I recently went out to run some errands. I dropped off some clothes at the cleaners, picked up a couple of groceries, got my car washed, the standard stuff.
While out and about I passed by a local jewelry store. Through the window I saw the perfect piece that my girlfriend has talked about wanting for some time.
I tipped my cap to the necklace and said, "See you in February."
I was talking about Valentine's Day, but there's no question that when Tony Romo uttered the same thing to Tom Brady last Sunday (see below) he was talking about Super Bowl 50.
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February 7th, 2016 is still about four months away, but Tony's got some serious confidence and is not afraid to let the reigning Super Bowl MVP know it.
Like the crownie mastermind I too have some serious confidence. Week 6 kicks off tonight and I'm here to tell you exactly how it's going to unfold.
Here are my official picks for Week 6, February Style.
Thursday Night Football: Atlanta Falcons (5-0) At New Orleans Saints (1-4)
There are very few things like primetime football at the Superdome in New Orleans. We're in store for a fresh serving of it tonight as the Saints look to double their 2015 win total. Coming off of a thrashing against Philly, it's hard to believe in this Saints team. With murmurings that Sean Payton might be coaching somewhere else next year the Saints appear to be close to coming undone. A date with the undfeated Falcons surely will not help their cause.
It's pretty amazing that those unbeaten Falcons needed to go to overtime in order to defeat the Washington Redskins. Nevertheless a win is a win, and Devonta Freeman is winning 2015. The Falcons are red hot right now and they seem like an unstoppable offensive force. Next on deck? A defense that made Sam Bradford look good. Watch out, here comes Atlanta.
Prediction: FALCONS - 33, Saints - 24
Cincinnati Bengals (5-0) At Buffalo Bills (3-2)
It was a year ago this week that the Dallas Cowboys stormed into Seattle and secured a statement win against the Seahawks. Well it was a week ago that the Bengals wrapped up their own win over the two-time defending NFC Champs. Andy Dalton is en fuego, and the Bengals roster is bananas awesome all over the place. There's no chance that the Tyrod Taylor-less Bills can hang with them.
That's right, it is very doubtful that Tyrod Taylor will play for the Bills this Sunday. That's ok they have Matt Cassel! ...whoops. EJ Manuel is the next man up which means that life is going to be rough in Buffalo for a while. Might as well call it Roughalo, am I right?!
Cheesy jokes aside, even though the Bills are looking to have Karlos Williams and Sammy Watkins, and perhaps LeSean McCoy, back... they are no match for the Bengals right now.
Prediction: BENGALS - 37, Bills - 13
Chicago Bears (2-3) At Detroit Lions (0-5)
Don't look now, but Jay Cutler is actually playing the quarterback position competently. The disinterested Cutler managed to pull out a victory against the Kansas City Chiefs (which you'd have seen coming if you read my Week 5 NFL Game Picks) with none of his usual playmakers. Alshon could be back this week which means that Mr. Cutler will be happy. So will the residents of Chi-City.
If you insert Dan Orlovsky into a game that should be an automatic forfeit. The Lions are so incredibly bad right now, Simba and Mufasa would be ashamed! It's crazy that Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Ameer Abdullah all occupy an offense that simply cannot put it together. It's hard to imagine that they'll be able to against the division rival Bears. And by hard I mean totally impossible.
Prediction: BEARS - 26, Lions - 10
Denver Broncos (5-0) At Cleveland Browns (2-3)
The Broncos 2015 season may be five weeks old, but Peyton Manning has yet to show up for it. It is so incredibly foreign to see Manning as the weak link on his team. His passes are so wobbly and take so long to get to his intended receivers that if he throws one right now it might not get there by Sunday. The new-look Orange Crush will be without the services of DeMarcus Ware, so look for rookie Shane Ray to step up.
Cleveland fans know that there are maybe one or two more victories in store for the Browns this season because, well they're the Browns. They can celebrate right now because the Browns will earn one of those this week! That's right! I called for the Raiders to take out Denver last week, and they almost did, but I was just a week early. The Browns offense is quietly sort of good, and this is just the type of trap game that Denver won't see coming. Give me the Factory of Sadness!
Prediction: Broncos - 16, BROWNS - 23
Miami Dolphins (1-3) At Tennessee Titans (1-3)
The Dolphins will make their first appearance after the firing of Joe Philbin. That means that former Cowboy Dan Campbell, just 39 years old, will make his debut under the head coach's headset. I actually think that the former tight end has rallied his troops a bit. He brings a sense of tenacity that could resonate well with the team, especially a guy like Ndamukong Suh.
It was pretty shocking how badly the Titans played last week given that they had a bye week to prepare for the Bills. Last year's Heisman Winner, Marcus Mariota, had perhaps his worst game of his young NFL career. I think brighter days are ahead for the second overall pick, but I think he's going to run into a Dolphin team high on emotional energy.
Prediction: DOLPHINS - 27, Titans - 17
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) At Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
Hank Stram will be smiling somewhere as this Super Bowl IV rematch gets going, with players matriculating down the field all day long.
The poor Chiefs have not only had to take on the Broncos, Packers, and Bengals back-to-back-to-back, but now they are without the services of star running back Jamaal Charles for the rest of the year. Woof. Welcome to Check Down City... population: Alex Smith. Brandon Weeden will love the KC offense in this game.
The Vikings are really hard to figure out this year. A lot of people saw them as a potential wildcard team, but they haven't totally come out and dominated someone yet. I could see it happening here. Mike Zimmer has taken the bye week to figure out exactly how many points he wants to beat the Chiefs by. He told me and now I'm telling you.
Prediction: Chiefs - 15, VIKINGS - 31
Washington Redskins (2-3) At New York Jets (3-1)
It's strange enough that the Redskins are actually relevant, it would have been straight up twilight zone crazy if they had been the first team to beat the Atlanta Falcons. Washington is playing solid football right now, but you have to imagine that they're about to implode... they are the Redskins after all.
Sheldon Richardson will put on the gang green for the first time this year and said that he was "coming to eat," so I hope Kirk Cousins dresses with salt and pepper before the game. This Jets defensive line is going to massacre little Kirky. Fitzmagic is going to get cooking on the other side against a very depleted Washington secondary. Back to your corner you go, Redskins.
Prediction: Redskins - 9, JETS - 23
Arizona Cardinals (4-1) At Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)
The Cardinals crushed the Lions, and the spirit of Matthew Stafford, last week. Absolutely crushed. The little birdies are on FIYAH this season. Carson Palmer AND Larry Fitzgerald have found the fountain of youth. Patrick Peterson has the defense getting wild. And Dwight Freeney just joined the party! Bruce Arians heads back to Pittsburgh with the Bruce-y Bunch and he's going to have a whole heck of a lot of fun.
I would bet my Chip Kelly Smoothie Recipe Book that you'll hear at nauseam how these are two former number one overall picks squaring off in Carson Palmer and Michael, Mike apparently, Vick.
Le'Veon Bell is the real story of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but is he enough to carry them? Sure it worked against the Chargers, but the Cardinals are a real NFL team. Antonio Brown's contributions have slowed thanks to Vick (who looks really awkward in #2 for what it's worth) and I have serious doubts that they can keep tempo with Arizona. Too da loo, Pittsburgh.
Prediction: CARDINALS - 43, Steelers - 18
Houston Texans (1-4) At Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)
Do you think Ryan Mallett cares about my pick? I know he doesn't care about the Texans or anything important, but I thought maybe he'd care about me. I've always felt special.
Houston we have a major problem. The back-and-forth from Hoyer to Mallett to Hoyer has been exhausting in just five weeks. The Bill O'Brien we saw on Hard Knocks is surely losing his mind over just how terrible the Texans are. Serious question here. Which total will be higher... Texans points or JJ Watt sacks?
I can't believe that I actually trusted the Jaguars. I believed in them and they went and lost to the Buccaneers! THE BUCCANEERS. For shame on you, Jacksonville. I do think that they'll right the ship this week, they have some very talented young playmakers. Go Jags.
Prediction: Texans - 12, JAGUARS - 32
Carolina Panthers (4-0) At Seattle Seahawks (2-3)
Cam Newton is playing at an MVP level this season, that is a fact. He's obviously feeling good as he recently doubted the loudness of the Seattle Seahawk fans, and he should be feeling good. He's carrying a team in which the star receiver is Ted Ginn Jr. Yes, that Ted Ginn Jr.
The Panthers undoubtedly want to avenge their division round loss from a year ago and I think that they will. I believe in SuperCam and I believe that his Superman cape will be flying a whole lot higher than the famous 12th man flag this Sunday.
Do you guys think that the Seahawks have ever seen Jimmy Graham play? Do you think they know that he's really tall and good at catching touchdowns? Because I don't. For whatever the Seahawks are more likely to throw a pass in my direction than Jimmy's so far this season. If they have any hopes if finding their former swagger they need to use all of their weapons - Graham included.
Prediction: PANTHERS - 32, Seahawks - 28
San Diego Chargers (2-3) At Green Bay Packers (5-0)
Winning a close game can propel a team on a run in the NFL. Unfortunately the opposite effect can happen and I fear that's what's going to happen to the San Diego Super Chargers. It's going to be tough to overcome that last-second loss on Monday Night Football, and squaring off against the Packers isn't exactly the right medicine for that flu.
I anticipated the Packers struggling with the Rams last week, and they did; however, they prevailed. Aaron Rodgers' long streak of no interceptions at home finally came to a close, and you know what... good for him. The dude can finally let go of that and not carry that around with him. I expect Aaron to be nice and loose and drop his finest performance of the season so far.
Prediction: Chargers - 20, PACKERS - 45
Baltimore Ravens (1-4) At San Francisco 49ers (1-4)
It's pretty amazing that the last time these two teams met was Super Bowl XLVII (just three years ago, mind you) and both Anquan Boldin AND Torrey Smith were wearing Ravens purple. Baltimore hasn't really found suitable replacements for them and has struggled offensively this season as a result. Their defense, without the services of Terrell Suggs, has struggled similarly as last week was the ultimate low point... a loss to the Browns.
The 49ers mess makes the Ravens mess look desirable. Colin Kaepernick has seemingly forgotten how to play quarterback, or even throw a ball forward. Kaep did ball out against the Giants last week, but his 2015 doesn't inspire too much confidence in him. I expect this to be a big Carlos Hyde game for the Niners, but too short of an effort as they are just the stinkier pile of garbage between these two teams.
Prediction: RAVENS - 20, 49ers - 19
Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots (4-0) At Indianapolis Colts (3-2)
The tour of dominance continued for the Patriots last week when they easily vanquished the Brandon Ween-led Dallas Cowboys. Even though they'll never admit it, I imagine that this game has been circled on the calendar for them since the schedule released. This is about revenge. They're taking out the Deflategate Whistleblowers on Sunday Night Football. Prepare for total no mercy Belichick and Brady. I'm talking a 50-burger here.
The Colts celebrating beating the Texans is like me celebrating having tied my shoes this morning. It's that easy.
Indianapolis looks like they'll finally have Andrew Greybeard, I mean Andrew Luck, back under center. Cool. The Colts could have 500 Andrew Lucks on Sunday Night... it would be no use. They are going to get blasted in this game. Madden style blasted. Or you know, the way that the Texans get beat every week.
Prediction: PATRIOTS - 56, Colts - 23
Monday Night Football: New York Giants (3-2) At Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
This is going to be a very interesting game for Dallas Cowboys fans to watch. Considering that the Cowboys get the Giants in New York next week, these results are very important.
The Giants have won three in a row and are riding a serious wave of positive momentum. Tom Coughlin has a knack for getting his teams to start cooking with gas at the right times. With the way that Eli is playing right now and with an outside threat like Odell Beckham Jr., they are going to be hard for Philly to stop.
It was very souring for Cowboys fans to see how easily the Eagles beat the Saints last week. That's what every team is supposed to do to the Saints this year given how bad they are. I think that game was just that, more about the detriments of New Orleans than the strides of Philadelphia. I don't see the Eagles being able to handle the Giants, but their defense has been somewhat impressive this year.
Division rival games, especially in the NFC East, are always hard to predict. I'm going with my gut here. The Giants know that if they can win the next two they'll be sitting pretty in the middle of the season. Give me the G-Men.
Prediction: GIANTS - 23, Eagles - 20
Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys
Now that he's signed with the Washington Redskins, cornerback Orlando Scandrick joins a lackluster list of former Cowboys players and coaches who have gone from Dallas to its historic rival. The history of these moves is ugly for Washington, going back over 40 years, and can't have their fans too excited anytime they sign an ex-Cowboy.
The most recent example was just last year with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After a strong season as a 15-game starter in Dallas, McClain got a four-year, $21 million deal to join the Redskins. He missed four games with injuries and was only credited with two starts; hardly what the team wanted given the money they paid.
Before him it was Jason Hatcher, whose 11-sack season for the Cowboys in 2013 got him a four-year, $27.5 million deal from Washington. Hatcher would battle knee injuries for two season, getting only 7.5 sacks from 2014-2015. His early retirement in 2016 brought an abrupt end to a disappointing tenure.
Continuing the legacy of defensive linemen was Stephen Bowen, who Washington paid a shocking amount of money ($27.5 million over five years) to in 2011 to pick up in free agency. Bowen had a great first year for the Redskins with six sacks and 16 starts, but injuries would soon cost him 14 games from 2013-2014. He was eventually released after only one standout season in four with the team.
Going back even further, DT Brandon Noble joined Washington in 2003 after being a full-time starter for Dallas for over two seasons. He would miss all of 2003 with a knee injury, have an unimpressive year in 2004, and then missed all of 2005 with more health issues. He retired after being released by the Redskins in 2006.
Orlando Scandrick won't be the first cornerback to go from Dallas to Washington, or the best. At age 32, Deion Sanders was released in 2000 by the Cowboys and then got a huge seven-year, $56 million deal from the Redskins. This came less than a year after Daniel Snyder bought the franchise and was desperate to get them relevant again.
The Sanders move backfired horribly. Even after a solid season by his lofty standards, Primetime was disgruntled with both the coaching staff and his increasing struggles as an aging player. He suddenly retired after just one season of the seven-year contract.
Washington also tried to tap into the Cowboys' glory days when they signed receiver Alvin Harper in 1997. Harper had left Dallas in 1995 and spent two years with Tampa Bay, but had not carried over the same success he enjoyed playing in the Dallas offense.
The Redskins hoped that reuniting him with Norv Turner, who had been Harper's offensive coordinator and was now their head coach, would help Alvin get back to form. But between ongoing injuries and the absence of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith as teammates, Alvin Harper was never the same guy as when he won two Super Bowls in Dallas.
The failed poaching attempts go back many more decades, another one being running back Calvin Hill. The fourth-leading rusher in Cowboys history and a four-time Pro Bowler while in Dallas, Hill joined Washington in 1976. He served as a backup only, averaging only 3.8 yards-per-carry as he played behind the likes of Mike Thomas and John Riggins.
The bad history doesn't stop with players. The aforementioned Norv Turner, who was one of the hottest assistant coaches in history after the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s, was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 1994.
Turner's run started with a whimper, drafting quarterback Heath Shuler third overall in that first year. Shuler would go down as one of the biggest QB busts in NFL history
Norv's Redskins never seemed to recover from that blunder. He only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance from 1994-1999, and was fired midway through the 2000 season.
Far more recently, Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan left the team in 2015 and took the same job in Washington. He didn't get to bring the offensive line or DeMarco Murray with him, though. As such, the Redskins have remained one of the league's worst rushing teams for the last three seasons. They fell to a new low of 28th in the NFL in 2017.
~ ~ ~
Of course, none of this means that Orlando Scandrick won't have success in Washington. But with the Redskins generally the most mismanaged team in the NFC East, all of the Dallas players and coaches who've gone there have not walked into good situations. For all that Cowboys fans love to complain about Jerry Jones, he handles the owner and GM roles better than any pair Washington's had in almost 30 years.
Given the nature of the rivalries, we naturally can't wish success for Scandrick or anyone else who leaves Dallas for a division opponent. With the track record we just discussed for Washington, it's not something I'll be losing any sleep over.
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
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