"Did you watch last week's episode?" My friend Gina and I anxiously asked our friend Matt.
"Uh, I'm not sure. Was it the one where Naomi was crying the whole time?" Matt asked.
"Yea! What happened after that?" Gina and I pressed on.
I'm a firm believer in no spoilers when it comes to tv, movies, books, etc. so I don't want to ruin anything for anyone. Gina and I wanted to make sure that Matt had seen the episode so we could discuss one of the bigger moments the show had experienced in quite some time.
"I'm pretty sure that I saw it. She lost the competition and had to be consoled by Peter, right?" Matt was verifying that it was the episode in question.
Gina and I nodded our heads.
"Ok then yea, I definitely saw it!" Matt exclaimed. All clear - fire at will.
"Alright so what did you think when Henry died?!" I asked.
"HENRY DIES??!?!?!?!?" Matt's jaw dropped to the floor, "WHAT?! WHY WOULD YOU TELL ME THAT???"
"You said you saw it! You told me that you did!" I defended myself.
"UGHHH I think I fell asleep. I can't believe Henry dies!" Matt was a mess.
It turns out that Matt had indeed fallen asleep right after Peter consoled Naomi. He missed the big moment of the show - Henry's death. The whole ordeal has become a running joke within my friends. Any time we want to avoid spoilers in anything we drop the infamous line, "Henry dies."
Don't call me a hypocrite, but I'm about to tell you how every NFL game ends. All the winners, all the losers, and all the sad Matts in the corner. Get ready to find out just how Henry dies.
Thursday Night Football: Cleveland Browns (2-6) At Cincinnati Bengals (7-0)
The Browns are a mess, man. They almost traded the most stable piece of their entire franchise, Joe Thomas, this week. They've got Johnny Football lining up under center, but even his magic might not be enough to save a franchise that just seems intent on making terrible decisions.
The Bengals made a big statement when they took a very firm grip on the AFC North by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. It's not smart to go against the Bengals and since my mom tells me I'm super smart I'm rolling with the Bengals on Thursday Night. Who Dey.
Prediction: Browns - 13, BENGALS - 33
Miami Dolphins (3-4) At Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Well it turns out that beating the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans does not adequately prepare you for the New England Patriots. The Dolphins were embarrassed in every conceivable way last week despite coming into the game with some strong momentum. I love a lot of their offense, but the Bills D is straight nasty. Sorry Tannehill, you'll be getting hit a lot.
CIRCLE THE WAGONS! The Bills are relevant in November for the first time in a long time, and count me as one of the happier ones for it. Tyrod Taylor should be back for this game, and that's going to make a huge difference. The Bills have one of the better home crowds in the NFL and on Sunday they're going to channel all of their fans with a big dubayoo.
Prediction: Dolphins - 17, BILLS - 26
Green Bay Packers (6-1) At Carolina Panthers (7-0)
It seems as if Aaron Rodgers is not perfect. The reigning MVP was under a lot of fire last week when the Broncos reincarnated Orange Crush got to him all night. He's great at holding a grudge and channeling it in his performance, but that scary pass rush? The Panthers have one of their own.
The whole Panthers defense is scary. Luke Kuechly is so much fun to watch. He's what I imagine football in the 50s and 60s to look like at the linebacker position. Cam Newton is playing like this year's MVP and is continually finding ways to get wins for the Panthers. Watch him do it again this week.
Prediction: Packers - 27, PANTHERS - 30
Tennessee Titans (1-6) At New Orleans Saints (4-4)
All of the Tennessee fans held their head high after Marcus Mariota arrived to the NFL with an emphatic Week 1 performance... and they have since come crashing back down to earth. They fired their head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, this week and are a mess everywhere.
It took seven touchdowns through the air, but Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints did Cowboys Nation a HUGE favor last week when they beat the New York Giants. Brees is starting to cook with gas and look like the fantasy football monster that we've all come to know him to be over the last decade. Give me the Saints by a lot.
Prediction: Titans - 12, SAINTS - 41
Oakland Raiders (4-3) At Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
This is not a drill. The Oakland Raiders have a better record than the Pittsburgh Steelers at a point in the season past Week 8. I repeat: THIS IS NOT A DRILL. The Raiders look good, man. They're finding ways to win and sent a big message to the NFL last week when they took down the surprisingly relevant New York Jets. Get ready for what comes next.
I'm obviously a Cowboys fan so I'm no stranger to big-time injuries this season, but you've got to feel bad for the Steelers. First Lev Bell was suspended, then Big Ben got hurt, and now Bell is out for the rest of the year. They had their three big playmakers altogether on the field for about 20 minutes this season. It's hard to come back from that emotional punch in the gut so quickly. That leads me to this:
Prediction: RAIDERS - 31, Steelers - 26
St. Louis Rams (4-3) At Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
It was never realistic to expect that the Cowboys could have drafted Todd Gurley, but man imagine if they had? This dude is for real and on all kinds of fire this season. Couple that with an elite pass rush on the other side and you have a recipe that's hard for teams to beat on Sundays. They're whipping up a new batch on Sunday and it's going to taste awful good.
Adrian Peterson hasn't exactly returned to his 2012 form like a lot of people wildly speculated. Teddy Bridgewater hasn't necessarily turned into even a semi-elite quarterback... the Vikings are just kind of there. At 5-2. It's weird. I don't trust them to take out an elite offensive weapon like Todd Gurley, so get ready to watch Adrian Peterson watch the next great running back.
Prediction: RAMS - 24, Vikings - 16
Washington Redskins (3-4) At New England Patriots (7-0)
The Washington Redskins. In Foxborough. Against Tommy Brady and the Patriots. Child, please.
Prediction: Redskins - 13, PATRIOTS - 43
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) At New York Jets (4-3)
The Jaguars are two weeks removed from a big win across the pond. They have a lot of exciting pieces on the offensive side of the ball and you have to wonder what shape their defense would be in if Dante Fowler hadn't been injured right after the draft. Taking a cruise ship to Revis Island is never a good idea, but I think the Jaguars have a decent chance in this one.
New York lost a tough one last week in Oakland, but was that due to their own deficiencies or the rise of the Raiders? I say it's both! And I say we're in store for the same story this week. The Jets have a hobbled Ryan Fitzpatrick and both Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall are hurting. It doesn't look good for them all of a sudden, and wouldn't it be the most Jets thing ever to lose to the Raiders AND Jaguars?
Prediction: JAGUARS - 26, Jets - 23
Atlanta Falcons (6-2) At San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
If you follow me on Twitter then you know that I think that the Falcons are massively overrated. Their six wins are the NFC East, the Texans, and the Titans.
As overrated as the Falcons are... the 49ers are just a flaming piece of garbage. You know you've hit rock bottom when you bench Colin Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert.
Prediction: FALCONS - 27, 49ers - 10
New York Giants (4-4) At Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Cowboys Nation caught a big break last week when the Giants lost to the Saints (despite putting up 49 points). I'd love to sit here and tell you that the Buccaneers are going to take care of them as well, but that's just not realistic. The Giants have a lot of offensive weapons, and the Bucs can barely tie their cleats.
I know, I know... the Bucs beat the Falcons last week. That has a lot to do with why Atlanta is in fact overrated. I think they've got a cute little pep in their step, but it won't be enough to stop the Giants. Boo.
Prediction: GIANTS - 30, Buccaneers - 17
Denver Broncos (7-0) At Indianapolis Colts (3-5)
I've got a similar feeling in my gut for the Broncos as I do the Falcons. The style of football that they're playing is neat and everything, but nobody can sustain that across a whole season. Peyton Manning got away with a par-for-the-course performance last week, but that was with two weeks worth of rest. It's hard to see Peyton lighting it up in Indy.
The Colts are a fire hazard at this point. They should be questioned a hundred times more than the Cowboys as they have all of their offensive weapons and still cannot put the puzzle together. A date with the defense of the Denver Broncos isn't exactly what the doctor ordered, no way the Colts get this done on Sunday.
Prediction: BRONCOS - 21, Colts - 16
Sunday Night Football: Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) At Dallas Cowboys (2-5)
The return of DeMarco Murray.
The Eagles have had two weeks to mope and pout since their Sunday Night loss to the Carolina Panthers. It's hard to believe that Sam Bradford somehow learned how to play quarterback or not trip over his own feet in just 14 days, so I'm really not that scared of the Eagles in this game. They're going to meet a new friend, though!
Greg Hardy did not play when the Cowboys beat the Eagles in Week 2 of this season. He's going to introduce himself on Sunday Night. The Hardy Boys have held opposing offenses to just 13 points in their most recent two games, it shouldn't be hard to do the same to Chip Kelly's Crew.
The last win that the Dallas Cowboys had was over these same Eagles, seven long weeks ago. It seems only fitting that the exorcism of the horror that we've endured would be complete when we get rid of the Eagles. If you read my Don't Stop Believing post last week then you know that the Cowboys getting the victory here is a crucial step for the "Plan A" sequence that was set in motion last week. Get ready because it's going down. I'm yelling timber.
Prediction: Eagles - 13, COWBOYS - 23
Monday Night Football: Chicago Bears (2-5) At San Diego Chargers (2-6)
Da Bears haven't looked like themselves in quite some time, but the Chargers aren't setting NFL records either. This is a snooze-fest of a Monday Night Game... a great time to get a jump on early Christmas shopping (I don't have an Apple Watch... just saying).
The Chargers are without their star receiver Keenan Allen for the rest of the year, but I expect Stevie Johnson to carry them in his absence. Look for Philip Rivers to continue the offensive roll that he's been on as the San Diego Super Chargers light this thing up.
Prediction: Bears - 17, CHARGERS - 31
Cowboys en Español: DeMarcus Lawrence, ¿Etiqueta o Contrato?
El pasado martes 20 de febrero, comenzó a lo que se le puede llamar una especie de "prólogo" a la agencia libre. Esa fecha marcó el primer día para que los equipos de la NFL designen jugadores franquicia o de transición. Alrededor de la liga, muchos nombres como el de Le'Veon Bell resaltan en esta conversación.
Y uno de los más grandes y conocidos, es el del defensive end de los Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence.
Hace unos días, se reportó que los Cowboys le darían la etiqueta franquicia a D-Law, algo que todos veíamos venir desde hace rato. Sin embargo, aún no se le otorga dicha etiqueta, sino que lo harán más cerca de la fecha límite para hacerlo, el 6 de Marzo.
En enero escribí un poco más a fondo sobre como funcionan las etiquetas franquicia en la NFL.
Al inicio de su carrera, Lawrence fue un tanto decepcionante. No logró mantenerse sano, recibió una suspensión de cuatro juegos en el 2016 y antes de la última temporada, no había sido nada especial. Sin embargo, en el 2017 estuvo entre los mejores defensivos de la liga.
Lawrence logró capturar 14.5 veces a los quarterbacks contrarios (había conseguido sólo nueve en toda su carrera) y 35 tackles. No sólo mejoró increíblemente presionando el juego aéreo, sino que también se convirtió en una fuerza contra el juego terrestre.
Podemos hablar de estadísticas todo lo que queramos, pero creo que todos vimos lo que sucedió en el campo semana tras semana.
Un jugador que juegue de la manera que jugó DeMarcus este 2017, merece un gran, gran contrato. El problema es, que esta ha sido su única buena temporada. Y ahora la administración tiene que decidir que hacer respecto a este joven talento de sólo 25 años de edad.
¿Dejar que juegue en el 2018 bajo la etiqueta franquicia? ¿O darle un contrato a largo plazo, asegurando que use la Estrella por varios años?
Definitivamente no es una opción tan fácil como parece. Stephen y Jerry Jones han sido criticados por mucho los últimos años (bastantes veces erróneamente), y Lawrence es una oportunidad perfecta para lucirse... o quedar mal con su afición por muchos años.
¿Qué si le dan una jugosa extensión de contrato y nunca volvemos a ver al mismo jugador que vimos dominar líneas ofensivas en el 2017? ¿Qué pasa si por alguna razón juega en otro equipo tras el 2018, y termina siendo uno de los mejores de la NFL?
Según reportes, Lawrence está pidiendo 17 millones por año, lo cuál lo pondría entre los mejores pagados de su posición actualmente. El DE de los Giants Olivier Vernon promedia esa cantidad, y sorpresa, sorpresa... ambos jugadores cuentan con el mismo agente.
Finalmente, por años hemos ansiado un caza cabezas para los Dallas Cowboys. Año tras año, hablamos de novatos como Joey Bosa o agentes libres como Dwight Freeney que podrían cambiar el rumbo de la defensiva de este equipo.
Pues ahora, los Cowboys cuentan con uno.
Sí, no se mantuvo sano durante los primeros tres años de su carrera, pero cuando lo estuvo demostró ser un jugador de mucha calidad. Quizá esta vez, si sea la ocasión para romper el cochinito y pagarle su merecido dinero a Lawrence.
Y con un poco de suerte, seguirá siendo el mismo que fue la temporada pasada y los Cowboys contarán con un excelente jugador en su línea defensiva.
Will Jeff Heath be a Starter or Backup in 2018?
There seems to be quite a bit of optimism surrounding the Dallas Cowboys secondary after the hiring of Kris Richard. A lot of Cowboys Nation is hoping that he can re-create the "Legion of Boom" here in Dallas, but do the Cowboys have the personnel to do it?
There's no denying the Cowboys have some very talented young defensive backs. Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods all had fantastic rookie seasons and they have only started to scratch the surface of their true potential. We could even throw Anthony Brown into that conversation as well, even though he struggled at times in 2017.
Kris Richard definitely has something to work with, at least at cornerback. But, the safety position for the Cowboys could probably use an upgrade.
I wouldn't be all that surprised if we see completely new faces starting at safety for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. There have already been rumors Byron Jones might be moving back to cornerback. That would leave Jeff Heath as the only Cowboy safety with any kind of starting experience.
Unfortunately, Jeff Heath has been the favorite whipping boy for a lot of Cowboys fans. When there was blame to be placed in the secondary, it usually fell on Heath's shoulders whether it was warranted or not.
Kris Richard will probably have a pretty big input on who the Cowboy starting safeties will be next season. You can bet he has already evaluated every single one of his secondary players and already has a pretty good idea of how he wants to deploy them.
Right now, the biggest enigma in the Cowboy secondary has to be the safety position and more importantly what to do with Jeff Heath. Will he be a starter or backup in 2018?
Heath actually performed pretty well in 2017. He finished the season with 71 tackles, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions. That compares pretty favorably with the safety everybody wants to bring to Dallas, Earl Thomas, who finished last season with 88 tackles, one forced fumble, and two interceptions. But, we all know statistics don't show the big picture.
We all know Earl Thomas is the more talented of the two players, but that's not to say Jeff Heath isn't worthy of his starting job. I know some of you will disagree, but I believe he proved that last season.
What happens to Jeff Heath in 2018 will likely depend on what the Dallas Cowboys are able to do in free agency and through the draft. Adding another safety at some point is definitely an offseason priority, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be an upgrade over Heath.
As things stand right now, Jeff Heath is still penciled in as one of the starting safeties heading into the 2018 season. The other starting safety spot is up for grabs. Who knows, maybe we'll see completely new faces at the safety position, much like we did at CB last year.
Do you think Jeff Heath remains the starting safety?
Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?
Fortune favors the bold. It's a rough translation of an old Latin proverb and the mantra I believe the Dallas Cowboys should indoctrinate this offseason.
I think it's time the Dallas Cowboys start to make a few bold moves. I truly believe they are close to competing for a championship title and one or two offseason moves could increase those odds. One such move would be to sign restricted free agent (RFA) Shaquil Barrett to an offer sheet.
It's expected that the Denver Broncos will place a second-round tender on Barrett and I think the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to explore the possibility of signing him to a contract sheet. If Denver declines to match the offer, the Cowboys would then send them their second round draft pick as compensation.
You on board?
Probably not at this point, but let me try to explain why I believe this is a good move on the Cowboys part, even if it is an uncharacteristic one.
You see, the Cowboys could definitely use someone to play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence and I think Shaquil Barrett could be the solution.
I know it sounds like a lot to give up a second round draft pick, but the Cowboys have been deplorable at drafting players in the second round the past decade. Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, and possibly Jaylon Smith have really been the only "hits" the Cowboys have found in the second round. That's simply unacceptable!
So, why not use that second rounder to acquire a player who is already a proven commodity in the NFL?
I know the first thing a lot of you are going to do is to look up Shaquil Barrett's stats to see what he has accomplished in the NFL. But, stats don't always show the big picture.
You see, Barrett has been stuck behind some pretty talented pass rushers in Denver, so his statistics aren't going to jump off the paper. But, when given the opportunity he has proven he deserves a larger role. That's where the Dallas Cowboys come in.
The Broncos probably don't have the money to keep Shaquil Barrett if the Cowboys sign him to a contract sheet. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a big money contract offer. The Broncos simply don't have the salary cap to do much, especially considering they are still looking for a starting quarterback.
I honestly like the idea of the Cowboys going after Barrett. You may have forgotten, but he gave a healthy Tyron Smith fits last season.
With an injured Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett got the start against the Cowboys in 2017 and finished the game with two quarterback hits, six QB pressures, and five stops. No other player found that kind of success against Tyron Smith all season, even when he was banged up.
Unfortunately, when Shane Ray returned, Barrett's usage on defense declined. That's why you can't always judge a players productivity by statistics. You have to judge him more on a per-snap basis, and if you do that you will discover he was very effective as both a pass rusher and run stopper.
I believe Barrett is ready for a full-time role. Yes, he has been used as a standup 3-4 OLB with the Broncos, but he has the required traits to put his hand on the ground and maintain his effectiveness.
The downside to all of this is the Dallas Cowboys would have to give up their second-round draft pick, but draft picks are sometimes overvalued anyways. Shaquil Barrett is probably better than anybody the Cowboys could draft in the second round, so I say pull the trigger.
Should the Cowboys sign Shaquil Barrett to a contract sheet?
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