I hope you brought your sequin jacket, iconic glove, and slippery shoes... we're emulating the King of Pop today.
I've been thinking a lot about the 1992 Dallas Cowboys lately hoping that if I rekindle enough memories they'll seep over into reality and the 2015 version of America's Team will produce similar results - sitting in the locker room at half time of the Super Bowl well on their way to victory.
While Jimmy Johnson and his staff made the appropriate adjustments to finish off the Buffalo Bills the field at the Rose Bowl was occupied by none other than Michael Jackson... who gave one of the more memorable Super Bowl Halftime Performances that we've ever seen. You can re-watch the halftime show here:
One of the best performaces of the "King of Pop - Michael Jackson". Super Bowl Half Time Show performed in California at January 31, 1993, it includes Jam, Billie Jean, Black or White, We are the World and Heal the World.
So put on that gear that I told you to bring (you were supposed to bring it!). We're about to moonwalk our way down my Week 10 NFL Game Picks with the help of the one and only MJ.
Thursday Night Football: Buffalo Bills (4-4) At New York Jets (5-3)
Michael Jackson Theme: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
That's right the ballad that Chris Rock channeled in the legendary Rush Hour 2 is the MJ theme for this game. Why? Rex Ryan will not stop until he gets enough... which is a limitless amount.
The former Head Coach of the New York Jets, now with the Buffalo Bills, proved again this week that he is starving for attention. Maybe Rex is just trying to distract the attention so that his players aren't under too much pressure? Or maybe he just truly wants this game to be referred to as "Rex Bowl I."
Rex Bowl I is tonight only on @nflnetwork! @DanHanzus breaks down all you need to know https://t.co/We0x38TBug
Sorry, Rex. The Jets defense is better than your version was the last few years and they've got a litany of offensive weapons. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are going to have themselves a game as Rex fumes on the sidelines.
Prediction: Bills - 13, JETS - 27
Chicago Bears (3-5) At St. Louis Rams (4-4)
Michael Jackson Theme: Man In The Mirror
Jay Cutler was... good on Monday Night Football? Really?
It's hard to tell what you're ever going to get from the Bears. They certainly have a lot of offensive playmakers, but Jay Cutler supposedly ruins everything that he touches. Namely the football.
The Rams lost a really close game last week in Minnesota, and while Todd Gurley is amazing... Jeff Fisher is kind of the Jay Cutler of coaches. You never know exactly what's going to show up you just know that you don't really want to be a part of it.
Take a good hard look in the mirror guys and make a change.
Prediction: Bears - 16, RAMS - 22
Cleveland Browns (2-7) At Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)
Michael Jackson Theme: You Are Not Alone
The Browns are so bad. So freaking bad.
It seems that everyone has a different opinion on whether Johnny Manziel is a capable NFL quarterback, but everyone has the same opinion in that Josh McCown will never win a Super Bowl. This franchise is in a tailspin, as it has been since its re-establishment, and they themselves don't know what they want from Johnny Football. Wouldn't playing him be a good way to figure that out? Just my two cents.
The Steelers are almost as injury-riddled as the Cowboys. Big Ben may play, may not, who cares? I could line up behind center for them and get the ball to Antonio Brown enough times to beat the Browns. The only people alone in this game will be the Cleveland faithful. You guys deserve better.
Prediction: Browns - 16, STEELERS - 33
Dallas Cowboys (2-6) At Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)
Michael Jackson Theme: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
I said you wanna be starting something is right! The Dallas Cowboys' season is one step away from full-on life support. Tony Romo is coming back in Week 11 so we need to get something going in his absence.
If you read my recent Don't Stop Believing, Part Deux remix here at Inside The Star then you know that in order for the Cowboys to win the division this game has to serve as the spring board. Matt Cassel and the offense looked, dare I say, good against the Eagles last week. Look for them to pick up where they left off and the Rode Marinelli defense to finally start to live up to their offseason hype.
Prediction: COWBOYS - 27, Buccaneers - 17
Detroit Lions (1-7) At Green Bay Packers (5-2)
Michael Jackson Theme: Beat It
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have lost two games in a row for the first time since 2010 (the year they won their Super Bowl at Jerry World).
He is not a happy camper. Aaron is in fact so mad that he threw a Microsoft Surface on the sidelines in Carolina last week, but hey what a team leader without any sense of disruption on their sidelines? Right, MJ?
While I do think it's unfair that ARod isn't being scrutinized for that I also think that he has to "show them that he's really not scared" and is absolutely going to on Sunday. He's going to exorcise some serious demons and beat it out of the Lions. Rawr.
Prediction: Lions - 12, PACKERS - 38
Carolina Panthers (8-0) At Tennessee Titans (2-6)
Michael Jackson Theme: Smile
Who has a better smile than Cam Newton?
Superman has plenty of reasons to show off his pearly whites these days as his MVP-caliber performance has the undefeated Panthers playing some seriously awesome football.
The song says that you should smile "though your heart is aching, smile even though it's breaking," but the only broken hearts around here will be those of Titans fans. The Panthers are going to demolish them. As impressive as the reigning Heisman Trophy Winner, Marcus Mariota, has been... this is too tall of a task for the flyin' Hawaiian.
Prediction: PANTHERS - 24, Titans - 13
Miami Dolphins (3-5) At Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
Michael Jackson Theme: Smooth Criminal
"It was a Sunday, what a black day."
I hope Annie is ok because the Dolphins are going to need her, and so is Cowboys Nation. I don't know what that means... you try relating Michael Jackson songs to every football game of the week!
Ok I feel better. Annie is going to help the Dolphins this week. The Eagles have been really suspect lately and if the Dallas Cowboys defense could have actually gotten to Sam Bradford they would have indeed had a black day last Sunday.
That's where Ndamukong Suh, who I've affectionately dubbed "Annie" for this game, is going to come in. The Dolphins paid Suh a ton of money to come in and help them win games... and he's going to get it done. The Fin offense is capable of showing up whenever Ryan Tannehill feels like not being terrible and will be this Sunday. ANNIE ARE YOU OK?
Prediction: DOLPHINS - 24, Eagles - 22
New Orleans Saints (4-5) At Washington Redskins (3-5)
Michael Jackson Theme: You Rock My World
The Saints are high on my love list these days. They already took care of the New York Giants for us and now they're going to annihilate the Redskins for us.
Drew Brees is straight BALLIN right now so if you have him in fantasy football you better suit him up. Rock on, Drew.
Oh and the Redskins suck. There's your analysis!
Predictions: SAINTS - 33, Redskins - 13
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) At Baltimore Ravens (2-6)
Michael Jackson Theme: They Don't Care About Us
This game is a snooze fest.
If you've been reading my picks for the last few weeks then, first of all, I love you. Second of all, I've been really high on the Jaguars. And you know what? They've come close a lot of times that I've picked them.
A real captain goes down with his ship. Give me the Jaguars over a mediocre Ravens team who has no idea who they're going to throw it to in the absence of Steve Smith Sr..
Prediction: JAGUARS - 30, Ravens - 23
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) At Oakland Raiders (4-4)
Michael Jackson Theme: P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
I want to love you, Vikings and Raiders.
This is one of my favorite Super Bowl rematches in the history of pro football. Super Bowl XI saw the Raiders claim their first World Championship as Fred Biletnikoff earned MVP honors over Bud Grant's Vikings.
These Raiders are fun, man. Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper... what a pretty young thing. They're going to expose the Vikings this week. Bam.
Prediction: Vikings - 16, RAIDERS - 24
Kansas City Chiefs (3-5) At Denver Broncos (7-1)
Michael Jackson Theme: Remember The Time
Peyton Manning has been trying to "remember the time" all season long. The Sheriff has struggled in 2015, but the Broncos have not.
Denver suffered its first loss last week in Indianapolis, a team Peyton has yet to beat since moving to Denver, but they get the helpless Chiefs now.
Kansas City really doesn't have anything to get excited about offensively and that's tough cookies because they're up against perhaps the best defense in football (who is without the suspended Aqib Talib). Me no likey.
Prediction: Chiefs - 10, BRONCOS - 17
New England Patriots (8-0) At New York Giants (5-4)
Michael Jackson Theme: Thriller
Thriller is one of the greatest music videos of all-time. It's got zombies and all kinds of creatures bustin' a moove.
Tom Brady and the Pats are going to have to wake up something from the dead because they have not beaten the New York Giants since Week 17 of the 2007 season (also the last time that they played in New York).
This game is going to be a thriller in the sense that there's "no escaping the jaws" of the Patriots this time. The Giants' luck against them has run out. The Patriots are "out to get you," New York.
Prediction: PATRIOTS - 44, Giants - 27
Sunday Night Football: Arizona Cardinals (6-2) At Seattle Seahawks (4-4)
Michael Jackson Theme: Love Never Felt So Good (Feat. Justin Timberlake)
This is one of the new-age MJ songs that came out after his death. It was a chart topper a year or so ago, so it's relatively new. So is the rivalry between these Cardinals and Seahawks.
This is going to be quite the game on prime time Sunday Night. I love the Cardinals in every aspect of it over the Seahawks... sorry Ciara. Look for a great game that the Cardinals find a way to come out on top of.
Prediction: CARDINALS - 29, Seahawks - 27
Monday Night Football: Houston Texans (3-5) Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)
Michael Jackson Theme: Black Or White
The Houston Texans are believing in miracles right now with the injury to Andrew Luck, but a miracle will not be happening this night.
This game is all about good and bad, aka black and white. The Bengals are good... the Texans are bad.
Prediction: Texans - 16, BENGALS - 38
Starters Make Cowboys Serious Contenders, But Depth is a Concern
Playing in the National Football Conference, the Dallas Cowboys have a difficult task ahead of them if they are to be serious Super Bowl contenders. Even still, they've become a very underrated football team due to their 9-7 record last season. The Cowboys struggled in many areas and with the Philadelphia Eagles crowned as Super Bowl Champions, everyone has forgotten about America's Team.
2017 was an awful year for the Cowboys. It seemed like a roller coaster of success, putting up an impressive performance one week only to disappoint the next one. Let's be honest with ourselves here and talk about what really ended the Cowboys' last season.
As much as we talk about how there shouldn't be any excuses in football - the Eagles made a huge statement by winning it all with a backup QB and other key starters missing - we can't deny the impact of these injuries.
Anthony Hitchens, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott all missed some time last year, affecting the team's performance week in and week out. Had the starters been healthy, the truth is this team would've been in the playoffs.
Heading into 2018, the Cowboys will face a very similar situation. This year, starters make Dallas a serious contender. Even if they're playing in a conference that will feature a lot of quality teams, the Cowboys are a team that could beat any team in the league if healthy.
Even the dreaded wide receiver position - which has been famous this offseason for the lack of a #1 receiver - won't be as bad as we make it out to be starter-wise. A starting trio of Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley doesn't really sound bad.
Heck, not even Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods starting at safety is concerning. They have what it takes to be decent starters. Sure, Heath isn't a guy who will make the Pro Bowl, but his skills will show on the field once the season starts in September.
The Cowboys' starters will do just fine this season. If the team's fate is up to them, they are in a very good spot. The same can not be said about depth, though.
Except for the defensive line, every other position lacks depth. If Sean Lee goes down, the linebackers stop looking like a three-headed monster. Same goes for the cornerbacks. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis seem like a good group but as soon as one of them suffers an injury, the Cowboys will be in trouble.
We're in for an exciting season with a lot of young talent waiting to breakout. The Cowboys are underrated this year. They may not be among the NFC's favorites, but they truly have what it takes to replicate the success they had in 2016. However, it seems like circumstances have to be ideal for them to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.
With a little bit of luck, they'll bounce back this season.
The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up
Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.
The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.
As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.
Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.
Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.
Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.
Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.
I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.
All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.
How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?
Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?
With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.
Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.
I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.
I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?
Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.
Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.
Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.
Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.
Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?
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