Rest in Peace Stephen Hillenburg

spongebob-squarepants-creator-stephen-hillenburg

I couldn’t let the day go by without commenting on the passing of one of the most influential figures of my childhood. Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants and a director of Rocko’s Modern Life, died yesterday from ALS, leaving behind an indelible legacy on American culture and television. He was 57.

To say that Spongebob helped shape me as a person would be a massive, massive understatement. There wasn’t a show I watched more. The humor and absurdity of it spoke to me as a 7-year-old or however old I was when I first watched it, and it still speaks to me now. When I work on my own projects, I find myself leaving heavily towards the same style that was so present in Spongebob and Rocko. I mean, if you’ve read the stories I’ve posted here the influence is pretty obvious. Spongebob was my life. I was always watching it, I played most of the video games (every single one was fire), I was there opening night for the first movie. It was legitimately my thing in middle school. We had pajama days and whenever we did I would bring in this giant stuffed Patrick I had, because why not? If you were to compile a list of everything that’s made me who I am today, Spongebob would be in the top three or four at worst.

To me, one of the marks of a masterpiece in the world of film and television is the ability to give the viewer a new takeaway with each consumption. On the surface, Spongebob is just a goofy children’s show that distracts kids long enough for their parents to do something other that watch them (I’d apologize to my mom and dad for having Spongebob blasting through the house 24/7 but I know they loved it). But there’s so much there for older viewers. There’s countless adult jokes, obviously, but a character like Squidward really stands out for me. He seems like just a stick in the mud, but he’s the most relatable and most human character on the show. He’s just an introvert who wants to be left alone and thinks his neighbors are annoying, but he also wants their companionship and doesn’t quite know how to ask for it. He’s one of the more complex characters in TV history and he’s hiding in Bikini Bottom. What a show. Also Plankton is the G.O.A.T.

So here’s to Stephen Hillenburg, the architect of one of the best fictional worlds ever created and the second ever Patron Saint of the Brian’s Den. Thank you, and rest in peace.

Impossible But Necessary Top Ten Spongebob Episodes

  1. Band Geeks
  2. F.U.N.
  3. Christmas Who?
  4. I’m Your Biggest Fanatic
  5. Pizza Delivery
  6. Jellyfishing
  7. Chocolate With Nuts
  8. Graveyard Shift
  9. Fry Cook Games
  10. Artist Unknown + Something Smells (tie)
Advertisements

Monday Thoughts Week 12

179px-national_football_league_logo-svg

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend. I know the NFL did. Plenty of good games and the Giants lost, killing the “run the table” narrative that would have suffocated America before it really got going. Can’t ask for a better digestif for your Thanksgiving meal. Important week as we approach Scenario SZN, so, naturally, this is an important edition of Monday Thoughts™.

  • If you thought that because the Thanksgiving games were included in the weekly picks they’d be included in Monday Thoughts™, you thought wrong, friend.
  • Guess I should mention that Texans’ owner Bob McNair died, but did anyone actually like him? Pretty sure every player hated him. RIP in peace.
  • Pats are back, but, more importantly, Gronk is back
  • Pats committed a holding penalty the play before, and instead of declining the penalty and making it 4th down, Todd Bowles decided to accept it and give Tom Brady another chance. I was just as surprised they scored as you were, believe me.
  • Josh McCown hurt his thumb and they did a close up of it as he walked off the field there was a perfect outline of his penis. I tried very hard to find a clip but came up empty. I may have been put on some kind of watchlist, though.
  • McCown is addicted to getting helicoptered
  • Cordarrelle Patterson: WWE heel
  • This was a very penis-centric game. Even more so than a normal NFL game.
  • Jameis didn’t throw any interceptions this week, thus sucking all the fun out of the Niners-Bucs game.
  • Beginning to think there was a legitimate reason Nick Mullens was the Niners’ third-string QB.
  • We don’t talk about Mike Evans enough
  • He’s really good. Still remember him from the Johnny Football era
  • I was so wrapped up in Johnny Mania. The most must-watch athlete of my college years.
  • Adam Humphries- sneaky quick
  • Is it just me or does it seem like the Bucs have played 20 games this season? Probably just me.
  • I’m willing to call the Bengals the worst team in the league.
  • Baker is already the best QB to wear the orange and brown since they returned to Cleveland.
  • I swear that pushing your teammates to gain yards was outlawed not that long ago
  • Big time revenge game for the Browns against erstwhile head coach Hue Jackson. Damarious Randall remembers him fondly this holiday season
  • Baker was less charitable
  • Browns are hot. Hottest they’ve been since the Mesozoic Era.
  • America thanks you, Eagles. Not for they way you play, or anything. For beating the Giants.
  • This put the Giants up 19-3 and they lost
  • Blowing a lead to this Eagles team is pretty bad. They quit if they get off the bus wrong.
  • Michael Bennett’s jersey has to violate some part of the uniform policy
  • As far as I can tell, the record for catches by a tight end in a season is 102 by Tony Gonzalez in 2004. Zach Ertz has 84 through 11 games, putting him on pace for 122. Just something to watch.
  • I hate the Eagles’ black jerseys. Don’t really care what the public opinion of them is.
  • Jags-Bills was, predictably, an affront to my eyeballs.
  • It did have the return of the Yung GOAT, though
  • 8/19, look out league.
  • Not sure why the Bills went with the throwback logo on the helmet, but I’m not complaining.
  • Despite what the haters are saying, I am not enjoying this Jags’ collapse at all. It makes me sick to my stomach to see this group of hard-working, humble, determined guys struggle to win games. They had such a bright future.
  • JK I love each successive Jaguars loss.
  • I was going to ask why Gus Edwards has consecutive 100+ yard rushing games but then I realized the Ravens have played the Bengals and Raiders these last two weeks.
  • This game was boring as shit, but the Ravens have very good Color Rush jerseys
  • (This man will never post T-Sizzle highlights. Never.)
  • Seahawks are getting dangerously close to “team no one wants to play” territory.
  • Panthers are entering “team everyone wants to play” territory.
  • If you ask the Panthers to stop running reverses to Curtis Samuel, you’re going to be disappointed in the answer
  • Christian McCaffrey had a massive game. 125 yards rushing. 11 catches, 112 yards receiving. Two TDs. He also set white skill guys back 20 years by getting caught from behind on this run
  • Come on, man! How am I supposed to explain to my son that his hero didn’t score because he’s only deceptively athletic, not actually athletic? Think about the next generation.
  • Seahawks’ receivers spend the entire week practicing cellys
  • Russell Wilson’s having one of those seasons where every game results in a 4th quarter comeback
  • I refuse to believe David Moore only has 22 caches this season. He scores every game.
  • I wonder if all parties involved could recreate this if they were given 1,000 chances
  • Considering how little I trust pretty much every NFC team, I’m going to say the Seahawks are going to be playing in the conference title game. Actually, I guarantee it.
  • The Chargers obviously beat the hell out of the C*******s, but I’ve got a serious problem with something that happened during the game. Phil Rivers started the game with 25 straight completed passes, a new record. If he got to 26, it would be an NFL record for most consecutive completions at any point in a game/games. I can’t find the video for some reason, but the Chargers called a like, nine step drop with a terrible route combination for what would have been completion number 26 in a row. It had no chance. How did they do my man Phil like that? How does no one buzz the offensive coordinator and tell him to call a quick screen or something? Hasn’t Phil done enough for San Diego Los Angeles to get some courtesy from his coaches? The Chargers screwed Phil out of an NFL record for no reason whatsoever. SMH.
  • Fire jerseys, though
  • Ryan Tannehill is back just in time to put together some decent stat lines so people start thinking next year is The Year.
  • This game is exactly why I’m an Andrew Luck hater. This was back-to-back passes
  • This doesn’t work against real teams. Sure, you can get away with this against the Dolphins or Alex Smith Chiefs, but when you get to actual competition (i.e., the Pats) these mistakes are murder. But the final statline looked good so it’s okay and he’s great.
  • Turns out Eric Ebron’s just a late bloomer
  • See guys, not everyone succeeds right away. Sometimes it takes people a few years after college to really find their footing. Maybe even longer. Just because other people from their class are building fulfilling careers and putting that hard earned education to work doesn’t mean someone’s a failure if they aren’t. You know, not everyone has a website a few dozen people read, so who’s really succeeding, anyway? Wait, are we still talking about Ebron?
  • Score one more for the “Broncos are kind of good” crowd. Oh, you weren’t part of it? Only I was? Huh. Imagine not being a football genius (I know I didn’t pick them this week but whatever).
  • Not that I was nervous in any way about them, but games like this put me more at ease that the Same Old Steelers will lose to the Pats when it counts.
  • Classic Philly Special
  • Hope AB wasn’t watching when Juju went 97 yards for the second straight season
  • Think I say this every week, but this is legitimately one of the five worst throws I’ve ever seen
  • Broncos are kind of like the AFC Cowboys. Nothing really happens during their games but they manage to be okay.
  • I guess today was Color Rush day, or something. Broncos should switch to these helmets full-time
  • I’m not sure if I’ve ever gone into this before, but I know I’ve thought about it a million times- how did Pepsi become the official soft drink of the NFL? Was this a Steph Curry-Nike situation and Coke called them the AFL or something in the pitch? I know there are the hipsters out there who prefer Pepsi, but let’s be real here- the NFL can’t associate itself with a second-class product. Coke is bigger and better, and the fact that the NFL has to slap a Pepsi logo on the Super Bowl halftime show is way worse for the league than CTE. Dr. Pepper is the best of the Big 3, don’t @ me.
  • While it’s tempting to just say every non-Aaron Rodgers aspect of the Packers’ organization is bad without giving any blame to the supposed best quarterback of all time, I think both can be applicable. Mike McCarthy is a bad coach. Their defense is bad. Their skill guys are alright, but not world-altering. But Aaron Rodgers just kind of sucks, sometimes. Last night he was bad. No one will say it, but he was bad. He probably cost them the game and likely cost them the playoffs, again. But he’s better than Brady, who’s suddenly looking at a first round bye for the thousandth year in a row.
  • What happened to Xavier Rhodes? Wasn’t he an All-Pro, like, last year? Now they’re talking about him on the broadcast like he can’t cover anyone one-on-one.
  • This play reminds me of freshman football back in high school
  • Whenever a punt was short or non-returnable (pretty much always) we yelled “poison” to make everyone get away from the ball. One time there was a “poison” call and a kid ran towards the ball, tried to pick it up, and lost the ball. I just remember the coach screaming in a very defeated dad voice “poison, Joey, poison!” It was funny, believe me. Also lead to an all time locker room rant.
  • Every Stefon Diggs catch either goes for 35 yards or less than five
  • Adam Thielen: Gritty
  • The Vikings seem to be back in some semblance of control over their playoff destiny. The Packers are out barring a miracle. I fully expect the Packers to make the playoffs and the Vikings to miss, just because that’s usually how things work for these franchises.

That’ll do it for this edition of Monday Thoughts™. Unfortunately, I will be unable to watch tonight’s thrilling Titans-Texans game since I’ll be seeing Creed II in one of the new Dolby Cinema theaters. I know, I can’t believe I would intentionally miss such an interesting game, either.

NFL Week 12 Picks

thankscomic-2

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. It’s a time to celebrate family, food, football, and fake stories about awkward conversations during dinner. What a wonderful time! I like Thanksgiving, but it’s not my number one (I know for a fact I’ve gone into this before, but it’s Christmas. Obvi). Give me the meal, but I’ll skip the explanations to countless family members of how I’m still kind of a loser. But that’s not what this is about. This is about football. For the first time this season, you’ll get some Thursday picks, so be thankful for that. Hmmm. Thankful. That sounds like a decent gimmick. I think I’ll go through every game and say what they make me thankful for. No one’s done that, right?

Chicago Bears (-3.5) at Detroit Lions

I’m thankful for the Lions’ early Thanksgiving game, which has eased me into countless Thanksgivings by giving everyone something to talk about. I’m thankful for my uncle from Australia (yeah, I’m pretty worldly, NBD) who, without fail, would watch the majority of every game with me once he got a taste for it. I’m thankful for Matt Stafford because it’s nice to have guys with huge stats that don’t actually win anything. I’m thankful for Khalil Mack because it’s fun to watch future Hall of Famers in their primes. I’m thankful for Mitchell Trubisky not playing, because it makes this a lot easier.

Pick: Lions

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)

I’m thankful that, eventually, this game will end.

Pick: Redskins

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-13)

I’m thankful for the invention of the forward pass, which will be on full display during this game. I’m thankful for Drew Brees, who was indirectly related to one of my crowning achievements (eating 13 cupcakes during the 2009 Super Bowl). I’m thankful for Matt Ryan for being a major character in the greatest night of my life (when the Falcons lost the Super Bowl despite being up 28-3. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it). I’m thankful I don’t really have to do any research, because my gut tells me there’s no way a division game in the Thanksgiving prime time spot ends in a blowout. That only happens when the Jets are involved.

Pick: Falcons

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3)

I’m thankful for all the random receivers the Seahawks have who seem to decide before every game who’s going to have a 50 yard play. I’m thankful for Cam Newton because he makes me question how I share 99% of my DNA with someone like him. I’m thankful for Russell Wilson because he’s one of the most fun QBs to watch of all time and one of the weirdest people in world history. I’m thankful that this game exists to appease all the sticks in the mud who complained about too much offense on Monday night.

Pick: Panthers

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-6)

I’m thankful for the future where society crumbles under the apocalyptic heat of the collapsing sun and the NFL is left behind, because that means there won’t be any more NFC East games.

Pick: Giants

New England Patriots (-9.5) at New York Jets

I’m thankful for Tom Brady (obviously) for being the driving force behind the, like, five happiest moments of my life (yes, I’m a loser). I’m thankful for this exact matchup for giving us the Butt Fumble massacre on Thanksgiving night six years ago. I’m thankful that the Jets have provided so much comedy over the years and are the perfect slump-busters. I’m thankful for whichever QB starts for the Jets because they’re going to be very bad.

Pick: Patriots

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Bucs (-3)

I’m thankful for every quarterback involved with this game. The definition of electric. That’s it, though. Not much else to look forward to.

Pick: Niners

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-11)

I’m thankful for season 3 of Ballers, because the storyline that Spencer Strasmore was spearheading the Raiders move to Las Vegas is still the most preposterous thing I’ve ever seen. I’m thankful for Lamar Jackson because he’s really fun to watch, even if he’s on my least favorite team. I’m thankful for crab and crabcakes, some of America’s most underrated cuisine. I’m thankful for the Mark Davis-Jon Gruden-Reggie McKenzie triumvirate, because it gives me hope that, no matter how bad I am at a given task, there’s always the chance that someone out there will pay me handsomely to do it.

Pick: Ravens

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

I’m thankful my family is from New England and not Ohio. I’m thankful for the 2007 version of this game where Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards looked like the future of the league. I’m thankful for the Browns’ jerseys and brown jerseys, in general, because it separates the sartorial men from the boys. I’m thankful Andy Dalton went to a team with orange helmets. I’m thankful for those same Bengals helmets for being one of the best in the league since the moment they were introduced in 1981. I’m thankful that both these franchises have selflessly decided to be perennial losers so other teams don’t have to be. I’m thankful for Baker Mayfield and every promising young QB cursed by where they were drafted.

Pick: Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Buffalo Bills

I’m thankful football games are only 60 minutes long.

Pick: Bills

Arizona C*******s at Los Angeles Chargers (-12)

I’m thankful for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, apple pie, pumpkin pie (even though I’m a bit of a h8tr), and everything else that you, yes you reading this now, like eating on Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for those of us who don’t follow society’s pressure to trash food online because it makes us feel cool and liked. I’m thankful for cranberry sauce even though I don’t really like it, because I know plenty of people do and that’s reason enough for it to be on the table. I’m thankful for leftovers. Mostly leftover turkey, but most Thanksgiving leftovers fall under the umbrella. I’m thankful for that America is the land of the free and I will never face persecution or prosecution for eating way too many appetizers and snacks before the actual meal. I’m thankful that I’ve never been (and hopefully never will be) the drunkest person at a Thanksgiving dinner. I’m thankful that one day, the C*******s will be watchable again.

Pick: Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Denver Broncos

I’m thankful that the Steelers refuse to beat the Patriots in the playoffs. I’m thankful that the Broncos won’t make the playoffs so the Pats can’t lose to them.

Pick: Steelers

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-8)

I’m thankful that the Dolphins have been the Pats’ chief competition in the AFC East. I’m thankful that they win the offseason Super Bowl every year and still never win more than nine games. I’m thankful that the Colts are still the ultimate “you can just bludgeon them in the playoffs” team after all these years. I’m thankful for Parks and Rec, because it gave us some of the greatest athlete cameos in TV history. I’m thankful that the Dolphins quit a couple months ago.

Pick: Colts

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

I’m thankful for Al Michaels, who’s still one of the best in the business. I’m thankful for Kirk Cousins because he gives the worst pre-game speeches of all time. I’m thankful for Aaron Rodgers because he’s really good. I’m thankful one of these teams will be effectively eliminated after this, because I’m sick of the “will they, won’t they” dance both of them are doing.

Pick: Vikings

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-6.5)

I’m thankful that I’m going to see Creed II in one of the new Dolby Theaters on Monday night, because it means I don’t have to watch this.

Pick: Texans

Monday Thoughts Week 11

179px-national_football_league_logo-svg

Week 11. Monday Thoughts™. My entire life has been leading up to this moment. Yours has, too. This is the most important moment in the history of the world. To waste it would be an insult to the football gods.

  • Since the Pats were on bye I had to pay closer attention to the rest of the league, and, I have to say, I have no idea how the rest of the country deals with watching non-Patriots football every week.
  • Lamar Jackson got the start with Flacco out, and, you’ll never believe this, the offense was good with him in. Crazy, I know.
  • Someone named Gus Edwards had 115 rushing yards and a TD. That’s as sure a sign as any that the Bengals are toast.
  • It’s kind of weird, but I think the Ravens are better with Lamar but scarier as a potential playoff team with Flacco. I still wake up with cold sweats thinking about his miraculous Super Bowl run from time to time. I know he’s garbage and all, but I would loooooooooove to play against rookie Lamar Jackson in the playoffs.
  • I actually feel bad for Andy Dalton because he’s been pretty decent this year but the rest of the team is just awful. Such is life.
  • I’m addicted to Bucs’ QB play
  • Fitzpatrick and Winston have completely broken the Bucs’ coaches’ brains. They’re essentially the same player and they just can’t figure out which one has the hot hand on any given week. I suggest swapping them every half.
  • Are the Giants back?
  • Saquon never left
  • Odell never left, either.
  • I can already hear the sarcastic-but-hopeful cries from Giants’ fans that the league should watch out once the Giants get rolling. And I agree. Please don’t let them get hot. I beg you. I’ve seen this movie too many times. Someone beat them, like, one more time. That’s all it takes to kill this before it gets out of hand.
  • I’m going to say something nice about the Cowboys: they’re really good at making exciting teams play in really boring games.
  • I’m going to add another nice thing: their jerseys looked good in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium lighting.
  • I might be in the minority here, but I really like the MBS lighting. It’s a little harsh, but it’s unique. You know you’re watching a game in The Big Asshole.
  • Impromptu lighting/camera angle power ranking: 1. L.A. Coliseum when the sun is about to set (applies to the Rose Bowl, too, but this is NFL only) 2. Superdome 3. MBS 4. Soldier Field day and night 5. Hard Rock Stadium
  • Panthers-Lions was pretty boring but it was an especially bad jersey matchup. The camo accessories for the Salute to Service month looked absolutely atrocious with the Panthers’ all black.
  • Imagine having an 82 yard gain and not scoring
  • Has to be demoralizing.
  • It’s easy to bash Matt Stafford but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t throw some pornographic passes sometimes
  • Pretty inexplicable loss, honestly. Panthers might be playing with fire if they keep this up.
  • Steelers-Jaguars was an exact replica of every time a lesser team had the Patriots on the ropes and couldn’t seal the deal over the last fifteen years. All that was missing was the losing team and everyone on Twitter complaining about how unfair it all was.
  • This is perhaps the saltiest, most bitter article ever written. And his team won! Steelers people are wild, man.
  • Nice defense, fellas!
  • One of the ugliest touchdowns these eyes have ever seen
  • Allow me to speak for everyone invested in the AFC when I thank the Jaguars from the first three quarters of this game for just not bothering to show up for half the season.
  • No idea where the Jags really go from here. Last year it seemed like the world was their oyster and it was merely a matter of how many consecutive Super Bowls they would win. Now they’re probably facing yet another rebuild and have no answer at QB. But at least they like to talk trash, right?
  • Sucks for Alex Smith. Yeah, the Redskins are one of the three most boring teams in the NFL (along with the Cowboys and Eagles) and he’s not always great to watch, but seeing someone get that kind of injury just sucks.
  • Texas might be officially back, though. Colt McCoy never dies.
  • Also not to be that guy but, like, it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever if this meant we don’t have to watch a Redskins playoff game.
  • Texans are good in the most non-threatening way possible. Defense is nails.
  • This tuddy just looks cool
  • Absolutely brutal Titans performance. If only someone could have seen this coming.
  • I will say that Andrew Luck needs to finish in the top 3 in MVP this year. He’ll still have a 3 interception playoff loss, though.
  • T.Y. Hilton is back
  • Maybe the funniest interception ever
  • Don’t look now, but the Colts are the team no one wants to play (please let the Pats play them in the first round. Pleeeeeeeeeaaaaassseeeee).
  • If only there was a fearless blogger who declared that the Broncos weren’t that bad and that they’d beat the Chargers. What a crazy thing that would be.
  • Antonio Gates is still alive, at least
  • The Wildcat is Back
  • Somehow Von Miller has become underrated. Aaron Donald and the Watt Boyz and Khalil Mack get all the headlines, but Von is still one of the five best defensive players in the NFL and should be a lock for the Hall of Fame. He’s a machine.
  • Why I hate Twitter in a nutshell:
  • The Raiders won! Who needs Khalil Mack?
  • C*******s just lost letter privileges.
  • Did anyone in the world know Chandler Jones has 10.5 sacks already?
  • Derek Carr and Jon Gruden are ready to fight to the death and they don’t care who knows it
  • Eagles are doooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeee. Good job, good effort, guys. At least everyone’s having fun out there.
  • Carson Wentz is complete ass.
  • Drew Brees was already the third best quarterback ever and now he’s having his best season
  • Saints are looking like an all time team right now. If they make a deep run this will be considered one of the best and most efficient offenses in league history.
  • Mitchell Trubisky was put on this Earth to dominate the first quarter and a half of prime time football games.
  • Everything after that is anyone’s guess.
  • Like, come on, man
  • One of these days he’ll put together a complete game against a good team and the league will be in trouble. Adding “Mr. T” as an audible call is going to help.
  • Khalil Mack: good
  • Got to check in
  • Suppose there’s not much room for interpretation with the Vikings.
  • I have a problem with this:
  • While it’s appropriate for an NFC North team to co-opt the North’s battlecry from Game of Thrones, to put this out there when you’re facing one of the few teams that’s farther north than you is stupid. The whole point of the slogan is that the unified North won’t let the southern fancy boys walk all over them. To say “the North Remembers” to a fellow North team (and one that’s even more North than you) is a slap in the face to everything the Starks and Mormonts and Reeds and Umbers (book version, not snake show version) and all the rest stand for. This is officially #bad content, Bears. I’m disappointed in you.

Get hyped for tonight. Everyone’s pre-week 10 Super Bowl preview Chiefs-Rams should be a doozy. And by doozy I mean Chief will win by at least 24.

NFL Week 11 Picks

It’s not fair that it’s week 11 already. I’m not ready to be without football yet. The playoffs will start before you know it. Then it’ll be the Super Bowl and you’ll wish you enjoyed this season more even though half the teams in the league stink. Then it’ll be the middle of April and the draft hasn’t even happened yet and you’ll be craving football and you won’t have any relief until August and you’ll just fall into an unnecessary depression. Believe me, I’ve been there. We all need to cherish the second half of this season, because who knows if next season will ever come? The good news is that this week will be better than last week. It will be by default. I mean, we only need one more good game after last night to eclipse the standard set by week 10. I like our odds. After all, Oakland’s playing Arizona this week.

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-3)

It’s the “They Should Probably Be Way Better” Bowl presented by Wingstop. Who will prevail? Either way, I bet it’s the lead topic on First TakeFirst Things First and Undisputed, because America just can’t get enough Cowboys. Fun fact: according to DVOA, the Cowboys have the 20th ranked total defense and the 26th rank pass defense, which certainly goes against the narrative that their defense is a heroic unit winning games singlehandedly. The Falcons offense? 6th overall and 5th passing. So, yeah. Seems like a pretty big advantage. Not as big of an advantage as leading by 25 points in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, but still.

Pick: Falcons

Tampa Bay Bucs at New York Giants (-1)

Now that the Fitzmagic tour is long over, the Bucs aren’t all that fun anymore, which is pretty crazy considering they’re first in the league in passing yards per game. We know the Giants are trash, mostly because Eli is one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. Wait, hold on a second, someone’s knocking on my door.

.

.

.

Hello, this is definitely still Brian and not a hitman hired by the NFL. Eli is still elite and if you criticize him you’re going to burn in hell for all eternity. He only under threw 20 people on Monday, guy’s still got it! Eli is a god and so is Archie and so is Peyton and people forget Cooper was the best athlete out of all of them.

Pick: Giants

Carolina Panthers (-4.5) at Detroit Lions

Things might be getting late early for my guy Matt Patricia. Looking BLEAK in the Motor City. Another blowout loss cometh. Kind of side note but not really- can you ever picture Detroit having a good defense? They’re like the anti-Ravens. Even if the Lions had a good statistical defense (they most certainly do not), I’d still think of them as being shitty. Gonna take a Warriors-type turnaround for me to ever consider taking a Lions’ defense seriously. Not sure how much that matters, but still.

Pick: Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

I’m gonna give everyone a little peek behind the curtain: I actually write these on Thursday most of the time because I don’t have the time on Friday. As I sit hit on Thursday night, there’s still no line for this game. Flacco’s probably no playing. Lamar Jackson’s probably not playing. RGIII, yes, that RGIII, is the likely starter. The Bengals have the worst defense, like, ever. First team to ever give up 500 yards three straight games. This game STINKS. I’m just gonna assume it’s Ravens -3 and go off that.

Pick: Bengals

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-1)

This is such a classic overvaluation of a team that just beat the Patriots it almost makes me sick how easy this is. Titans still stink and they just won their Super Bowl. Remember how the Jags put absolutely everything into beating the Pats in week 2 then lost a million straight? Colts will continue their push to be the least talked about playoff team ever despite having Andrew Luck. I think the media’s trying to keep everyone off the scent that they only say Andrew Luck is good because they all said he was Elway 2.0 coming out of college by just not talking about him at all despite the fact that he’s having one of his best seasons. Or maybe it’s because the rest of the roster stinks.

Pick: Colts

Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars

People forget Big Ben had one of his worst games ever against the Jags last year, but they also forget that he dominated them in the playoffs and would have won if the defense could get literally one stop. Anyway, none of that matters because the Jags have completely quit and are going to lose by a thousand.

Pick: Steelers

Houston Texans (-3) at Washington Redskins

This is a weird matchup. Don’t know if I’ve ever thought of the Texans and Redskins at the same time once in my entire life. It’s completely inexplicable to me that the Redskins have a good record. They’re not good at anything. Not a good offense, not a good defense, good special teams I guess but that’s not enough to win six games. I mean, just try to envision A. Smith and the Skins moving the ball against this Texans defense. It’s impossible. Deshaun will hit a few big passes and that’ll be that.

Pick: Texans

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)

I’ve probably said they stink pretty recently, but I declaring myself the last remaining member of the “Broncos aren’t actually that bad” camp. They’ve been really unlucky and their D is still top-notch. I’m stamping this as my “Brian’s Den Official Bold Prediction of the Week Presented by Doritos.” Broncos beat the Chargers, even if it is a wildfire game.

Pick: Broncos

Oakland Raiders at Arizona Car*****s (-5.5)

Just puked all over my laptop and now I need a new one. Thanks, NFL!

Pick: Car*****s

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-9)

This game seems more important than it really is. Eagles are really on the brink and could be one bad loss away from packing it in. I think the Saints might win by 45. Legitimately. Saints are going to absolutely destroy them. Don’t let your kids watch this massacre.

Pick: Saints

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-3)

Here we go again. Yet another NFC East division game in prime time. Oh, sorry. It’s just a reflex at this point. A Sunday night game that involves ZERO NFC East teams?????????????????? I don’t know how to react. In a weird way, this game is must-win for both teams. Vikings just need wins and the Bears need to beat a good team to kind of prove to themselves they can do it. Honestly, this has Bears written all over it. They have the better offense and the better defense and are playing in Soldier Field. Kind of seems obvious when you say it that way.

Pick: Bears

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

I’m kind of disappointed this was moved out of Mexico City because I was going to put everything I wrote into Google translate to get it in Spanish. It would have been funny, trust me. Now I’m just left with the fact that I think the Chiefs are going to run the Rams off the field in English. That’s no fun. I legitimately don’t think the Rams can get one stop. Need Aaron Donald to get three strip sacks to have a chance. That’s not that outlandish, but the rest of the defense might as well be practice cones (credit to me for not calling them burnt toast. Go here if you’d like to find a way to help the people of California).

Pick: Chiefs