Rapid Fire! Random Thoughts on the 2019 NFL Season

-Biggest surprise of the season must be how good the Baltimore Ravens are.  I think most people figured that Lamar Jackson was going to be more of an average QB with a good season sprinkled in here and there.  Yup. Average. The guy has been unstoppable.  You can’t contain him, and even if your coverage is good, he uses his feet to either buy time until a receiver inevitably gets open, or he will just pick up the first down himself. I’m always surprised at how fast the ball comes out of his hands with minimal effort for 20-30-yard gains even when his feet aren’t planted.  I knew the Ravens defense was already good and with the offseason addition of Earl Thomas it got better.   It seems that after the blowout loss to Cleveland, they have been on the warpath.  I watched him destroy my beloved New England Patriots with relative ease and my gut says that when they meet in the Playoffs, they will do so again. 

-Well it finally happened; the Kansas City Chiefs defense is so damn bad that even the offense can’t bail them out anymore.  When is Andy Reid going to learn that you need a defense?  Not every game should be a sprint on the scoreboard.  They were my AFC pick to make the Super Bowl this year.  Wha..? I didn’t pick the Patriots?! More on that later.

-What the hell happened to the Rams?  One season after they made the Super Bowl and they look awful.  The offense just can’t get anything going and the defense isn’t good enough to keep them in games.  Goff looked like the next big thing last year and at this point looks like a very, very average QB. My working theory is that whoever faces the Patriots in the Super Bowl falls off the Max Kellerman trademarked “cliff” going forward.  Think about it! Rams? Suck. Falcons? Suck. Eagles? Kinda Suck. Seahawks? Well they slightly sucked for a couple of years after that horrific goal line call in the 2014 Super Bowl, but they are looking decent this year.  Maybe the curse wears off?

-I’m still shocked at Marcus Mariota being benched for Ryan Tannehill. Even more shocked that Tannehill is actually playing decently.  What happened to Mariota?! He was a world-beater in Oregon! I think sometimes that college-level talent doesn’t necessarily translate to the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, I still think he’s better than a lot of the QBs in the NFL, but he’s just not consistent.

-Buffalo Bills are for real.  Yeah.  Let that sink in.  Josh Allen is not a draft bust like I thought he would be.  In fact, for the most part, has been getting better and better as the season goes on. Even more surprising is the fact that they have a really good defense.  Only thing going against them is that they are in New England’s division so the most they can hope for is a Wild Card spot.

-San Francisco 49ers are also very much for real.  Jimmy G hasn’t always been stellar this season, but he’s done enough to keep me playing the “What If” game.  As in what if the Pats didn’t trade him for essentially nothing.  Yeah, I’m still crying over that. Also, the 49ers’ defense is ridiculous.  At only 1 loss this season, I can see how they are the NFC favorite to make the Super Bowl.   I don’t think so though…

-My Super Bowl pick?  Well as I stated above barring any injury to Lamar Jackson the Ravens will represent the AFC.  NFC? Well part of me thinks that the 49ers avenge their only loss this season to the Seahawks BUT I think Russell Wilson is just too clutch and the Seahawks knock the 49ers out of the Playoffs in what should be a close game.  Ravens vs Seahawks.  Ravens win 31-17.

-The New England Patriots Offense. Yikes.  I know a lot of people are blaming a very green receiver roster for the offensive issues this season but as much as it pains me to say it, Tom Brady is also responsible.  I can hear the cries of blasphemy from my fellow N.E fans already, but I do think it’s true.  It’s taking him longer to get the ball out of his hand and his accuracy seems to be off.  He’s missing a lot of easy throws on screen passes that he used to make with no problem.  And we’re talking a lot of missed throws in soft coverage.  His awareness in the pocket also seems to be an issue.  Ok, enough picking on Brady, the receivers also seem to have a ton of drops on what should be easy uncontested catches. Hopefully they find their rhythm in the next couple of games or they’re screwed.  While I think their #1 defense can continue to win games for them, that same defense struggled mightily against Baltimore. 

-Speaking of N.E’s defense, Stephon Gilmore is a beast.  Best cornerback in the league by far.  I knew he was insanely good, but to completely shut down Amari Cooper was mind-blowing.  0 catches.  To be fair Dallas should have won that game since Ezekiel Elliot finally had some momentum going and was picking up 5-6 yards per carry. But Jason Garrett is going to do Jason Garrett things like throw the ball on 3rd and 1 against the best secondary in the league.  Jerry Jones really needs to grow a pair and get rid of the guy. 

-On the subject of good ol’ Jerry, during yesterday’s (Thanksgiving) game against Buffalo, I loved that every time Dallas completely crapped the bed, the camera would zoom in on the owner’s box to get his reaction.  It’s like the network wanted to either catch old man tears on film so very badly or they wanted him to hold up sign that read “Jason, if you can read this, you’re fired”. To be fair, it would have been understandable if he did either.  I missed it, but I heard that he literally did have tears in his eyes during an interview after the game.  Jason Garrett, you are a total dumpster fire of a coach and you also made Jerry cry. I couldn’t help but laugh when he goes for it on 4th and 1 on the 19-yard line when it was a close game, but then when they are down 2 scores in the 3rd quarter, he kicks the field goal.  What?!

Completely Ignorant 2019 NFL Week 13 Preview

Introduction

Welcome to 2019 NFL Week 13. Last week I tried something different with my preview. Instead of picking the games, I picked something that I’d rather watch instead of each of the games. I’m not sure how well it reads, but I like the concept, so I will expand on it and try to figure out how to make it work better for the rest of this season and next.

I do know that it would get boring to continually read about my plans to watch things other than football games. Therefore, and because it is Thanksgiving week in the NFL, I will discuss the things that I’m thankful for because of the games. Again, who knows how it will read, but I’m nothing if not persistent.

Also, there is another new category for this week. It is a special one that will only happen during this week in the season. I don’t use the word necessarily as a judgement (even though the games are pretty terrible this year). I just like that we can use “turkey” in so many contexts. Yay for English!

Finally, I have replaced the heading names with more gastronomic terms. Sorry in advance. It’s just all these games are crap. Now, on to 2019 NFL Week 13!

The Turkeys

Chicago at Detroit– You may think there’s not much to be thankful about this game. You’d be right. But, given my history with the Bears defense and fantasy football, I guess I’m thankful that I don’t have to pay attention to any of these games because I’m not in a league.

Buffalo at Dallas – This game makes me thankful for Thanksgiving dinner. By the time this game rolls around, I’m in a gluttony induced state of immobility on the couch. Lying in front of a fire and thinking about leftovers.

Atlanta at New Orleans – Simmons and Sal said that this game happened last year, too, on Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for our crack research team here at 2 Generations Gaming that has been able to confirm that, in fact, this game happened at the exact same time last year. Whoever’s running this simulation is getting lazy.

The Sewer

Washington at Carolina – What is there to be thankful for here? The racist nickname? Oh, we went to South Carolina last summer and that was an amazing trip that our kids still talk about. Oh, and we stopped in DC and had great ramen for dinner.

New York Jets at Cincinnati – I had a difficult time ranking these games from most to least objectionable. They are all terrible. I’m thankful that I don’t have to travel to work on this game. Those poor people. All they wanted was a job in show business and this is their reward.

Tennessee at Indianapolis – I swear to God this game is on the schedule every week. I’m thankful for the South divisions. I know that sounds weird after I called for their abolition last week. But, at least the fact that this game happens once a week reaffirms that we are living in a simulation.

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona – I’m thankful for Kyler Murray. Thanks to him, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes, the NFL might start to become slightly less conservative and more fun to watch.

Toilet Bowls

Green Bay at New York Giants – I’m thankful for snow in November. I know the game is in New York and I don’t think that there is snow in the forecast, but Green Bay always makes me think of snow. Wasn’t this the Ice Bowl? At least Green Bay was there.

Philadelphia at Miami – I’m thankful that Miami has a nice climate (for now until it sinks into the ocean because of climate change), so that it takes their minds off of their terrible football team. Their city sinking into the ocean would do that too, I imagine. So, it’s all aces in southern Florida

Tampa Bay at Jacksonville – Once upon a time, Christine and I were planning to move to Tampa Bay. More accurately, it was St Petersburg. Either way, I’m thankful we didn’t. I don’t know if I’d make a proper Florida man.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh – I’m thankful for my family and friends back in Pennsylvania. I’ve often said that I never felt at home until I got to Massachusetts. I know that might sound rude towards them, but I mean no disrespect to them. I wish they could all move up here.

The Bowels

Minnesota at Seattle – I’m thankful that the Sounders won the MLS Cup this year. I became a huge fan of MLS this year and for my favorite team to win the cup was pretty amazing. Add to it, Liverpool is 8 points clear in the lead. It’s a great year for real football.

New England at Houston – I’m thankful that I have more or less been able to avoid Patriots fans this year. Sure, they are 10-1, but the Golden Boy has been less than stellar. Plus, there are rumors that he’s going to leave at the end of the year. Pats fans aren’t sure what to do with that so they’ve been mostly quiet. Hope the Ravens destroy them in the playoffs and really drive that stake in.

Las Vegas at Kansas City – I’m thankful for Cousin Sal. He is the only reason that I even listen to Simmons podcast every week and most weeks I enjoy Sal’s podcast even more. Also, Patrick Mahomes. I don’t want him to get jealous of my Lamar Jackson man crush.

The Stomach (Game of the Week)

San Francisco at Baltimore – I’m thankful for Chris. He’s trying his hardest to keep me invested in the NFL in spite of my increased disinterest in the league. This week, he used the ol’ Lamar Jackson trick. He knows exactly what to say. <3

The Verdict

2019 NFL Week 13 is a stinker. It isn’t as bad as some weeks and I will actually end up watching some football through my eyelids after eating too much turkey. However, I doubt that I’ll see any of the weekend games. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend, all, and hope to see you next week for some Pokemon talk.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

Marvel Comics November 2019 Review

Introduction

Marvel Comics November 2019 saw a downturn in both quantity and quality. There are only two books anymore that consistently get a “great” rating and I actually gave my first Immortal Hulk book a “good” rating. Plus, my DCBS order was under 80 dollars for the first time. I know that Chris and I are doom and gloom. However, I think that this really might be the beginning of the end for comics.

I mean, like a stopped Nostradamus, we have to be right one of these times. Let’s look at the evidence. Comics have been in a slump since the 1990s. There have been some fake outs that have looked like actual comebacks. Those have just turned out to be mirages.

Marvel movies that didn’t suck came along. They started to take on more of the personality and narrative style of the comics. Disney bought them and mass produced the films at a breakneck speed. They are now being downloaded into people’s brains through Disney Plus. Who wants to pay 5 bucks a book when you can get unlimited comic book entertainment for 7 bucks a month? So, who’s hyped for some comic reviews?

The Forgettable

I think I started this section last month. I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that I have no use for The Punisher now or in the near future. Unless I hear otherwise, let’s just assume that I’m collecting The Punisher because I’ve forgotten to remove it from my pull list.

The Decent

Where is this story going?

Captain America 15 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jason Masters) – I was excited to see the Daughters of Liberty in the last issue. They are back in this one. But, I have to be honest. I only skimmed this issue. It feels like the narrative is being lost a bit.

Thank goodness this story is done.

Avengers 25 (Jason Aaron and Stefano Caselli) – I didn’t enjoy this story at all. However, the book is still fun and I like Aaron’s take on the Avengers. The message about family at the end made me say, “Awww”. Also, I wrote something about getting back on track, so the last reveal must have been something. I just don’t remember what.

No longer a misnomer

Doctor Strange 19 and 20 (Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz) – I used to get nerd cred for being a Doctor Strange fan. He was one of the second or third tier heroes, but he was always one of my favorites. Then Benjamin Cucumber came along and made him the true MVP of the Marvel cinema universe. None of that is relevant to these books necessarily. I mean, it’s cool that the doc is a doc again, but they’re relaunching as a new title. Speaking of forgetting to update my pull list…

The Good

This book is getting very good.

Fantastic Four 15 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina) – I’m loving the retro feel of this book. I like that it reads very much like the original Marvel comics. Like Spidey, the retro feel is heartwarming. I didn’t know who the hell the new people were, but it was a nice way of telling a fun story. Keep it up.

Gonna go back in time…to go forward in time…

Amazing Spider-Man 32 (Nick Spencer and Patrick Gleason) – I got very excited to see the ad earlier in the year for the new 2099. I know now that it is just a miniseries that is also interspersed among a couple of other titles. That’s probably for the best, but it does leave me wanting more. This serves as a nice intro to the 2099 story and I can’t wait for the rest of it.

Even when it isn’t as good, it’s still good.

Immortal Hulk 24 (Al Ewing et al) – I gave this one a “kind of me” initially. They’re back in hell with Bruce’s dad, which is my least favorite storyline in the book right now. But, the hulks are merging and the end was pretty awesome. Long live Worldbreaker.

The Great

The kids asked what Spidey was doing to Sandman? Not quite, kids….

Amazing Spider-Man 31 (Nick Spencer and Cliff Rathburn) – Chris kept telling me how good Absolute Carnage was, but I never bit. I should have because the tie in issues have been fun. This one focused on Norman and his time as Carnage, reckoning with the past as Spidey had to a couple of issue ago. This new villain is behind all of it, but why is Gwen here again?

Just wow!

Immortal Hulk 25 (Al Ewing et al) – We were promised a Hulk comic unlike any other. That’s for sure. This is Ewing’s take on the Worldbreaker mythos and it was just awesome to read. The big reveal of Leader at the end was a nice touch, too. I love this comic.

The Verdict

I suppose I was too harsh on Marvel Comics November 2019. Sure, there weren’t many “great” books, but the good ones were just below great. It was a fun month of comics and looking back made me smile more than once. I’m still not sure that the end of comics isn’t extremely f***ing nigh as the sign in 28 Days Later read, but I will continue to enjoy them as long as they are being made. Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll be back on Friday with my DC review.

Completely Ignorant 2019 NFL Week 12 Preview

Note: I think that last week might be the last time I pick games. I’m trying something different for NFL Week 12.

Introduction

We made it to the NFL week 12. 3/4 of the way through the season. The next month or so will probably actually be completely ignorant again. I have been paying some attention to this season because I like the story of some of the newer “good” teams in the league. However, college football bowl season is imminent.

Granted, the Tua injury has me obviously distraught. However, there are some “new” teams in the mix there, too. Besides, watching 60 plus terrible college football games in a month is far more appealing to me than anything the NFL has to offer right now. Speaking of the NFL, I’ve added a new category to the article. The Sewer – these are for the games that I’ve flushed down the toilet bowl.

The Sewer

Detroit at Washington – I know I sound like a broken record, but the Washington mascot is racist. There’s no way around it. This is our nation’s capital and the football team mascot is a racist caricature of a group of people that were systematically executed by our government. Merica! What to watch instead – Speaking of DC, get caught up on the impeachment inquiry. I hear there was some spicy testimony!

Jacksonville at Tennessee – Seriously, is there a reason that the AFC South exists? I know that there are 32 teams and that divides evenly into 8 divisions of 4 teams. However, this might be the only time that I argue against math. Let’s just abolish the South divisions. They only care about college football anyway. Maybe they can become part of a new relegation system in the NFL. What to watch instead – I saw that ESPN was showing old SEC games from a couple of years ago. Much better football.

Las Vegas at New York Jets – That’s right folks, the Las Vegas Raiders. Have they moved yet? Are they ever? At this point, I’m ready to just yeet them and Jacksonville over to London where they can play an entire schedule just between the two of them. What to watch instead – Speaking of London, Sheffield and Man U are playing this afternoon for 8th place in the Premier League.

Toilet Bowls

Miami at Cleveland – Remember at the beginning of the year when everyone thought that Cleveland was going to be the belles of the NFL this year? I mean, I wasn’t one of them, but can you imagine their embarrassment now. They might be so angry that they’d place the Browns low on a ranking system of games every week. What to watch instead – Baseball season ended about a month ago, so remind yourself how much you love that sport with some Major League.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta – Remember what I was saying earlier about the South divisions? This is yet another reminder of the horrors unleashed upon the world because of that NFL math that brought this into existence. What to watch instead – If you really want to watch the story of a creation run amok to destroy a countryside, read Frankenstein.

New York Giants at Chicago – Much of my understanding of the NFL for the last few years comes as a result of various fantasy football leagues. A few years ago, I rode Blake Bortles to a title and last year, I stole the Bears defense to win the regular season champion. Both times, I wasn’t invited back to the league. If only I could translate that success into money via daily fantasy. What to watch instead – Maybe I will check out one of the thousands of daily fantasy websites that have cropped up as a result of a broken capitalism.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati – I’ve spent the better part of 15 minutes trying to think of something to say about this game and I’ve got nothing. Other than this is the epitome of sports today. Two terrible teams playing a meaningless game simply because degenerates are willing to put money on it. What to watch instead – There’s always the Thanksgiving episode of WKRP.

Games that might interest you (but probably shouldn’t)

Carolina at New Orleans – Is this for first place in the NFC South? Who the hell knows because nobody other than the talking heads on ESPN who are getting paid to care even knows the NFC South exists. What to watch instead – A Christmas Story or Grinch will restore faith in a society that allows this abomination to continue to exist.

Denver at Buffalo – I grew up in Erie. Being at the epicenter of Buffalo/Pittsburgh/Cleveland, somehow Buffalo was our team. So, I’m fond of the Bills. What to watch instead – If I’m being honest, I would probably watch this game. Go Bills.

Baltimore at LA Rams – The Rams were in the same bucket as the Browns as preseason favorites. They had a young hotshot coach. A young hotshot QB. Well, those young hotshots are about to get spanked yet again. What to watch instead – Quoth the raven, nevermore. Go outside and enjoy the snow.

Seattle at Philadelphia – I always say that I could probably do what the talking heads on ESPN do. Then again, maybe I couldn’t I have nothing to say about this game, either. Something, something playoff implications. There we go. What to watch instead – Go back and watch the MLS finals from this year. It was a fun game.

Green Bay at San Francisco – Something, something playoff implications. What to watch instead – In keeping with a theme, put on some Christmas music and decorate with the family.

Game of the Week

Dallas at New England – Because I’m becoming known for it, “Eff the Pats”. Seriously, though, this year is exactly why. The Patriots offense is terrible this year, but their defense is just good enough that they are 8-1. What to watch instead – I don’t know about you, but I have to get caught up on comics so that I can post those articles and then play some of the new Pokemon game in preparation for that content.

The Verdict

NFL Week 12 is an awful week of football. The only reason you should be watching any of these games is because you have money on them. Like my dad always said, though, “Don’t ever bet on a game where the ball bounces funny.” What about fantasy football, you say? Well, you’ve seen my history with the game, so what do you think? Thanks for joining me for my NFL week 12 preview and see you next week.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

Spawn 301 Review – Road to 400

Introduction

After the insanity of 300, is Spawn 301 any good? We made it to 300 and survived. Barely, but here we are on the other side. Is it too early to start the countdown to 400? Well, if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. Chris and I have texted a few times over the past few months about how fresh the book still feels after over 20 years under more or less strictly Uncle Todd’s control.

I’m not sure that last sentence is grammatically correct. Or, even proper English. But, it does get to my next point quite nicely. Spawn 300 promises a new beginning for the character. I haven’t read all of the intervening books, but I imagine that after so much time and so many issues, there have been other “new beginnings” for our Hellspawn. I’m pretty sure that Al wasn’t Spawn for a while in the 100s or 200s, but I’m not positive.

What makes this one different is (a) I’m here to witness it and (b) I’m all in for it. I loved the story that they started in 300. 301 picks up where that one leaves off and sets the stage for the future quite nicely. Let’s start that countdown and talk some about Spawn 301.

The Decent (Who is this ninja and JSA’s art is improving)

Who the heck is this ninja? The final pages in both 300 and 301 have told the story of a Ninja or Shinobi (does that just mean ninja?) or Samurai or something. I’m not sure of the official title of the character, but it has been an intriguing little vignette. Can’t wait to see how it fits into the greater story.

Jason Shawn Alexander I’ve been critical of his art for much of his run. I did enjoy the aesthetic for the Dark Horror storyline as it added to the overall creep factor. However, as Chris said, getting to have Greg Capullo back on the title for a limited run has shown just how starkly JSA differs from that. It’s just not the art that I grew up with. With that being said, it’s still not the same, but it has been getting better in these issues. I hope that continues.

The Good (Spawn has an army and that cover is sweet)

That Cover Tho The actual cover of the issue is pretty nice. What makes it more so is in the background is a shadow of the first issue’s cover. I thought that was a nice touch since they seem to be bringing back what makes Spawn great.

The Spawn Army This new Spawn looks an awful like the old Spawn. He’s raiding military installations for the weapons. He’s converting old villains into allies. It’s good that somethings might change, but what’s old is always going to end up being new again eventually.

The Great (Capullo! and the new story!)

Greg Capullo Chris texted me that he was ruined for any other artist on Spawn after seeing Greg Capullo’s art in Spawn 300. While I’m just as much a fan as anyone, I’m going to take the optimists approach on the art as you read earlier. It’s not the exact same, but as long as the story is strong, I will tolerate the art. Still good to see Greg Capullo back on the book I discovered him.

Here for this story I’ve already talked a little bit about how the story is being rebooted (or reimagined (or reinvented( or whatever))) starting with issue 300. Also, as I just insinuated in the last section, it looks an awful lot like the old Spawn. One thing that I wrote here is that it is reminiscent of Buffy, too. I forgot what I meant, but it is just that Spawn sacrificed himself and it looks like he unleashed his power into others similar to how Buffy woke up all the slayers. This is going to be fun.

The Verdict

Just like the other things from my youth that have come back in slightly newer variations, Spawn 300 and Spawn 301 are a welcome and comforting presence in a sometimes scary world. I can’t wait to see how things progress going forward and we only have 99 more issues until #400! See you in 10 years!

Completely Ignorant 2019 NFL Week 11 PReview

Introduction

Welcome to 2019 NFL Week 11. What did we learn in Week 10? The NFL is bad. Like, really, really bad. Like, I don’t understand how people are fans of this game. Let alone how this sport has become the national past time instead of baseball. Sure, they aren’t any better and their games are boring. I guess all this talk of American exceptionalism are just a fairy tale that people tell themselves and our legacy is racism and violence.

Wow, that just got deep there. Allow me to elaborate. The Steelers showed some promise last week by decimating the Rams, who were supposed to be a legitimate contender this year. They were then, in turn, destroyed by the Browns this past Thursday. The league is two or three “good” teams and everyone else is just mediocre or terrible. How is that entertaining. And, now an awkward transition. Let’s pick some games for 2019 NFL Week 11!

Toilet Bowls (Some HQ terrible content this week)

New York Jets at Washington – Speaking of racism, we have the Washington team headlining this section once again. I would say that their awfulness is indicative that karma works, but I no longer believe in such niceties. Apparently Jeff Bezos is rumored to be the next owner of the racists. That’s exactly what is needed to make this team even more detestable. I hope the Jets destroy them.

Cincinnati at Oakland (Vegas? ) Raiders – Is Cincinnati still winless? Are the Raiders still in Oakland? Find out the answer to these and probably other burning questions if you watch this terrible game, which I won’t be doing. But, the Raiders win, I guess.

Atlanta at Carolina – Atlanta beat the Saints last week, which is just another data point in how terrible this league is. I actually looked at this game and thought it was the game that was played last week. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for the league, either. So, let’s get on the Falcons bandwagon because why the hell not?

Chicago at Los Angeles Rams – This is one of those games that might have been considered a marquee matchup. Now, though, it is just another game that will inexplicably sell out and get huge TV ratings. I guess the Rams bounce back from the embarrassment of getting beaten by a terrible Steelers team.

If They’re On, I’ll Watch (As usual, probably not, but this week I have an excuse. We’re decorating for Christmas)

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (at London?) – I know it isn’t in London, but that’s like a new running gag her on the page. Hey, they can’t all be winners. Wow, I thought the Colts were good and the Jags terrible. Only one game separates them. I really need to just assume that every team is around .500 unless proven otherwise. Still, I feel like the Colts can roll them.

Denver at Minnesota – Okay, my new assumption has already been disproven. Minnesota is 7-3 and Denver is 3-6. That means that the Vikings should destroy them. What it actually means is that Denver will somehow win and invalidate the first 10 weeks of the season.

Dallas at Detroit – Both of these teams play on Thanksgiving. It would have made sense to give them both Sunday off. Detroit gets that luxury. Because they’re America’s team, Dallas has to play the Patriots the Sunday before. That makes perfect sense.

New England at Philadelphia – Speaking of the Patriots, I have had an extra week to glory in the tears of Pats fans at their beloved undefeated season going up in smoke once again. Wait, what do you mean I didn’t pick the last game. Who knows? This whole league is a coin flip. I may need to come up with another shtick instead of picking games.

Okay, now I’m interested (in decking the halls with boughs of holly)

Arizona at San Francisco – I noticed a couple of weeks ago that San Fran was somehow undefeated. I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s no longer relevant after they lost to Seattle. Still, Kyler Murray is fun to watch even if Arizona stinks. San Fran wins.

Buffalo at Miami – I just noticed that the Bills are only 2 (I guess technically 3 because they already lost to them) games behind the Patriots for the division. I knew they had been doing well, but it seems like less well the past few weeks. They will at least hold serve and hopefully gain another game this week by destroying the Phins.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay – The Saints seemed to be rolling right into the Super Bowl to make up for getting robbed last year. Then, they ran into the buzz saw that was the *checks notes* Atlanta Falcons. Um, okay, sure, and that game was in New Orleans. Tampa could steal this one.

Houston at Baltimore – As a Steelers fan (of which I claim not to be anymore), I should hate Baltimore. I don’t. Lamar Jackson seems to be the real deal and their defense is pretty dang good again, too. I considered this one for Game of the Week. Baltimore wins.

Game of the Week

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers – At this point, Patrick Mahomes is like a character in a Greek tragedy. Except his fatal flaw isn’t actually his. He’s playing for a subpar coach with a terrible defense. He’s more like Lebron James, carrying this corpse of a team on his back to glory. Let’s go Chiefs!

The Verdict

Well, 2019 NFL Week 11 isn’t all bad. There are actually some games that I might sit and watch if they were on. The problem is that they won’t be on because we are decorating for Christmas. Still, I don’t have much else to be excited about. Tua got hurt and the insane bowl season doesn’t start up for a couple of weeks. See you next week.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

Pioneer Decks I’d Play

Sub title: If I could…

Introduction

The subtitle is a bit misleading. I could play some Pioneer decks if I wanted. I recently learned about the MTGO card and deck rental services. Doing some research, they seem like a good deal to try out some tier 2 or 3 decks at a reasonable price. Also, there is the questionably legal method of trying things out on xMage. So, stay tuned. There might be a follow up to this post in the near future. Plan for Thanksgiving weekend.

Chris already got the ball rolling on some Pioneer content earlier in the week. It might be a couple of weeks too late, but it’s downright topical for how long it usually takes us to get around to trying new things. Hey, there’s a market for retro gaming, too. I’m told. I haven’t actually found any of those markets.

In spite of all that, I was pretty intrigued by the announcement of Pioneer as a format. Like Chris, I took a long break from Magic the Gathering. That break ended, inexplicably, around the time that Return to Ravnica was released. Having a format that starts at that set just feel like kismet. Therefore, let’s take a look at some Pioneer decks that I’d like to try.

Mono Green Devotion

Unlimited green mana. What could possibly go wrong?

Usually I like to build to the eventual big reveal. that shows you how excited I am about this particular deck. It’s been the “best” deck of the format since pretty much the beginning. They’ve already had a list of banned cards (aside from fetch lands) that tried to slow the deck down, but to no avail. As long as Nykthos is allowing Walking Balllista and Voracious Hydra to terrorize people while Nissa and Vivien party in the background, this deck will dominate the format. I’ve never been the type to want to dominate in Magic. but, there’s just something about giant green stompy decks that makes my blue mage heart sing.

Mono Blue Devotion

Speaking of my blue mage heart…

Chris got really excited when I mentioned that I thought that this deck might actually be a thing. He texted back, somewhat mysteriously, “I knew it!” He then went on to explain that he saw a spike in Thassa’s price. I know nothing about economy, especially the economy of Magic the Gathering, but I do know from islands. Now, I’m not sure how much of a deck this actually is anymore. There are only 3 listings on MTG Top 8. Nevertheless, any deck that lets you play islands and sling blue cards is okay by me. I will just say. Needs moar counterspell.

Sultai Control

He made being a shirtless bro cool before Oko. Until he got turned into bling by a dragon.

Anything that has the word control and swamps and islands in it is okay by me, too. Do I get an added bonus for picking a deck with everyone’s least favorite villain card, Oko? Looking over the deck, this one looks really sweet and it will probably be the first one that I fart around with on xMage after I reinstall that on the desktop upstairs. It’s got shirtless bros. There’s removal. I have to speak to the manager about the lack of counterspell, but that is easily remedied.

Blue and white! Yay! But, red? Ew. Somehow, the Jeskai make it all work.

Pioneer has been called “Ghosts of Standard Past”. Other than being especially seasonal, that title is actually accurate in a way. When I went to the Khans prerelease, I ended up picking Mardu because Aiden had picked Sultai. I don’t remember what Liam picked, but I think it was probably Jeskai. I then went on to try to build a Mardu control deck. Now, that can be a thing, but not at a prerelease, so I just trolled the rest of the group with my durdle tactics for 3 rounds, dropped, and went to get food with the boys. None of that has to do with Standard, but this felt like a good place to tell that story since I know little about meta gaming.

Copycat

Splinter Twin players just can’t let it go.

Now, this I do know a little bit about. Gather around, children and listen to the tale of Splinter Twin. Once upon a time, there was a deck that allowed you to make many tokens. A great many Modern players enjoyed and played this utterly unfun and disgusting pile of cards. WotC finally killed it. Everyone lived happily ever after. The end….until Felidar Guardian came along. Rinse. Repeat. Until Pioneer came along. Rinse. Repeat. Now, I think the beast is dead forever….until the next stupid card that allows you to pull off this combo comes along. Rinse? Repeat? *sigh* So, this truly is a deck that I can only play against Chris in our no holds barred cage matches every month or so. But, I won’t. Because, it’s stupid. I just wanted a paragraph to rant about this dumb “strategy” again.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my article about Pioneer decks that I’d play (if I could*). *I can and probably will in a couple of weeks, so look for my report then. No promises, as usual. There might be a cube active on xMage at that time and I am easily distracted by shiny objects. I will try my hardest to play at least the Sultai Control deck a few times and report back on that one.

Seeing as how Jeskai is my second favorite clan, I will probably try that one, too. Okay? Let’s meet in a couple of weeks to discuss my travels back in time (hopefully it goes better than when Sarkhan tried this) to Tarkir. I look forward to meeting again.

Thank ****! It’s Thanksgiving! (What I’m Thankful For)

It’s that time of year; where we get fat on dead bird and reflect on things in our lives that make us not want to swing from our shoelaces from a ceiling fan.  Don’t know about you but that sentence gave me the warm and fuzzies.   Well, in the spirit of the holiday season I’ve decided to share, with our loyal readers (bots), the things that I’m most thankful for this year.

Shawn’s Hate of the New England Patriots:  He’s hated them before it was the thing to do.  Eff the Pats indeed.  Can you blame him?  They have essentially ruined the NFL for him for the past decade.  All I know is that it makes the diehard N.E fan in me cackle manically whenever he voices his utter contempt for them.

Comic Books: The beginning of the year was rough for me.  Work was really wearing me down and making me depressed, but I dove headfirst into my comic collection and it worked wonders.  Between reading them, hunting them, buying them, sorting them and talking with Shawn daily about them, it kept me sane as well as kept my shoestrings in my shoes.   Just having that escape when I didn’t necessarily have the time to play MTG or play a video game made a huge difference and really got me through.  Dying media? Maybe, but I’ll go down with the ship.

Nintendo Switch Lite: I’m getting married next fall and since both my parents and my soon-to-be bride’s parents are not swimming in money like ****ing Scrooge McDuck <insert Ducktales theme song here>, we have to foot the bill for the entire thing.  Which means less money on nerd stuff, so I haven’t been able to run out and get a Switch yet. All I’ve heard for the past year is how awesome the damn thing is but yet the price hasn’t dropped on it.  BUT Nintendo has taken mercy on the nerds on a budget and announced the Lite version of the Switch for $199.  Yeah, it doesn’t connect to a tv, but screw it, I play mostly handhelds anyways (insert joke here), and highly doubt I would even use a switch on my tv.  I can justify 200 bucks for a Switch, but the cheap gamer in me is holding out for a Black Friday (AKA Materialpossessiongeddon) deal on one. Either way, I will be a proud owner by the end of the year.

Madden Football:  I don’t think I ever laugh as hard as when I play Madden against Shawn.  Between our obvious inability to throw a completed pass without it getting picked off, the crappy commentary (specifically when they talk about Tom Brady, even though neither one of us are playing as the Patriots), and our own completely inappropriate commentary which will never see the light of day, it’s always a good time.

DCBS (Discount Comic Book Service): Although their shipments can be a bit wonky (I’m still waiting for a book that was released in August and a few from September), I can’t complain about the prices and with the aforementioned wedding expenses they’ve allowed me to stay current in the hobby instead of trying to play catch up via Midtown Comics and paying twice the amount.  Sorry, I still like Midtown Comics for their exclusive autographed books, but the shipping times are always ridiculous.

Teflon Trump’s Fat Fingers of Twitterin’ Doom:  We tend to stay away from politics on this site since it tends to be a divisive subject. Also, our readership is basically all Russian bots and we all know that Trump+Russians=Besties. Hey-OH!  Seriously though folks, sometimes the s*** this guy tweets out makes me laugh due to the sheer unfiltered stupidity packed into those 280 characters.  It’s both amazing and horrific entertainment all wrapped up into one fat spray-tanned package.  What are all the late-night hosts going to do if he’s actually impeached/loses the next election?! Someone is going to have to do daily wellness checks on Colbert.

Alright that’s it for this year folks! I hope that you and yours have a fantastic holiday season! 

Why Pioneer Will Stick/Why Pioneer Will fail

Howdy gang! Today I wanted to touch on the subject of the newest format of Magic the Gathering that’s gaining steam; Pioneer.  For those of you who are scratching your virtual heads (looking at you Sergei), Pioneer is basically Modern but with the restriction of only being able to use cards from the Return to Ravnica block forward. Being more of a Modern player this format resonates with me.  I got back into the game during the RTR block and while it holds a special place in my heart, I kick myself for not getting back into the game years before when the staples of Modern were first released.  Yes, unfortunately, I’ve always gone to modern feeling underpowered as I stared across the table at Tarmogoyfs, Lilys, Emrakruls, Karns, Fetches,  ..you get the point, while I played mostly budget decks as I’m a responsible (ish) adult who refuses to spend a grand or two on a Tier1 Modern deck.  With this format, it feels like equal footing.  It’s Modern for the new guys.  While giddy on the inside, I’m cautious on the exterior.  Why? Well I’m glad that you asked, voice in my head, I’ll tell you why I think this format could already be in trouble and why, on my soft caramel and nougat inside (Mmm Milky Ways), I think this might stick.

Fail!

WOTC has already made it clear that there will be weekly bannings as the competitive scene meta comes to light. I think a big reason why this format has caught on fire in the last few weeks is the fact that all the overpowered cards from Standard-Ghosts past are now playable again.  Emrakrul, The Promised End, Deathrite Shaman, Aetherworks Marvel, Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Saheeli Rai and that damn Felidar Cat..the list goes on and on.  It’s actually been interesting to track the card value spikes online while giggling to myself knowing that there would be a crash on a lot of the cards due to the Ban Hammer being swung around every week.  Right off the bat, WOTC banned Fetches (thank you!), and just last week dropped the hammer on the Felidar Beast, therefore killing the Saheeli infinite combo, Oath of Nissa and Leyline of Abundance (to kill mana fixing right out of the gate).  While, personally, I rather play fair games that last more 4 turns, I think there a lot of players that get a rush from pulling off infinite combos, playing overpowered cards, and just generally breaking the system and sticking it to the man. Once the bans keep coming, I can see a lot of players dropping the format and crying into their playset of Treasure Cruises. (C’mon we all know that is going away!).

Here to Stay!

Simply put; everyone is ****ing tired of getting their collective ***es kicked by the same Modern decks over and over again.   Jund, Tron, Lantern Control, Burn, Bant.  We’ve all at one time played against them either in person or online. If you haven’t, then consider yourself lucky.  Next person who plays Lantern Control against me will get dropkicked in the ****ing throat. Try me m*******r. Ahem..er..anyways..How many times have  you watched SCG Modern streams just to see the same decks over and over and over?  How many times have you perused the Top 8 decklists just to see the same decks over and over and over?  This is a fresh start! The meta is constantly in a state of flux as WOTC bans what they deem as unfair, so the top decks haven’t been decided yet and probably won’t be for awhile until the bans have subsided.  This format feels different as Wizards is pushing it hard in the competitive scene.  I fully expect a Pioneer Masters set next year. Write it down.   I’ve never felt this sense of excitement from players when it came to any other format.  Brawl? Meh. Wizards is still pushing it but not as hard. Tiny Leaders? Who gives a tiny crap? Pioneer? Hell yes! People instantly reacted to the announcement and singles prices went haywire. My gut tells me Pioneer will be a winner due to Modern Fatigue and the uncreative deck brewing of that format, as well as people having tons of old Standard cards just sitting in binders that are not Standard-legal but also not powerful enough to compete in Modern.  The possibilities are endless right now and I think people are picking up on that. It’s not often that you can get in on the ground floor of a format.

Bonus Section! Coming to a Banned List Near You!

  1. Aetherworks Marvel
  2. Oko
  3. Dig through Time
  4. Treasure Cruise
  5. Fabled Passage

Completely Ignorant 2019 NFl Week 10 Picks

Introduction

Welcome to my 2019 NFL Week 10 picks. I’m not entirely sure how I did last week. I haven’t bothered to check. I suppose that as I’m sitting here writing this article, I could easily open up the article and count. Okay, you’ve guilted me into it. I went 7-6. Still positive money if I bet the games correctly.

Okay, now for this week. I think it was on Sal’s podcast this week that I heard that the games aren’t that great. Maybe he just meant betting wise. Comparatively speaking, I was actually able to find some games that were interesting to me. Maybe the NFL is finally wearing me down into a fan of the league. Let’s not think about that. Let’s just make our 2019 NFL Week 10 picks.

Toilet Bowls (New York, New York)

Miami at Indianapolis – I’m going to steal a joke here. On Hang Up and Listen this week, a former writer from Deadspin made the joke about Miami screwing up and winning or something. Hey, I stole and butchered a joke. But, at least I gave credit! Colt win.

New York Giants at New York Jets? – Or, is the other way around? Does it really matter to anyone outside of New York City? I sure as hell don’t care. New York wins. Your guess is as good as mine.

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns – With the Pats finally losing a game, that means that the Bills are one game closer to first place in the AFC East. Sure, they won’t win, but it is still fun to dream. Freddy Kitchens is a disaster. I will say that until he is fired. Bills win.

Arizona at Tampa Bay – This game is borderline meh. The kid from Arizona (if only I had the ability to search for his name) has been fun to watch and Tampa Bay is the bipolar hero we all deserve. The game could be entertaining and Bucs win.

If They’re On, I’ll Watch (Ravens, the Ain’ts, and Pack, Oh My!)

Baltimore at Cincinnati – Maybe I should switch this one and the Arizona/TB game. I have no desire to watch this game other than I’m now a Ravens fan after they just effed the Patriots last week. They’ll just keep on rolling.

Atlanta at New Orleans – I think Drew Brees is back in this game. Or, maybe he was back last week. I can’t remember. Either way, Atlanta is awful this year and New Orleans will win.

Carolina at Green Bay – This game is borderline interesting. But, I already had 4 games in that category, so this one got bumped down. It’s also a tough game to pick, but I’ll take Green Bay at home.

Okay, I’m Interested (Mahomes is back (?), y’all!)

Los Angeles Rams at Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh surprised me last week. Maybe they will further surprise me this week. Why do I keep talking about Pittsburgh? I don’t even consider myself a fan of the team anymore. Old habits die hard. Hopefully LA does the same for the Steelers.

Detroit at Chicago – I’m still high on the Bears defense from last year’s fantasy performance. I’m not sure how they’re performing this year, but I’ll be fans of them for at least the forseeable future. I see you, Blake Bortles! Bears win.

Minnesota at Dallas – Dallas started off doing well, then faded, and now seems to be on the upswing. Minnesota has been consistent much of this year. Heck, this might even have game of the week potential. I think Minnesota crushes Dallas, though.

Kansas City at Tennessee – Mahomes is back! (?) I think so. It looked like he was available to pick in daily fantasy at least. Who knows? I hope he is. He’s the only reason I even pay attention to the NFL. If he’s playing, KC wins. If not, a coin flip.

Game of the Week (Who saw this one at the beginning of the year?)

Seattle at San Francisco – San Fran is scary good right now. After the Pats lost, they are the only undefeated team in the league. Seattle doesn’t care about this game right now because the Sounders are in MLS Cup (ha ha, little jokes), but it will still be a fun game. Let’s go 49ers.

The Verdict

Honestly, though, I’m really interested in this week of football. Thanksgiving is coming which means my annual coma of turkey, beer, and football is near. Maybe that’s why my interest is peaking. Hey, it could just be because the Patriots lost and whenever Pats fans are unhappy, I’m happy. Thanks for reading my 2019 NFL Week 10 picks and see you in a week. Oh, next Thursday, Steelers beat the Browns.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).