"What do you think RJ is going to do this week with his game picks?"
I'm going to fry you up some tasty treats on Venus!
If you've read my Game Picks before then you know I'm a bit unconventional. I avoid the popular picks a lot... I go with my gut!
This week my gut is feeling some really crazy things (to be fair I've eaten about a pound of enchilada casserole since Sunday). We're in store for a twisty week in the NFL!
We're going to shake things up, baby. Not just you and I... the Dallas Cowboys will be shaking up the NFC East - but we'll get there.
You look good. You've got me going. Just like I knew that you would, you sly dog. Come on baby, we're going to have some fun.
Allow me to commandeer the Week 11 Parade like my great pal Ferris. I'm going to do my best to put on an equally great show with these picks. I guarantee they're just as wild and crazy.
A Scene From Movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) A Song by The Beatles
Thursday Night Football: Tennessee Titans (2-7) At Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)
This is the second "Color Rush" game of the season and the uniforms are visually offensive.
These uniforms would actually be the most offensive thing in this game if it weren't for the quality of football that is going to be played. Marcus Mariota has had an "eh" rookie year and sure the Jaguars have given fans interest in them thanks to fantasy football... but a spade is a spade. This game sucks.
I've picked the Jaguars a lot this year because of their offensive firepower, so there's not a whole lot of twisting on this pick. Hopefully your neck isn't twisting either from constantly trying to avert your eyes from the horror of these uniforms!
Prediction: Titans - 13, JAGUARS - 27
Indianapolis Colts (4-5) At Atlanta Falcons (6-3)
In case you forgot, Andrew Luck is not playing for the Colts for the next few weeks... which means it's Matt Hasselbeck time! The former Boston College QB is going to face off against another BC guy in Matt Ryan - which one is better?
I'm of the opinion that Matty "Ice" is Matty "Massively Overrated." In fact the whole Falcons team is overrated. Julio Jones is amazing, but that's it.
The Falcons have beaten: Philadelphia (barely in the waning seconds of Week 1's MNF), New York Giants (thanks to Eli being Eli), Dallas (in their first game without Romo AND Dez), Houston (...it's Houston), Washington (who took them all the way to overtime), and squeaked by the Zach Mettenberger-led Titans. This team is supposed to be good?
Prediction: COLTS - 24, Falcons - 13
Denver Broncos (7-2) At Chicago Bears (4-5)
Surely I'm taking the Broncos here, right?
The Broncos are between a Brock and a hard place here. They've now had to turn to their backup QB Osweiler while future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning sits and watches (while being coddled with injuries as an excuse for his terrible play lately).
The troubling thing about this is the coaching staff in this game that knows Brock best controls the Chicago Bears. John Fox is out to send a message in this game at his new house, and hey Jay Cutler isn't throwing 15 interceptions a game so that's good.
Prediction: Broncos - 9, BEARS - 23
Dallas Cowboys (2-7) At Miami Dolphins (4-5)
I'm not the only one pretending he's on a float singing his heart out now, am I?
Dallas Cowboys fans EVERYWHERE are going to be at maximum happiness for the first time in what feels like forever when Antonio Ramiro Romo trots out onto the field.
The Miami Dolphins could be the '85 Bears and I still wouldn't pick them in this game. There is a real, psychological, element to sports that cannot be explained in words, facts, or emojis. These Cowboys are not losing this game. No way, no how. This one's for Tony.
Prediction: COWBOYS - 31, Dolphins - 10
Oakland Raiders (4-5) At Detroit Lions (2-7)
Hot tamale there are going to be points scored in this game!
The Raiders are coming off of a poor showing against what are apparently the for-real Minnesota Vikings. The Lions are coming off of WHAT IN THE WORLD win at Lambeau Field (the first time they've done that since 1991).
These two teams are both mysteriously bad, but have a lot of offensive firepower. This is going to be that game that keeps getting cut to while you're watching the Cowboys and saying, "THEY SCORED AGAIN?!".
Prediction: RAIDERS - 42, Lions - 37
St. Louis Rams (4-5) At Baltimore Ravens (2-7)
I know, I know... Todd Gurley is amazing.
I know, I know... the Ravens have been terrible this year.
I told you that this week was going to be weird and that trend is going to continue when the Ravens drop a hammer on the Rams here. This Baltimore team is frustrated after losing a game they should have won against the Jaguars last week, and they're about to take it out on someone.
Oh and did I mention that Case Keenum is the quarterback for the Rams? Yes, that's a real NFL person. I didn't make that name up.
Prediction: Rams - 16, RAVENS - 27
New York Jets (5-4) At Houston Texans (4-5)
Ryan Fitzpatrick is out for revenge!
Fitzmagic is taking on his 2014 team this Sunday when the J-E-T-S head down to Houston to give them a problem they haven't seen before.
Yea ok - the Texans beat the Bengals on Monday Night Football. Well one time I made a basketball shot with my eyes closed, it doesn't mean I'm Michael Jordan.
Houston is going to ride the Jets way back down to Earth this week. Not even Brandon Weeden can save them.
Prediction: JETS - 26, Texans - 7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) At Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
Jameis Winston versus Mark Sanchez... my oh my that is disgusting.
This game will be particularly difficult for Cowboys fans to watch because:
- We like good football.
- These are two teams the Cowboys should have beaten recently.
- Did I mention who the quarterbacks were?
The Cowboys are going to need some help in their quest to conquer the NFC East this year. It all starts with a swashbucklin' victory by the Bucs on Sunday. YEA THAT'S RIGHT!
Prediction: BUCCANEERS - 20, Eagles - 16
Washington Redskins (4-5) At Carolina Panthers (9-0)
It's really cute that Kirk Cousins dominated the Saints, but I could make a backwards basketball shot 10 times against a Rob Ryan-led defense.
The Panthers are going to dominate this game. Cam Newton has had to endure a ridiculous onslaught of criticism for celebrating touchdowns - what a horrible thing for him to do! - and he is going to celebrate a lot on Sunday.
The Panthers are going to move to 10-0 easily to set up quite the Turkey Day Showdown against the Cowboys.
Prediction: Redskins - 13, PANTHERS - 30
Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) At San Diego Chargers (2-7)
As surprised as I am about the Cowboys struggles this year, I'm arguably more surprised by the Chargers.
The Cowboys have been without Tony Romo, but Philip Rivers? Dude. You're pretty awesome. What's happening?
The Chiefs made a statement in the division last week when they went to Denver and broke the spirit of Peyton Manning. They're in the race in the AFC West right now, but Philip Rivers IS awesome and is going to show it on Sunday.
Prediction: Chiefs - 17, CHARGERS - 33
Green Bay Packers (6-3) At Minnesota Vikings (7-2)
You did not misread those records. Weird, right?
Olivia Munn is making the Jessica Simpson days in Dallas feel like a jolly walk in the park. She is NOT happy with being connected to the fact that Aaron Rodgers has kind of not been this ridiculously overrated guy that he's been hyped up to be for a while.
She needs a Teddy bear. A Teddy Bridgewater bear! Hey-O! RJ sure is slinging clever jokes today, isn't he?!
For real though the Vikings are 7-2. How did that happen? They'll be 8-2 and we'll definitely know how that happened Sunday night... Adrian Peterson will have given us the answer.
Prediction: Packers - 24, VIKINGS - 30
San Francisco 49ers (3-6) At Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
The 49ers are one game behind the Seahawks. This is not a drill.
As completely terrible as the 49ers have been this year they have a chance to make a statement on Sunday! Blaine Gabbert has been playing we-
Nope. I can't do it. I'm feeling wild and crazy, but this is too far. Seahawks win this. Easy.
Prediction: 49ers - 6, SEAHAWKS - 17
Sunday Night Football: Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) At Arizona Cardinals (7-2)
The Red Ryder BB Gun, relax Andy Dalton it's just a joke, looked like one of those little deals that shoots rubber bands on Monday Night Football against the Texans.
AJ Green? Didn't do a thing? Tyler Eifert? Oh just dropped three or so passes.
The Arizona Cardinals, however, are ballin'. They sent a message to the NFL with their victory in Seattle that they are taking no prisoners this year. Carson Palmer is about to send his own message to his former team in this game... too da loo.
Prediction: Bengals - 16, CARDINALS - 37
Monday Night Football: Buffalo Bills (5-4) At New England Patriots (9-0)
Rex Ryan is like the big, bad wolf in the "Three Little Piggies" story with all of his huffing and puffing. Bill Belichick is like the three little pigs except he's not three little pigs he's a super genius football coach with an army of football monsters trained to destroy everyone else at all costs.
The Patriots will be without the services of Julian Edelman, but does it really matter?
Tom Brady is going to embarrass Rex Ryan like he usually does. Sure the Bills might get a score or two, and Rex will boast about it later, but the Patriots have kept quiet while Rex has barked.
That always means one thing.
Prediction: Bils - 16, PATRIOTS - 44
Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?
Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.
It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.
Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.
Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.
This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.
Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.
Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."
Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.
It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.
Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.
Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC
2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.
Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.
The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.
Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.
The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.
For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.
Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.
For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.
Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?
Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival
Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.
Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.
Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.
T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.
Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.
Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.
Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.
Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.
Lo más importante de este partido...
Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.
Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.
Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.
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