Pandora’s box for the NFL. Now every single player who is suspended, appeals, and does not win his appeal with the league will take the league to court. This isn’t in anyone’s best interest, but right now it’s the only way to provide checks and balances on an industry that has none.

Roger Goodell doesn’t want to let go of his power, but the thing he can’t stand to lose is his ego, and he’ll fight for that as hard as Tom Brady fought for his legacy.

After Nearly 7 and a Half Months, Tom Brady is Free

Brady suit game, 100% on point
Brady suit game, 100% on point

That sound you just heard was the cheer that erupted from millions of Patriots fans across the world. Let this day, this third day of September in the year 2015, be a day to remember. Let it be a day of celebration. There will be singing and dancing in the streets. Wounds will be healed, broken relationships will be mended. Hell, the dead may even rise again. The reason for all this jubilation, you ask? After nearly seven and a half months, Tom Brady is free again.

Let’s quickly run through the story that has captured America’s attention since seemingly the beginning of time. The Patriots beat the Colts easily in the AFC Championship game. The next morning, there were some rumblings that perhaps the Patriots played with deflated footballs. This left many fans thinking, “how does a deflated football even give you an advantage?” and every Patriots hater screaming, “SEE! CHEATERS!!!”

Later Monday night, Chris Mortensen reports that 11 of the 12 Patriot’s footballs were underinflated by 2 PSI. The media grills Tom Brady. America grills Tom Brady. A dark cloud is cast over Patriots Nation during the first week of Super Bowl Week. Then the real Super Bowl Week arrives. And, for no apparent reason, Patriot’s fans transform from dark, depressed, somber mode into “F You” mode the following week. It becomes an “us against the world” mentality. The Patriots go out in Super Bowl XLIX with perfectly inflated footballs and beat the Seattle Seahawks, who looked to be a more talented team, in one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent memory. Snuck into this by the NFL was a leak that in actuality, only one of the Patriots balls was 2 PSI under the legal minimum, the others were no more than 0.2 PSI under it.


Months go by, and the Pats bask in their victory. The NFL sends “Independant” investigator Ted Wells to conduct an investigation. In May, Wells finally comes out with his report. His conclusion is that it is “more probable than not” that Tom Brady was “generally aware” of footballs being intentionally manipulated. This sends America into an uproar. Their villain has finally been exposed, they think. The NFL uses these highly conclusive findings (that was sarcasm if you weren’t sure) to suspend Tom Brady for not one, not two, not three, but FOUR games.

Brady will not go down without a fight. Believing it will aid Brady’s case, Robert Kraft elects not to appeal the team-imposed sanctions, which included a $1 million fine, the biggest in league history, and the loss of a first and a fourth round draft pick. Yes, the Patriots received the harshest punishment in the history of the league over the air pressure in a few footballs.

Naturally, Brady appeals the suspension. On June 26, Brady and his lawyers meet with the NFL to appeal. They spent almost an entire day in one room discussing the air pressure in footballs, a real fun day I’m sure. A month goes by with no new news. Finally, the NFL rules to uphold the 4-game suspension, but not before leaking information they had known for more than a month, that Brady ordered his cell phone to be destroyed before Wells’ investigation.


The next day is the eve of training camp, the day when the team arrives for camp. Robert Kraft, in his press conference, reads a harsh statement in which he rips apart the NFL, his most notable quote being, “I was wrong to put my faith in the league.”

Brady fires back as well, writing a long Facebook post about his disappointment in the suspension. But, as we all know, Tom Brady is no quitter. He elects to sue the NFL in federal court. The case is assigned to Judge Richard Berman, a judge in Manhattan. The location of the case is supposedly slightly in favor of the NFL.

The two sides meet three times in front of the judge, and a few others on their own. Berman really wants the sides to settle. They both want a ruling before September 4. In the hearings, Berman goes hard after the NFL. The first thing he asks them is the question we’ve been wondering since the start. Tom Brady played much better in the 2nd half of the game when the balls were re-inflated than he did with the deflated balls, so how was this even an advantage?

During the hearings, the NFL keeps falling back on their power in the CBA to rule however they deem necessary. At one point, Roger Goodell compares Brady’s offense to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Seriously? On Monday, August 31, the sides met for the last time. No settlement was reached. The NFL was only willing to knock one game off the suspension if Brady admitted to the findings in the Wells report, which of course were nothing. Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension but only because of his failure to cooperate during the investigation.

Judge Berman said he would rule on the case before Friday, September 4th. Today, he vacated Brady’s suspension. Brady’s beaten all 31 teams in the NFL that he hasn’t played for, and now he’s beaten the league as well.

The NFL is a loser in this case more than Tom Brady’s a winner. This opens a huge Pandora’s box. Now, every single player that is suspended will appeal it and challenge it in court, the league’s worst nightmare. That’s why the Deflategate case is far from over.

The league will almost certainly appeal this to a higher court. No matter how weak their case is, they’ve now become the side that has nothing to lose. Roger Goodell has had a rough couple of years. After Ray Rice knocked out his fiancée in February 2014, Goodell suspended him an embarrassing two games. A little while later, a video came out of the actual scene, something the NFL could’ve easily obtained themselves. Goodell used that as an excuse to suspend him the entire season. A lot of people were critical of his handling of Adrian Peterson’s child abuse case.

I defended Goodell for a long time. I feel like handing out punishments in the NFL is one of the hardest jobs in the world. There are so many incidents that no matter how well prepared you are, it’s impossible to be perfect. However, if this job is done badly, it looks horrible. And that’s the situation we have here.

The NFL essentially makes up their discipline policy as they go along. In an industry with as many wrongdoings as they have, this is a problem. Goodell has a long history of his suspensions being overturned, and this is the easy explanation as to why. Roger Goodell is still the commissioner of the NFL, but the more time passes, the more it’s clear that the clock is ticking.


So, after nearly seven and a half months, the NFL’s golden boy has been cleaned of all inequities. That means that, one-week from today, when the NFL season begins in Foxborough, Tom Brady will be on the field facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tom Brady is a winner. He’s engineered 35 4th quarter comebacks in his NFL career, but let the record show, that on September 3, he engineered number 36, against his toughest opponent, the NFL.

FANTASY ALERT: Martavis Bryant to Miss First Four Games

at EverBank Field on August 14, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Gather ‘round kids, it’s story time. Let me tell you a story about a guy who loved to play fantasy football. This guy was in a very high-stakes league, with a lot of money involved. His league-mates were impatient, and loved to have their draft extremely early. So, at the end of July, they drafted. This guy was a very-well prepared fantasy player, and was very happy with his draft. His quarterback was Ben Roethlisberger. Many mocked this selection. He defended it adamantly, believing the Steelers to have the most dynamic offense in the league. The Steelers boast possibly the top back in the league, Le’Veon Bell, who is a dynamic runner who is also arguably the best receiving running back in the NFL. They have Antonio Brown, perhaps the best receiver in the league, who while undersized, is an extremely versatile receiver who can play against all types of coverage. He has the perfect compliment in Martavis Bryant. Bryant was a rookie a year ago, but is the ultimate deep threat, catching eight touchdowns as a rookie and averaging well over 20 yards a catch. This guy also had Bryant on his team, believing he got a steal to put in his flex spot. He sat and laughed as Kelvin Benjamin and Jordy Nelson both suffered season-long injuries. While he felt sorry for the players, he felt it was what his league-mates deserved for rushing the draft. Now karma has struck, and Martavis Bryant will miss the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

If you haven’t guessed by now, that guy is me, and I’m still a little sour about it. For a long time now, we knew Le’Veon Bell would not be on the field to start the season. His three game suspension has been reduced to two, however, and it looks like it shouldn’t by too big of a deal for anyone. Now Bryant is out for the same amount of time as Tom Brady, the first quarter of the season. Think about this: on opening night in New England, Le’Veon Bell, Tom Brady, and Martavis Bryant will all be on the sideline. The NFL might think they’re doing what’s best for them, but what they’re really doing is self-inflicting themselves with wounds that will probably drop viewership, and therefore cost them money.

The Bryant suspension is not definite at this point. He is appealing, and as we all know, appeals of NFL suspensions can take forever. Tom Brady appealed in the middle of May, had his appeal hearing at the end of June, and still

it wasn’t ruled on until the end of July. Oh yeah, and the “crime” he’s being punished for occurred in January.

In 2014, there were a multitude of rookie receivers that burst on to the scene. Amidst the rise of Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, and Sammy Watkins, among many others, Bryant kind of got lost in the shuffle. All he did was catch 26 passes for 549 yards, 8 touchdowns, and his deep threat helped open up even more for the already dynamic Antonio Brown. As it stands right now, Bryant will miss games against the Patriots, 49ers, Rams, and Ravens.

Houston Texans: Houston We Have a Starter


The quarterback controversy is over, for now, in Houston. Yesterday the Texans named Brian Hoyer as their starter over Ryan Mallett. This was one of the few true quarterback competitions you’ll see. They both entered camp with a legitimate shot at the starting job, and neither seemed to have a leg up on the other skill or experience wise.


This is not the first time these two have been linked. Hoyer and Mallett have both spent time as Tom Brady’s backup in New England. Hoyer was undrafted out of Michigan State in 2009, and he then signed with the Patriots. He beat out three other quarterbacks to be Brady’s backup. He remained in that role through 2011, but didn’t make the team the following season. Who beat Hoyer out in 2012? Why none other than Ryan Mallett.

Mallett came out of Arkansas in 2011. For most of his college career, the 6’6 quarterback was regarded as one of the top quarterback prospects coming out of college that year, easily a first-round talent. Due to off the field issues Mallett fell to the third round, where the Patriots scooped him up with the 74th overall pick. Although he was the seventh quarterback selected in that draft, the Patriots regarded him as the best in the 2011 draft, and thought he was a steal in the third round.

After stints with both the Steelers and Cardinals, Hoyer landed in Cleveland in 2013. Due to injuries Hoyer ended up as the Browns starter in Week 3, and played extremely well. After three straight starts, Hoyer suffered a torn ACL, ending a promising season. In 2014 the Browns named Hoyer their starter despite using a first round pick on superstar Johnny Manziel. Hoyer had some ups and downs through the first 13 games, and Manziel ended up replacing him. Johnny was far from impressive, and after an injury Hoyer finished up the season. He left the mess in Cleveland and signed with the Texans this offseason.

Mallett spent 2012 and 2013 in Hoyer’s role as Tom Brady’s backup. However, in the 2014 draft, the Patriots spent a 2nd round pick on Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo. Before the season started, the Patriots sent Mallett to the Texans for a conditional 6th or 7th round pick. Mallett sat behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage before injuries allowed him to start Week 11. Mallett played well, but a torn pectoral a couple of weeks later ended his season.


Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has spent plenty of time with both of these guys. O’Brien was with the Patriots from 2007-2011 mostly working with the quarterbacks during that time. But O’Brien is certainly fond of both of these quarterbacks. The opening scene of HBO’s Hard Knocks with the Houston Texans shows O’Brien at a table with his assistants on the eve of training camp. O’Brien says, “Let’s be honest with each other. This place has no respect in the league, just so you guys are all aware of that. This organization is 96-126. Thirty games below .500. Turn your TV on. Nobody talks about the Houston Texans because nobody thinks we’re going to win. And the disrespect that they show our quarterbacks? I’m tired of that too. Because both of those kids can play. They just need a chance and one of them is going to get it.”

The Texans have been missing a quarterback since they gave up on Matt Schaub. Last year proved, they’re a good team, but they didn’t have a reliable quarterback. The roster is loaded. The defense is one of the best in the league, led by the league’s best defensive player, J.J. Watt and linebacker Brian Cushing. They just added Vince Wilfork to be a run-stopper in the middle. Offensively they’re skilled too, with talented guys like Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins. All they need is a quarterback. The situation is looking better than it did last year. Hoyer and Mallett have both had success in the league, but haven’t really had a full workload. If Hoyer proves to be good enough, the Texans could be a scary team this year.

Philadelphia Eagles: Tim Tebow Will Make the Eagle’s Roster, Probably


A Philadelphia Eagle’s team source said that as long as quarterback Tim Tebow doesn’t make any major errors, he will make the team. A Christian singer named Matt Redman wrote a song that said:

Shout it out, let the people hear

Something so powerful it shakes the whole wide world

Make it loud make it louder still

Savior we’re singing now to celebrate your beautiful news


So everyone, I call you all together, to shout it out, scare the dog, wake your neighbors as we all say it together, “TEEEEEEEEBBBBBBOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!!!” As long as our favorite quarterback doesn’t screw up too badly, he will be on an NFL team for the 2015 season. Yes, there is a God. This is why you don’t question what He does, because He’ll come through in the end.

Not only does it look like Tebow will make the Eagle’s roster, Chip Kelly seems to be a fan of the former Florida quarterback as well. Kelly said that he’s impressed with Tebow’s running skill, and although he’s not perfect, he’s improved throwing the football. In the Eagle’s preseason game against the Colts on Sunday, Tebow completed six of twelve passes for 69 yards while also running four times for 15 yards and a touchdown.

Tebow was one of the most decorated college football players of all time. While at Florida, he won two National Championships, was the first sophomore to win the Heisman trophy, and won 35 games in three years as a starter. He was also the recipient of numerous awards as well as the holder of many records both passing and rushing. However, an elongated throwing motion and a lack of accuracy on his throws kept Tebow from being a top prospect coming out of school. The Denver Broncos surprised many by taking Tebow late in the first round of the draft.


Tebow backed up Kyle Orton his rookie year, but after the season went into the toilet he started the last three games of the year, actually winning a game against the Houston Texans. In that game, Tebow rallied the Broncos from a 17-0 deficit and threw for over 300 yards in the win. 2011 looked like it would be Tebow’s year, but he started the season just as he had the year before, as Kyle Orton’s back up. With the team on their way to a 1-4 start, head coach John Fox put Tebow in to play the second half against the San Diego Chargers. He was far from perfect, but Tebow nearly led a comeback and earned the starting job for the rest of the season. What followed was a series of miraculous wins. It became routine for Tebow and the Bronco’s offense to slug through the first three quarters of games, and then pull off a crazy comeback in the fourth quarter to win. It culminated in the Wild Card round. Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demariyus Thomas on the first play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Tebow magic ended after that. Tom Brady and the Patriots laid the hammer down on the Bronco’s the next week. After the season the Broncos signed Peyton Manning and traded Tebow to the Jets. Tebow never started with the Jets, was signed by the Patriots the next season, didn’t make the team, and hasn’t played since.

Now it looks like Tebow will be back in the NFL again. The last time we saw him as a starting quarterback, it was in the playoffs. Tebow won’t be starting for the Eagles. But with the injury-prone Sam Bradford set to lead Chip Kelly’s offense, and the roller coaster of a career with more downs than ups that is Mark Sanchez the only other quarterback likely to make the team, it’s very plausible that Tebow will play a major role at some point in the 2015 Eagle’s season, and at this point, that’s all us Tebow fans can ask for.