"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
Tony Romo Documentary in the Works
If you've missed seeing Tony Romo on the field, an upcoming documentary may be the cure. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is reportedly the subject of a film chronicling his football career going all the way back to high school.
"Now or Never" will tell Romo's incredible story, going from undrafted to one of the top passers in the history of the Cowboys' storied franchise. It's being produced by a Texas-based company run by Christian Hanna (no known relation to James).
According to an article from MyRacineCounty.com, Romo's hometown newspaper, the tale of Tony's football career will be told going back to his days at Burlington High School in Wisconsin. It will follow him to Eastern Illinois University, the same QB hotbed that more recently produced Jimmy Garoppolo.
But what most of us will want to relive is Tony's amazing NFL career, which stands out among the most unexpected rises to stardom of any player in league history.
Romo, who was an undrafted free agent signed by the Cowboys in 2003, didn't play in a game for three seasons. He rose the QB depth chart through practice and preseason play, eventually becoming the backup and earning the respect of then-coach Bill Parcells.
In Week 7 of 2006, Parcells pulled struggling starter Drew Bledsoe at halftime and went with his intriguing young prospect. Tony's first pass in the NFL was one to forget; an interception.
About a decade later, Romo would retire as the Cowboys' all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. He currently ranks fourth all-time in NFL history for passer rating.
Tony's career never saw the playoff and Super Bowl success of predecessors Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, but he remains a beloved figure in team history. The controversial end to his football career, losing his job to rookie phenom Dak Prescott in 2016, created a major rift among Cowboys fans.
While no longer playing, Romo remains one of the hottest names in football. His charisma and football acumen have him in a featured role with CBS Broadcasting.
From obscurity to "anointing oil" to one of the most discussed names in sports, Tony Romo's story is fascinating. This documentary crew picked a great subject, and we look forward to enjoying their work and revisiting the Romo Era once the film is released.
Prescott VS Wentz Rivalry is Just Beginning
No one expected Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott to become such an interesting rivalry, but that's precisely what the 2016's second and 135th draft picks have turnt out to be since the day they entered the NFL. The two came into the NFC East with very different expectations. Dak wasn't even supposed to be a starter, but circumstance is what helped this rivalry emerge.
Prescott seemed to lead the race after their rookie seasons were over, having led the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC, but Carson Wentz made a huge statement in 2017. Before he went down injured playing versus the LA Rams last December, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was playing astonishingly well.
Leading the MVP race before tearing his ACL, Carson Wentz had thrown for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns through 13 games. Had he not gone down, it's more likely than not he would've been named the MVP instead of Tom Brady.
Despite having won the passing yards race, Dak Prescott's 2017 was rougher than his rival's. His interceptions count went from 4 in 2016 to 13 last season. He threw for only 22 touchdowns, falling eight short of the 30 TDs mark. His completion percentage also went down, from over 67% to almost 63%.
As we all know, it wasn't a good year for the Dallas Cowboys. Suspensions, injuries and poor play led them to a disappointing 9-7 season that didn't feel like a winning season at all, even though that's how it will go down in the books.
To make things worse, the Eagles went into January with QB Nick Foles starting, and overcoming adversity and doubters, won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Although it was Foles and not Wentz the one who played Philadelphia's postseason, the former second overall pick is one of the main reasons for the team's success.
His sophomore year was way better than Dak's.
But as impressive as Wentz's year was, the rivalry between the two signal-callers is just beginning. There is still a lot of history to write in this duel of two young and hard-working players. Two leader of men in one of the most intense rivalries in the NFL.
Through two years of football, here's how their numbers look like:
Wentz: 29 games, 1,047 attempts, 644 completions (61.5%), 7,078 yards, 49 TDs, 2 rushing TDs
Prescott: 32 games, 949 attempts, 619 completions (65.2%), 6,991 yards, 45 TDs, 12 rushing TDs
There's not a ton of difference between their numbers, but in the NFL, it's about more than stats. Prescott had the better 2016, Wentz the better 2017.
Dak and Carson have really only played two match-ups in their two years playing in the league. Sitting at an even 1-1 record, 2018 will feature two great games between both of their teams. The defending Super Bowl Champions against the underestimated Dallas Cowboys.
The sport is about winning games and championships, but rivalries like this one make the NFL even more special. Even with Wentz being the MVP front-runner for most of last season, Dak Prescott still has a lot of time to turn things around.
If both turn out to be as successful and important as their franchise wish them to be, then this rivalry will be around for a lot of years.
If Reinstated, Is Randy Gregory A Lock for Cowboys 53-Man Roster?
The Dallas Cowboys will enter training camp in Oxnard with arguably their deepest and most talented defensive line in years. Cowboys Nation continues to hope for the best possible news on suspended Defensive End Randy Gregory, to potentially take this defensive front to the next level. Should Gregory be reinstated, the Cowboys would have another option at right defensive end. This is a position they've bolstered with the signing of Kony Ealy and drafting of Dorance Armstrong, both moves coming behind would-be starter Tyrone Crawford.
This logjam at DE begs the question, amidst optimism for Gregory's situation, is the 2015 second round pick even a lock to make this roster?
Who Does Randy Gregory Need to Outplay?
Going through some form of the Cowboys depth chart at Gregory's position above does little to sort out how Gregory can justify a starting position. Having true starters on the defensive line is not DC Rod Marinelli's way, meaning a possible rotation of Crawford, Gregory, and Armstrong could coexist.
Even with insufficient depth at defensive tackle, the Cowboys seem committed to keeping Crawford on the edge. As he's done with each position change within the Cowboys defense, Crawford is slowly developing into a respectable right end that's great against the run.
This sounds like just the type of player to compliment a speedy rusher like Gregory, but Randy won't be alone in this role should he return to the team. Along with FA addition Kony Ealy, the Cowboys will look to bring Charles Tapper back from an offseason concussion, and also have second-year rusher Taco Charlton in need of a true position.
It's fair to say that Gregory has been anything but reliable since the Cowboys took a gamble on him, but turning his life around to see out this reinstatement would go a long way in beating out the often-injured Tapper.
Given Ealy's ability to play both on the edge and inside, at his best if receiving limited snaps, I believe that Gregory will only have to surpass Tapper in reaching a favorable spot on the Cowboys depth chart at DE.
Comparing Randy Gregory and Dorance Armstrong
Of course, making the roster and making an impact on defense are two vastly different realities for Gregory in 2018. Another player that could stunt his opportunities to hunt down quarterbacks is rookie fourth round pick Dorance Armstrong.
The Cowboys would love to see Armstrong begin his career with a strong showing in Oxnard, owning all of the traits needed to be an effective right end at the next level.
Lacking the true cornering speed that Gregory has flashed in short spurts, Armstrong did produce a ten sack season for Kansas in 2016. This production matches the traits that kept Armstrong a priority for the Cowboys at the draft, despite only seeing him get home 1.5 times in 2017.
Rewind to last year's draft, and the Cowboys spent their first round pick on a defensive end they looked to make a right end, all while knowing his ideal spot is at LDE. This makes the difference between drafting Charlton and Armstrong an important one, as the Cowboys are clearly searching for high-value options to complete their pass rush.
Again, assuming Tapper becomes the odd man out in the Cowboys carrying Gregory, Ealy, and Armstrong as right ends, the work is cut out for Gregory to regain the trust of his coaches and bring what only he can to this defense.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
It goes without saying that Randy Gregory will carry plenty of attention with him if present in Oxnard. This is a player capable of transforming a young Cowboys defense into one of the league's most feared.
While the Cowboys would do well to quickly sort out who plays the 3T-DT position alongside DeMarcus Lawrence, and the 1T inside for that matter too, sticking Gregory on the opposite edge could be the easiest decision they make to see immediate improvements in their pass rush.
Should Ealy or Armstrong have more to say about this lineup for the Cowboys defensive line, the depth of this unit will live up to the hype.
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