"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
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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