Category Archives: Snap *censored* Pop Culture

Completely Ignorant NFL Conference Championship Edition

(Editor’s Note: A�Well, those of you waiting for us to fall of the wagon, get your Nelson Muntz “Ha ha” finger pointing and “told you so”s out of the way. A�We have some football games to get wrong!)

NFC Conference Championship

The Falcons destroyed the Seahawks in a game that I was actually grateful to get wrong last week. A�I’m already sick of the Seachickens and their budding cross conference rivalry with the Patsies. A�Aaron Rodgers’ team won in the closing seconds against the Pokes and set up a dream matchup for me, even though I had the exact opposite teams in my picks. A�This is probably the hardest game for me to pick. A�I’m leaning Atlanta because they are playing at home, Matt Ryan is the pick for MVP because the other players in the running are either a rookie or missed 4 games for various reasons, and it is just a more fun story for the Falcons to finally make it to the Super Bowl. A�However, Aaron Rodgers’ team is hot right now, just knocked off one of the leading contenders to win the Super Bowl in their home, and I don’t know if you heard, but they have Aaron Rodgers on their team. A�I am genuinely split on this one, but I will take the Falcons in a high scoring affair, 35-30.

AFC Conference Championship

I was deathly afraid of the Chefs last week and it turns out that there was some basis for that fear. A�The Steelers squeaked out a win over the Chefs with one of the oddest football scores I’ve seen in a while. A�They didn’t look overly impressive in the game, only managed field goals as scores, and gave me no reason to be positive going into this week’s game against the Pats. A�I didn’t see the Pats beat the Texans as the only game that I got right last week, but I heard that they weren’t that impressive even though they won by such a large margin. A�As a Steelers fan, I feel like I’ve seen this same stupid game against the Patriots five times before and it always ends in a 34-14 score. A�I have no reason to believe that this time will be any different, so there you have it.

The Super Bowl, which will again be shunned in favor of the annual Lucas-Mullen film festival is going to be the Patriots against the Falcons. A�Look for our hastily written preview only hours before the game.

My Completely Ignorant 2017 NFL Divisional Round Picks

(Note: A�Some of you might point out that this is the second time we’ve been late on a publishing deadline. A�Some of you might not have known that until I just pointed it out. A�Well, yes, this is our second time and we promised not to make it a habit. A�But, in our defense, once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence. A�So, we have one more chance to prove ourselves.)

CFP Chamionship Game Recap

We expanded our sports related ignorance into college football earlier in the week when we picked the Championship Game. A�We really wanted to be the ones that went out on a limb and pick Clemson. A�However, the recent rise of authoritarianism and hard line politics across the world scared us off. A�If ever there was a right time for an evil empire to squash a plucky band of rebels, this is the time. A�Then again, if I had thought about it a bit more, it seems as if sports has been immune to this phenomenon and feel good stories abound. Perhaps I was too hasty in my flippant assessment that sports can cure society’s ills. A�Maybe I can explore that another day. A�For today, I was not only wrong about the game, but I was wrong about betting the under with my fake dime. A�I guess I need to be a little less ignorant about things before writing articles about them.

NFL Divisional RoundA�

Then again, I was 3-1 in my coin flip picks last weekend and I basically just troll picked the Giants for all of my Patriots fans. A�I didn’t see the Packers blowing out the Giants, but they’ve been hot recently and I thought they’d win. A� Therefore, I was more or less 4-0 with an asterisk. A�In the interest of time, and to avoid any further asterisks, I will forgo the usual nonsense and just make my picks.

The Picks: A�Pats, Chefs, Pokes, and SeaChickens. A�See you next week for the Conference Championships.

Last Minute (But No Less Ignorant) CFP Preview

(Editor’s Note: A�We may be last minute on this preview, but we promise that it won’t be any less ignorant than our NFL coverage. A�Plus, this is 4 articles that we’re on deadline for and that’s gotta be some kind of record!)

In spite of the fact that I tried to swear off football, I have a friend that has become a bro date for much of the college football season. A�Like many of you, we had a bit of a falling out at the end of last year. A�I will spare you the details, but I’m sure you can fill in the blanks. A�It’s only relevant because of the college football playoff championship game tonight. A�Relax, I’m not going to talk about the healing power of sports. A�We just want to expand our influence this year and I figured college football would be the easiest since I’ve watched so much over the last few years.

Granted, it was sports that finally broke the ice again. A�He texted me about some daily fantasy contest he got entered into for winning his season long fantasy league. A�I got a similar invitation last year, but I bombed out of the daily contest and I haven’t tried since. A�I barely tolerate the week to week tinkering. A�I could never draft a new team and keep track of them weekly.

But, I digress. A�the point is that apparently football, not time, heals all wounds. A�At least, college football does. A�The NFL is mediocre at best and usually just boring. A�Yet another reason not to play daily fantasy football. A�Egad, my digressing has led to another digression. A�Stop me before I digress again!

Okay, enough of that stupidity. A�Notice that I did say “that”. A�If that’s your thing, relax. A�I’m sure there will be plenty of other stupidity. A�Before that happens, though, let’s see if we can’t approximate some serious analysis. A�After all, if we’re known for anything around here, it is taking silly games seriously.

Clemson

I have, inexplicably, been a fan of Clemson since I starting paying attention to college football in high school. A�I have no specific ties to the school or state. A�Heck, I spent the first few months thinking they were in California or Nevada because their stadium is in Death Valley. A�Maybe it was a color scheme thing that attracted me.

I do know that part of the reason I started following “the U” was their color scheme. A�Since there are so many colleges in the country, it offers a wider variety of colors, mascots, and uniforms. A�The internet was still a few years from being widely available to the public, so UniWatch wasn’t a thing. A�Damn, another missed opportunity. A�Oh, well.

Also, Under Armour wasn’t yet a thing, so uniforms hadn’t gone Oregon bananas yet. A�All he budding uniform nerds had was the occasional Hurricane “mascot” or weird orange based color scheme. A�Miami had the added bonus of having started to push the envelope a bit with their uniforms by changing up the block numbers to a more sleek design and adding stripes to their jerseys. A�I may be remembering this wrong and giving them more credit for being more pioneering than they actually were.

That was the other reason that teenage me found a kinship with Miami. A�They had personality. A�They had swagger. A�They had cocaine fueled parties with guns and other questionably legal activities. A�Okay, maybe that last one wasn’t great. A�But, the rest of it spoke to a renegade spirit that tried my hardest to rebel against the rebel my father claimed could not be done. A�Turns out, in many cases, that was true. A�But, I still had Miami.

So, what does any of this have to do with Clemson? A�Who knows? A�What does any of my ramblings have to do with anything? A�Well, I don’t remember Clemson being overly swagtastic, so it must have just been the orange and purple. A�Hey, who knows what lights up the pleasure center in a teenage boy’s brain. A�I mean, other than the obvious.

Whatever the reason, fandom of both Miami and Clemson have paid off recently. A�With the team of the college of my birth city (Pitt, to put it more simply) moving to the ACC, I can now claim both schools as home conference schools. A�While Miami has only flirted with their former greatness, Clemson has been consistently at the top of the polls for the past few years.

So, what does Clemson bring to the game? A�Clemson isn’t quite the machine of Alabama. A�Other than a loss against Pitt, they had close games against Troy and NC State. A�The game against the Wolfpack even went into overtime. A�But, they did win them and 9 others and the ACC championship to impress the committee enough for a number 3 ranking.

Well, they absolutely destroyed Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl to advance. A�They only lost that one game (to my wildly inconsistent Panthers, I feel compelled to mention again) all season, have a Heisman trophy candidate at quarterback, 6 All Americans on offense, 2 on defense, and are all orange for the game. A�Hey, as we’ve seen, uniforms matter.

Alabama

I’ve also been a big fan of Alabama. A�Hey, cut and paste that for future blackmail. A�Taken in context, it is damning enough. A�Taken out of context and I might lose my dirty stinking hippie liberal membership. A�Oh well, that’s a chance I will have to take to make my art.

After my explanation of my fandom of Clemson and Miami, it might even be more inexplicable why I’d be drawn to a team like Alabama. A�They are the team of solid color uniforms, always block numbers, tradition, jerk coaches, run oriented offenses, and everything antithetical to what Miami represented at the time. A�I even rooted for them in the Sugar Bowl against Miami in 1993. A�Hey, what can I say, I’m a complicated individual.

I will say that I’m no longer a fan of Alabama and it is only for one of those reasons above. A�Well, more accurately, I’m a fan of Alabama as a college football team. A�I am not a fan of Nick Saban as a college football coach. A�During this time when it felt like progressive ideas were taking over society and even starting to seep into the cathedral of college football, Nick Saban represents the old school methods that just need to go extinct already. A�That they still work so well represents an anathema to me and much of what I hold dear, especially as an aging dirty stinking hippie. A�And, yes, that is pretty much a metaphor for everything else, too. A�Hashtag, Snowflake.

So, what does Alabama bring to the game? A�Alabama is a machine. A�They churn out draft picks, All Americans, wins, national championships, and pretty much anything else you might equate with success in college football. A�Not many of their players are household names, at least not in my household, but they’ve won 26 games in a row. A�Like I said earlier, I may not like him, but he somehow gets results.

They are the defending national champions. A�They defeated Clemson in last year’s national championship game. A�They also have 8 All Americans on the team this year. A�It’s cliche to say, but also true. A�Note: A�I saw that statement recently and hated it so much that I just repeated it in a mocking tone. A�This is Alabama. A�They’re the best team in the country and it isn’t even close.

The pick: A�Everything says that I should pick Alabama and I think I’m going to have to do it even though it pains me to do so. A�I’m rooting for Clemson with every fiber of my being and it feels like they could be the kind of team that comes back to win the next year after losing barely the year before. A�However, this is not the time for such optimism. A�This is the age of crushing defeats and near hopelessness. A�The rebels might eventually win. A�For now, though, the empire rules with an iron fist.

 

My Completely Ignorant NFL Coin Flip Weekend Preview

(Editor’s Note: A�Look for a detailed analysis of the season preview after Super Bowl weekend. A�Also, we hope to expand our reach of ignorant sports coverage into college with a preview of the BCS Championship game before Monday. A�Holy cow, this is an actual editor’s note and not an attempted joke. A�We’re either losing our edge or attempting to go legit or both. A�Personally, I hope it’s neither.)

A couple of years ago, I had the idea to pick the NFL playoffs. A�I went 9-2, missing the Broncos/Indianapolis game and getting within a Beastmode touchdown of getting the Super Bowl right as a preseason pick. A�I took that success and was going to pick the games for last season (or this or both) against a coin and compare those records to “experts”. A�Why a coin, you may ask.

Well, I’m glad you asked. A�When faced with the prospect of picking Wild Card games in those playoffs, I made the offhand remark that the teams were so close that you might as well just flip a coin. A�This year seems less random, which is always dangerous, especially when discussing the NFL. A�As most games are decided by one score or less, there is no such thing as a sure thing. A�Except, eff the Patriots. A�I can guarantee that. A�100%. A�Every time.

Oakland @ Houston (-3.5)

This game has the potential to be the worst playoff game in the history of the league. A�Look, I get that we live in a time when everything is either the best or the worst ever and there is no room for nuance. A�However, I’m not one for hyperbole. A�Let’s look at the evidence.

Oakland is a surprise team by making the playoffs after a fairly significant drought. A�That rarely ends well for a team. A�Their quarterback–a big reason that they are relevant again–got injured and they’re now relying on a far inferior back up. A�About the only team that can (and has) survived such a tragedy is New England. A�Eff the Pats.

Houston is the perpetually underperforming team that they always are. A�It’s just that this year, Indianapolis decided to give in to peer pressure and stink like the rest of the division. A�Houston didn’t lose their starting quarterback, but they might as well have with Brock Osweiler under center. A�They did, however, lose JJ Watt and I’ve heard less imaginative people call him the quarterback of their defense.

When you take all of that into consideration, I see no compelling reason to watch this game. A�Heck, I’m having trouble focusing enough to pick it.

My pick: A�What to you mean I have to pick it? A�Does that mean I have to watch it? A�Dear God, I hope not. A�Okay, I pick the Texans to get annihilated by the Pats round 2. A�Eff the Pats.

Detroit @ Seatttle (-8)

This game promises to be bad, but in an entirely different way. A�Then again, maybe it will have some of the same awfulness. A�Detroit somehow made the playoffs, even though they stink like the Raiders. A�Okay, I guess that’s only one similarity. A�It still promises a terrible game.

Seattle is one of the elite teams of the last 5 years. A�Detroits bores us to death every Thanksgiving Day for some reason. A�Seattle has a Super Bowl winning quarterback. A�Detroit has…a quarterback, I assume. A�I mean, they have to have at least one on the roster, right? A�Seattle has a home field advantage that is so notorious that people think a 7-1 year is akin to 5-3. A�Okay, that last one is a bit of a stretch. A�I know of one person (Cousin Sal) that made that calculus, but quoting “people that know things” is part of this post fact world.

My pick: A�No matter how much of an exaggeration that last “fact” is, Seattle should roll in this game.

Miami @ Pittsburgh (-10)

I usually spare you my pictures with witty captions in these sports article. I’m also not much of a selfie guy. However, this picture approximates my face when I saw that line for the Steelers.

Okay, Pittsburgh is my team. A�I know these guys and their tendencies because I watch them and pay attention. A�You’d think so, right? A�Nope. A�Similar to a trip to Pats (Eff the Pats) training camp a few years ago, I can only name 3 players on the team and one of them only because he inexplicably still plays for them (James Harrison). A�I’ve watched more college than NFL again this year and I was more excited about Pitt’s annual appearance in the Toilet Bowl than the Steelers making the playoffs.

However I did watch the “Christmas Day miracle” against the Rats. A�I kept saying during the game that they’d either lose that one and be eliminated or get destroyed by the Pats (Eff the Pats) in the AFC Championship. A�Recent events have diminished some of that optimism, but Vegas really likes the Steelers and other fans are afraid of them for some reason. A�I think it is all Antonio Brown and his fantasy prowess.

Okay, enough about the Steelers. A�The Dolphins are in the same situation as the Raiders with their starting quarterback. A�The only difference is that their starter is only minimally better than their backup. A�Also, they have the dirtiest player in the game, Ndamukong (I had to Google his name twice to spell it right) Suh. A�Okay, enough about the Dolphins.

My pick: A�I still think the Steelers will win this game, maybe even convincingly, but I’m much more worried about the Chefs round 2 than I was the Raiders 2 weeks ago.

New York Giants at Green Bay (-4.5)

Now we’re talking! A�This is a game that people are excited to watch. A�Not me, of course, but I’ve heard people say that it is the best game of the weekend. A�Eh, who knows. A�Maybe the social media hype will get me and I’ll pay attention to the game.

Chris and I were talking a few weeks ago and I said that it would be funny to see the Giants run the table again so that I could watch Pats fans poop their pants over losing to Eli once again because eff the Pats. A�He isn’t convinced that the Giants will make it that far, but I hold out hope. A�Apparently, the big news for the Giants this week is that Odell Beckham went to Miami or something? A�I have no idea. A�That’s all I could make out from captioned ESPN while I rode a stationary bike at the YMCA the other day.

As far as Green Bay is concerned, they have Aaron Rogers. A�He seems to have taken Peyton Manning’s place as the other guy to Tom Brady’s golden boy. A�He makes a ton of commercials and is still one of the best. A�Um, unlike Peyton, though, Rogers! seems to be doing it with duct tape and paper clips, MacGyver style. A�Other than Rogers!, I can’t name another player on the team, except for “blonde guy on defense who thinks he is Hulk Hogan, but isn’t Kevin Greene”.

My pick: A�I think I’ve picked all home teams, so I will pick this one as my odd ball. A�Giants in a close one. A�Start pooping, Pats fans.

My Completely Ignorant NFL ~3/4 Season Report

(Editor’s Note: A�Who the hell does an NFL 3/4 season report? A�Well, we’re notorious for doing things differently around here. A�Plus, I’m perpetually late on even self imposed deadlines, so here it is.)

AFC EastA�(I picked: Pats, Dolphins, Jets, Bills)

Well, I only flipped the Jets and the Bills in my preseason picks, but I was terribly wrong about the Bills. A�Either that, or the NFL is just terrible this year and the both the Dolphins and Bills are taking advantage of that and making things interesting by hovering around .500 and threatening to make the playoffs. A�I only thought that the Dolphins might be decent enough to make some noise. A�My exact quote was that I wanted to relegate the other teams to a lesser league like the premier league. A�That still applies to the Jets.

AFC West (I picked KC, SD, Denver, Oakland)

I was way wrong here. A�I mean, the Chiefs are only a game out of first, but I thought that this was going to be another dumpster fire of a division and again, 3 out of the 4 teams are over .500 and by 2 games or more. A�Oakland is one game off from Dallas for the best record in the league and San Diego is chilling in the basement while their city decides if they even want to keep the team.

AFC North (I picked Cincy, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Browns)

This used to be my home division back when I followed football more closely, so you think that I’d have a better handle on it than the rest of the league. A�Nope. A�2016 has just been the horrible, terrible, very bad year and it extends to my picks this year. A�Oh well, I guess that’s what we get for living to see the Red Sox, White Sox, and Cubs win a World Series. A�The universe is exacting karmic retribution. A�Only good thing I can say is that my Steelers are leading the division (by default, but I’ll take it) and the Browns haven’t won a game just like I said they wouldn’t.

AFC South (I picked Colts, Texans, Titans, Jags)

Flip flopped–fitting in an election year–the top two teams, but to be fair, I think I said that I was sick of picking Houston as my “it” team and having them poop in their pants. A�Well, to be fair, they are still pooping, just not completely in their pants this year. A�The Titans eat their boogers and the Jaguars are still smelly fart butts. A�Sorry, due to time constraints, I commissioned this part of the article to my 5 year old. A�But, I’m back. A�At least we can always count on the AFC South to always stink.

NFC East (I picked Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, Racist Owners)

Not only was I wrong about the order, but I was wrong about the division completely. A�The NFC East is back and now we have to listen to all the talking heads wax poetic about how it is the best division in football, the rivalry games are so intense, and generally do a boring job of the only thing that they’re being paid to do. A�Dammit, this was supposed to be the year that progress marched forward all over the sins of the past, and here we are.

NFC West (I picked Cardinals, Seahawks, 49ers, and Rams)

If any team is indicative of the NFL this year, it is the Rams. A�They are a terrible team, nobody in the city cares that they exist, but a few people pretend to pay attention and think that it is an entertaining product because of misplaced nostalgia. A�Somehow, they are just good enough to keep those people coming back. A�Yeah, I got this one pretty wrong, too.

NFC North (I picked Packers, Viking, Bears, Lions)

I need to pick an “expert” to compare my picks with next year. A�Hopefully, he will do worse than I have so that I can point my finger and laugh that the guy doing this for fun performed better than the guy getting paid to do it. A�Because, it is getting boring for me to keep saying that I was wrong and I’m sure it is equally, if not more so, for you to keep reading it. A�Then again, maybe you’re laughing at the guy who took time out of his busy schedule to not only write a preview of a league that he barely even watches anymore, but came back 3 months to revisit those predictions and learn that maybe if you’re going to write about something, you should know a bit about it, Dummy. A�If so, I’ll take it. A�If you can’t be right, at least be entertaining.

NFC South (I picked Panthers, Bucs, Saints, and Falcons)

We have mercifully reached the end of the article and can put this poor thing out of its misery. A�As one last hope (no, it hasn’t been completely smothered under the weight of all this greatness yet), I will say that I’ve only flipped the first and the last team in this division, there are 6 games left in the season, and only 2 games separate those two teams, so there is still a chance for Carolina to get hot. A�With our luck this year, that hotness will cause them to catch fire and burn down both Southern divisions. A�Then again, maybe that will be a good thing and it will improve the quality of the league.

Lights! Camera! Rawr!

(Editor’s Note: A�Please keep arms and legs inside of the vehicle at all times. A�If you don’t, they very well might get eaten.)

We are releasing the first episode of “Little Kid Podcast” this week. A�Yes, finally, for sure. A�I promise! A�As I often do, I started talking about dinosaurs last week and I’m going to finish up with this post about the Jurassic World movie. A�We have spent many hours in an attempt to beat the game 100% and the movie made quite an impression on him. A�Even though he’s growing up, he’s still our paleontologist in training and some part of him always will be. A�Dammit. A�I always say that I’m not going to miss it when they’re young, but I’m starting to tear up a little thinking that he won’t always be little Mr. Dinosaur.

I found myself in charge of three boys over the summer. A�This is not out of the ordinary. A�However, one of them was not mine and I was alone for the night. A�I can’t remember where my wife was, but Aiden had a friend over for his birthday and we swapped Liam and him for the night. A�I promise that all of this is relevant to the point of this post.

First, we tried watching Jurassic World a few months before and made it to the part in the movie where (spoiler alert!) the Indominous Rex went nuts and killed a bunch of people. A�Liam, who is very sensitive to that sort of violence, freaked out a bit. A�Even though some of you might consider that an overreaction, I can sympathize. A�I couldn’t watch We Were Soldiers, don’t watch Game of Thrones, and stopped watching The Walking Dead (far in advance of the most recent episode that has people in a bunch) because of gratuitous violence. A�As I said to a friend, I can get good story lines without it. A�So, since Liam was at his friend’s house and Quinn is so obsessed with dinosaurs, I thought it might be cool to try to watch it again. A�Also, I was getting close to bed time and all three were getting a bit rambunctious, so it had the added bonus of hopefully calming them down. A�I’m happy to report success on both fronts. A�We made ith through the whole movie and all boys enjoyed it enough to go to bed without incident.

Okay, story time over, so I will give my review of the movie. A�I am a huge fan of the original Jurassic Park. A�I was careful not to say series there. A�I loved the first two books and the first movie. A�I watched the second movie on the strength of the first, but quit and never watched the third. A�By the time, news of the fourth one surfaced, I was checked out completely.

More recently, I read that the original plot of the 4th movie involved human/dinosaur hybrids. A�I don’t remember if we knew that information when the movie was first announced. A�Either way, I’m glad that they never made that movie and that they waited so long to give the idea some time to few new and fresh again. A�Go back to what people loved, play on their nostalgia, and hook a new generation through their kids. A�It worked for Rocky and Star Wars.

Because, let’s be real. A�Each of these sequels is actually the original movie remade in every case. A�Sure, they changed some details to keep those of us who already saw it interested, but the overall plots are identical. A�Mind you, I’m not saying that the movies are bad. A�I saw all three of them and thought they were all entertaining. A�However, I’d be lying to say that I missed the obvious similarities. A�So, why spend time watching a movie you’ve already seen? A�While I am the type that doesn’t mind repeated viewings, I understand that some of you aren’t as forgiving. A�So, I will try to give you some incentive to see an old remake of a way older movie.

Is it too obvious to say that it is a good movie? A�It’s probably too obvious to say that it is a good movie. A� Of course you think it is a good movie, you reply. A�Why else would you be recommending it? A�Okay, I get your point. A�That being said, it is a good movie. A�I will stop being lazy and get more specific in my praise.

Pros

  • New Dinosaur – Though the name is pretty stupid and the prototype human/dinosaur hybrid with a bazooka in his chest is beyond ridiculous, the rest of the Indominous Rex story line was well executed. A�They used the time honored monster movie trope of not showing the monster right away. A�They did it right, with just enough time for the big reveal that made it satisfying. A�Plus, the kids love the dang thing so much they wanted to pool their money to buy the Lego set with the Indominous in it.
  • Raptors – I don’t remember when the velociraptors became the unoffical face of the franchise. A�I do know that the T-Rex was in the logo for the first one and Spinosaurus in the 3rd one (I know that from the Lego video game), then Indominous for the new one. A�But, the raptors have absolutely stolen the show and they are the reason that people keep coming back. A�I think it is because they show the most intelligence and people think of them as scaly carnivorous puppies.
  • Owen – I, like most people, have loved this guy since he was the goofball on Parks and Recreation. A�Then, he went and took one of my favorite comic book characters from my youth and gave him the utmost respect in Guardians of the Galaxy. A�Now, he is the lovable raptor trainer in Jurassic World. A�This guy is just having so much fun playing pretend and dress up and one of the few actors I know who could upstage the raptors as the main attraction in his scenes.

Cons

  • A bit violent – I’ve already covered Liam’s meltdown during the Indominous attack scene. A�Other than that, there is dinosaur on dinosaur violence, other dinosaur on human violence, and just a much more bloody movie than I remember the first two being. A�I’m not sure if that is just a reflection of the society or a conscious effort to ramp up the gore for some reason. A�Just be warned if you are concerned about that sort of thing.
  • Other characters – Other than Owen, the characters in the movie are either boring, one dimensional, or both. A�They certainly don’t have the same personalities as the first film. A�Look, I know that they’re selling CGI dinosaurs, but would it have killed them to flesh out the characters just a bit more. A�Who knows? A�Maybe they expected this one to flop and they could kill the franchise once and for all. A�Not likely, but stranger things have happened. A�I guess we’ll find out if the next one comes out and we are still “treated” to cardboard cutouts instead of living, breathing human beings.

Even with the drawbacks, which are minimal when compared to other movies and TV shows out there, the movie is a good one. A�I’ve watched it twice. A�It inspired us to play the Lego video game and buy a couple of the Lego sets to play together. A�If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a watch before exposing to younger or more sensitive kids. A�If you determine that it is acceptable, enjoy the ride!

My Completely Ignorant NFL Preview (NFC)

(Editor’s Note: A�George McQuarters is still on his summer vacation. A�It must be nice to be retired. A�I know, I’m as close to retired as a person can be while still being employed, but we always covet what we can’t have. A�The grass is always greener than 2 bushes or something like that. A�As a result, we are going to take the seaon off from picking games and just give you my picks for the divisions an Super Bowl.)

[spoiler title="TDLR"]Giants maybe?, Cardinals, Packers, Panthers. And because I'm a huge fan of schadenfreude, Giants over Pats to complete the trilogy sweep.[/spoiler]

So, can we still call this article a preview when it is being published after week 2 of the season is already finished? A�This is my website and I’ll do what I want. A�Besides, the rest of it is still relevant. A�I’m no less ignorant than I was at the beginning of the season other than the fact that I know that the Steelers are 2-0.

A preview?  Two weeks into the season?
A preview? Two weeks into the season?

NFC East

  1. New York Giants – Remember when the NFC East was called the best division in all of football with the best rivalry games? A�Yeah, this is not that version of the National Football League. A�I’m picking the Giants by default because Chip Kelly will have his team gassed by game 3, Dallas lost Romo for a considerable part of the season, and Washington is cursed until they bite the bullet (pun intended) and change their name.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles – So, 9-7 could win this division and the runner up could be 6-10 or worse. A�I have no faith anymore that Chip Kelly can be a competent National Football League head coach. A�I was confident that the guy in Oregon was just keeping his clipboard warm until everything blew over, but Chip seems determined to make this thing work. A�All the best, Chip. A�Should have just taken your paddlin’ and you could have been the toast of college football uniforms.
  3. Dallas Cowboys – So, more fantasy football because nothing people love more than hearing about another person’s fantasy football woes. A�I had Gronkenstein the year that he blew out his knee. A�Last year, I had Tony Romo to start the season and he broke his back (or shoulder, something, whatever, what’s important here is that he was one of the reasons that I lost in week 2), so I started to think that the curse was alive and well. A�Turns out to be one of the best things to happen (get well soon, Tony) since I picked up Blake Bortles and rode him all the way to the title.
  4. Washington (redacted) – I think I wrote this two years ago, but I don’t understand why this stupid team just doesn’t change their name already. A�The fans will buy the new merchandise after grumbling for a little bit about honoring Native American heritage or some nonsense. A�That’s a windfall. A�Plus, after a few years, you can run throw back days and resell the old jerseys to make even more money. A�I’m not a marketing guy by any stretch, but this feels like a win/win.

NFC West

  1. Arizona Cardinals – I’ve kept an eye on Arizona since Larry Fitzgerald started playing for them. A�I also like that their field can be wheeled outside of the stadium to get sun. A�Other than that, I’m not sure that I have a reason to pick Arizona over Seattle for the division. A�Hey, it’s good to go out on a limb every now and then, right?
  2. Seattle Seahawks – Before the Seahawks started to get good again, I actually forgot that Seattle had a football team. A�I was sitting and talking with a friend about football and he said, “Seattle”. A�I replied, not joking, with “Seattle?” A�He said, “The Seahawks.” A�”Hmm, they’re still a team.” A�The Seahawks are good again, but some of the shine is starting to wear off of the turd and they’ll be back to relegation status soon enough.
  3. San Francisco – When your team is making headlines because your back up quarterback has started what could grow into a revolution (and just to be clear, I support his stance and actions) instead of on the field actions, it’s not a good omen for your team finishing high in the standings. A�I wish Mr. Kaepernick and his allies all the best, but the 49ers are going to stink on ice.
  4. Los Angeles Rams – So, the Rams got sick of their cute and young but vapid wife (LA), decided to try an older and more sophisticated woman (St. Louis) only to realize that wouldn’t work because she’s in love with another (baseball), and came crawling back to the bimbo who is now older and not as pretty (California is in the middle of record drought and wildfires). A�Hey, I suppose the prospects are better in LA, because you know she’ll get work done. A�Okay, I’ve taken this metaphor as far as I can.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers – The Packers are the Pats of the NFC right now. A�As long as they have Rodgers (!) on the team, you can’t count them out for anything. A�Add to that the fact that this is one of those divisions where you can write off the other three teams sight unseen and this is an easy pick.
  2. Minnesota Vikings– I knew that Teddy Bridgewater was injured. A�I’m a little worried because I think the next quarterback on their depth chart might be Sean Salisbury and he’s a bit old to be playing quarterback. A�Then again, I also know that Adrian Petersen is still on this team (note: A�AD is now injured, too) and capable of carrying them to a .500 record.
  3. Chicago Bears – Da Bears…stink. A�I have an online friend who is from Chicago and his Facebook posts keep me in the loop when it comes to Da Bears and Da Bulls. A�His thoughts on the season are not positive, so I guess you could say that I’ve got a bit of insider information here. A�Worldwide leader, look out!
  4. Detroit Lions – Megatron retired in a very Barry Sanders like move. A�What does it say about a franchise that it’s brightest stars would rather walk away from the game that they love than be subjected to the misery of having to play on that team. A�I guess that one notable thing is that Detroit has joined Seattle as a team that I forgot existed. A�And, this one plays at least once on national TV every year.

NFC South

  1. Carolina Panthers – I admit it. A�I like Cam Newton. A�In spite of his NCAA violations (I will always side with the individual over the allegedly corrupt organization), dabbing and celebrating (I will always side with the victim over racists), and hissy fit at the end of the Super Bowl last year (we always want our athletes to be super competitive, except when we don’t), I think he’s a decent individual and a good quarterback. A�Keep on proving them wrong, Cam.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers have a strong running back and their quarterback is starting to get hype for something other than stealing crab legs from a local grocery store. A�They don’t have that dunderhead from Rutgers as coach anymore, so that’s a step in the right direction.
  3. New Orleans Saints – The Saints are back to the Aints again. A�Sean Payton just doesn’t seem to have the same fire for coaching since winning a Super Bowl and getting suspended for a season. A�Drew Brees is getting older and thinking about all of the commercials he’ll be able to do just like Peyton Manning.
  4. Atlanta Falcons – The Braves stink. A�The Falcons stink. A�The Hawks…are still a team in the NBA, right? A�Atlanta is starting to feel like the new Cleveland now that the Cavs ended the streak up there.

My Completely Ignorant NFL Preview (AFC)

(Editor’s Note: A�Two years ago I picked the playoffs at the beginning of the playoff season. A�I only got two games wrong, but one of them was the Super Bowl, so I was a last second interception away from getting that one right. A�I didn’t do as well last year and might have even been outshined by a coin that goes by the name of George McQuarters. A�Nevertheless, as with previous years, I have done almost no research for this article other than listening to the Sports Guy and Cousin Sal a couple of times on my commute and I saw one half of one preseason game.)

[spoiler title="TLDR:"]Pats, Chefs, Bungles, Colts I guess?, And because I'm a huge fan of schadenfreude, Giants over Pats to complete the trilogy sweep.[/spoiler]

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots – Yes, they have no Brady for the first four games. A�Sure, we just learned that Gronkenstein will be out for at least the opener. A�None of it matters. A�Never mind making a deal with the devil, Belichick is Satan himself and this team will continue to win 10+ games and own this terrible division for the rest of eternity. A�Eff the Pats.
  2. Miami Dolphins – Only because I can’t pick the other three teams in this division to be relegated to a lesser league similar to what the Premier League does, I have to put them in some order. A�The Dolphins played in the one half of one preseason game I watched and I still think Ryan Tannehill could be a decent quarterback with help. A�Unfortunately, the Dolphins are not equipped to make good football decisions, so he’ll be out of the league in a couple of years and they’ll be selling the ever popular rebuilding year that turns into a decade of misery. A�Even so, I’m pretty sure they can fake their way to 8-8 and the ever popular “we have next year”.
  3. New York Jets – Speaking of decade of misery. A�Sure, they had some successes with Fat Rex and the “Sanchise” (what a cruel joke that turned out to be), but overall it’s been just more irrelevance for yet another New York team. A�As a resident of Massachusetts, that should give me great joy. A�I’m a transplant, though, so the joy is vicarious through my father in law who cares much more about this sport than I do.
  4. BuffaloA�Bills – I watched the “Four Falls of Buffalo” last year with a friend. A�It was sad and inspiring all at once. A�I grew up in Erie and, due to the NFL home team rules, we got all of the Buffalo games. A�I saw the whole thing unfold game by game and year by year. A�I also saw evidence of a fantasy football draft where a player took Tyrod Taylor on purpose. A�It clearly affected me in a profound way because I’m still talking about it and I can’t get the image out of my head.

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chefs– Andy Reid is still the coach and Alex Smith is still the quarterback. A�But, I seem to remember that this team had a good defense and a good running back, even though I couldn’t name a single one of those players if my life depended on it. A�In the NFL of my and my parent’s youth, a good running game and defense won you games. A�I’m not sure about this hotsy totsy free wheeling version we have today, but when all else fails, misplaced nostalgia is always a good way to look stupid.
  2. San Diego Chargers – This is another division where the 3 teams besides the divisino winner are more or less interchangeable. A�Sure, they all wear different colors to distinguish themselves, but they are like those kids in the college aerial pictures where they all stand together to make something and moms everywhere swear they can see their kid. A�My point is, who the hell knows or cares who will be #2 in the AFC West?
  3. Denver Broncos – Because of our impeccable timing, the Broncos had already played and won their first game when this was written. A�It is being posted after all but the 2 Monday games have been played, but at least it is not the NFC article, which will be posted after all the first games have been played. A�Spoiler alerts abound for those in an alternate universe who are reading this one time. A�However, I have the sneaking suspicion that their 7th round quarterback won’t work out as well as another certain 7th round quarterback who shall remain nameless. A�The scourge has been lifted from the land and there is no reason to be the one to unleash it. A�Point is, Manning (even a terrible Manning) to what’s his face is quite the drop off and might take some time for success.
  4. Los Angeles (or are they back in Oakland?) Raiders – The Raiders are another successful team from my youth. A�As we saw with the bills, though, misguided nostalgia only goes so far and the ghost of Al Davis still haunts this team. A�Until they prove otherwise, I will just assume that they have drafted Darius Heyward Bey in the first round every year.

AFC North

  1. Cincinnati Bungles – I don’t have any compelling reason to pick the Bungles over the Steelers other than in an attempt to reverse jinx them. A�The Steelers were driving to beat the Broncos in the playoffs last year with a contest winner starting at running back and the Bungles did their best to lose their only playoff game…to the Steelers.
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers ahve gone from not even having a shotgun package in their offense when I was younger to running a spread pass happy offense with 2 of the top 5 receivers in the league. A�Oh, they also have a good running back. A�Even so, some of those guys get in trouble or injured yearly and that always keeps the team from achieving Pats like success. A�Oh well, it is still good to be a Steelers fan.
  3. Baltimore Rats – It’s certainly better to be a Steelers fan than a Rats fan right now. A�Even though they have “elite” quarterback Joe Flacco, they were terrible last year. A�I don’t see any indication that they have done anything to fix that this year.
  4. Cleveland Browns – It is always better to be a Steelers fan than a Browns fan. A�No more Johnny Football. A�Instead, they have a rejuvenated (again we’re going with this storyline?) RGIII. A�The only difference that I see is maybe their quarterback won’t post as many drunken Instagram photos. A�Will that translate into a better team? A�Hopefully not, because as a Steelers fan, it is too much fun picking on the Browns and their fans.

AFC South

  1. Indy Colts -How bad is the NFL when you can disregard nearly 90% of the league as a potential threat before the season even starts? A�What’s worse is that entire divisions can be ignored. A�Ever since Peyton left the Colts, that’s been the fate of the AFC South. A�Who cares who wins this division? A�They’ll just lose in the wild card round.
  2. Houston Texans – I spent 2 or 3 seasons on the Texans bandwagon. A�I kept thinking that they’d be able to ride their defense and a mediocre quarterback to a title similar to how Denver did last year. A�They never did and now I see why. A�They are simply one of the nameless, faceless AFC South teams, doomed to obscurity.
  3. Tennessee Titans – Seriously, does anyone actually know the difference between these teams? A�They remind me of the old WWF (wrestling, not pandas) jobbers that they’d trot out to face more established wrestlers to ensure that the storylines weren’t ruined before the big pay per view. A�The Titans are Iron Mike Sharp, Rest in Peace.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Since nobody cares about these teams, I will just take this space to tell one of my long winded and maybe not so relevant stories for which I’m famous. A�While listening to Simmons and Sal, they both agreed that Blaine Gabbard (That’s not even the Jags QB name. A�He’s Blake Bortles.) is not very good at football. A�”Hey,” I shouted at my phone, “that’s my fantasy football championship quarterback that you’re demeaning there!” A�And, therein lies the allure of the league for 80% of fans.

Join me tomorrow (and pretend that we live in one of the alternate universes where the first week hasn’t happened yet) for the NFC portion of the preview.

Good Morning, Dagobah!

(Editor’s Note: A�We have no idea if we are officially out of spoiler range for the new Star Wars movie. A�To be perfectly honest, we don’t care all that much about spoilers here. A�We are of the opinion that if you can’t enjoy entertainment that’s been spoiled, then perhaps it wasn’t all that entertaining. A�Besides, the movie has been out for more than a month now. A�If you haven’t seen it by now and care at all about spoilers, then you get what you deserve. A�With all of that being said, if you continue to read from this point forward, there are major spoilers to the movie.)

Kylo Ren, real name Ben (most likely named by his Uncle Luke Skywalker in honor of Obi Wan Kenobi) Solo (because he is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa) kills his father in an attempt to complete his transformation to the Dark Side. A�I warned you. A�Enjoy the following funny SNL bit as a peace offering. A�Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can talk about the rest of the movie. A�Don’t worry, we’ll come back to Han and his angry, angry son later.

I already gave my first impressions of the movie right after we saw it. A�If you read that article, you know that I enjoyed it very much. A�Half of it was nostalgia, half of it was watching it through the eyes of my own children, and the most important third half of it was being able to introduce this universe to my father in law. A�I’ve since had some time to ponder the movie more. A�You probably think that means that the glow has since faded and that I’m now going to write about how the movie is not as good as I first thought. A�Well, you’re partially right. A�As time passes, the glow naturally fades and it might sound like I’m bashing the movie, but I’m not. A�The internet has just created this environment in which you can’t criticize anything without being a hater. A�Know, then, that I still enjoy this movie, want to see it again and thank it for saving the franchise from the better taste of the prequels. A�And, I’m one of the few who kind of enjoyed Episodes I-III. A�Imagine the people who thought the movies were the cinematic equivalent of being warmed inside of a Tauntaun and how relieved they are that a good Star Wars movie was made before they died.

Or, should I say, remade. A�How’s that for a segue into my first criticism? A�As with all of them, it is a minor complaint and one that can be easily explained. A�Nevertheless, I should discuss the good and the bad. A�Maybe I should take a bad news/good news approach to the article. A�Seems like the best way to write it. A�That way I can avoid the inevitable internet accusation of drinking the haterade. A�Besides, honestly, no matter how much I complain, I did enjoy the movie very much.

Honestly, though, I'm not even sure who drinks this stuff.  It tastes like burning.
Honestly, though, I’m not even sure who drinks this stuff. It tastes like burning.

Still, always bad news first. A�From the opening scent of the movie, when the giant star destroyer flew across the screen, I felt that there was something familiar about this movie. A�It’s not just because they decided to bring everyone back, either. A�We all knew that was going to happen. A�Also, I’m not the only one who thought this. A�I’ve spoken to several friends who had the same reaction. A�Okay, enough rationalizing, let’s look at the evidence.

  • The aforementioned star destroyed sets the stage for nostalgia. A�I thought, “Wow, that’s just like the beginning of Episode IV.”
  • A cute droid carries information that is vital to the good guys.
  • A black masked and cloaked villain with an altered voice. A�This one is explained in the movie through storytelling, but still suspect at first. A�Kylo Ren idolizes his grandfather and wants to be just like Darth Vader, so there’s your explanation.
  • An unspectacular protagonist from a desert planet ends up being extremely important to the fate of the galaxy.
  • There is some mystery regarding this protagonist’s life story.
  • This progtagonist becomes the protege of a former scoundrel turned wiser old man who clearly knows more than he’s saying.
  • The past catches up to the old man on several occasions forcing him to reconcile with that past. A�He still does not reveal the whole truth, however.
  • There is a power struggle for the second in command of the dark side army.
  • The good guys have a critical meeting inside of a cantina on a planet in the far reaches of the galaxy. A�At least this cantina is not on the same planet that the protagonist lives.
  • This group, known as the New Order, have built a planet sized space vessel capable of destroying planets.
  • The good guys are a rag tag bunch that happens to have some of the best pilots. A�They destroy the so called “Starkiller” by finding and exploiting it’s single weakness against impossible odds.
  • The wise old guru is murdered by someone close to him in front of his friends who are all powerless to help him.
  • The protagonist and antagonist fight to a stand still as the battle to destroy “Starkiller” rages around them, concluding as the vessel begins to tear itself apart.
  • The protagonist finds a wise old Jedi master on a remote planet surrounded by water. A�Okay, so this one is more Episode V, but movies are also slightly longer on average than in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

In case all of that wasn’t obvious enough, my main complaint is that the movie is nearly an exact retelling of Episode IV. A�Okay, now for the excuse making. A�I will rebrand it as the good news after the bad news. A�First, they had to reintroduce the series for several reasons. A�One, I mentioned that I mostly enjoyed the prequels. A�Many others, to put it mildly, did not. A�In less sugar coated terms, most, by a wide margin, fans hated it with the fire of a thousand Starkiller beams. A�There is so much more for nerds in pop culture these days that fans might have abandoned Star Wars altogether for Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, or any one of the Marvel series on TV or Netflix. A�What better way to get fans back into it than by going back to where it all started and reboot the story as well as support.

solo-foot-1
I know, Captain Solo. I’m just as shocked as you that Star Wars nerds would turn their backs on the movies. But, it’s not the 1970s and 1980s anymore and the prophecies have come true. Nerds rule and jocks drool.

Two, those of us who have been there all along are getting old. A�It is harder to get us to buy the tie in merchandise, other than the video games. A�If those old farts are anything like me, they brought family and friends to the movie. A�My kids have already seen the original movies, but my other guest hadn’t. A�Perhaps by introducing them with a proper introduction, they are more likely to get hooked and revisit those first movies. A�Even if they don’t, they’re in now. A�They finally have a Star Wars that they can call their own. A�See, it’s a legitimate complaint, but one that makes sense if you just think about it.

Back to bad news. A�I talked about the final battle in the list of similarities A�Kylo Ren battles against Rey (the lead protagonist mentioned in that same list) after fighting against Finn (who I haven’t even mentioned yet and it’s not because I’m racist, which is exactly what a racist would say. A�Damn. A�Moving on.) and mortally wounding or killing him. A�After having just watched the movie, I discussed it with my cousin. A�I brought up that I felt it a little strange, and even a little convenient, that someone who had studied as a Jedi and then in the dark side for who knows how long lost to a woman who only hours earlier picked up a light saber for the first time. A�True, there is some ambiguity surrounding Rey’s history and parentage, but I still made the point to him. A�He replied, “Well, Kylo was shot in the side.” which is a plot development that I had overlooked in my excitement. A�That is actually a great explanation, Skywalker spawn or not. A�There are other inconsistencies like that, but that one bothered me the most.

Okay, Kylo, I guess you get a pass.  Being shot in the side might prove to be a bit of a distraction from your epic lightsaber battle.
Okay, Kylo, I guess you get a pass. Being shot in the side might prove to be a bit of a distraction from your epic lightsaber battle.

Even so (good news), the inconsistencies aren’t as glaring as the original trilogy that could have been explained by the prequels, but were actually made worse in many cases. A�Add in the silly tinkering that he did when rereleasing the original movies and those things are an absolute mess now.

Other than those two minor complaints–that can honestly be made about any movies and especially sequels that have made it to the 7th movie, I enjoyed it and cannot wait for the next one. A�As soon as we left the theater and sat in the restaurant waiting for our pizza, I searched on the tablet to find the release date for Episode VIII. A�I was genuinely upset that we would have to wait another year and a half (now moved to two years) for the movie to be released. A�In our video on demand, binge-watching society, that is an eternity. A�Hopefully spoilers start showing up soon and I can at least find out if my theories are correct.

Until then, I suppose I still have some Clone Wars to watch. A�There is also the new series Rebels and I have to show my father in law the first six movies. A�There is the machete order to try there. A�Maybe I will see this one again. A�There is plenty of Star Wars fun to keep me busy until Christmas 2017.

Good news? A�There’s less than 700 days as I write this.

Bad news? A�There’s almost 700 days as I write this.

I feel the same feels, Pepe.  That's why you always lead with the bad news.  It's better to end on a good note.
I feel the same feels, Pepe. That’s why you always lead with the bad news. It’s better to end on a good note.

My Completely Ignorant NFL Picks (Division Round Weekend)

(Editor’sA�Note: A�Even though the divisional round is far less random than the wild card, due to popular demand, I’m bringing back the coin from last weekend to pick the games. A�Heck, I kind of like the gimmick. A�I’ll call him George McQuarter.)

[spoiler title = “TLDR:”] Went 3-1 last week, but 1-3 against the spread. A�George went 4-0 and 2-2. A�This week I have all 4 home teams; Pats, Cards, Panthers, and Broncos. A�George picks Chiefs, Cards, Panthers, and Steelers. [/spoiler]

Well, I didn’t make 50,000 dollars in stupid Fantasy Football. A�I didn’t even make it past the first round. A�I did learn some valuable lessons about daily fantasy football and I’m now obsessed with the math of betting sports. A�My father gave me the advice to never bet on a sport where the ball bounces funny and I’ve always taken that to heart, but I’m a math guy and the math intrigues me.

I went 3-1 straight up last week. A�The Green Bay Rodgers came to life for one game as the Washington team turtled and that game was hopeless. A�I was also 1-3 against the spread. A�I’m not sure how all that translates to betting possibilities, but I’d probably have put together a moneyline parlay with Kansas City and Seattle. A�I don’t think it would have paid much, but I’d have made money, so there’s that. A�Maybe I’ll do this column weekly next year with 200 fictional dollars (enough for 10 dollars each week leading to the Super Bowl and then if I have money at the end, I can use that for the Super Bowl) and see where I end up. A�I could do the same for George, who was 4-0 and 2-2 against the spread, but I’d have to figure out a way to rank George’s confidence without intentionally sabotaging him.

Rare picture of George. After getting this shot, he shouted, "No paparazzi!", and then jumped up, smacked me in the forehead hard enough to leave a mark, and rolled off. I haven't seen him since. He's been texting his picks to me. It's a strained relationship right now.
Rare picture of George. After getting this shot, he shouted, “No paparazzi!”, and then jumped up, smacked me in the forehead hard enough to leave a mark, and rolled off. I haven’t seen him since. He’s been texting his picks to me. Needless to say, It’s a strained relationship right now.

Okay, enough silliness, on to the picks. A�I honestly did no research this week other than look up the lines. A�I didn’t even listen to Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal. A�So, this week might be ugly. A�However, the Divisional Round is traditionally where the playoffs settle back into form after the craziness of the Coin Flip Round. A�This year’s Coin Flip round was especially crazy with all 4 road teams winning, so I see a possible overcorrection happening this week.

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-5):A� There are a lot of people who are high on Kansas City, especially after they thrashed a very terrible Houston Texans team last week. A�I’m not as high on them because all I keep thinking is Andy Reid on the road against Bill Belichick. A�I don’t care how many Patriots are injured. A�I don’t care that Kansas City is coming off of a huge win in the Coin Flip game. A�I just don’t care. A�Nothing can convince me that the Patriots won’t win this game. A�The Chiefs might, might cover if all of those Pats are actually hurt, but the Pats will win this game. A�George likes the Chiefs 59-41.

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (-7):A� The Packers whipped the Washingtons, but that’s not saying much. A�The Washingtons are slightly better than the Texans because they actually have a quarterback. A�Arizona has been the team to beat almost all year and they’re my NFC pick for the Super Bowl. A�The Packers are my crazy pick, so this is the game. A�I can’t pick against Arizona at home. A�They’ll shut down Rodgers and just win. A�George likes Arizona, too, but he’s less confident, 52-48.

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3): A�Seattle escaped by the skin of their teeth last week in awful conditions in Minnesota. A�I’m not as high on Carolina as some seem to be, but I’m pretty sure they can win this one. A�The NFC seems far less wonky this year than the AFC and I have much more confidence in their top seeds. A�George picks the Panthers, too, 57-43.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (-7):A� The following is a transcript of a text conversation with my friend. A�I had been texting him the night before with updates on my fantasy failure and also grumping about the Steelers/Bengals game and what a terrible game it was. A�I had shut it off when the Bengals intercepted the ball with 1:36 left or whatever.

Him: A�Do you like NFL any better today?
Me: A�Nope. A�(Steelers lost and I’m out of the fantasy running)
Him: A�Steelers going to Mile Hile????
Me: A�How? A�Bungs picked it off with a minute left. A�(I gave up on the game and went to bed).

After that, I went to check the score, saw that the Steelers won and went on to discuss with him that this terrible Steelers team is now two improbable wins from the Super Bowl. A�I don’t think that this Steelers team is any better than they were before, but weird things happen in these Steelers/Broncos playoff games. A�Of all of the games, I’m least confident of this one. A�I’m picking the Broncos, but I’d love to be wrong to see this awful Steelers team playing for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. A�George has the Steelers 51-49, so he’s just as shaky on this one.