If you were unaware, which I highly doubt, yesterday was officially Back To The Future Day. October 21st, 2015 is the day that Marty McFly and the Doc traveled to in Part II of the franchise, a day that proved to be important throughout the films.
Yesterday was all about reliving the films, examining how much of the future the filmmakers got right, and living in the past (or future, however you want to look at it).
With the successes of such prominent older NFL stars in 2015, it seems that this season is living in the past as well. Who would’ve thought that Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Matt Hasselbeck would play such prominent roles this year? Certainly not Marty and the Doc.
Perhaps nobody lives more in the past than the hype surrounding Odell Beckham Jr. and whatever that catch was last season (a game that resulted in a loss mind you), but today is about the future. Today I play the role of Robert Zemeckis from the trilogy that we just celebrated as I predict the future.
I’m only predicting this weekend, not 30 years down the road, so my job is a little easier. Now climb on in to my DeLorean and hold on tight, we’re about to hit 88 miles per hour (hopefully with a Dez Bryant version) as we pick this week’s NFL matchups.
Thursday Night Football: Seattle Seahawks (2-4) At San Francisco 49ers (2-4)
Rewind two years and this would be one of the premier games of the week. The Seahawks are a long way away from the days of winning their only Super Bowl in franchise history. The offense can’t get it going, Marshawn has yet to reach Beast Mode, and the Legion of Boom has lost its luster. Seattle still has an incredible amount of talent on their roster, but they’re not clicking and it’s showing.
San Francisco actually looked like a real football team last Sunday, sort of. Colin Kaepernick managed to exorcise his Super Bowl XLVII demons by beating the Baltimore Ravens, and I think the Niners might be on to something here. There’s no question that they have talent at the offensive skill positions, and they tend to play very well against the Seahawks. Division games never go the way you think they will, and I think San Fran is going to shock some folks.
Prediction: Seahawks – 16, 49ERS - 23
London Game: Buffalo Bills (3-3) At Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
The Bills have shown flashes of being for real this season, but they’ll be taking on Jacksonville without Tyrod Taylor AND Sammy Watkins. Amazingly, EJ Manuel kept the Bills in the game last week against Cincinnati, so I think he’s better than I’m giving him credit for (which isn’t much).
These Jaguars (as the British pronounce Jag-You-Ares) are going to be good in the next few years. I really, really like what they have on offense… they’re just a tad too young. They’re practically a London expansion team, but the Jaguars aren’t contenders yet.
Prediction: BILLS – 29, Jaguars - 27
Atlanta Falcons (5-1) At Tennessee Titans (1-4)
Atlanta may be 5-0, but it is a mirage I tell you, a mirage! They have four wins against the NFC East (a division that many people think is porous this season) and a win against the Houston Texans. It’s unimpressive. The Falcons do have the makings of a good team though, and I think they’re certainly good enough to beat the Titans.
Imagine being a Titans fan. It’s like football purgatory. They’re going to get waxed here. In the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Prediction: FALCONS – 34, Titans - 10
Cleveland Browns (2-4) At St. Louis Rams (2-3)
This is going to be the ugliest thing that our eyes have ever seen (and I’m counting that horrendous play call that the Colts had last Sunday Night). Aside from how bad these two teams are, the uniform matchup is atrocious. I don’t even want to pick this. Are you really going to make me?
Fine. The Rams D is legit. Give me that and some dark sunglasses so I can hide myself from this.
Prediction: Browns – 17, RAMS - 21
Minnesota Vikings (3-2) At Detroit Lions (1-5)
The Vikings are starting to become who we all thought that they would this offseason. Mike Zimmer has quietly built a pretty intense defense over at the University of Minnesota’s stadium, but his prized quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has only tossed three touchdowns. Adrian Peterson hasn’t totally reincarnated his 2,000-yard self either, the Vikings are stagnant.
The Lions are just making a living (whether it’s winning or losing) off of controversial calls these days. They finally notched themselves a win last week against the Bears (and should have pulled one out in Seattle). I think they’ve got some positive momentum going their way and that Matthew Stafford is going to sling that rock 83 times as the Lions do this thing.
Prediction: Vikings – 13, LIONS - 28
New Orleans Saints (2-4) At Indianapolis Colts (3-3)
The most famous crazy call of all time actually was made by Sean Payton AGAINST the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Going with an onside kick to start the second half turned out to be the greatest decision he ever made, but he’s starting to recapture that magic with his current decision-making. Drew Brees and Co. looked a lot like the Saints of old last week down in the Superdome and you know what? I’m a believer.
The Colts are a thread away from completely unraveling this season. That thread might have been Chuck Pagano’s call on 4th and 3 last week. This team is about to quit mentally.
Prediction: SAINTS – 30, Colts - 27
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) At Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)
If your hopes and dreams rest on the arm of Landry Jones you are not exactly in an envious spot. The Steelers are hopeful that Mr. Jones can get things going this week as Michael, Mike… whatever he wants to be called, Vick is just not cooking with gas anymore. Landry is about to throw some Martavis and Antonio on the grill and cook up a nice game.
The Chiefs are a disaster. When they beat the Texans in Week 1 the sky seemed to be the limit, but the loss of Jamaal Charles has left them in a state of complete grossness. Their offense actually hurts my eyes. It is that bad. Yuck.
Prediction: STEELERS – 22, Chiefs – 14
Houston Texans (2-4) At Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Dan Campbell has this Dolphins team believing, and that makes a team really dangerous. He has them angry and frustrated and wondering if he’s the heir to Campbell’s Soup. He’s going to have them in the winner’s circle on Sunday, book it.
Prediction: Texans – 17, DOLPHINS – 25
New York Jets (4-1) At New England Patriots (5-0)
This game is very, very interesting. The Jets are a long way removed from the days of the butt fumble, and they’re actually rolling right now. I love their offense, which amazingly is quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brandon Marshall is dominating all over the field right now. This game is Revis’ chance to prove that he is better than the Pats, but he’ll have to stop Tom Brady to do it.
The Patriots cannot be stopped right now. A lot of people, myself included, predicted them dropping the Jedi Force on the Colts last week… a game in which Indianapolis competed down to the wire. We were all a week early. Belichick, Brady, and the bunch have all ahd to hear about how the Jets have a chance in this game. They don’t like that.
Prediction: Jets – 23, PATRIOTS – 51
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) At Washington Redskins (2-4)
If you feel like laughing on Sunday then tune into this monstrosity. The Buccaneers and Redskins… might as well be the first graders versus the kindergarteners. Give me the Bucs, in what will actually be a high-scoring game.
Prediction: BUCCANEERS – 38, Redskins – 33
Oakland Raiders (2-3) At San Diego Chargers (2-4)
The Chiefs have volunteered to be the AFC West sacrificial lamb, but whoever loses this game is going to be in a tough spot moving towards the second half of the season. With that much on the line I wouldn’t bet against Philip Rivers.
Prediction: Raiders – 19, CHARGERS - 32
Dallas Cowboys (2-3) At New York Giants (3-3)
Remember when Eli Manning threw it away on third and goal down near the Dallas end zone? If it were possible to set a video as a ringtone, that would be mine. The Giants blew their Week 1 game against the Cowboys and they know it.
The Cowboys will have a new face at quarterback (Matt Cassel), left guard (La’el Collins), and in the running back rotation (Christine Michael). Did I mention that Rolando McClain will be there? Oh and Greg Hardy. Don’t’ forget Randy Gregory is coming back. Do you think that you and I should suit up? We’re good? We’re good.
We’re good. The Cowboys are going to take back the NFC East on Sunday. Our favorite quarterback Elisha Manning is going to make an appearance under the bodies of many Cowboy defenders. Get your jersey out, make some queso, and save me a seat on the couch. We’re going to have fun on Sunday.
Prediction: COWBOYS – 22, Giants - 10
Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) At Carolina Panthers (5-0)
It felt terrible rooting for the Eagles last week. I’m talking ridiculously terrible. I might have caught a fever. As a result I am going ALL-IN on the Panthers this week. I might buy a Cam Newton jersey and everything.
The Eagles should buy a Cam jersey as well though; because that’s the only way they’re going to get their hands on one. This is going to be an exclamation point on what is an MVP-type season for the former Heisman Winner and Number One Overall Pick. Fly, Superman, Fly.
Prediction: Eagles – 15, PANTHERS - 33
Monday Night Football: Baltimore Ravens (1-5) At Arizona Cardinals (4-2)
The Ravens are a dumpster fire, it’s actually kind of sad. The Cardinals are going to get back on track after losing to the Steelers this week. Bruce Arians is going to have them in tip-top shape.
Prediction: Ravens – 16, CARDINALS – 42
Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving
En la NFL, la falta de noticias en Junio generalmente significa buenas noticias. Los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys saben esto mejor que nadie y en caso de que lo hayan olvidado, David Irving se aseguró de recordarle a Cowboys Nation el porque de esta frase.
La semana pasada, se anunció que David Irving recibirá una suspensión de cuatro partidos por haber violado la política de abuso de substancias de la liga. Es la segunda suspensión que Irving recibe en años consecutivos y lógicamente, esto es preocupante para el equipo de los Dallas Cowboys.
Las últimas dos temporadas hemos visto a Irving convertirse en una pieza de suma importancia para la defensiva. El año pasado, Irving consiguió siete sacks (capturas) en sólo ocho juegos y se convirtió en un caza cabezas muy efectivo.
Demostrando ser uno de los jugadores más talentosos de su posición en la NFL, es difícil imaginar el futuro del #95 en la liga. Tras recibir un tender de segunda ronda hace unos meses (explico que es eso aquí), el futuro de Irving es muy incierto. Por eso, esta semana en Cowboys en Español, exploraremos tres escenarios posibles para el defensivo de 24 años.
#1 David Irving se va de Dallas prematuramente
Hace unos días, me dediqué a defender mi posición de que los Cowboys estarían cometiendo un error al cortar a David Irving. A pesar de que realmente despedirse de un defensivo como Irving parece muy poco probable, es un escenario que debemos discutir.
Irving ha sido un dolor de cabeza para el equipo en más de una ocasión. Dos suspensiones en años consecutivos no es una buena imagen para un jugador que busca un contrato jugoso al terminar el año.
Si Jason Garrett y la administración quieren "dar un mensaje" cortando a David Irving, ¿qué tanto serviría? Esta idea de enviar un mensaje, a la hora de pensarlo fríamente, parece una idea romántica de parte de nosotros los fans. Al final de cuentas, estamos hablando de un locker room lleno de jugadores adultos y profesionales, no de un grupo de niños.
Además, bien sabemos todos que Irving no es el único Cowboy que ha tenido problemas. ¿Será el hecho de que ha ocurrido dos años seguidos razón suficiente para dejarlo ir? Personalmente, no lo creo. Los Cowboys dejarían ir a un jugador muy bueno en una posición de necesidad.
Datone Jones, Jihad Ward y Maliek Collins podrán ser suficiente. Pero David Irving es especial en el campo. Mejor tenerlo por 12 juegos a tenerlo cero.
#2 Irving se queda para el 2018, pero no más allá
David Irving recibió un contrato de un año que le pagaba (antes de ser suspendido) 2.91 millones de dólares. Si hubiera demostrado que no era problemático y que podía mantenerse al 100% toda la temporada, probablemente hubiera recibido un gran contrato de los Cowboys o de otro equipo en la NFL.
Sin embargo, el dicho lo dice todo. "En la NFL, la disponibilidad es la mejor habilidad." Irving no se ha terminado de ganar la confianza necesaria para una gran extensión.
En este punto, Dallas puede esperar a que su tackle defensivo regrese de su suspensión, juegue doce juegos con ellos y les consiga un sack por juego por menos de tres millones de dólares. Después de eso, el equipo pude darse el lujo de dejarlo ir sin una extensión y verlo convertirse en un agente libre.
#3 Irving se queda por más de un año
En este caso, hay dos "sub-escenarios." Suponiendo que, efectivamente, Irving regresa y juega como sabemos que puede hacerlo, no será tan fácil dejarlo ir. Si llega a sorprender y demuestra que realmente es quien creemos que es y consigue diez capturas en sólo doce juegos, ¿realmente no le dará el equipo una oportunidad?
La primera opción sería asignarle la etiqueta franquicia y obligarlo a jugar un año más para un equipo que busca desesperadamente un Super Bowl.
Si se sienten cómodos dándole el salario de una etiqueta franquicia para evitar perderlo, ¿podríamos culparlos después de que les dio por ejemplo, diez capturas? Yo, personalmente, no podría hacerlo.
La otra opción, y una que podría ser la más realista, es más simple. La inmadurez y los problemas de Irving le costarán la confianza y el interés de otros equipos y es posible que en un punto, Dallas sea el único equipo que le pueda brindar seguridad de trabajo.
De esta manera, Dallas podría ofrecerle una extensión de dos, tres o más años a un precio mucho más barato que el de cualquier DT que consiga dos dígitos de sacks.
David Irving sin duda tiene un futuro incierto delante de él. Realmente sería una sorpresa verlo fuera de Dallas en el 2018, pero más allá, quien sabe lo que pueda pasar. Por ahora, esperemos que una vez que vuelva de la suspensión, esté en forma para ir detrás de los quarterbacks oponentes.
Con un poco de suerte, quizá nos olvidaremos de esto en Noviembre.
Is Kris Richard Actually Jason Garrett’s Replacement, Not Rod Marinelli’s?
Much has already been made about the Dallas Cowboys hiring of Kris Richard. He was brought in to be this year's defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator, but it's a title I don't think he will hold for long.
It has already been speculated that Kris Richard will become Rod Marinelli's successor to become the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator. Marinelli in fact contemplated retirement after the completion of the 2017 season, but decided to give it another go in 2018. But, anything beyond that is unknown at this point.
It isn't that hard to believe that Kris Richard will be the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator. He already has a pretty good track record as a DC from his time with the Seattle Seahawks (2015-2017). During that time, the Seahawks had one of the better defenses in the league, which is why a lot of Cowboys fans are excited about what he can do in Dallas.
This was a terrific hire by the Dallas Cowboys. Richard is one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the league today and is highly respected around the league. For him to take a step back from defensive coordinator to become the DB coach/passing game coordinator in Dallas is a little confusing.
Why would he take a step back in his coaching career to come to the Dallas Cowboys?
Before he agreed to come to Dallas, Richard interviewed for the head-coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts. To already be considered a head-coaching candidate tells you all you need to know about the trajectory of Richard's career. Again, why take a step back with the Cowboys?
We all know that Jerry Jones is a fantastic salesman. He must've been able to convince Richard that he has a chance at a big promotion sometime soon. But, would a promotion to defensive coordinator be enough for Richard? Does he have his eyes set on something bigger?
I know that I'm not alone, but Jason Garrett is on thin ice this season. If he doesn't at least get the Dallas Cowboys into the playoffs this year, he could be looking for a new job, which would create a vacancy at head coach. This could be the kind of opportunity Kris Richard is looking for.
I find it a little hard to believe that Kris Richard would be willingly to come coach in Dallas knowing that the entire coaching staff could be dismissed after the season if Jason Garrett isn't successful. That's not typically the kind of job security you look for, so something has to have been promised to him behind closed doors.
I know it's a lot of speculation right now, but I don't think it's completely out of the realm of possibility. Someone is going to have to replace Jason Garrett if he falters this season and Kris Richard is a logical choice. After all, it's kind of the way Garrett became the head coach of the Cowboys when he replaced Wade Phillips. Could history repeat itself?
Do you think Kris Richard is Jason Garrett's eventual replacement?
NFC East Position Rankings: The Quarterbacks
The long NFL offseason is finally beginning to come to a close, with teams participating in mandatory mini-camps and training camps just a month away. Still, though, there is a lot of time left before the 2018 NFL season really begins.
With that time it's always fun to rank things and put together lists. I mean, who doesn't love a good article ranking players? Over the next few weeks I'll be ranking position groups in the NFC East to see which team comes out on top.
Today we begin with the NFC East quarterbacks, arguably the most scrutinized position group in all of sports.
4. New York Giants QB Eli Manning
Though he is the most accomplished quarterback in this division, Giants QB Eli Manning comes in last in our current rankings. Manning has seen his play decline throughout the years, even being benched in favor of Geno Smith late in 2017.
With a healthy cast of pass catchers and rookie running back Saquon Barkley surrounding him, however, Manning could be poised for improvement in 2018.
The Giants offense might be the best in the league if each game was a 7 on 7 tournament, so it will be interesting to see how Eli Manning performs this season.
3. Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith
The newest starting quarterback in the NFC East is Washington's Alex Smith, and he comes in third in our rankings. Smith has gotten the reputation as a check-down artist throughout his career thus far, but when surrounded by the right talent he can be very effective.
Smith had arguably his best season to date in 2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs, but I just don't see Washington's offense being nearly as dangerous as those Chiefs were a year ago.
To me, Smith is at best a marginal upgrade over former starter Kirk Cousins, and won't bring too much of a difference over the long haul in Washington.
2. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
Second on our list is Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. The now third year quarterback is coming off a bit of a "sophomore slump" to end his 2017 campaign, though his first season and a half warrant him our number two spot.
I expect Prescott to look like himself in 2018, especially with the improvements the Cowboys made to their offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott should be available for all 16 games, and the turnover in the receiver group gives some cause for optimism as well.
Prescott is the former Rookie of the Year and has had a good start to his career thus far, but sorry, Cowboys fans, we can all admit Dak Prescott doesn't deserve the top spot as of now.
1. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz
The top quarterback in the NFC East right now is Eagles QB Carson Wentz. Wentz was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2017 prior to his injury, and once returning to full health Wentz should be able to impress once again.
The Eagles offense was downright dominant while Wentz was healthy, and though they did win the Super Bowl without him, Wentz brings their productivity to another level.
And with arguably the best supporting cast of the entire division, Carson Wentz is poised for success going forward.
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