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
How The Seattle Seahawks Have Increased Importance In Cowboys’ Lore
You can't talk about this decade's Dallas Cowboys without discussing the Seattle Seahawks.
In 2012, when Golden Tate took out Sean Lee on a crack-back block and the Seahawks embarrassed a Cowboys team who had just defeated the defending champion New York Giants, we saw which of the two teams was truly ready for the big stage.
In 2014, as Rolando McClain intercepted Russell Wilson and the Cowboys clinched a critical road victory, we knew that Dallas was a legit contender.
In 2015, when Seattle finally came to Dallas and rendered the return of Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant meaningless in a 13-12 win, the then 2-5 Cowboys were sent further into a Romo-less abyss.
And, in 2017, Dez Bryant's key drops and Dan Bailey's missed field goals during a horrendous home loss to the Seahawks on Christmas Eve might have sealed each of their fates for the following offseason.
The most important moment in this Cowboys/Seahawks history, however, occurred during a preseason game. A meaningless preseason game which turned out to be the most meaningful day in recent Cowboys history.
Cliff Avril dragging Tony Romo down from behind, effectively ending his career, and kicking off the roster massive turnover we have seen the last two offseasons. From Dak Prescott, to a brand new secondary, to the retirement of Jason Witten, and the cutting of Dez Bryant. All of this change, which put an end to the Romo era rosters in Dallas, began with that hit in Seattle.
Since 2012 the Cowboys, and the rest of the NFC really, have been judged by how they play against two teams: the Packers and the Seahawks.
They have been the class of the NFC, and while we like to think that if the "Dez Caught It" game went how it should have Dallas would've handled Seattle, that will forever be an unknown.
Sunday's game is not expected to carry the franchise-changing implications that some of these other match ups have had. The Seahawks are 0-2 and reeling, with a shaky offensive line and reported distrust throughout the organization.The Cowboys, however, can jump-start their season with a big road win over a winless team that they should beat in the minds of many.
But knowing how things between these teams tend to go, Sunday afternoon may end up having major implications on the rest of the Cowboys' season.
Where this could be the case is in a potential Earl Thomas trade. It's been speculated that Seattle has been hesitant to deal Thomas to Dallas before their week 3 match up, but could be more willing to do so after the game.
Especially if that game is a loss which sends them to 0-3. The Cowboys have been actively pursuing Earl Thomas, and Thomas has certainly made it clear that he wants to be in Dallas. The only party not willing to make it happen thus far, are the Seahawks.
So, this weekend, there is a chance another chapter is added to those franchise-changing moments in Cowboys/Seahawks lore.
A Look Around The NFC East: Week 3
Week two didn't go as planned for much of the NFC East, with only the Dallas Cowboys reigning victorious last Sunday.
Now, three teams are locked in a tie for first place at 1-1, with the New York Giants lagging behind with a winless record. Week 3 is shaping up to be a potential early turning point, however, with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz returning and each team facing a very beatable opponent.
Let's take a look around the division and see what the Cowboys' foes will be facing this week.
The Eagles fell victim to one of the more surprising upsets of the weekend last Sunday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Eagles 27-21. While their defense got off to a shaky start in the loss, it was the offense which proved too little too late in their push down the stretch.
Carson Wentz is expected to not only return but to start on Sunday in the Eagles' match up against the Colts. Indianapolis upset the Washington Redskins last week, but will be 6 point underdogs when the game kicks off in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Wentz should give the defending champs an extra boost, and while they haven't looked as dominant as many expected through the first two games, this could be the game to spring them the rest of the way.
As mentioned earlier, the Redskins fell in Indianapolis last week, and are now tied for first place in the division with a 1-1 record. As dominant and impressive as Washington looked in their opener against Arizona, Washington's week two loss featured lethargic offensive play for four quarters.
This week the Redskins are three point home underdogs as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers come to town. Green Bay tied Minnesota a week ago, but behind Rodgers and their potent offense, they have the chance to take advantage of Washington's suspect secondary down the field.
Sunday will be a tough test for the Redskins as they look to get back above .500 against a tough conference opponent.
New York Giants
The Giants' season is on the brink this week, and that really isn't a dramatic statement at all. Now at 0-2 with a division loss to the Cowboys last week, the Giants have to beat the 0-2 Texans on Sunday to get some confidence and keep pace within the conference.
Lucky for them, the Texans haven't looked impressive whatsoever through two games. Unlucky for them, the Texans have strong pass rushers like JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney ready to abuse their weak offensive line.
Houston is a six point home favorite over the Giants, proving it will be an uphill battle for New York to save their season.
Cowboys en Español: La Defensiva de Dallas es Muy Real
Después de dos semanas de acción de los Dallas Cowboys, una cosa ha quedado más que clara. La defensiva del coordinador defensivo Rod Marinelli ha demostrado que es realmente buena. No como en otros años, que nos conformábamos con que la defensiva dejará avanzar y cediera tres puntos hasta que se rompía en el último cuarto.
No, ahora es diferente. Este año, los Dallas Cowboys tienen presión al QB opuesto. No sólo DeMarcus Lawrence, sino Taco Charlton, Randy Gregory y recientemente, los linebackers. Hemos visto a Jaylon Smith y Damien Wilson brindar presión y sobre todo, llegar a sus objetivos.
Los linebackers no han brillado sólo en esto, sino en otros ámbitos defensivos, como cobertura aérea y más. Incluso Joe Thomas ha logrado mantener su nivel que vimos en pretemporada cuando se le ha pedido entrar al campo.
Y en cuanto a la secundaria, no podríamos estar más agradecidos con la actuación de nuestros cornerbacks. Byron Jones está jugando a un nivel increíble. La semana pasada, Eli Manning sólo se atrevió a lanzar el balón en su dirección en cinco ocasiones. En esas cinco, consiguió sólo un pase completo para cero yardas. Chidobe Awuzie también ha tenido un gran inicio al 2018, manteniendo un nivel de juego consistente y efectivo. Estamos hablando de que el domingo pasado, estos dos cornerbacks se enfrentaron a uno de los mejores WR en la NFL, Odell Beckham Jr.
Finalmente, la posición de safety se ha visto como la unidad más débil en la defensiva. Jeff Heath es un titular promedio y Kavon Frazier tiene mucho camino por recorrer. Afortunadamente, hay esperanza de que Xavier Woods regrese de lesión este domingo.
A pesar de que en el 2016 todos veíamos a la ofensiva como nuestro futuro, es sorprendente el nivel que ha mostrado la defensiva. Es más agresiva, más efectiva y más confiable que en otros años. No podemos subestimar la llegada del coach Kris Richard al equipo.
Sobre todo después de que en el partido contra los New York Giants y los Carolina Panthers se demostró que Richard está involucrado directamente con las decisiones de las jugadas que se ejecutarán en el campo. Incluso Marinelli no tuvo problemas admitiendo que efectivamente, Richard estaba ganándose un rol en este aspecto.
Esto es muy relevante para los Dallas Cowboys, pues una de las cosas más destacadas que hemos visto las últimas semanas es el usaje de cargas o "blitzes" especiales en varias oportunidades. Incluyendo tercer down y largo.
Es algo que no habíamos visto nunca con el conservador Marinelli y que claramente es producto de Richard. Este personaje que viene de los Seattle Seahawks continua emergiendo como un candidato real al puesto de coordinador defensivo en el 2019 o quien sabe, quizá sea nombrado head coach si las cosas comienzan a ir mal para este equipo.
Sin duda alguna, la defensiva ha demostrado que es muy confiable y real. Es tiempo de que la ofensiva de Dallas responda a esto y comience a mover más las cadenas y sobre todo, aprovechar las oportunidades que tengan de anotar touchdowns. Empezar a depender de goles de campo nunca sale bien.
Sobre la llegada de Brice Butler
Increíblemente, Brice Butler regresó a los Dallas Cowboys, incluso después de todos los comentarios que hizo en ciertos programas de televisión. La primera reacción al respecto fue de confusión; ¿por qué regresar con un receptor que nunca fue tan especial y que habló tanto de Dallas?
La respuesta a esta pregunta se esclareció un poco este jueves por la noche cuando surgieron los rumores de que Terrance Williams, quien fue arrestado en el offseason por intoxicación pública, podría ser suspendido pronto por la NFL.
Esto probablemente no sucederá antes del partido de la semana 3, pero de todas maneras explica mucho sobre el último movimiento de los Cowboys.
En un partido bastante cerrado, creo que la defensiva de los Dallas Cowboys hará lo suficiente para llevarse la victoria. Es de suma importancia derribar a Russell Wilson y sobre todo, que la ofensiva tenga su mejor actuación de la campaña. La defensiva de Seahawks es bastante efectiva y no será sencillo vencerlos.
Marcador: Dallas Cowboys 21 - Seattle Seahawks 17
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