NFL Week 11 Picks

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Somehow, some way, Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Where did the time go? One minute you own the 8th grade playground the next you’re a washed-up 25-year-old independent blogger with no future. Crazy how time flies. Anyway, as I was getting lost in the lovely shade of blue in the Titans jerseys (I refuse to call them Color Rush jerseys since every facet of the set is in their regular jersey rotation. The only difference is that the socks don’t have the white outer sock they usually have. I take Color Rush seriously), it dawned on me that adding more SkyCam to the broadcast is the most NFL thing of all time. Oh, we lucked into something people sort of like? Quick, jam it down everyone’s throats and ruin any shred of positive publicity! Good job, guys. Titans stink, by the way. Doesn’t really relate to anything, I just feel like it needed to be said. As opposed to last week’s wasteland, there’s actually some pretty good matchups this week. Should be fun watching the action unfold.

Baltimore Ravens (-2) at Green Bay Packers

Psyche!!!! You didn’t really think there were going to be good games this week, did you? This is the NFL! Every game is terrible because every team is equally terrible because the league desires it so. This is why no one like communism, folks. It yields an unpleasing on-field product, I think McCarthy said that in the 50s.

Pick: Ravens -2

Detroit Lions (-3) at Chicago Bears

I don’t know if I’ve ever had less of an emotional investment in a pro sports game than I have for this. I legitimately don’t care about this game whatsoever. If they cancelled it, my life wouldn’t be changed at all.

Pick: Lions -3

Kansas City Chiefs (-11) at New York Giants

This line can’t be high enough. Giants already quit, but then last week they super quit. Any non-NFC East team that plays the Giants from here on out should just ask the league for another bye week so no one gets hurt.

Pick: Chiefs -11

Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints (-8)

This season is so weird. Are the Saints seriously Super Bowl contenders? Seems less crazy by the week. Just feels so random that they’re good. They were a nothing team before the season. No buzz, no hype, no discussion about them at all. Yet here they are, playing great D and lighting up the scoreboard. Their offense feels very 2009ish. People forget they ran the ball more than they threw it that year (a little joke for everyone who remembers those days of old. Saints running more than they pass was that year’s Altuve is short and Judge is tall. Good times).

Pick: Saints -8

Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings (-2)

Possible NFC Championship preview? Inconceivable before the season (at least to me), I’d be more surprised if one of these teams didn’t make it at this point. These are pretty similar teams with lots of talent on both sides of the ball, but it really just boils down to the Rams having Jared Goff (good) and the Vikings having Case Keenum (bad).

Pick: Rams +2

Tampa Bay Bucs at Miami Dolphins (pick)

Remember when I said I’ve never cared about a game less than Lions-Bears? Yeah, I lied.

Pick: Dolphins

Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans (-1.5)

I feel like I’ve been too negative lately. Blaine Gabbert taking the high flying Cardinals into Houston for a shootout with Tom “Nic Cage” Savage is exactly what I’ve been looking for to raise my spirits. Appointment viewing for a league desperate for ratings.

Pick: Cardinals +1.5

Jacksonville Jaguars (-8) at Cleveland Browns

I gotta be honest, I’m a little disappointed, here. Jags-Browns was always a high point in the year for those of us who enjoy teams jockeying for draft position, and it always seemed to fall around this time of the season when both teams had already quit. But now the Jags had to go and ruin it by being good! How selfish! I’m trying to envision a scenario where the Browns score a touchdown that doesn’t involve a kick return or pick six, and I’m not seeing anything.

Pick: Jags -8

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers (-4)

What’s the point of starting Nathan Peterman? They can’t think he’s actually going to be good, can they? He’s a rookie fifth round pick whose only playing time came in a blowout loss. What do they gain by benching the clearly superior Tyrod Taylor? Unless they’ve accepted their fate and know they’re dead, in which case I applaud the decision to just cut bait and aim for as high a draft pick as they can possibly get. Throwing this random rookie out there against one of the most fearsome pass-rushing tandems in the league on the road (does it count as playing on the road if it’s at the StubHub Center?) for his first career start in week 11 doesn’t really seem like the move a team that’s trying to win would make.

Pick: Chargers -4

Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra (-7) contra los Raiders de Oakland

Ciudad de México, bebé! La gente olvida que la Ciudad de México es mucho más elevada que Denver, donde los Pats simplemente dominaron. También practicaron en Colorado toda la semana, por lo que es como si estuvieran tomando esteroides con todo el aire extra que tienen en sus pulmones. También están en llamas y nunca, en ningún momento, perderán ante esta versión de los Raiders, que apestan. Un equipo de calacas (una pequeña referencia de México, amigos) sería mejor a la defensiva que los Raiders, que usan verdaderos “jugadores de la NFL”. Los Pats son el equipo más popular en la Ciudad de México, lo que me dice que nuestros vecinos del sur tienen un excelente sabor.

Elegir: Patriots -7

Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-2.5)

Do the Broncos play road games? I’m starting to think no. Literally every game they play is in Mile High, and even with the only tangible home field advantage in the NFL, they still stink! Hard to believe most of this roster won a Super Bowl two years ago. Still better than the Bengals, though.

Pick: Broncos -2.5

Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5) at Dallas Cowboys

This one seem like it’s easy to overthink. It’s in Dallas. It’s Sunday night. Cowboys need a win badly. Eagles have been too good, so something has to go wrong. Just don’t think about it. Go with your gut. Eagles are way better than the Cowboys and should dominate. Tyron Smith is probably out again, rendering the Golden God known as the Cowboys’ offensive line a collection of mere mortals, and the Eagles’ d-line is just a liiiiiiiitle bit better than the Falcons’. Almost forgot to make a snarky comment about the impressive streak of consecutive NFC East division games played in primetime, just like the Cowboys will probably forget to show up.

Pick: Eagles -4.5

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-3)

Of all the teams the Patriots have effectively killed over the last 15 years or so, I think the Seahawks and Falcons give me the happiest memories. Thinking about how many times Brady shoved the Bills’ or Steelers’ noses in the dirt is nice, but the Seahawks and Falcons are special. They turned Seattle from a potential dynasty to a dysfunctional, poorly run, unpopular group of crybabies and 9/11 truthers. Then beating the Falcons was the equivalent of a feudal lord squashing a peasant rebellion and putting some severed heads on spikes as warning. And now they’re playing each other and think the game has real stakes! How quaint. I’m happy for both of these teams for thinking they still have championship hopes, I really am.

Pick: Seahawks -3

Bonus College Picks:

  • Michigan +7.5 at Wisconsin
  • Virginia +18.5 at Miami (FL)
  • TCU at Texas Tech Over 53
  • UMass +4.5 at BYU
  • Navy +18 at Notre Dame
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Is it Safe to Call The Process a Success?

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After last night’s resounding/six point win against the stalwart/hapless Los Angeles Lakers, in which Joel Embiid, the human embodiment of Sam Hinkie’s hopes and dreams, put up an absolutely absurd statline, the Internet became saturated with takes and thinkpieces, most of which revolve around one central question: did the Process officially work? And while it seems pretty foolish to ask this after a November game against one of the worst teams in the NBA (who happens to start the league’s worst player at point guard), the Sixers’ relative success this season is certainly reason enough to take a look at the Process’s early returns. Due to the nature of everything the Process entailed, evaluating it in the moment seems a little counterintuitive. Considering that Sam Hinkie, a man the Sixers replaced almost two years ago, looks better by the day should imply that we won’t be able to give a final grade on the Process until the Sixers’ current core players are out of the league.

In my mind, the Process was always going to be a success, because the Process was conceived to escape the vortex of mediocrity that traps so many NBA teams and stockpile assets that could be used to acquire top-end talent, and they were certainly no where near mediocre. When viewed through that lens, with the exception of Jah Okafor, pretty much everything Hinkie did worked. Shedding bad contracts and veterans on long-term deals in order to game the system got them Joel Embiid, in many ways the most tantalizingly talented player maybe ever and Ben Simmons, the clear Rookie of the Year and someone on the road to superstardom. They kept acquiring more and more picks from other teams that couldn’t wait to get rid of them, with the end result being Markelle Fultz, who, while easy to point and laugh at, has obviously been injured for the entirety of his very short career and probably shouldn’t be legitimately judged until next year. Robert Covington was in the D-League and is now a vital part of their rotation. Ask anyone- a rebuilding plan is only as good as the players you draft. Embiid was the first Process draft pick. Anyone who ever watched him play agreed he was awesome. And because he gets hurt a few times and he shut him down for the good of the Process, Hinkie gets fired? Huh? That was so head-scratching to me at the time, and it’s only gotten worse since. How are you going to fire a guy for losing too much when his whole plan, that everyone seemed to be on board with, by the way, was to lose every game to maximize their opportunity to land a franchise-altering player. They now have two because of the Process. If you have Embiid and Simmons, if you just fill the roster out with average to above average role players, things will probably work out. I really can’t understand why they didn’t let Hinkie see his baby all the way through. If you want to blame him for Okafor, that’s fine. Jah stinks. But you better give him credit for trading two second round picks to the Kings for two first round picks. That trade alone should get him in the Hall of Fame.

I think this question needs to be split into two different questions. One is Did the Process work? The answer to that is yes. By intentionally losing and acquiring assets, the Sixers now have four top-three picks on the roster, two of which are going to be All Stars for as long as they remain healthy, one could easily get to that level if he gets head on straight, and one will be out of the league in a year or two. That’s a pretty good hit rate. The point of the Process was to use all the valuable picks they piled up to get great players, and they’ve done that. So, yes, the Process worked. The second question is going to be Was the team the Process built a success? It’s obviously too early to tell. The full team has played, what, three games together? While they still have the Kings’ 2019 first round pick, the Process is over. Now that they have a roster filled with actual NBA players, the Result is in the players’ hands. I’m very curious to see what they do with it.

LeBron Should Thank His Lucky Stars that Fights in the NBA Don’t Actually Happen Anymore

In case you missed it, during last night’s surprisingly entertaining Cavs-Knicks game a bit of a brouhaha broke out between rookie Frank Ntilikina, LeBron, and Enes Kanter.

Love me a good NBA fight, especially when someone steps to LeBron. Some quick background here: LeBron recently made made by saying the Knicks should have drafted Dennis Smith, Jr. in an attempt to troll Phil Jackson, but really all it did was throw Frankie under the bus. And then, in the build up to the scuffle, LeBron dunked then tried to assert his dominance by staring Frankie down and standing over him, as if Frankie was in position to stop the play, which he wasn’t (does LeBron secretly hate French people? Might be worthy of an investigation…). Kudos to Frankie for going against his natural instincts and not backing down, but once Enes Kanter came in from out of nowhere, he stole the show. LeBron got into his “Angry LeBron” act where he just moves his jaw really fast as he waits to someone to break it up. I hesitate to to say this because, as we know, LeBron is a father of three, but if this fight actually came to blows, I’d be writing a LeBron obituary right now.

Hey, LeBron, Kanter sort of spent time in a Turkish prison! I know he broke his hand punching a folding chair, but he’s still got that “Turkish prison tough” thing going. Turkish prison has to be in the top five of scary prisons (along with Russia, China, Thailand, and any Central American place) you can spend time in, and LeBron, even though he is a father of three, wouldn’t stand a chance. You’re telling me the person that did this:

is taking someone who (sort of) lived through this?

Not a chance. I’d even go so far as to say that if LeBron was a father of four he wouldn’t be able to handle Enes. He combines Turkish strength, which, not to generalize here, is pretty formidable with having a name that sounds like penis. I don’t know what the Turkish word for penis is, but if it’s close to Enes then he was probably bullied mercilessly as a youth. Builds an internal rage that you’re just waiting to unleash on the first father of three you see. LeBron would be a dead man walking.

The postgame comments were exactly what you would expect. Kanter, who lives to chirp everyone that moves, went with the impossible-to-come-back-from “mixing up the guy’s nickname” bit. Got everyone fired up, got the people excited for a Knicks team with some fire, everyone was happy. Then LeBron, being LeBron, completely dismissed the entire thing, because he’s LeBron and is so above every other player in the league. This might be my least favorite LeBron personality trait. In his mind, because he’s the best player in the league (which he is), he’s totally exempt from criticism and no mortal player can ever challenge him. Like Kanter has a decent case, here. You trashed his rookie in the press then tried to embarrass him on their home court. Kanter has a right to stick up for him a little bit. But no, it’s all just Kanter acting crazy and there’s no chance any of this is LeBron’s fault. And that he is, in fact, a father. I love that more and more players are going at LeBron. Absolutely no one respects him unless they’re in the Banana Boat or are on the Cavs and have to pretend they like him. At some point, someone like Marquese Chriss or Kelly Oubre is going to take a swing at the King, and it’s going to be glorious. Because I bet his teammates will wait a second or two before jumping in to stop it.

NFL Week 10 Picks

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Nights like last night are what separates the Color Rush men from the Color Rush boys. Not only the highlighter green Seahawks jerseys, but the Cardinals inexplicably going all black instead of red. If you couldn’t handle it, well, the Color Rush game might not be for you. I have to confess, though: much like Russell Wilson after his “concussion test,” I don’t remember anything about this game. Might be for the better, though, because it looks like I jumped the gun a little bit declaring it #seahawksoffenseSZN. Last night served as the proto-Legion of Boom era Seahawks game: ugly, weird ass score, Russell Wilson makes some absurd escape, someone gets hurt, and Pete Carroll spends the whole game wondering if jet fuel can really melt steel beams. Seen it a thousand times by now. Rough, rough slate of games this week, but that doesn’t mean I get to turn off my NFL prescience. It’s more of a curse that a gift, really.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-6)

I don’t know if it’s because of the league or I’m just more cynical than I used to be, but every game I look at this week just suuuuuuucks on paper. Any game where the Bears (yes, the same Chicago Bears that completed four, count ’em, FOUR passes in a game recently) are six point favorites has to being played in some kind of alternate universe. Is this like a post-FlashPoint dimension or something where the NFL universe is getting a big reboot and the Bears are good now? Because if it isn’t, I can’t legitimately say the Bears will cover any spread as a favorite, I don’t care which cardboard cutout of a human being is playing QB for the Packers.

Pick: Packers +6

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) at Indianapolis Colts

As much as I enjoy seeing the masterminds behind the national nightmare known as Deflategate struggle to remain competitive, the Steelers on the road are pretty much the answer to the age old question, “what would happen if a CFL team played in the NFL?”

Pick: Jacoby Brissett +10

Minnesota Vikings (-1.5) at Washington Redskins

Remember Teddy Bridgewater? The guy that literally perished on the practice field last preseason? Wears gloves all the time because he has small, dainty hands? Yeah, me neither. Well, he’s back. He won’t play this week, but he’s still back. Vikings have also won four straight while no one was looking, and everyone on the Redskins roster is still hurt. I’ve also decided to forgo a Native American joke this week, sorry if this offends.

Pick: Vikings -1.5

Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions (-11)

When Jesus said the meek will inherit the earth, he had Browns and Lions fans in mind.

Pick: Lions -11

Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars (-4)

I would like to send my preemptive thoughts and prayers to Phil Rivers’ family, because I can’t see him surviving this one. Jags defense is making a stronger case that it’s the best in the league every week, and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Chargers are a West Coast team coming east for a one o’clock game.

Pick: Jags -4

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-4.5)

Are there any good games this week? At all? Luckily this week’s college football lineup is stacked or I’d be doing a lot of cleaning around the house all weekend.

Pick: Bengals +4.5

New York Jets (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Bucs

Alright, now we’re talking! Josh McCown Revenge Game combined with Ryan Fitzpatrick Revenge Game. Electrifying television. The Bucs might actually perform better now that Jameis isn’t giving them weird pump up speeches. I think the biggest surprise this entire season is the fact that the Jets are actually pretty fun to watch. The Bucs play defense in the most theoretical sense of the word, so I’m kind of pumped up to watch McCown light it up. Which means it’ll be a 9-3 final.

Pick: Jets -2.5

New Orleans Saints (-3) at Buffalo Bills

Bills are dead. Deader than dead, in fact. I’d be surprised if they won another game this season that didn’t have snow involved. I hope everyone who bought the hype feels stupid. Meanwhile, how about the Saints? Looking like a legit contender. Playing legit defense! Eighth in defensive DVOA! What were the odds of that before the season? Marshon Lattimore is already one of the five best defensive players in the league and I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to call him one of the best draft picks in team history. Saints playing in Buffalo feels like such a weird, random game.

Pick: Saints -3

Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams (-11.5)

I don’t know what’s crazier, the fact that the Rams can’t stop scoring and I pretty much trust them in any matchup despite predicting they’d finish with the worst record in the league, or that anyone would pick a Tom Savage-led offense to cover any spread. Their defense isn’t even good anymore- they’re 30th in points allowed per game. This is going to be a bllllooooowwwwoooouuuuttttttttt.

Pick: Rams

New York Giants (-3) at San Francisco 49ers

Oh my godddddd these games are sooooooooo badddddddddddddddddddd. I actually don’t hate the NFL scheduling every horrible game in one week to get them out of the way. Remember when the 49ers would lose in heartbreaking fashion and cover spreads? I miss that team. Until Jimmy G gets up to speed you couldn’t pay me enough to take the Niners. That’s a lie, but you get my point.

Pick: Giants -3

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-3)

I’m really just dumbfounded. Where are all the people betting on Atlanta? I would like to meet the person who’s still holding on to the dream. I could use that kind of positivity in my life. It doesn’t matter that Zeke is currently suspended, because he’s either going to end up playing anyway or Darren McFadden will have his annual Turn Back the Clock game. Saying the Falcons are dead is just old hat at this point, but I’ll say it anyway: Falcons are dead.

Pick: Cowboys +3

New England Patriots (-8) at Denver Broncos

I know the Pats always struggle in Denver. I know the Broncos defense will be all fired up after getting emasculated last week. But last time I checked, Brock Osweiler is viewed as the best option to play quarterback for the Broncos. That’s good enough for me.

Pick: Pats -8

Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers (-9)

If you want a real reason to protest the NFL, how about the fact that the Dolphins are on in primetime for the second week in a row? One of the most offensive things I’ve ever seen.

Pick: Panthers -9

Bonus College Picks:

  • Michigan State +16 at Ohio State
  • Georgia -3 at Auburn
  • Iowa at Wisconsin -11.5
  • Notre Dame -3.5 at Miami (FL)
  • TCU +6.5 at Oklahoma

Will the Celtics Ever Lose Again?

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No. No they won’t.

When the Celtics Express comes rolling down the tracks, you’d better get out of the way or you’re getting steamrolled, plain and simple. Yes, this season was always going to be bittersweet when Gordon Hayward went down, but after seeing what the rest of the East looks like after ten games, there’s really no reason to think they can’t do what they set out to do in the preseason and make the Finals.

Obviously, they’ve had horrible, horrible luck with injuries. Hayward is out for the year. Al Horford got a concussion and they’ll hopefully be very cautious with him. This isn’t 1990, it’s okay if he sits out some November games. Marcus (Markieff? I honestly have no idea which one they have) Morris is just now getting back after starting the year hurt. Jayson Tatum needs an MRI on his ankle. But outside the injury bug, absolutely everything has been coming up Celtics (and particularly my boy Danny Ainge). Tatum has been a revelation as a secondary scorer and ballhandler who looks like someone who’s going to be averaging over 20 points per game sooner rather than later (while Markelle Fultz looks absolutely lost and injured). Jaylen Brown has morphed into a combination of Andre Iguodala and DeMar DeRozan overnight, at least at home. I was never a “Jaylen sucks!” guy and thought that anyone claiming a 19-year-old rookie who hadn’t found his place in the rotation was somehow a bust was a complete idiot, but I definitely wasn’t expecting such a big leap forward. He just looks so much more confident than last year. And for a guy with his natural talent, that could make all the difference. Aron Baynes-Semi Ojeleye might be my favorite Celtics duo since Gerald Green and Justin Reed (R.I.P.), and my 1-2 picks in a “who do I want to have my back in a scrape” draft. Kyrie Irving has been as advertised and more. His shot is still warming up, but, freed from the oppressive shackles of LeBron, his ball movement and, most surprisingly, his defense have been way better than they ever have before. He’s actually trying on defense, now! It’s incredible. Maybe he’s just trying to make a good first impression, but if Brad Stevens can get a full 82 of Defensive-Minded Kyrie, he should get Coach of the Millennium. Or Tyronn Lue and LeBron should just get the Anti-Coach of the Year award. Either way, I’m officially throwing out all of my old Anti-Kyrie takes. I’m sure it’s a load off his mind. Lastly, Al Horford has just been jamming on h8trz all year long and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve always been #teamal. I loved the signing when it happened and understood what his game was coming in. The Boston media was quick to turn on him for “not rebounding,” but, in my opinion, anyone who doesn’t get why Al is the most important player on the Celtics you’re either just not watching or don’t know what you’re talking about. His passing is the cornerstone of the offense. He’s the anchor of the best defense in the league. According to Basketball Reference, seven of the top fourteen players in defensive rating are on the Celtics, and Al controls all of it. He’s an underrated post scorer and a dynamite pick-and-pop guy. I love Al and can’t wait until he makes an All-NBA team this year and forces everyone to eat their words. Just imagine how good they’d be with Gordon! Aaaaaaaaand now I’m depressed again.

R.I.P. Roy Halladay

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Still feels strange saying it. Roy Halladay, 2-time Cy Young winner, million time All Star, future Hall of Famer, and only 40 years old, died in a plane crash yesterday. I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw someone retweet something along the lines of “RIP Doc.” I just ignored it, because that could mean anything. Then I saw more and more similar tweets, then I saw the reports about the plane crash. Then it became real. The police on the scene announced Roy Halladay, the pilot, had died. It was a shock. It’s always a shock when I get the notification that a current or recently retired athlete died. Maybe it’s because I still have the mind of a 12-year-old and these guys are all superhuman to me. They’re all in perfect shape and have more physical gifts than the rest of us can dream of, they don’t die. They don’t get hurt outside the playing field. But, as we’ve been getting reminded of far too frequently these days, they’re mortal just like the rest of us.

When the news first broke, I wasn’t in a position to write about it, so I decided to sleep on it and reflect about what Roy Halladay meant to me (because that’s what really matters, right?). Anyone around my age from my part of the country essentially grew up with Roy heavily involved in their development as a baseball fan. I hit my peak baseball viewership at nearly the same time Roy overcame his early-career woes and became the dominant All Star he was for over a decade. I saw him face the Red Sox a thousand times, and while the Sox typically hit him fairly well, it was never a comfortable experience. He had an intimidating demeanor and delivery that always made it seem like he knew something the hitter didn’t, that he had a grander scheme that no one else could comprehend. I also never hated him, which, believe me, was no small feat. Since I always liked my parents and performed well in school, pretty much all of my pubescent angst was concentrated on sports. I hated more athletes in middle school than I think I could even name today. Anyone who ever performed well against one of my teams, or really anyone who didn’t play for one of my teams who ever received any kind of praise for multiple days on PTI or SportsCenter I hated passionately. But I never hated Roy. I think subconsciously, he was always one of my favorite players to watch. Home runs and endless hit parades are fun every now and then and in video games, but in terms of actually watching baseball, Roy embodied every positive quality a pitcher could have: he worked quickly, he threw strikes, he never walked anybody, he pitched to his defense, he always went at least 7 innings. Fast moving baseball games are legitimately some of the best things in sports, and any game with Roy on the hill was almost guaranteed to be under 3 hours. Sure, he was a great, dominant pitcher, but his stuff probably won’t be what I remember him for. It’ll be his ability to make palatable, aesthetically pleasing baseball games, his playoff no-hitter (which doubled as the first playoff baseball game I watched in college, whatever that means), and his reputation for being one of the nicest, most genuine guys in baseball. All of those things should go on his plaque in Cooperstown.

This also made me think about flying. I think a lot of people are going to take this one, tragic incident and be like “why was he flying?” or “this is why I don’t like small planes,” or “this is why you should stay on the ground,” or any similar take. Personally, I love flying. Love, love, love it. Everyone in the world but me hates airports and flying, but I’m okay with that. I also don’t know if I’ve ever said this out loud before, but one of my biggest dreams is to someday get my pilot’s license. I want to fly planes, I want to fly helicopters, all of it. I’ve just always wanted to be the guy that knows how to operate a bunch of different vehicles. Whenever I think of what role I would want in a criminal organization, I’ve always said that if I can’t be the mastermind, I want to be the chauffeur who also flies the company plane and pilots the submarine and all of that. And, clearly, Roy was the same way. He loved flying. If you followed him on Twitter you know he lived for it. It was his biggest passion outside of baseball. You don’t question why someone was driving if they get into a car crash. He died doing something he loved. In the end, that’s all we can really ask for. R.I.P. Roy Halladay.

NFL Week 9 Picks

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You didn’t really think the Bills were going to go 6-2, right? Like, have you followed an NFL season before? If so, you not only saw last night’s crushing loss coming, but you can also see exactly how the second half of the season is going to go for the Bills. What I don’t understand is how the media falls for it every year. Each and every year the Bills get off to a blistering start, and every year it’s “this is the year they put it together.” Newsflash- it isn’t. There’s a reason they haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. They have Loser DNA. I’ve mentioned it before, but it baffles me that more people can’t see Loser DNA right away. The Bills have more Loser DNA than regular DNA. Did people actually think the Falcons, the Atlanta Falcons, would beat the Pats? The Suns, the Sacramento Kings, the Capitals, the Jets, the Vikings, the Bengals, there are so many teams that are never good and will never be good, and people fall for them hook, line, and sinker every year. The Bills STINK. The Pats gained ground on their division on their bye week yet again, an underrated tradition during the Brady-Belichick regime. If you take the Bills seriously as a contender, you’re just a moron. Unfortunately, no fun holiday gimmick this week, just plain, boring NFL takes. Lame, I know.

Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles (-8)

T-Minus two days until the Brocket Ship lifts off, bitches! Can’t wait to watch horrendously inaccurate passes, negligible pocket awareness, and lots and lots of sacks, gonna be great. That Brock is somehow viewed as better than Trevor Siemian should be enough to force the NFL’s greatest Northwestern alum since Mike Kafka to consider retirement. Still, this is a bit of a tough game. You should never back Brock, but the Eagles have won 6 in a row. You want to talk Loser DNA, well the entire city of Philadelphia has it. Something has to go wrong, eventually. Blowing an easily winnable game against one of the best defenses in the league seems like a good place to start.

Pick: Broncos +8

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at New York Giants

Literally the only reason this won’t just be a complete walkover is that the Rams are coming East to play a 1 p.m. game. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard that reasoning before.

Pick: Rams -3.5

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

No line yet after the shocking news that wunderkind quarterback Deshaun Watson blew his knee out in practice and will miss the rest of the season. Pretty big downer for those of us that love blowouts and absurd stats, because Watson vs. this Colts defense was probably going to be one of the biggest mismatches of the entire NFL season. Alas, now we get to watch Tom Savage bang his head into a wall for 60 minutes. Practice injuries always remind me of my own football career. I “played” in high school, and I put played in parentheses because I rarely saw the field. I had some talent, but rather than do things like stay in shape or practice hard, I ate McDonald’s and played video games. No, I don’t regret it. That much. So, yeah, I didn’t make the NFL, but I also didn’t blow my knee out in practice, so who’s the real winner?

Pick: Texans I guess?

Tampa Bay Bucs at New Orleans Saints (-7)

I feel like I’m kind of in a rut right now where I’m just going with opposite logic. The Saints are on fire and at home. The Bucs are ice cold and have a banged up QB that might not be good when he’s healthy, anyway. So why am I considering taking the Bucs? Is it crazy? This could easily be a 35-17 drubbing. Actually, you’re right. I’m overthinking this.

Pick: Saints -7

Atlanta Falcons (-2) at Carolina Panthers

This is a solemn promise: I will never pick the Falcons when they’re favored as long as Matt Ryan still draws breath in this world.

Pick: Panthers +2

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (-3.5)

This game is going to suuuuuuuuuuck. Remind why the Titans, who currently have a -15 point differential, are favored against the Ravens, who, despite being absolutely unwatchable on offense, still have one of the stingier defenses in the league and have a history of winning games they have no business winning? Titans are bad.

Pick: Ravens +3.5

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6)

I regret to report that one of the most impressive and unprecedented runs of success in history is over. For the first time all season, I failed to spell Cincinnati correctly on the first try. I don’t know what to say other than I let everybody down. To quote Clayton Kershaw, maybe one day I won’t fail. Until then, I’ll just try to get better.

Pick: Jags -6

Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)

It’s that time of year where Russell Wilson starts averaging 400 yards per game despite a pitiful offensive line, just in time to welcome a battered and bruised Washington team that is just dying to get blown out. Redskins don’t have a great history of going west, anyway.

Pick: Seahawks -7.5

Arizona Cardinals (-2) at San Francisco 49ers

Didn’t these two just play? Or do are both teams so bad they just blend together and it seems like they’re always playing each other. Unfortunately, no Jimmy G to salvage some watchability, so avoid this at all costs (my take on the trade: I think I like it. 49ers 2nd round pick is essentially a first round pick, so flipping a guy that went at the end of the 2nd round for an early 2nd rounder is a win. And, I mean, I love Jimmy, but he’s played a game and a half in three years. Does anyone actually know how good he is? He could be a star, he could be Matt Cassell. I’ll trust Bill Belichick’s judgement when it comes to personnel moves. They weren’t going to be able to resign him, so getting a great pick for him is as good of a deal as you can ask for).

Pick: 49ers +2

Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys (-2)

I don’t understand this Zeke Elliot situation whatsoever. I don’t get why this suspension won’t stick, I don’t get why Brady couldn’t get this same deal, I don’t even remember what the suspension was for in the first place. This whole thing is just a big fiasco that’s probably never going to end. This game also might never end because no one’s going to stop anyone. This feels like a game the Cowboys win and get the “are the Cowboys Super Bowl contenders” conversation going again.

Pick: Cowboys -2

Oakland Raiders (-3) at Miami Dolphins

I’ve got a laundry basket full of clean clothes that I’ve been putting off folding, looks like Sunday night is a good time to do it!

Pick: Raiders -3

Detroit Lions (-3) at Green Bay Packers

Are the Lions capable of winning a game they should win on the road by more than three points? I really don’t know. They’re actually better on the road than at home, but they’re and NFC North team playing in Lambeau, which usually means a big ol’ L. I’m actually not sure if the Packers are physically capable of scoring more than 17 points, though.

Pick: Lions -3

Bonus College Picks

  • Penn State at Michigan State +10
  • Wisconsin at Indiana +14
  • Iowa State at West Virginia -2.5
  • Oklahoma +2 at Oklahoma State
  • Texas at TCU Over 47