A Star is Born Review

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I couldn’t help but go GAGA over this one, folks.

Rating: 🎤🎤🎤🎤🎤🎤🎤🎤🎤

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NFL Week 5 Picks

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Ho-hum. Another week, another team participating in voluntary Color Rush dominating. I, for one, can’t believe it. Who would have thought that wearing superior jerseys would allow teams to play better? Not I, that’s for sure. Surprised the NFL allowed the Pats to wear them, honestly. Because now they’re rolling. Julian Edelman is back, Gronk is back, Josh Gordon is about to take off, they have the best running back duo in the NFL, the defense is still bad but whatever, the good Pats are back. Can’t believe that, either.

I know I’ve been Andrew Luck Stinks guy, but man, he’s got absolutely no one out there. Throwing to Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal with the worst offensive line these eyes have ever seen. Tough to win like that. But yeah, the Colts are definitely the Pats’ rival. On the the rest of week 5.

Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)

I clearly need to change my viewpoint on the Falcons. Until now, I had been thinking of them as a normal team with a lot of talent and not as one that suffered the worst loss in the history of pro sports when they blew a 28-3 third quarter lead against the Patriots in the Super Bowl two years ago. That changes now. Imagine putting on the pads and getting taped up and taking painkillers getting fired up to play some NFL defense, then remembering you didn’t ask Tom Brady’s permission to play this game and now you’re worried if he might get mad at you later. It’s gotta be tough. If the Falcons didn’t even field a defense I think they’d have a better chance of winning games. With Le’veon Bell hinting he’ll try and return in week 7, the Steel Curtain’s Impending Drama powers will activate. Steelers will win BIG. They’re still terrible, though.

Pick: Steelers

Green Bay Packers (-1) at Detroit Lions

Aaron Rodgers has played 16 games against the Lions in his career. A full season, if you will. He’s gone 13-3 with 4,058 yards, 34-6 TD-INT, and a passer rating of 109.4. For context, Rodgers’ career passer rating is 103.6, which is the highest in NFL history. The Lions are “holding” opposing QBs to a 104.3 passer rating. You do the math.

Pick: Packers

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers (-6)

If possible, I would advise against watching more of this game than you have to. Panthers love to grind out games because it works, and the Giants have no choice but to grind out games since they’re so bad. Panthers are just better. If they score 24 points it’s over.

Pick: Panthers

Denver Broncos at New York Jets (Pick)

This makes absolutely no sense to me. The Jets are HORRIBLE. They might be the worst team in the AFC East, which is saying something. And this is despite winning the Super Bowl in week 1! It’s crazy how far they’ve fallen (except they’re the Jets so it’s not that crazy at all). No, Case Keenum hasn’t caught the same lightning in a bottle he had last season. But he hasn’t been that bad, and I’m not sure the Jets score a single point this game. This is so obvious it has me thinking I’m wrong, but we all know that never happens.

Pick: Broncos

Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Cleveland Browns

Did you know the Ravens are currently second in the league in defensive DVOA? And that the Browns are fourth? Well now you do. What I’m saying is take the under, because this one’s going to be ugly. I’m curious how the Browns will find a way to lose/tie, but one thing I already know is that they’ll cover. They’re 3-1 ATS year. Ride it until further notice.

Pick: Browns

Miami Dolphins at Cincinatti Bengals (-5.5)

Damn, can’t believe the Dolphins weren’t actually for real. Never saw it coming. Now we just need to wait for the Bengals “Damn, can’t believe they weren’t actually for real,” moment. Don’t worry, though. It’s not coming this week.

Pick: Bengals

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)

Yuge game. Yuuuuuuuge. God Mahomes shredded the Broncos in Mile High in his *worst* game of the season, and now he gets to face the best defense in the NFL. For the sake of sanity and reason, many people are hoping this is the game where throwing touchdowns in NFL isn’t easier than waking up in the morning for him. I mean, he can’t always be this good, can he? I’m here to tell you that yes, he can. He’s a stud, and studs play their best when facing other studs, and the Jags have eleven that are gonna be trying to kill him. The only thing is, playing well against the Jags is different than playing well against everyone else. And the Chiefs play defense in the most theoretical sense possible. You know who dominates bad defenses? Blake Bortles, who has baffled the haters with his solid play this year. Maybe I’m just hoping the Jags keep beating good teams so the Pats look better, but I don’t think the Chiefs win this one.

Pick: Jags

Tennessee Titans (-5) at Buffalo Bills

Only being favored by five against the Bills is as insulting as insulting gets. Mike Vrabel’s 3-1, for crying out loud! Call me when the Bills win three games. I’ll be waiting in 2019.

Pick: Titans

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5)

Did you know the Raiders used to have Khalil Mack? Jon Gruden apparently doesn’t, because he can’t stop hinting at how badly they’d like him. He also can’t stop shredding the GM publicly. Good sign! Chargers by a million.

Pick: Chargers

Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) at Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks look bad, man. Like, real bad. And they just lost their best defensive player. I feel bad for all those 12s who discovered football existed in 2012, because I don’t think they’ll know how to handle a bad Seahawks team. Considering there’s a decent chance we’ll be talking about this Rams team for many years to come, I’d be surprised if the score was within 35.

Pick: Rams

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

So I guess the Vikings defense just stinks now? They’re giving up a 105.9 quarterback rating. That’s bad, if you didn’t know. Very bad. Eagles really should be 4-0 right now, and have, at times, looked every bit the defending champions. The only thing the Vikings have going for them is Kirk Cousins’s familiarity with the Eagles and the fact that it can’t possibly get worse. Those are two bad things to rely on.

Pick: Eagles

Arizona C*******s at San Francisco 49ers (-4)

Folks, I have some bad news. In the flurry of moving to a new city and getting familiar with my surroundings, I missed my chance to get tickets to this year’s New York Comic Con. Normally, I know none of you would care. But last year’s NYCC produced arguably the greatest video in the history of the Internet. Sadly, there will not be a sequel. I accept all responsibility for my actions.

Pick: 49ers

Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans (-3)

Pick: Cowboys

Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)

Adrian Peterson revenge game? Adrian Peterson revenge game. I fully expect AP to try and truck Sean Payton on the sideline, which will surely draw a 15 yard penalty. As is the case with any Alex Smith-led team, the Redskins have been quietly pretty good in their three games this year (by the way, I’d protest any bye week scheduled before week 9. A week 4 bye is just asking for everyone on the team to get injured). But they’re so boring. And you can’t pick against the Saints on Monday night in the Superdome. You just can’t.

Pick: Saints

MLB Playoffs Start Tonight

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox

Alright, I know my baseball coverage has been lacking this year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. Some mixture of business and lethargy kind of hamstrung a lot of stuff I was planning to do during the summer, and baseball kind of got lost in the shuffle once football started. Nothing brings me back to the Pastime, though, than the postseason. The air gets a little crisper, the leaves turn, and buttholes clench tighter and tighter with every pitch, each one having the possibility to decide an entire season. I’ve discussed the baseball playoffs before, but there’s nothing quite like true unpleasantness of playoff baseball to remind everyone why baseball is great. It makes sense, trust me.

This year, there is a clear imbalance the leagues. The American League had three teams win 100 games and another that won its division by a thousand games. The National League had a bunch of good, not great teams. Christian Yelich, who will likely be named NL MVP, wouldn’t finish in the top five of American League voting. Even the A’s, surely the consensus pick for the weakest AL playoff team, would be favored against whomever wins the NL. I mean, no offense to the Braves, but they’re hosting a playoff series while the Yankees are in the Wild Card Game. That tells you all you need to know.

The biggest question, in my biased opinion, facing the league is who can beat the Red Sox? They put together one of the best seasons in franchise history and looked to be the best team in baseball for much of the year. The only problem is the bullpen is hot garbage outside Craig Kimbrel, and they had a troubling inability to beat the Indians, Astros, and Athletics. In case you forgot, those are three of the four playoff teams in the American League. Uh-oh. The Sox did comparatively well against the Yankees, but you’re asking for trouble if you want to face Judge and Stanton in a playoff series. The American League is an unforgiving gauntlet that will force teams to dig deeper than they’ve ever dug before and exhaust every possible option. Whoever wins the pennant will truly earn it. That’s kind of why I’m worried about the Sox. I love this team. It’s easily been my favorite iteration since at least 2013. But there’s just way more questions than there should be about a 108 win team. What happens if Chris Sale isn’t healthy and/or still isn’t great in the playoffs? What happens if the Yankees win the Wild Card and David Price has to pitch against them? Who pitches game 3? Who pitches in literally any inning besides the ninth if things get hairy? I know the offense will show up, and I know the defense will show up. But the pitching, AKA the most important thing in October, is very shaky. That, as they say, is bad. I’ve had a sinking feeling that all these wins would lead to an early exit with the wrong matchup. I’m confident the Sox will win their ALDS. But the Astros and Indians form a collective bugaboo that I’m not sure they can overcome. I’m just glad Alex Cora’s at the helm this time around.

The National League, despite (or, more likely, because of) the lack of juggernauts, is even murkier. The Braves are the only team I would be surprised to see in the Fall Classic, and even then they have enough elite talent to carry them through three weeks. The Cubs and Dodgers should probably be viewed as the two favorites, both because of the talent level and playoff pedigree, but the Cubs might not even survive tonight. The Brewers would be the logical successor to the Cubs position as NL Alpha, but their pitching is in even worse position than the Red Sox, and that’s saying something. The Braves are probably just happy to be there and have their eyes on the coming years. The Rockies, the proverbial Team Playing Well at the Right Time, are red hot and posses the rarest of commodities: pitchers that perform well in Coors Field. But they scored nearly 100 fewer runs on the road than they did at home, and they’re going on the road to play the Wild Card game. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are doing their darnedest to take baseball into the Super Team era, but all of their flashy acquisitions kind of didn’t do that great, and most of their superstars took a step back this season. Do you trust Max Muncy to carry the team? I don’t. Every single NL team has strengths and crippling weaknesses. Who do I think will win? Probably the Dodgers. It just feels like they have the deepest lineup and the deepest pitching. I’d love for the Rockies or Brewers to pull it out, but I just can’t see it.

So, yeah, playoff baseball is finally here. I’ve got a feeling this year’s gonna be something special, folks. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy grind out every second of the games.

Monday Thoughts, Week 4

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Welcome to the week 4 edition of Monday Thoughts™. Hopefully you know the drill by now, since it’s a pretty simple segment to grasp. Yuuuge week in the National Football League, by why just tell you about it when I can insert sponsored tweets sent by official accounts?

  • I’m not going to gloat, because excitement over a week 4 win against the Dolphins is beneath me, but I hope everyone realized how right I was/am about this Patriots’ season. Literally the only question left league-wide is who’s playing them in the Super Bowl.
  • If only the Pats had playmakers!
  • Someone get Brady some weapons, already!
  • This Michel guy stinks! What a bust!
  • Live look at the hatersgiphy
  • Kind of feel bad for the Falcons. Still haven’t recovered from the time they were leading the Patriots 28-3 in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. My heart goes out to them.
  • This guy is an NFL QB and NOT a tertiary punching bag in an 80s high school movie
  • No team benefitted more from the switch from Reebok to Nike than the Bengals. The orange shoulder pads were made slightly smaller and it turned them into a bottom-five jersey to somewhere in the middle of the pack. Always had a top-five helmet, though.
  • Hilarious TD. Cramps or whatever it was will never not be funny when they happen to someone else.
  • If every member of the Falcons’ offense besides Julio Jones turns up dead in a ditch somewhere, I think Julio is to blame. He’s totally not mad that he never scores TDs. Matter of fact, it’s funny to him. He’s actually laughing.
  • Turns out Josh Allen does, in fact, stink. Who would have known?
  • Yung GOAT went 16/33 for 151 yards 0 tds and 2 picks against a pretty bad defense. What the hell happened against Minnesota?
  • (Actually, been asking what happened to Minnesota a lot this season….)
  • I feel like you should get seven points if you intercept an Aaron Rodgers pass, especially if you’re a stinky team.
  • Glad LeBron finally followed his passion and joined the NFL, amirite???
  • I feel like the traditionalists dislike the Packers’ Acme throwbacks since they’re not green, but I kind of like them. Not enough wacky jerseys in the NFL. Gotta be hell on the equipment staff who have to take the helmet decals off every helmet only to put them back on a week later.buffalo-bills-v-green-bay-packers-5bb1551114db2f821e000001
  • There’s something comforting in knowing that the Bills’ official post-game wrap up is sponsored by an electrical contracting company. Something fancier wouldn’t suit Buffalo.
  • I think Mitchell Trubisky was listening to the haters/playing the worst pass defense of all time. Six TDs from a Bears QB? In this economy?
  • Let’s check in on the Bears’ Twitter graphics
  • Good looking pirate.
  • Now that Fitzmagic is rightly over for 2018, I no longer have any interest in Bucs games outside funny Jameis Winston plays. Nothing can capture the pure thrill and ecstasy you feel when in the throes of Fitzmagic.
  • The Titans are going to win 11 games and it’s going to make no sense whatsoever.
  • I’ve still got some of my Mariota stock left. Better buy in now before the price goes way up.
  • Decent celly
  • Honestly don’t know how the Eagles lost. Felt like Wentz was doing whatever he wanted the whole game. Guess they just got intimidated by Mike Vrabel. Can’t say I blame them.
  • Jets STINK. I only thought there’d be one 1-15 team in the AFC East, but turns out we’re gonna have two. Good thing their one win came in the Super Bowl, though.
  • The more teams Blake Bortles shreds to pieces, the better I’ll feel about the Pats D. The real test will come when he faces the Bills’ lockdown defense, of course.
  • Jags shouldn’t go all white. Just kind of looks off. Needs some teal
  • If there isn’t a Dick’s Wings and Grill on every street corner in Jacksonville something’s wrong. Does Jacksonville have streets? I just kind of picture a never ending strip mall.
  • Speaking of jerseys teams shouldn’t wear:yikes.
  • Golden Tate celebrating long before entering the end zone will always be funny
  • The year is sometime between 1954 and 2018:
  • I’m choosing to mostly ignore the victorious Cowboys because they are trying to literally bore me to death, but I will say that Dak Prescott threw for over 200 yards today, so he’s almost an NFL quarterback again!
  • Yes, Andrew Luck had a massive game and almost singlehandedly dragged the Colts to a win before losing in overtime to a winless opponent. If you think that means I’ll say he’s good you’ve got another thing coming.
  • Sick throw, though
  • Respect the GOAT
  • Remember when he won three titles with the Pats? I do. It was awesome.
  • R.I.P. people of Houston, part 4
  • Didn’t realize KeKe Coutee was in the league. People forget he played with God Mahomes in college (just kidding, people don’t forget that. Mostly because literally only I knew it in the first place).
  • Deshaun Watson is no longer done. Thus is the law of the NFL.
  • Me when someone tries to get me to watch Seahawks-C*******s
  • Good to know the new-era Browns are still the Browns.
  • Imagine thinking one person can tackle Marshawn Lynch
  • Pretty brutal game by the refs in this one, but it’s good to know they got the important calls right
  • Blatant call, folks. Don’t know what to tell you neanderthals who don’t want to protect the QBs.
  • Always liked Arden Key because of Ardyn from Final Fantasy XV, which I loved but the hardo Final Fantasy purists say isn’t great. They’re wrong, and that’s my final say on the matter.
  • When did Jared Cook become good? Talk about weird.
  • Another dece celly
  • Raiders football! Catch the fever!
  • Can’t believe CJ Beathard scored 27 points in an NFL game.
  • Love lumbering white guy long touchdowns
  • I know the people of L.A. couldn’t be bothered to actually go, but I like the StubHub Center and think the Chargers should stay and not move in with the Rams. I like the small, intimate feeling it gives. The Chargers also shouldn’t be in a hurry to add 60,000 empty seats to their bill.
  • Yikes
  • Derwin James is good. Very good.
  • Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara only combined for nine catches. Needless to say I was quite upset.
  • Alvin Kamara: good
  • Saints’ Color Rush jersey rating: 9/10
  • Saints have the second best offense in the league and a sort-of-improving defense, but they lost in week one so they’re disqualified from playoff contention. I don’t make the rules.
  • It’s been four weeks. I’m finally ready to comment on NBC’s new Sunday Night Football intro song. I don’t like it. The one from the last couple years stunk too, but it was better than this. Why they ditched the absolute BANGER that was “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” I’ll never know.
  • Football intro song power ranking: 1. Waiting All Day 2. Are You Ready for Some Football (Jason Derulo/ Florida Georgia Line remix) 3. Are You Ready for Some Football (original) 4. CBS music 5. Fox music 6. Ohh Sunday Night (don’t know official name) 7. It’s Sunday Night (don’t know official name).
  • America Idol Winner power ranking: 1. Kelly Clarkson 2. Taylor Hicks 3. Carrie Underwood 4. Phil Phillips 5. Scottie McCreery
  • Americal Idol non-Winner power ranking: 1. Daughtry 2. Sanjaya Malakar 3. Bo Bice 4. Casey Abrams 5. Pia Toscano
  • I’m not used to Joe Flacco being efficient. Maybe Lamar Jackson finally lit a fire under his Joe Cool ass.
  • Steelers are such hot trash. People actually thought they would win the Super Bowl this year.
  • What the hell?
  • I get easily triggered by This is Us commercials, mostly because I’ve only watched episode when I was sitting on the floor in a state of shock after the Super Bowl some random February night and I didn’t have the energy to change the channel. All I know is that the dad died in a house fire. Spoiler alert, sorry.
  • I’m already getting annoyed at the inevitable Ravens-Pats playoff game. I think this might be the one that kills me.
  • This might be a hot take, but I have to throw it out there: I love NFL Sundays more than pretty much anything in the entire world. Feels good to get it off my chest.

NFL Week 4 Picks

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams

A couple thoughts ran through my head as I was watching the second consecutive genuinely exciting Thursday night game. First, I like that the Rams moved to L.A. before hiring Sean McVay. This Rams offense is too good for St. Louis. It’s too flashy, too explosive, too fun to watch. This team is the perfect L.A. squad. The good folks of Middle America would have no idea how to handle this level of glitz and glamour on the football field. It’s not their fault, it’s just in their DNA. Second, I’m conflicted about Cooper Kupp and Adam Thielen. While seeing them dominate NFL defenses keeps the dream alive, I like my white receivers 5’9″ and under, sneaky athletic, gritty, and only out there to move the chains. This new generation of actually athletic guys who can create explosive plays and score at will? I don’t know. I just don’t trust them. Third, this was an excellent jersey matchup. The Rams’ throwbacks are always money and the Vikings’ white with purple pants look is great, as well. Fourth, this was the ultimate Kirk Cousins game- big stats, some crazy throws, never really threatening enough to make the better team nervous. This game was so good I’m convinced the rest of this week is going to be absolutely terrible! Some real stinkers on the horizon folks. The bill always comes for good Thursday night games.

Buffalo Bills at Green Bay Packers (-10)

I respect my readers’ intelligence too much to insinuate that last week’s improbable domination of the Vikings was anything more that a fluke Bills win, but this is still giving me pause. The Packers might actually stink. Their defense is bad, they can’t run the ball, and if Aaron Rodgers isn’t 110% they can’t really pass, either. Those are pretty big concerns, IMO. Still, the Bills can’t cover two road games in a row, can they? I’ll just flip a coin. Actually, you know what? Out of respect for the Yung GOAT Josh Allen, I’ll pick the Bills.

Pick: Bills

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-7)

Pats don’t lose three straight games, alright? It just doesn’t happen. The only way to get me even slightly concerned about this Pats season would be losing this game, and now that I’ve made that known, I know the Pats will dominate. You think Bill doesn’t read? You think Tom isn’t staying up to date on the happenings of briansden69.com? Please. This is already over. RIP Dolphins, congrats on starting 3-0.

Pick: Pats

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-3)

Every Cowboys game makes me want to puke, and this is no different. I already know how boring this is gonna be. The Cowboys will just bleed the clock out and score 17 points, and the Lions will be frustrated in the first half then come storming back in the fourth, only to run out of time as Dak throws for 168 yards. At least it’s not in prime time.

Pick: Cowboys

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5)

You really just have to turn your brain off for this one, but they way the NFL works the Texans are about to win 40-0. The second your season ends is when the bad teams kick it into high gear. And honestly, I’m still not ruling out a 9-7 finish for Houston, either. Also Andrew Luck is bad.

Pick: Texans

Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears (-3)

I don’t think it’s a stretch to call this the season finale of Fitzmagic. And what a run it was. Just Monday night was the perfect encapsulation of his entire career. The lowest lows imaginable coupled with some preposterously high highs. The Bucs pretty much have to throw him out there for one last ride before putting Jameis back in after the bye, so cherish this game. The mixture of Fitz and Khalil Mack will undoubtedly lead to hilarity. A few terrible picks, a few amazing throws, probably another 400 yard game because why not, and a hard-fought Bucs loss. This is a big game for Mitch Trubisky, too. If he still looks bad against a suspect Bucs defense, the rumblings are going to get real loud.

Pick: Bears

Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at Tennessee Titans

How about this game and Bucs-Bears being the only two games where both teams have winning records this week? Mike Vrabel, grinding out wins like nobody’s business. Listen, the Titans just signed Austin Davis as emergency QB because Blaine Gabbert got hurt. That’s pretty much all you need to know. There’s no Eagles version of the Bad Bortles Game.

Pick: Eagles

Cincinatti Bengals at Atlanta Falcons (-4)

Can we talk about how cool of a name Ito Smith is? It’s a pretty cool name. Anyway, I’m curious to see how the Falcons will avoid giving the ball to Julio Jones in the red zone, because his inability to score touchdowns is one of my favorite current storylines. Will Dissly has two receiving touchdowns and Julio has zero. Calvin Ridley has more touchdowns this year already than Julio had last year. It’s insanity. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Falcons are a popular Super Bowl pick who have yet to really get going. Like always, the Bengals are just kind of there, inoffensively good. I don’t want to call this a must win for the Falcons, but this is a must win for the Falcons.

Pick: Falcons

New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5)

Dear god. Pray for Sam Darnold, an impressionable youngster who is already getting corrupted by Jets stink. Remember when they won the Super Bowl in week 1? Such a crazy time. The universe always corrects itself, yet another reason I know the Pats aren’t going anywhere. The Jets will never be good, will never have a good quarterback, and will always be an embarrassment. So it is written, so it shall be done.

Pick: Jags

Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Arizona C*******s

Next.

Pick: Seahawks

Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (-3)

The fact that the Raiders are still favored despite looking poopy and Baker Mayfield getting the start has me questioning everything I’ve ever known. I was sure the Browns would be able to capitalize on a rare positive result and start their first winning streak since the Korean War, but now I don’t know. This game has burrowed deep into my brain and refuses to leave. I know taking the Raiders is a sucker pick, here, but I can’t help it. I’m taking the cheese.

Pick: Raiders

New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at New York Giants

As I alluded to in this week’s Monday Thoughts™, I’m addicted to crazy reception totals, particularly when they don’t come with a ton of yards. Mike Furrey getting 98 catches for barely 1,000 yards in 06 was my favorite receiving season ever until Jarvis Landry had 192 catches for 400 yards last year. Both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are averaging at least ten catches a game and less than eleven yards per catch. This makes me very happy and I want it to continue all season. Giants already won their Super Bowl by not starting 0-3 and are begging to get steamrolled.

Pick: Saints

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5)

Next time you hear someone complain about roughing the passer penalties, force them to watch every 49er game for the rest of the season. There’s a reason QBs are a protected species, and it rhymes with C.J. Beathard starting games in prime time.

Pick: Chargers

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)

My sources are confirming that these two teams don’t like each other. In fact, any and all reports of love being lost between the two sides are utterly FALSE and should be disregarded. Did you know these games are physical? I didn’t, but the people on TV recently told me they were. As I said last week, I’ve got the Ravens figured out this year, and losing this game by a lot is very on brand. The only thing that might keep the Steelers from running away with it is the lack of drama they’ve dealt with this week, which is the fuel that keeps the Steelers Express going.

Pick: Steelers

Kansas City Chiefs (-5) at Denver Broncos

This game is happening in October, which means we’ve got one more month of Chiefs dominance before everything starts to fall apart. Pat “God” Mahomes has shown no sign of being even slightly phased by NFL defenses, and I don’t really expect that to change. Yes, it’s in Denver, and yes, they have Von Miller, but this ain’t 2015, anymore. Having a Sunday off is kind of like a mini-bye, and no one beats Andy Reid after a bye.

Pick: Chiefs

Sea Cucumber Poaching Ring Finally Brought to Justice

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source– A Seattle-area fish processor who hoped to cash in on China’s appetite for sea cucumber faces years in prison for his role in a $1.5m poaching scheme that rocked an already unstable fishery.

Federal prosecutors claim Hoon Namkoong led a years-long operation to poach and sell sea cucumbers as regulators were cutting the struggling Washington state fishery. Dozens of divers are also implicated in the poaching ring. Namkoong bought at least 250,000lb of stolen sea cucumber taken illegally from waters once rich with the echinoderms.

A leading US sea cucumber wholesaler, Namkoong made millions selling to buyers domestically and in China, where demand has spiked for sea cucumber. Namkoong, 62, faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced on Friday.

Let me start off by saying poachers are scum. They all deserve to be killed by the animals they take advantage of so brutally. In the interest of time, the sea cucumber poaching ring should probably just be shot, but the point remains. Poachers are the lowest form of human existence.

That being said, if I could put myself in my friend Hoon’s shoes here, I can see how tempting it would be to illegally acquire countless sea cucumbers. In fact, if he hasn’t immediately sold all of them on the black market and instead kept them for observation, I’d actually applaud the initiative. Sea cucumbers are the weirdest things in the world. Like, undoubtedly. We know absolutely nothing about them. We can’t tell how old they are, what gender they are (my guess is Maverique), why they act the way they do, or why they sometimes kill themselves by spitting their guts out. They’re practically aliens, and no one is making an effort to understand them better. Except Hoon Namkoong.

Again, he turned out to be nothing but an charlatan, but I refuse to believe he never had a passion for sea cucumber discovery. The first time he held one of the strange creatures I know something went off in his head. I know he felt like discovering the truth about them was his life’s calling. And somewhere along the way, that love got corrupted by the pull of capitalism and corruption. A sad story, indeed. How many promising careers have been derailed by the poisoning touch of crime? At least one, that’s for sure.

I don’t want to stretch myself too thin, here, but I’m willing to take up Hoon’s original mission and make some real discoveries in the sea cucumber world. It’s true that we haven’t made any progress in the field for 30,000 years, but sometimes it takes a special individual to break through. I firmly believe I am that individual. I vow that, by the time I die, I will have found out, at the very least, I will be able to tell what gender, if any, a sea cucumber is. That alone would make me a legend. If I can add in finding out how old they are? They’ll build me a statue. Can’t say I wouldn’t deserve it, honestly. Someone get me a sea cucumber. I’ve got some work to do.

Monday Thoughts Week 3

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It’s some more Monday Thoughts™ coming directly at your face, whether you want them or not. I suggest you buckle up, because week 3 was a pretty wild ride. Who can predict the NFL, amirite? So much parity, just how Overlord Goodell likes it. On to the games.

  • Turns out Patrick Mahomes is still God. Pity unto us mortals who can’t do this
  • I think it’s safe to call the Chiefs a wagon, but, according to their official Twitter account, the four sacks they piled up today were NOT enough to give the good people of the Kansas City metro area a BOGO Big Mac. Sad.
  • R.I.P. in peace Jimmy G. Gone, but not forgotten.
  • Unfortunately, now that the 49ers’ season is over, the last 62,398 teams to be picked as the hot sleeper team have failed to live up to expectations.
  • Damn, turns out the Bengals can’t beat tough competition. I’m surprised, at least.
  • The Panthers have a partnership with Krispy Kreme where you can get a dozen for $5.99 if the Panthers win, so maybe the Bengals actually just threw the game?
  • You: “I wonder what it would look like if an Amish guy became the ringleader of an early 20th-century circus.” Me:
  • I legit don’t know what the hell happened to the Vikings. The Bills are still the worst team in the league, this win didn’t change that. But they totally dominated what was supposed to be an elite Super Bowl contender. How does that happen?
  • Oh, yeah. The Bills have Josh Allen, aka Yung GOAT
  • They also forced a trillion fumbles and recovered all of them and got really lucky all game so it was just a fluke, but still.
  • But the Vikings officially stink.
  • Case Keenum….not the next Kurt Warner
  • People forget Ray Lewis killed two guys
  • Coherent as ever, Ray! Love listening to you speak.
  • The fact that some games this week were more boring than Broncos-Ravens is simply preposterous.
  • One more time for the people in the back: ANDREW LUCK ISN’T GOOD AND ONLY HAS A GOOD REPUTATION BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO ADMIT THEY WERE WRONG ABOUT HIM BEING THE NEXT ELWAY.
  • They even put my boy Jacoby Brissett in for the Hail Mary since Luck’s arm is so shot.
  • Still, if you haven’t seen Darius Leonard play yet, you should. He’s awesome
  • Carson Wentz is back, proving yet again that NFL coaches have no idea what they’re doing. How can you bench a Super Bowl MVP?
  • Texans are dead. But they’ll definitely go deep into the playoffs this year.
  • I feel like there’s going to be some whispers about Deshaun Watson’s play this year, but he is coming off a major knee injury and his offensive line is one of the worst in the league. He also compounds things by refusing to throw the ball less than ten minutes after the ball is snapped. I wouldn’t panic or anything, but a few more weird games like this and the questions might become legitimate.
  • JJ Watt is back, at least.
  • R.I.P. people of Houston, pt. 2
  • There are a lot of boring team Twitter accounts, but the Giants might have the most banal. If you can find any personality there, let me know.
  • Giants should switch to white pants permanently
  • Adrian Peterson 120 yards and 2 tds on only 17 carries? Really hope I actually woke up in 2010 because my life was significantly better then.
  • Clay Matthews’s life is so hard and he gets called for bad penalties wah, wah, wah
  • Don’t know what to tell people. That’s a clear roughing the passer. Has been since the 70s. Learn the game.
  • Feel like Aaron Rodgers should just get surgery or something before his leg falls off his body. D.C. grass takes years off healthy legs, who knows what it does to torn ACLs.
  • If a team wins its first three games but no one in the world cares, does it really count? Dolphins fans say yes.
  • Ryan Tannehill’s really taken a step forward this season. Just look at this pass!
  • Raiders stink, as we all figured. The haters will say the Dolphins don’t stink, but the real ones know they really do stink. Week one was so weird you can just throw it out the window, then they played the Jets and Raiders, who have one combined win. Dolphins stink, don’t worry.
  • Big XII football is slowly making its way into the NFL, and we finally saw the defensive strategies that dominate the conference come up to the big leagues in the Saints-Falcons game.
  • Both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are on pace to shatter the single season reception record. I don’t even know why I am this way, but I want this so bad. I’ve always been obsessed with reception numbers. Jarvis Landry getting 100 catches for like 700 yards last year was my dream. I need as many guys with 100 catches as possible.
  • Drew Vick?
  • Drew Brees became the all time leader in completions, will become the all time leader in yards next week or the week after, and will become the all time leader in TDs next season. Sooooo, who still thinks Peyton Manning is the GOAT?
  • Julio Jones’ comical inability to score touchdowns is becoming my favorite NFL storyline.
  • Titans-Jags was the worst game of all time. Period.
  • Fire teal pants, though
  • Rams are entering “so good they’re boring” territory.
  • However, both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib might miss games with injury. Too bad they still have two of the ten best defensive tackles of all time and the best offense in the league.
  • Phil Rivers down two scores at 6:45pm is my adult blanket.
  • I would like to ignore Bears-C*******s, but I just can’t.
  • If I were a Bears fan, I’d be kind of nervous about Mitchell. Actually, scratch that. I’d be really nervous about Mitchell.
  • I don’t know how many of you follow the Bears Twitter account (just me? Really?), but it’s really weird. For starters, they don’t use the word “the,” opting for the always relevant “da.” Really keeping a beloved, evergreen bit alive. Also, they use these comic book graphics that I kind of love:
  • Just a little fun little slice of life in the bleak hellscape of pro sports team Twitter accounts.
  • Petition to ban the C*******s from the league.
  • Dak Prescott STINKS. He’s really bad. Like, one of the worst in the league. He’s dreadful.
  • Every Cowboy game is always the second most boring game of the week. Thank God they don’t play the C*******s.
  • Damn, crazy they cancelled the Sunday night game. Weird move.
  • This obviously isn’t going according to plan thus far, but if I know anything, I know that the Pats are going to massacre the Dolphins next week. Book it.